Merry Christmas And Happy New Year From FlyCorvair.com

Builders,

Below are a few pictures from Grace. Best wishes from both of us, and we hope you will spend good time with family and friends. Looking forward to seeing many of you at Corvair Colleges, at Oshkosh and on the flight line in 2015.-ww.

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Grace says: “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.”

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The old 1966 Corsa that has been with me for 18 years, shares the carport with our Airshow/College trailer. Photo taken from the front porch which has Christmas lights 365 days a year.

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I will be out of the shop Dec. 25-29 only, and then back at work to get ahead for the New Year. We have in process batches of motor mounts, intakes and valve covers for 2015 shipping,  New Conversion Manuals and DVDs shipped  this last week.

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ScoobE on the couch by the tiny tree.

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Selfie in the front yard, three of us taking a lap around the airpark on the Grace’s XR-200R. The dog can ride on her shoulder like a parrot, but he does with his harness on so he isn’t in danger of bailing out.

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ScoobE on the hood of our neighbors restored duce and a half. Other than a windsurfer and a steam train, ScoobE has come along on every from of transportation from a Beach cruiser to a Boeing 767. He doesn’t care what it is, as long as he gets to go.

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A red, white, blue and evergreen Christmas. Grace’s 1946 Taylorcraft in the yard in front of the hangar at night.

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Best wishes for you, your family and friends in the days ahead. A great time to reflect on all the blessings the year has brought, and to look ahead for new seasons, adventures and friends, in the Arena.

 

Night Engine Run, December 20, 2014

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Above, the 3,000 cc Corvair built for Zenith builder Thomas Fernandez running on the stand last night in front of our house. The Christmas Lights are on the trees in front of our porch. Grace likes them all year long.

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I have often thought I should have logged how many engine have run on this stand since I built it, but I never have. The best guess I have is about 400. The stand is chained down to a 700 pound concrete block we cast into the front yard years ago. For a solid attach point I cast an old Corvair crank standing on end in it. All that is visible is the nub the harmonic balancer bolted on to. The chain is bolted to the  1/2″-20 threads that balancer bolt threaded into.

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Above, the set up for a night run: Our neighbor, Corvair/Panther builder Paul Salter mans the lights and helped me set up for the run. He has been to many Colleges and has been with SPA/Panther at Oshkosh the last few years. His hangar is 500′ up the runway from us. Grace’s Taylorcraft sits on our front lawn. It was about 60F in northern FL last night. In the winter, the low temp here has no typical number, it is just as likely to be 30F as 60F on any given night.

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Click on the image above to view a movie of our Saturday Night Live Engine Run. There are things that you can see at night that are not visible during the day: Watch the tape closely, and look at the bottom of the exhaust pipe on the far side of the engine. If you look real close you can see a small flame appear intermittently. Although the engine was running near perfect to the ear, and all indications were 100% normal, this condition was caused by the test stand’s #2 spark plug wire having a slight break in it, allowing an intermittent miss, sending an occasional shot of unburned air and fuel into the exhaust pipe. This condition is absolutely invisible during the day.

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The test stand has it’s own plug wire set, and they are about 10 years old and they have been taken on and off hundreds of times. With the wire replaced, this issue disappeared. It didn’t come as a surprise, it did this also on the last engine we ran at Corvair College #31 in November. To see what the stand is equipped with and what you need to run your engine at a college, read: Running an Engine at a College, required items. #2 and Running an Engine at a College, required items. #1

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One more look at the engine running. It ran for about 30 minutes, the length of time we use to break in the cam. This engine is equipped with one of our cam kits: 1100-WW Camshaft Group. The break in was with 4.5 quarts of Rotella and 6 oz of ZDDP. Read Notes on Corvair flight engine oils. Another hour of break in, and the engine is crated and shipped. It will not make it for Christmas, but it will be a welcome milestone on the journey to many aviation adventures.-ww.

