Corvair events on the calendar:

Builders;

Here is a look at what is going on this month:

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In a few days there will be the first ever Sport aviation showcase in Deland Florida. Dan and Rachel Weseman, will have the full commercial Panther display, as well as our Corvair stuff. There will be several Corvair powered birds there, and I am the featured speaker on the 4th. Plan on being there, you will not want to miss it. No sign up required. If there is a part you wish to pick up in person, please call Rachel to coordinate in advance 904-626-7777.  For more information read: Deland FL, “Sport Aviation Showcase” November 3-5

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The following weekend, we are holding the Second Corvair Finishing school in Green Cove Springs at the Panther SPA shop. Please note: this does require signing up. As I write this I believe there are 2 more observer slots left. For up to the minute information, call Rachel at 904-626-7777. Read more here: Finishing School #2, Nov. 11-13, Florida.

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CC #39, March 10-12, 2017,  Barnwell South Carolina: Please note the date change! This College can support nearly 100 builders, but if you were thinking about going, know that there are only 11 slots available.  Below is the active sign up sheet:

https://corviarcollegeregistration.wufoo.com/forms/cc39/  If you had a problem with signing up, try this link.

Website stories: Outlook 2016, Corvair College #39, Barnwell SC, 11/11/16 and Corvair College #39 at Barnwell postponed.  This story has a link about college sign ups, but it was just for people who were transferring from the original date to the March one. The purple link above is the general sign up. Special thanks to Shelley Tumino for setting up the oil line services.

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Blast from the past, 2005:

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February 14, 2005: Grace Ellen and I with Dr. Gary Ray and his Zenith 601XL project.   The plane has been flying now for almost a decade.  It has made pilgrimages to Oshkosh, the Zenith open house and to Corvair College #20. If your project looks like the picture above, know than many great hours of adventure await in your future.

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Thought for the Day: Bob Hoover – What did you learn from him?

Builders:

Last week marked the passing of R.A. “Bob” Hoover, arguably the best stick and rudder pilot who ever lived. There were many ‘tributes’ to him that spoke of things like “What a great loss” and sentiments of that sort. For a slightly different take, let me share a few thoughts that came from a brief conversation with Gus Warren.

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I was a bit tired of all the “huge loss” and RIPS. ” said Gus, “He was in his 90s, led a great life, and figured about every way possible to tell everyone else about what he learned.” At the root of Gus’s thought is a serious question of perspective and philosophy. It can be summed up by asking if you saw Bob Hoover as an instructor or as an entertainer.

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Gus, myself, and many other people see Hoover as an instructor. Yes, he put on thousands of great shows, but they were to demonstrate physics, not a claim to magic. He had a healthy ego, and could play the showman part with the best of them, but it was his consistent message there was no magic, only understanding, focus and practice.

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 He was an honest writer, who’s goal wasn’t to have you marvel at him as a demi-god, but to have you actually learn something from him. Most basic case in point: Hoover frankly discussing that he was relentlessly airsick in primary flight training. Think of how many student pilots questioned if flying was for them based on being queasy, but how few advanced pilots took the time to say it happens and how you get past it.

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Hoover offered countless frank lessons like that. As an instructor, his work is timeless, and it didn’t die with him. As an entertainer, it is all just video now, and his Commander is stuck in the NASM, where it will never fly again. If you only know Hoover the entertainer, the guy pouring iced tea in a glass during a roll, you are missing the better half.  Make the transition to understanding him as an instructor by picking up a copy of his 1997 book “Forever Flying”. It is a good start.

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Above, Gus Warren in the front seat, with his Father Clare Warren in back of our Piet in 1997, Edgewater Florida.  Gus’ father, the legendary Clare Warren, soloed in 1932, got his pilot’s license in 1936, became an instructor in 1940, logged more than 20,000 hours of instruction, and flew most of the models of light aircraft ever produced in the U.S.

