Thought for the Day: Comfort vs Sensation

“What  stops so many would-be sailors nowadays owning such craft [i.e. a  Viking-style ship], is that their perceptions have been warped by modern  urban living and the expectations of urban living. Modern urban man  travels in his sealed luxury ‘car pod’ to his/her centrally heated  office, then back to a centrally heated, carpeted floor house. For  exercise he/she joins an expensive gym, where he/she runs on a treadmill  like a hamster or a 19th century convict. All the time protected from  the wind, the rain and the sun. The Vikings protected their bodies  comfortably from cold and wet with wool and oiled leather. We have  yachting clothing today which is as good. So we have the small boat  design, we have the protective clothing. All we need now to have a new  renaissance in modern sailing man, is to drop the comfort perceptions of  urban city man.”

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I came across this while reading about boat building. In the last 25 years I have built a number of wooden boats from a 7’6″ kayak for my nephews when they were little, to a 29′ Bolger sharpie. If I couldn’t build airplanes, I would build boats.

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There is a lot of common ground between the two. Historically you find a lot of aviators also spent time on the water. The quote above holds true with planes. Flying in light planes is a cornucopia of sensory input that you don’t get in modern cars; sounds, bumps, smells wind, tactile feel on the controls. For those who like the sensations of reality, it is rich pay dirt. For those that seek comfort to the point of anesthesia,  light planes are an exercise in discomfort and frustration.

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I have noticed how wide this gulf in experience is for many new young people getting a first flight in a light plane. Many people who are under 40 have never ridden in far less driven or owned a car that you could hear the engine in while driving down the road. My youth was spent joyously putting headers on V-8 cars and savoring the sound. I welcome the sound of aircraft engines as the herald of power. The acrid smell of burning rubber automatically makes my heart pound. I am not taken back by the typical aircraft flight experience, I like the idea that it is a sensory load, all reminding me that I am working with a machine.

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Conversely, the people who grew up driving in a “sealed luxury ‘car pod’ , often find the initial exposure to the sound, vibration, smells and visible mechanical  systems daunting and foreign, and it greatly heightens their sense of fear. The cars these people know are appliances, not machines.

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This observation has a more important function that sorting people who loved Mötley Crüe’s song Kickstart My Heart from people who love their Toyota Prius. I am of the opinion that new pilots are better off being constantly reminded they are in a responsive, and occasionally unforgiving machine, very different than the appliance they drove to the airport. Yesterday Dan Weseman remarked if all new pilots were at least required to solo a 7AC Champ, they would know what a rudder was and understand that all of the most rewarding planes to fly require the pilot to be an active participant. This is a particularly important revelation for people who grew up thinking that the word ‘crash’ was invented to describe a computer malfunction. Heightened awareness is critical element in being in control of your environment, and that is what flying is all about.

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Sound check: Other General motors products brought to you by the same people who engineered your Corvair motor:

572 cid blown Big Block Chevy burnout in a ’57 Bel Air:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBBFzEaLJNY

Rare 12 cylinder blown and turbocharged Detroit 12V-53, (Detroit was a GM division, yes it is 2 stroke diesel):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWrg3cFod7Q

Two Allison V-1710’s on a P-38, (Allison was a GM division)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY6d-_ILCvo

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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.

 

An hour of TV or something of value?

Builders:

Here is something off topic: Today is the 150th anniversary of a dark day in US history. Tonight you could watch a hour of worthless TV news or you could invest an hour in learning about the Sand Creek Massacre.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_Creek_massacre

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Sand Creek is in eastern Colorado. On this date in 1864, a large encampment of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho were attacked there in a premeditated raid executed by 700 cavalrymen. Accounts differ on the total number killed, but all sides agreed on two points: most of the victims were women and children, and a number of the cavalrymen mutilated the bodies of the victims, including scalping women and children, and these were later put on public display. It is not a pleasant story, but one that adult Americans should know at least was well as the plot of their favorite TV sit-com.

