FlyCorvair.net tops 500,000 page reads

Builders:

Sometime late tonight, we will go over half a million page reads on this site. Coincidentally, this is the 500th story to appear here in 30 months of writing. These are not giant numbers for a website, not even for an aviation one, but it is enough to say that the Corvair has a very strong following of builders and flyers.  It isn’t for everyone, and the numbers of people who choose to buy things will always grossly outnumber those who choose to build them.

.

Your life isn’t a democracy and the majority doesn’t rule there. I present the information so each builder can evaluate his options and select the building path that make sense for him as an individual.  Every builder receives countless pieces of advice, 1) Telling him what the majority would do, 2) What the speaker would do,  3) What he should do. This advice is only valid if the goal is to: 1) do what everyone else is doing, 2) try to be someone else, 3) let other people decide what you should do.

.

If the goal was to do something that works for you and achieves your personal goals, then you must evaluate and decide for yourself. At it’s very root, Homebuilding and flying are immensely satisfying because they are an unbroken chain of decisions of consequence that the individual gets to make…..a rare occurrence in modern ‘civilization.’

.

——————————————————-

;

Recent weeks have seen a lot of stories on Philosophy and perspective. If you would like to review many stories on technical subjects, click on this link below, it leads to an index of 200 stories from this site, the majority on technical topics:

.

200 Stories of aircraft building

.

———————————————————

.

Below is a sample of the data logging from the control page on this site. The home page lists 344K reads, because if a builder shows up and reads the top story on the home page 8 times in a month, that is listed as 8 page reads on the home page. The other numbers reflect an individual searching out and reading the particular story.  You can click on any of the colored titles to read the full story:

.

 

————————————

.

Title

Views

Home page / Archives

More stats

344,956

Getting Started Reference page

More stats

5,162

About

More stats

2,668

Planes flying on Corvair Power

More stats

2,560

3,000cc Engine Running

More stats

2,319

Zenith 750 / Corvair reference page, October 2013

More stats

2,122

Getting Started in 2013, part #1, Crankshaft process options.

More stats

2,114

Corvair Powered Davis DA-2, w/EFI

More stats

2,029

Steel tube fuselages, “Safe” planes and 250mph accidents

More stats

1,912

Complete Engines for Sale

More stats

1,805

Zenith 601/650 – Corvair reference page November 2013

More stats

1,554

.

 

90 Days to Oshkosh 2014

Builders:

It is 90 days to Oshkosh. About 85 days from now, we will pack up the truck and head north the Pietenpol Gathering at Brodhead WI, and then onto Oshkosh. Our booth at Airventure is #616, in the north aircraft display area. right across from Zenith Aircraft.

We will be there all week, just like every year.  There is never a need to ask “Are you going?” the answer will always be yes. The only Oshkosh I missed in the last 20 was 2001, and I was in the critical care ward on a ventilator. If you work in experimental aviation, attending Oshkosh isn’t optional, and you need a reason like being on life support to miss it.

We will be in the booth all week, we will have several thousand pounds of parts with us, we will be giving forms, giving parking lot inspection tours, hanging out late, and having a good time. We look forward to seeing many of you at both Brodhead and Airventure.

.

For a look at last years trip, click on this link:

Brodhead, Oshkosh and Beyond 2013

.

————————————————–

.

Blast from the past:

 

.

Something important : Bob Whittier at Brodhead 2004

“Grace Ellen took the above photo of Bob Whittier. For those who do not know him, Bob is the greatest aviation technical writer of all time. He has had more than 2,500 articles published in the past 50 years. What makes this truly astounding is that he’s been deaf since childhood, and thus learned everything he knows by reading and observing. To spend an hour in his company is a humbling experience. His technical knowledge of aircraft detail design and the history of aircraft manufacturing techniques is simply unparalleled.”

.

Something Memorable: Oshkosh 2003 with friends.

“The trio from Contact! magazine, clockwise from left in foreground, writer John Moyle, Publisher Pat Panzera, and volunteer George Willenbrock, enjoy the Homebuilders Dinner with noted aircraft designer Ed Fisher and William Wynne, at right.”

