Canard Aviator's Mail List Censorship

Is this what members really want?

The experience of building a plane has been one of the most enjoyable of my life. Every now and again you come across something that spoils things. The Canard Aviator's mail list is "moderated" by two individuals who seem to have let the power go to their heads. Over the past year or so, I've noticed that my posts sometimes don't arrive there, but have never really given it much thought. In October 2000 this came to a head when someone started a discussion on alternative engines. I noticed that, after one negative opinion got through, only opinions which agreed with the moderators were posted. My post below was supressed as was that of another Cozy builder. I spoke to another long time builder who agreed that selectivity has been a problem in this mail list for years.

Presumably because of this page, the CA-List moderators are now consistantly removing the URL to my page from any messages I post. It seems that not only do they wish to continue with their small minded games, but they also want to prevent people from finding out what they're doing.

Recent Progress?

In August '01 I posted the following:

>keep the forum as unnregulated as possible.  The moderators do a fantastic job of this, 
>letting some threads go, and kind of directing the topic along the lines of 'canard'.

I disagree. The "moderators" consistently DIRECT the topics by permitting
one side of an argument while censoring opposing views. On my web site at I have copies of many messages which
simply disappeared  One of the topics the moderators control is discussion
of this practice itself. As evidence to those who receive this message
direct - let's see if it posts on the public forum.

This message arrived in the public list. Either it slipped through the net, or the ca list is changing. I sincerely hope the latter is true. I would like to know which. In the meantime, I suggest that members continue to pressure the operators to stop all prior vetting of messages. Given the above, what follows may refer to a past problem. I sincerely hope so.

[Later note:] In September '01 I posted a innocuous comment to the ca-list noting that the list seemed to be changing and encouraging people to start posting again. I was thanked (in private) by what can only be described as a vicious diatribe from the moderator. He used words like venom and hate in his three paragraph "rant". I considered publishing his message, but reconsidered. It was sent in private, and I dont think anything can be gained by exposing the anger and, yes, hate, that the moderators of ca-list seem to have bottled up inside.

Let me be clear. I have no interest in taking over or controlling the ca-list, and I harbor no animosity towards those that run it. I don't respect their ideals, but I'm certainly don't have any anger towards them. Life's too short to get angry about something so trivial. This is not an issue I give any "mental space" to, or care very much about. It's just that, when I see something wrong, I try to fix it. I hope that, eventually, these guys will relax and get a life.

What I find particularly distasteful is that the moderators are not moderating, they are censoring in the worst possible way. Not only do they limit discussion to subjects which THEY feel appropriate, but also they consistantly allow one side of a discussion to continue while supressing the opposing side.

Jim Sower said it best:

... not so much about alternative
engines themselves as the slanted, unsupported and
dysfunctional arguments made against them.  I was pointing
out that some folks do not apply the same standards of
credibility to their own arguments as they do to their
adversaries' arguments, and that these practices lack
intellectual honesty and are an impediment to honest
discourse and the advancement of knowlege.

But not nearly as serious an impediment as outright, zealous censorship and the systematic suppression of views contrary to those of the moderator.

In addition, the moderators supress discussion about the censorship itself. I'ts hard to believe that people are getting away with this kind of stuff in today's America. I hope these guys enjoy their power while they have it. I don't think this kind of bull.... will be tolerated for long, especially if members do something about it instead of ignoring it.

What should be done?

Personally I think the "moderation" should cease completely and immediately. Let the list members take the discussion wherever THEY want it to go, and jump publically on anyone who miss-behaves. I call on the sponsors of Canard Aviators mail list to put a stop to this unilateral censorship. I call on members to write to the moderators at* if you want the mail list opened up to all reasonable opinions, whether the moderators agree with them or not.

* send a copy to this page at for publication, otherwise your comments may simply be ignored.

In an effort to permit discussion about whether these "moderators" are providing a valuable service, I will open this web page to comments from other CA list members. If you have something to say on this subject, either for or against, email it to me and I will post it here. If you have a post which did not arrive in the CA list, send it to me and I will append it here. In the future, if your post to the CA List doesn't show up, post it here. Perhaps, eventually, they'll get the point.

Another alternative, of course, is to walk. There is another EZ list run by Matte Dralle of matronics which is uncensored. I don't know how heavily subscribed it is, but I've joined to find out. The discussion in the CA List seems to be somewhat circular. Not suprising if all the innovation is stamped out of it and only certain opinions are permitted. Pity. There is much knowledge in them thar hills.

Other builders who have web sites

If you have a web site, and agree with the above - please feel free to link to this page.

