William Wynne

"The Corvair Authority"
5000-18 HWY 17 #247
Orange Park, FL 32003

Two Weeks Till Oshkosh
Corvair College #15 Update


Here is our Oshkosh 2009 schedule: Our booth is number 627 in the North Aircraft Display area near Van's and Sonex. We will be there every day of the show. In addition, I'll be giving forums at the following times and locations:

8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, 2009, in Engine Workshop 20
10 to 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 29 in GAMA Pavilion 2
8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Friday, July 31 in Engine Workshop 20
1 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday, August 1 in Utah Valley University Pavilion 6

At our booth, we'll have many of the luminaries from the Corvair movement: Mark Langford, Dan Weseman, Roy Szarafinski, Mark from Falcon and Pramod from Nitron Inc. will be with us to share their expertise. We have traditionally enjoyed the hospitality of the Heintz family in the Zenith booth at Oshkosh. This year we've expanded to have our own booth right down the way, but we still have plans to attend the regular Zenith functions.

Corvair pilots will be converging on AirVenture from all points on the compass: From Northern California, Woody Harris is flying in his 601; Andy Elliott is flying in his 601 from the Southwest; Mark Langford will be flying his KR-2S from the South; Dan Weseman with his Cleanex and Louis Kantor with his 601 will be flying from Florida; and Joe Horton will fly his KR-2S from the East Coast. In addition to these long distance flyers, there will be a number of Corvair pilots representing Pietenpols, KRs and Zeniths from the Central part of the country. Dr. Ray of Michigan with his 601 and Mark Jones of Wisconsin with his KR-2S will be returning to AirVenture. The shortest trip of all will be covered by Dick Schmidt, whose 601 HD lives on the other side of the airport.

So that all of these aircraft can be easily enjoyed by builders who drove in, I'm encouraging the pilots who fly in to park their aircraft on the Northern end of the Homebuilt Aircraft area, near where our Booth 627 will be. I'd like to conduct quick flightline tours during the day to introduce new builders to the achievements and craftsmanship of those who are now flying their achievement.

AirVenture 2009 promises to be the largest gathering of Corvair powered planes since Corvair Collge #9 at our place in Florida. It's an important week with a lot to offer any builder. We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

Corvair College #15 Postponed

Corvair College #15 was originally planned 6 months ago to be a full two-day event sandwiched between Brodhead and Oshkosh. As the date has inched closer, the event was condensed to a single day by necessity. Although it is short notice, a number of the builders contacted me to say that they would much prefer the College in their area be a full 2 1/2 day event, even if it had to be at a later date. Many of the same people actually volunteered to be on hand for assistance at a regular College. These people had read of the successes at Corvair Collge #13 in California and Corvair Collge #14 in Massachusetts and strongly lobbied for a full College in their area.

As a result, we will reschedule the event after Oshkosh. We'll post details here on the FlyCorvair.com Web site.

Please note that this morning I spoke to Ed Fisher, host of Corvair College #16 in South Carolina, and he's already beginning to prepare for his event in November 2009. Although every College we have ever given has of course been free, I do recognize that builders have put a tremendous amount of effort into attending them and getting the most out of them. Because of this, we want to ensure that each event offers builders ample reward for their time invested. Although it's short notice, this is the overwhelming factor in my decision. Much of the technical exchange of information and inspections we had hoped to do can still be accomplished at Oshkosh.


We will be at Brodhead, Wisc., to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Pietenpols, Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, 2009. We have spoken with several Corvair powered Pietenpol builders who are planning on flying in for the event. Doc and Dee Mosher, editors of the Brodhead Pietenpol Association newsletter, available at www.pietenpols.org, tell us they anticipate the largest turnout of Pietenpols in many, many years. It is my favorite airport in America, and we look forward to seeing many friends there. My forum will be from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Brodhead.

A Philosophy of Homebuilding

I recently tried to explain to a person outside of aviation what was at the core of homebuilding, and why it was any different than boating, motorcycling or any other form of motorized recreation. He initially focused on that it was allegedly less expensive than factory built aircraft, and a good form of efficient transportation. The guy was from Ireland and married to an American, and it was fairly obvious that he had spent some time trying to understand American perspectives with an open mind.

In speaking with him, I realized that he was partially correct. A lot of people with a kit in their garage, or a giant stack of aircraft brochures on their desk, have approached homebuilding as a form of motor sport, different and perhaps more challenging, but they look at it in the same vein, within the same paradigm. I have a lot of good evidence, gathered over 20 years of speaking with homebuilders, that this perspective not only cheats would be builders out of the most rewarding aspects of experimental aviation, it also is the root cause of the very low completion rate of experimental projects.

If you are yet to complete a homebuilt, you may harbor the common misconception that success is dependent on money, tools, experience and skill. Let me offer the testimony that builders with the above four alleged keys in abundance fail at roughly the same rate as builders who start with only trace amounts. Successful homebuilders all have one thing in common: They are persistent. A builder who has persistence, and little else, will, over time, acquire or develop every other element he needs. Conversely, you can buy everything you need and put it next to the greatest tools in the nicest hangar, and know how to do all the work, but nothing will happen until the builder picks up the tool, puts it in contact with the work, and persistently keeps doing this.

