FlyCorvair Parts and Info at Sun n Fun 2016.

Builders.

I have been at the last 28 consecutive Sun n Funs, but this year I will break the streak, because I will be on the road for the three western Corvair Colleges. For builders headed to Sun n Fun from April 5th -10th, Dan and Rachel Weseman and the SPA/Panther crew will be there, and they will have all of our parts, (and their own Corvair stuff) for sale.

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Keep in mind that our sales and distribution are now covered by Dan and Rachel. (read the story here: Outlook 2016, New order page and distribution method. ) It has been in place for 60 days, and it is working exceptionally well, and the arrangement allows me to focus on making parts and teaching builders, the two elements I do best.  The arrangement also allows parts to be purchased and shipped the whole time I am on the road (Read College and Western Tour update,  and  College and western tour update #2 )

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You can study all of our available products at this link: http://shop.flycorvair.com/shop/ . If you have any question on the availability of an item, feel free to use the contact info or call SPA directly at 904-626-7777.

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Blast from the past, Sun n Fun 20 years ago.  My Pietenpol and from L to R, Gus Warren, Steve Upson and  a young version of me.  The EAA’s Mary Jones took the picture the last hour of the show.

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It had been a long, fun week. If we look a little rough, it was from spending the previous night at the ultra-light party where the legendary  Chuck Slusarczyk was serving his “Muzzle Loader” moonshine.  People said it was made with Acetone and Skydrol, but in reality. it just tasted that way.  It was served in coffee mugs because it ate right through Styrofoam cups.

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The 1990’s ultra-light parties were simple fun with bands and beer and friends,  events a little too ‘colorful’ to fit into major airshows today.

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If you would like a look at photos of Corvair builders and planes at Sun n Fun 2002-2012, follow this link: http://www.flycorvair.com/snf2012.html

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-ww.

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A different path in homebuilding

Builders:

If you are something of an ‘old school’ guy in the world of alternative engines, you might recognize both of the people in the picture below:

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Above, Subaru guru Chuck Condas on the left, and a much younger version of myself on the right. The photo was taken 12 years ago at Sun n Fun.  Although we look like kids, 2004 was my 15th consecutive year at the fly in, and Chuck had already moved on from the world of alternative engines.

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Something most Homebuilders are yet to understand: Homebuilding really isn’t a big industry, and the world of alternative engines is a small part of it. In this world, most alternative engine guys who have been around for a number of  years,  know each other, and usually get along pretty well.  The partisan rhetoric on the internet said by ‘fans’ of one engine over another is not reflective of how established engine guys get along in person. Our website has many photos of engine gurus of all types and layouts hanging out at our Oshkosh tent after hours.

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While there are a lot of zealots who come and go, the people who last in alternative engines tend to be people who find an innovative solution that serves a segment of the market. To a zealot, anyone who doesn’t choose his engine is ‘stupid’, to an innovator, they are just an individual making a choice that suits them differently. There are fans of a particular design, brand, layout or provider that are far bigger zealots than the guru that actually works with that format. Most alternative engine guys know this well. If you think about it, I have a lot of experiences in common with the other dozen alternative engine gurus who have been around for a decade or more than I do with any internet commentator who is going to buy or build and engine ‘someday.’

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Fifteen years ago, my work with the Corvair was most often compared with that of Subaru guru Chuck Condas. Chuck had put a belt reduction on a turbo EA-81 and installed it on his avid flyer, accumulating 500 hours. He wrote a very candid book about it, and self published it. His approach was not the kind of ‘vanilla ice cream Disneyland experience’ that print magazine editors insisted on then. Chuck really didn’t care, he wasn’t born to be a conformist. His book was a very big seller in the late 1990s.

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I spent a lot of evenings at Sun n Fun with Chuck, and he told me that he felt the whole industry had gone commercial, and homebuilding had changed, and he wasn’t a fan of things people said on the net. I thought these things also, but wanted to fight the trend. Chuck was of a different mindset. He had said his piece, and wasn’t interested in the conflict. He said he was going back to Taos NM, and was going to build planes his own way, in anonymity, in a very beautiful setting.  To his perspective, one would have to be a masochist to try to rekindling the original spirit and values of homebuilding in the age of the internet discussion group, when all the trends were heading the other way. Sun n Fun 2005 was the last time I saw him, but it wasn’t quite the last time I heard from him.