You might get the impression that I'm very angry about this. Not really. I've got much more important things to do today - like finish my wheel pants. This page only took me 15 minutes to put up - but I think its time to make a stand and the 15 minutes effort was worth it. Its up to you members and sponsors now. Let's see what happens.

Oh - one other thing. It may also appear that I've got it in for Bob, Wayne and whoever else "moderates" the CA List. Not at all - in fact I highly respect their dedication, effort and good intentions. I just happen to think that their well meant efforts are misdirected and counter-productive.

Back to the serious business of building a flying machine.......


Following publication of this web page and emails to the moderators from various people, I have had a few email discussions with Wayne Wright. The tone has been amicable and we seem to have made some progress. Wayne has now introduced an UNMODERATED discussion group for alternative engines.To subscribe, send an email to

While it's an effort in the right direction, I don't think this solves the problem. People interested in alternative engines will now be surrounded by Mazda and Subaru zealots. The balance brought by dyed in the wool Lycoming people will be lost. Also, many experts in all sorts of areas have stopped bothering to submit to the CA-List. The only thing that might bring these people back is a public announcement that the censorship has stopped.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.
John Slade, Cozy MKIV #757

Builder's comments, and posts which were supressed by the CA "moderators"

From John Slade
From Simon Ramirez
From Chris Hunt
From Russ Jones
From Bruce Layne
From Fred Moores
From Charlie Kuss
From JD Newman
From Perry Mick
From Matt Lockwood
From Herb Sanders
From Michael Sausen
From Jim Sower
From Ron Kidd
From Lee Devlin
Al Wick, flying Subaru powered Cozy IV, now adds the following to all his public messages to other forums:
Please don't cross post to Canard-aviators. I'm boycotting them for idea repression.

Jim Sower tried to post the following on the c-a forum. It did not appear.
<... It's important to remember that one individual getting
5000 totally trouble free hours isn't proof of concept ...>
I beg to differ.  It IS proof of concept.

<... it could also be luck ...>
Beg to differ again.  500 'totally trouble free' hours might
be luck.  5000 is NOT luck - by about an order of magnitude.

<... Now 1000 users, all using the same design (in detail),
all getting 5000 totally trouble free hours would be in the
category of proof ...>
In the interest of even the appearance of fairness, Lycoming
and Contintntal (after a half century or more) are STILL
looking for 1000 (randomly - which is to say fairly -
selected) users who have even 2000 (or one could argue:
1000-1500) 'totally trouble free' hours on their stuff.

Which is not to say that Lycoming et al have no value.  But
I would guess that about 60%-80% of the price of a new unit
(and a large part of which is inherited long down the line
of overhauls) goes to insurance premiums, not design/
development/ testing/ etc.  

So let's examine economics.  One could argue that in light
of the fact that a Mazda or Subaru can be blueprinted for
about a 20% - 30% of a mediocre Lycoming overhaul, and that
a good, *running* auto engine can be had for perhaps 20% of
the price of a Lycoming core, that we can better than break
even rebuilding our automotive units every 400 hrs.  But
there is no evidence that anything is gained by this. 
Converted automotive engines don't seem to wear out any
faster than certified aircraft engines.  Engine *failures*
are also not notably more common than in certified engines. 
It's the "system" failures that pose most of the problems,
and systems are being improved rapidly.

It is only fair to note that systems failures cause most
power failures in certified engines as well, but when
discussing accidents, it appears to me that (at least on
these forums) the distinction between 'engine failure' and
'power loss' is made more often in the case of conventional
engines than with auto conversions.  Like when someone makes
a mistake in the fuel or cooling system or electrical system
instalation on a certified engine that leads to power
failure, comments seem to focus the installation error or
whatever was the root cause.  The same error in the case of
automotive conversions seems to bring forth a litany of
condemnations of the engine itself, ignoring the root cause
of the failure.  I personally regard that as a double
standard (like the '5000-hr trouble free operation' as some
sort of threshold of acceptability).  We would all do well
to be a little more balanced and open minded in our
discussion and cut the other guy the same slack we claim for

Just a theory ....  Jim S.
Instead Jim got the following
Jim, your long speculation about various engines and their
virtues and vices has no place on this forum. If you are using a
rotary or a Subaru in your canard and have something to report about it then
let's hear about it. "Just a theory" is not acceptable. No doubt there are
other forums where such discussion is welcome.
Bob the Moderator

to which he replied....
I find it interesting that  the views of folks who want to
make disparaging (and most often exagerated and
undocumented) remarks about rotary or subaru engines ARE
welcome, and DO seem to have a place on the forum - whether
or not they have anything at all to back up their
ramblings.  Nobody seems to feel that the detractors need
personal experience to be eligible to report or discuss
their views.

