How personally meaningful is your pursuit of Homebuilding?

Builders,

Mark Gravatt shared some pictures from his family and a story of his personal connection to building a Corvair powered plane. Builders share a lot of powerful thoughts in letters, but this one resonates on many notes, and leads to the question in the title here. Every son who had a better father than he had a right to expect, would be moved by Marks words

.

Mark’s father joined the United States Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor. He worked on aircraft, particularly ones powered with Allison engines. He went on to post war work with Allison, moving into their gas turbine engines.

.

Allison was a regular division of General Motors, just like Chevrolet. Chevy didn’t design the Corvair as a flight engine, but they were doing it with a very long and successful history of aviation powerplants. If you know engines, the Corvairs ‘unique to automobiles’ offset 2+1 intake runner arrangement appears four times on every Allison V-12.

.

Mark drew a connection from his fathers service, to American manufacturing, and his fathers aviation career. He sees his homebuilt aircraft, also powered by a GM engine, built and operated with principles that his father would have concurred with, as both an an extension of his father’s story, and a tribute to it. It’s a very moving idea.

.

In 120 days, I will be manning my booth at Oshkosh. At least 1/3rd of the people who wander through will say some close variation of this phrase: “It would be cool to have one of those Homebuilt planes”. Notice it doesn’t say Build” it says “Have”. This isn’t a semantics game. The guy who says build is thinking about making something, working, learning and using tools. The guy who repeatedly uses the word “Have” is in an entirely different mindset. He is thinking about acquiring something, buying it possessing it. He isn’t thinking of making anything, he is just envisioning the possession of the object as “Cool”. I’m not clairvoyant, and I admit it when I wrong about individuals, but let me say with a great deal of certainty, Thirty Three years of working with homebuilders has taught me that thinking a plane “would be cool to have” isn’t enough motivation to get anyone through the building process, and people with that mentality who buy second hand homebuilts have come to a lot of grief.

.

You don’t have to have as strong a personal connection to aviation as Mark does to succeed at homebuilding and to have the process of learning, building and flying be transformative to your life. But you need to have motivation well beyond “Cool, dude” to get much out of homebuilding. If you like learning, if you want to build skills and understanding, and have a strong desire to make things with your hands, that is more that motivation enough, and I have a long proven process to challenge you and support you enough that you will succeed, and perhaps become the motivator to your own kids that Mark’s father has been for him.

.

William

.

.

Above, Mark’s Father

.

.

Joining the USAAC

.

.

Notice it says “General Motors Corporation”. Your Corvair has a legacy that few other automotive engines can make a claim to.

.

.

Allison V-12, Compact potent engine in P-38’s, 39’s, 40’s and many other aircraft. Many elements of this engine are more rugged than those inside a Merlin. This is the engine the training certificate above applies to.

.

.

Mark and his dad.

.

One Reply to “How personally meaningful is your pursuit of Homebuilding?”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: