Corvair College #36, Texas, April 1-3, 56 hours (or less) to sign up

Sorry! You missed it. The sign up for this event is now closed. Be aware that we are now just 14 days away from the sign up for College #37 in Chino closing. -ww.

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Builders:

There are only 3 more days until we close the sign up for College #36 at 9pm EST on Sunday night, but if the sign up rate continues at same rate as yesterday, we will run out of spaces by Saturday night. This is the only College we will hold in the Southern central US in 2016. If you are planning on making progress in aviation this year, not just being a spectator, do not let this opportunity pass you by.

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I wrote this story a few days ago: One week until Corvair College #36 sign up ends. and it has the sign up information links in it. #36 will be the fourth College that Shelley and Kevin have hosted, we will have all the tools and equipment in a very well organized and hospitable event. We have done a lot to prepare, but unless you sign up, another year will pass without you taking advantage of it. Five weeks from now, we will have the first pictures of builders and the progress they made at the college.  We are at the decision point, where you decide if you will be in the photos of just looking at them.

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-ww.

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Above, I speak with Piet builders and flyers Kevin Purtee and Shelley Tumino, the Hosts of  the upcoming CC#36, while we were upgrading their engine at CC#24 in Barnwell SC.  They have no commercial interest in experimental aviation, they are motivated to host Colleges solely because they are the kind of people who like to put back more than they have found.  While they are outstanding contributors, they are no means the exception in the Corvair movement. Our focus on the traditional elements of homebuilding, Learn , Build and Fly, has attracted a great number of individuals who have the same perspective as Kevin and Shelley. If your experiences in aviation have found a distinct shortage of such people, let me suggest a change of course to spending your hours in the Corvair community.

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Thought for the Day: Emulating sucess

Builders

Below is a story that I wrote on our  http://flycorvair.com/  website almost 8 years ago. It illustrates an important point about Emulating Success, even if you are yet to understand the exact logic and reason behind it. I have regrouped a lot of the older information on the main site to give better access, you can find the notes on it here: Reference posts and updates to FlyCorvair.com

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From our old site:

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“When I was 18 years old and getting started in drag racing in New Jersey, I was working at a speed shop called  “Speed World in Union.” Our home track was Englishtown, site of the NHRA Summer Nationals. Even the sportsman racing was  fiercely competitive. We were fortunate enough to have one of the East Coast NHRA Class champions, as the shop’s  sponsored racer. He lived a few blocks from the shop, had a day job with UPS, but he took drag racing very seriously, and made a lot of money at it.

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In drag racing’s single eliminations, defeating your competitor is referred to as “trailering” him. Frequently,  in 8 rounds of eliminations, our sponsored racer Bill would trailer everyone he came up against. Initially it seemed like magic or voodoo. Only in  time did I learn that it was meticulous preparation, checklists and concentration that were the key elements of his success.  As a starting point, I chose to emulate his success, even if I did not fully comprehend his methods. I figured that it was better to win with incomplete understanding than to lose with my own ‘style’ and still not understand why.  I copied all his style and techniques, down to wearing the same kind of sneakers. Before I understood what made his success tick, I made the conscious decision that I would clone his approach, because it worked. I still use this as a model of success when I approach any new task.

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The logic of this approach makes even more sense in experimental aviation. I try to teach builders to do installations exactly how we show, even if you are yet to understand why. If it has long worked for us, than reality dictates that if you clone it, and operate it the same way, then is has to long work for you just the same, even if you are yet to understand the logic or physics behind it.

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When I was 18, Bill seemed very old, wise and powerful. Kind of an Obi-Wan Kenobi of drag racing. Looking back now, I can guess he was about 30 years old, an age I couldn’t yet imagine. While all traces of my youth, or even age 30 are long gone, the lessons of meticulous preparation and emulating success that I learned decades ago at the drag strip still serve me today.” -ww.

