Mail Sack, 7/13/14

Builders, Here is a sample of the mail:


On the story of: Zenith 601/650 Motor mounts, P/N 4201(A)

Zenith 601XL builder/flyer Phil Maxson writes:

“I think you may be a bit to hard on salespeople here.  You may not like them, but most businesses find them very useful, or they would get rid of the sales department altogether to save costs.  That doesn’t seem to be happening.

One of the jobs of a salesman is to understand the customers needs and supply that need.  What’s unethical about that?  Of course there are unethical sales people, and in a highly specialized industry like aviation, an ethical salesperson has to be very well informed.  I’ve found many a very helpful sales person in aviation businesses.”

Phil, My negative comments about salesmen are directed to raise the ‘buyer beware’ element in people new to homebuilding, and make them aware that journalists, in the role of consumer watchdogs, effectively do not exist in experimental aviation. Example: 10 years ago, “Daytona Cub” was a new cub marketed by people based at Spruce Creek, my airport where I was president of EAA-288. The man selling the kits knew nothing of building planes, but he talked a good line, that was often repeated verbatim by the press that he wined and dined. He publicly said many times “Our fuselages are made of .057 wall tubing which is 10% heavier but 40% stronger” Several obvious lies starting with they don’t make tubing in that wall thickness. Yet, I was the only person who ever pointed out that he was 100% used car salesman and 0% homebuilder. Look them up on line, plenty of people offer glowing testimonials, yet they were out of business in a few years. They often co-promoted a turbine called an ATP, which also got great reviews from journalists that had never seen it run. This engine investment later becomes Innodyn, collects investors and goes bankrupt. Today you can buy the URL “”for $25 and restart the whole scam all over again. I am quite sure that “journalists” would fall all over themselves to write good things about it as long as it was shiny and had a grey haired guy in a polo shirt to stand in front of it and spout ‘facts’ they could put to print. There is nothing wrong with knowledgeable people promoting good things, even if they are speaking of or selling things that they personally can not make with their own hands, just as long as the things they are saying happen to be true.

Some homebuilders believe that they are not likely to be targets of the rip off people because they have modest incomes and small budgets to spend. Let me correct this misunderstanding now.  Many rip off people know that if they came out with a $450,000 kit for the uber-wealthy, that if they didn’t deliver, the wealthy have lawyers on retainer, and will use them. Conversely they know lifting $4,500 from 100 times as many people requires more work, but most people with this kind of budget have never hired a lawyer in their life, and will walk away from that size  loss, and in most cases, will not even mention it to anyone else because they feel stupid for getting taken. If you think I am wrong about this, let me point out that Jim Bedee is still alive. Look up ‘Dream wings” and learn about this tactic. I was with Steve Rahm at the Dream wings presentation at SnF 1995, and Steve politely pointed out that the claimed stall speeds, g-loadings and Va speeds mathematically could not work, and he asked which one of the three numbers wasn’t right. Answer: Physics didn’t apply to their plane. The journalists present like the answer and called the design ‘ground breaking’. I guess that is the correct description for any plane that physics doesn’t apply to. This stuff is in high gear at Oshkosh. A few years ago, a new S-LSA  amphibious aircraft from Europe shows up. I was in the booth next to them. Plane arrives on trailer the day before the show; At the press conference I watch 20 journalists be told that it ‘flies great, flew in without problem, flight testing going great’. Gus Warren looks at it from 40 feet away and says, ‘That’s funny, it has no N-numbers”. Neither did it have an airworthiness cert. If you knew anything about aircraft building it was easy to see that it had no brake lines and many other details. But they did have shiny paint and salesmen, and this was all it took to fool journalists, who had never built a single aircraft part with their own hand that had ever flown. Offering these warnings is of little effect, because people rarely heed them, and the backlash is that I am often painted as a malcontent for doing so. The industry doesn’t like people that can’t ” go along to get along” and keep their mouth shut, and for the most part, neither do the majority of homebuilders who want to believe that physics defying airplanes exist simply because they want one.-ww.