 

.

( John Moyle passed away last year. To read a tribute to this larger than life character please click on this link: John Moyle, noted aviation enthusiast, passes -1/16/13)

.

Thought for the day: Calculated Risk

Below is an excerpt form my story:

Steel tube fuselages, “Safe” planes and 250mph accidents

.

———————————————-

.

“In the 1960s America generated a number of people willing to take calculated risks to achieve something. To me, Don Garlits and Neil Armstrong had more in common than most people noticed. Advanced education gave Armstrong a different path than a young man from Ocala FL in the 1940s could hope for, but in their own arenas, their personal courage and their willingness to engage calculated risk made them legends. Today our society is obsessed with celebrity culture, people famous for going to rehab, actors with little talent, talk show people with nothing to say, and all day to say it. It is a distorted reality, and I choose to ignore it and focus on a time when we thought more clearly and knew what made individuals worth admiring.

Aviation, particularly Experimental Aviation is one of the very few pure arenas left where you as an individual can personally challenge yourself and develop your skills and hone your craft.  I have been in aviation for a quarter of powered flight and half the history of experimental aviation, and I will absolutely state that the people who get the rewards of learning, building and flying are only the people who are willing to devote themselves to mastering each of these steps. If you are building your own engine to master it, if you are willing to really understand flight, they you will have your place among people of real values and courage.”

 Above, 1970, Long Beach CA: Don Garlits in his blown fuel dragster at the moment the transmission explodes under 2,500 hp, cutting the car in half. He has just lost most of his right foot. It would be easy to understand if he never got back in a dragster again, but Don Garlits was the kind of American that we respected because quitting wasn’t part of his DNA. He came back from this and competed for 20 more seasons.  I choose to spend as much of my life in Aviation as possible, because aviation still respects commitment, persistence and courage.

.

Thought for the day: Leaving the hive behind

“In modern life, people are less and less in charge of important decisions that count.  On many fronts, society is trying to prevent you from hurting yourself. This is not done out of concern for the person, it is done to preserve their role in the greater system. The method they choose is most often taking away the ability for an individual to choose risk.

Flying, and homebuilding in particular, is the polar opposite of this. It takes a really negative view of individuals to buy into a system that tries to prevent people from having the means to hurt themselves. It is part of seeing people not as individuals, with their own goals, but as cogs in a grater machine with their value defined by how they serve the group.

…The queen and the hive dictate to the worker bee his limited task, and when he has fulfilled it, he is no longer of any common good, and he is expected to die quietly because the hive programmed him to do so…

In my book, humans are individuals, not insects. Any person who chooses do something simply because he wants to is affirming this. Any person who picks up a tool and sets out on a journey to create something of his choosing, a goal that does not serve the hive of society, can expect both the disdain of  the hive and the warm welcome of other individuals. -ww.”

.

——————————————–

.

In the above photo from Corvair College #21 stand the four pilots who have their names engraved on the Cherry Grove Trophy. Left to right are Joe Horton, 2010, Dan Weseman, 2009, P.F. Beck, 2011, and Mark Langford, 2008.

 

Mooney sold to Chinese, Fake endorsements.

Builders

Although it happened several months ago, last week there is a lot of talk about Mooney being sold to Chinese  investors because of the time delay in magazine coverage. Beyond my usual outrage at a piece of American aviation history and jobs being sold to China for pennies on the dollar, I want to use this story to teach you about fake endorsements in our industry.

.

Although Mooney has been poorly managed and in trouble for more than a decade, you have to keep in mind that they have built more than 10,000 airframes, and have at times employed more than 500 people. Few maintenance guys love them, but they are good performers. They hold a significant place in the history of American light aircraft, and it makes me livid that the ownership of this company, its designs, type certificates and corporate knowledge are now in the hands of others who, no matter what they say, will ship all of this and the jobs overseas.

.

