Mixed Emotions
 2006.05.19
 


I have mixed emotions about this airplane stuff right now.
Joy and Happiness. Ha.

But several things do have me in kind of a slow melancholy roll.

For one thing, I’m probably in some kind of trouble. I don’t know who is in charge of spars made of yardsticks, but they are probably after me right now.

But the main thing that is bothering me is probably going to be here for awhile.
Terry Yake is in a pretty good struggle right now with pancreatic cancer. He is one of the main players in my early building days and while helping a bunch of others, was really instrumental in keeping me loaded with good info and inspiration and getting my Eze hatched. He hosted the spectacular KC GIGs in the 90s, setting the perfect venue for so many EZ folks to get together and benefit, whether building or flying.

Terry Schubert, CSA Editor, had mentioned the need for a centrally located fly-in and Terry Yake said “I’ll do it” and just jumped in and got it done.

According to Terry Schubert, “Terry (Yake) was Sprint's operations VP at the time and knew how to make things happen, and did just that. He very soon had the local airport, motels, speakers, ATC cooperation, local help, and the Sprint's headquarters for a Sat night meeting and catered dinner nailed down. I was IMPRESSED! The fly-in was known as KCGIG (Kansas City Grazing In the Grass).

Schubert continues,” Terry's daughter, Leslie, designed the CSA logo and also the 1000 hour patch. Terry had patches made and sold them at a loss for many years.

“A few years ago we noticed the dramatic change in canard ownership from builder to buyer. Terry (Yake) felt a symposium should be offered to all buyers who were interested in how to maintain and fly these canards. Terry organized it all and even put the data on CD. After he'd organized the physical details, had curriculum written and excellent instructors from all over the US were committed, the offer was made public. Due to participant lack of interest in committing to a two day seminar and MANY whining complaints about having to get a motel room, the event was cancelled. What a loss to those people!

“Terry took over the responsibility of arranging CSA dorm rooms at the OSH fly-in. Each year, he personally signs on and guarantees to pay the difference when he signs up for a certain number of rooms.

“Terry, an electrical engineer, was one of the first to get a GPS, FAA approved for IFR in a Long-EZ. He recently sold his IFR Long-EZ, N200TY to someone in Chicago.

“He is an amazingly giving guy and we are all very fortunate to have him in our group! He certainly deserves our support during this very difficult time with the pancreatic cancer siege.

Schubert’s comments help to explain just a little why Terry Yake and his present struggle is on the hearts of so many folks.

There are two images that immediately come to my mind about Terry Yake. I’ll set the stage a little and then mention them.

The GIGs were great! The first one I attended had about 86 planes. The speaker was a Stealth Fighter pilot. We had Bar-B-Que with all the trimmings, in air conditioned comfort. But things were so well organized that it seemed small (cozy) and easy. It was there that I was able to listen in on Mike Mellville, Bruce Tift, Gary Hertzler, Ken Swain, Vance Atkinson, and many others, and also talk one-on-one with them. Pretty cool, and not that easy any more.

Besides the hard work of just hauling tables and chairs and putting together motels and school buss transportation and such, Terry handled some difficult situations with style and professionalism. A true gentleman.

Getting to one of the things that meant a lot to me, as busy as he was, the first time I saw him he grabbed me and made sure we got off to a good start. After that, he always made time to ask about progress on my plane. I asked him how he made putting on a fly-in look so easy. He said that he had learned the first year not to try to schedule much of anything because folks mostly wanted to walk the line and look at planes. But he made it really nice for us with options if we wanted. With help from his wife Maggie, and Bill Freeman and his wife, and many others.

The year that my plane finally flew, he had passed the torch and the fly in moved to Butler, Mo., also a fun event. When I landed there I saw him cleaning his leading edges with a squirt bottle and snuck up on him from behind and asked him why these funny planes sit on their noses like that.

He continued cleaning for a second and heaved a sigh and began explaining for the thousandth time why it sat on the nose. After talking for a moment he turned and glanced at me and then a second later recognized me and got after me with the squirt bottle. He asked about the plane and when I told him that I had flown it in, he went and found Maggie and made a big deal out of it and took a picture of the plane and sent it to me. I’m pretty suspicious that he pulled some strings to arrange a special innovation award for the plane at the banquet that year. He does things like that for lots of folks. That’s one thing I remember often about Terry.

Secondly, a couple of years later when I saw him at Oshkosh he congratulated me on how well the plane was flying. I told him that I had installed downdraft cooling.
He said “Why?”

That is a pretty good question. It is also a statement. It also contains its own answer.

I’m sure he probably doesn’t even remember saying it, but the question has stuck with me. He knew that the plane was flying fine and wondered why I would mess with success. When I see him again saying it, it interjects just the right element of common sense. I expect that he said it and quickly mentally moved on to more important concerns. Which is probably his secret of success, quickly spotting what is important and grabbing hold and getting on with it.

Those are two things that Terry brings to mind, but mostly he’s one of the most giving EZ guys I know.

So like everyone, I’m pulling for you Terry, and will be waiting for news to come that you’re through with chemo and feeling better.

Oh yeah, the yardstick.
Evidently someone took a shot at my yardstick/spar example. And you know how it is when something you say gets knocked, you gotta muse over it a little. Well, the premise was good – not adding layers to the design - which I will quote from the CPs in a note soon. But the deal is I conducted a yardstick experiment and it didn’t hold water.

-- Chop up all spars made of yardsticks!

And then, while perusing the CPs for the comments that had spurred the thoughts of staying wit the plans, my mild melancholy slide got steeper. I happened upon a few of Burt’s early weight comments and realize again how badly most of us have botched his expectations that we would be able to experience a light Eze ride like his.

I contacted one of my trusty conspirators to confirm the technical accuracy of one of my comments.

He listened a moment and then said… “Why?”

Terry Yake’s wisdom crops up again.
I’ll fill you in on the yardstick experiment coming up. I’m still learning.

Bill James, Fort Worth VariEze

To check in on Terry - Terry's Website

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