International Aviator Tom Graziano writes:

“William, I’ve had more than one salesman try tell me their welding is done by an “FAA certified welder”. The look on their face when I informed them that no such animal exists was priceless  I’ve also had several pilots and A&Ps (who should know better) try to tell me about “FAA certified welders”….I politely spell it out for them – A W S

Builder Pete Chmura writes:

“Coffee Stout will change your life.”


On the story of: Randy Bush’s Pietenpol hits 500 hours.

Ken and Pat Caldwell write:


DAR/ builder Jon Ross writes:

“Dear William: I have never met Randy Bush but I have met a few like him as I travel around doing DAR work. Although I would rather be working on my own projects, I realized that I enjoy the DAR work because it gives me a chance to meet people like Randy. As you know, few people undertake airplane projects, and the chance of meeting special people such as you describe in Randy is greatly increased when traveling as a DAR. The special people are out there, and I try to stay in touch with them long after my job is done as a DAR because I am simply interested in where they want to go next…

Your philosophy with respect to creating things with your own hands is just as I have found it to be. I have a shop that is 45 minutes from where I live, but only 10 minutes from where I work. Naturally I spend a great deal of time in the evenings working in the shop. Sometimes, after a stressful day I have difficulty getting started. But I force myself on those days to change into my work clothes and get to it. It is never long before I am completely content working away at whatever the task at hand happens to be. Weekends are sometimes tough, because I am often called upon to assist friends with their airplanes, which I do with the full realization that I am really enjoying what I am doing. I am a loner, and a few years older than you (57 now) and I realize that for the most part I simply want to be left alone to work in my shop. When I travel around, I realize that there are people nearby who feel just as you and I do, in fact, many more exist than I once thought. I really do hope that these philosophical discussions will convince some of those sitting on the fence to get started on a life changing airplane project. Best, Jon Ross Northport, NY”

Zenith 650 builder Becky Shipman writes:

“William, Thank you for this thoughtful post.  I really identified with your last statement.  I have faced some very down times in my life, and difficult decisions.  Lately I think more about the times when I feel happy, and they have to do with certain types of experiences.  Flying does that for me – the combination of using knowledge and experience and physical feeling to feel competent.  I have felt that way winding up mountain roads on my bike at high speeds, and shaping metal on mills and lathes.  And there are times when I get into a groove when I’m building the plane, and feel competent and creative.  I occasionally feel that at work, but it’s more and more rare.  Sometimes I feel that when I get a concept across to one of my kids, like when I taught my son to drive stick.  The biggest thing I learned in some of my more extensive changes in life is that it is OK to take a calculated risk.  That’s what flying and homebuilding is to me.  I  think I will be happier when I feel I can move on from the breadwinner role to a life where I can make and teach and fly.  I turn 55 in a couple of months – burning my hand and having my back go out have given me the feeling that life is finite – and I want to have my experiences while I still can.  So for all that you feel you are flawed, we all are, and your example of pursuing your dream is as much a gift as your development of the Corvair airplane engine.  I’m guessing that might be part of what Grace sees in you, and ScoobE will always tolerate you as long as Grace does….Becky”

builder “Jacksno” writes:

“Excellent FC philosophy and model thereof.  Do  look forward to more than a story if possible,  Something more like at least a 5 part story in 100 hour (50 much better) increments that documents the history of decision making, results analysis, decision making, etc. This would be invaluable for us tychos. Go Fly Corvair.”


On the story of: Pietenpol Box Spar Construction, 6/27/13

Builder Allen Oliver writes:

“William: I can see where people perhaps may be misled concerning spar placement and loading by not examining all the variables.  On a moderately cambered airfoil straight and level in a low-speed environment, the center of pressure MIGHT be around the 40% chord.  If the aim is to even out the spar loads, placing one at 15% (-25%) and the other at 65% (+25%) could at first glance seem to do the job.  The pitfall is that the actual center of pressure location is highly variable, according to the airfoil shape.  More than that, IT MOVES.  As the angle of attack increases, the center of pressure moves forward.  This puts more loading on the forward spar. In addition, the lift loads are no longer perpendicular to the original bending axis. Just some extraneous thoughts for the mix. Regards, Allen Oliver”

Builder John Edwards writes:

“On the subject of spar loads, you do not need to be an engineer, nor have a degree in aeronautics to know the front spar carries most of the load. Just a little common sense.
Stick your hand out the window of your car and play airplane. You can feel most of the load is up near the front of your hand by your fingertips. It is that simple.”

