The Value of “Showing up”

Builders ,

We are now starting a new year in aviation. In another week, I will put up a schedule of Colleges and events for this flying season. We have many builders who will attend these events, travel to shows, and even make the pilgrimage to Oshkosh. They know what I leaned long ago: To make progress on your path in aviation, you can’t just sit at home and wait, you have to “Show up”.  

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Above, a favorite photo of mine is pinned to my shop wall with a red thumb tack:  Grace and I stand with our friend Gustl in front of his soviet AN-2 Biplane with a 1,000 hp radial. It was the winter of 2000. We decided to go ‘camping’ at a small antique fly-in. 66′ of wingspan with leading edge slats allowed us to fly this monster into the small strip carrying two pickup truck loads of coolers, a giant gas grill, lawn furniture, a picnic table and tents. Why did we go camping that weekend? Because we decided that when something good was in the works, we were going to show up for it, not hear about it later. 

( This is the aircraft from this story: Thinking of Mike Holey, an Aviator and a friend. )

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365 days in this year, and 5 of them have already gotten away. 368 days ago I wrote this story: 2015 Your year in aviation? Did you read it? Did you promise yourself that you were going to make this one count, but instead settled for another trip around the sun looking Facebook memes and watching ridiculously partisan TV election news?

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After 28 seasons in flying, I know what changes the heading from stagnation to inspiration: Simply Showing Up. Almost all of the good things I have ever done in aviation came after my awareness that aviation doesn’t happen inside one’s house, that aviation will call you, but it doesn’t send a limo with a gold plated invitation, and there is nothing like being present, in the company of good people, when aviation is taking place in reality, not at Unicorn international airport in Cyberville, to motivate you to aggressively pursue your own goals and dreams.

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Want an example? My friends thought the drive to Leeward air ranch in Ocala was too far from Daytona Beach, but I didn’t the day this happened: From The Past: With Steve Wittman 20 years ago today. Our events in 2017 will come, and they will go, this is inalterable; builders, real,  positive, traditional builders will come to these events and have a great time, just as they have in the past. The only variable is if you will join us, or just read about it later. Take your pick, it’s your life.

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As of tonight, we have four slots left for Corvair College #39: 19 more spaces for CC#39, Barnwell SC, March 2017. We have had this college sign up open for 6 months. It is a big college, but there was a time where I thought Colleges might fill up in a week. What I learned over time was there are many people who profess to love homebuilding, but far fewer you practice that faith. Since the events are free, I have no monetary stake in the attendance, since I have been in aviation a very long time, I already have a lifetime supply of friends, and many of them will be there. However, if your personal motivation in aviation needs a course correction, decide now, that you will show up and make your year in aviation one to be remembered.

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Parting thought:

One of our builders sent me a link to a tread on the homebuilt biplane forum. The subject was a guy saying he was thinking about putting a Corvair on a biplane. In spite of a couple of guys writing in to say they had Seen Jim Weseman’s Celebrity fly and it worked well, and others pointing out they had seen Corvairs fly Piet’s at Brodhead, There were a half dozen super negative comments by people so proud of their thoughts they were unwilling to use their full names. Two of the commentators address boxes showed they had made more than 5,000 comments on that forum alone. Want to know what their home airport is? It’s Unicorn international, where nothing real ever happens.

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-ww.

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19 more spaces for CC#39, Barnwell SC, March 2017.

Builders:

Here is important news: We have just revised the capacity for Corvair College#39, and we have 19 builders spaces open. If you were thinking of signing up for this event, do so now, as there will be no further revisions, and I believe these space will fill up in a few days.

Corvair College #39 at Barnwell SC was scheduled for November 2016, but we revised the date to March 10-12th, 2017.  All other things about the event, the location, quality, facility and traditional welcome, will all remain the same. We have previously had 7 outstanding Colleges at Barnwell, and P.F. Beck and crew have set the gold standard for hosting Colleges. Myself and the Wesemans, plus a lot of experienced builders and characters will be on hand to provide progress, learning and fun, all in one setting.

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If you have not accomplished all you hoped for in 2016, then make the choice right now that 2017 will be different. you can start the year off right by signing up for #39, and using the next 95 days doing the prep work to get the most out of the event. If you need a core motor, parts or are interested in a complete “engine in a box” call Rachel at the SPA/Panther parts and engine hot line: 904-626-7777 (extension #1) to make a plan for progress in 2017.

