Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


Home · Articles · News · Features · Do it yourself
. . . .

Do it yourself

Erin Crowell - August 22nd, 2011
Do-It-Yourself:Father/son duo says ‘Man Can Fly!’

By Erin Crowell

Nothing says do-it-yourself like building your own car. Today, you’ll see
self-assembly kit cars driving all over the highway, thanks to 50
automobile manufacturers offering packages ranging anywhere from $6,000 to
$50,000.
Why not take it a step further and build your own plane? Given pilot
certification and FAA regulations, homebuilt airplane kits allow you to
assemble and fly your very own ticket to the skies – costing a gaping
$10,000 to nearly $1 million (depending on your aircraft and budget).
Do-it-Yourself father/son duo Gary and Kevin Copeland of Williamsburg have
been working on their own homebuilt aircraft, a 23-foot-long GlaStar, for
the past 10 years.
“We’re hoping to fly it by this time next summer,” said 23-year-old Kevin.

IT’S A FAMILY THING
With over 110 acres of land overlooking Skegemog Lake, the Copelands have
plenty of space—and airfield—to take off and land their homemade aircraft.
Their grass airstrip, which takes approximately three hours to mow,
according to Kevin, already allows friends to touch down and say hello.
The do-it-yourself attitude seems to be a common trait among the Copeland
men, dating back to 1859 when William Copeland, Gary’s great grandfather,
purchased the property.
“My great grandfather was the first known white settler of Kalkaska
County,” said Gary, adding the trailblazer was unable to enlist during the
Civil War. “Back then, there needed to be a citizen represented in every
county and since my great grandfather was the only one…”
The Copelands have the original deed signed by President Buchanan in 1859.
“We have a newspaper article around here somewhere talking about how the
county population doubled the day my great grandfather took a wife,” he
laughed.

SECOND PROJECT
This won’t be the first do-it-yourself plane for Gary. In the 1980s, he
built a Thorp T18; unfortunately he couldn’t utilize his home airstrip.
With nearly 25 years experience as a corporate pilot, it wasn’t that Gary
lacked the skills to handle such a plane; “it was just too fast for the
runway,” says Kevin, a second-generation pilot and instructor at
Northwestern Michigan College.
Several years later, the two decided to build a new plane that could
easily handle the small, uneven surface of the airstrip.
Kevin says they have put in the most work these past three years, with
Gary—now retired—having more time to work on the project while Kevin
teaches (and competes in) aerobatics.
“Right now I compete throughout the region where they grade you on your
maneuvering of the plane,” he said.
Think barrel rolls, flips, sharp turns…everything that gets us
grounded-folk queasy.
“My goal is to compete on a national team,” he added. “I’m also looking at
building experience and starting a company working on air shows.”
For now, the plane is just a skeleton of its true self – nameless and
paint-less, it sits in the Copeland’s barn.
“We’ve come up with a few nicknames but nothing’s really stuck yet,”
laughed Gary.









 
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