Unicorns vs. Caterpillars


The technical definition of a unicorn, according to my friend Google, is this:

u·ni·corn

/ˈyo͞onəˌkôrn/

noun

  1. a mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.
  2. something that is highly desirable but difficult to find or obtain.

The part that defined this use of the description Unicorn, for me, was the mythical part.  The definition of mythical is synonymous with      imaginary, fictitious, make-believe, fantasy, fanciful, invented, fabricated, made-up, unreal, untrue, nonexistent; informal, pretend.

So, we all know that we have been talking about the Cougar for years now (4 years to be exact) and I have been nagging Dan about how I was simply sick and tired of talking about the Cougar.  And I started calling it the unicorn.  It was mostly a jab at Dan.  Anyone who knows Dan personally knows that Dan is a giant cut up.  If he is your friend then he is picking on you, jabbing at you, and calling you out at any chance he gets.  I am not exactly this way, but you know how people you hang out with start rubbing off on you?  Well, after more than 20 years Dan has rubbed off and I have been nagging him about the Cougar being a fiction of his imagination.  Something that doesn’t actually exist out side of his brain, and that he should stop teasing people with a magical, awesome, amazing thing that will never exist.

I nagged him so much about this that he got a little bit crabby with me.

Here is the thing though.  It is a lot of work to juggle a business and keeping your priorities straight.  It would have been awesome to be able to tunnel vision into the Cougar project.  However, we have Panther and Corvair customers that we know take priority.  They come first and the Cougar project comes second.  All of us at SPA pride ourselves on prompt and accurate customer service and we would not be here if we didn’t have the trust and loyalty of our customers.  We have built a wonderful extended family with our customers and this is our first priority – keeping them building and working towards their dreams of making flight a reality.

Then one day I started to see actual parts.  Dan didn’t say much about them.  Just quietly, while taking care of other production things in the shop, started working on things.  And I would see them as I walked by.  And I noticed that they weren’t Panther parts.  The parts are very precise, detailed, thought out parts that went together perfectly.  And then one day there was a rudder.  And then a couple of days later there was a vertical stab.

And then I started calling the project the caterpillar.  And Dan was confused.  He said “why are you calling in a caterpillar?”  I told him “Unicorns are mythical, and they don’t exist outside of our dreams, they are creatures that sound amazing and everyone knows what they are and how awesome and magical they are – but no one has ever seen one.

Caterpillars are real.  They are a work in progress.  They need to be fed and given the right environment and they will eventually metamorphosize into a beautiful flying butterfly.  It will take a while, but the scientific process has begun, and the result will come in time.”

So here we are – at EAA Airventure 2019 and we are showing our progress on the Cougar, aka Caterpillar, and we are super excited to show you what we have accomplished!  I know that we have been radio silence up until now on what was going on – and that was mostly to keep focused and take care of business. We also did not want to distract from the Panther.

Here are some basic specs and information on the Cougar.  If you are interested in seeing the progress in person, please stop by our booth at EAA Airventure booth N615 and see it in person.  For those that are not able to make I will post photos and updates as the week progresses.

We are now starting our internet public debut of the prototype Cougar build and will be updating regularly.  So, if you are not signed up on the blog make sure you do and like us on FB so you can see what is going on.  This will be an exiting time for us as we move into this new project.

Here is a quick intro video we took this morning.

Here are some photos from this morning after rolling the Cougar out of the trailer.

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