Corvair College 48 Barnwell, SC

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This coming Corvair College in Barnwell, SC on November 6-8, 2020 will be my 48th College. We have now been holding these events for 20 years, all over America. This is an unmatched record of hands on training and education, all in a friendly, fun setting. The Colleges have been an integral part of my work with Corvairs, and #48 will be an excellent opportunity for you to be part of a real grassroots aviation event that will directly advance your personal goals in homebuilding.

College #48 will be at the Barnwell SC airport, November 6-8th. Advanced registration is required to attend.  I welcome all homebuilders, but it is a private event.  We are limited to just under 100 people, the food is catered in advance, and we do have written safety briefings in advance. These three factors preclude having people ‘walk in’ or stop by. If you would like to go, register early and make plans. 

Barnwell has been the setting for 9 previous Corvair Colleges. These have been our ‘Flagship’ events, The EAA has even sent a professional film crew to capture the accomplishment and spirit of Barnwell Colleges. All of these were made possible by the leadership of one great man, P.F. Beck. He was the embodiment of being an aviator, and his generosity of spirit, enthusiasm, and southern hospitality.  He passed in 2019, and we did not have a Barnwell event in 2019 to allow his friends and family to address our loss quietly. We are going back for College #48 in November because it was the expressed wish of P.F. that the Colleges continue after he departed. The evening dinner program on Saturday will be a remembrance and expression of gratitude for the fortune of knowing P.F.

Builders who did not meet him will hear in person from the people who’s lives he moved. 
If you have not previously registered for nor attended a Corvair College, take the time to read some of the stories of them on my blog. The “Corvair College Reference Page” is a good place to start, or watching the EAA’s film of Barnwell.  This will give a better idea of the unique nature of Colleges. If you still have questions, please call me, 904-806-8143. 

Barnwell Colleges are set at a large, but quiet county airport. We have camping directly adjacent to the hangar, and more than half to the builders take advantage of it. There is plenty of space for campers and RV’s but we don’t have hook ups. The airport is easy to fly into, and we have a number of Corvair powered planes planning on attending, including the public debut of the JAG-2 twin, a one of a kind homebuilt who’s engines were assembled and run at a previous Barnwell College. The event is focused on learning in a friendly environment. People attending will range from people just getting into Corvairs making a recon-intel run, to Pilots who attended all previous Barnwell colleges, returning in their Corvair powered aircraft. Every level is welcome, the event it designed to meet the goals and desires of Corvair builders at every stage of the experience. 

Builders can bring their own engines and assemble and test run them at the College. We have run well over 100 engines at the previous Barnwell colleges, and these have been milestone achievements in the journey of these builders, but the College is focused on learning, not ‘getting it done’. Test runs are done to confirm the builder understands and is the master of his power plant, they are not done just because the engine is assembled. Builders with the goal of learning find progress flows from this. I’m at Colleges to teach, if you are attending to learn, it will be a great match. 

The College is “Free” in the very real sense that everything you can learn and do is provided by myself, our local hosts, and a cadre of experienced builders returning to Barnwell. However, the registration has a $110 per person fee, which entirely goes to our local hosts to address their costs of catering the event. P.F’s crew do tireless work to make Colleges happen, all of them are volunteers, they are giving their time, and no respectful person would fail to cover their share of the direct costs of the College. Registering and paying the fee accomplishes this.  Corvair pilots who fly their Corvair-powered planes to the college get 50% off the registration fee.

The colleges are a lot of fun, and you will have a chance to meet and get to know many of the characters in the world of Corvairs, on your way to becoming one of them. The event is an intense immersion into real, traditional homebuilding, the very opposite end of the spectrum from the ‘Consumer airshow’ mentality.  This is all done with the awareness that we are still in a serious safety setting with turning props and the ever present awareness that we are all guests of our local hosts, in ‘the Hangar P.F. built’, and registering for the College comes with the understanding that we are guests and recipients of great generosity, and our actions will reflect our gratitude.

I look forward to seeing friends, both old and new there. We’ll see you on the Flightline. 
William Wynne

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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-ww.

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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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-ww.

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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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-ww.

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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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Florida Hurricane Preparedness….

Friends from out of state have asked how Floridians prepare for hurricanes…..

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Please note, “liking” this story requires a permit in NY, NJ, CT and IL. California residents that accidently thought this was funny and laughed may avoid prosecution by fleeing to the sanctuary state of Arizona. Two stroke engines and thirty round magazines could have been shown to cause cancer in cock roaches in California, but a court injunction from PETECR (people for the ethical treatment of cock roaches) halted the tests before the data to support the conclusion could be manufactured.