3,000 cc Corvair Engine Details

Builders,

Here are several photos showing some details of the assembly of a 3,000 cc Corvair engine in the shop over the last week. The engine is going to a Zenith 750 builder is Colorado. It is also the same engine shown running in the next story.

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Above, Rear quarter view of the engine. It is a 3,000 cc engine with a GM 8409 crank prepped by the Weseman’s with one of their Gen.II  5th bearings. Visible in the photo is our #2000-HV rear oil cases, and the cylinders and pistons from a 3,000 cc Kit.

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When I assemble an engine it first starts laying on it’s side in a case stand, then I put it in a rotating stand (shown) and then I put it on a nose stand, and then it is transferred to the run stand. Building at home, you could start just with a stand and do the test run on your airframe. Everyone has an approach they like to use, but at the colleges I teach builder to mimic the four step process I do in the shop. There are faster ways, but the goal is not to get the motor done, it is to do an excellent job, understand what you are doing and do accurate work. I do not rush assembling engines, quick is not a goal.

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One of the things I have long noted is that if the engine is very firmly bolted to the bench, you can notice very small changes in rotating drag build up, etc. When working on things I like the part to be held firmly, the tools to be quality, and the lighting to be very good. To some people, just ‘having’ a plane is the goal, and building parts of it is some type of penitence. I also want the finished product, buy my goal is very different, the process matters to me. The destination is important, but I don’t try to get there by short cuts. I want to take the journey and enjoy it in style. As with most other things in life, people who obsessively want to find a short cut often find the longest and most expensive path, full of frustration, if they get there at all.

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Above, front quarter view.  #2501 Short Gold hub, #2408 ring gear and the inner part of the #2901 front alternator bracket. Behind is the #3000 Weseman billet 5th bearing. You can see the dipstic tube is already in. Read: All about Dipsticks, Part #2206

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On the studs are the cylinder hold down tubes that clamp each cylinder down as you assemble the motor. Without them, as you turned the crank to put each new cylinder on, it would dislodge the previous cylinders. Mine are steel, but even simple thick wall PVC will do the job.  3,000 cc motors do not use base gaskets. The cylinders are sealed with either Permatex Ultra grey #82194 or Loctite 515 #51531. You can find either of these at any auto parts store.

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Without fail, at every college, a number of builders will show up with chemicals, sealants and particularly Loctite products that are not the correct ones. Be advised: when I point this out, the wrong response is to say “This is the same stuff”. I have had at least 20 different things presented to me with the claim they are “the same” as Loctite 620. They are not. There is a very important lesson here. If someone is not willing to use the right material, they should not build any engine, not just a Corvair. If they don’t like following specific instructions, perhaps it is time to re-think even getting into aviation.

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“It’s is the same” is the indication that the person was unwilling to go to a second auto parts store 5 miles away to find the specified material. When I just drove 1,000 miles to get to the college, I am not sympathetic. This goes on with every part on the engine, including spark plugs. Please read this: A Tale of Two Spark Plugs…… “Guy A” in the story has a Phd in Aerospace engineering, 6,000 hours and has been an expert witness in trials that passed judgment on the mechanical decisions of others. You can be pretty smart, but success in aviation has more to do with paying attention to details, even if these details were developed by a long haired, foul mouthed, troglodyte aircraft mechanic in Florida with a two digit IQ.

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Above, a look at a perfectly rebuilt head. In our catalog and numbering system, heads are Group #1500. The individual numbers in the group run from #1501 to #1509, but a complete pair of heads comes with all the parts installed, ready to bolt on. These specific heads are from our Jacksonville FL. source that Dan and I have been working with for the last 6 months. It was a long developmental process to make sure that we can get the highest quality head work done, but we are there now. In the photo, these heads have “Timesert” spark plug inserts.

