Who is William Wynne?

Above, A photo taken at Sun n Fun 2006. My wife Grace Ellen and myself, in front of the first Corvair powered Zenith, our own N-1777W. The plane was the first XL model with conventional gear.  Grace is a skilled pilot in her own right. She has been a pilot longer than I have, holds more advanced ratings and owns two aircraft. As a point of ethics, we do not promote, advocate nor sell things we have not personally flown behind.

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Who is William Wynne?

Modern consumer sales logic dictates that that business should ‘de-personalize’ themselves so consumers find nothing objectionable about the provider while they are spending money.  That model may work elsewhere, and even have advocates experimental aviation, but I don’t buy it.  I contend that Aviation is a different arena, and who you are dealing with, and their ethics, experience and perspective matters.

Building a plane or an engine is a marriage of sorts between the builder and his airframe or engine company. I believe that it is best if everyone goes into it well informed with their eyes wide open. I am always surprised how few people even Google the name of a person they are thinking of working with. You don’t need to see eye to eye with them on every point nor even love them, but the relationship must absolutely have trust and respect operating in both directions. In 25 years I have seen many builders try to justify buying a product from a provider they didn’t really trust. It never works out. It doesn’t matter how good it looks, what it costs or how great it is supposed to work, if it is from a bad guy, it isn’t worth buying.

I could write a quick paragraph about how I am a pilot, a 22 year A&P mechanic, and that I hold both an AS degree in Maintenance and a BS in Professional Aeronautics (accident investigation) From the worlds #1 aeronautical university, Embry-Riddle , but I don’t think that any of that explains my commitment to builders nearly as well as the flying planes of our builders and things we have accomplished. Henry Ford said “A man can not base his reputation on what he says he will do; only what he has done.”

I am plain spoken. to understand why, read the ‘Effective Risk Management’ story below. I have many friends who are experienced aviators who value plain talk. This type of speech also tends to offend people who dabble in aviation and would rather read polite things that align with their pet opinions. I am in aviation to share experience builders need to know, not say things people want to hear. Below are a selection of stories, some humorous, but all with a point, that give people a better understanding of who I am. From there you can decide if you choose to work with me as your engine mentor.

a) Fixing America is going to cost each of us $1.69

b) Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)

c) In defense of plain speaking……

d) Turtles and Cell Phones, 6/24/13.

e) A thought on Easter….

f) Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

g) Effective Risk Management – 2,903 words

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Stories of William E. Wynne Sr.

Builders,

Below are excerpts from stories of my father. You can read the whole piece by clicking on the blue link. My Father never thought of himself as heroic nor special. He only wanted to be understood as part of a generation of men, who were willing to meet the challenges of their times, no matter what the cost.

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“On this day, I hope that everyone has a chance to reflect on good memories of the men who made us who we are, both the fathers still here and those that now live in the hearts of their children”. – Fathers Day – 2014.

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William E. Wynne Sr. 1925-2017 – “Shipmates of my father, even ones who gave their lives very young, had lives of meaning because they considered it their privilege to have served a cause greater than self.”

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Welcome to Existence – “It was somber, but not sorrowful, as the latter requires an element of unfairness that leaves you asking why or wondering what might have been done. My fathers life had neither of those elements.”

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Patriotism has no Party  – “The dreams are rooted in memories, unwanted souvenirs that followed him home from three wars and 33 years on active duty.  It is a near endless macabre library of images awaiting his eyes to close:”

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Values of my Father – “Father’s unambiguous code of ethics, one that dictated that ethical behavior was done simply because it was right, and any expectation of reward, even as small as public praise, reduced the action to a child’s understanding of right and wrong.”

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A clarification and a century old story. – “He didn’t want his son to see him this way, he didn’t look at my father, he just said “Take care of yourself.” My father, then 26, knowing nothing else to do, followed his fathers words, and badly shaken, got into the taxi. It was the last real moment they would have together”

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A Sailor’s code from the 1940s and 50s. – “There were a few brief years where it looked like my grandfathers one wish in life, that his son would not see what he had seen in WWI, might come true, but this didn’t last.”

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Thought for The Day – Have we squandered the great gift? – “When I can take no more, I put my hand on his, and impulsively say “I am sorry”. For a moment he looks in my eyes to assess if I really understand what the gift cost.”

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Italo Balbo in 1933, an 83 year old family story. – “He was my fathers grandfather, The father of the 34 year old woman in front of him. He had walked out on his own family 30 years earlier. My Grandmother was not there to forgive him. She was there to show him the family he would never know.”

