Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

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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