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Above, a look inside. Corvair Connecting rods are #1303 in our numbering system. Most of the engines we build have rebuilt GM connecting rods. However it is a popular option to use these billet rods from The Wesemans at SPA. You can read about them at this link: https://flywithspa.com/product/corvair-billet-connecting-rods/.  The black X’s on the rods are my notes that they have been final torqued.

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Above, A top view. The Gold cover is part #2405. Note that 4 of the bolt holes are not filled. These are where the  #2402 front starter brackets bolt up next. Under the cover is the #2406 gasket, which has a thin film of Permatex Ultra Grey on both sides of it. Like all our other parts it has directions that explain this. The directions are alo on our website products page. Lesson#2: When a builder at a College is installing the top cover, and coating it with something else, and I can see on his bench the instructions that came with his top cover still sealed in the bag on his bench, He is going to get a friendly but firm reminder from me that I hold colleges to teach people how to build Corvair correctly. I do not hold Colleges to help people get their engines done. Yes, that does happen, but it only happens when builders are doing it correctly and learning. If the instructions are in the bag on the bench that condition is not being met.

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 When even looking at pictures of engine, I can see details like what type of sealant was used on gaskets. It tells me a lot about what a builders mind set was when he was putting his engine together. I will occasionally remind people that I made the same amount of money selling a part that was installed wrong as I did selling the one that was installed perfectly. The only person who the guy in a rush cheated was himself. -ww.

 

1100-WW Camshaft Group

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Builders,

In our new manual numbering system, the camshaft group is #1100. Below are the numbers in the group. This story is about buying our cam package that includes all the parts listed below, ready to drop in your engine.

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Cam group (1100)

1101- Cam

1102- Thrust washer

1103- Key, hardened

1104- Cam gear

1105- Hydraulic lifter set -12 total-

1106- Cam lubricant

1107- ZDDP oil additive

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Above, the elements of the #1100-ww Camshaft group package. It contains every required part in the 1100 group in the new manual numbering system. Everything in this picture is made in the United States.

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I have put the cam that Harvey Crane designed for us in 1997 put back in production, because I have found a respected national manufacturer who can grind the pattern on original GM cam cores.

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The cam is Parkerized, checked for straightness and magnafluxed after processing. These cams come with  a new billet made in the USA gear already installed (#1104). The gear is correctly mated so there is zero play in the thrust washer (#1102), it is clamped tight and will not rotate.  A new set of HT-817 sealed power lifters (#1105)  The moly lube (#1106) and a bottle of ZDDP (#1107) all come wrapped up in one box that a builder can buy, and then just check “Camshaft Group 1100″ off his list.

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We extensively flight tested this cam pattern more than 15 years ago. In performance testing, this cam has a slight edge on an OT-10. I was motivated to do this because we kept having builders show up at colleges with cams they paid to have the gears put on which has the thrust washers sloppy loose. None of them wanted to hear that their brand new gear had to be trashed and a correct thrust washer and new gear had to be installed. Having the whole 1100 Group done, correctly and available precludes this from happening.

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I have had this project in mind for more than a year, and have had the actual cams here for several months going through testing and verification of the grinder’s ability to get the pattern right on the money. I had them independently magnafluxed here. I assembled about 10 of these into engines so far, and they work very well. They will be in every production engine we build from here on.

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To illustrate how long I have been having an issue with car parts suppliers who don’t put the cam gear down tight enough to capture the thrust washer as GM designed it to be, below is a 2008 post from our traditional website. It shows that the reason why car people could not put the thrust washer down tight is that they substituted a Chinese made thrust washer, that didn’t have the required bevel on it. It took about 60 seconds to correct this on a lathe, but if you don’t do it, and try to press the gear on tight, it knocks the gear out of alignment. I pointed this out to car people, they corrected it for a while, but in the last two years the problem has come right back. I am done with trying to have car people take this seriously.

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Discovering and solving that single issue and being able to type that short sentence about it cost me about $500 in cam gears and four days in the shop to learn, almost ten years ago. If you spent a weekend in my shop, I could literally show you 100 more items about Corvairs like this, all of which went into the knowledgebase in the new manual.

