Speaking of Bob Woolley

Builders:

Several hundred people from our area put on nice clothes yesterday morning, and drove over to Russell road. We were there to try to say goodbye to Bob Woolley.  I say try, because he was so full of life, it seems completely impossible he is gone.

.

He was killed in a midair collision 14 days ago. None of the circumstances matter, it was just two very good friends, supremely skilled aviators, out having fun, in a matched set of RV-4s. They were the two most respected men at our airpark, both Vietnam combat aviators, and we came damn close to losing them both.

.

Do you think of yourself as emotionally tough? Do you have a personal picture of how an aviator comports himself? Try this: Dave, the other pilot, got out of the hospital in a wheelchair so that he could have his son push him to the table bearing Bobs flag, where he carefully spoke to everyone present about what an outstanding human being Bob had been. You could spend a lifetime in aviation, and never see 10 minutes like that, and quite frankly, I hope you never have to.

.

If you are from far away, but Bob’s name sounds familiar, here is the connection; Bob was Panther customer builder #1, He was the first person Dan let fly the prototype, he did the first flights in many of them, and he did the test flying In Paul Salters, 3.0L Panther. Several years ago, Rachel Weseman shared this short biography of Bob on the Panther website: https://flywithspa.com/meet-panther-beta-builder-robert-bob-woolley/.  Read it carefully, the thoughts Rachel shares tell a story of just how attached to Bob Rachel and Dan have always been.

.

20130205-184458.jpg

.

Above, Bob Woolley and one of the many Glasairs he built.

https://flywithspa.com/videogallery/panther-sport-flight-review-by-bob-woolley/

.

When people get killed, there is always an emotional expression from people they were special to. It is hard to explain this with sensitivity, so maybe I just say it; Bob really was a titanic character, he was a really special human being to a huge number of very diverse people.  At his service I began to see the magnitude of his life, by watching five neighbors standing in a row, people who don’t have much in common, all stunned because they each just realized they lost the best friend they likely will ever have.

.

Bobs hangar is about 1,500′ from mine. Most people at our airport work elsewhere, but Bob and I worked solo in our hangars. Sounds like fun, and it is when times are good. But in a bad year, it can be savagely lonely. 2017 was a lot like that. I’d get on my dirt bike and ride up to Bob’s. Its hard to express how thankful I was on some bad days find him working out in the hangar. We rarely needed to talk about much. Bob had passed through his own tough spots in life, and many times it was enough to have him as living proof that you can choose to live beyond what threatens to consume you.

.

The last two weeks have been really busy, and not much of this sunk in until yesterday. All the immediately required tasks stopped at sundown tonight, and I found myself alone in the house, with a light steady rain falling outside. I thought about calling some friends, but didn’t. I sat down with a beer and thought about Bob. I’d like to share something really moving that could capture a glimpse of his spirit, but half a dozen beers later, everything that comes to me is diminished by putting it in words. Last month, cancer got my mentor in flying, Chuck Nelson. It was hard, but it came with some warning, Bob is a very different story. I’ve lost a number of really close friends in accidents over the years, but this loss has some really sharp teeth I have not felt in a decade.

.

When you lose some people, you wonder if you will ever meet anyone like them again.  There is none of this with Bob. I’m 56, and I won’t live long enough to meet anyone like him again.  That may come across as somber, but it’s realistic.  I’m going to get one last beer and sit on the front porch and stare into the dark, even though I understand there will be no answers.  Before anyone writes to say ‘I’m sorry for your loss’, let me just say in advance, if you didn’t have a chance to know Bob, I’m the one who is sorry for your loss.

.

ww.

.

Piet Project video, Earl Brown

Builders,

We have a new youtube video up, it is Earl Brown leading a tour of his Pietenpol project.

.

https://youtu.be/nhRV7qBdfL4

.

.

Please remember to subscribe to the youtube channel while you are there.

.

Thanks,

William.

.

Trip to the machine Shop, a continuity of American products.

Builders,

As we get closer to Oshkosh, we stock up for the orders that come the month before. Kitty Politi and I made a run down to Volusia County to pick up CNC machined parts today.

.

I have operated out of North Florida for nearly 15 years, but got started 30 years ago in the Daytona Beach area 100 miles south. I still use many of the same parts suppliers as I did decades ago, particularly the CNC aerospace shop which has made my prop hubs since the mid 1990s. It is located on the New Smyrna Beach airport.  There is a measure of your stability in this kind of long term buisness relationships. It also tells you our stuff isn’t from China, it is made here, the core of this story: Why “Made in America” matters to me..

.

.

Across the ramp from our machine shop is the American Aero hangar. Kitty and I stopped in for a look. Get a close look, That is a P-38 and a P-51B in the hangar amongst the other warbirds. The Allison engines on these planes were 100% designed and built by General Motors, just like your Corvair. In the 1940s, GM even owned the majority of North American Aviation.

.

Thirty years ago,  I hung around the same hangar when it was owned by a very Illustrious character named Harry Doan. It was filled with a wild collection of warbirds, including several AD-1’s and a F-9F.  He owned a number of bars in Daytona, notably “Dirty Harry’s”.  If you like Cold War history, try this: “Doan Helicopter Inc,”  owned N4410F, the C-123K provider shot down while suppling the Contras in 1986, starting the Iran Contra Affair. Doan was killed in a Skyraider mishap at the Tico warbird show 25 years ago, but I can still remember what it was like to be an Embry-Riddle student and visit this same hangar as if it was last month.

.

At Oshkosh, there will be plenty of people wandering among displays trying to decide on what to buy. Many of them will buy an imported engine from a short lived company or an airframe of dubious origin without ever googling the name to see what they are getting into. The Corvair engine in your workshop, and your efforts to be its creator and master are just the opposite of this. It is an American made product, which will serve your personal goals and allow you to have your place in the long arc of American aviation. When you look back 30 years, you will have a solid undeniable achievement. For reasons I’m yet to understand, others will settle for much, much  less.