Weren’t planning on buying a Mooney anyway? Neither was I, but there is something very important I need to teach you here. Something I have learned after working in our industry for 25 years: If you go to the AOPA and Flying Magazine websites and read the stories about this, both have comment sections that have 100% positive comments on this sale and glowing comments about how this is good for aviation. I am going to tell you that the attitude  these comments represent is fake. All the negative comments have been edited out, and I am pretty sure that the positive ones are a combination of fakes and ones that have been groomed to suit the narrative that the Chinese owning Mooney is a good thing. There have also been a number of ‘journalists’ who have said positive things about the sale, including people employed by your EAA.

.

In 1954, 60 years ago, any aviation journalist who would have written a glowing endorsement of Mainland Chinese investors buying an iconic US firm would have found himself permanently unemployed. Six decades later, the situation is entirely reversed, and you will not find a single major aviation organization nor prominent ‘journalist’ to speak out against this. Today they will not because the Chinese have giant bankrolls, and if you want a mainstream job, you don’t speak against them.  I am not upholding either extreme as ideal. I only want to point out the extremes served  the interests of powerful people, and they manipulated public opinion to make it seem as if their plan was synonymous with what is good for working Americans who want to build their own planes.

.

Going back to the point that neither of us were buying a Mooney, understand this doesn’t just go on with the sale of aircraft companies. It goes on with most products in the aviation industry, particularly those backed by a lot of money, and the Chinese are wealthy from flooding us with consumer goods, manipulating currency, letting us be the world’s policeman, and then financing our debt. The own Continental, Superior, Cirrus, and they made a bid for Beechcraft. They are buying up the type certificates of many older designs. The own a controlling interest in many companies that you wouldn’t expect, like Searey. The list gets longer every month.

.

I just read a 1992 Sport Aviation cover to cover last night. There was not a single ad for a certified plane in it, far less an article or an editorial about one. The magazine was 80% homebuilts, one classic restoration and one warbird. The Poberezny’s still ran the EAA and Jack Cox was the editor, and neither of them were from the ranks of flyers associated with the financing, production or promotion of certified planes.

.

In the 22 years since 1992, there has been a giant influx of people from the certified production of planes into the control and management of the EAA. The president is the former CEO of Cessna and the editor of the magazine knows little about homebuilts and was the editor of flying for 37 years. Some of these people long ago got into bed with the Chinese, and anyone else with an expensive imported plane that needed advertising space and favorable press reviews. They had no loyalty to American workers building planes in factories in this country, far less Americans building planes in their garages. These people need reminding occasionally that people who self identify as homebuilts fill out the ranks of volunteer jobs in all the chapters that make the EAA work in the field.

.

You control something very important about this situation. In order to justify their actions, some people from the certified world will tell you several myths: 1) interest in homebuilts is declining, and the EAA needed to branch out to certified airplane buyers to stay strong and 2) everyone is OK with the Chinese buying up the US aviation assets for pennies. Selling these two myths keeps people who don’t respect homebuilts or their builders in power, and they are very serious about manipulating public opinion to do so. If you blindly accept the editorials they write, then you are letting them control you by providing an image of aviation that suits their agenda, not yours.

.

——————————————-

.

Links:

.

Cessna’s Chinese adventure a failure.

.

Communist Chinese government at Oshkosh

.

Chinese Crankshafts for Corvairs, update 2/17/13.

.

William Edward Wynne Sr. – Father’s Day Notes

.

The photo above is taken from our story: Carl Sagan, Corvair Owner, Practical Philosopher, Individual.

.

Youngest Builder with a running Corvair.

Builders:

At Corvair College #29, the high point of the event was the perfect engine test run of the 100 HP Corvair by 16 year old Pietenpol builder Joseph Jameson. We ran a number of engines for the first time at the College, but everyone present took notice of Joseph’s achievement.

Many Pietenpol builders saw the October ’13  newsletter, which carried a nice story about Dan Helsper taking Joseph aloft for his first flight in a Pietenpol. Doc and Dee Mosher, Dan and most everyone who has met Joseph comments that he is obviously a bright and thoughtful young man, blessed with a supportive family. A few minutes in his company is enough to make anyone say something positive about the future of aviation.