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“You Can’t win at the drag strip, you only lose there” This was a NJ drag strip motto that was taught to me by Bill. When he said it, most people were unwilling to think about it and consider it. If you listened, he would explain that your goal in drag racing was to prepare the car perfectly, adjust it to the exact track conditions, get your brain in gear and focused, and go lay down a perfect run. How you win is by having the other guy neglect some prep aspect, and lose for you. Drag racing isn’t like any other motor sport; no driver can make up for a poorly prepped car, nor a moments inattention. Now stop and think about how close that is to successful homebuilding, where the world’s greatest pilot can’t do anything about a plane that wasn’t ready to take off, nor does it matter how much attention he pays on average, the only thing that determines success is how he deals with a few critical seconds.

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Here is a connection very few people make: Drag racings appeal is much the same a Dueling’s was: Two people start on a fair basis, it is over quickly, the matter is settled, and there is no talk of “do overs” or “the best of three.” The finality of the decision has great appeal for people who dislike ambiguity or spinning outcomes. A few years ago there was a fake TV show about racing where  it was 2 out of 3 with a lot of talk in between rounds. I want to assure people real drag racing is nothing like that.

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 The most famous duel in American history was Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton in 1804. If you want to understand something of the nature of people from New Jersey, Drag racing is the state sport, and The track at Englishtown is less than 40 miles from the spot in Weehawken where Burr killed Hamilton.

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I never cease to be amazed at how stupid the average media personality is. Not just on physics; CNN and Wolf Blitzer: “Flammable Helium”  But on history as well. When Dick Cheney accidently shot his hunting partner in 2006 nearly every media outlet ran a story essentially saying that this was unprecedented.  Evidently they all should have failed US history, because Burr was the sitting Vice President when he killed Hamilton.

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Aaron Burr was a very highly educated and principled man. Most of the original contemporary  letters on Hamilton paint him as a weasel. As Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton politically maneuvered to put  great power in the federal bank. He would have been completely at home running the dirtiest political campaign of today. To him, the ends always justified any means.

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Hamilton was born in the west indies, and was bastard child (something he like to hide) . Thus he was unqualified to be president, and would not have been considered to have the social status of “Gentleman.”   This last point was vital, because dueling code forbid a Gentleman from calling out a common man, because it was assumed that the wealthy could afford far better training with swords and pistols, and to use that against the unprepared was cowardly and illegal in most places. (Hamilton had always lead his life as a “Gentleman” and this was critical to his ego. )  Thus is Hamilton wanted to live, all he had to do was admit he was not a Gentleman. Through intermediates he tried for two weeks to negotiate a face saving settlement, but Burr would have none of it. They hated each other, but the final straw for Burr was Hamilton writing anonymous press stories saying that Burr had an incestuous interest in his own daughter.  A clever political scam, but he was a terrible shot and missed Burr, and the VP paid him back with a .56 caliber lead ball in the spleen.

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It sounds harsh, but I will say that when Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs who became Secretary of the Treasury in 2006, made delusional statements about the economic collapse in 2008, I did give a moment to consider the wisdom of Aaron Burr’s “retirement program” for former Treasury Secretaries. We are obviously a much more civil society in America 200 years later, but maybe we have gained this at a loss of fair and swift justice.

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-ww.

 

Thought for the Day: Jack Northrop’s aviators

Builders:

Our home has a large sunroom for a back porch, and one wall of it is bookshelves. Most of this space houses Grace’s aviation magazine collection, containing nearly every Sport Aviation ever printed, a lot of pre WWII journals, and an original set of Flying and Glider manuals.  About 25 feet of shelving hold my textbooks from Embry Riddle, which I still look at for reference material on tasks I do infrequently like messing with prop governors and fuel injection. At the end of the last row is a thin blue binder, which has my diploma in it, and a picture of my parents and I the day I graduated. The last sheet of paper in the binder is one I keep to remind me of a path not taken. It is a letter from the 1980s, my acceptance to a legendary aviation school that is now only a memory: Northrop University. 