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William Edward Wynne Sr. –  Father’s Day Notes – “My Father’s 33 years in uniform were guided by a single principal: No human being, regardless of race, faith or nationality, deserves to live in a totalitarian police state.

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William Wynne Sr. Turns 89 today – “To our friends fortunate to still have their fathers present, I feel blessed as you must also. To our friends who’s fathers now live in their hearts, I hope the season brings time to reflect on the men who made us who we are.”

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Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.– “While all of Thailand’s neighbors, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, fell into savage rule by communist totalitarian regimes that ran from repressive police states to genocide, the Thai people were spared this trip to hell. My father remains very proud of the role he played in preventing their enslavement.”

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My best afternoon in 2016  – “Grace spent the afternoon pictured above listening to my father recall both moments of humor and sacrifice, names of men who raised good families and those who’s devotion to duty and shipmates cost them all they might have done in this life.”

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Thought for the Day: America, 1963 – “he sat with my brother, then 14, and gave him a short set of instructions; He was to follow my mother, without question or hesitation; he was to remain positive at all times, school and at home, set an example for us; and if my father did not return, he would then be the eldest man in the family.

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MCW is 60 today. – “I carry my father’s name, but truth be told, Michael is much more like my father than I am. In all the ways that count, all the qualities of character, my brother’s life is a much better tribute to the sterling example that our father gave to both of us.”

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Mom and Dad in the 1950’s _ “A while back, a friend who has known me for many years asked why I never buy lottery tickets. I told him it was because I had won once already. He asked “When?” surprised he had never heard this. I told him it was a long time ago, the last week of December ….1962, when I was born to my parents.”

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New Jersey, June 2015 and 65 years ago …  “my father, now almost 90 and somewhat frail, took the last hour of the evening to meet an obligation he finds very important;  I sit beside him and listen while he looks back through the decades to remember and speak the names and the stories of good men”

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Political Reality Check –  “Tonight I share a New York Times obituary and a disturbing souvenir from the Wynne family china cabinet as a reminder of what real political evil actually is.”

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USN sea story. – Dad, powerless, watched a perfectly choreographed maneuver fall apart.  He noticed the Japanese officer standing next to him staring incredulously. Evidently he had a very hard time rationalizing how his nation has just lost a war to clowns like these.

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Thought for the Day: Rickover – Hope is not a strategy – “my father worked directly under Rickover for 7 and 1/2 years, developing nuclear power plants. Rickover was the head of Naval Reactors, an organization that reported to both the Navy and the Atomic Energy commission.”

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How many flying seasons? With whom will you spend them? – “A good look at my oldest friends reveals no pattern nor qualification, bar a single important issue: None of them are negative people. I have a whole page devoted to explaining that it was my Father who conditioned me to detest critics of other men’s works.”

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Dec. 7th  ” my father was stunned to see Frank Ryan, standing in front of him in Passaic. He was emaciated and ill, his uniform hanging on him. He could only say to my father “Billy, they got the Vincennes.” Although it was sunk in August, this was the first word. It was the first moment that my fathers simple pride in the Navy had to confront that the fleet was not invincible. With growing foreboding, my father realized the lack of contact from friends on the Juneau might be for the same reason. In another week this was confirmed on the eve of Christmas. All 23 of the teammates and the 5 Sullivan’s had gone down with the ship. Of 697 crew on board, there were only 10 survivors. This event led my father to Join the Navy when he turned  17. He eventually spent 33 years on active duty.”

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Holiday Hours, shop dates, Family notes. – “They were searching for a shadow of doubt that they would not find. I gently hung up the phone each time and felt a palpable mixture of luck and guilt that I would keep my father and they would probably never see theirs again. Their voices contained a desperation that stays with you even 10 years later.”

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On July 14th 2016, I wrote this note:

“Today was a good day for my family. It was the first day my father was home in three months.  After dinner, where he was restored to sitting at the head of the family table,  we  reminisced over past moments with 3 of the 4 children present. We later put dad to bed, and the last thing he softly said was “I didn’t think I would make it home again.”

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On February 12th 2017, My Fathers one remaining wish in life was granted, and in the early hours of the morning he quietly passed, at home, surrounded by family. One of the last things he said to me was a few soft words, dreaming of a reunion with a man he had not seen in 57 years – his own Father.

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-wwjr.

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William E. Wynne Sr. 1925-2017

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Above, my father’s official USN photo circa 1975. He was from a generation of men who’s love of country and family were strong enough to never need the acknowledgement of others, far less praise nor reward. They were motivated solely by belief and love.