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Gus is a flight instructor, and I learned at least half of what I know about good flying directly from him. I had the privilege of knowing Gus’s Dad, and I well understood that things Gus taught me came from his fathers lifetime of experience, as an instructor. Bob Hoover made it to 94, and Clare Warren made it to 97. We don’t have them with us, but we get to cherish everything they worked to share, and in that way they are both still here.

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Read the rest of the story: The Warren’s 1997.

Thought for the Day: Adam Smith, capitalism in a theoretical vacuum

Disclaimer: No technical information follows, just food for thought, a nutrition that zealots have no taste for.

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Builders:

Last week I wrote the story: Made in America – data plates – obituaries to US manufacturing jobs . The basic premise of the story was pointing out what we lost as a country when we turned to buying cheap products from overseas.

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Above, a 2,850 cc Corvair. The only used parts in this engine are the case halves, the head castings, the oil case casting, the distributor body and some misc. hardware. The rest, including the cylinders, pistons rods, crank, and all conversion parts are brand new, made in the United States of America.

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Ironically, a Wall Street Journal writer, Bret Stephens wrote an editorial the same day, part of which extolled the virtues of buying cheap products from overseas. Because Stevens’s biography says went straight from the University of Chicago to the London school of economics to being a New York City resident and editor of the WSJ at the ripe old age of 24, I am going go out on a limb and guess that Stephens doesn’t know much about manufacturing that made America, nor the lives of the people who built the country he lives in.

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Many journalists with a masters degree in economics want to justify their love of Lexuses and perhaps their embarrassment for their parents blue collar jobs, turns to the same paragraph in “The wealth of Nations” written by Adam Smith in 1776, as justification for avoiding buying anything made in America:

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“It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better to buy it of them.”

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OK, econ. 101 refresher course: Western Civilization is allegedly based on Judeo-Christian thought, but unfortunately it is mostly based on the worship of money, not God; Most faiths have an ancient text and a prophet, and the worship of capitalism has the book “The Wealth of Nations” and a prophet in the form of a peculiar Scotsman named Adam Smith. Like other malicious worshipers, the truly greedy benefit from selective reading of their good book and conveniently ignoring unholy elements of their prophet.

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Before getting to why the quote above is ludicrous when applied to both families and countries, a few words about Smith are in order. First, he wasn’t as most people believe, an American, nor in favor of our countries existence; He never made anything other than two books; he was considered by his contemporaries as somewhere between totally absent minded and seriously mentally ill; in spite of his family analogies, he expressed no interest in women, was never married, had no children, and lived with his mother until he was 61.  As a Scotsman, he was required to be a cross dresser, and wear women’s skirts and knee socks. ( I don’t judge them for this, but does everything have to be plaid?)

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Here is why “The Wealth of Nations” is a distorted view of capitalism:  In Smiths world it was ‘normal’ and legal for people to own slaves. Great Britain took this concept to the national level, where they owned other countries (like us). If you can own people, labor has no value, and if you have colonies that have to buy your products at gunpoint, the term market value doesn’t exist. Lets gloss over ideas like 9 year olds working in coal mines because 14 year olds want too much money, and slaves are too valuable for that kind of work. These were ‘normal’ in the world of the prophet of pure capitalism. He also didn’t take into account, corruption, lobbyists, currency manipulation, the eventual rise of imaginary financial instruments like credit default swaps, legislatures for sale, countries bent on war over trade, or any of the other factors that exist outside the vacuum of Smiths imagination. Just maybe, people should be a little more reluctant to draw random quotes from the good book of greed.

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He is an easy (and true) example of why Smiths quote above is national suicide for profit: I have an old friend who is a citizen of an extremely wealthy middle eastern oil country. He tells me that his country is in deep trouble; They have never made anything domestically, they just followed Adam Smiths quote above, and paid for it with oil revenue.  They also came to believe that nearly everything in the country, including pumping the oil, could be done by paid foreigners. Every semi-skilled task is done by Palestinians on open work visas. Even the security forces are staffed with mercenaries. Now the problem: Every day, the world is figuring out how to use less oil, and he finds himself living in a country with fellow citizens who are several generations into having no have no idea how to make anything, while having the work ethic of a millennial addicted to video games. He ends all these conversations with the same exhaled sentence: “We are so screwed”.

