In Your Shop: A Personal Path


Below is a Picture taken in Saint Augustine last night. I am with my oldest friend in aviation, Scott Anson. I met him my very first day at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, three decades ago.



Today Scott is a gifted musician of significant skill and experience, in the photo he had just gotten off stage. When we met we were both 26, the two oldest students at the university. Being a pilot is a very small facet of Scott’s life experiences, he has had a varied and rewarding Personal Path in life. He followed his heart, he was immune to the counsel of people who had lesser motivations.


When we were students, nearly every one of our classmates were headed to careers which fit neatly into two categories: Airlines or DoD Aviation.  It was very rare to hear any student speak of working in general aviation, other than as a brief stepping stone. I can’t say the percentage of graduates who’s hearts lead them to airlines or defense, but there were many of them who simply chose the mainstream paths for Riddle graduates because they were expected to and the careers would be lucrative. Perhaps because we were older, and previously had jobs our hearts weren’t in, Scott and I both followed our hearts well off the fast track. As middle aged men looking back there are always things to reconsider, but in the final evaluation, we made a choice to follow our personal paths.


What this has to do with your Airplane Project: 

In your shop, or maybe just in the shop in your mind, resides your aircraft project; Be it metal or ideas, it is yours, and it need only serve your personal path in aviation. How well it accomplishes this mission will be determined by a number of factors, but above all others, you need to carefully and honestly consider where your heart is drawn in Experimental Aviation, and follow it.


Career choices are much tougher to make, but they are not the only decisions in aviation that people make while often being counseled, both openly and subtly, they should do what most people are doing, even if their heart lies elsewhere. This frequently leads to projects never finished, because going to the shop is voluntary, where as earning a living kept and people toiling in branches of aviation with different zip codes from the ones their hearts lived in.


Following your heart in Experimental Aviation doesn’t mean building a 1/3 scale YB-35 as your first project because Jack Northrop was your boyhood hero. It means building a Zenith even if Dick VanGrunsven is your EAA chapter president: Zenith 601HD engine; Spencer Rice’s 2,700 Corvair. It means when industry implies all panels should be glass you still consider: Thought For The Day: Mechanical Instruments.  It means when everyone tells you that you must use a Rotax 912, but you want to be there master of your power plant, not its mere owner, you think Why Not the Panther engine?.


The fact 70% of our builders are working on a Zenith 601/650/750 isn’t a sign of conformity, it is an example of the very high utility and value of these designs. But within these projects the builders still chose the Corvair, the level of finish, the panel, having an interior or not, etc.


The conclusions do not matter, it is how the builder arrives at them. Is it by informed choice, or following the herd?   I have worked to culture an atmosphere of thinking and rational consideration, so builders understand this: In Your Shop: Evaluate and Decide, is the best way for an individual to find his own Personal Path.


At work, most people must compromise to earn a living, but In Your Shop: Studio or Cell?, points out there is no need to compromise the hours in your creative space. That space is both your physical shop and the creative space in your mind.




The Next Event on the Schedule:

FlyCorvair/SPA – Joint Workshop/Open house, May 18,19,20

Also get a look at:

Build a 3.3L Corvair at the May 18-20 Workshop/Open house.

Read the links now and make a plan today.



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 and in more than 50 magazine articles.

4 Responses to In Your Shop: A Personal Path

  1. Harold Bickford says:

    The Beach Boys had “In My Room”…………..”In My Shop” is a perfect rendition for the experience.

    Key is to never lose the vision and then act on it when and where you can.

  2. Lisa Heuer says:

    I love everything about that picture of you except one thing. Bet you can guess what that is. 😉

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