Thought for the Day: What Girl Scout Cookies can teach you about Homebuilding.


It’s that season again, when little green and brown clad urchins barricade supermarket exits and demand $4 and your will power before they let you pass. I’m against negotiating with terrorists, but I do have a particular problem with Thin Mints and Tag-alongs that makes me a poor negotiator on this subject.


Wouldn’t it be great if Girl Scout Cookies were good for you? What if they had no calories, were completely balanced nutrition, and you dentist said things like “Your teeth are so white, I see you have been keeping up on your Thin Mints”.  A pleasant fantasy, but everyone understands it isn’t vaguely associated with reality.



Above;  My 1939 copy of “Your Wings” by Assen Jordanoff, and proof I have no will power around Girl Scout Cookies.  The book is a classic from an era where knowing your stuff was central to being an aviator.  It still is, but most people would rather be wowed by interiors, glass cockpits and paint jobs. They pay little attention to the fundamentals of flying. This $20 used book has more human reward and satisfaction in it than any $2,000 interior ever will. 


OK, so everyone understands how idiotic it would be if I tried to tell people a diet made of 100% cookies was good for you, why don’t the equivalent fantasies in aviation bring the same condemnation?


When people say:

“I want to have a totally reliable homebuilt, that never gives me any issues, and I want to safely fly my family around the country in it. I want it done in one year, and I want it to look great.………But I’m unwilling to spend any money on the engine, I don’t comply with AD’s and Service letters because they can’t make me, I never read directions, I only listen to people who tell me what I want to hear, I paid $2,000 for an interior but will not spend a penny on transition training, I can’t tell you the Va of any plane I have ever flown, and I bought my kit off barnstormers because it was 25% cheaper than a new one, and I’m just going to ignore all the ‘snowman’ holes drilled in the spar with no edge distance because I’m not going to fly aerobatics and planes are overbuilt. “


If you catch anyone in homebuilding saying any part of the above statement, or any variation on it, please treat them as if they are telling you Girl Scout Cookies are pure nutrition.  Well built planes are made of reading, learning, understanding and craftsmanship. Their successful operation is made of training, understanding and good judgment. There are no short cuts to this, there is no magic. 


There is a certain kind of person who doesnt like hearing what I just said. They like thinking they can game the system, or in modern parlance, “hack” it to allow them some personal short cut. They think paying your dues, learning and real training is for average people who can’t figure out the angles.  After 30 years in homebuilding, I can tell you these are the first people to quit…if they are lucky. In the rare chance they finish, sooner or later, reality and physics show up with a bill that can’t be paid.




3 Replies to “Thought for the Day: What Girl Scout Cookies can teach you about Homebuilding.”

  1. You’re lucky. My Girl Scout cookies cost $5/box. I’ve jokingly threatened to have the girls arrested for selling addictive substances.

    My weakness? Lemonaides. I hide some of them from myself so that I can enjoy them later in the year. Out of sight, out of mind – I hope.

    I have the false pride that at least I don’t eat them all at once.

    To the point of your post: as Harry Nilsson wrote in “The Point” “You see what you want to see, you hear what you want to hear.”

    Believing what we want to instead of what is real is a weakness we all possess, but it’s one we have to especially guard against in aviation. Bad information that we choose to believe, at best, can make flying much more expensive than it needs to be, but at worst, kill us.

  2. William, i just love your comments, writing style, and absolute down to earth truth on just about everything. If we had more people like, you there would be a lot less stupidity floating around. I have to totally agree. Girl Scout cookies should totally nutritious. I have a hard time passing up those chocolate covered ones with the coconut. O wow. Good . Have a great day and look forward to you comments. Stan bohman. Kimberly,idaho

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