Pietenpol builder Harold Bickford writes:

“William, Just for the exercise I calculated out the weight estimates of the various spar types (full span) for both Douglas Fir and Spruce. I used 34#/cu ft for DF, 28#/cu ft for spruce and 15# for a 4′x8″ sheet of 1/8″ birch ply. Actual weights of course can vary. The numbers below are for Spruce and Spruce/ply for the UK type In terms of weight the 3/4″ solid plank runs about 40lbs for front and rear sets. The routed 1″ beam would be about 2# lighter (calculated) while the UK type spar would be calculated at about 2# heavier. Clearly fabrication of the 3/4″ blank is easiest and it works. The cost differential was around $140 for materials. It is hard to beat what has been tried and proven though a properly engineered box spar or the extruded aluminum type is interesting to consider. -Harold”

Builder Doug Wright writes:

“William,It has been awhile since I have studied the subject, but one of the things I remember that has not been mentioned in the discussion about the design of Pietenpol spars is the distribution of pressure on the wing.  As I am sure you are aware, these pressures vary with angle of attack and are used in the calculations to determine the worst-case loadings on individual spars.  Why I mention this is because another variable that affects spar design is that these pressure distributions will be different from one airfoil to the next.  With both Mr. Pietenpol’s original design and the Riblett 612 airfoil being popular these days, a few years ago I ran the profiles for both through X-Foil and, as I recall, the pressure distributions were similar but not exactly the same.  Based on these software-derived numbers, I remember that after performing the calculations for the front spar worst-case loadings, there is a 4-5% difference depending on which airfoil is used.  Something like 75% of total load for one compared to 80% for the other.  Don’t ask me which was which or even if these numbers are accurate because I don’t have the calculations in front of me.  Would this make much difference in the load factor of a wing?  Not much, but I think it is important builders know there is a difference and if they choose to experiment with some other airfoil it may make a significant difference.

In looking at the cross sections of the traditional Piet spars and the PFA approved Jim Wills design there is not much difference in the moment of inertia of the solid portion of the spars where the lift struts and attach/cabane fittings connect.  Where a form factor must be applied when performing stress calculations on the rest of the spar, that is a different matter.  But, it looks to me that Mr. Wills moved the lift strut attach points outboard to reduce the length of the portion of the wing that is cantilevered.  This, of course, would reduce the bending moment on the wing at the lift strut attach points and would allow for the PFA approved 1200 Lb. gross weight with the same load factor as Mr. Pietenpol’s original, lower gross weight design.  Mr. Pietenpol’s empirically derived design was absolute genius but Mr. Wills must have recognized that people now days are a lot heavier and want to carry more fuel thus the airframe should be modified to accommodate those facts.  If someone builds Mr. Pietenpol’s original lift strut attach point design, they need to be cognizant of the fact that the load factor of the airplane is reduced at the heavy gross weights people are flying them. Doug Wright Stillwater, OK”


More mail on various topics:

Zenith builder in Haiti  Howard Horner writes:

“Hi William. Just wanted to drop a note to let you know I have entered the game, but must confess it is not exactly as you recommend. (1# bad.) I bought a1963 145CU IN core complete with turbo that I cannot use, for $150. (#2 bad) Traded it to a happy Corvair guy for a big basket of “cherry Picked” 110HP block parts and 95 heads with smaller quench zone. (Interested in the Avgas option w/ possible future turbo or Supercharger.) He promises to provide any incidentals we may have missed and I am anxiously waiting to receive your disassemble manual to learn what I did wrong and correct any deficiencies. The vindicating circumstance is that the turbo motor came in an antique red wagon that is selling on Ebay for $150-$300 plus shipping, so this transaction actually works in my building budget… basically zero! Be assured I am diligently studying your methods and as a result will no doubt benefit from a superior assembly, but equally important, I am 100% committed to supporting you guys that have invested so much by purchasing the Dan bearing, Falcon head work, and all the Gold parts.  Thanks, Howard”


