Traditional Homebuilding, Into the night.

Builders,

8:30 PM here in Florida, Saturday night and 65F out. We are closing in on completing Justin’s custom mount. Another hour at the weld bench and Vern will have it polished off. Over the years I figure we have made nearly 50 one of a kind mounts, this is the first Starlet mount, but not the last custom one. I have long said, if the only impediment to a builder using a Corvair is the mount for his plane of choice doesn’t yet exist, I will make it.

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Earlier today Justin and I stopped by the SPA shop where Dan and Rachel were working on a Saturday afternoon, as many small business owners do. They also have plans for this years flying season. The offered to let Justin try a Panther cowl, exhaust and intake, to check their fit to see if making custom items was avoidable. It was the kind of things old school homebuilders always did for each other.

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People have said some nice things about the work we do supporting builders. My actions here are not original ideas. they are patterned after how the best of homebuilders I met decades ago treated the ‘new to building’ me.

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I was fortunate enough to know the EAA’s founder Paul Poberezney. I exchanged letters with him, wrote for his personal magazine, was the first guest speaker at his SAA flyin. He was human, not perfect, but he really did understand how to treat people and look for their better side. Even if aviation really wasn’t a ‘brotherhood’ he believed it could be, and went about proving this one day at a time. His reward was largely the same one I’m after: getting to spend your days in the company of better people.  You can’t pay the bills with it, but it goes a long way toward having a satisfying life.

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Above, Vern putting the last of the Tig weld beads on the mount. This is where skill and experience come into play. We built the ‘tray’ in my fixture, welded some of the bottom elements complete, tacked all the tubes with it fixtured to the firewall, but all the finishing welds are done with the mount free on the bench. If you weld too much in one spot it will badly warp without a fixture. By considering the duration, sequence and angle of the beads, the welds can be done with almost no distortion.  Knowing just how much duration, which sequence and what angle comes from a few decades of mounts.

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WW.

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