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Although many people were appalled, and there was a federal investigation, no charges were filed against the man who planned and led the attack, Col. John Chivington, who was ironically also a Methodist pastor. The man who testified against him was assassinated weeks later. The attack eliminated the peaceful leadership of the tribes and empowered those willing to fight to the death. Chivington’s actions greatly prolonged a bloody conflict.

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Sand Creek is thought of as the start of the last phase of warfare against native Americans. It ends with the massacre at Wounded Knee, on December 29th 1890, twenty six years later. That may sound like ancient history, but consider this: I was born 72 years to the day after Wounded Knee. That is within someone’s living memory; My Father joined the US Navy as a 17 year old, 73 years ago, and today he can tell you anything you would like to know about 1943. Most Americans have short attention spans.  I fear that Native Americans do not.

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When I was small, I read Hal Borland’s When the legends die. A few years later I read Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Both are well worth reading and considering. In recent years I read Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel, it provides a scientific/historic look at what happens when cultures clashed in world history. -ww.

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Thought for the Day: “Foolproof -1950”

“It was far easier to make anything “Fool Proof” in 1950 than today. This is simply because the percentage of the population that qualifies as fools today is a lot higher, and there is plenty of evidence that the depth of stupidity is constantly advancing. Thus “Fool proof 1950” is actually a much lower standard of protection than “Fool Proof 1985″, and at some not so distant future date, the whole concept of anything being able to be made fool proof will just be theoretical, discussed as an abstract idea.” -ww-2104

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The concept that the term fool proof needed a date attached to it came in a phone call from Mark Petz of Falcon several years ago. He just blurted it out in a moment of frustration speaking of a builder that pulled the head studs out of his case one by one, never stopping to consider that the head torque value of 125 foot pounds might be 100 pounds over the desired number. My contribution to the dated foolproof concept was only to carry it to it’s inevitable conclusion that ‘fool proof’ as a useful word was just about done.

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If you are out driving around on black Friday, threading your way through people who believe that scrolling through their smart phone while driving is somehow different than texting and driving, you may have a moment of awareness, and see with clarity where much of society is headed. I am going out to work in the hangar, because it is my form of driving in the other direction.

Thanksgiving

Builders,

I have only one personal Thanksgiving tradition. I reserve one uninterrupted hour to watch the CBS/Edward R. Murrow documentary “Harvest Of Shame.” It is considered by many to be the high water mark of television documentaries. Murrow cashiered his entire news career to make it and see it broadcast. It is an unflinching look at destitute and impoverished workers providing food for our nation of plenty.  It originally aired the day after Thanksgiving, 1960.

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Like The Grapes of Wrath 21 years earlier, Harvest of Shame was attacked as socialist propaganda. In the 54 years since it has been broadcast, the documentary has been called many things, with the notable exception of being called untrue.

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If you have never seen it, it can be found at this You Tube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJTVF_dya7E

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Murrow delivers a harsh message; They selected a deeply moving American composition to accompany the title: Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”. There is a 3:14 excerpt from it at this link, The segment from the documentary is at 2:20 :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiLTwtuBi-o

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Poverty does not have a color or a language in Harvest of shame. It defied stereotypes and generalizations.

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“This scene is not taking place in the Congo. It has nothing to do with Johannesburg or Cape Town. It is not Nyasaland or Nigeria. This is Florida. These are citizens of the United States, 1960. This is a shape-up for migrant workers. The hawkers are chanting the going piece rate at the various fields. This is the way the humans who harvest the food for the best-fed people in the world get hired. One farmer looked at this and said, “We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them.” – E.R. Murrow, opening statement to Harvest of Shame.

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Several months ago I spoke with two little boys, seven or eight years old, outside a local convenience store. They were putting a chain back on a rusty bicycle. It was 8 am on a Sunday. Neither one had eaten anything since the day before. I went inside and got each of us an apple and a banana. They ate theirs right away.

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A man standing in line, dressed well enough that he was probably on his way to church, made a point of telling me in front of a half-dozen people that “you can’t help those people they choose to live that way.”

