Trip to the machine Shop, a continuity of American products.

Builders,

As we get closer to Oshkosh, we stock up for the orders that come the month before. Kitty Politi and I made a run down to Volusia County to pick up CNC machined parts today.

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I have operated out of North Florida for nearly 15 years, but got started 30 years ago in the Daytona Beach area 100 miles south. I still use many of the same parts suppliers as I did decades ago, particularly the CNC aerospace shop which has made my prop hubs since the mid 1990s. It is located on the New Smyrna Beach airport.  There is a measure of your stability in this kind of long term buisness relationships. It also tells you our stuff isn’t from China, it is made here, the core of this story: Why “Made in America” matters to me..

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Across the ramp from our machine shop is the American Aero hangar. Kitty and I stopped in for a look. Get a close look, That is a P-38 and a P-51B in the hangar amongst the other warbirds. The Allison engines on these planes were 100% designed and built by General Motors, just like your Corvair. In the 1940s, GM even owned the majority of North American Aviation.

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Thirty years ago,  I hung around the same hangar when it was owned by a very Illustrious character named Harry Doan. It was filled with a wild collection of warbirds, including several AD-1’s and a F-9F.  He owned a number of bars in Daytona, notably “Dirty Harry’s”.  If you like Cold War history, try this: “Doan Helicopter Inc,”  owned N4410F, the C-123K provider shot down while suppling the Contras in 1986, starting the Iran Contra Affair. Doan was killed in a Skyraider mishap at the Tico warbird show 25 years ago, but I can still remember what it was like to be an Embry-Riddle student and visit this same hangar as if it was last month.

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At Oshkosh, there will be plenty of people wandering among displays trying to decide on what to buy. Many of them will buy an imported engine from a short lived company or an airframe of dubious origin without ever googling the name to see what they are getting into. The Corvair engine in your workshop, and your efforts to be its creator and master are just the opposite of this. It is an American made product, which will serve your personal goals and allow you to have your place in the long arc of American aviation. When you look back 30 years, you will have a solid undeniable achievement. For reasons I’m yet to understand, others will settle for much, much  less.

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WEWjr.

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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 www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to Trip to the machine Shop, a continuity of American products.

  1. Byron Engle says:

    Who’s Kitty?

  2. sarahafl says:

    That mention of Harry Doan took me back to my own ERAU days. I worked at the FBO where he kept his T-33 and Aero Commander so I heard a lot about his exploits. There was one notable story about the firing up of an old Hiller Hornet, a small two seat helicopter powered by Ramjets on the tips of the blades. Also there were progress reports on his search of the local terrain looking for signs of WWII wrecks that he could scavenge parts from. I believe he was looking to get enough pieces to make a USN Dauntless dive bomber. Those were the good old days.

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