Letters

Letters 07-06-2015

Safety on the “Bridge to Nowhere” Grant Parsons wrote an articulate column in opposition to the proposed Traverse City pier at the mouth of the Boardman River. He cites issues such as limited access, lack of parking, increased congestion, environmental degradation, and pork barrel spending of tax dollars. I would add another to this list: public safety...

Vote Carefully A recent poll showed 84% of Michiganders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to at least 20% from the current 10%. Yet Representative Ray Franz has sponsored legislation to eliminate the standard. This out of touch position is reminiscent of Franz’s opposition to the Pure Michigan campaign and support for increased taxes on retirees....

Credit Where Credit Is Due I think you should do another article about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund giving proper credit to all involved, not just Tom Washington. Many others were just as involved...

I’ve Changed My Mind The Supreme Court has determined that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. This has happened with breathtaking suddenness. It took 246 years for Americans to decide that slavery was wrong and abolish it, but it’s been only a couple of decades since any successful attempt was made to legalize same-sex marriage, and four years since a majority of the American public supported legalization...


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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