Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #3, My way or the highway?

Builders:

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If you have not seen the Intro to this series, you can read it here: Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #1, Intro., It will explain the goals of the articles. Please take a moment to read it, including the comments section.

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I am not suggesting that our way is the only way to build and fly Corvair engines. My position is that our way is proven, and for that reason I advocate it, and can do so in good conscience. In 25 years I have seen many examples of builders who were absolutely sure that their way would work as well or better, who ended up with a broken engine or plane. This reality is not rationally debatable. Of course there is a third position, an innovative idea that works, but stop and think, every guy with a broken plane was sure he was in this group just before he took off, and the great majority of them were wrong.

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In 2004 or Zenith 601XL was one of a kind, the first Corvair powered one to fly. On that day it was unique. After it was successfully flown and demonstrated, only then was there a demand for installation parts to Clone it. In the ten years since our Zenith installation has evolved in details, but essentially remains the same. It works, not circumstantially, but for a wide variety of builders in a wide variety of conditions. It is copied because it works, proven over a decade. It there were vastly better ways of doing it, they would have emerged, been proven, and in turn be cloned themselves.  This has not happened.

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I do not have a lock on innovation, a patent on success nor even a 3 digit IQ. All I have are a first class education, 25 years of working with this engine in planes, and the experience to stare at parts for a long time in the hanger and figure out how they will fail long before the plane is taken to the runway or even started.

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Many people can visualize how something might work. It is my ability to visualize how it might break that took much longer to develop, and has served more homebuilders. Speaking out about these things has often lead to be being misunderstood  as anti-innovation.

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In 1996 I wrote the words: “It isn’t the probablity of being right that counts, it is the cost of being wrong that must be considered.” I wrote it because even then I knew that most builders looking at ‘innovation’  considered that backwards. 18 years later, this has not changed.

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Some people read the story below and conclude I consider myself “my brothers keeper.’ I do not, I just consider him my neighbor, and if I see him about to light his house on fire, I am inclined to lean over the fence and suggest he reconsider stripping the paint with a flamethrower.-ww.

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Further reading:

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Effective Risk Management – 2,903 words “This was the first time I can clearly say I understood the cost of keeping your mouth shut. This was the first step to me becoming the kind of “Bastard” who publicly points out people doing dangerous things.”

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“If only someone had told him……” “The incident didn’t change my feelings about either guy, but I did come away from it having to admit that I have a very limited ability to communicate with people who are of other mindsets. I sought a mixture of solace and understanding by drinking a few beers and re-reading, Speaking of Courage, a chapter in Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried.  Norman, the central character in the chapter is destroyed by his inability to find anyone to listen to a bitter truth he knows.”

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