Outlook 2016 – Fall Corv-air-tour

Builders:

Here is a plan I have been working on for a long time. the “Corv-air tour.” In a nutshell, We are planning on gathering Corvair powered planes to make a 14 day, multi state tour of the US in 2016. I have spoken with a number of Corvair pilots, all of whom really liked the idea. I am sharing it here, well in advance, because we are now taking suggestions for destinations on the tour, and I invite builders to write in the comments section with ideas.

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Here are the elements that we do have set;

The dates are the first two weeks of September 2016. I want to make the last stop on the tour in Mexico MO, at the Zenith open house, which will also be Zeniths 25th anniversary in Mexico.

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The tour will form a loop, made up of 200-300 mile daily legs. It need not start exactly at Mexico, MO, but the idea is to lay it out so guys who can’t do the whole tour can intercept it for a few days of flying on the segment that passes by their area. I have five guys who have said they intend to fly the whole thing, but many times this have said the are going to catch 4 or 5 days of the tour.

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The idea is to alternate nights between grass airstrip camping with the pilots on the tour enjoying the evening, and then on alternative nights, the tour stops at an EAA chapter, where area Corvair builders can drive in, see finished versions of the planes they have at home in the shop, maybe do some flying in them, and get to know other builders in person. We can have catered dinner brought to the airport and hang out late, and pilots on the tour can head to motels to take a night off from camping. This way the tour can serve both flyers and builders alike, and over the course of the tour, several hundred people can be a part of it. I would also like to get individuals to cover it with posts, videos, and notes, as it is happening.

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If the course is set out in a pattern that looks like a star shape, it is easy to scrub a day’s flying for weather without having to double the next days distance. We can also have extended legs  where guys with faster planes can travel out further, expanding the envelope, so the range of the tour isn’t planned around a 75 mph Piet with a 12 gallon tank. While I assume that some types of planes will fly together for fun, the flying between points will be a loose affair, at the pilots discretion. A pilot with a 150 mph plane can sleep in and have a very leisurely morning compared with the Piet pilots. The idea is to have a fun tour, not to run an airline or plan a strike mission. I want it to be casual about everything but safety.

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On general geographic limits, I was thinking about keeping it between Kansas and Kentucky, Wisconsin and Louisiana, but I am open to ideas. To builders outside this area, I will point out that I already have pilots from Florida, California and New England who are planning on flying the tour, and with some planning, their stops traveling to intercept the tour route can be made into ‘satellite’ tour stops and a chance for builders to meet in person.

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A thought: I have been going to aviation gatherings for more than 25 years, and they are fun, but they are all focused on things being done on the ground. The Corv-air tour is an event that can rebalance this by bringing half the focus back to flying. Going to Oshkosh is great, but it doesn’t really have any of our flying at it, and a Corvair builder can’t even hear an engine run there. Conversely, the tour will be the perfect opportunity for a builder to see up close and personal, what he is working towards, to meet others and have a good time. It can be the perfect mesh of building and flying experiences, something completely focused on the purest elements of homebuilding, removed from all the consumer pollutants that fill up “airshows” and too many of our magazines. It can be anything we wish to make it, and I believe that this format will prove to be a great return to pure homebuilding.

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I look forward to reading ideas in the comments section, or you can email them to me directly. -ww.

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Would you allow a combat Veteran to be called a “Whack job”?

Americans:

Today, on national TV, the chief strategist of one of the political parties, a person who has spent his entire working life as a lobbyist in DC, specifically named the veteran in the picture below, and dismissively called him a “Whack Job”.

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The journalists present received this as a perfectly acceptable way to speak about a distinguished veteran. There is a disturbing trend for people in politics and media, who have often gone to great lengths to avoid personal service, to not be held accountable for making repugnant comments about the service of our Veterans. Our nation has spent the last 15 years generating an entirely new generation of combat Veterans. Out of gratitude for their service, and concern for the potential human difficulties they may find , we cannot allow it to be socially acceptable to demean or disrespect these men and women.

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Jim Webb in Vietnam. (Photo: Webb2016.com)

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The man pictured above was awarded the nations second highest award for Valor, the Navy Cross in Vietnam. He was also awarded the Silver Star, two bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. He went on to work with both Republican and Democratic administrations. His father flew both B-17s and B-29s in WWII.  Members of his family have been in every American conflict back through the Civil War. His son served as an infantryman in Iraq. Before dismissing him as a militarist, understand that he wrote the following in a Washington Post editorial, seven months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003:

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“Those who are pushing for a unilateral war in Iraq know full well that there is no exit strategy if we invade. The Iraqis are a multiethnic people filled with competing factions who in many cases would view a U.S. occupation as infidels invading the cradle of Islam. … In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends. In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets.”

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I do not have to agree with the things this man thinks, writes or stands for. My respect for his experiences is not conditional on his perspectives. I do not have to agree with people to recognize that the should be accorded being respectfully addressed. I do not have to agree with this man’s views to have a thousand times more respect for him than the scum political lobbyist who intentionally called him a “Whack -job” or the media personality posing as a journalist who allowed him to say it.

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Corvair College #9 was held in our Edgewater Florida hangar on November 11th 2005, which was Veterans Day. Present was Sam Sayer, a B-17 co-pilot who was shot down on his first mission by an 88mm flack shell that past vertically through the throttle quadrant without detonating. After 61 years you could still see all the scars on the left side of his face and arms.

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He shared the story with others at the table, making sure that all understood that he saw himself as very fortunate.  Afterwards, a particularly insensitive idiot gave a dissertation on why he drove German cars and how ‘superior’ German mechanical products have always been, specifically their weapons in WWII.  I took the guy outside and told him he had 60 seconds to develop and deliver a genuine apology for his insensitivity. Instead he said he had the ‘right’ to say what he wanted. I simply said, yes, but not in my hangar and not on Veterans day, and I told him to pack up and get out.  In 34 Colleges, with hundreds of builders, I have only thrown 3 people out. This was the first one. I wasn’t going to allow an 82 year old combat veteran, a guest in my hangar, to be verbally set upon in my presence.

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This isn’t a statement about politics, conflict, nor military service. Those don’t even come into play here. Our country has an alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans, and you don’t have to be a social scientist to understand that when journalists and political lobbyists can speak disrespectfully of Veterans without anyone speaking up or objecting, recent veterans working through a difficult transition come to the conclusion that most of their fellow citizens simply do not care about their experiences. As a Nation of good people, we can not allow this.

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Our popular ‘culture’ is obsessed with celebrities and material wealth, and consumerism tells you to worship them as gods. I didn’t point out which party’s operative made the remark, because I think either of them would do it. I didn’t point out the veteran’s name, because the story isn’t about him, it is about you, and asking yourself what is acceptable to you, what kind of country you wish to live in.

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-ww.

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