Parting Shot, from Zenith 650 Builder Brian Manlove:

“William – I am finally back in my shop working on the 650.  I have read all of your posts and the one that prompted me to respond was the one about your brother.  I have a similar, but different, take on this – my *younger* brother Magnus.  In the last 25 years, we have not seen each other much, him with 3 kids, me with 3 kids, always living 1200 miles away from each other, and both of us always too busy with work. As you know, I was in a pretty bad motorcycle accident this past December 2.  I was in ICU for three weeks.  Magnus came to Austin to see me in the hospital – and because he was staying at my home he saw what I called “my workshop.”  I remember him coming to the hospital to see me every day for a week – but I don’t remember saying much other than “hello.”  I was in pretty bad shape and on a lot of pain meds.   A couple of days after he went home I went into an episode of A-fib.  The doctors found clogged arteries and scheduled me for a triple bypass operation, as soon as I “recovered” from my other significant injuries. When I got home, it took another month to recover enough to get the bypass operation. That happened on Feb 8 and it took another 2 months to recover completely from that. My workshop is a double garage that had been converted into a recording studio by the previous owner.  There was a wall that split the space into 2 rooms.  I had knocked out a span of wall wide enough to get a workbench in there for wing building – but with all of my tools, parts, shipping crates, and way too much accumulated junk, it was really not functional at all. When I got home from my heart surgery, Magnus called me and told me he was going to come down to Austin for a week in June to help me “fix the workshop.” Magnus came and spent a week.  What he did for me was absolutely fantastic.  He spent 16 hours a day working… and pushing me… we ripped out old walls, we re-wired, we built shelving, we built workbenches, he helped me decide what to toss and what to keep, and then the final touch – he surprised me with a beautiful epoxy paint job on the floor.  He gave me a gift that is beyond words. I now have an absolutely fantastic first-class workshop. All he wants in return is to see me finish my airplane. There is nothing like a brother. – Brian Manlove”

Zenith 601/650 Motor mounts, P/N 4201(A)


It’s 3 am here and we are still up, just part of the fun of prepping for Oshkosh. This is the time of night when you take a break from answering email, wander over to the refrigerator and stare inside. The dilemma: Is it too late to drink beer or is it too early to drink coffee? Answer: both, but I have just enough brain cells still working to write a web update on motor mounts…….

In two weeks we will be at Oshkosh. There will be many people there offering motor mounts for sale for every kind of plane. Polo shirt clad salesmen will make loud claims about how great the mounts they are selling are. They will hit all the welding buzz words they have heard, and they will sound knowledgeable to people who know nothing about welding. The vast majority of these salesmen have never even tried welding, and they couldn’t put down an airworthy bead an inch long even if their life depended on it.

That last sentence is a typical WW, 3 am, overstatement isn’t it? Jeez, when is some Oshkosh salesmen’s life going to depend on his ability to demonstrate a skill he talks about but doesn’t posses? Reality Check: The salesman’s life doesn’t depend on the welding he is promoting and selling…….only yours does.

Grace has redone our Zenith 601/650 catalog page on these mounts, which are part number 4201(A) in the new numbering system. If you were thinking about getting one of these from us, review the new information. We have seven of these mounts on the back porch ready for the powder coater. In a few days I am going to take them in and have them done for sale at Oshkosh. If you would like one, would like to save the shipping and have a particular finish in mind, follow the link, place an order, or feel free to send us a note or call. We will be glad to cover anything you would like.