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Jack Northrop

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Above, a photo of a young Jack Northrop, borrowed from Northrop-Grumman’s website. He was a brilliant visionary, much more interested in cutting edge research than production. He worked for Lockheed, Douglass and founded two different companies named Northrop. He is publicly known for his pursuit of flying wings, but his contributions were much greater, he pioneered many techniques in Aeronautical Engineering which radically advanced stress analysis and design. One of his lesser known achievements was one of the things that mattered most to him: He founded one of the greatest aviation universities. It lasted 50 years, it outlived him, but today it is gone, its remaining impact solely rests with it thousands of graduates, and the people they in turn educated.

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After high school I worked many mechanical jobs for a few years, went to night school, and eventually moved to Florida to finish a degree in Political Science from St. Leo University. I went back to the world of drag racing, toured on motorcycles, but knew I eventually wanted to do something in Aeronautical Engineering. I was first focused on Schools in California, and I rode out from the east coast and toured the state on my Z-1. After visiting Northrop, which was just on the south side of LAX, I decided I had found my place. I spent a few days there attending classes. The place wasn’t fancy, but it was serious. The Composites class I sat in on was taught by a B-2 materials engineer on sabbatical. I returned to NJ, and in a few weeks I opened the letter I still have on the porch.

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Jack Northrop was something of a renaissance man, and the school he founded reflected this. It both a hard core Aeronautical Engineering program and a first class A&P program. In the 1970s they added a Law school. To Jack Northrop, the aviator who was going to make a difference in industry was the guy who could conceive it, design it, build it, patent it and negotiate a contract for it, by himself if required. The school was never big; it wasn’t there to fill the ranks of industry, it was there to provide the individuals that would make a difference, just as Jack Northrop had.

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I am well known as an Embry Riddle graduate, but that was actually a last minute plans change, driven by something outside of aviation that seemed very important in my 26 year old mind, but not so much today. When Jack Northrop passed in 1981, the school lost it prime supporter, and it was on borrowed time, but there was no hint that it would close when I was visiting. Had I elected to attend, I would have graduated with the last class of Engineers.  The school closed in the early 1990s, and today the grounds are used by an unrelated tech school that uses part of the original name. I don’t think about it often, but had I chosen to stay at Northrop, I would have likely had a very different path in aviation. I keep the acceptance letter to remind that life has a lot of paths, you always have options, and you should choose them carefully.

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A quarter of a century later, I have a much better understanding of Jack Northrop’s motivation to build a school.  Essentially, all the real value of my work is educational. I could earn a living working on planes or restoring them, but my heart wouldn’t be in it. The part that always is rewarding to me it sharing what I have learned, it makes more of a difference than just putting the machines back in order.

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In the back of my mind, I have always had the remote dream of building a modest school which would teach A&P work, manufacturing techniques, and good stick and rudder skills, with the goal of generating instructors of these subjects, so they could further pass along the learning. Northrop wanted to generate industry leaders in the high end of technology, but I would aim for the most fundamental part of flight. If it all worked what would be my version of Jack Northrop’s law school? A degree program in Philosophy of course, because the renaissance man of experimental aviation should be able to build his own plane and engine, fly them with solid stick and rudder skills, and when he lands at sunset, pull up a lawn chair and a beer and savor the hour of his achievement in the context of aviation’s practical philosophers like Lindbergh, Bach, Saint-Exupéry and Stockdale.

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-ww.

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One week until Corvair College #36 sign up ends.

Builders:

The sign up period for Corvair College #36 in San Marcos Texas April 1st-3rd, ends one week from tonight, but it may fill up before that. If you are thinking of attending, no is the time to sign up:  2016 Corvair College registration pages.

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Last week saw the arrival of $25,000 in machined Gold system parts from our CNC machine shop. This is the same one which has made every prop hub and gold oil system part we have sent out for the last 15 years.  This shipment includes a large number of #2802 Gold oil sandwich adaptors. If you have one of these on back order, it will be shipped shortly.

