Corvair powered 601XL, 2006 photo

Builders,

I was on the Zenith aircraft site the other day looking through their extensive photo archives for a picture of a particular plane. I looked at the photo below for several seconds before realizing that it was me, acting as line boy for Gus Warren on the test flight of Rick Lindstrom’s 601XL outside our Edgewater Florida hangar. It was the fall of 2006.

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Corvair-powered Zodiac XL

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Evidently I didn’t have gray hair when I was 43.  Seems strange to me that I didn’t recognize how I looked then, but I remember exactly the hour the photo was taken, and what we were doing. That part is timeless.

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Building airplanes has many long hours of work, but it also provides you with hours that don’t fade. Eight years ago is a long time, and just like everyone else, I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday. But, I can recall, with good detail, including how I felt, all the first flights I have been present for.  A Neuro-scientist would probably have a long explanation for the biochemistry of this, but for me the explanation is a lot simpler: I love planes.

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If you are working away in your shop tonight, and it’s still bitter cold where you are, take heart. In your future lies a day that you will never forget. Truth be told, you will also come to remember fondly the hours in the shop also. You will look at each part of the plane, built with your own hands, and be able to recall the hours you worked on them. I have been doing this for 25 years, and that part of it never gets old.

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Below, from our main website FlyCorvair.com on the Corvair College #10 coverage, the photo and the caption were from later the same day:

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“Friday was check in day at the College. A lot of builders showed up and the mood was upbeat as friendships and acquaintances from the  year before were renewed. Most of the visitors drifted away by 10 p.m. to get some rest before the long Saturday. The weather  Saturday was forecast to be clear and flat calm at sunrise. Gus, Rick and I planned the first flight of his plane for 7 a.m., before  anyone arrived. Prep work for the College kept me working at the hangar till 3:30 a.m. Gus and Rick returned in the morning, and  after one more careful inspection, and an idle adjustment on the carb, Gus took the plane up for a very smooth first flight. In the  photo above, Rick proudly moves the newest Corvair powered airplane in the fleet.”