Below, a photo of Vern and I outside my hangar 18 months ago. We will both be at Oshkosh.  100% of all the welded products we sell are done by the two of us. At the show, ask us any question on welding you like, we only have 74 years of personal, first hand, welding experience between us. We can probably cover it better than the polo shirt clad salesmen. If you got into experimental aviation just to buy stuff, then any salesman will do just fine for you. If you got into experimental aviation to learn, develop your own skills and craftsmanship and make things with your own hands, then who you work with really matters. You can’t become and old school homebuilder / motor head by buying things from salesmen. They have nothing to teach you. While I will be very glad to sell you a motor mount, I am very glad to share all the detailed information on how it was made, and the materials and processes. Yes, I sell things, but first and foremost, I am a homebuilder with a mission to share what we have learned.

From our website in 2011: “For the greater part of his years on earth, Vern has been a welder. In the world of experimental aircraft, when a company wants to  sound impressive, they always tout that their welders have “Built race cars.” I welded the frames of lots of NHRA legal dragsters before I was 21, and this experience taught me nothing about aerospace welding. Vern has welded countless race cars together, but that  has nothing to do with why we utilize his skills making Corvair parts. What counts is the little piece of paper on the orange board.”

“If you look closely, it shows that Vern has every aerospace material welding rating in every thickness recognized by his employer, the United States Naval Aviation Depot. In this facility inside NAS Jacksonville, Vern has welded every kind of material that goes into modern combat aircraft. This includes titanium, Hastelloy X and magnesium. While some people can weld this when it is new in a purged box, Vern can weld things like the inside of a jet’s burner can while looking through one bleed hole and feeding the rod through another.”


Below is a photo of Woody Harris’s 601XL, and an important story about his experience. Woody is “Our man on the West Coast”, based in Northern California at Vacaville. Note that his plane is pictured in North Carolina. I welded the engine mount that is on his plane. It was done in the same fixture that we used to make the ones resting on the back porch, 10 feet from where I am typing this.

From our website in 2010: “In the above photo, Woody Harris’ 2,850cc Zenith 601B sits at the end of the ramp in North Carolina at First Flight Airport with the Wright Brothers Monument in the background. This brings his aircraft to the end of his first leg of a coast-to-coast and return flight. I believe that this is a pretty classy way for Dad to show up at his daughter’s house on the East Coast. Although Woody has spent a lifetime in the mechanical world predominantly driving race cars in both Europe and America, it’s worth noting that he’s been in aviation less than five years. While he certainly would have thought of it before, it was at the urging of his daughter who is an ATP, that he explore some adventures in flying. I mention this because if you’re out there reading this and you’re thinking that you might be too late in the game to have your own adventures, you’re quite wrong. If you don’t have a pilots license, you have never built an airplane before, and you’re 63 years old, you are at the exact spot where Woody was four years ago. Yes his mechanical background gave him a leg up, but it plays a smaller role than most people suspect. His determined character and his quest to learn new things were much bigger factors in his favor. If you had been standing next to me at Oshkosh when Woody arrived, and watched him hop out of the airplane and talk for 4 minutes straight about the previous days flying, including sentences like “We timed it perfectly because Old Faithful went off just as we flew by,” you would note that all the hours that you’re putting in your shop are well worth the adventures that lie in your future. Go out there tonight and get one evening closer to writing the same chapter in your own story that Woody has written in his. (I have Woody looking into his logbooks, but I am pretty sure he has flown a Corvair powered plane in more states than any other person. I don’t bring this up as a point of competition, I just want builders at home to understand that with good judgment and training, you can go a long way, even if you have not yet written in the 500th hour in your logbook.)


Randy Bush’s Pietenpol hits 500 hours.


An email arrived last night from Randy Bush, saying that he just crossed over the 500 hour mark on his Pietenpol. If you are new to homebuilding you probably understand that this is a significant milestone, but if you have been around homebuilding for a long time, you really understand how big this is.

Getting started, we all believe that we will fly about 250 hours a year in our creation, right after it is done in 10-12 months. Dreams are made of these thoughts, and that is good, but flying planes are made of dreams and persistence. I am going to say that less than one in ten homebuilts of all kinds gets to 500 hours. This includes all weather cross country planes like RV’s. Combine this with the fact 80% of kits and 90% of plans are never completed, then you begining to see Rany’s accomplishment in perspective.

