Saturday, October 18, 2014

Worth It's Weight in Gold?

There is so much about aviation which is overlooked and taken for granted.  So endless is the list of items required to make flight happen, skills, techniques, and knowledge bases, even those in love with flying often have no idea how much went into the most common and simple parts.  Because of this, aviators also tend to be overly critical of the price that comes with the passion.
Sure, a Ford starter that can be bought at NAPA for $125 should never cost $750 because it’s being sold into the realm of aviation.  But what about the items which are mostly unique to aviation?  How about the spinner?
Photo from
How many pilots have lamented the cost of a spinner when theirs went beyond repair?  “That simple little piece of aluminum can’t cost that much”, is sure to have been spoken a thousand times by aviators shocked to learn theirs was dented by hangar rash or found cracked during annual.  There’s nothing to it, right?
There is more than one way to make a spinner but they all require a ton of work.
If you’ve never seen a spinner made, here’s a great ten minute video to watch.  Keep in mind the prep is not included and the video is edited to keep it short enough to watch.   No crafting of the spinner blank is shown, nor is the construction of the die used to make uniform parts.  The cutouts for the propeller blades are not demonstrated and even the holes that must be drilled for attachment to the back plate are not created.  And for that matter, the back plate construction is also absent.  All that is displayed is the basic shaping.
Yes, I agree sometimes the price of parts can be a little overwhelming.  But the next time you go looking for a spinner and find yourself having seizures on the floor, try to remember all that goes into one.  Everybody wanted to work with their minds instead of their backs remember?   So don’t complain about the people who held true and kept these skills (and your plane) alive by doing what was hard instead of easy.  Enjoy…

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