Dick Otto in California, S.R.B. (Senior Ranking Builder)


Our man on the West Coast, Zenith 601XL Builder/flyer Woody Harris made another house call last weekend, to Dick Otto’s place to be on hand for the first run of Dick’s 2700/Dan bearing engine. Woody reported that it fired right up and ran very well. He snapped the photo below to capture the first run of the engine, while it was bolted to Dick’s plans-built 601XL.


 If you have not met Dick yet, I highly suggest that you read this story I wrote about him a while back:  Mail Sack – Letter of the month – Dick Otto, 601XL Calif. I refer to Dick as our “SRB ” because he is 92 years old!

The story above gives you a glimpse into the life of a member of “The Greatest Generation.” I have enjoyed every hour I have spent in the man’s company. Hats off to Dick for getting his engine up and running, and many thanks to Woody for investing the time to assist West Coast builders.

Because Dick now has a running engine, I have submitted him as a new member for our Zenith/Corvair private discussion group, moderated by Zenith 601XL builder/flyer Phil Maxson. The group is fairly active, and has already generated several hundred posts in its technical archive. As a direct peer-to-peer group, the members can work directly with each other to exchange information. The ‘invatational” nature of the membership (it is open to anyone with a flying ww conversion on a Zenith, and to Zenith builders with a running Corvair.) allows the flyers on in the group to share their information with builders advanced enough to appreciate it, and the flyers are also insulated from ‘peanut gallery’ comments by internet trolls and ‘experts’ who can not resist criticizing the flying work of others, even though they will never do anything themselves.

We are now less than three months from Brodhead and Oshkosh, where we look forward to seeing many builders, friends old and new. Spring is now on hand, even in the northern parts of the country, and it is a good time to put your ‘plan for progress’ in action. Do not let the time pass without getting things done.  The big aviation events this summer will be a lot more satisfying to attend if you do so knowing that you have significantly advanced your project since last year.-ww

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