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    « FAA Proposing To Keep Bird Strike Data Secret | Main | General Aviation Heroes Part II – Flight Instructors »


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    Dan Pimentel

    I suggest you highlight one of my aviation heroes, Jerrie Mock. She was the first woman to fly around the world solo, making the successful trip in 1964 in a Cessna 180. Aviation history has not been kind to her, but this accomplishment should be noted whenever possible. You can read about her at www.three-eightcharlie.com.

    Ian Twombly


    Cool idea. It's under the category of "general hero" but I've always admired the 16-year-old kid who works odd jobs to get that coveted one hour of flying a month. What an amazing passion that boy or girl must have to work hard for what many of us consider to be such a quick, easy thing. I think of this type of kid often to try and help me remember how lucky I am.

    Max Trescott

    Dan, I wasn't familiar with Jerrie Mock, but I enjoyed reading about her at the link you provided. Ian, I agree. For me, the 16 year old who does whatever it takes to be around aviation is emblematic of the best of GA and the image I have in my mind whenever I see anything that threatens our industry.

    Michelle Judice

    Hi Max,
    PBS just aired a great documentary on Wide Angle about a GA pilot who'd be an excellent candidate for your series. "Flying Down to Kabul" follows Simone Aaberg Kaern on a 2-month, 3,000-mile trip from Sweden to Afghanistan with the goal of encouraging one young girl to pursue her dream of becoming a fighter pilot. The story does not have a Hollywood ending but it shows the resolve and great lengths that Simone went through to help a stranger while attempting to bridge the geographic and cultural boundaries of these two countries. Whether or not her goal was reached in the end is insignificant to this remarkable story of one GA pilot trying to pay it forward through her love of general aviation.


    Matt Thomas

    Thanks Max! That's awesome!
    ~Matt Thomas

    Bob Moragues

    Hi Max -

    One name that always comes to my mind is Elrey Jeppesen.

    I can't imagine the number of lives he has saved over the years.

    Have a great day.


    Mike Whaley

    I would like to suggest someone for your "heroes of Gen Av" series: William Wynne. He's best known for his deep technical expertise that he's used to develop and promote the Corvair engine as a powerplant for experimental aircraft (his nickname is "The Corvair Authority"), however I believe that his real and lasting contributions to Gen-Av ultimately have much less to do with any particular products or the engines he's developed, and more with the attitude and social movement that he has played such a major role in launching within the sport aviation community.

    William has been wildly successful in establishing (or perhaps I should say, re-establishing) a sense of community within the sport aviation community where folks share knowledge and comaraderie, with the reward being not financial or material, but just the satifsfaction of knowing that one has helped others to realize their dreams of flight through sharing the knowledge and enthusiasm that comes from learning to do things for yourself. He frequently hosts "Corvair Colleges" which on the surface might seem to just be get-togethers for Corvair Builders to work on their engines, but which in actuality are much more of a celebration of personal flight and innovation in general... these are places where enthusiasm and excitement for aviation reigns supreme, regardless of what aircraft you fly or what engine it has, and all at no charge!

    William, his wife and business partner Grace Ellen, and quite a few other members of the "Corvair Gang" have over the past years managed to create what is best described as a wildly-expanding "grassroots movement" in Gen-Av that is helping restore the concept of "you teach me, then I'll go teach others" that was present back when homebuilding being done by just a few innovators, and which seems to have gotten largely lost in the age of pre-drilled, quick-build kits. William is also a big proponent of business integrity in the aviation world, in that he will not sell or promote any product that hasn't been thoroughly flight-tested, and he expects others do the same. On the infrequent occassions When problems are discovered with his products or related ones, he posts frank discussions on them even when it amounts to "the old way wasn't good enough, we need to change". How many companies will do that and admit that there's a better way than they've previously recommended? Too bad more companies don't share that view! He'll also be the first to say that his products aren't the best fit for all aircraft or situations. I've often observed him encouraging people to acheive their dreams of flight, regardless of whether that dream involves his commercial offerings or not. I kind of think he views his particular areas of knowledge and his company's product offerings as just one part of a larger movement to bring personal flight to anyone who wishes to experience it and who are willing to do what is necessary to acheive it. As a result I think that the Corvair movement has attracted many like-minded individuals who love aviation and love to share it with anyone else they can, and I think that attitude of sharing the fun alongside good knowledge has made the aviation world a much better place as a result.

    I first met William when he visited our EAA chapter several years ago, and realized that the "black magic" of engines was really something that I could learn about and do myself, with the appropriate support. Most importantly, meeting William confirmed and cemented in my mind that the real key to success in personal aviation lies in just one thing, really... the desire to do it... and that ranks far beyond money or any pre-existing expertise. That attitude is something that I think cuts to the core of general aviation in general. I have gotten to know William, Grace, and various others in the Corvair world a bit more over the years, and count them all as friends and folks I trust. I have come to look at them as shining examples of all that is right in the general aviation world, and folks who exemplify the best of what aviation has to offer and who are trying to elevate the entire aviation world beyond where it was when they found it. Regardless of what kind of flying or aircraft you're interested in, I think we would be wise to follow their example of infectious enthusiasm and going that extra mile to encourage others to follow their aviation dreams. That is why I would recommend considering William (and crew) for inclusion in any list of folks who have significantly pushed Gen-Av forward.

    His website is at http://www.flycorvair.com/

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