Next Event: Zenith Aircraft Open House Sept. 22-23.

Builders:

Zenith Aircraft is holding their annual open house in Mexico MO on September 22-23. Dan Weseman from SPA/Panther and myself will be traveling out and doing a complete Corvair assembly and test run demonstration, just as we did in 2016. This was a very popular event. It does not require reservations to attend, and it is open to all builders, not just current Zenith builders.  If you are thinking of attending, make plans now.

 Read more on the factory website: http://www.zenith.aero/profiles/blogs/planning-open-hangar-day-25

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Above a picture from our 2016 engine assembly and test run demonstration. Dan Weseman, in the red shirt, offered detailed information to builders seeking to better understand the attributes of the Corvair and the parts and support we offer.

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The Zenith open house dinner is an important event not just for Zenith, but also on the homebuilding calendar. The President of the EAA has previously used the dinner to speak directly to homebuilders, in a real grass roots setting. Above I am pictured  with EAA’s  Charlie Becker after the 2016 dinner. He had just presented me with the EAA Major Achievement award, recognizing 25 years of work on behalf of traditional homebuilding.  The award was very moving, and the fact I could show it to my Father before he passed is important to be beyond words, a chance to show my father I had conducted myself by the values he and men of his generation owed their allegiance to.  Read the story here: EAA Major Achievement Award.

 

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Above Roger and I stand at the bar after the 2016 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. Read the whole story here: Zenith’s Roger Dubbert, man who has flown 10,000 demo flights.

 

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Ford Man and ‘Old Hairy Guy’ deploy to Zenith ” These are our code names, over the years Dan and I have covered many Corvair events together, and our displays are right next to each other every year at Oshkosh. For the origins of the names, read this:“Old hairy guy” and Ford Man deploy to the west coast

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Above the Westedt’s, Craig and Val, stand in front of Val’s CH-650. Craig had hands on the motor, but the airframe is Val’s achievement.  This was the first year at the factory. They flew in from Oklahoma. This plane was awarded “Best low wing zenith” at the 25th Open House. For a look at Corvair powered planes at the 2016 event: Corvairs at the 25th Zenith open house.

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Read this to better understand my perspective on the value of showing up at events: Nine days to Zenith’s 25th Open House, Mexico MO.

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Here is another story about the 2016 event: Working with builders at Zeniths Open House.

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Important points:

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Everyone interested in homebuilding is welcome; you do not need to be a Zenith builder to be welcome at their open house. The Heintz family has a 40 year history of supporting homebuilders of all kinds, not just their current builders.

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There is on site camping, but motel space in Mexico MO is limited, if you are thinking about attending, make reservations soon.

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Dan and I will be demonstrating all of our assembly techniques; we welcome builders taking pictures, notes and video. While I will have plenty of Conversion manuals on hand, anyone seriously interested in getting the most out of following every detail of the build and test run should read the manual through in advance. If you don’t have one, you can order one here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/shop/ and it will be shipped out right away.

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We will be conducting “Parking lot Inspections” which means any part you have for your Corvair that you would like us to look at, bring it, and we will.  If you have a case, crank, heads or any other part that you would like inspected, bring them, and we will be glad to give them a look. This is also an opportunity to get in the game and save the shipping on sending these parts in for overhaul or modification. We will load them in the trailer and bring them back with us to Florida. This saves packing and shipping, and gets you started and ready for the coming Corvair Colleges.

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If you have never met Dan or myself in person, and you are still in the decision process of which engine will power your homebuilt, the Zenith Open House is an outstanding opportunity to come, look and make a much more informed decision. I have always said that Corvairs are not for everyone, but for the traditional learn build and fly homebuilders with the goal of mastering their engine, not just owning it, the Corvair is an excellent option. I welcome the chance to meet new potential builders in the relaxed setting where they can get a very good look at how much Dan Weseman and myself have to directly share with builders.  The very best relationship between a builder and his engine provider is one based on mutual respect. Come meet me in person and get a much better understanding of why I have been continuously working with homebuilders for 28 years.

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Wewjr

 

Machines vs Appliances, putting metal in microwaves

Builders,

I have written extensively on the differences between machines and appliances, and why only a brainwashed consumer has “brand loyalty” for appliances, conversely, people who chose to spend their lives with durable machines who’s designs, construction and durability are worthy of respect, can actually bestow their favor on such machines.