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Do not feel sorrow for my father, for he had a long life, conducted with complete fidelity to the ideals of this country and his family. Since swearing in to the U.S. Navy on 3 July 1943, he never faltered from his Moral Purpose, to play a role in securing a Free World, and live in this world with his family.

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Do not feel sorrow for my family, For my Mother had the unwavering love and support of a husband of 67 years. My father was sterling example of fatherhood, a gift I appreciated more with each year. The children in our family have always understood our unspeakably good fortune to have been born to our parents, a blessing beyond the possibility of overstatement.

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If there is anything to be somber over let it be this: Decency, courage and sacrifice to a greater purpose than self, the values of the generation of men who provided the world we live in, have tragically fallen from the common currency of men, to something considered rare and perhaps antiquated.  My father and men of his times understood an example of an honorable and decent life, bequeathed far greater riches than lives that worshiped lesser purposes. Shipmates of my father, even ones who gave their lives very young, had lives of meaning because they considered it their privilege to have served a cause greater than self.

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-wewjr.

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William Wynne Sr. Turns 89 today

Builders,

Today, my Father, the real William Wynne turns 89. To our friends fortunate to still have their fathers present, I feel blessed as you must also. To our friends who’s fathers now live in their hearts, I hope the season brings time to reflect on the men who made us who we are. -ww.

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Above, my father’s official USN photo circa 1975.  His service remains the centerpiece of his life’s work. Please take a minute to read: William Edward Wynne Sr. –  Father’s Day Notes; it is a story I wrote about father on his 84th birthday. If you have ever wondered why I am intolerant of police states without human rights like China, the story will be illuminating.

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 Sun ‘N Fun 2006,  Here my father and I are in front of a Grumman F8F Bearcat, a serious piece of hardware from my father’s era of Naval aviation. My father entered the U.S. Navy in 1943 and is USNA Class of 1949. He served on active duty for 33 years.

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Corvair College #9: From left above,  Bob Cooper , Brent Brown and my Father.  In talking with Bob, my father learned that he was a 1961 veteran of Operation White Star in Laos. Little known outside military circles, White Star is considered the prototype of all unconventional U.S. warfare. The Kennedy administration sent the cream of the crop of America’s most elite warriors there to meet the Pathet Lao communists on their own terms. When my family lived in Thailand 10 years later, my father did extensive work to support the royalist democratic government in Laos. He and Bob had traveled to many of the same places inside Laos. Our friend Brent, who spent most of his 22 1/2 year military career in Special Forces, is probably one of the few people of my age group who have an understanding of the significance of Bob’s actions in White Star.

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Corvair College #14: Above, I introduce the real William Wynne, my father.  His career in the mechanical world spans being a Company Commander with ACB-ONE in Korea through Director of Advanced Technology for Raytheon. The single thread that ties all of my father’s experience together is an absolute allegiance to quality control. Seven and 1/2 years of my father’s 33 year U.S. Navy career were spent working directly under Admiral Hyman Rickover, The Father Of The Nuclear Navy. Rickover’s career spanned the impossibly long 1918-1982. Widely misunderstood as an all-powerful tyrant who was apparently immortal, my father states that Rickover is easily understood when viewed as the ultimate proponent of quality who was willing to accept nothing short of perfection to ensure the dominance of the U.S. Navy in the Cold War.

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My Parents at the Naval Academy in 1949: The above photo is of my parents when they were first engaged. They have now been married for 64 years, and remain the light of each other’s lives.

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For a more in depth look at my Father’s world, follow these links:

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William E. Wynne Sr. turns 88 today.

Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

 

 

 

 

Dale Williams – 3,000 cc Cleanex at CC#31

Builders:

If you are a regular reader of this page, you will recognize the name Dale Williams as the builder and pilot of a very nice 3,000 cc Cleanex.  Dale often writes very thought provoking and factual statements in the comments section of stories. He has a long GA background and an easy going approach, but he is serious about risk management and having a good time. I frequently hear from new builders in South Carolina who cite Dale as the influence that steered them to Corvairs.

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An interesting trick: Although I can count the amount of hours I have spent with the man in conversation on one hand, and have read less than 4,000 words from him in posts and email, I still feel like I know him very well. In this instance, it is quality, not quantity that makes the difference.

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CC#31 was the second Corvair College that Dale flew his plane to. We are looking forward to having him at many more. Good company is always welcome. -ww.