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By Monday night, we will have computerized all of our existing orders. This means that our whole order system, both existing and new, will both be on the database. You can read about this here: Outlook 2016, New order page and distribution method. If you have an existing order, feel free to contact us through the new system, please be sure to share both your shipping address and phone number.

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Above, A photo from Corvair College #22, our first college in Texas with Kevin and Shelley. In the picture, Kevin and I talk policy by the tail of his Pietenpol, while Greg Crouchley from Rhode Island eyeballs an engine on the test stand in the background. CC #36 will be the fourth college that Kevin and Shelley have hosted.

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-ww.

Thought for the Day: Learning vs. Labeling

Builders:

A few days ago I made a two sentence public comment expressing “disappointment’ at a single position taken by a public servant. This provoked a verbal attack from a person who felt his hero was to be followed dogmatically. The verbal attack was trying to label me with names of groups which he is emotionally driven to dismiss without any consideration of argument nor logic.

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We live in the ‘information age’ but ironically, a great number of people much prefer labeling people to learning anything from them; These people prefer the mindlessly shouted slogan to any consideration of opposing thought.  These people have long been conditioned, the first thing to do when encountering a different thought is Label it with a pre-provided name, so it can be dismissed without any further consideration.

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This is the stock and trade of political parties and the 24hr media, and it works like magic to generate rabidly loyal fans of their home team, standing on their sidelines shouting at the other side, which they have long been told to label, dismiss and hate. They do this while seeking the cocoon of comfort provided by social and media sources that always affirm their every preconception.  It is pointless to speak with a person who must label everyone who doesn’t agree a “liberal.” It is an equal waste to speak with the numerous people who have accusingly labeled me just the opposite. Both of them are afraid to think and consider, and have to come to the conclusion I am an American who doesn’t need to agree with them. They are much like a 12 year old boy in an Islamabad madrasa, conditioned to dismiss and hate anything that is labeled ‘infidel.’  The only difference being the boy has no choice, and adults in this Country have to willfully chose the path of lazy ignorance.

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Your Aviation Connection:

I have written a number of very frank stories, like this one: ERAU – models of integrity #2, that explain why every aviator has a moral and ethical responsibility to learn everything he can from any knowledgeable source, not just ones he ‘likes’ or hold the same social opinions as he does. This is not a small point. Aviation is far too serious a task, and it has no room for people who’s knee jerk emotional reaction when encountering different experiences and perspectives is to label and dismiss them.

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The branch of aviation which this most applies to his homebuilding. Building your own plane and learning how to fly it requires so much learning that is preposterous for anyone to expect success while dismissing opportunities to learn.  I was 27 years old when I came to understand this, and I have been willing to devote my entire working like to this subject. If the average age of a new homebuilder is 55, and he works outside aviation, he must decide now, to consider and learn, as the time line is not in his favor, and this task doesn’t generate second chances. If he is building a plane with a passenger seat, he has a moral and ethical obligation to put away the lesser parts of his ego and get on with the task of becoming a better, more thinking aviator.

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 Sadly there are many people in aviation who will not learn from, or even listen to sources of information they can dismiss by labeling. Your best defense against them is to give them a very wide berth….and make damn sure you resist the human weakness to prefer the company of people that just reinforce perspectives and opinions you acquired without inspection or consideration. Be open minded to learning from any source, like your life depends on it….. because it does.

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I have no issue nor conflict with any person who thinks differently than I do, I operate under the assumption that most people do. The only conflict I have is with people who somehow feel that not thinking at all, just living in an artificial world of labels, slogans and judgments is better than considering each person they meet as an individual, each with the right to see things differently. -ww.

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“The representatives of predatory wealth are guilty of all forms of iniquity from the oppression of wage workers to defrauding the public.”

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If you told the general public that a candidate for the presidency made the above statement, I am sure that 90% of them would guess the words above would be from social progressive Bernie Sanders, and dismiss them. In reality, these were actually said by Teddy Roosevelt in the 1904 election, and he was very proud of calling himself a social progressive. For those who need to label and dismiss, finding out an American hero on Mount Rushmore doesn’t fit in a neatly labeled box causes stress. To the open minded, it is a chance to expand one’s understanding.

