Building on MLK

  • Monday, January 13, 2014 11:43 PM
    Message # 1474397
    "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Fellow EAA 582 members,

    I am caught in a rare moment of somber sincerity. It is without exaggeration or sarcasm that I say that what we are doing truly matters. The progression and popularization of affordable light sport flight matter. Continuing this pursuit of human freedom and responsibility matters. I have a dream. I dream that all across the world, experienced men and women will teach the inexperienced how to weld, rivet, stitch, coordinate roll and yaw, navigate, and flare. Doing so can only lead to a better tomorrow. There are obstacles -- economics, tyranny, gravity to name a few -- but as the man said, " Every step... requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Is he wrong?

    Let us use our freedom to assemble this MLK weekend. We will cut and grind and weld in marathon fashion -- the kind that won WWII -- and by MLK Day, we will have a Flare fuselage to push each other around in and we shall make the engine noises of freedom as individuals dedicated to humanity finding its wings. I'll be there Saturday morningish, what say you!

    Ryan Weaver

  • Tuesday, January 14, 2014 3:24 PM
    Reply # 1474909 on 1474397

    Hear, Hear Mr. Weaver!


    Thank you for your posting and your inspiration. 


    Now, not only does Chapter 582 have the shop and the membership to build such dreams, we also have a platform to announce and document projects. 


    Keep up the good work gentleman!  


  • Tuesday, January 14, 2014 10:42 PM
    Reply # 1475215 on 1474397
    The Flaire is our last shot to keep alive the grassroots of flying.
    Why is this so important?
    There is something sorely missing in America.
    Ideas that are becoming far too abstract for today's citizenry.
    MLK knew one thing....The oligarchs will not give up control without a fight.
    The oppressed must demand their freedom.
    Let us roll up our sleeves before our freedom to fly is reserved for the corporate jet and the Amazon drone.

    Andy Abreu
  • Wednesday, January 15, 2014 7:54 AM
    Reply # 1475373 on 1474397
    One more thing.  This is not a drill.  This will be under actual construction conditions.   You will be measuring, cutting, grinding, and welding.  For some of you it will be your first time in this environment.  You will be scared, uncertain, perhaps timid but, have no fear, you will prevail.  We will however, expect to take some losses in this type of an operation.  Some may not come through this unhurt.  Fingers will be cut, and even pinched, or worse yet burned.  Don’t forget your eye protection.  In the fog of construction these things are inevitable.  But if we stand shoulder to shoulder, together, we will persevere.  A plane will be built.  You can be sure of that.  You can be proud!
    I have spoken,

