I wanted to spend a little time talking about dedication. Not just dedicating this website, or this project, though that’s part of it.
First off, I wanted to dedicate my airplane to my parents, for their love and for teaching me the most important lessons of life, especially Pop who taught me that anything was possible if you just worked hard enough. Mom taught me to be stubborn when I had my mind made up (often to her detriment). Here are some nuggets that they gave me early and often.
I want to also say thanks to my brother, David, who taught me first that I was not so very clever, or as intelligent as I thought. In school I heard, more often than I cared, how smart my older brother was, and by inference, that I didn’t quite measure up. No, it wasn’t fun, but it did encourage me to work harder, to compensate for at least a perceived lack of talent through hard work, a lesson that has served me well. Thanks, also, for serving at times as a cautionary tale. Being first means you find the potholes and cliffs first, and whether intended or not, it does signal the herd where not to go. You are not a perfect being, but you are a great brother.
I want to thank my bride-to-be, Elizabeth, for encouraging (really insisting) that this was something we could and should do. I can be, at times, more cautious than is entirely good for me. As much friction as this can cause at times, we are excellent compliments to each other, and your endless confidence in my abilities is empowering and touching. Thank you for being my pilot.
Thank you to G A Ventkatesh, who’s website “The agony and ecstasy of Kitbuilding” was a major source of inspiration. The level of detail, the humor, and the hard-edged honesty of both the ups and downs, drew me in. I wish I knew you personally, so I could shake your hand, and wish I knew that your airplane flew – you certainly deserved it.
Thanks also to our builder friends/partners the Brainards, who stepped in and offered more assistance than could be reasonably asked for when we really needed a hand. This would not have been possible this quickly without it, and I’m keen to return the favor.
Thanks also to the Velocity Factory. Everyone there has been hugely warm, friendly, and supportive – from the day we placed our deposit, to the day we showed up for transition training. It really is amazing to me how personal this business really is, and how pleasant it can be when questions or concerns are dealt with in a caring, considerate, even humorous demeanor. So, thanks to Duane, Scott, and Bonnie Swing for keeping Velocity a viable business, I know it’s not always easy. Thanks to Scott and Ken Baker, without Scott’s soft sale we probably wouldn’t have bought when we did. Thanks to Brendan for always answering the phone, and keeping the manuals up-to-date. Thanks to Frank for holding our hands at Head Start. Thanks to Art, Melanie, Natalie, and everybody else for all of the day-to-day support.
Thanks to all of my friends at EAA Chapter 974. To Ray, especially, for coming by and rendering assistance, opinion, and a kind word. To Bob, and Tom, and Tom, and BJ, and Ron, and all of the past presidents for making us feel at home. To Kent and Ken and John and Art and everybody that keeps it light, and help keep the Oshkosh flowing.
Thanks to Ron Wanttaja for writing the very fine book “Kitplane Construction”, which helped me build the confidence that this was something that I could really do.
Thanks finally to all of my Velocity buddies. Some of you have websites that preceded me, and helped me understand things and keep motivated (Hiroo and Rich). Some of you are endless fun Oshkosh partners with whom I can commiserate with since we’re building at nearly the same pace (Andy, Terry, John). The spirit of the community really is powerful. Thanks to Ric Lavoie for editing and publishing the Velocity Views, you were under-appreciated in my opinion.
Sadly I have to add a post-script to my story. I recently lost the best building buddy a man could ever ask for. He was always game to go to the garage, and was waiting for me when I came home from the hangar, and wanted to be with me no matter how boring the task of the day might be. He left before ever getting a ride, which is too unfair for words, due to kidney failure. The only way I can reconcile him being taken from me is to think that God needed a good kitty, so he took mine. I love you Aubrey… clear skies, warm blankets, and lots of Iams, Pal… rest easy.