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I stood a foot away from him and looked him in the face and asked him to explain to everyone how a seven year old boy is to be held accountable for the poverty he lives in. He wisely chose to leave without offering any further social wisdom.

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An opinion in search of a lawsuit

Builders:

It is often hard to make sense of something you read until you better understand the motivation of the person writing it. Let me share with you an insiders understanding that will allow you to better evaluate why some people write aviation articles that on the surface make little sense. What many of these people are doing is making a small investment with great hopes of a very lucrative future payday. Some people think that this is unethical,  and raises the cost of everything in aviation, and does nothing to promote ‘safety’.

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What these people are doing is writing a story to say that they are aware of some ‘safety issue’ that is going unaddressed by others with deep pockets. They are expressing an opinion, that often sounds OK, but doesn’t hold up to statistical analysis, in hopes that they will later be called, as a well paid expert witness in any later civil trial. Even if they have to assist in creation of the issue in that trial.

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To get a better understating of how this deceitful system functions behind closed doors and away from the eyes of rank and file homebuilders, please take 5 minutes to read this story: Expert Witnesses in civil Aviation trials. There are builders who dislike the fact I use the actual names of men they have respected for other deeds, but reality is that the men I name actually engaged in promoting lawsuits that they were later paid gigantic amounts of money to act as expert witnesses in. I wrote that story almost two years ago, it has been read by thousands of people, and not one single person has emerged to debate the truth of what I wrote. Pointing out something that is unpleasant about a man isn’t wrong if it is true.

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Here are two more articles, recently published by the EAA, our membership organization,  that many people couldn’t make heads or tails of, but they set off my personal alarm, and it is my strongest suspicion, particularly the article by Busch, is an attempt to foment a lawsuit, that he will later be paid for.

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Mac McClellan, the EAA editor published this story last week: http://macsblog.com/2014/11/stick-force-is-a-safety-issue/

From a practical and engineering perspective, it is a joke. He is promoting the idea that light stick forces in planes are a significant source of fatal accidents, and he falsely claims that experimental planes have not addressed this, and have not all been made to conform to his idealized control force ratio, ignoring the idea that there is no such thing as an ideal stick force. Be suspicious of any story that ignores training and CG issues, focusing on manufactures’ design. No one got rich suing a dead pilot or a broke CFI, but plenty of people have made money off the deep pockets of manufacturers. Again, his opinion doesn’t hold water to people who know anything about planes and know that every experimental plane, by law, must have a placard on the panel stating that the plane does not conform to federal standards. It was probably not written as much for aviators as it was for 12 people sitting in the jury box on a lucrative civil trial.

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The other EAA published article that raised many industry people’s attention was the June article by Mike Busch titled  “Cylinder work : Be afraid. ” you can read it here:http://spirit.eaa.org/apps/magazines/eaa_articles/2014_6_08.pdf

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I flat out state that my belief is Busch is solely trying to foment a giant civil lawsuit against Lycoming or Continental. The very title “Be afraid” goes against everything I think about aviators: We train people to be Alert, not Afraid. Scaring people doesn’t promote rational actions, but it is a great way to make money. I have been an A&P for almost 25 years, and I don’t know a single mechanic who agrees with Busch’s statements. Again, when reading it, note how he ties the claim to unspecified fatal accidents, but it isn’t the mechanics he is after, it is the deep pockets of the manufacturers. If I am wrong about this, let Busch put directly on his website that he has never, and will never, act as a paid witness in a civil aviation trial. I have no issue men who have opinions, even controversial ones, it is the money for sworn truth I take issue with, and anyone who is telling people to “Be Afraid”.

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A large part of my  objection to the above two articles is these men being paid to write them by our membership organization, having them published in our magazines, and then potentially turning around and getting a giant payday from telling the membership to “Be Afraid” of a boogey man they made. It is vile enough when people act as paid expert witnesses in lawsuits they drummed up, but I find the very idea that anyone might do this while employed by the EAA repugnant.