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At Oshkosh this year I had a guy stand in my booth and tell me he was part of an on line discussion group about Corvairs, and they were using an idea called “crowd sourcing” to come up with “new answers.” Because of my superior anger management training, I was able to calmly explain that 50 people who have never built a running Corvair speaking to each other on line is a form of the blind leading the blind, and it doesn’t work any better in Cyberville than it does in reality. I also said that Cyberville may seem great because everyone gets to have their own unicorn, but he should remember that even if he brings a lot of he video game “extra lives” from Cyberville when he heads to the airport, “Game over” has a different meaning in reality than it does in his pals in the Sony Play station world. He made a hurt face when I said “You can go ahead and press “reset” but me and my friends Physics Chemistry and gravity will still be here. Reality works like that.”

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(2008) Above are two cam thrust washers for a Corvair. On the lathe, I’ve cut a slight bevel to provide clearance on the side of the washer that touches the cam. My research into building Corvair engines is continuous and ongoing. The unbeveled washer is an aftermarket part supplied by several of the Corvair parts houses. When pressing on a new cam gear, this will make the cam gear walk slightly out of square at the last moment. After years of installing countless cam gears without problem, we’d recently had trouble getting several of them to seat on their cams and hold tight their washers. Ignoring this problem, people selling cams with gears on had been leaving the washer loose as a really poor fix. It took a while to determine what was causing this issue, but a slight relief on the washer makes the difference.

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(back to 2006 ) Cams are made of cast iron. They should never be subjected to compressive forces down their length. This tool holds the cam by the first bearing when the heated cam gear is pressed in place. In our shop, we always make sure the thrust washer is clamped tight by the cam gear. This requires holding it under pressure while it cools. I had a recent tech discussion with the staff at Clark’s Corvairs about this. They said that many car people prefer the thrust washer to be loose and rotate on the cam. I explained to them that for every aircraft engine, I want the washer tight.

 

 

Thought for the Day: Rickover – Hope is not a strategy

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H. G. Rickover, 1900-1986 “Father of the Nuclear Navy.” 

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“It is a human inclination to hope things will work out, despite evidence or doubt to the contrary. A successful manager must resist this temptation. This is particularly hard if one has invested much time and energy on a project and thus has come to feel possessive about it. Although it is not easy to admit what a person once thought correct now appears to be wrong, one must discipline himself to face the facts objectively and make the necessary changes — regardless of the consequences to himself. The man in charge must personally set the example in this respect. He must be able, in effect, to “kill his own child” if necessary and must require his subordinates to do likewise.” HGR.

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Rickover was eventually promoted to four star Admiral. Only 5 men is the history of the US navy have held a higher rank. He was in the Navy from 1918-1982, under 13 Presidents. No one, in the history of this country, in any branch of service, has served on active duty longer. Rickover outlasted MacArthur by more than 10 years.

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In the story William Wynne Sr. Turns 89 today, I shared that my father worked directly under Rickover for 7 and 1/2 years, developing nuclear power plants. Rickover was the head of Naval Reactors, an organization that reported to both the Navy and the Atomic Energy commission. NR developed, staffed, and put into operation every element of the nuclear Navy. For 30 years, Rickover made sure that US atomic submarines were the #1 deterrent to the USSR starting WWIII. Few people debate that Rickover could be a tyrant. No one debates that he was singularly effective at developing an entire section of the US military in the Cold War.

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In doing so, Rickover developed a rabid devotion to quality control and the understanding of human factors. These are common ground to building and flying planes. Read the quote again, and picture a homebuilder discovering a flaw in his workmanship or materials that requires him to rebuild or scrap a large portion of his project. This is being willing to “Kill his own child.”