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What has that got to do with the good old USA? Follow this idea: We don’t have oil to buy everything with, so we made up something called the ‘national debt,’ spent 20 trillion dollars on that credit card, and the overseas banker got all the money to loan us buy moving our jobs to his place and selling us ‘cheap’ stuff he made in big box stores. This made 1% of America astoundingly rich, and most of us just got stuck with Craftsman tools that are now made in China, and a pile of personal debt. Now the problem: Just as people are figuring out how to use less oil, so are they figuring out that they may no longer need loan us money for our debt. We buy defense critical items from people who hate us and sell uranium to the Russians. Now go back to my old friends quote about his country, and think to yourself “We are so…….”

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OK, before you walk across the street and torch your neighbors Volkswagen that still has the “Gore 2000” sticker in the back window, realize we can still turn this around. We are only one generation into blowing this, and we still have a giant percentage of people who know how to make stuff in this country. We are well educated, and we have a legacy from our parents and grandparents of actual hard work. The key thing is to cut way back or stop buying imported things that we should be making here. Adam Smiths example is stupid, unless you are the kind of parent that says “I can just work all the time if I hire a minimum wage babysitter to raise my kids.” In reality, your country is your family and buying things made here is an investment in your family, which is a lot cheaper in the long run if they learn productive trades rather than you paying kids in families on the other side of town to learn productive trades. Think it over next time someone tells you they bought the imported one because they thought it was “Cheap” or they said they bought it because they support “Free Trade.” Both of these are very surface goals when pitted against the survival of our country.

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Hey William, why are you picking on Al Gore? The reason why I dislike old Al is because he was the single most outspoken champion of making it profitable and easy to ship manufacturing jobs out of this country, NAFTA. One of the great things about YouTube is that you can go and look at how Gore predicted it was actually going to bring waves of new jobs to this country. Right next to him was Ross Perot, who famously said that if NAFTA was passed there would be a “Giant Sucking Sound” until jobs in Mexico went up to $6 an hour, and Jobs in the US came down to the same wage.  He wasn’t exactly right, the people in the US who would have had jobs in manufacturing actually work for $7.25 an hour, but a lot of them have no job today.

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2,850cc Corvair Bearhawk LSA – now flying.

Builders,

I spoke with Craig Owen the other day, and he said he now has 33 hours on his Corvair/ Bearhawk LSA.  I built the engine for Craig a few years ago ( see New 2850cc / 110hp Corvair in photos. ) and I saw the finished plane in person while traveling around the country. ( see: House Call Bearhawk LSA; range: 6,250 miles. ) He reports that the combination is great, and he really has been enjoying it, in spite of some pretty darn cold weather in Iowa.

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Above, the plane on the ramp at Criag’s airport in Iowa. I saw it in June, he had just finished it, but was working his way through a squawk sheet of details.

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Above, a look at how the cowl quickly opens to reveal the full engine.  The mount: Bearhawk LSA Engine Mount, P/N #4201-E is an item we specifically make for the Bearhawk LSA. The nose bowl is a part that fits many Corvair powered planes. The baffle kit and cowl kit are from the Wesemans.

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Above, a side view showing : Part #3901-A Zenith/Bearhawk Stainless Exhausts, now on shelf. The heat muff shown is craigs design, the ones we provide are more compact and made of thinner material.  Craigs plane utilizes a MA3-SPA carb.

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Above, right side view. The hoses on the oil cooler are industrial units, the ones we offer are braided stainless steel. The intake manifold is our standard model. Craig has a funnel below the engine to drain the oil. The engine has a Weseman rear alternator on it.

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The aircraft isn’t perfect, but it is an outstanding effort for a first time builder. Craig views it as a work in progress, and he fine tunes the construction of parts as he understands how to make improvents on the items he has fabricated.  He is not competing with anyone, he is in this for himself, a life long dream that waited decades for the opportunity to build materialize.  It came, and for 30 months he built, and today he enjoys the fruits of his labor and determination.