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Below is the sign up link for CC#39. Don’t wait too long, once the College sign up is full, we will have no further spaces to squeeze anyone in. Barnwell will likely be the last full college until September 2017.

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https://eventregistration2017.wufoo.com/forms/cc39/

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Above, Bob Lester’s Corvair powered Pietenpol sits on the ramp at Barnwell at sunset on Saturday night at Corvair College #31.

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There are many links to Corvair College stories here: Corvair College reference page.

For a look at the 2015 Barnwell College, check this out: Corvair College #35 Barnwell builders video.

For a look at the EAA film about the 2013 Barnwell College, click here: New EAA video on Corvair College#27, Barnwell 2013.

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Thank you, William Wynne.

http://flycorvair.com/ – https://flycorvair.net/

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Happy Birthday Chris Heintz 

Builders,

Today is the 78th birthday of the founder of Zenith Aircraft, Chris Heintz. While I have great admiration for the legendary designers of experimental aircraft, and I have had the good fortune to meet Wittman, Rutan, VanGrunsven, and Monett, I can say without the slightest hesitation that Chris Heintz has a greater impact on my work in aviation simply because I learned more about the design of aircraft from him.

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I “met” him nearly 30 years ago, through a series of articles he wrote for the EAA publication Light Plane World. The articles demonstrated three things very clearly: He wrote to educate, not impress readers; He had values, refusing to design planes with stall speeds that precluded survivability;  and sharing what he knew was a vital part, maybe even his primary mission in aviation. I read these as a freshman at Embry Riddle, in the periodical section of the library. I appreciated them greatly, but could never have imagined the long term impact of the mans work on my years ahead in aviation. For this, I remain most grateful, and I join thousands of other aviators in celebrating the life’s work of Chris Heintz.

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Above, Sun n Fun 2006, L-R: My Father, Chris Heintz, myself, Grace Ellen, my Mother, and Grace’s Mother. Aircraft design is a field that draws people with strong egos and yet to be explored social skills. In this arena, Chris Heintz stands out completely against the norm. Without question, he is the most approachable and modest of all the major designers I have ever met.
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Further reading:

12 years of Zenith’s powered by FlyCorvair Conversions.

Zenith’s Roger Dubbert, man who has flown 10,000 demo flights.

Ken Pavlou’s Zenith 601XL hits 500 hours.

Corvairs at the 25th Zenith open house.

Zenith / Corvair installation 

16 Flying Corvair powered Zenith 601/ 650s

Woody’s 2,850cc Corvair/601XL hits 400 hours.

A tale of three Zenith builders.

Patrick Hoyt, new Zenith 601XL, now flying, N-63PZ

Zenith 650-2700cc Dave Gardea

Another new “Zenvair” 601XLB, Jim Ballew, 2700cc

Second “Zenvair”, the McDaniel’s 2700cc 601XLB

 Patrick Hoyt, new Zenith 601XL, now flying, N-63PZ

Guest writer: Phil Maxson, flying a 3100cc Corvair in his 601XL

 601XL-2700cc Dr. Gary Ray

 Zenith 601XL-3100cc Dr. Andy Elliott

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-ww.

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Happy Birthday to the USMC 

Builders.,

In advance of Finishing School #2, I have two friends on helping, Steve Glover (Corvair/KR-California) and Terry Hand, (Corvair/Pietenpol – Georgia ). Both of them are Marines. To celebrate the Birthday of the Corps, a little shooting was in order, and conveniently I have a pistol range in my back yard.

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Pictured above, 10/22, 1911 in .45 ACP, .410/.45LC handgun and a .357. Terry drove down from Atlanta, a brought two of the tools pictured above from his late Father’s inventory.  Read his fathers story here: Terry Hand’s story “Our Own Honor Flight”

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Steve Glover, left and Terry Hand Right. Steve was the host of Corvair College #37 in Chino, and Sells the plans and parts for the KR series of aircraft, and Elison throttle body carbs through his website. NVAero.com. Terry runs and moderates out “Pietvair” private on line discussion group, and is a senior Delta international pilot flying 757s and 767s. Notice, both guys are lefties, and good shots. ( I put most of the fliers on the paper. )
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Corvair events on the calendar:

Builders;

Here is a look at what is going on this month:

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In a few days there will be the first ever Sport aviation showcase in Deland Florida. Dan and Rachel Weseman, will have the full commercial Panther display, as well as our Corvair stuff. There will be several Corvair powered birds there, and I am the featured speaker on the 4th. Plan on being there, you will not want to miss it. No sign up required. If there is a part you wish to pick up in person, please call Rachel to coordinate in advance 904-626-7777.  For more information read: Deland FL, “Sport Aviation Showcase” November 3-5

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The following weekend, we are holding the Second Corvair Finishing school in Green Cove Springs at the Panther SPA shop. Please note: this does require signing up. As I write this I believe there are 2 more observer slots left. For up to the minute information, call Rachel at 904-626-7777. Read more here: Finishing School #2, Nov. 11-13, Florida.