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A few years later, I wrote a long post on an internet discussion group, about a series of tests we had done on Corvairs. I thought it had been interesting work, and it had opened my eyes to some new ideas.  Alas, my testing had contradicted the pet theories of some internet personalities, and they responded with a long series of posts saying the test were worthless, I was condescending,  I was just a salesman, their mechanical engineering degree trumped any A&P tests and observations, some comments about my alleged politics, etc. near the end of these was a strange encrypted post from a mystery email name that simply had the numbers “36.40 – 105.60.”  Everyone else missed it, but I knew this was the most mocking criticism of them all…….It was Chuck sending me the Lat-long of Taos NM.

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-ww.

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Happy Easter

Builders,

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May this Easter bring you a peaceful day, with time to reflect on the many blessings of our lives.  Best wishes for a good day with friends and family.

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Grace, William and ScoobE.

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Something worth reading: A thought on Easter….

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Thought for the Day: “My Dreams” The only belief that I will always openly champion, the belief that is at the central core of the story above, is my unshakeable faith in the goodness of common, decent people.

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Thought for the Day: What are you thankful for? “The secret I would like to share with anyone who at times feels the same way, is that I have a sanctuary where I am insulated from much of my self-criticism, and a have a front, where at 50, I am much better on than I thought possible in my youth.”

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-ww.

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First Flight Resources to review

Builders.

I got a short note from a Pietenpol builder, saying he just got the FAA sign off, and will be taking his first flight after a few details are taken care of. It brings up a few things everyone should have in mind at that point. While a general review of this page is in order:  Engine Operations reference page, and everyone needs to have read the flight test plan in the ops manual: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/2009-corvair-flight-operations-manual/ , I have listed several things below that builders need to have at the forefront of their actions.

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The number one rule of first flights in anything, but particularly any alternative engine, is the “Two Minute Test.”

Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #5, Two Minute Test

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It should be an indication of how important setting the timing is by the number of stories I have written about it. 20% of the people doing a first flight have never set the timing on their engine. Do not be one of them, the results are not pretty.

YOU MUST SET THE TIMING ON YOUR ENGINE

When to check your timing, Lessons learned Pt#2

Ignition Timing on Corvairs

Ignition timing on Corvairs, Part 2

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Above, a 2007 picture of the homebuilt of Ken Lien of WA state. The following year, he was killed on the very first flight. You can read the story I wrote a long time later here: Risk Management, Judgement Error, money in the wrong place.  THIS ACCIDENT WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF HE RAN A TWO MINUTE TEST. This is not a one of a kind accident, we had two planes wrecked on their first flight in 2015 by pilots who didn’t bother to run a two minute test.

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By an absolute coincidence, a life long best friend of Ken’s, named Denny Jackson became my neighbor at our airport in FL just after the accident. Denny was deeply hurt by his friend’s death, and finding out that I was the ‘Corvair guy’ lead to him angrily confronting me at our EAA chapter. He was 6’5″ and 325 pounds and not to be trifled with. Because I was part of the investigation, I already knew what Denny did not: It was caused by his friend putting his carb together incorrectly, it had nothing to do with Corvair engines, yet I could not say this to him, I could only ask that he withhold judgment. Months later, Denny understood the report, came and explained that he was just hurt at the loss of his friend. I told him I might have done the same thing.

Read more here: Comments on aircraft accidents.

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Thought for the day: Choosing to be alive ““If the goal of the captain was to preserve the ship, he would never leave port. Most people never do. The goal of the captain is to seek adventure, to meet all the challenges and still achieve the goals, to be In The Arena, not rusting at the pier in the safe harbor.”-ww.

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Group 2400-L Starter installation instructions.

Builders:

Our ‘ultimate’ evolution of starter systems is the 2400-L  series. It was flight tested on the SPA/Panther early in 2015, and has since become the benchmark for simple, ultra-light, efficient and powerful starters for Corvairs. We have produced several hundred, and they are now our standard starter we recommend to every builder.

