One Part at a time….


Below is a photo of the custom Pietenpol mount which was in the fixture on Friday.



Monday morning, its off to the powder coater, in a week it will be in Lou’s shop in NJ, one more part closer to the day his plane takes to the air.


Most people don’t look at it this way, but here is what always catches my attention about a motor mount: This particular one weighs under six pounds. Yet it is strong enough to support a 240 pound fully dressed engine / propeller combination, while the plane pulls 6 G’s and makes the engine weigh 1,440 pounds, and it has the torsional strength to resist 180 foot pounds of torque at the same time.  These are not guesses, we have load tested mount designs far in excess of these numbers, and flight tested them also.  The mount has no life span nor fatigue limit. With moderate care it could be airworthy on the 200th anniversary of powered flight.


Since 1989, I have sold more than 500 motor mounts for Corvairs. Over the years I was assisted by a few friends in making them; Ed Fisher welded about 25,  2007-09, Vern Stevenson welded about 45 working in my shop with me 2007-2015, and Travis Young working at SPA did about 25 when I was traveling and taking care of family in 2016-17. Even though the mount pictured is comfortably above number 400 that I have personally welded,  the feeling of completing one never gets old. I always spend a minute to look at it and wonder how many years it will be until I see it again in person, at a College or Oshkosh or an open house. It is the satisfaction of playing a small, positive role in the personal goal of another human.


By consumer society standards, I don’t have a financially lucrative career. However, I have something that an ever dwindling number of people do: I get to make lasting things with my own hands. This makes a big difference in my life, and practicing my craft has tided me through many tough times in my life, a blessing that many people don’t derive from their job.  If you are a homebuilder, you likely understand that feeling, because it doesn’t matter if it is how you earn your living, what matters is having access to the same feeling when you are in your shop. You understood exactly what I meant when I wrote:


“Hours in the shop working with your own hands cleanses the part of your sanity which modern life soils”


Make some part for your plane this week, the magic of it never fails to change the outlook on life.



4 Replies to “One Part at a time….”

  1. Love this William! Hope you don’t mind if I put your quote on a sign in my shop. Keep up the good work.

  2. Looks absolutely fantastic. Can’t wait to get started on the next phase of construction.

    On a side note; Watched a great movie with my son last night. “The Greatest Showman” with Huge Jackman is a over-the -top good movie. I highly recommend it for movie night if you get the time.

    Hope you have a great week. Talk to you soon.

    Lou Casella

  3. Who knows when I will start an aviation project, yet the mental attraction is exactly according to your theme. I have been a professional potter, making my own clays, kilns and wheels. I have rebuilt an engine in a shop class for which I practiced first on 2 cylinders of a 1956 Olds V8 and then a 272 Ford that became a 292, boring and honing cylinders, grinding, not just lapping, the valves and seats, measuring and replacing guides, determining bearing clearances, ordering parts, reconditioning rods, etc. Assembled VW, Ford, ‘Jeep’ engines, ovehauled toploader transmissions, Audi 5 cylinder motors, and on and on. I’ve been a professional trim carpenter, kitchen and bath remodeler, tile shower pan maker, etc. I’ve been a public school Art teacher (25 years), professional oil and watercolor artist, model airplane builder and flyer….Sounds like a lot, but it covers the so far 75 orbits of the planet I’ve flown so far. I don’t say it to boast by any means, as I consider every moment a privilege that so many other people have never experienced. (And I left out all the ‘don’t touch, don’t open’ appliances, guns, carburetors, distributors, and what have you that are incidental to this kind of ‘maker’ life). I say it so maybe you can understand why I’m on this site and have so much respect for what you and all the others do! Carry on! You’re outrageous people! Keep sharing, encouraging, love life, make beer, and laugh! {;^)

  4. William I am looking forward to the day when I can show you my airplane with the engine mount you built.I get such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with every part I complete and make work. I wish I could do it for a living but I think if I did it would spoil it because I look forward to going into my shop and making something every chance I get. And to think what I made will fly one day. That is what keeps me going. And all your writings and philosophy is a constant inspiration . As I have said before thanks for all you do.

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