Folks are welcome to discuss departures from 'approved
design' as bazarre as BRS and pitot heat (on an airplane
that is almost guaranteed to go ballistic when it encounters
ice) and retractable main mounts on this forum.  Nor are
legal issues and insurance issues suppressed until they have
run their course and become quite repetitive.  But
alternative power systems are not welcome. It puzzles me

There has never been any danger at all of this forum
becoming a site for
'design and development' of alternative engines.  As you
point out, there are sites dedicated to that which are much
better sources of much more reliable information.  The
rotary and subaru sites do not, however, adequately address
adapting these engines to specific airplanes.  The subject
of adaptation to canard SYSTEMS (fuel, cooling, cowling,
engine mounts, props, etc.) IS, I believe, a legitimate
subject for this forum.  Nobody has ever had any intention
of using the forum to discuss engine design OR maintenance
(aside from the Lycoming contingent).  But an honest and
open discussion of installation issues would save
individuals who ARE interested in alternative engines from
having to 'reinvent the wheel'.

My 'long speculation' was not so much about alternative
engines themselves as the slanted, unsupported and
dysfunctional arguments made against them.  I was pointing
out that some folks do not apply the same standards of
credibility to their own arguments as they do to their
adversaries' arguments, and that these practices lack
intellectual honesty and are an impediment to honest
discourseand the advancement of knowlege.

But not nearly as serious an impediment as outright, zealous
censorship and thesystematic suppression of views contrary
to those of the moderator.

Just a theory ....   Jim Sower

Well, it's me again.  Whining about C-A censorship again.
You may have seen the below on the Cozy forum.  I also
attempted to post it to the C-A forum.  It didn't happen.
What I am wondering about, and what I would like your
feedback on, is what I missed on the 'rules' as stated by
moderator that caused the post to be suppressed.  I felt
that the post articulates an event that had actually
happened, and which describes a successful application (the
engine is flying in the airplane) and focus' on a clear
safety issue.  I am not at all clear on what part of the
ground rules I fell down on or missed.  The other
alternative is that the ground rules are not meant to be
applied at all, but are intended to put a kinder face on

Do you think I'm pissing in the wind (clearly the case if
the 'ground rules' are bogus and a smoke screen) even trying
to get information like this on the forum?  Or do you think
I could dress it up and articulate it better and get it
posted.  I didn't think to put it on the 'Canard Engine'
forum.  Perhaps I should do that .... first?  But then, is
there a mechanism for getting it transferred to the larger

I just don't know.  Looking forward to your cut on
this.       Jim S.
I got this off another forum.  I havenít heard of any
Lycomings or Continentals bringing a guy home under the
conditions described, and I was wondering who might have
witnessed a certified engine last this long after an oil
pressure failure.

To all Soooberators:
I'm a wiser man after a series of incidents you might find
Gory details:
A friend and I flew to the London Airshow, about 100NM
away.  Temps were up a bit when
we arrived, but nothing exciting, more like normal temps for
this engine.  Thought "hmmm"  checked oil, was fine, "maybe
temps build after an hour or so" (longest XC to date).   At
the end of the day, started up to head home....hmm no oil
pressure, zilch, nada...doesn't make any kind of sense.
Everything else is normal..."hmmm, the stupid gauge has
always acted weird, probably packed in"   We watched the
temps, etc through a looong wait to get walked to the flight
line,  long wait for clearance, etc.  everything else is in
the green, engine running like a top.  Figured, well, if
there is anythihng really wrong w/the pressure, it'll show
on TO...temps will start to climb and we'll just come around
and plop her problems..temps barely moved w/ long
straight out climb to 3000.

"OK, that does it, the gauge must be nushed",  but we wore
the paint off the temp gauges
watching them all the way home.  Kept the power down to
economy cruise all the way.  Oil temp never went above 175
and water stayed at 185 as usual, but  I kept my usual
vigilance for landing areas, diverted north of Chatham, just
to be sure.  No worries, nice flight home.  Next day, flew
into Windsor for another fly in...15 min, took a friend for
a spin, then home again...all was well, except "just to be
sure", I had added an extra 1/2 litre of oil to the
beastie...wrong!! wrong!! wrong!!  extra oil will end up as
corrosion protection in the engine room and down the
fuselage...I should know better..done it before.

I've been trying for a few extra RPM for TO, so I called
Dave Johnson to pick his brain about mechanical advance and
the conversation got 'round to the London trip.  He said
that I could have a bad oil pump, ergo, a spun bearing,
which would explain a few other minor nuisances, (TO rpm
gradually getting lower over time, etc).  I told him that
the temps would surely have at least given some indication
that some thing was wrong, to which he replied."not
necessarily" ....... gulp!