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Above Teddy Roosevelt and Booker T Washington.  People who like their history to fit with neat labels will have a very hard time reconciling Roosevelt to their mythology.  TR was never supposed to be president, the power brokers of the day recognized his popularity, and hoped to benignly store him in the Vice Presidency. A single 6 gram bullet from a pathetically weak .32 S&W was just enough to change the course of American history.  Within weeks of being sworn in, TR began a long series of radical reforms and actions, starting with having Booker T Washington to dinner, an act that outraged southerners. He went on to draw the hatred of the wealthy and powerful, the connected and corrupt, and every other group that thought they were more important than the American people.  He was far more of a political radical than any candidate running today, including Sanders.

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Anyone who has been to our home can tell you that it is lined with floor to celling bookshelves, that even extend onto the porch. Much of it is very old, like my great aunt’s period collection on the Spanish American war. I spent 11 years in college including earning a degree in political science because I like learning. I have never bought a TV set in my life, for the same reason. One shelf in the living room has 4 feet of books just on TR, maybe 20,000 pages, I have read it all. Perhaps saying this might dissuade the next Fox tv news viewer who hasn’t read a book in years from trying to label me an “Ignorant Liberal” just because I will not blindly kowtow to his or anyone else’s dogma, but I doubt it. Neither will writing stories like Thinking of Mike Holey, an Aviator and a friend. have msnbc viewers change their views on ‘guns.’ You can’t communicate with people who have labeled and dismissed you, only people who are willing to read, think and consider. This also happens to be the people who get something out of building and flying.

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Harry S Truman - NARA - 530677 (2).jpg

People comforted by labeling all Democrats weak on defense have to conveniently ignore that the only person in history to order the use of nuclear weapons in combat was Harry Truman. He did so without hesitation. When at the conference table at Yalta, he was told project Trinity had worked. From that moment forward there was no question he would use the bomb, as it might remove the need to give concessions to the USSR in Europe to gain their participation against Japan.

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Dwight D. Eisenhower, official photo portrait, May 29, 1959.jpg

People comforted by labeling all Republicans warmongers have to conveniently ignore Eisenhower’s open and bold warning against the “Rise of the military-industrial complex”  in his 1960 speech to the nation. The impact of these words from a president who was also a 5 star general can not be overstated;

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

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“If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it–the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”

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William Clifford, The Ethics of Belief – 1877.

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-ww.

Eyeball Exhaust Evaluations

Builders,

For as long as I have been working with Corvairs, I have had a segment of ‘experts’ tell me their opinions about the  Corvair exhaust such as ” It would make 30% more power with headers” All of these people were basing their misguided theories on ‘eyeball evaluations’ and the were just sure they were right. I knew they were wrong because I have testing on my side.

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Below is a very interesting video showing how eyeball evaluations of exhaust systems are worthless. It shows a very potent 6,000 rpm V-8 on a dyno, in back to back tests where they flatten header tubes horribly, and it has next to no effect on the output. And that is on an engine making one and a half HP / cubic inch. The effect is even lower on engines like your Corvair flight engine.

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

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Engine exhaust requirements depend on cylinder head design and camshaft design. Typically, low rpm engines like your flight motor, have modest cam profiles with short duration, to build torque. These engines are not punished for having the backpressure of a muffler, nor are they rewarded for having perfect free flowing balanced tubes. In our application, the systems we use are the correct balance of reasonable flow, matched to the cam profile, with the two critical factors: Low surface area and stainless construction to prevent it from heating the inside of the cowl, and having low weight and a stiff design that will not resonate and crack. The systems we offer are made of the best materials, with the best welding, to long proven designs. Sorry if reality offends the ‘eyeball evaluation experts’, but that is reality.