Persistence is really just the visible symptom of a person's motivation. So it is really a question of sustained motivation. Read the next sentence slowly: If you view experimental aviation as an advanced motorsport, or another series of consumer products, or even a cheap way to get into aviation, you have a philosophy that nearly assures that your motivation will give out before the plane is done. I have known this to be true for a long time, said so, and have had plenty of people tell me I was wrong. But I have never had one of these people SHOW me I was wrong by finishing and flying their plane. The completion rate on planes is way below 20%. I always assumed that this alone would assure a lot of interest on the subject of success. But it doesn't. There are three reasons for this: People who are blowing money and time working with a failure prone perspective don't know it yet, and won't until it is too late. Second, few writers in experimental aviation have built a homebuilt, and thus have no idea what it takes. Third, the industry sells consumer goods like kits, materials and tools. Until they figure out how to put motivation in bags and sell it by the pound, they are going to keep telling you success is dependent on purchasing every bit of their stuff now. We sell parts as well, but in the absence of motivation and information, even our helpful, flight-proven parts will not advance your project.

Here is the real truth: Flying as a motorsport is a tough sell. It is hard to enter, expensive and heavily regulated, and let's not forget, dangerous. I often hear talk about aviation's need to attract younger builders and pilots. Perhaps, finding them among the legions of young people attracted to other sports like motorcycles, Jet Skis and fast cars. Consider my own example of why aviation, when sold as a motorsport, will never compete: When I was 19, I had a job that paid barely above minimum wage, and I decided to get serious about competing with off-road motorcycles. Within months, I had enough money for a competitive bike, had joined the AMA, and was competing in district and national events. I found the senior members of the sport friendly, welcoming and without a trace of attitude about paying dues, or ego-driven pecking order. By comparison, my entry into aviation took cubic yards of money, calendars of time, and an endless requirement for the tolerance of aviator egos. No normal 19-year-old looking for a challenging and fun motorsport is going to choose aviation.

Aircraft are often billed as efficient and cool transportation. Truth be told, it takes a very sophisticated airplane and pilot to challenge any kind of weather. Anyone entering aviation with the sole motivation of creating a high utility form of transportation is headed for a rude awakening when they discover that most light planes within people's grasp cannot fulfill this mission. New homebuilders often ignore it, but people who understand the real transportation potential know the saying, "Time to spare? Go by air."

Fortunately, airplanes, especially experimentals, have a lot more going for them other than being a motorized toy or potential transportation. The real reward of homebuilding and the common thread that all people who have completed an airplane understand is hidden inside their basic problem: Yes, completing a homebuilt airplane is an exceedingly difficult challenge, so difficult and so demanding, in fact, that the task virtually assures that anyone who drifts in looking for a cheap thrill will later exit frustrated and alleviated of excess wealth. People who do find success will be joining an exclusive club. This achievement is held in very high regard in our Arena of aviation. It is the fundamental mark that says you have found within yourself the motivation to succeed where the vast majority of people looked but could not find in themselves what it took. Anyone with a thick wallet can buy their way into any motor sport, and the only thing they will discover about themselves is their credit rating. A homebuilt project has a thousand places to quit. A completed homebuilt says the builder worked his way though all 1000 of them. In this process, you will find out a lot about yourself, and find out if you're willing to put in the real effort required to learn and improve. Nothing I have ever done in any other motor sport or form of transportation holds a candle to the inner satisfaction of successful homebuilding.

Don't get me wrong. Experimentals are fun and they do make good transportation. I have seen Dan Weseman fly the Wicked Cleanex with the same agility and gusto with which he pilots his Yamaha YZ450F around the motocross track. It's pure fun. Mark Langford has traveled the equivalent distance of 5 1/2 trips around the Earth at the Equator in his KR-2S. Certainly, your homebuilt can take you places. But my point is that Dan and Mark were sustained through countless evenings working in the shop by something other than the thought of future fun or travel. The Fun and Travel are by-products and additional perks.

I honestly believe that the two of them were attracted to the challenge, and the fact that it is widely known that the odds are against anyone finishing. While they each were at times certainly frustrated, by and large they enjoyed the learning, the building and the exercise of the basic human need to create. While everyone would identify with these values on paper, our consumer society keeps most people very well insulated from their practice. It can be a very humbling experience to be in the shop and discover that even if you espouse these values and even once possessed the skills, it is a serious challenge to rediscover their exercise and learn to enjoy the process.

Every homebuilt is made of thousands of small, bite-size tasks. Selecting any one of these tasks and approaching it with the goal of simply accomplishing that task, being satisfied with it and simply enjoying the process is the only proven route to finishing your plane. It is a self-sustaining chain that increases in strength over time, whereas all the means to an end motivation is invariably exhausted before the project is completed.

Our work over the years has always been to help builders find their path to success. If you have followed our work for several years, you know I often return to the subject of philosophy. Philosophy and motivation are one leg of the triangle of support we provide to homebuilders. It is just as important as the other two legs of the triangle: flight proven parts and the information gained through rigorous testing.

This year, like previous years, we will bring all three elements to Wisconsin and spend more than a week sharing them with homebuilders from near and far. It is my sincerest wish that Corvair builders will utilize all three and their own personal will to claim their place among those who have succeeded in building and flying their own aircraft.

We're here to help you - Wynne.

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