Thought for the day: Building as an individual.


Building and flying your own aircraft, a device that serves no direct purpose to society or government, something that is just for you the individual, is a very important act that reinforces the dignity and value of being an individual. No matter how you think we got here or what you think we are supposed to be doing, we can agree that the points in history were individuals had no value were not the brightest chapters in human history.


I love animals and think they are great,  but the two things that are supposed to set us apart are the fact we make tools and we can choose to act as individuals and not part of a collective herd. Funny how fewer people make and use tools these days and how that coincides with many people behaving more like a herd. Individuals creating art in any form, painting, music, dance or even aircraft building, even if it is done just to please one human, is just as important as any act for the greater good.


  The first time I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull I thought it was stupid gibberish (because I was 17, the age where we were all a unappreciated genius). Later I understood that Bach’s point is that if every act is judged on the sole merit of its value to society, we will end up with the conformity of a flock of seagulls, complete with their compulsive need to peck non-conforming individuals to death, just to protect the uniformity. (It also took me an embarrassingly long time to get that the seagull was named after Johnny Livingston, one of the worlds greatest pilots ever.)


Out there, many builders reading this are probably thinking :”I just wanted to build an engine and go flying, not change the world” Well if you stick with it and finish and fly, I can assure you that one world will change for the better…your own.-ww




The paragraphs above are taken from a larger story I wrote last year. If you would like to read it, you can click on this link: Carl Sagan, Corvair Owner, Practical Philosopher, Individual.  -ww.

3 Replies to “Thought for the day: Building as an individual.”

  1. Building an aircraft and having the ability to fly it places is a true life changer. Hard to put into words, but it goes way beyond aviation. Your own personal standards – your personal world view – all changes for the better. Maybe that’s something more like what our grandfather’s generation had, but its more rare today.

    There is no shortage of seagulls who will peck at you while you’re building. “Are you crazy!” “No way!” “It’ll never fly!” “Is that even allowed?” “What? A car engine?” “I would never trust myself to build my own airplane!” “Why not a 172?” “Why not an RV?” “The wings are going to fall off!”.

    But when you start showing up at places with an airplane – and an engine – that you built with your own two hands, the reaction changes. The seagulls stop cackling and fade away when faced with the obviousness of your success. And like minded people begin to quietly seek you out. Your world has changed.

    You guys who are still building – don’t give up. It’s worth it.

    You guys who have built and are now flying – you might just realize that you’ve enjoyed the journey so much that you start thinking about doing it again…

    Patrick Hoyt

  2. Patrick…. well said I’m working on my 5th project a 650 that will have a corvair engine up front ( can’t seem to shake the building bug! ) You never stop learning, the many friendships made along the way, the feeling of success, the rush of the first flight and the champagne that follows.

    John Niemeyer
    650 builder

    We lose ourselves in things we love, we find ourselves there too.
    Kristin Martz

  3. I have found you simply cannot relate the feeling of flying something you built to someone who has not done it themselves. The majority of airplane owners at my seaplane base are either Cessna owners or homebuilt owners who had someone else build the airplane for them. I perform maintenance on some of these airplanes and the owners are seldom there when the work is being done. I think William would call them appliance owners.

    I logged another two hours flying Saturday off very deep wet snow on our lake. A couple of the appliance owners stopped by in a new Mercedes SUV as I pulled my Merlin out of my hangar with my 1995 Polaris snow machine. One of them remarked “That’s an awful lot of trouble to go flying in circles- I’m only taking my 185 out if I’m flying to Labrador”

    I haven’t seen the guy fly to Labrador yet!


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