How many flying seasons? With whom will you spend them?

Builders:

A day ago I had some harsh words for a person who thought it was a good idea to call Jim Tomaszewski’s twin project a “Death Trap” in the comments section of this page, and to go on say “Shame on you for promoting this obvious misuse of Corvair technology.” Although Jim wrote him back nicely, the guy chose to double down on his negative comments twice more, basing his comments on a single class in aerodynamics as superior to my 5 years at Embry-Riddle.  His final comment to me was that he had ‘lost his respect’ for me, and I guess that makes us even, as I have never had any respect for people who need to voice a negative opinion about things they don’t even bother to read about.

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About 10 pages of my new manual, (which that guy owned a copy) are devoted to me explaining that I don’t care what race, faith, color, persuasion any builder is. That is a private matter and no business of mine. A good look at my oldest friends reveals no pattern nor qualification, bar a single important issue: None of them are negative people. I have a whole page devoted to explaining that it was my Father who conditioned me to detest critics of other men’s works.

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The photo above was taken by the U.S. Navy in early 1968. In my 5-year-old hand, I hold the Bronze Star awarded to my father during his 1967 tour in Vietnam.

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My Father learned to fly in the 1940’s in N-3N’s at the Naval Academy. He was 38 when I was born in 1962. I took him on his last flight in a light plane in Florida about 5 years ago. He was about done driving then, and a number of years past flying a plane. All other things being equal, this suggests I have about 25 flying seasons left. I am not sure in which planes or locations I will spend them, but I have no intention of spending a single hour of those years in the presence of negative people nor critics.

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Who will you spend your seasons with? What will be their values? What will you gain by the time in the company? Consumer society tells us that we are to admire men for monetary wealth. The American news this week was dominated by two polar opposite men, one who couldn’t stop telling us of his wealth, another who spoke of making his organization poor from devoting it to the betterment of others. Perhaps each of them has taken a vow of poverty, one of spirit, the other of material goods. Which would you choose to spend your hours with? Maybe most people never think about such things, but in the quiet hours, these are the questions that matter to me. My life has be enriched by the better choices in company I have made, when I was awake enough to ask myself  “what can I learn from a day in this persons company”?

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 As an engine instructor, it would be pointless of me to try to teach anyone who refuses to read and consider what I write. Here is a 300 word story I wrote 9 months ago, about a man who’s life example I find critically important: Ernie Brace, American Aviator, dead at 83. It included this quote:

“In the years that you will work on your creation, you will have at least 200 people tell you that you are doing the wrong thing. you should quit. This will not just be in the form of a coworker or a brother in law calling your creation a ‘death trap’ repeatedly. It will also come in the form of other fliers who are EAA members, but would never even fly in a homebuilt, far less create one, telling you just to buy a plane, to give up on self reliant craftsmanship, just because  they did.”

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Does it sound like my writing had any effect on yesterdays critic? Do you think the issue is that I didn’t cover the topic, or that it isn’t possible to reach some people? How many hours of my seasons should I spend trying to disprove the latter theory?

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I type this as it approaches midnight, sitting at the kitchen table of my parents home in New Jersey. The only sound is the ticking of the clock. I listen for any sound of my Father awakening in the night. If he can’t sleep and his thoughts are clear, I will sit beside him and ask him to share one more story from the past.

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Invariably he will speak of events that required the best efforts of good people, and the fortune of being there, in the hour that mattered.  The body that ran a 4:35 mile at 17, loaded twenty two 5″ shells in one minute at 21, and carried both my sister and I in his arms on long walks at night at 40, now a faded shadow nearing 90, reminds us time is always running though our fingers. But the hours and years can not tarnish the values and beliefs, paramount among them, this: As a free American, you had the great fortune and duty to do something of value with your life, and if you did this, your place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

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-W.E.W.jr

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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.

2 Responses to How many flying seasons? With whom will you spend them?

  1. Robert Duke says:

    I agree with you and believe in staying focused on the things you like, and what you want. Not on what you don’t want or like.

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