Joseph has a lot of his airframe built, and is closing in on his PP check ride, but opted to dig into his Corvair engine when Kevin Purtee and Shelley Tumino hosted Corvair College#28 in Texas. You can see Joseph and his father Kelley speaking with award winning Piet builder and flyer Hans Vandervort at the college in this link: Corvair College #28, San Marcos, Texas

Joseph got his Corvair underway at #28, but signed up for #29 in Florida to finish and test run it. The engine is a 100HP Corvair, with a Roy, 5th bearing and Falcon heads.  It is not a “spare no expense” engine, but it is an exceptionally high quality Corvair with electric start, dual ignition, stainless valves, HD oil cooler and filter and some weight reduction items like a flyweight welded deep sump pan. The engine is a bit lighter than a C-90 or an O-200.

When Joseph was done, we pre-oiled it and put it on our test stand. It started in less than 2 seconds of cranking. We put down a 30 minute run to break in the cam and lifters, followed by a second run. I have run several hundred Corvairs on the stand in the last decade, and Joseph’s engine ran as well as any of them. It was smooth, didn’t leak a drop of oil, and his adjustment of the hydraulic lifters was perfect. A visitor to the college asked what this young man’s ‘secret of success’ was. I said “He actually read the book and he follows the instructions.”

Hats off to Joseph for his achievement in learning and building, and special thanks to everyone in the Pietenpol community that played a positive role in assisting him. Joseph and his Dad are planning on attending Brodhead this year, if you have not met them, take a moment to do so, they are outstanding people. -ww

.

135417

Father/son team the Jamesons from TX, stand beside their newly run engine. The engine is destined for a Piet that is mostly done. Dad (Kelly) is clear that the plane and engine are really the handiwork of his son, Joseph. A very bright and skilled young man.

Thought for the day: Finishing planes

Builders:

I wrote the comments below in response to a guy saying that he was glad to see any homebuilt get done, and that even if the plane wasn’t very good and didn’t fly much it was still a victory to him. He made this comment about a plane that was for sale on Barnstormers with 2 hours on it. Read on, you will find out why I think differently

.

————————————

.

To finish a plane, it is a requirement that a builder not listen to all the people who tell him he will fail or is doing it wrong. In a 6 year build, this might mean ignoring several hundred people, running from guys in your EAA chapter, your brother in law, people on line, the airport expert and a parade of others. Most of these people will simply be playing the role of ‘Eeyore’ the pessimistic donkey, (polite term for a negative Jackass) but understand that many others will be posing as ‘friendly advisors’, trying to ‘help.’ If you ignore every person you come in contact with, keep working, and the plane will get done.

Is this the definition of successful homebuilding? I say it isn’t. Completing the plane isn’t success, learning is. A guy who listens to no one learns nothing and often creates the poor flying hangar queen. His completed plane might be a rarity, but the mindset of not being willing to consider anything that might evolve one’s views is quite common today.

My definition of success is the guy who finishes the plane, ignores the 98% of the people who are negative, but learns from 4 or 5 trusted advisors who get him to consider things that make his plane far better than it would have been. This guy not only has a good flying plane, has learned a lot, he also has trusted friends and is in a position to share something. The actual rarity in society is not the bullheaded man who will not stop, it is the man wise enough to listen, examine evidence, and change his perspective if it improves what he is making.

The biggest difference between a poor plane for sale on barnstormers with 2 hours on it and a great one sitting at Brodhead with 500 hours on the tach is mostly in the mindset of the builder. Both planes are made of roughly the same quantity of wood, metal and fabric, and the likely took about the same effort to build. The difference is mostly in what the builder was willing to learn.

The barnstormer plane, and the dozens like it that were never completed are not a good use of materials nor human time. They are not art either. They are monuments to people who refuse to learn, something common enough in everyday life to need no commemoration.-ww.

.

——————————————————

.

To read a story about a plane that changed the builders life and has flown more than 500 hours click on this link:

Randy Bush’s Pietenpol hits 500 hours.

.

Above, Randy’s aircraft at Brodhead

.