Original Posted By: "William Wynne"
I wrote my first Corvair conversion manual when I was 28. When it was done, withsome hesitation, I put a little ad in the back of EAA's "light plane world".I didn't expect anyone to want one. Ancient engine brought to you by long hairedcollege student. I was somewhat stunned to find the first letter in the mailbox, from some guy named Ralph in Wisconsin, building a Pietenpol.I spent a long evening sipping a beer and looking at the short note from 'Ralph'and manual #1 on my desk. I started to write an apology letter to 'Ralph' severaltimes, explaining that I was just an Embry-Riddle student, and he had obviouslymistaken me for some real person in aviation. Really, he was going toget manual #1, not very confidence inspiring. After several hours I decided thatthis was mostly my issues, not 'Ralphs'. I did cave in and write 10 in frontof the #1 to make #101 and at least look like he wasn't the only guy on earthread my advice on building an engine. Not much of a crime, but in the yearsthat followed, I often wondered what kind of a guy he was to blindly get a bookfrom another person he never heard of.Fast forward to Brodhead 2000. We had a very long day of giving rides there, somethingof a small payback for years of feeling that Pietenpols were my home inHomebuilding. We went from sun up to sunset, maybe 20 flights, easier with twopilots, a ground crew of friends and an electric start plane. Having flown up from Florida the day before, we were zapped by the time the sunwas sinking. I very nice quiet woman walked over to me while Arnold was flyingthe last person and asked that her husband might have a flight. She understoodthat we were tired, but her husband would never ask, so she was doing thisfor him, he had been building for many years, but had never flown in a Piet. Iwas just about to apologize and say maybe next year, when she added the sentence"My husband Ralph and I drove over from Eau Claire." I politely said "Mrs.Carlson, it would be a pleasure." She was some what mystified on how I knew herlast name........After the flight I was compelled to confess to Ralph Carlson that he had the firstconversion manual I ever sent out. Several times he insisted he didn't, saying"it's number 110 or 111" I told him there was a very good reason why I knewit was #101, and yes, it was really #1. I try to explain that in the interveningyears I have worked hard to try to be the person he thought he was sendingthe letter to. He is a super nice guy and he doesn't really get this. He justhad a great moment in flying, and was totally motivated to go home and buildfor another year. He said he thought about asking someone for a flight overthe years, but didn't think he had 'earned' one, that he was 'just another builder.'I told him contrary to what anyone might guess, I completely understoodthat feeling.Over the years Grace and I got to know the Carlsons, both Ralph and June, muchbetter. We were part of the regulars at the Sutherland's B&B in Brodhead. Theywere the absolute genuine article, salt of the earth Americans. They sent Christmascards and notes, and June used to call sometimes. Over many years her healthfailed slowly, and we got to see that Ralph understood that when you say"in sickness or in health" in front of God, good people live up to it. He did,with great patience and care.June has been past for several years, and we don't see Ralph at Brodhead everyyear anymore, but in the quiet late hours in the shop, I still think about themfrom time to time, and how their lives crossed with ours. At Corvair CollegesI take the pilots aside and encourage them to share flights with those stillbuilding. I give them good reasons like how it gives builders a seat of the pantsunderstanding of correct operation and running, teaches procedures and methods.Logical reasons, sure, but they are just a rationalization, what I reallywant to say is that many of the best parts of life are small chance encountersand what you do with them. I want to say that my life is richer for havingknown June Carlson, and it all happened because one small flight at Brodhead.Think it over, you have the rest of your life to live with the answer. -ww.Read this topic online here:http://forums.matronics.com/viewtopic.p ... ___Subject: Pietenpol-List: Making your 2015 more rewarding
An archive of the Matronics Pietenpol Listserve.
1 post • Page 1 of 1