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