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The great majority of flying Corvair powered planes utilize one of the Nippon Denso based starters we sold between 2002 and 2015. These are good systems, and they use the same basic starter design as most of the high performance aftermarket starters for Lycomings.  To justify a new generation of starters, the New 2400-L series would have to be significantly lighter, simpler to install, and be even more efficient. After a lot of R&D and testing, we met all these goals. The new starter is 3 pounds lighter, it has a very simple set up that takes only minutes, and surprisingly, it cranks the Corvair faster, while using less amps, and having a much lower voltage drop.  It meets these goals at a modest price increase over earlier systems.

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We sell the system as a complete kit which includes all the items in the 2400 starter group. This is explained in detail in the conversion manual. The included items are the Starter itself, the mounting brackets, the Gold top cover, and the ring gear.  The direct link to see the kit for sale is here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/2400-l-light-start-group-kit/

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Above, The 2400-L system atop my own personal Corvair engine. The starter is powerful enough to crank any Corvair (Dan Weseman has one on his high compression 3.3 Liter Corvair: SPA / Weseman 3.3 Liter Corvair now running) on a very light weight battery.  The view shows how compact the unit is, the starter motor itself is smaller than a 12 ounce soda can. The starter above sports black powder coating that we put on some 2400-L starters for aesthetic reasons. The 2400-L kits are specifically made to mate with Weseman Group 3000 5th bearings.

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Top view of a Corvair built in our shop, showing 2400-L starter arrangement. The black part is the starter motor, the silver part is the integral solenoid. The Top Cover, brackets, main starter plate, and the starter nose are all made on high end CNC machines here in the US, and for this reason they are very accurate and easy to set up.

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Rear view of 2400- L starter on the dipstick side (Cylinders 1-3-5) of the engine. Because this starter has a very stiff 3/8″ think billet main plate, it does not need a tail bracket like our previous designs.  The mounting bracket on this side has a 7/16″ bolt fixed in it. This is the pivot bolt for the adjustment. On installation this bolt is snugged up just enough to still allow the starter to pivots for adjustment. After it is set, the nut is tightened to 45 foot pounds.

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Above, the non-dipstick side (Cylinders 2-4-6) of the engine. This mounting bracket has a 3/8″-24 stud fixed in it. The main plate, seen in natural aluminum here, is actually sloted where the stud goes through it. This provides the adjustment for the mesh between the ring gear and the starter. Once the adjustment is set, the NAS locknut is torqued to 25 foot pounds and the unit will hold this adjustment for good.

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Instillation sequence:

1) The ring gear is mounted on the Gold prop hub using the hardware that comes with the Gold hub. Most people paint the ring gear before installing it, other wise it will rust. Powder coating is not recommended, as it tends to fill in the valleys between the teeth and affect the mesh.

2) The gold top cover is mounted on the case with the twelve 5/16″ fasteners, each with a lock washer under the head. These need a light coat of anti-seize  (like ARP lube)  on the threads. The heads of the two fasteners which go under the starter must be the “button head” style provided, for clearance. The four starter bracket mounting bolts clamp the top cover, making the total fastener count sixteen, matching the number of holes in the top cover. The top cover gasket should have a thin film of Permatex ultra grey RTV sealer applied to each side. Before putting the sealer on, match the bolt pattern on the cover and gasket to the case, it is not symmetrical.

2) Each mounting bracket is held down by two 5/16″ bolts with lock washers under the heads. These bolts should have a light coating of anti-seize (like ARP lube) on the threads where they go into the case. They are torqued to 15 foot pounds. Bolt down the dip stick side, but leave the other side off for now.

3) The starter is mounted on the 7/16″ pivot bolt, and the nut is just snugged up to take out the slack, but still allow the starter to pivot. Using a pair of pliers gripping the starter gear teeth, pull the teeth forward to their extended position. Sick a small screwdriver behind the clutch ( the round part behind the teeth) to keep the clutch/gear teeth  extended forward.

4) Install  the non-dipstick side bracket on the main plate by putting the 3/8″ stud through the slotted hole in the plate. put the nut on lightly.

