A word of caution or being a kill joy?

Builders;

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The sign above, is pictured Thursday night at our airport in Florida.  It is normally stored on my back porch, hopefully never to be used. It’s only purpose is to keep unethical TV reporters in search of ratings, out of our neighborhood after an accident.  On Thursday afternoon, one of our neighbors went for a short flight in his RV-4, and never returned. Our little community only has 119 people here, the man was known and liked, friend to both myself and the Weseman’s.  This was the second fatal accident this year. The circumstances are unknown, and not important. He was a highly skilled guy, flying a good plane, and we will not see him in this life again.

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2020 will make my 31st season in aviation. Plenty of people have been around longer, but I most have them have spent their seasons in far more benign parts of aviation. Experimentals, antiques and aerobatics and other riskier parts of general aviation are arguably more dangerous than flying in the military.

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Salesmen in our industry understand that any discussion of accidents and risk management makes people who might dabble in homebuilding nervous. Conversely, I’m not a salesman, and I’ve long said that homebuilding is the wrong place to dabble. If you are interested in devoting your attention and ambitions in homebuilding, then I have some perspectives and experience to share with you, to give you understanding and tools to effectively minimize and manage your risks.

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This approach is not always welcome. A week ago, a new second owner of an experimental openly said on a discussion group that he couldn’t wait to get his plane because he wanted to take his kids flying in it. If that attitude doesn’t unsettle you, maybe you don’t know this fact: The first flights of the second owner of an experimental are statistically proven by the FAA to be the highest risk events in general aviation, several times more likely to result in a fatality than even the original flights of the aircraft. This is solely because of the second owner, and his rush to use the plane without transition training, often without a Pilot’s Operating Handbook, and without studying issues like Weight and Balance, loading and systems configuration specific to that particular plane.  These issues are not new, read 20 year old NTSB reports on John Denver’s accident, the circumstances never change.

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When I suggested to the new second owner that he might look into training, a POH and alerted him that his plane might have a very limited useful load, his public response was to openly say he had flown the plane over gross, had done his flight training over gross weight, and he thought it was “No big deal”. He directly said he just wanted to ‘spread some joy’ and took my comments as being a know it all.

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His reaction isn’t unusual today; twenty years ago, the majority of people were willing to listen to experience, today, people, particularly second owners, are very quick to take offense to nearly any comment that doesn’t validate and endorse their conception of how things work, often based on the ‘its no big deal’ perspective.  This summer I pointed out a Pietenpol with a structural issue about to be flown. The owners response was to demand I remove from my website, a picture he himself had put on the internet. He took no action of the items I referenced, and 45 days later the plane crashed on rotation on its first flight, and was completely destroyed. By an absolute miracle, the pilot survived. He later told an observer that he might have listened to me, but I wasn’t nice enough to him in my comments. I’ll leave it to you to decide if you believe him.

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TO BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR: This story is not making a comment in any way about my neighbor’s accident. The point is only that I have known and been fairly close friends with more than two dozen men and women killed in light planes.  They were good people, and the real tragedy is that more than half of accidents were easily preventable.  Each loss offered some wisdom, if you were willing to learn. I share the  stories like these: Risk Management reference page with people willing to gain some understanding to improve their own risk management. On the other hand, it can all be dismissed as me just being a kill joy.

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2019 Midwest tour video

Builders:

Your Sunday morning: You could either watch Meet the Press and see the same old talking heads rehash the same old alarmist arguments, or you can spend the same amount of time watching our 2019 midwest tour video.  I guarantee our video will put you in a better mood to get stuff done on your Airplane today.

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The video above is the work of Ken Pavlou, aka “Kamal Mustafa” . He put nearly 18 hours of editing into it. So if you are tempted to turn the sound off to avoid hearing my low caffeine induced speech impediment of connecting all the sentences with the phrase “and-uh” , just imagine how Ken’s brain has been damaged by editing this for you. A human sacrifice on behalf of advancing the world of Corvairs.

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Deland Showcase, CC #45, Nov. 14.

Builders,

Here is the video notice for Corvair College #45. Please note that this College is an “Operations College” Where the focus of the event is learning the subjects in the New – M.O.P. Manual, a required technical document.

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The event is open to the public, you only need to buy a gate pass for the whole Showcase event, you can learn all about this great hands on, aviation event, based on participation, not on spectating. Here is their info:

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https://www.sportaviationshowcase.com/event-info/index

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Above, the intro Video: Notice I’m wearing spiffy new “Polo Mafia” shirt provided by Larry Nelson.