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Above, Bob Barrows, the designer of the Bearhawk series, Grace and myself in our tent at Oshkosh 2013. Bob holds the distinction of having flown a homebuilt to every single Oshkosh, all of them since 1970.

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“Formal, but here to party”

Builders,

An acquaintance of mine sent an email saying “I’ll bet you don’t even own a tie.”  Well, below is the photo showing he is incorrect.  Never pays to jump to conclusions about people, they might be a lot more classy than you first suspected….

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Rachel Weseman took this photo of me arriving at their post thanksgiving party last year. Every year Dan and Rachel host a big event that starts with a Skeet shooting contest on the south overrun, morphs into a cookout-pool party, and ends 10 or 12 hours later with a giant bonfire. As a guest, I never like showing up empty handed, that is why I rode over with a box of clays, 200 shells and a 20 gauge.

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While many airports, particularly big public ones, frown on dirt bikes and firearms, our little grass strip is still a place which understands many forms of expressing ones sense of freedom, and how the perfect afternoon can often be made by the judicious (but sequentially intelligent ) blending of these expressions.

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Although I am known for a wardrobe best described as “Clothing discarded by the homeless”, I would still be the first to deride America’s relaxation of formalities of proper guest behavior. Simply put, there is no reason why a civilized person would RSVP a social gathering, and then show up without a Club tie in a Windsor knot on a Brooks Brothers shirt.  In a time of ever coarsening behavior, perhaps we can all agree on better manners.

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-ww.

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Confession: The title of this story owes it’s origin to the sagely advice dispensed by one of the greatest southern sportsmen of our times, Cal Naughton Jr. An immensely influential person, his observations on the human condition bring sense into a world woefully short of it, and offer a philosophical path for many of your countrymen.

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Made in America – data plates – obituaries to US manufacturing jobs

This post has no technical information in it, People who don’t like perspectives, other than their own, shouldn’t read it. If you like it, please consider forwarding this to your friends.

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Builders,

Today, I took one hour to walk through my hangar, and that of my neighbor Paul Salter, and photographed data plates on machines we own. Both Paul and I were taught by our fathers to take great pride in the craftsmanship,  engineering, and manufacturing of our fellow Americans, and this is reflected in the fact that almost everything in each of our hangars was made in the United States of America.

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The age of tools shown reflects that American products were machines built to work and last. This was long before people who knew the price of everything, but the value of nothing, convinced consumers that imported disposable appliances were somehow better products, better for our country, and better for the environment. These lies simultaneously allowed corporations with no loyalty to this country to get rich exporting jobs, and they also permanently crippled hundreds of cities and towns in our country with pervasive underemployment and a withered tax base. This doesn’t even touch on the damage done by astronomic trade deficits.

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Millions of good, stable manufacturing jobs that allowed a parent to  pay a mortgage and send their kids to a fair priced college where systematically disposed of with trade deals and tax polices, while elaborate propaganda blamed workers, unions and product liability, which were small factors compared with the greed. The income and benefits of a manufacturing job was hardly replaced with both mother and father working service sector jobs without benefits, while the children have little supervision.

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Twenty five years after most of these once great companies are gone, the cities that housed them face chronic problems from a labor force that who’s only understanding of the American dream is listening to now distant memories of their parents and grandparents. Into these cities we send police officers, now tasked with the impossible job being cop, domestic councilor, teacher, addiction therapist and role model, all at once, and we act outraged when this can not be accomplished without some tragic errors.

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In the early years, it was the blue collar workers who dreams were dashed, and largely the mobile white collar workers were insulated by moving to the suburbs and the gated communities, but eventually they learned that almost any job can be ‘outsourced.’  Eventually even the people who eluded any damage found out that their kids, graduating from college with a mountain of debt, had to move back home, because they couldn’t pay their expenses and debts, far less start their own lives in an economy that no longer had a manufacturing sector.

