63 Days until Oshkosh 2017.

Builders:

We have slightly more than two months until Airventure 2017 (July 24 – July 30).  As always, our space will be #616, in the North Aircraft display area, across from the Zenith Aircraft display, right next to SPA/Panther.

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In the next 60 days, I have a number of stories of newly flying planes, parts, skills and events to share. I have taken the last month off from writing, but not from working. We have a number of smaller evolutionary changes and developments, and some great success stories, but the lack of published stuff was caused by my focus on physical parts and work. Sorry, I don’t have a great dramatic story, it just got to be really nice weather in Florida, and every time I thought about sitting at the keyboard for a few hours to bang out a story, I just went out to the runway and did a few laps around the pattern instead.

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Over the last five or six years, I have averaged 2 or 3 stories a week on this blog. Much of it is just opinions of Florida a grease monkey, but at least half of it has some really valid technical point, either as the main subject or a supporting element, and 20% are purely about minimum understanding of the building and operation of Corvairs to have a reasonable expectation of success.  Since the first of the year, I have quietly interviewed a great number of builders and have come to the honest conclusion that the great majority of builders, good people with good intentions, are still missing many elements of critical information, all available here, they just didn’t read or remember them.

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There is an explanation for this: Our society encourages and admires people who skim subjects rather than mastering them. I know this, but often underestimate how pervasive this is. Ever since my first week at Embry Riddle three decades ago, I have been a voracious reader, studier, and note taker on the parts of aviation that I participate in. Many of the people I know, like Dan Weseman are the same way, and I have always gravitated toward any chance to learn from any aviator who approached the subject the same way.  It doesn’t seem real to me that anyone seriously thinking about building and flying a plane would gather material on the subject in any lesser way, but I have plenty of evidence I am wrong.

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A few weeks ago, a second owner of a Corvair powered plane took off on his first flight, and the weather conditions were 50F and raining. His intention was to fly across the continent, but in a few minutes he was turned back. On approach to the airport, his engine quit and the plane was heavily damaged.  Although he had previously been given all of the manuals, he told the FAA that he didn’t use carb heat. 60 days earlier I wrote this: Critical Understanding #10 – Carb Ice, but evidently he missed that also.

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There is a temptation to think that the above story is an aberration, but it isn’t. I just had a 20 year friend, who came to Corvair colleges, works in aerospace and is a sharp guy come down to my house to run his Corvair. His engine ran great, but he had never heard about the switch in recommended plugs, nor had he heard of the “Critical Understanding” series, nor had he ever joined our private discussion group for his model of aircraft. He just has a lot on his plate in life, and he isn’t staying up with the information. He isn’t alone, I am going to say that he is actually in the majority, and this does cause me concern.

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Someone is going to say “WW writes to much” well great, I just took a whole month off from typing a word, and I am willing to bet the person leveling that charge didn’t use an hour of that month to catch up on reading.  I am kicking around a lot of different thoughts, but in the end, I come back to the fact that too few people are really making a priority of mastering the engine they hope to fly behind.  It isn’t a comforting thought.

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I don’t regard people who miss information as bad people nor the enemy, I just think they are not effectively preparing for flight.  Here is a simple example: When the discussion came up about why I wasn’t writing last month, I guy chimed in to say perhaps I was in NJ caring for my Father.  He evidently missed this story: William E. Wynne Sr. 1925-2017, and the half dozen others I wrote about memories of my father. We are not speaking of a guy who has never met me, I am speaking of a thoughtful guy I am known for 10 years, who I actually saw and ate dinner with at Sun n Fun since my father’s passing. He isn’t a bad guy, but he isn’t reading this blog often enough to stay ahead of detailed information.

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By Oshkosh, I will come up with an approach to address the disconnects in information, but in the end, it is the builders’ total responsibility to learn what he must know. I want to increase his success rate, and I am willing to adjust, but it isn’t within my power to force anyone to do their homework. I just present what I have learned, and it is up to the builder to use it.

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Wewjr.

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