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In addition to all of the “M.O.P.” information at CC #45, you can:

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Come and see Corvair Powered planes like Phil Maxson’s 601XL and The SPA Panther.

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Meet Corvair Builder/Pilots like Phil Maxson,   Ken Pavlou, and Paul Salter (You can even see verbal sparing matches between Ford Man and ‘Old Hairy Guy’. )

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You can bring all your core parts or assemblies, and I will carefully inspect them. If you like I can bring them back to my hangar or SPA’s shop for reconditioning.

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You can study a running 3,000cc Corvair on my run stand, learn regular maintenance items like distributor installation and prop pitch setting. We will also be demonstrating “Corvair Fast Burn” Ignition timing settings and how air-fuel meters work.

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Have any question answered in a friendly setting, were we will have the resources right on hand to make sure you really understand your power plant.

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Make plans today, It will great event, we are planning on packing a lot into the day, don’t miss it.

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PS, if you have further questions about the event, please ask them here in the comments section, or call me direct at 904-806-8143.

 

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Something Funny- Oshkosh 2019

Builders,

Here is something funny from Oshkosh 2019. I am making fun of the square edge of top of Randy Bush’s Pietenpol cowling; this is done in jest, as I love Randy and he knows it, he is the person laughing in the background.

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Randy is part of our Oshkosh crew every year. There is no explanation for it, but some some reason Ken Pavlou, nick named him “Pot Roast”, and the name has stuck ever since.

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If you want to read more about Randy, get a look at these stories:

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Randy Bush’s Pietenpol hits 500 hours.

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Oshkosh 2019

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Above, Randy stands beside his 3,000cc Cleanex at Oshkosh 2017. Yes, “Pot Roast” has two Corvair Powered planes, and they have more than 1,000 hours between them.

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New – M.O.P. Manual, a required technical document.

Builders,

Below is a quick look and a video introduction to our new “Maintenance, Operations and Procedures manual

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Above, the cover: If you ar building or flying a Corvair powered plane, you need to own one of these. It is made up from data pulled together from my experience and that of Dan Weseman. Once or twice a month, we have a builder who calls us who has completely missed missed critical technical data we have previously presented in many formats. Here we have gathered critical information into a single, easily followed location. This is thousands of hours of testing, hundreds of hours writing, and all we ask of builders is to spend one hour reading it, and keep it on hand at all times, and follow it.

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Above, a look at the table of contents.

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Above, Three of the people who made the greatest contribution to getting this document into print.

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Above, a video explaining the content of the new MOP manual, and what its different about it.

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You can get your copy here:

http://shop.flycorvair.com/product-category/manuals/

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Thank you, William.

4201-B “STOL BOWL” nose bowls

Builders,

Just a 12 hours to go before departure for Corvair College #44 At the Zenith Aircraft Factory, but we are still prepping regular parts to be shipped by SPA while we are on the road.

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Above, two STOL bowl, production parts. One is for Florida Zenith builder Ramesh Nori, the other one is yet to be adopted. If you would like to be the new owner, all you have to do is call Lisa at SPA: 904-626-7777, place the order, and it will be shipped on Thursday.  Care and feeding is easier than adopting a puppy, plus, your STOL bowl will not ruin your carpet nor chew shoes.

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Looking forward to seeing many of you at the College.

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Night Run: Carb and Intake testing

Builders,

A quick look at Sunday night, outside my hangar. Dan Weseman was looking for an intake design and a Carb orientation and model, specifically for Corvair powered Panthers with tricycle gear. Tonight was the test run, and it turned out amazingly good.

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Above, a look at the back of my test stand; Notice it is now sporting two lab grade 5 wire O2 driven Air/Fuel meters.  The test question was essentially this: If a Rotec TBI is turned 90 decrees, will it still have excellent mixture distribution to both sides of the engine. The answer is yes. This was the largest spread under power, .3 on the air/fuel ration. That is as good as carbureted engines get.

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Above, Dan runs the controls.

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Above, a look at the Rotec on the manifold. It started and ran exceptionally well.

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After tests, Dan Rachel and I ate dinner at their place and talked about a lot of stuff, ranging from airport business to the new “Ford vs Ferrari” movie. It was a real nice end to a productive weekend.

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