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For decades, Americans understood the phrase “Buy American, the job you save might be your own.” All the accomplishments of America, winning WWII, the great middle class, the space program, advancements in medicine, better race relations, all were made possible by a manufacturing based economy. While there are plenty of theories of who was to blame, it is a much better question to ask “Who could have stopped this?” The only answer I have is Americans could have stopped this by simply putting the good of their fellow countrymen ahead of their greed and their belief that “imported” was some kind of a coveted title. Our country wasn’t built by greedy people employing labor in other countries, but it could end that way.

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Data plate from 1954 Briggs and Stratton 1.6 HP engine, Made in Milwaukee. Engine still works perfectly. City was recently the location of riots. People who have good jobs rarely are involved in riots. Notice the tiny print on the very bottom that again says “Made In USA”

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Grace’s Champion propeller driven generator from the 1940s, made in Los Angeles, works perfectly. L.A., once a giant manufacturing town, with a large middle class, now known for it social stress.  Note:”Made in USA”

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My super heavy duty box and pan brake from the 1950s, made in Rockford IL, home of EAA fly-inn’s during the 1960s. Works perfectly. Note it says “Made in USA” on both sides.

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Data plate on Grace’s Goodyear outboard, probably made in the 1940s. At the time, Goodyear was the worlds largest tire company. They no longer are, and the latest Goodyear airships are made in Germany.  Unemployment in Akron was 11.9% in 2010, but it is much lower today: the trick? The people who have given up looking for work are no longer counted.

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My 1947 Sun distributor test machine, 69 years old, works perfectly, I use it every week in the shop. Perhaps you have heard of some of the recent  problems in the city where it was made. I have heard all kinds of things blamed for these issues, but so far, no one has suggested that too many good jobs could be blamed.

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My 1950s 2HP, 2 stroke, Panther lawn mower. Runs, but 16″ cut is a little small to mow an acre of Florida grass. Millions of Clinton small engines were made in Iowa. Their plant was the worlds largest, far bigger than Briggs and Stratton. Today, the average income in Maquoketa IA is the same number as the poverty line in the state.

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Data plate on my 1960s bead blasting cabinet. The company was a huge manufacturer, and it still exists, but reported to Forbes that it moved to UT specifically to find the lowest labor and benefits costs. They are in Chapter 11 since the start of this year.

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A 1960s Briggs 2HP with crank up starter that originally belonged to Grace’s grandfather, used on his Reel lawnmower. Still runs great. Most Briggs engines are only “assembled” in the US, not made here any longer. Flat head engines like this model, were outlawed for sale in California, due to emissions, at the same time the state legalized smoking pot, and countless media stories were run calling the selling of Marijuana a “Good employer”.

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My 1960s Lempco 40 ton press. In WWI and WWII, Lempco was a critical defense contractor. They invented the “Hypermatic” stamping press, which operated at 7,200 stampings per minute. (Yes, that is faster than a GE mini-gun fires, but the hypermatic press can work that way for eight hours at a time.) In 2012 Lempco was sold cheaply to a Japanese firm.

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This is the B&B motor that controls the rotating turntable I use for welding items like intake manifold flanges. The company still exists and is going strong after 75 years, and still located in NY. The motor illustrates that the five boroughs of NYC, particularly Brooklyn and Staten Island were huge manufacturing centers, supporting very large middle classes. Today, half the people in NYC struggle to stay above the poverty line in service jobs, often functioning as servants to the ultra wealthy there. Read: Thought for the Day: “My Dreams”

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My Clinton flat head engine from the early 1950s. The factory started in WWII making parts for M2 Brownings.  Clinton went from being the tenth largest employer in the state of Iowa in the 1950s, to non-existent with the ‘assistance’ of some very creative bankers and financiers from New York.

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The Data plate inside Grace’s 1965 Corvair Greenbriar van. In the 1960s, GM was the largest corporation in the world, and arguably the #1 American employer. Today it is Walmart. Ask yourself which job had better pay and benefits, and pride.

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Paul’s 1965 Bridgeport 8 x 48 vertical mill. The term “Bridgeport” was synonymous with the finest. 51 years after it was made, it still works smoothly and  accurately. The machines were made from 1938 until 2004 when Bridgeport was purchased by global took company Hardinge. They have brought the Bridgeport line back, but it is said they are no longer made from US castings.