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Above, Dale stands in front of his Cleanex. Bob Lester’s Corvair-Piet in the Background

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IMG_1739 Above a small sticker on the forward fuselage suggests Dale’s sense of humor.

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Above, right hand view of the plane. Don Harper and P.F. Becks Corvair-Piets in the background, Mark Langford’s VW powered KR2 is beside it.

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For more information on Dales plane, read:

New 3,000 cc Cleanex, Dale Williams, SC

and the very moving:

Video of Grandson’s first flight, 3,000cc Cleanex:

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Grace’s Dad and Ted Williams

(If the photos are small, try hitting F5 at the top of your keyboard.)

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Builders,

Just touching on Fatherhood once more, I share this photo of Grace’s Dad, Bob with The legendary Ted Williams. They were good friends, brought together by a common love of the outdoors. Although it is not often remembered, Ted Williams spent five years in the Marine Corps as an aviator, both in WWII and Korea. Williams is arguably the greatest Baseball player who ever lived.

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He was known for Baseball, but Williams was also a life long outdoorsman, passionate about fishing, particularly Salmon fishing. In the 1980’s Williams and Grace’s Dad worked tirelessly to protect the Atlantic Salmon fisheries, not just for the sportsmen, but also for the Canadians and their small towns on the Atlantic coast that had Salmon as a part of their culture and heritage. This successful defense included making a trip to Denmark to convince their government to restrict their fleet’s commercial fishing practices that were destructive to the long-term viability of Salmon

Above, Ted Williams sits in a Grumman F-9F in Korea. In WWII he was an instructor in F-4U Corsairs, and returned to the Marines to fly combat attack missions in Panthers. He was known as a fantastic pilot, praised by squadron mates like John Glenn.  What I find interesting about Williams was his ‘regular guy’ approach to life. He did not want, nor need to be praised nor adored. He didn’t want celebrity, he wanted respect. Everything Grace’s dad has shared confirms this. There was a reality to guys like Ted Williams. Consider that he was paid $30K in 1942, when minimum wage was .30/hr. or  600/yr. The ratio is 50 to 1. Today, min. wage is $7.25 and Alex Rodriguez is paid $29 million a year, a ratio of 2000 to 1.  Rodriguez is a ‘celebrity’, a liar, steroid abuser, and serving the longest suspension in the history of Baseball; and I highly doubt anyone would ever mistake him for a ‘regular guy.’

Above, a 2006 photo of Grace and her Dad shooting  an hour’s worth of practice with pump shotguns in our back yard. Although he is 80 now, he remains a crack shot with the Winchester model 12 he has owned since he was a teenager. Bob has covered most types of game, but he largely focused on fowl and fly fishing. He is an excellent cook, and as a traditionalist and conservationist, he consumed all the game he took. Graces parents spent many years in the Canadian Maritimes,  and Grace herself is named for a Native Canadian woman. Many of her families fondest memories are from that time and place.

My Father in law is from an era of American men that chose the outdoors as their ‘Arena’, just as TR did. These men put many years of patient study and intense awareness into perfecting their field craft. This focus and pursuit has direct parallels to the mastery of being a ‘stick and rudder pilot.’ They both take considerable investment, not of money, but of the willpower to focus on the moment at hand without distraction, to study to subtitle differences between acceptable and better.

This weekend, a person will ride a 4 wheeler to a prepared blind and read emails until a baited animal gets 40 yards away, where they will get off a poorly placed shot with a scoped rifle. There will be the obligatory Face Book picture, another box in life checked off to impress others who are not paying attention. They will have gone to great material expense to make sure it was an empty experience.

This weekend, a person will drive a car to the local FBO, rent a 912 rotax powered S-LSA, and read emails until the CFI gets the plane ready. They will talk on the radio and look at the GPS to get to the ‘practice area’ 40 miles away, where they will get off a few poorly coordinated maneuvers before calling the tower to return.  There will be the obligatory Face Book picture, another box in life checked off to impress others who are not paying attention. They will have gone to great material expense to make sure it was an empty experience.

Will either of these people understand that they cheated themselves out of the experience? Probably not; the modern ‘hurry up and rush’, ‘multitask mentality’ people rarely have this awakening. Being an outdoorsman or an Aviator only pay real rewards to those willing to invest something of themselves, not just money. As a homebuilder, by definition you have selected the path which requires greater investment of yourself.  I have found that people who understand and choose to make this investment lead richer lives and make far better company. I have spent many fine hours in my Father in law’s company. He is possesses the kind of insights that you never find in people who are in a shallow rush to check the next box.-ww.