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Spend a moment reading this story: Speaking of Paul Poberezny to understand how much I respect the life work of Paul Poberezney.  He wrote many articles speaking in anger over pointless lawsuits in aviation, and said a few individuals were profiting while great damage was being done to aviation.  He wrote that “Our grandparents heads would have burst with indignation” at the very concept of the evasion of personal accountability in pursuit of a payday.

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Today, we are direct beneficiaries of decades of honest and hard work that made homebuilding possible, and protected it, awaiting our arrival. It has been given to us for free, by good men, most of whom you will never be able to thank.  It is now your watch, your hour of duty, and I ask, “Where is your indignation?”

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“This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country.” -T.R. 1905.

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On this eve of Thanksgiving, I am most grateful for the fortune of being born in a country that has the rule of law, not a police state. As imperfect as it is, America is my home and by luck of my birth, my life has had the great blessing of happening in a land where men are to be judged by the content of their character.

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It is not our faith, color, money, size, brains nor natural resources that make our society different; many other lands have appreciable amounts of these elements. But here, we have a fundamental belief in justice and fair play, as T.R. said “No man is above the law and no man is below it.” We do not settle these matters in the media, at the altar, nor in the private rooms of the privileged. We settle them in courts, in a flawed system that still functions, just as long as people entering it are doing so to speak the truth and bear honest witness. When they enter the halls of justice to seek fortune and offer lies for money, they are to be regarded as vermin, corroding the very quality that our fathers toiled their entire lives to bequeath to us. To be tolerant of the abuse of the justice system for personal gain is to admit that one didn’t deserve to live under it’s protection in the first place.-ww.

Our main site will be back up in 12 hours:

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Builders:

I had several calls today mentioning having difficulty accessing our main site, Flycorvair.com today. Having just spent a joyful afternoon on the phone with host and domain people, I am assured that it will be back in action in 12 hours.

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 Above, Bernard Pietenpol, first man ever to fly a Corvair, stands in front of his own Corvair powered Aircamper. His lifetime did not overlap the existence of the Internet, and I can say with some certainty, his life was not diminished by missing it. If he could come back for a few hours for a look at the world today, he might happily return to his own times. Tonight I go out to the shop to put in an hour on my own simple plane which will allow me to follow Mr Pietenpol to a simpler place that will always be right where he left it for us on the last day he went flying. -ww.

750 Mount 4201(B) for sale, Story by Scoob E

Hello Builders!

Scoob E here with my own story about a 750 motor mount ready to ship.

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se0836dad26-19Yesterday I was hanging out on a lawn chair thinking about writing a story for the family blog. Funny how the words Blog and Dog should rhyme but really don’t. English isn’t my primary language. I much prefer tonal languages like barking or my native Italian.

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Sunset on my back porch, a little slice of heaven in rural Florida. On the right, I am looking at two Zenith 601/650 mounts. They are part number 4201-A, you can read about them at Zenith 601/650 Motor mounts, P/N 4201(A). These and several other mounts are already on their way to builders who had them on order.

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Now, this one I’m looking at is a Zenith 750 mount, #4201-B.  You can read about it at this link: Zenith 750/Cruiser Mounts. P/N 4201(B). Today we sent out those on order, but we have one more on the back porch ready to go. If you need one, you can order it at this link to the products page: http://www.flycorvair.com/750mount.html. I am not old enough to drive it to the Post Office, but I will go along for the ride when it is sent right out.

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Hey, down here! … My favorite Sport Aviation magazines are from the 1960s. That is why they are on the bottom  shelves. Yes, I read that copy of The Nightingale’s Song.  It is an important historical commentary more people should have read. Robert Timberg is a real journalist.

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The next story is going to be about the 1100-ww camshaft group. I would write that one too, but it is already past the time I am supposed to get my rawhide chew. Journalism is great and all, but I have my routine to stick with.

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Thanks for tuning in to my story! Off to chew rawhide!

Scoob E