Old Dogs Teach New Tricks
John S. Craparo, EAA 752480
October 16, 2008 — As a youngster, I was injected with a good dose of respect for the written word. My brothers and I received more reading assignments from my parents than we did from our grade school teachers. I fell in love with non-fiction… biography and technical subjects were and remain my favorites.
Today, my beloved personal book collection runs the gamut from works by Lana Terzi to Jack Welch. Being able to absorb and transfer the knowledge of the likes of the Wright brothers, Buckminster Fuller, and Bernard Baruch was an elixir as important to my young mind and equal in some ways to the protection afforded by Salk’s vaccine.
My intellectual life has thrived and professionally I’ve been fortunate to work in academia and business. This mix has given me great respect for applied research. I see one of the pioneers in the homebuilt airplane movement as a near perfect applied research scientist.
The late Antoni “Tony” Bingelis and his articles and books remain a treasure trove of information about building airplanes. When I was an undergraduate student, one of my favorite courses was technical writing. We were asked to complete several critiques on published works. My uncle had a cache of Sport Aviation magazines and I remember using an article from The Designee Corner entitled "How to Control Fuselage and Landing Gear Alignment.” My professor was impressed and we spent the rest of the semester using Bingelis’ articles as the basis for our discussion.
The new online archive of EAA Sport Aviation is a great historic reference. It allows more than 50 years of thought, leadership, science, and fun to remain alive and accessible. Old does not mean outdated. I recently restored a 1946 Ercoupe and now a Luscombe 8A awaits my attention. Wow, my job just got easier! My hands will do the work, but now my fingers can do the research.
I was so excited when the system was in its test phase; I wrote to Tom Poberezny and asked if I could somehow sponsor it. Tom put me in contact with the right people and within days I wrote a check to become one of its sponsors. My tech experience caused me to conclude that my financial resources alone will not be enough to maintain and evolve this digital resource.
EAA has the roadmap and the technical know-how. I sincerely hope that others will join me as a financial sponsor of the Sport Aviation archive.