    M  boy
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:00 PM
    Reply # 1480086 on 1474397
        What a weekend!  Several members of EAA Chapter 582 participated in the first group build meeting and actually got involved with putting an airplane together.  And this is no ordinary airplane for sure.  As far as I know this is the first time in the history of the EAA that a club has actually got together and designed a mission specific airplane and then actually put the thing together to fly.  Another unusual aspect of this effort is that no one person will, “own,” this airplane.  It is a collective effort and differs greatly with the mindset of most AB airplanes, individual ownership.  Anybody that wants to help build it may, and anybody that wants to fly it may.
        One thing that I noticed about what happened is that the average age of the members that were there cutting, grinding, and welding, was about 30 something.  If you figure there were three guys that were over 60 years old out of about 8 actual workers it becomes apparent that young people want to learn how to build airplanes.  Where else are they going to learn?  If their dad, or mom, isn’t building one then chances are they are not going to get any experience building.  You aren’t going let somebody touch your jewel of an RV project are you?  Especially a kid.  Same goes for the flying.   It’s not that there are not enough airplanes out there, it’s just that none of them are available.        
        Well this project is a horse of a different color my friend.  This airplane is for everybody or  anybody that wants to get involved.  It’s one thing to take a kid for a ride to expose them to airplanes, and this is a good thing, but it’s another thing to help them build one.  Granted most of them are just joy riding, and again that is a good thing, but what do you do with the few kids that want to take it to a different level?  When I was a kid I was lucky.   My dad was (and still is) really into radio controlled model airplanes and taught me how to build and fly them.  I learned a ton from him.  When I got old enough, about 15 years old, I would ride my bike over 23 miles round trip to the airport and take a $5.00 introductory ride with an instructor.  
        Well model airplanes are still out there although nobody builds them anymore.  Kids don’t ride bikes unless they are suited up with “safety.” gear and under the direct supervision of an adult, and there is no way they could ride their bike to the airport to look at airplanes like I did.  They would be considered terrorists if they did and besides, there are very few flight schools in business, unless you want to pay just south of $200 an hour  for a lesson.  What kid can afford that?  Do I need to mention we live in a litigation happy society?  The FAA?  Little airplanes are over with as we knew them, and it’s time we started doing something about it, that’s what I think anyway and the LSA rating is the way to go.
        I have been operating a Pietenpol Aircamper for several years in a club environment and have a pretty good idea of what we need to get people into the air.  Number one is it has to be cheap.  Aviation gas will be over $7.00 a gallon by this time next year and will continue to rise, forever.  Five gallons an hour is about all I can handle.  Car gas makes it even better so we choose the venerable Continental 65hp Cub engine.  You can get a nice one for about $5000, that meets the cheap requirement and it is very reliable too. Reliability is very important for teaching.     
        Having selected the engine we designed the airframe to carry two very large people.  There are growth hormones in just about everything we eat, and we eat a lot so what you have is a bunch of high fructose corn syrup couch potatoes, like me, wanting to learn to fly.    This  means the airplane must be strong enough to handle about 550 to 600 pounds of useful load and that is just two folks and 3 hours of fuel.  This all has to be accomplished within the guidelines of the LSA rule.   This dictated that the airplane has to be the minimum required to get the job done.  No electrical system keeps it very light and very cheap.     
        We are going cover it with modern fabric but we will be using water soluble glue to stick it to the airframe.  This means no hazardous material shipping fees, no fumes or special air filtration systems or special spray equipment.  We are going to paint it with house paint from Home Depot.  We figure that will save us well over $2000 not to mention the hassle of dealing with all those expensive chemicals.  Heck you can drink the thinner we will be using.
        So what we hope to end up with is the minimum airplane that you will need to give dual instruction for obtaining a LSA rating, all year round, with two fat guys in it.  With luck it will cost less than $15,000.  The wings will fold for storage, and it will be very easy to build.  That helps keeps the costs down as well but perhaps more importantly it is a first time project that the uninitiated can get their feet wet on without having to worry too much about screwing up and having it costing too much to fix.  
        What it will not be is a pampered, personal, hangar queen that only flies when the weather is good and the winds are light.  She will be at the mercy of the ham fisted student pilots that will cut their teeth in her.  To most she wont pretty either.  Actually I think it looks great and I am sure that others who have a hand in helping out will think so too.  What I am saying though is that form followed function in the design process and that is what will make it look good.  People that might consider her “ugly,” are entitled to their opinion but I doubt that they have built even a model airplane let alone a real airplane.  Note: the author does not consider the RV series aircraft a real airplane project but more of an object of conspicuous consumption pursued by the airplane, “kit builder.”  (the author is considered to be, “full of it,” and probably rightfully so by RV homebuilders).
        So what we hope to end up with is a cheap LSA that will lift two fat boys in the middle of winter and keep their toes warm while they work endlessly to try and figure what it is they are supposed to do with those toes when it comes to understanding adverse yaw.  All for about $40.00 to $50.00 and hour.  Thats $10.00 for the airplane, $20,00 for the instructor, and the rest for about an hour of car gas.  This in an airplane that was built for less than $15,000.  We shall see how close we get.
