Let me introduce a mysterious character known to his friends simply as “The Magnificent Stick.” He is a very interesting combination of being outside the main stream of our industry, and yet he is totally connected by an extensively cultivated network of insider friends, contacts, paid informants, malcontents and moles. If you need to know something, just ask; but beware, information comes with a price. He may try to recruit you to his shadowy army of intelligence gathering. I share his photo below after asking his permission. He gave his ok to any photo taken before 2000, as he has since had work done that defeats facial recognition software. He changes his look often, and I have had a minute long conversation with a guy in the booth at Oshkosh only to have the person I am addressing say “William, wake up, it’s me, The Stick.”
If you are a Corvair guy, you may have met him, but probably don’t know it. If you met him twice, but a year apart, you probably didn’t understand it was the same guy. If you are reading this, and you think you may know who he is, please do not e-mail your guess, and certainly don’t write in to any website and identify yourself as potentially being able to identify him. It’s not a good idea. When you read the stuff he has given me permission to leak, you will understand why he has a long list of cranky people trying to track down a name he uses on his drivers license. If you are good at keeping secrets, and would like a chance to meet him in person, I have word that he will be at Corvair College #27. Your only question will be which one of the other builders is he?
Here is an example of the depth of information that The Stick has in his possession: Last week, I wrote a story complaining about “J-Mac Mcllean” the editor in chief of EAA publications. Shortly afterward the shop phone rings. The caller ID has a very strange number with the prefix “868” (I later find out this is for Trinadad in the West Indies). It is the Stick calling. When I asked where he was, he just said “Pool side at the Hilton, but that isn’t important now.” He then asked if I wanted to know Mcllean’s exact salary from the EAA.
me: “Sure. “
TMS: “He is paid $170,000 annually, and has a $40,000 per year pre-approved expense account”
TMS: “Would you like to know what AD was missed on his last annual? His tax rate? shoe size?
me: “Maybe just knowing how much he is paid to write stories about French turboprops is enough”
TMS: “OK, but have you heard that the Chinese government has been making offers on buying Piper Aircraft? Did you hear they are working on Lancair at the same time?”
TMS “Sad but true. Gotta go, my babe is here with a pitcher of martinis.”
Blast from the past, Circa 1999: The magnificent Stick stands with Grace and myself in front of our Pietenpol by our old hangar at the Spruce Creek fly-in. -ww
Dan and Rachel Weseman, well known to Corvair builders, have confirmed that they are bringing the Panther and their family to CC#27. While thousands of people have seen the Panther in person on display at Sun N Fun and Oshkosh, and have the extensive films of the plane flying aerobatics on their site and you tube, I will assure you that there is nothing like seeing this plane in action, in person, right from the side of the runway. Builders attending Barnwell will be afforded this, as well as a chance to examine the plane closely, and ask Dan questions in a far more focused and productive setting than Oshkosh. Airventure is fun, but it can not hold a candle to a college when it comes to learning in depth information.
They will also be at the College in their traditional role supporting Corvair engine building. They offer the new Billet Cranks #1001B, as well as the full processing on GM 8409 cranks, The group #2950 rear alternator and the #3000 Weseman bearings. Contact Rachel for more availability information on these items, especially if you are heading to the College.
We have several Panther builders already signed up for CC#27 who are coming to work on the Corvairs that will power their Panthers. These guys are planning on being there for the full event and getting the most out of it. In addition to these builders, Rachel has arranged with PF Beck, our local host, to have potential Panther builders stop by and get a look at the plane in person when it is in their neighborhood. To my mind, these same people will be able to a look at a first class Corvair College in action, and we have a very good chance of welcoming them aboard as fellow Corvair builders at the next College. If you know someone interested in getting a look at the Panther encourage them to check out this link to The panther page:
Above, Paul Dye, Editor in Chief of Kitplanes magazine, made the pilgrimage to Florida for a test fight in the Panther. He was totally impressed. He gave the plane a full check out, which will appear in a future issue of his magazine. Grace and I also had a chance to spend some time with him, and I found him to be a real homebuilder, and a surprisingly knowledgeable guy on many facets of our branch of aviation, very interested in getting to meet homebuilders in the field . He had nothing but positive things to say about his first experience flying behind a Corvair.
Having Paul Dye as the Editor of Kitplanes is very encouraging in an era where the Editor of EAA publications is more interested in the multi-million dollar French TBM-850 turboprop than any new homebuilt. Like most homebuilders, I have traditionally found the EAA’s publications as my primary source of printed information. Thirty minutes with an editor who came across the country to personally fly a real homebuilt design with an affordable engine was all it took for me to understand that we are far more likely to find our kind of information in Kitplanes these days.-ww.
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