Choosing less ‘information’.

Builders,

While society places a lot of value on ‘staying engaged’, I will confess to slowly drifting away from that idea, and over time I have become convinced that being much more selective about ‘information’ I am exposed to is the right answer for myself.

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I stopped watching TV a long time ago, and after last years election, I decided my life might be just fine if I went a few years or a decade or two without ever hearing a ‘news’ report on politics again. A year ago I wrote this story about radio: Thought for the Day: Idiocy on the airwaves.  in which concluded that listening to Conservative talk and NPR had corrosive effects: “Imagine what drinking whisky and eating amphetamines might do to one’s mind”. Now I find it hard to listen to any commercial radio because the ads bother me, and even without commercials, most newer music is formulaic and processed sounding.

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In the last year, I stopped reading most magazines, because I kept reading stories that pushed a product so brazenly I kept looking for the fine print that should have said “special advertising section” or something. As an EAA member since 1989, I can recall reading every word of Sport Aviation the day I got it, but I will confess to rarely reading any of it now. I just read an article about a modified Aircam where the article essentially slammed a very proven design in favor of some very questionable modifications, without offering any numerical data, all while touting a $120K twin as ‘affordable to operate’.  That isn’t my reality, and I am better off not looking inside, because I don’t want to give away my afternoon to being annoyed about something that really will make no difference in my life. It is all part of my gradual move toward being more selective about information I ingest. I essentially am done with the junk food of information.

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If someone really wanted to learn something about designing a metal wing, that article offers nothing. They would be vastly better off just buying a copy of Chris Heintz’s book and really committing to study it. That isn’t junk food, it is informational nutrition.

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I fully understand this isn’t the national norm. Even 15 years ago, word went out to all aviation writers that the new limit on the length of a story should be 1,000 words maximum, because data showed that people didn’t have the attention span to read anything longer. I countered that we needed to write more informative articles, not entertaining ones, and personally, if people didn’t like learning, I wasn’t in favor of ‘dumbing down’ aviation to make it more palatable for their abbreviated attention span. This wasn’t a convincing argument, and I freely admit I was wrong about what the general public really wanted.

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I am 54 now, and I have been in aviation a long time, and I have a pretty sharp definition of what I would like to learn, build and fly in the next 10 years. The journey of getting there is something I am looking forward to. There will be a lot to learn and practice, but the information I will need will in-depth and timeless. I will not have the hours to toss away on ‘junk food info-tainment’ writing and media. The other benefit to being selective about the information I choose to take in is avoiding things that annoy or depress me, because I am never productive under either of those conditions. I am not perfect about this stuff, but it is a process I am refining year by year, and I am committed to having a more peaceful and productive year than seasons past.

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-ww.

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Three takes on a carbine: Top to bottom: AR-15 in 5.56 w/M-4 barrel (It has a welded flash suppressor to be legal length) , A Ruger Mini-14 in .300 Blackout, set for twilight hog work,  and an CAR-15 in .223, shade over 6 pounds empty. These are all legal to own in Florida, but contrary to media myth, they require a serious State background check.  A friend who works with this woman: Thought for the Day: Feminism in Rural Florida at the local NAPA store came over at the end of the day and we spent the last 20 minutes of daylight on the short range in my yard. The CORSA magazine is for scale.

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My choice to be more selective on ingesting ‘information’ doesn’t just apply to aviation. It carries over to all machines I am interested in, including firearms. 30 years ago I read gun magazines and spoke to ‘experts’ at the range and stores. later came the web, were just like aviation, everyone with a mystery email name is an expert. Today, I am just as involved, but I learn a lot more, because I am much more selective about the information I read and accept. I have not read a magazine in years, never read websites where the people don’t have real names, and I don’t engage local ‘experts’.  For an example of what you can learn from a really well researched person on the history, ideas, designers, manufacturing  patents and operations of firearms, check out Ian McCullum’s  http://www.forgottenweapons.com/ .  His corresponding YouTube channel has 415,000 subscribers, and 100 million views, which says many people actually want to learn, and are not satisfied with ‘info-tainment’,  truisms and  old wives tales. It would be very nice to find a comparably popular aviation education site, but I haven’t seen it yet.

