Thought for the day: The ‘Triple crown’ of Homebuilding.

Builders,

On Saturday night, I wrote that Vern and I worked until 1am before quitting for the night. Sunday I was up from 7am until midnight, and Vern was here from 10am-6pm. Today we worked from 8am until about 10pm. The work isn’t frantic, it is just one long steady flow. We have worked together for a number of years, and there is little conversation during the day. We start every day with Vern’s favorite tune, The Brian Setzer orchestra version of the Hawaii 5-0 theme song. Much of the day was spent listening to old Stones albums like Exile on Main street, a chunk of the day was spent on the BBC sessions of Led Zeppelin, and we spent the evening listening to a loop of Floyd’s Dark side of the Moon and Animals, the last song before I turned off the lights was “Any Colour you like.”

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I drank too much coffee and it is now 2am and I can’t sleep; these random thoughts keep crossing my mind:

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I spent a lot of the day thinking about my personal “Triple Crown” of home building. This revolves around building an airframe, the engine, and knowing how to fly it with a high degree of dexterity. I had touched on this in the story: Thought for the Day: Mastery or?

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I would much rather have built a simple plane than purchase a complex one; I want to be the master of it’s power plant, not merely it’s owner or attendant; I don’t want to be a mediocre instrument or multi pilot, I just was to be a good day-vfr stick and rudder pilot. The world’s best guide for the last leg of the triangle is the book Stick and Rudder, read about why it is important here: Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)

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I don’t really know how common these goals are in homebuilding. There is plenty of evidence that people feel differently. At our last EAA meeting a man brought pictures of his newly completed RV-7, complete with a $40,000 panel.  One problem: word is that he can’t fly it because he is unwilling to devote the time to really learning how to land conventional geared planes.  It didn’t occur to him that a $20,000 panel and a few months of regular instruction from a skilled CFI might have been a better option. Most people were wowed by the electronics and paint.  It made me think about this story: Risk Management, Judgement Error, money in the wrong place.

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Another member flew up in the plane he has owned for 6 months.. Most people didn’t know what it was, but I pointed out it was a Luscombe 8E. Getting out the owner corrected me and gave a long diatribe about how the plane was an 8A, complete with a comment that I was too young to know classics like his. When he was done, I walked him over and showed him the data plate in the door jam, identifying the plane as an 8E. He is the owner, his name is on the paperwork, but he doesn’t even know what it is.  It was another day like this one: A visit to the insane asylum.

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You can’t really claim to be the master of a machine if you don’t know what it is. Being able to page through a ‘menu’ on a glass cockpit to display electronic circuit breakers, but not understanding why having two E-mags is a questionable idea isn’t mastery either. All too frequently in our consumer society, people no longer even understand that there is a difference between legal ownership and technical mastery. The ultimate indictment of the consumer mentality was actually written the same year I was born, 1962. The quote is imbedded in this story: Sterling Hayden – Philosophy

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If merely owning things made people happy for any significant length of time, than Americans would be the happiest people the world has ever known. Driving around, I don’t think we are in any danger of suddenly becoming a nation of whole, self-actualized humans. 16 months ago I covered the perspective in this tale: Turtles and Cell Phones, 6/24/13.

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“If the goal of the captain was to preserve the ship, he would never leave port. Most people never do. The goal of the captain is to seek adventure, to meet all the challenges and still achieve the goals, to be In The Arena, not rusting at the pier in the safe harbor. Make your choice. If it sounds scary, it’s because consumer society has had decades to teach you to doubt yourself, your potential, your dreams and abilities. People who think for and have learned to trust themselves make poor compulsive consumers. Building a plane and learning to master its maintenance and flight is the rejection of these messages, and the replacement of them with the knowledge that you are the master of your own adventure. This is what building and flying is all about.” -ww.

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Luscombe 8A

I was looking on the web for a good picture to illustrate how different Luscombe 8A’s are from 8E’s. I came across this EAA page with a great picture of an 8F…….which of course was identified as an 8A.

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