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The comment above is a humor tolerance test. It is obviously a joke because everyone knows I don’t drink Bud light.

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I think California is a beautiful place filled with many great people. I am just yet to understand why they must live under a legislative system that is only tolerant when compared to Yemen or the Taliban.  Again, I am joking, but people should feel free to take it the wrong way and be offended, as being offended is a becoming more common than laughing.

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Seriously, NOAA weather is reporting a significant rise in wind speeds in the projections, and they are now predicting 20-25′ waves on North Florida beaches. If you are inclined to pray for people you have not met, now might be a good time, as the next days will bring tragedy to many people here, as it has in the Caribbean already.  Let us hope that no matter what they loose, these people don’t loose the ability to laugh at stupid humor.

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-ww.

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“Coming on like a Hurricane”

Builders,

As wind and rain picks up in front of hurricane Mathew, work goes on while we have power.  Yesterday this included final test run on the engine we assembled and ran for 40 minutes at the Zenith 25th open house.  This engine is a 3,000 cc 120hp engine featuring a Weseman billet made in the USA crank.  It was easy to completely build at the Open House because it was one of the Weseman’s “Engine in a Box” complete kits. If you are interested in purchasing this engine, you are too late, it is already sold, but Dan and Rachel have other “Engine in a Box”‘s  ready to go. Contact them at 904-626-7777 for more info.

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Above, the engine on the run stand in front of my hangar. It was raining lightly, but it doesn’t bother a Corvair. During the second run in Florida, the piston ring break in was completed, the oil filter was changed and the first one was cut open and inspected, compression was evaluated and the timing was set with a light, and the adjustable oil pressure regulator setting was fine tuned.   It ran like a champ, and then I took it to the SPA/Panther factory for crating and shipping.

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Above is a short clip of the engine running at 1,500 rpm or so.
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Eariler at Zenith, Dan briefs observers on what we are going to do. The assembly had about 25 guys who followed every step, and about three times that many they checked in to see how it was done. When we took it outside to run it on Saturday, about 75 people stood there to watch the first fire up. In the hour before, they had heard a Continental 0-200, that was on a flying plane,  that was poorly tuned take two minutes of cranking and stuttering to run. Other engines put on a few less than stellar starts. Many of the 75 people, most of who thought that a brand new engine, made of parts that had not yet ‘met each other’,  would be difficult to start. I’m sure they thought is was full of it when I said it would start and come to power in 3 seconds. These people were slightly stunned when the motor started, instantly, as in less than one second. Much of this is the ignition system I build being vastly better than a magneto, but it is also knowing the engine, as we teach builders to make and operate it. It is a very different mentality that the person in another cockpit, relentlessly grinding on a starter hoping it will light off. Hope isn’t a mechanical strategy, understanding and performance is.

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Above, 30 minutes into the test run at Zenith.

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Above, after the show, the EAA’s Charlie Becker speaks with Dan Weseman as we packed up late night on Saturday night.  The Conversation was a bit about what had taken place, but much of it is always aimed at the next event, the future, and things that can be put in action. On this night, much of that revolved around the November 3-5th Aviation Showcase in Deland Florida. Dan and I got up at 6am Sunday morning and drove the 1,100 miles back to Jacksonville.

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If you are of a certain age, you will recognize the title of the post as lyrics from the opening song on the seminal 1980 AC/DC album “Back in Black“. Although the band is from Australia, the album was recorded in the Bahamas, where the production was besieged by tropical storms, which created the tone for the song “Hells Bells.”

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In the summer of 1980, I was 17 years old and living in New Jersey. Although we were less than 15 miles from Manhattan, the world wide center of fashion, we all thought there was nothing more stupid than people who were slaves to caring about what others thought of their appearance. We were the total opposite, individuals expressing ourselves, which we chose to do by each and every one of us having long hair,  dressing in black tee shirts, Levis 512’s and Timberland boots, while all driving Chevys with cassette decks that all had a copy of “Back in Black” permanently stuck in them. We honestly were oblivious to the idea this was also conformity, but the music endures better than 1980s NYC fashion.

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For my purist builders down under, know that I am actually a bigger fan of Bon Scott, the 1974-79 AC/DC singer. Someone pointed out that is Scott had lived past 1980, he would be the same age as Trump and Clinton today. Without the slightest hesitation, I will say that Bon Scott’s singing on “Highway to Hell” was a greater contribution to the betterment of humanity that anything Donald or Hilary will ever accomplish:

Bon Scott, Paris 1979 ;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_KzeQ639b0

It is one of the few elements of teenage years I hold any nostalgia for.

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-ww.