        I have been working on assembling some components that are a bit tedious and boring to put together.  Ron Sturgill saved me a ton of time by doing the machine work for many parts of the landing gear.  What I did was weld all the parts he made together and attached them to the floor structure.  By doing it this way I was able to mount and align the gear before completing the assembly of the entire fuselage.  After a couple of weeks I had the front and back landing gear welded, mounted and ready to go.
        I figured that I was pretty much on my own in the project.  Andy was helping with the design analysis, Steve Cechner was building some most excellent and sweet tools to help build it.  Ron Sturgill did most of the machining, but if you ask me there has been very little interest or help done by the membership.  President Tom Park has become aware the potential this project has for the chapter, and some members have been supportive, but few have  stepped forward to offer to lend their skills or a hand to help build it.  I don’t think it is because they don’t know the project is there but rather this whole idea of a group project is foreign to them.  After all, aren’t us Americans a bunch of rugged individualists?  Didn’t we claw our way to the top with no help from others?  Don’t we make our own luck?  I say that the idea of a group project is one of the last things you are going to find if you go looking chapter to chapter.  I have found a few but,  no sir, we build our airplanes for our own selves, and the thought of a group project or letting students fly our airplanes never even gets considered.  I’m out to change that, by myself if I have to.
        Once I had the gear ready to go I started spreading the word that I would be attempting to build the rest of the fuselage in just one weekend.  In response, one of our members, Professor Ryan Weaver wrote a rather inspiring speech and posted it on our new web site for all to read. It was a bit tongue in cheek I think but the underling theme caught my attention.  He proposed having a group effort on Martin Luther King Day where we would meet at the shop and attempt to build the rest of the fuselage in just two days.  What I was wondering at the time was would anybody show up?
        Show up they did!  To my surprise we had a group of young people come ready to lend a hand.  Hank Povolny and  Paul Mikels were there along with myself representing the old farts but everybody else was under 30 years old!  Now that is something you never see at one of our meetings, young people, but then again, we have never had a meeting like this one.  None of them knew how to do any of the tasks before us but, they were ready to learn.  We all went up to the learning center and I gave a brief description of what we had to do.  Basically it was to assemble three facets, the roof and spline (it’s a razor back), the forward cabin floor, and the firewall.  I told them that they didn’t have to worry about making mistakes because it  comes naturally to me and I expected it would for them too, so not to worry.
        We all went down stairs and got to work, it was about 11:00am.  I was very busy giving instruction.  To say I was inundated was an understatement.  I was in my glory.  These kids, rather young people, were seeing first hand what it was to assemble an airplane.  First they had to layout the drawing on the table top.  Then they were measuring, cutting (sometime twice before they they started over) grinding, and fitting 4130 steel tubing, and they didn’t stop till about 8:30m that night.
        Sunday morning we were doing the same thing but it was a little slower because we had to start lofting the facets into position to be welded and we wanted to make sure things were in the correct position before we started welding.  The work was a little more demanding too.  If you have never tried to cut, and grind a fish mouth joint on two tubes that are running in different planes...well just have never been challenged.  It ain’t easy to see in your minds eye how the shape must be in order to fit properly.  We got a lot of it done but, we fell short of our goal of trying to get her on her gear before the weekend was over.  They did one heck of a job for sure.
        Next time we are going to knock em dead.  I figure that we need to have a ground school on how to do this stuff.  That way a person is better able understand what is expected in a project like this.  It is much easier to assemble an RV by yourself than it is to orchestrate a group of neophytes to scratch build an airplane, there is little comparison.  
        So what did I get out of it?  A pocket full of intrinsic reward thats what.  Little airplanes are under attack from all quarters.  Sport aviation is dying, it’s down over 50% since I started back in 1970.  I was just 16 years old and I payed for my flight lessons with money from a minimum wage job.  People, not just young people, can’t afford it now.  $200 an hour is just too much.  $100,000 for an LSA is like wise.  The opportunities just are not there.  That $5 introductory lesson I used to take advantage of as a kid used to be advertised in Look and Life magazine.  Popular Mechanics used to have lot’s of articles on low cost airplanes a person could build.  The Pietenpol and Jeanie’s Teenie were just a few.  All of this is gone now.  
        I don’t expect to reverse the process, that ship has already sailed.  I can however, help out.  I can pass on what I have spent a life time pursuing.  Together we can design and build airplanes and operate them in clubs that ordinary people can afford.  We can provide them access to what we know as this incredible world of flight.  That is what I intend to do, in the shop, and in the air...give back.  We are doing this for others, not just us.  We are building this airplane for people we haven’t even met yet.  I know that to most rugged individualists this concept of group is not in our vocabulary but that has to change.
        I think Steve Cechner said it best when I asked him what we are building.  His response was, “we are building freedom.”  That statement made things really come together for me.  We are building freedom, I just hope it flies well.

