Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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

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

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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