5) Pivot the starter down to meet the ring gear, and when it is close, install the two 5/16″ mounting bolts in  the non-dipstick side bracket.

6) Put a 1/16″ drill bit or welding rod in the valley between the two ring gear teeth where the lowest starter gear tooth meshes. snug up both the 7/16″ pivot bolt nut and the nut on the 3/8″ stud. Push the starter down hard enough to pinch the 1/16″ drill between the ring gear teeth and the starter gear tooth, so it cant be pulled out with bare fingers. Tighten up the nuts fully, pull the small screwdriver from behind the starter clutch. Rotating the ring gear slightly should cause the 1/16″ drill to come out, and the starter gear will automatically retract. The starter is now set.

7) The small 1/4 spade terminal on the solenoid is connected to the starter switch; the outboard stud is where the 12V battery cable connects.

8) You can judge a good gear mesh by the sound. It will sound just like your car cranking if it is right. If it is too loose it will make excessive metallic grinding sounds, it it is too tight, the starter gear will hit the back of the ring gear instead of engaging it. If you want to test it, make sure you do so with the spark plugs in to provide a full cranking load. Without them, even a very loose mesh will sound good. BE VERY CAREFULL WHEN THE STARER IS HOOKED UP – EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN IGNITION OR CARB INSTALLED.  A cranking starter, even if the engine doesn’t start, will turn a prop 350 rpm, this is plenty of power to inflict a fatal blow. Even if you have no prop on, be careful, having your hand or shirt sleeve near the gear, could draw your fingers into the meshing gears. Anytime you have a battery near the system, use your brain, pay attention.

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Rear quarter view of the 2400-L starter system. It is an efficient, elegantly simple system.

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-ww.

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Something Very Positive – from Brian Dempsey

Builders,

Amid the little internet drama of the last week, a plain brown cardboard box arrives in the afternoon mail. It looked like it could contain typical core parts, but the name on small return address label caught my eye, It was from Brian Dempsey.

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There have been many good people in the history of homebuilding, and I suspect that most people today might not recognize one of the aviators who was at the very cutting edge of Formula V air racing in the 1970s and 1980s. Formula V was the purest of homebuilt creativity in a reasonably affordable format. Men like Steve Wittman and John Monnett thought this was the best place to experience a resurgence of the golden age of air racing (1929-39) Formula V was hyper competitive, and produced useful sport plane designs like the Sonerai and the V-Witt. Brian Dempsey was in the thick of this, best known for his plane “Miss Annapolis” Eventually, Brian became the Formula V national champion several years.

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Inside the box was a collection of vintage copies of the classic book “Stick and Rudder.” They came with a short note explaining that Brian wanted to provide them to a promising person at each of Corvair Colleges from here forward. He liked the educational nature of the colleges and the promotion of traditional homebuilding skills and perspectives.  The modest nature of the note and Brian’s reserved style suggest he would like the contribution to be received without fanfare, but I do believe that it should have public acknowledgement among Corvair builders, and it should have it’s place with the notable contributions builders of generous spirit have made.

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Brian had actually came to a Barnwell Corvair College several years ago, and had signed up to return to #34 this last November. When he didn’t make it I just thought something came up, and only much later did we learn that he was in a serious car accident just as he was leaving for the College. Both Grace and I are looking forward to eventually having him at another College.

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This needs to be understood: Brian is acknowledged as a serious perfectionist master homebuilder. He knows a lot about aerodynamics and efficiency, He is an outstanding pilot, with skills good enough to compete in national air racing against Steve Wittman…and beat him. Other than a few things I might show him about Corvairs, he has nothing to learn from me on any topic in homebuilding or flying. We can have fun hanging out at a College, but I am sure it isn’t on the same experience plateau as racing against Wittman.  Yet the man with these skills, experiences and capabilities, who has attended just a single Corvair College, is drawn to enrich the future Corvair College experience for homebuilders he will likely never meet.   I write a lot about the spirit of traditional homebuilding, but I can’t think of a better example of it than a man who worked hard for his day “In the Arena“, doing something positive to give other people the same shot.

