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Toot Building in Texas

Yankee-Toot

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Hi all just wanted to make a post since my last one in February I believe when I was in the thick of building my wing ribs for my "Big Toot" project in Michigan in the bitter cold of winter.


News Flash!!! Back in mid January I made a trip to the "Toot Ranch" to learn from the master himself how to build a wing rib "Toot Style". This was a successful trip and I successfully built 6 ribs since then. Unfortunately one week after my trip down to Dallas I was informed that my job was being eliminated as of February 27th 2009.


So my Toot project is currently in the builders "limbo" that you hear about when you talk toa real builder, and how life can sometimes throw you a curve ball. Sometimes life puts a guy like Tommy Meyer in your way to teach you a few things about airplane building and life in general.


For the last five weeks Tommy and his wife Joann have graciously let me stay in their home while I did a job search in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Needless to say this is over and above what most friends would do, but then again Tommy and Joann are "special" people, and they bothhave big hearts, and only wish the best for their friends and family. Thank You just does not cover it....an award winning "Big Toot" might.


During this time I have witnessed on more than one occassion the extreme work ethic that Tommy has when building a Toot project. I could say he is the "Energizer Bunny" but in reality the bunny would die if it worked as hardas Tommy does daily. Tommy is a master at making a list of what needs to be done and then goes after it. 8am to 12:30, Lunch, 1:00pm to3:30pm, power nap for 30 or60min, dinner, back in the shop until 9 or 10pm depending on the project. Oh yeah and the guy isn't just building Toot's he's restoring an Aeronca, makes crosses for his church, and finds time to work on other folks projects to boot. Are you tired yet?




I have also learned that Tommyhas an eagle eye for shoddy work....and like most perfectionists it really grinds him to no end when he sees it...this is not a bad trait if you want yourToot to look spectacular and award winning. Attention to the little details is just as important as everything else. "Toot's are like Tommy's kids" he may notown them, but he is very proud of them and wants them to be the best Toot's they can be.


So your probably saying this is nice and everything but what does it have to do with "LittleToot" or "Big Toot" or "Light Sport Toot". I guess over the past five weeks I have learned that Tommy's life is the "Toot" not just an airplane, but his fathers legacy and keeping that legacy alive and also to his fathers standards. Think about it.... would you devote your every waking moment to keeping your fathers legacy alive and kicking? If I could use one word it would have to be "Driven". Tommy's friend and partner in crime Phil Witt also has the "Toot" work ethic and is a perfect compliment to this dynamic duo. Bob Borger also is the third piece to this puzzle and compliments Tommy and Phil with his technical expertise on the computer and images posted on the forum. "I would not bet against these guys ever".


From a unique perspective looking from the outside in.... The Meyer "Little Toot"and "Big Toot" are great aircraft. I can only hope when I get my new job, that I can continue my project and show Tommy that I was listening, learning,and absorbing everything he was showing me during this time in my life. Thanks! goes out to the complete "Toot Gang" in Dallas/Lewisville/Double Oak/Irving for their friendship, support, and hospitality...going back to Michigan is not going to be easy.


Thanks Everyone it was a good ride!


Sincerely,


Matt
Yankee Toot!


p.s. Key buildingpoints:


1. Build something evey day. Big or small it does not matter.
2. Don't do shoddy work.
3.Take pride in your project and don't cut corners.
4.Ask questions.
5. Tommy is the "Toot" expert period...call him.
6. Make a daily list and complete it before you shut the lights off in the shop.
7.Clean your work area up before you close up the shop.
8.Share your knowledge with the next generation, or whom ever shows an interest.
9. Be Honest.
10. Buy Tommy a burger once in a while...its worth the coin.
11.Have fun building.
12. Don't be hard on yourself when you make a mistake...it will happen.
13. Listen to good music while building...trust me on this.
14. Ask more questions.
15. Buy quality tools.
16. Take pictures...document everything.
17. Help others when you can.
18. Get all your parts assembled before the main assembly.
19.Buy some "Wrangler" jeans to work in...Offical Toot Uniform.
20. Have at least three "Toot" t-shirts.
21. Buy or rebuild your engine first...without it an airframe does not fly.
22.To get a great paint job you must sand and sand some more.
23. Buy good paint...don't get cheap now.
24. Button it up, polish it, and fly it to Oshkosh.



 

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