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Get a look at some of our exhausts here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/3901-a-zenith-exhaust/

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Read about our designs here: Stainless Steel Exhaust Systems

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Above, An exhaust evaluation as part of an Electronic Fuel injection test on a 2,700cc Corvair in 2007. It is shown running at power on my dyno. The urethane wheel directly reads foot pounds of torque off the digital scale. Note the engine has headers on it, that could be swapped in minutes for other exhaust. The EFI allowed the air/fuel ration to be corrected to optimize the exhaust instantly at the twist of a knob, giving the fairest scientific evaluation of exhausts. The air / fuel ratio was read on a laboratory grade digital O2 system. The data conclusively showed that headers make very little difference on a Corvair, and EFI was not impressive either. Read more here: Testing and Data Collection reference page

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-ww.

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“God has a sense of humor I am yet to understand”

Builders:

Six months ago I wrote this story: Comments on aircraft accidents, and I would hope that builders who missed it then will take 5 minutes to read it now. It includes important perspectives I would like builders to stop and really consider, like this:

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“Even if a builder had a god’s eye view of what went wrong in every accident of the type of plane he is building, this still doesn’t tell him anything about what is right, only what is wrong. Study success at least as much as failure.”

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One of the elements of the story is how often I am called to provide information on experimental aircraft accidents, and the strong restrictions on disclosing any information about ongoing investigations before the final report is issued. To give you some idea about how long a process is, I spent some time last week working with the feds on an accident from the middle of last year. The investigation is now done, but the report isn’t out yet, so there isn’t much I can say about it, but here are a few things:

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None of the things speculators said on the net were even remotely close to the probable cause, and that includes what the pilot initially thought the issue was. Like the great number of experimental accidents. it would have been prevented if the pilot had just exercised better judgment. The one fortunate thing about the accident was the pilots injuries were low. Most of the people looking at the accident were very surprised he lived. Even people who have seen a great number of accidents, and know the damage can appear random, made comments about how lucky this guy was in light of the choices he made.

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On this last point, I made the comment in the title of this story. I can share it now because it was not put in the official record. Over the years I have supplied background information and test data for a number of accidents, and you can see it in a number of older final reports. While there isn’t a section for philosophy in final reports, maybe there should be one day. I would certainly like reader of the report to understand that if they replicated the decision making of pilot, they would likely not live.  No one should take this mans survival as an endorsement of his choices, skills or even the strength of the airframe design. When I have to consider it in comparison to a number of very skilled pilots I knew who did not survive their own accidents, (Risk Management reference page),  I can only conclude that “God has a sense of humor I am yet to understand.”

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Above, the 1894 Paul Gauguin Painting “Day of the god.” It was inspired by his first visit to Polynesia, today it is in the Art institute in Chicago.  I have long studied the work and life of Gauguin. He was a French impressionist painter who worked beside many of the greatest artists ever; he was close friends with Van Gogh.  He spend almost all of his life without success, in poverty. In 2015, one of his paintings broke the absolute record for highest price ever paid for any painting, $300,000,000 dollars. When negative people criticize your choice to build a homebuilt aircraft, reflect on how many people must have told Gauguin to give up painting.

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Take a moment to consider that Gauguin thought Paris in the 1890’s, the worlds art and pleasure capitol, was too pedestrian, predictable and moralistic; he spent most of the last decade of his life exploring his primitive side in Tahiti and the Marquesas. The academic description of the painting above is a number of long paragraphs on themes, influences and movements.  I tend to think it is better understood after considering Gauguin’s affections for Drink, Morphine, Laudanum and  Native women.

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In the last year of his life, Gauguin wrote:

“No one is good; no one is evil; everyone is both, in the same way and in different ways. …
It is so small a thing, the life of a man, and yet there is time to do great things, fragments of the common task.”

He died in 1903 at age 54.

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Please note: The title of this article is said in jest, It is not a serious comment on Faith, not intended to be offensive to anyone.  It should be considered in the same category as A.E. Houseman’s poignant observation: “Ale does more than Milton can, to justify Gods ways with man.”

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-ww.