If the odds above don’t sound good, you are correct. But success in homebuilding isn’t a random a random lottery ticket drawing, it is a series of good decisions, bonded together with persistence. If you know and exercise this, the odds don’t apply to you. The reason why I spend a lot of time speaking of philosophy, is because it is the root of all good decision making in homebuilding. People who have never spent 5 minutes considering the “why?” element, and developing their own answer to this question, have a low success rate because they are not making good decisions, nor developing their own persistence.

Last week, I was speaking with well-known Pietenpol builder and Cherry Grove trophy holder Kevin Purtee. Randy’s name came up, and Kevin paused the conversation to make the point, “That guy is a first class human being.” I feel the same way. When people like to complain that the EAA doesn’t have enough old-school home builders anymore, I agree, but Randy Bush is always my first example to point out that we still have some that are every bit as good as they ever were.

Randy is going to fly his Pietenpol to Brodhead this year, and go on to Oshkosh with it also. He has just reworked his cowling and made some detail changes, like the ones in this story: Cooling with J-3 style cowls. (Pietenpols, Cubs, Biplanes, etc) and he now reports that even at full power on a hot day, his plane will only hit 325 degrees on the cht. (that is 250 below GM’s red line). This is running on the border of being too cool, an issue that some Corvairs can have, but very few other alternative engines ever have to be concerned about, as they are concerned with melt downs. I plan on getting a number of photos of his plane at the shows, and we can have a whole story about his mechanical installation, but to my view this is secondary to the real story, namely Randy getting to 500 hours because of the choices he has made and the persistence he has exercised.

Going to Brodhead or Oshkosh will be an excellent chance for many people new to homebuilding to meet Randy in person. You will find him to be a modest and humble guy. I have long held that negativity is an infectious disease, and you should not spend your aviation hours in the company of people who have it. Conversely, I believe that the perspectives, examples and mindset of successful builders like Randy Bush are also contagious, and spending even an hour in their company can make a big difference in the positive path of any homebuilder. Below I share a few stories that I have written about in the past that give a glimpse of why Kevin Purtee, myself and countless others hold Randy in very high regard. Come, met him in person and add yourself to this group.

Above Randy at Brodhead 2012, From last years story: “Randy Bush offers his testimonial on Corvairs and Piets in combination. He now has more than 420 hours on his plane. This is a lot for an open cockpit aircraft based in Tennessee. Many Corvair people met Randy at previous Colleges. Both he and I have had many conversations about how homebuilding and developing and exercising your craftsmanship in aircraft building is a refuge of sanity and stability in our personal lives.  We have both noted that when many people hit a rough patch in life, one of the first things they think of doing is quitting their aircraft project. Either of us, and everyone else who has finished an aircraft under challenging circumstances, would gladly offer that selling your project is the last thing you should do. When little else is going right, and few people are on your side, hours spent in your shop will show you that you still control much of your life, and the opinions of you held by others are often worthless. In your own shop, your are in charge, and any hour spent building something with your own hands is well spent and the things you learn can never be taken from you. Go back and read the Sterling Hayden quote about what men really need to lead meaningful lives.”

Above,Randy’s aircraft at Brodhead .Randy Bush of TN. at Brodhead with Miss Le’Bec (it is a combination of his girls’ names). His aircraft was seven years in the making. A consistent work of craftsmanship, the plane’s creation spanned both easy and hard years in Randy’s life. Many people new to homebuilding think that it is something you do if life is treating you great and you’re rolling in dough. Here is reality: The most successful builders I know understand that hours spent in your own shop, creating things with your own hands, is a vital part of a worthwhile life, and that this reality will be most evident at the hardest of times. Learning to make things is a crucial investment in your own sanity. Does it surprise anyone that really happy people always have a way of being creative? The plane has more than 400 hours on it. It has a 100 hp Corvair with electric start and a Roy 5th bearing


I wrote the words below last year. If you are a homebuilder that has spent a lot of hours reading this site and thinking about the potential of homebuilding in your life, let me share this single prime element of homebuilding, the part of it many homebuilders find to be the most rewarding and crucial element of it. Magazines and websites all want to tell you that homebuilding is about buying things and having stuff. That is a pathetically shallow perspective, and is at the root of why people quit when the have great expenditure but feel no personal reward. If you really want to get to the core of homebuilding, then start looking at its potential to change your own life, that it is a serious arena where you can develop and test your skills in a setting that matters, that you control, and has rewards that few other challenges can match.


