To complete the trio of Zenith reference pages, I was working in the middle of last night to put together the one for the 701. We bought our 701 kit in the spring of 2006, flew it in 2007, and wrote a lot of stories about it all the way through its development and eventual modification to include a 5th bearing, It was about 100 hours of flying done by a number of pilots including Gus Warren, Dan Weseman and Arnold Holmes.
In gathering the information, I just went to our main traditional site, Flycorvair.com, went to the bottom of the main page and typed “701” into the plainly marked search box. It spit out links to 24 pages on the site which referenced the 701. Throughout our testing, I did a lot of writing to keep builders posted on what was happening with the project. As raw material, I cut and pasted the data and pictures from these links into my rough draft of the 701 reference page. I was a little surprised to see that flycorvair.com had 56 photos of the plane and more than 10,000 words of description. For scale, consider that when I began my work with Corvairs in 1989, I used the Embry Riddle research library and correspondence with many people to gather every printed word I could find on Corvair flight engines from 1960-89. After 90 days of looking, I was very happy to start with a treasure trove that amounted to 36 printed pages.
Above is a 2007 photo of the 701 airframe under construction in the main Edgewater hangar. It flew by the end of that year.
I bring this up because we get several letters a month from 701 builders asking if anyone has ever put a Corvair on a 701, and how do with think it might work. Obviously, not a single one of these people has typed “701” in the search box on the main page. Granted, the main site is dated, and it needs a house cleaning, but if I had brought that same level of investigation to my 1989 information search, we probably wouldn’t have the Corvair movement we do today. I consider it odd that the internet, computers and email are all research tools that were beyond my wildest dreams as I sat looking at printed lists of periodical guides in the reference section and used a rotary dialed pay phone to call all the phone numbers I found. I was using flintlock and long bow technology, compared with todays nuclear weapons grade research tools.
You might suspect that people in general would use these tools and appreciate the vast quantity of information available, but I have ample evidence that the tools and quantity of information have an odd affect of making most people much worse and conducting any kind of investigation. Just consider that your average person can claim to have done many “Searches” in a single day, as if they were Sherlock Holmes. But in reality, all they did was press a button and had information spoon fed to them my marketing companies that had previously planted spyware on their computers to analyze their buying habits. This really isn’t searching at all. If this type of “investigation” honed peoples detective skills, then they would have long since found their car keys and the TV remote.
All of this has little effect on people who have no plans to escape the consumer merry-go-round of endless purchases in pursuit of happiness that will always remain just one more item away. However, if you have formulated a plan to have a better life than that, and track it down and conquer it in the form of building and flying your own aircraft, then improving real research and decision making are in order. Because we all have to take that first step off the carnival ride, I am doing my part to make the first step somewhat easier. I am making the reference pages for popular airframes so that people who are yet to develop the persistence and accurate information skills that builders invariable develop in the process of education and building can more easily find their way into the opportunity of building. With the focus of mind that comes with taking on a challenge, they will probably remember where they put the car keys. The TV remote will not matter, as people who have a plane to build and a challenge to meet don’t need to waste time in front of the TV set. -ww