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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.

12 Responses to Choosing less ‘information’.

  1. jaksno says:

    I like some of what I see in the EAA mag, and of course I’m ignorant, just a reader, but I sure wish it was different, more truly honest, less commercial, about what its title says it is, etc. When I complained to them about this, they referred me to the forums/webinars, the Antique/Classic niche, etc. I’m glad they have helped with pilot issues the last few years: Sport Pilot, Medical, Non privatization of airspace control, etc. I’m 20 years older than you are, and I can sure agree the the world has gotten a lot more ‘plastic’ and homogenized, spun, PC’d, and all the rest. You are 100% right that we must take responsibility for what we ‘eat’ at the sloppy media mangers. I only watch TV for a little while in a motel if I’m on the road. I could afford to watch better movies, although some are decent documentaries. Paul said, not Poberezny, to think on things of good reputation, beautiful, wholesome, uplifting, etc. Good advice then and now! None of us, no matter what our ages, really has the time to waste on the mental and emotional pollution of the current age. “Think Different!” {;^)

  2. Dan glaze says:

    I think a good start to a teaching aviation channel would be a compilation of your informative training sessions at Corvair college’s, I for one learn something new at every college. Just my pennies worth, dan-o

  3. Jim Tomaszewski says:

    I totally agree William! The only magazine I still read cover to cover is Contact Magazine. I get Kitplanes & Sport Aviation but only spend 10 minutes browsing through. What I am doing with my twin Corvair project may be excessive in many ways, it is still very grassroots at heart. I find my self re-reading my 1970’s Sport Aviation’s and wishing I was back in time.

    Jim

    • Bob 'early builder' Dewenter says:

      Jim, How about an update…or am I ignorant to a known source of an update on the TWIN JAG.

      • Jim Tomaszewski says:

        Hi Bob. Just a few months from finishing. Working with FAA now and still have quite a bit of finish work left on my fiberglass work. There are some updates on Homebuilders Corner on the EAA forums but nothing real recent. As far as the Corvairs, I have both engines tuned perfectly and I’m extremely happy with how smooth and powerful they are! I will send William an update soon with photos and videos of my recent progress. Right now digging out of a blizzard which is putting a damper on working on my project.

  4. David Jones says:

    Once again. Great info. Thanks.

  5. Harold Bickford says:

    Interesting perspective for sure. TV/radio news; well that is suspect regardless of the source especially when commentators have no actual experience of what they are reporting on. With shows/movies the question is often “how did they create that scene or develop the dialog?”.
    Like Jim I am happily anachronistic with airplanes and simply want to know why and how along with the history then translate that into a finished project or in our case, projects.

    The 1000 word threshold can go both ways; on the one hand little really good information while on the other possible limitations of the author are masked. When I did graduate work 1000 words would have been deemed far too little effort, i.e. a grade of F. Of course that activity created it’s own selective environment and carried over to other disciplines.

    Harold and Edi

  6. Dennis McGuire says:

    William,
    I love guns too. Especially older guns. my AR-15 looks like the ones used in Vietnam along with my AK-47. i have a collection of rifles that was used in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Also a .45 auto 1911 pistol.
    It appears the grass roots Pilots also love Guns.
    Is there a connection there?

  7. Sten Backhans says:

    Interesting insight and definitively includes firearms. Gun articles started to lose their stringence from the 70´s. A reader in search of factual information can still enjoy Mann, Crossman, Whelen, Sharpe and others now found in Antiquarian bookshops. And Cooper is gone.

  8. George Gay says:

    I`am a gun nut. I have several WW11 combat rifles, among others.

  9. Lee Forshee says:

    DITTO !!!!!

  10. Stuart Snow says:

    I’m still waiting for the Corvair interrupter gear to be developed so I can fire the Vickers thru the prop blades. I’m afraid just having the Lewis gun on the top wing of the Pietenpol wont be enough.

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