“If you have never met me, but read this and think that I am charmed with myself, you got it all wrong. I know countless humans who are better people than I. They are kinder, smarter, and harder working. I can’t sing nor dance, I learn slowly, and I can’t stand to hear my recorded voice nor see my image on film. If I was once handsome, all trace of it is gone along with my uncorrected eyesight. I can be a conversational bore, and I deeply wish I had given my parents more moments to be proud of me. At 50 I look back on my life with a very critical eye and stand on the far side of a very wide gulf from the heroes of my youth. Even our dog, impeccably honest and loyal as canines are, Loves Grace and only tolerates me.

Honest evaluation leads to harsh thoughts like this. I spend a lot of time alone and have long bouts of insomnia, which can lead to thinking about things excessively. But the secret I would like to share with anyone who at times feels the same way, is that I have a sanctuary where I am insulated from much of my self-criticism, and a have a front, where at 50, I am much better on than I thought possible in my youth. When I am building things with my hands in my shop, I rarely feel poor. Although I now need glasses to do any close work, and my hands have lost a lot of dexterity, I am a far better craftsman than I ever was in my youth. I am not a great craftsman, but over a very long time I have worked to develop these elements in my life, and I compete with no one except who I was last year. While all else fades, these things flourish. It is a gift I am most thankful for.

I was aware of this in my youth, but it did not come into focus until 1999, the worst year of my life. (getting burned  was 2001, but it was a picnic compared to ’99.)  Feeling dangerously low, I sought the council of a guy I knew. He had come back from such a year. He is an artist, working as an incredibly detailed wood carver. He tells me to forget everyone and everything else, go back to your tools and work with your hands. Give up your apartment, but never your hangar. Explore all the things you can’t forget, have stolen, give away or loose. At the moment, I was having a hard time picturing another week, and I asked him how long it took him. The thought with great care a slowly said “two, no really three..” I was jolted and blurted out “Three months?” he looked me in the eye and said “No. Years. It’s probably your only way out.” It turned out to be a painfully accurate prediction.

In the years since I have read letters or posts from many people in a tough spot, who have sold their project or tools. I often think their ship is sinking and they have just traded their life jacket for five more minutes on the deck. I have also met a number of successful builders who have said that when everything else in there lives was broken, they had a place of refuge in work and creation. Of the thousands of people I have met in aviation, these people are truly brothers, for we share the same salvation.”

Zenith 750/Cruiser Mounts. P/N 4201(B)


In less than two weeks, we will be driving away for Brodhead and Oshkosh with a truck and trailer load of Corvair parts. In the trailer will be the half-dozen Zenith mounts that are finished welded and sitting on the back porch tonight.


Above, the flying 2850cc Zenith 750 built by Gary Burdett. It has our full complement of Zenith installation components, including a part number 4201(B) mount.


In our new numbering system, the 750 mount is part number 4201(B). We have taken the time to update our products page on this mount, and automate the buyers ability to select options like powder coating. You can directly access this by clicking on this link:

If you are a Zenith 750 builder and you are heading to the show, consider picking up a mount. We will save you the cost of shipping which is substantial. Also, if you order it now, we still have some time to select powder coating or delete this option. When we get to 7 days before departure, I take all the mounts to the powder coater and have them all done in our standard gray. They will still be available at Oshkosh, but cost will include the coating and they are sold on a first come basis. I like to give builders a heads up on this because we usually sell all the 750 mounts we bring north. If you are thinking about this, drop me a note or call, we will make a plan.-ww.