William E. Wynne Sr. turns 88 today.

Builders:

My Father, the ‘real William Wynne,’ turns 88 today. Here are a few shots from the family album to celebrate the life of my hero:

img005Above, My Father as a 17 year old enlisted man in WWII. He stands between his beloved pony Bob, his constant companion since he was a little boy, and his own father. My grandfather served in every station on the Passaic NJ police department from patrolman, Chief of Detectives to assistant Chief. Passaic was a very large tough working city with a significant organized crime problem.  Recognized as incorruptible, he was targeted by the mob, but would not be intimidated.  The only years he took off from law enforcement in his adult life were 1917-1919 when he was a Sargent in the 78th division in France where he saw savage combat in the trenches. His only real wish in life was that his own son would not have the same experience. It didn’t come true, as my father went to both Korea and Vietnam.

img018 Above, the love of my father’s life, my mother at age 17 also.  Mother lived in Irvington NJ, about 20 miles away. They met at the NJ shore in the summer of 1946, and have been married since 1950.img008 Above, my mother at age 26, standing in front of their 1950 Buick super eight Convertible. Mom had just had my older brother 6 weeks before. My father was being shelled in Korea at the moment of his son’s birth. You can read the story of my brother’s arrival at this link:

MCW is 60 today.

img003Above, Dad as the base XO at Davisville RI in the 1960s, shooting a Garand. He is wearing a shooting jacket, but the uniform and the shoes suggest he came straight from the office. He held Expert ratings with both rifle and pistol. Dad has always been good at anything that required hand eye coordination.

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 Above, Father at the table (holding the papers) Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MAC-V) in Saigon, 1966. Almost all of his work in South East Asia 1966-74 was working on infrastructure.  You can read about some of it at this link:

Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

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Above is Father’s 1966 office door sign from Saigon. OICC stands for “Officer in Charge of Construction”. The construction budget for The Republic of Vietnam in 1966 was one billion dollars, the largest construction project in the world to that point. My father was one of many Americans who felt that the South Vietnamese deserved to live the same life that South Koreans had gained 12 years before. To understand my fathers perspective, read this link:

William Edward Wynne Sr. – Father’s Day Notes

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Above, Father in Cambodia, playing the role of civilian for a day in a country that only was ‘neutral’ in title only. The photo was from the early 1970’s when we lived in Thailand. With dad is the US ambassador. The Cambodian communist genocide that killed millions of people following the US withdraw was documented in the film “The Killing Fields” To many people, it was a horrific story about people in a far off land they had only a passing interest in. To my father there were real human beings, people with families that he knew and fought beside. America has many fine points, but we have a terribly short national attention span that has cost others dearly.

img009    Above, Our Family in 1974, when we lived in Thailand. Alison, Michael, Melissa, Mother me and Dad.  In the background is the actual bridge on the river Kawai.  The train ride from Bangkok was many hours. All along the tracks were cemeteries for the 350 POW’s that died per mile, tortured by the Japanese army to build the rail line from Bangkok to Rangoon, later called “the death railway.” We had many happy times growing up, but my father made sure that we fully understood how lucky we were to have been born in a free country.  Many Americans of my generation and younger who were blindly raised in suburbia, have the twisted view that America’s beacon to the world is one of capitalism and material wealth.  My father raised us to know that our home was the beacon of the world for human rights, the value of individuals, and freedom.

When I was little, we went to the Jefferson Memorial and read the words inscribed on the inside of the dome:

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

This is what my father taught us was at the very core of being an American. He has lived all his adult life by this code, as his father lived before him. It is his lasting gift to us his children, just as it was bequeathed by his own father. It remains, a gift I am most thankful for.  – WewJr.

Steve Williamson Pietenpol at 60 hrs., SoCal.

Builders,

We had previously featured Steve Williamson’s Piet in this story:

New Pietenpol, EAA #1279, French Valley CA

Steve mailed us the update letter and photos below:

“Hi William,

Just to update you on our Chapter 1279 Pietenpol, we have more than 60  hours on the airplane since its first flight on January 5 of this year.   The Corvair engine is performing flawlessly (after some early glitches you  already know about).

