Zenith’s Roger Dubbert, man who has flown 10,000 demo flights.

Builders:

Grace and I have known Zenith’s demo pilot, Roger Dubbert, for as long as we have been working with the Heintz family. ( See: https://flycorvair.net/2015/04/01/12-years-of-zeniths-powered-by-flycorvair-conversions/ ) but Roger has been at it a lot longer, having worked at the factory for more than 23 years.

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In casual conversation in a slow hour at Oshkosh 2016, I asked Roger how many demo flights he thought he had done in the 23 years he has worked in Mexico MO. He thought for a while and came back and said it “Might be as high as 11,000, but it was certainly every bit of 10,000.”  He later added that he has more than 40,000 take offs and landings in Zeniths.

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If you work outside experimental aviation those numbers might sound impressive, but if you work in experimental aviation for a living, they are nothing short of stunning. I later asked a handful of old school industry guys, and they all came to the conclusion that it very well might be the record, and that only one other pilot was even arguably even in the same arena. Keep in mind, Roger wasn’t blowing his own horn, he was just responding to my question. The conversation moved on, but Grace and I decided that we were going to do something to mark Roger’s milestone.

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When we were back in Florida we searched out a real USAF  CWU-45 Nomex flight jacket and had it embroidered to commemorate the achievement. On Friday night, at the Zenith Open House dinner, I presented it to Roger, who graciously accepted to a strong ovation from the standing room only crowd.  It was a great moment for one of the most admired men in our industry.

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Above Roger and I stand at the bar after the dinner was over. Besides being an outstanding aviator, Roger is an accomplished outdoorsman, family man, and father. He may look 24, but he is actually in his 40s.  In my dinner remarks I pointed out that very, very few experimental aircraft companies last 25 years, far less 43 like Zenith. (they have been in Mexico MO for 25 years )  The industry lifespan for new start ups is about 36 months, while some of that is economics, much of it is nefarious plans to lift peoples money without ever having to offer service on a poor product. Zenith is the polar opposite of that. The greatest single example of Zenith’s stability in the industry is the longevity of their workforce, exemplified by Roger Dubbert.

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If you are looking for a flight jacket, a word of warning: An actual CWO-45 jacket offers at tremendous amount of fire protection in an accident, because it is made for the USAF out of Nomex, but be aware there are many fakes on the internet that are Nylon, which will only melt to the wearer when exposed to heat. There are plenty of ads for jackets that are called “mil-spec” and “CWO-45 style” but they are dangerous fakes. For a look at a company that makes real ones, check this out:

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http://www.uswings.com/product/nomex-cwu-45p-flight-jacket/

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Notice the real thing is $650, five to ten times higher in cost than the fakes. If you would like the actual protection at an affordable price, most surplus ones are under $100, but look at it very closely and make sure it has the actual US military identification tag on the inside, below the collar. There is a picture of the tag on the website above. Note that all the real jackets are made in the United States. In my personal opinion, Nomex clothing and flying go together like helmets and motorcycles.

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-ww.

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About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

One Response to Zenith’s Roger Dubbert, man who has flown 10,000 demo flights.

  1. Jeff Moores says:

    I met Roger at Oshkosh ’15. He didn’t know me or of my plans to buy a kit. Even though there were many people asking him questions he took the time to answer mine. A very patient and kind man. No b.s. just straight answers for my questions. I am in the process of ordering a CH750 Cruzer kit this week. It will be Corvair powered of course.

    Jeff

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