.

WEWjr.

.

 

3.3 Liter Corvair Kit engine, Available for 6/28-29 Finishing School.

Builders,

SPA and Flycorvair are holding a finishing school, June 28-29th at the Panther factory here in north Florida. We already have a nearly full house of builders who will build and run their own engines here.  At this moment, we have one slot open, and it is going to the builder who takes advantage of the following offer:

.

SPA has one complete 3.3 liter Corvair “Engine in a Box” kit.  This is the absolute highest quality Corvair engine you can possibly assemble, All built around the SPA Billet Corvair Crank. This is not ‘the affordable Corvair’ the 3.3 EIB kit is an exercise in how high quality and powerful a Corvair can be made.  We have different packages and approaches for builders on different timelines and budgets, The 3.3 EIB kits are not for everyone, but they are an excellent value, particular for those who also want the training and support to become the master of their engine, not just it mere owner. 

.

If you have specific questions about this engine, call Rachel at SPA, the direct line is 904-626-7777.  She has all the pricing, and as host of the finishing school, Rachel will be able to answer questions about the event.

.

We are working on a time line to have day visitors on the 29th to see the engine runs as observers. I will have an update on this shortly. We are trying to arrange things so people new to Corvairs can get some exposure and have questions covered, but Finishing Schools are focused on the builders attending, so we are making sure the logistics of this are fully covered before we open an invitation to observers.  More news on this next week.

.

 Above, Dan and Rachel stand on either side of their 3.3 engine at Oshkosh 2015. In the years since, the 3.3 has become the premium ‘Engine in a Box’ kit, which as been assembled and flown by a number of builders.

.

A story about 3.3 liter Corvairs:

3.3 Liter Corvair, a Smooth Power House

.

Link to a video of the first 3.3 Running:

SPA / Weseman 3.3 Liter Corvair now running

.

A story about a 2,000 mile 3.3 flight.

Ken Pavlou 601XL / 3.3 Corvair; Then there was two…

.

A story about vibration testing at Sensenich props on the 3.3:

Testing at Sensenich Propellers

.

Story about a 601XL flying on a 3.3L:

Ken Pavlou, Zenith 601XL / Corvair, 620 hours.

.

A story about the billet cranks which are the heart of all the 3.3Ls and many 3.0L Corvairs

SPA Billet Corvair Cranks

.

A short discussion of the value of a large displacement Corvair

3,300cc Corvair 601XL, Oshkosh 2017

.

A look at how the standard baffling kits also clean;u fit the 3.3:

Baffling on 3.3 Liter Corvair 

.

A funny story about a test run on a 3.3:  3.3 Liter Corvair of Kamal Mustafa

.

 

New Video: E/P and E/P-X Ignitions.

Builders,

Through the magic of the internet, A grease monkey in Florida can work with a genius in Connecticut just by texting and Volia!, a new video appears in cyberspace……maybe you can make a unicorn…..

.

Video is up, you can see it at this link:

https://youtu.be/Yn_eKFaAWHw

.

.

Please remember too subscribe! we are steadily working toward the goal of 1,000 subs where Youtube allows us to put a lot of direct hyperlinks in the descriptions.

.

Thank You, William.

.

 

 

5/29/19 – A bad day at the airport.

Builders,

Yesterday was a tragic day at our airport. One of the finest aviators I ever had the privilege of being a friend to was lost in an accident a few miles from his home here.  Some of the circumstances are known, but none of it matters, the only thought is how we will not see him in this life again.

.

Because it was a slow national news day, stations as far away as Utah and California spread the disinformation and non-truths gathered by an invasion of media ghouls, all willing to trade another families suffering for some small ratings uptick for themselves. I started off civil by asking “If your father was lost would you want your own mother to meet strangers with cameras at the front door?” A thought which would give pause to normal people but seemingly had no effect on vermin.

.

I have received calls all morning from friends asking politely if it was anyone in my home or in the Weseman family, or part of what we were doing. It was not, it was an RV-4 accident. The man was a very treasured and dear friend, a real one of a kind guy. Many of our closer friends met him, and will remember him well, at a later point when everyone in his greater family is told, I will share some good stories in his memory.

.

.

If you still believe that one brand of news is more ethical than others, let me say that if you were here yesterday, it would have cured you of this illusion. All networks were represented, and they all behaved like jackals and ghouls. Our airport is private property, and after one neighbor briefed the media, they were asked to leave. Instead they all kept sneaking back in, and all three tried to ring the doorbell of the mans home, when his wife had been a widow for 45 minutes. You can claim this is local TV, but the lies they told were eagerly snapped up and retold by their national networks, including Fox. 12 hours after the accident they were still staking out the entrance, hoping for ambush interviews, This morning I caught more on the runway, “filming on location” although the accident was many miles away. I had the sign above made to further clarify they we didn’t need scum like them in our community.

.

Today is a still day at our home airport. The song of a very beautiful life abruptly stopped and now things seem terribly quiet. I’m fighting off the temptation to hop on the dirt bike and ride up to his hanger, because my heart says he must still be up and is place putting in another day working on his 14th homebuilt. He isn’t there, but if you knew him, you would understand that some lives are vibrant enough it’s impossible to imagine the world without them.

.

WW.

.

New Video, #2400-L Starter Kit review.

Builders,

Here is the lates short video. It covers all the sub components in a 2400-L starter kit.

.

https://youtu.be/xlsYI8Bo_L0

.

We just passed through 400 subscribers. If you have not yet, please join up, thank you.

.

wwjr.