We were unable to make the West Coast Pietenpol fly-in at Hollister in June  due to a death in my family.  But we did put the airplane on display for  the first time last weekend at the Flying Circus event at Flabob Airport in  Riverside.  I must say it looked right at home among the beautiful examples  of antique airplanes and it attracted a lot of attention from the crowd of  admirers.  We had a local paint shop do a color match of the blue Poly  Fiber paint on the fuselage and create a high gloss paint for the aluminum  cowling.  That, along with the powder coated “Air Camper” valve covers  really made the airplane stand out.  (See photos below)

Thank you for all the support and encouragement you gave us in the  building of our Corvair engine.

All the best,

Steve Williamson President EAA 1279, French Valley CA.”

 
 

Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

Friends of ours know that I refer to my father as “The Real William Wynne.” Below are a few notes and photos from the family album. Grace and I both hope that this Father’s Day finds each of you in the company of family and friends, taking a few moments to consider the most important men in our lives.

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Above, my father’s official USN photo circa 1975. My father enlisted in the Navy during World War II, graduated from the Naval Academy with the Class of 1949, served in both Korea and Vietnam, and in the final total, spent 33 years on active duty. His service remains the centerpiece of his life’s work. Please take a minute to read: William Edward Wynne Sr. –  Father’s Day Notes; it is a story I wrote about father on his 84th birthday. If you have ever wondered why I am intolerant of police states without human rights like China, the story will be illuminating. In this photo, my father is 50 years old, the same age as I am today.

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Above, my father speaking with HRH, the King of Thailand, in 1974.  Thailand is a constitutional monarchy like England, but the Thais hold the deepest reverent respect for their royal family. The King is the longest serving ruler in the world, and is widely understood as a very positive force in a part of the world that knew very little peace or freedom. He was educated in the United States and knew that his country was on the front lines of the Cold War.

The location of the photo was a construction site on Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in SE Asia. From 1971-74, my father was the OICC (Officer in Charge of Construction) in Thailand. This included numerous military and civilian infrastructure projects in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, and places as distant as Diego Garcia. My father worked equally hard on building hospitals and roads as he did building airbases. While all of Thailand’s neighbors, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, fell into savage rule by communist totalitarian regimes that ran from repressive police states to genocide, the Thai people were spared this trip to hell. My father remains very proud of the role he played in preventing their enslavement.

As a show of respect for our Thai hosts, we lived in a typical Thai home, went to regular schools, learned the language, ate the food and always were deeply respectful of the people, customs and beliefs of our host nation. My father drilled into us that any shortcoming on our part would be tantamount to sabotaging the work that he and many other Americans were doing to ensure excellent relations between the two countries.  Today, 42 years later, I have no patience for any American who goes abroad and forgets what the word “guest” means.  At the conclusion of our time there, the Thai Secretary of Defense presented the Order of the White Elephant to my father. It is the medal on the ribbon around his neck in his official photo above.

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Above, a fuzzy 1968 newspaper clipping of my father upon his return from Vietnam. At the far right is my brother Michael. Last week I told the story of Michael turning 60. I have said many times that if my father had not returned, my life would have amounted to very little. I spend a part of every Father’s Day thinking of all of the sons who were not so lucky. I will always remain thankful for this blessing.

The photo above was taken by the U.S. Navy in early 1968, at the same time as the one above. In my 5-year-old hand, I hold the Bronze Star awarded to my father during his 1967 tour in Vietnam. It is one of my favorite photos with my father.

Both Grace and I hope that these words and few photos spark many good thoughts and memories of your own families. We hope you have many blessings for which you are thankful. Of course, every member of our family is very proud of my father, but he would be the first person to tell you that he isn’t any kind of a hero nor a special person. He just takes great pride in being part of the American generation that JFK was speaking of when he said:

“Let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed.”

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Built by William Wynne? Built according to The Manual?

Builders,

Below are photos of three Corvair engines. All of them were sold to new owners this year. The sellers of these engines said things to get the new owners to pick them up, things that we will just call “Less than honest.” One of the engines was said to have been built by myself; another was said to have been inspected by me, and successfully flown; the other was said to have been built “according to the WW manual.” Let’s look at why these statements are not accurate, and at the end I am going to make some serious suggestions about shopping for second-hand engines or engine projects.

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Above, a 2700 engine that was built by a WWII B-17 pilot named Sam Sayer of Florida, who has now passed from this earth. The engine was sold with his plane from his estate, then resold to the new owner. I knew Sam, and he was an outstanding human. He was shot down on his first mission by an 88mm flak shell that went through the throttle quadrant but failed to fully detonate. He evaded capture and returned to England. You can read more about him on this 2006 link to our main Web site, a story about Corvair College #9:

http://www.flycorvair.com/cc9d.html

He was a great guy, and I spent a fair chunk of time with him. He was a “regular” at our Edgewater hangar. But this doesn’t mean that the engine he built was airworthy nor worth buying.