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CC #39, March 10-12, 2017,  Barnwell South Carolina: Please note the date change! This College can support nearly 100 builders, but if you were thinking about going, know that there are only 11 slots available.  Below is the active sign up sheet:

https://corviarcollegeregistration.wufoo.com/forms/cc39/  If you had a problem with signing up, try this link.

Website stories: Outlook 2016, Corvair College #39, Barnwell SC, 11/11/16 and Corvair College #39 at Barnwell postponed.  This story has a link about college sign ups, but it was just for people who were transferring from the original date to the March one. The purple link above is the general sign up. Special thanks to Shelley Tumino for setting up the oil line services.

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Blast from the past, 2005:

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February 14, 2005: Grace Ellen and I with Dr. Gary Ray and his Zenith 601XL project.   The plane has been flying now for almost a decade.  It has made pilgrimages to Oshkosh, the Zenith open house and to Corvair College #20. If your project looks like the picture above, know than many great hours of adventure await in your future.

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Hangar back in action

Builders,

A few photos from working in the hangar today. Compare these shots with the ones of the hangar flooded 48 hours ago.

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Above the distributor machine test running an E/P-X ignition. I finished 8 of these today and took them down to SPA/Panther for 4 shipping, and the rest for stock. Notice no water on the floor.

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Two part quiz; how big was the spider that was here, and what happened to him?

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Above, the main hangar, without “excessive humidity “.

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“Excessive humidity” in the hangar

Builders;

Below, two pictures, one of the hangar and one of the workshop. We have a family joke that goes back to 1967 about “excessive humidity” as an understatement for water.  Our field elevation is 77 feet, but our acre is slightly lower, and is a localized low spot, prone to flooding during exceptional storms. The photo shows the water receding, it was about 10″ deep in the hangar. Because this was expected, the planes were moved to friends hangars, and nothing was left on the floor. ( Notice the Tig welder is hanging from the engine hoist) By midnight on Saturday, the hangar floor was free of water, the workshop was down to 2.”

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Above, a look in the hangar. Notice nothing was left on the floor. 1-26 fuselage is hanging from the roof trusses, the wings are on the back porch. Gliders are designed to have the wings removed in a few minutes. Keep in mind that none of the inventory lives here, it is all high and dry on shelves at SPA/Panther, so there is no interruption in shipping of parts, no matter how ‘humid’ my hangar is.

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Above, the workshop. It sits about 2″ lower than the hangar. It is insulated and cooled and heated, but the insulation stops 3′ from the floor so it doesn’t get soaked in a flood. In the ten and a half years we have been here, the shop has flooded eight or nine times. The typical interruption to work is 3 or 4 days. The most effective solution would be to replace the shop and the hangar with a modern building sitting on a new slab 24″ higher, but that is a pretty expensive sentence, not mathematically supported by the last decades real estate values, nor working to supply the most economical engine on the market, while staying true to Why “Made in America” matters to me.

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If I didn’t like what I do, having the nicest shop wouldn’t make me happy: Equally, if you believe in what you do, then a less than perfect facility, is an occasional annoyance, but not a road block. A lot of homebuilt planes are finished in basements and garages by motivated builders, while a greater number sit in spotless hangars, never worked on.

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For a look at what the yard looks like in a big storm, check out: Let It Not Rain.

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In 1967, one of the projects my father was working on in Vietnam was dredging the port facilities Cam Ranh Bay. The US Government had allowed contractors from SEATO nations to bid the job. The Asian company that got the contract had to tow the dredge hundreds of miles to bring it to the site. When it was late, my father sternly asked for an explanation, and true to the old eastern custom of not loosing face or directly addressing issues, he was told the delay was caused by “Excessive humidity in the engine compartment.” A nice message, but the US Navy sent word the dredge was at the bottom of the South China Sea, having already sunk in route.

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-ww.

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