Thought for the Day: Mastery or?

“I do not have an instrument rating nor a multi rating. If I wanted either, I am sure I could write a check to a ratings mill and have enough skill in 15 days to do a passable job on the check ride. People who actually have mastery of muti and instrument flight understand that neither of these are forgiving of just “pass-able” skills when it counts. I can make a good case that this really extends to every skill set in aviation, that safety lies in mastery.  My personal concept of what I want to do in aviation is mastery of the stick and rudder VFR planes that I like. Because I am a homebuilder, I am also speaking of mastering the building of this plane, and it only makes sense to me to know the power plant, and I mean really know it, as well. “-ww.

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Read the whole story at this link:

Shop perspective: Mastery or ?

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Above, a 2009 photo. I stand between Bob Burbank, 20,000 flight CFIG on the left, and on the right is my instructor and mentor is flying, the legendary Chuck Nelson. Chuck has been flying for 65 years. He bought his first plane, a ’38 Cub, when he was 15.  . His background includes flying in the U.S. Air Force, crop dusting, water bombing, weather modification, racing at Reno, and working with both Duane Cole and Curtis Pitts. He became an instructor in the USAF in the early 1950s, and it emerged as the calling of his life. A long list of former students covers people working in every branch of the military, most major airlines, a U.S. aerobatic champion, and a guy who builds Corvairs for a living.

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Chuck has taught an incredible range of flying skills to more than 2,000 students. Through it all, the minimum acceptable standard to consider any level as accomplished is Mastery.  I bypassed many other instructors before I met Chuck. I was on a quest to learn real stick and rudder kills from a Master, and most of the CFI’s I met could not even fly a tail wheel, far less instruct in one. Having Chuck as a mentor provided me with an emersion experience into the skills, perspectives, ethics and philosophy of the ‘old breed’ CFI’s. The depth of what I learned can not be expressed in a few paragraphs.

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Those who settle for the instruction and company of flyers who’s standard is the minimum to get by, will be no better themselves, and one day they may very well encounter a set of conditions that are 1% above their minimum skills. Sadly, many of them have little idea how lacking their understanding is, how inadequate their skills are. Conversely, all who aim higher, keep company with better men and seek mastery, will know themselves to be in a better position, every hour of their lives.

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Above in our driveway, 2011: I stand beside my mentor in flying, Chuck Nelson. In the foreground is the 15 foot lapstrake double-ended sailboat we built. Over coffee a couple of years ago, Chuck casually said that he had actually done just about everything he ever wanted to do in life. And in Chuck’s case this is a long list of adventures, the centerpiece of which is an incredible array of experiences in flying. I was concerned that there were no more items on his “bucket list” to check. After I pressed him for a while, he confessed that he had always wanted to build a sailboat. He had owned plenty of them, lived on one for years, and cruised for months at a time, but he had never built one. The boat above is the result of several years of working one morning a week or so. I qualify the term “working” because this time included a whole lot of coffee drinking at the kitchen table, a lot of plinking in our backyard range, flying around in the Taylorcraft in good weather, messing around with sailplanes, and general screwing around. Quality time well spent, with something nice to show for it in the end.

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About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

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