Plenty of things are wrong with me; in many ways I am an opinionated jackass and I have made plenty of mistakes in life. But here is something that I do correctly: When a veteran aviator in his 80s shows up at my hangar, doesn’t have a medical, is pretty much aware that he isn’t going flying, and just wants to enjoy himself by exercising some creativity and building something with the hands that still bear the scars of shrapnel from an 88mm shell fired 60 years before, he gets the red carpet treatment.

I am not there to lecture a man my father’s age that he is “Doing it wrong.” It is my task to make that man’s day a little brighter and do anything I can for him: Tools, time, coffee and being a good listener. If a 35-year-old guy came to a College and wanted my help to build and run the above engine and then put it on his plane, the answer is of course “No,” and I am going to make Mr. 35-year-old do it the right way, because he is going to take it flying, and he didn’t sacrifice his youth in 1944 trying to do something to stop fascism. Most aviation companies wouldn’t let a guy like Sam hang around any longer than it would take to find he didn’t have a lot of money to spend: “That’s just good business.” To hell with them, they may be business people, but in my book they are not aviators and they are piss poor Americans if they judge the value of men like Sam by the thickness of their wallet. This country is filled with people who think that having a yellow ribbon sticker on their car that says “Support the Troops” completely fulfills the obligation.

Back to the main point: Look at the photo above. It has no 5th bearing and the crank probably isn’t nitrided. Look at the rust on the hardware. Do you think this was stored wrapped up in a really dry place the past 7 years? The guy who sold this to its current owner said that it was “Assembled by WW for Sam Sayer,” and was selling it for many thousands of dollars. I didn’t build this engine, the guy just said that because he is a B.S. artist who wanted to make a buck. Trust me, he isn’t the only guy like that selling something in aviation.

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Above, rear view of the engine: I have not put a rear starter on an engine in 14 years. Note there are no rear tins. I have never put a belt driven alternator on that side of the back of an engine; search the name of my friend “John Blackburn” and “V-6 Ford crash” on my www.FlyCorvair.com Web site to find out why. The valve cover clamps are on backwards, the distributor clamp is the wrong one, none of the accessory brackets are strong enough. I have no idea what is inside this engine, I didn’t build nor assemble it. What I did do with the builder was spend two Veterans Days in a row with Sam in my hangar, treating a great guy with the respect and camaraderie that he deserved.

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Round Two: Above is the KR-2 built by David Dergins in Florida circa about 2002. I saw this plane in a housecall, and was very concerned that it would crash on the first flight. Dergins was a very friendly and successful real estate guy, and he had the money to do a good job, he just didn’t have the patience. I told him it needed to be redone. Several months later he brought it to our hangar at Spruce Creek on a trailer to “Show Me” that he had taken my counsel seriously. He had not, and he stated he was going to fly it that week. Kevin, Grace and I had a real dilemma; we had no power to stop him, we were all pretty sure it was going to be an accident, and Dergins had already shown that he wasn’t going to listen to advice. We were looking at a bomb that was going to destroy a lot of the reputation of Corvairs that we had worked to build, we had no way to defuse it, and after it went off, we all knew that few people would understand that we had really tried to defuse it. I had already been in the engine business for 10 years at that point, and I knew the story would be “And Dave, that wonderful craftsman, had it up at WW’s hangar just the week before for his approval.” Dergins took it home in anger, and later said that he did get it off the ground, had problems on rotation, did a very low 180 and said he would never fly it again. He said to me several times that I was wrong, it did “fly.” By a miracle, the bomb was a dud. It was as if he had fashioned a suicide vest made to look something like a clothing line we sell, but at the last moment, it didn’t go off.

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Above, Dergin’s engine. Look at the front cover and compare it to Sam Sayer’s. Sam had craftsmanship but little money, Dergins had money but no craftsmanship. To settle the academic debate, I would rather fly Sam’s engine, but in reality, no one should fly either. Just get a look at the intake logs on the head. Yes, this engine will run, but cylinders 5 & 6 will run super rich, 1 & 2 will run very lean, and the head gaskets will blow in a few minutes of climb. The seller of this aircraft represented it as a KR-2 in flyable condition that has a WW inspected engine. Factually true? Yes, if you get into legal debates such as “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.” For the rest of us, we can just say that the seller is not an honest man. I have spoken with the new owner, and he is a good guy who fully understands that every single part needs to come out of this and be looked at with a very critical inspection.