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Perhaps the only three things guaranteed by modern life are Death, Taxes, and Internet drama. If I was told I had to choose two, my question would be “What is the rate and will it be an honorable death?”  The personality stuff and the ‘demands for apologies’ will never go away, but you can choose instead to stay focused on spending your hours in much better service to your own goals and dreams. Brian Dempsey’s achievements are a great testimony to the possibilities open to any builder willing to invest in himself, and spend his hours in the company of aviators who approached aviation as something of a brotherhood and not another consumer experience.

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The best book on flying ever written. Read the story here: Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)

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-ww.

 

Internet discussion group drama.

Builders:

Here is the best story I have about how the self-exciting ‘drama’ aspect of internet discussion groups work, It actually happened on the Corvaircraft discussion group ten years ago:

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A guy, who had met me in person a number of times, who is a fixture on the Corvaircraft list, gets on the list and says he just looked at his Conversion manual, and evidently I left out pages 113-114 and 115-116 when I mailed it to him. (At the time, I was still allowed on that list), but he doesn’t ask me, he sends the question out to the 750 people on the discussion group.

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Within minutes he gets a reply from another guy with one of my manuals, who says he just checked, and his manual is also missing these same pages.

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Third guy writes back, and notes that his manual is also missing the same pages. He adds a comment that ‘WW really should do better on printing’

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In the next hour, a total of eleven people write in to say they also have checked their manuals, and they also have missing pages 113-116. This starts an avalanche of comments. The first ones are about poor printing control, but within a few posts it turning into righteous indignation, a half dozen commenters piling on, including comments like “Someone could have been killed by things that WW left out, he certainly owes us all an explanation and an apology.”

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What actually happened? Every single one of these people had completely forgotten that page 113-114 was the liability statement, and 115-116 was the manual registration page, and each of them forgot that they had filled out these pages, personally cut them out of the manual, put them in an envelope and mailed them. That’s right, they went right to the keyboard to inflame and indict, with absolutely no memory of writing, cutting out and mailing the same pages themselves. This wasn’t an April fool’s joke, nor drunk people writing in after dinner, it was sober people in the middle of the day.

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I wrote a short reply back pointing out that I had each of their ‘missing pages’, in my filing cabinet, all filled out and mailed to me. None of the people wrote back about how I didn’t owe them an apology now. Keep in mind that this was eleven out of 750 people, but if any rational person saw what was going on, they didn’t speak up and interrupt the drama club. Most of the people on that list didn’t own a manual from me, and had I not been on that list, they would have thought I carelessly left pages out of books. For the last 5 years I have been banded from that list, mostly for not being ‘nice’ in my writings, no matter what anyone else said about my efforts.

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Where are “the eleven” today? They are still on the Corvaircraft discussion group. Have they learned anything about internet groups, or their own conclusion jumping? Maybe not, as one of the people who ‘demanded an apology’ for this weeks imagined insult to Dan Weseman, was one of the same eleven people.  Do I feel left out from Corvaircraft? Yes, I do, but I felt the same way when I became too old to be a Cub Scout anymore.

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The day after the ‘missing page mystery’, it may have seemed The merry-go-round of the endless drama club stuff of the internet might change, but the carb drama this week driven by people who can’t take the time to actually read before commenting shows nothing ever changes, it is still there, 10 years later, and it will always be there. Internet discussion groups provide a place for a certain type of person to feel at home. That’s fine, just make sure that if you are not that kind of person, you don’t wake up there ten years later, listening to the latest drama about who owes who ‘a public apology’ over an imaginary slight.

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Above, Dan Weseman and I stand in my front yard; This was the first run of the Panther’s engine. Last night Dan and I worked on an R&D project until 1 am at our little airport. On the internet, a half dozen people, egged on by a angry guy demanded ‘a public apology’  for Dan over an imaginary comment. This did provide some comedic relief for last night’s work, as we made comments like “You owe me a public apology for handing me that 7/16″ wrench” and “You owe me a public apology for your insincere public apology for my public apology” . On the serious side, we did speak at some length about the rewards of doing the type of work we do. It was about good people you get to work with, learning a tremendous amount of technical information, exercising well engineered creativity, and spending time closer to family while working near home. All stuff pretty far away from internet drama.

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-ww,

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