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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Links:

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Cessna’s Chinese adventure a failure.

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Communist Chinese government at Oshkosh

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

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William Edward Wynne Sr. – Father’s Day Notes

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

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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

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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.