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Round Three: Above is the inside of a case of an engine that I tore down for the second owner. The guy who built it and sold it stated that it was built according to my manual. I ask all the reasonable builders to show me the part in my manual that tells builders to overspray all the rotating engine parts with orange paint. This was under the bearings, down in the lifter bores, and in the oil galleries. I guess he didn’t want the inside of the aluminum case, bathed in oil, to get all rusty? Looking at the engine, and reflecting on my communication with the orignal builder, I will tell you that this engine wasn’t a budget nor a craftmanship problem, it was an attitude problem. Specifically, the builder didn’t like taking advice from someone whom he perceived as a long-haired, opinionated, know-it-all, punk kid from Florida.

First, I do have long hair, live in Florida, and I am a jackass, but even if you hate me, that doesn’t invalidate my words on engines. Maybe now that I am 50 years old we can put the “He is too young to know a lot about planes” crap to rest. I may not know every single thing about engines, but comparing my understanding of Corvairs with this builder, I am Albert Einstein (and I have the hair style to prove it).

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Above, a piston assembly out of the engine. That’s not just a cast piston, that is a Chinese-made cast piston. That symbol, just ahead of the wrist pin, is “Genuine Brand,” a massive, low quality Chinese engine partmaker’s logo. Their Web site says they are ISO-9001 certified, but this is taking the word of people who claim Mao Tse-tung was a great humanitarian, and that everyone in Tibet welcomes the 50 year Chinese military occupation of their country.  When I say that every flight engine needs forged pistons, it goes without saying that you don’t consider using cast ones from a communist police state.

The engine had many such “features” inside. Every single one of them was the result of the original builder saying “This will be alright,” or “This is just as good.” Often the justification for going against the experience I share falls into two categories: The builder doesn’t like me personally, or he is going to “show me” what he knows. Neither of these are good motivation for taking a detour from what we know to work.

Most often, the people who have decided they don’t like me have never met me. Out of 2,000 pages of written information on our Web sites, they have found a few sentences that they deem offensive, or they got set off by the moniker “The Corvair Authority,” or they thought the words “The Corvair movement” sounded like some hippie commune. From that point forward, they decided they were justified to selectively reject information from me that didn’t validate their existing mindset. That’s how you get cast pistons from China in a flight engine. Know this: If I threw away everything I learned about airplanes from people whom I didn’t find charming, I would know about 50% of what I do. Just because you don’t want someone like me for a son-in-law, that doesn’t invalidate what I have to say about Corvairs.

Second, I have encountered many people who were going to “show everyone” something, namely how wrong I am on some topic. This is very poor motivation for anything that is potentially as dangerous as flying. Usually it is just a waste of time and money, like when a quitter named Robert Haynes told everyone on the Net he was going to show everyone the things I say about EFI are wrong. (He never even made the engine run, far less fly.) But it is also a very dangerous motivation, and it played a role in the fatal accident of Steve Jones, a great guy, but a hyper-competitive person who always falsely believed that everyone around him was judging his efforts. I have a handwritten letter from him saying that he was going to have the fastest KR-2 or die trying. His accident was testing CG locations, but I hold that his attitude on “showing everyone” was the underlying cause of it. If you ever detect that you are about to do something in aviation that you normally wouldn’t, but some part of you wants to impress others, just stop. Just stop.

In summary, don’t buy a second-hand engine, no matter what anyone tells you about it. The average asking price of the engines above was more than $5,000. Sound like a bargain? The motivation to get a deal or a running start is not valid. You are not in a contest to see how cheap you can build an engine, and you are not in a race either. Both of those mindsets come from day-to-day life outside of building and flying.

You have to identify thoughts and motivations like that and shelve them when getting down to learning, building and flying. You are here to learn as much as you can, build a first class engine, and operate it with intelligence and good decision-making. We are not here to waste money, but it isn’t going to be “cheap.” It is going to require investment, not primarily of your money, but something more valuable: your best effort. Anyone who can take advice and read can do better work than the engines above. They were not a bargain, even if they were free, because accepting these as a starting point is about looking for something of a deal or a shortcut. If you come across one of these, recognize that the primary problem with them isn’t mechanical. If an advertised engine like the ones above has appeal, it is an indication that you have not yet come to see that you can be a better craftsman than you realize, a craftsman who will not accept the work of others as good enough. Developing that understanding is the real value in building experimental aircraft.  -ww