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Perhaps nothing arouses the displeasure of a machinery loving individual like a sticker, written by a lawyer, that says “no user serviceable parts inside”. Seeing such a judgmental decree on a piece of private property already purchased, and now malfunctioning, leads to expressing a “response” with a machine, directed at the defective appliance……..

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When my Chinese made, microwave stopped heating things just after the one year  warranty ran out, it made me think of a time when we expected our US made household appliances to last 20 or more years. The sticker on the back, pictured below, smugly justifying the choice to make the product non-repairable and blaming it on the owner ticked me off.  So out to the back yard it went for an encounter with machines of great quality and brilliant design, a contrast worthy of being filmed.
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Above, the last statement on the sticker is the most offensive. It motivated me to violate their most ardently repeated warning not to “Put metal into the microwave”. The metals we selected were copper, steel and lead.

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Above is a 90 second film of Machines vs Appliances.  Special thanks to my neighbor Ryan for his assistance.  For those that like detail, Remington 870 delivers hits 1 and 2, both 7/8 .oz slugs, and 3, a 00 buck magnum round. hits 4-30 are all from an AR in .223,  all 55gr. FMJ.  Now the sticker should simply read “No serviceable parts, period”

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More stories of Machines vs. Appliances:

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A look at a running 95 year old aircraft engine: Machines vs Appliances Part #2

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A look at a classic: Made in USA : .45-70 at 143 years old

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Some very heavy machines in my yard:Made in USA – When size and quality matter.

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My personal Code of Conduct: Why “Made in America” matters to me.

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This was the #1 most popular story I wrote in 2016. Read the comments also to understand your fellow countryman’s perspective: Made in America – data plates – obituaries to US manufacturing jobs . I don’t like the ‘leadership’ of either national party, but I wrote that story two weeks before the DNC got a harsh lesson in taking the loyalty of underemployed  blue collar Americans for granted.

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A very loyal airport dog.

Builders,

The best known dog at our little airport is Kirby, a twenty pound,  ten year old canine with genealogy that couldn’t be sorted out with DNA testing and the complete records of the AKC. He is 100% American mutt, and like most dogs spared from early extinction, he is totally loyal to his best friend, Alex.

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Alex owns a large concrete business, and Kirby has spent nearly every minute of his life with Alex. They go to work all day together, Hang out most of the night at Ronnie’s our local bar and grill, and at night head back to Alex’s hangar apartment. Because of this and his slightly insecure nature, Kirby will do anything to stay by Alex’s side.

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Last week, Kirby snuck out of the apartment late at night to run around the hangar. Alex didn’t notice, and shut the door for the night. In the early hours of the morning he was awakened by Kirby, covered in white dust. Looking around, he discovered that Kirby had tunneled his way in through 2 layers of sheet rock. It had taken most of the night, but it is all in a nights work for a loyal dog.

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Above, Kirby being lightly scolded in front of the tunnel he bored through the apartment wall.
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For a look at another Kirby story, read this: Sunday, a long day at the airport. It is a look at a day of work at our place in 2013. The end of the story is a hard lesson I learned bout looking at the lives of others.

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A very tough airport cat.

Builders,
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I walked into my hangar, and my neighbors cat Patches, a 12 year old, bony 5 pound female ran out the door with something in her mouth. My coffee had not yet saturated my brain, and my first thought was “Why is Patches stealing an air hose?” A moment later I got another glance and saw she had a snake in her mouth.

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I chased her across my yard, and under Grace’s Corvair van, pictured above.  I was relieved to see it wasn’t a water moccasin, but I had a struggle with a stick trying to get her to drop it.  By the time I did, the snake was beyond saving. Later careful inspection showed that it was an Indigo snake 48-50″ long. It’s mouth was clogged with white cat fur. Patches lives outside, but I have never seen her chase lizards nor birds. Evidently, something about this particular snake was personal.

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When I picked up the snake after the battle, I guessed it weighed about half of what Patches does, and it was four times longer, but evidently it wasn’t nearly as tough as an old airport cat from rural Florida.

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Related Stories:

Water moccasins or Beltway traffic? Back in Florida 

Environmental factors: Rain, Snakes, and Power Testing

An annual event on our calendar: Snake Season Returns

Snakes common enough to be a trip and fall hazard: Fun with Agkistrodon Piscivorus and Vern’s Aero-Trike
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