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In the story 111 years ago today, The birth of flight, I brought up the fact that Americans a granted a freedom that few other places have had, not just in political rights, but also on religious and class matters. Rickover’s life and achievements are an excellent example. He was born in Poland, and not even allowed to attend school because he was from a Jewish family. His family fled to the US before WWI to escape Pogroms, run by Tsarist Russia that killed thousands of Jews. In the United States, he attended any school he was qualified for, and served our country with great devotion. In our country, as an ideal, we do not discard or exterminate people on matters of faith.

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When President Nixon awarded Rickover his fourth star, he made this observation about the man and our country:

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“I don’t mean to suggest … that he is a man who is without controversy. He speaks his mind. Sometimes he has rivals who disagree with him; sometimes they are right, and he is the first to admit that sometimes he might be wrong. But the greatness of the American military service, and particularly the greatness of the Navy, is symbolized in this ceremony today, because this man, who is controversial, this man, who comes up with unorthodox ideas, did not become submerged by the bureaucracy, because once genius is submerged by bureaucracy, a nation is doomed to mediocrity.”

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For comparative contrast, consider that Great Britain had a fantastic head start in one of the most important technologies of the post WWII world; Jet engines. This head start came in the form of one man’s brains, experience and insight. His name was Frank Whittle. Because he was eccentric and from outside their regular engineering format, his patents and designs were largely ignored. When their value is realized, his company is nationalized, he was paid nothing, and he was fired. His politics make him a pariah, and he is never given a real chance to work in his field in Britain again. Later in life he emigrates to the US and becomes an instructor at the US Naval Academy. He lived in Maryland the remainder of his life.

Whittle’s contemporary in jet propulsion in Germany was Hans Von Ohain. After WWII, Ohain was brought to the US where he had a long career working at Wright Patterson’s engineering center. He openly said that Whittle had a great lead on anyone on the planet, and was the greatest innovator in early gas turbines. After meeting Whittle in person in 1966, he had this to say:

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 “If you had been given the money you would have been six years ahead of us. If Hitler or Goering had heard that there is a man in England who flies 500mph in a small experimental plane and that it is coming into development, it is likely that World War II would not have come into being”

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The next time you hear someone speaking derogatory words about the contribution on immigrants, or others doubting the value of Americas ideals on society, just reflect on the names Ohain, Whittle, and Rickover.

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In the above photo, my Father stands with my older brother and sister in front of the world’s first atomic power station, Shippingport, Pennsylvania. The photo is from 1959. The reactor was the same design that the U.S. Navy used in its ships and submarines. My Father was the project officer working directly under Admiral Hyman Rickover.  It was a very different time in America when a town was proud to be chosen for such a project of national importance. After retiring from the Navy in 1976, Dad went to work for Ebasco at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory on the “TFTR”, the world’s first fusion reactor.

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111 years ago today, The birth of flight

Builders:

Today is the anniversary of the Wright’s first flight.  When all the commentary on who supposedly flew before them, or some other esoteric angle dies away, there is only one element that matters: They were not professionals, they were determined and persistent homebuilders, committed to the accomplishment no matter what it took.

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In 1899, four years before, there were at least 1,000 other competitors on the planet who had a bigger budget, a better education, and more experience. The Wrights beat them all because they were meticulous planers, they were rabid about testing, they felt pressure but never rushed, they didn’t have to hire others to build their ideas, they corresponded with people of experience, they were willing to change their minds in the face of evidence from testing, and the refused to quit. These elements beat out comparatively giant budgets and vastly superior educations.

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They were homebuilders, the flyer was homebuilt #1, and the plane in your shop is a direct descendant of the flyer, and when you pick up a tool and work on it, you are directly continuing their work and using their model of success to write your own page in the history of flight. If you walk out to the shop, and you honestly think “who am I kidding, I will never turn this pile of materials into a flying plane”, absolutely know that the Wrights thought this very same thought countless times. To have your own version of their triumph, all you have to do is pick up the tool and remind yourself that you are in the spiritual and philosophical company of the two greatest homebuilders of all time. -ww.

