Thought for the Day: Your 2020 Aviation Ambitions.

Builders,

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Above, earlier this year, my sister speaks with the Father of her close friend. The man is nearly 100 years old. He piloted a Dauntless at the Battle of Midway. People think of Midway as a great, decisive US victory, but did you know the Navy lost 150 aircraft, most with their complete crews?  75% of the torpedo planes were shot down, every single one in Squadron Eight. Cdr. Waldron, skipper of VT-8 confessed in his diary the night before the odds of survival were not good. His men went anyway, and when the day was over, 35 of 36 of them, including Waldron, were dead.  The man in the wheelchair above, is one of the last eyewitnesses to Midway, and I’m guessing the carnage didn’t feel like a ‘victory’ the next day.

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What did Waldron and all the others who perished get for their lives? They got nothing, but they provided us the free world we have lived our whole lives in. It was provided to us by such men, 99% of them, my father included, are gone now. This is the idea I was trying to share, as a spent an hour with my father in 2015: Thought for The Day – Have we squandered the great gift?.

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Fewer and fewer people in our world have any connection with someone like the man in the wheelchair or my father. They feel little if any gratitude for the world, still with many faults, which was given to us on a silver platter. They never stop to consider the western civilization of today was far from inevitable in 1942.

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What is so great to be thankful for? OK, I’m the first person to point out everything hollow about modern consumer life, example: Welcome to the 24/7 Anxiety Machine, but that isn’t a reason to throw in the towel. Unlike many others, I do have a direct connection, my fathers memory, to the people who gave me the world I live in. All my Father asked of his children was treat others fairly and do something valid with our lives. Even though he is gone, I still measure my life by his standard.

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For anything I may bitch about, it has really been my personal mission to do something of meaning in with my days. Even if a lot of society is drifting and getting lost, I’m not in charge of their lives, just my own. I don’t offer an example to anyone,  save the example of things not to do. I personally find understanding, creating and flying light planes, and sharing this with others, an endeavor worthy of what it will, and also what it might, cost you. For 30 years, even on some hard days, I have not faltered in this belief.

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In a few weeks I will be 57, and we will all start a new year, and in a few short months another flying season will be upon us. What will you make of it? 2019 has been pretty good to me, but I’m just using it as a spring board into 2020, and there are many ambitions I have in aviation which I will advance this year. What each of us will, or will not do, will be mostly determined by ourselves, not external circumstance. For those who decide this will be their year, I look forward to playing a role in both your productive success and the good times you will share with friends.

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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.

5 Responses to Thought for the Day: Your 2020 Aviation Ambitions.

  1. Kevin E Ivey says:

    In 1939, My father joined the California National Guard so he could get his teeth fixed and draw a regular paycheck. The next thing he knew, they had pulled all his teeth and sent him to Pearl Harbor!
    He survived the Japanese attack and spent the next four years of his life on every island in the Pacific and was able to live long enough for me and my sibling to be born and carry on his legacy of service.
    I spent 25 years in the Army and used what I learned from my Dad to recognize the meaning and application of sacrifice and service.
    I will be 62 in a few weeks and I can only hope that the world my father helped to provide for us all is still occupied with at least a minority of people who understand the concept of sacrifice and can respect the history of those previous generations.
    God bless them all…

  2. Harold A Bickford says:

    My folks both served, dad Army Air Corps, mom, Navy. My turn came in the Air Force. Our older son has served in the Marines, Navy and will retire from the Army.

    The freedom of flying calls for 2020 and there are many steps planned. Onward!

  3. Several decades ago when the movie Midway came out I heard of a person who lived in the same town (Ft Walton Bch, FL) who figured enough in that battle that he was portrayed in the movie, He was Ensign George Gay, number 36 in that group of old Devastator torpedo bomber crews you mentioned and the only man to have survived that attack. He was Navy and it was an Air Force town but he was a bit of a celebrity at the time and gave an interesting interview to the local paper that add some insight into what his experience was like.

  4. Bryce Gorrell says:

    We are rapidly approaching a critical point in history, when all firsthand witnesses of World War 2 and the Holocaust will be gone. Men like my mother’s father only talked openly of the funny stories: throwing grenades in a castle moat to stun fish because they were tired of eating the regular rations, getting his Purple Heart by cutting his foot as he ran, naked, “like a rabbit” from the friendly fire of an American plane whose crew couldn’t tell Nazis from Yankees if they were standing around boiling their filthy clothes, etc.
    He only rarely told of the night after they liberated one of the camps, where he was assigned to guard a building full of decomposing bodies, or of the time they were pinned down with mortar fire getting closer and closer, before they spotted the German nurse directing the fire, and finally made the decision to shoot her, or of the wounded SS man he brought in to a surgeon for help, and then killed as the man reached for a weapon as he lay on the table. These and other untold horrors were part of making my grandfather who he was. The lessons learned affect my family still today, even if we don’t know all the stories. I’m interested to see how we carry on in the great blessing we’ve received because of extraordinarily brave but otherwise pretty ordinary people who acted honorably in difficult situations. I’m hopeful for a resurgence in the kind of personal character that brings such memorable and admirable happenings. People are getting tired of the empty hollow trash they’re being fed, and I hope more will choose to make something real of their lives. For me, building an airplane is a big part of feeding my sense of autonomy. Thanks to some great people, I have this opportunity to enjoy. Godspeed.

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