You can see where this missive is going, right?  I pulled
the prop, cowlings etc. (I was going to make some ignition
mods anyway), attached a fresh pressure gauge and fired it

SHEEEEIIIT!!  Some sonofabitch was in the engine banging
away trying to get out. Pulled the engine, took it to the
guy who rebuilt it, and with a tear said "70 hrs ain't what
I call bullet proof".

He tore it down, then called to tell me the oil pickup tube
fell out 'cause the damn thing should be mounted w/ a
clamp.  Said he thought that was a lousy design to not have
one (!!!???)  I pointed out that there WAS one when I tore
the engine down to give it to him way back when.  He
replied, "Well it ain't there now!"  Said he would make sure
the tube stayed in somehow this time  I said, (after
checking the Haynes), just put the right one in where the
manual says this time.  (gotta be nice if I want my engine
back before nice, be nice, be nice,  deep
breath! nice!) Just for fun, I checked my old box of
parts that I got back from him after the first rebuild, and
guess what I found? Anyway, this tale is getting long, so
I'll just say that he said he'd "work with me on the price
of repairs" and I should have my engine back in the bird by
next weekend.  To his credit, he has an excellent rep in
town, and  has always been
fair with me.  He probably just screwed up as we all do from
time to time.  I just wish he'd chosen a different engine to
do it on.  Whaddya gonna do?  I think we'll work it out ok.
BTW...crank needed regrind, everything else is fine.

Lessons learned:
a.  trust your gauges...even if it is nuts, the lost time is
cheaper than  repairs
b. never start your engine w/ headphones on.  Art Mitchell
tried to teach me that...might have heard the engine  noises
if I'd followed that advice.
c. the EA81 must be one hell of a tough engine   75 minutes,
3900rpm, with no oil
pressure and no sign of distress.
d. my insistence on only flying where I can land safely
might not be a bad idea to maintain

There should be no censorship of topics related to canard avaition. I have built a Cozy III (with Lycoming) 10 years ago and have logged over 500 hours in it. My opinion regarding powerplants or anything else I want to put in or on my bird is no more or less important than anyone elses. Remember, this is what EXPERIMANTAL AVIATION is all about. Moderate, don't censor! Ron Kidd Cozy N417CZ Thanks for putting up the website expressing frustration with censorship. I remember the first time I fell victim to the censors. The real frustration was that I couldn't even tell anyone what happened. It's done in a sort of anonymity too, just signing 'Bob the moderator' if anything at all. I was very disappointed the first time I saw one of my postings with more than half of it missing and the most interesting half too! They won't let you say anything about vendors even if it's positive. Nor can you mention any prices. I wondered how many other postings had been watered down by the censors. It gives me a creepy feeling to know that the words I'm reading may or may not be those of the original author. Marc's group has just the right amount of moderation and I never post anything on the canard aviators that I don't also cross-post to the Cozy list. Regards, Lee Devlin
I first experienced censorship on the CA list several years ago. I was running Berkut at the time, and we had our web page hosted at The Wright Connection, which ran and the CA mailing list. (in fact, I was the one that suggested he get the domain, much to my later chagrin) Someone posted that we at Berkut were selling molded canards. I replied that we had them in development and hoped to have them available soon, but they weren't for sale yet. It was rejected. The moderator said it was a commercial post. I pointed out that I wasn't trying to sell anything - in fact, it was a clear announcement that something WASNT for sale. But it made no difference. Needless to say, I pulled the web page from Wright shortly thereafter. Most amazingly, Marc's Cozy email list is virtually on the same topic, with many of the same participants, is uncensored, and is a perfectly civil forum. Marc has the ability to censor if things ever get out of hand, but they never have. The CA forum would be the same , and would be a much more valuable source of information, if the anonymous thought police would step aside. > I've also had an oil pump post censored in the past few days. In the past, > posts on baffle seals, airspeed sensor switches, flight test, brakes, > landing brake actuators, canopies and upholstery have been dumped. Never > an explanation. > > At 09:05 AM 12/8/02 -0700, Scott Derrick wrote: > >Lately I've had the following subjects censored. > > > >Veri-EZ Spar cap failure > >Flutter > >Pump for oil heat > >Electric heater > > > >the list goes on and on. > > > >If your opinion on the subject doesn't conform to the assholes that moderate > >the list they dump it. I'm pretty sure most of the folks on the list don't > >know. If you post a message with a hint about censorship it gets dumped! > > > >Scott