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1903 Wright Flyer Fabric Taken to Moon Apollo 11A piece of fabric and wood from the Wright Flyer taken to the surface of the Moon by the crew of Apollo 11, the first lunar landing mission, in July 1969.

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If you are an American reading this, know that you have a special legacy and responsibility to honor. Great aviators have come from every corner of the globe, but there is a reason why the Wrights  did it first, why Lindbergh flew the Atlantic, why Yeager broke the speed of sound, and why Armstrong went to the moon. We are not better humans, nor brighter, nor better educated. The unparalleled edge we have is freedom. These men were free of a class system, and aristocracy, free of a society that reserved opportunity to the privileged, and free of a restrictive government drastically limiting their actions.

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It is easy to complain, but if you really want to build and fly your own plane, and you are an American, recognize that you have it a lot easier than anyone else on the planet. Wealth, legislation and materials aside, It should be culturally ingrained in you that you have every right to build and fly. recognize that there are many builders outside the US who would kill to have it this easy.

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I am very proud to be an American, but I want to remind my fellow countrymen, on this day, that it is now our watch, it is our time to prove that we are willing to do something with the great opportunity that fortune has served us. Not every contribution by our generation of Americans has to be the Rutan Voyager. Your contribution can be any flying plane you build with your own hands, a plane that will not change the world of flight, but will certainly change your world of flight. -ww.

 

 

 

 

William Wynne Sr. Turns 89 today

Builders,

Today, my Father, the real William Wynne turns 89. To our friends fortunate to still have their fathers present, I feel blessed as you must also. To our friends who’s fathers now live in their hearts, I hope the season brings time to reflect on the men who made us who we are. -ww.

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Above, my father’s official USN photo circa 1975.  His service remains the centerpiece of his life’s work. Please take a minute to read: William Edward Wynne Sr. –  Father’s Day Notes; it is a story I wrote about father on his 84th birthday. If you have ever wondered why I am intolerant of police states without human rights like China, the story will be illuminating.

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 Sun ‘N Fun 2006,  Here my father and I are in front of a Grumman F8F Bearcat, a serious piece of hardware from my father’s era of Naval aviation. My father entered the U.S. Navy in 1943 and is USNA Class of 1949. He served on active duty for 33 years.

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Corvair College #9: From left above,  Bob Cooper , Brent Brown and my Father.  In talking with Bob, my father learned that he was a 1961 veteran of Operation White Star in Laos. Little known outside military circles, White Star is considered the prototype of all unconventional U.S. warfare. The Kennedy administration sent the cream of the crop of America’s most elite warriors there to meet the Pathet Lao communists on their own terms. When my family lived in Thailand 10 years later, my father did extensive work to support the royalist democratic government in Laos. He and Bob had traveled to many of the same places inside Laos. Our friend Brent, who spent most of his 22 1/2 year military career in Special Forces, is probably one of the few people of my age group who have an understanding of the significance of Bob’s actions in White Star.

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Corvair College #14: Above, I introduce the real William Wynne, my father.  His career in the mechanical world spans being a Company Commander with ACB-ONE in Korea through Director of Advanced Technology for Raytheon. The single thread that ties all of my father’s experience together is an absolute allegiance to quality control. Seven and 1/2 years of my father’s 33 year U.S. Navy career were spent working directly under Admiral Hyman Rickover, The Father Of The Nuclear Navy. Rickover’s career spanned the impossibly long 1918-1982. Widely misunderstood as an all-powerful tyrant who was apparently immortal, my father states that Rickover is easily understood when viewed as the ultimate proponent of quality who was willing to accept nothing short of perfection to ensure the dominance of the U.S. Navy in the Cold War.

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My Parents at the Naval Academy in 1949: The above photo is of my parents when they were first engaged. They have now been married for 64 years, and remain the light of each other’s lives.

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For a more in depth look at my Father’s world, follow these links:

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William E. Wynne Sr. turns 88 today.

Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.