    Special Thanks to the builders,
        Hank Povolny
        Paul Mikels
        Andre Abreu
        Aidan Abreu
        Derek Grieselding
        Dylan Grieselding
        Susan Johnson
        Jim Dole

    PS check out this link that Lonnie Prince sent me on how one country supports young people in aviation and then compare it to how our government, “promotes,” aviation.  I think you will see a bit of a contrast.


  • Thursday, January 23, 2014 6:25 PM
    Reply # 1481823 on 1474397
    I figured out a couple of things helping build. Building an airplane isn't that hard it just takes thinking/dedication and it is a lot of fun. Its a big puzzle that you have to figure out. Also, getting started was difficult but once we got into it everything became easier. 

    I think this whole project is awesome because, as a 16 year old I am getting exposure to how to build an airplane. I look at what my friends are doing and I realize just how lucky I am to be able do what I am doing. Instead of just talking about what I want to learn or do, I getting started and doing it. After the MLK weekend, I decided I am going to dedicate more time to building the Flaire because its a ton of fun and because there is so much I can learn through the project. Compared to the many activities that are available to me as a high school junior, this is one of the few genuine activities that I am actually going to learn and benefit from. 

    Also, when I'm an astronaut walking around on Mars, none of my crew members will be able to say they helped build an airplane and soloed a Pietenpol Air Camper when they were 16.

    One last note of thanks. It is kind of ironic that Mr. David thanks us for working. When I really feel we should be thanking him for his all around airplane genius and dedication to aviation. I know he has done a ton for me and I really appreciate it.

  • Friday, January 24, 2014 1:06 AM
    Reply # 1482073 on 1474397
    Very nice, Susan, very nice!

    I have a statement to make and a few questions.

    First, the statement -- I am truly sorry that I could not be there to infect you all with my dehabilitating germs over the MLK build weekend.  Even though a welding helmet does double as a sneeze guard, I chose to stay at home and tried not to think about all I was missing out on.  I contemplated closing my eyes and pinching my fingers with the bathroom door or putting my hand in the toaster just to so that it would feel like I was actually there.  I'm like the guy whose VW bus threw a rod leaving the garage on the way to Woodstock, the minuteman who overslept that fateful morning in 1775 Lexington, and the fancy pants that was going to see off Lindy but didn't want to get muddy pant legs -- almost epic.  Oh well, next time... after all there are a couple more things that need done on the Flare.

    Now it is time for the questions.  I would like to hear from all of those involved on the MLK build weekend so reply in this Flaire Forum if you would, please.

    1.  What did you learn from this experience in terms of building skills and working with others in a shop setting?
    2.  Did this experience change how you see general aviation and if so, how?
    3.  In your opinion, why aren't more people getting together to teach how to build and fly airplanes.
    4.  How many people do you estimate will learn how to fly in this particular Flare before time finally catches up with it?
    5.  Should the Flare eventually be donated to the Smithsonian in D.C. or should it go to the EAA Museum in Wisconsin?

    I look forward to reading your answers and to use them in future releases of  582 Buzzard propaganda.

    Thank you,
    Ryan Weaver

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