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Paul’s Logan screw lathe. Looks dirty, but that is because it works. 90,000 of these machines were made in Chicago between 1940 and 1971, when the plant was closed and moved to lower labor cost by the new owner Houdaille. The new owners tried something new in 1979 called a “Leveraged Buy out”, offering to make themselves a 20 fold increase in their investments. It didn’t work, and the whole business went down, taking the remaining jobs.

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Data Plate on Paul’s Allis Chalmers fork lift transmission. The one on the fork lift itself is no longer legible. Muncie was once home to Dayton Corporation, Delco Remy, General Motors, New Venture Gear, Indiana Steel and Wire, and Westinghouse. Today it has a tiny fraction of its manufacturing jobs left, the cities webpage says they are being ‘replaced’ by service economy jobs in retail and health care.

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Paul’s Delta tool grinder. The Data plate is a work of art. Note how the whole sentence is written out: “Made in the United States of America.”

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The Data Plate on Alan’s 1964 Chevrolet Suburban. It is on the lift at Paul’s hangar. He is mostly through the restoration to daily driver. The truck was bought brand new by Alan’s grandparents, and used to tow their Airstream trailer. It has the original 283 V-8 and Powerglide transmission.

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Paul has a huge DeVilbiss air compressor, probably from the 1940’s It was made in Toledo OH. In 1999 the company as bought and moved, and resold 5 times in the next several years. Compressors sold today with the same name have nothing to do with the original quality units, they are just re-labeled models sourced from various suppliers.

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The Delta motor on Paul’s saw. The title says Rockwell, which means it is likely from the 1960s. The thing I like best bout this is the fact it has the wiring diagram to reverse it’s rotation or change the input voltage is right on the data plate. Today, Delta tools are just junk made in China.

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Data plate on the governor of my Detroit 3-53T diesel. It shows that it was from a single cylinder 71 series generator motor, but this just shows the great interchangeability of the Detroit Diesel series engines that it also works on a three cylinder engine. Designed in 1938 by the most brilliant automotive engineer who ever lived, Charles Kettering.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_F._Kettering) sorry European fans, Robert Bosch is the wrong answer. Detroit Diesels were enormously popular, and saw service in trucks, ships, tanks, landing craft, trains, PBR’s and construction equipment. They were a separate division of GM, and a very large employer in Detroit. Because they are a 2 stroke, they were specifically outlawed in California, although they are still used in US military vehicles. GM sold Detroit to the German firm MTU.
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The Data plate on the Continental C-85 engine in Graces 1946 Taylorcraft. You can not see it well here, but between the wings is a picture of the United States Capitol , along with the motto of Continental Motors which was “As Powerful As the Nation.”  This makes me angry to type, because of course the government of mainland China, yes the commies, actually owns Continental. (Communist Chinese government at Oshkosh) This data plate above all others tells the ugliest story about greed and lack of any sense of allegiance to our country or its people. I am aware that very few people in aviation care about this, it is “Just Business” to them, but it matters to me.

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For further reading: Why “Made in America” matters to me.

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Group 1100 cam kits on shelf.

Builders,

I just got in another round of our camshafts, and have assembled them with new made in the USA gears. We now have them on the shelf at SPA/Panther ready for delivery. They come as a complete kit, with lifters, lubricant and ZDDP oil additive, every component in Chapter 1100 of the conversion manual is included. If you are planning on assembling your bottom end in the next week or month, it would be a good idea to have one of these shipped to you. If you have been good this year, maybe someone will buy you one for Christmas, but if you are in what I call the “Bag of Coal Club” , maybe just order it for yourself:

http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/1100-cam-shaft-kit/

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Above, three cams with new gears sitting outside my shop. We now have 7 kits on the shelf. The entire assembly, including raw materials and processes, is made in the United States. To learn more about cams, read this:  1100-WW Camshaft Group .

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-ww.

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