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Thread: An ethical question

  1. #11

    Default Re: An ethical question

    Hello Eric,

    I remember chatting with you late at night in a hangar a while back. I enjoyed that chat as well as you posts here at AAFO.

    In my opinion (whatever that is worth), I would go for option BE and do an article. The thing is that there is only so much one can gain from black and white text. All the hacks will think that they can do it and they will try with variety degrees of success, but never 100%

    Others will see that you are on to something and seek you out for assistance, because they want it done right. And you will do it right. The results will be better than they imagined and in turn, they will be more receptive to your other ideas. Others will witness then improvements and follow suit.

    That's it. Shake off the old garbage. Do what you can and those who see your abilities through the article will seek you out.

    Besides, you can't MAKE money via air racing. They have rules against that.

    Bill Pearce

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    8,335

    Default Re: An ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by W J Pearce
    Besides, you can't MAKE money via air racing. They have rules against that
    Bill, you have, of course, hit the nail on the head!



    Like Tiger once said to me, (went something like this anyway) "hell, if you want to make a small fortune air racing, all you need is to start out with a big fortune!"

    Wayne

  3. #13

    Default Re: An ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    First, I was involved with a marginal engine builder who oversold his product and himself. Tarnished by this, the owner of NuVenture loudly proclaimed to everyone who asked that my modifications were not of any value. (He used stronger language than that, but we need to respect decorum here) I have news for any doubters: most teams would kill for 12 to 14 mph; I did it with less than 5 lb of fiberglass.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    The test aircraft was later sold to another racer who encountered an SIO (system induced osscilation) in wake turbulance and crashed. Every pilot in the class agrees that the modifications did not affect the aircraft with respect to the accident. However, the publicity could hardly be called positive.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Third strike. Three Legacys and one Glassair have now flown at Reno with modifications that came from an unethical (but not illegal) transfer of my intellectual property. Kits of these modifications are now on the market.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    My ethical question is this: I am more than a little furious at the theft and misuse of my intellectual property and of someone claiming credit for my work (albeit poorly interpreted). Worse than that is the loss to an unqualified competitor of what I believe should have been my business. Should I:
    a) Suffer in silence while someone else makes a living off of the modifications I brought to air racing?
    b) Publish an article in Kitplanes and/or AAFO explaining the technology, how to do it, and how the pretenders have not quite gotten it right?
    c) Attempt to compete with the deficit of being late to market and undercapitalized because my competition has been subsidized by a former customer?
    d) Something else? (suggestions please)

    I apologize for the anger expressed here. However, I will never work for anyone again without non-disclosure in place and I acknowledge that this whole situation exists because I let some of my intellectual property go without properly protecting it.

    Eric Ahlstrom
    Hello Eric and the forum as a whole !


    I recently heard that one painter has a painting which is a whole blue painted canvas; he patented the paint mixture which makes it unique.

    I made an architectural competition in a group in 1986 for a city 40 km from Helsinki. We were second and the part of the design that I scetched won the competion realisation for the team.
    Later in Germany 1996 I drew a competition for a townpart in Ulm and it got the shared first prize.
    Typical for both competitions was that I never got really more than blisters on my hands ( ok I did get some consolidation ), but bottom line was that I did not get realisation works on either of the projects, but others did ( 1986 a friend in the group got to build several houses there and in 1996 the office did some later developements of the project ). That somehow pissed me off. So I know the A. is not a sweet way to act.

    As for the several racer concepts I drew here I would be happy if someone got kicks outa them. I built one of the racers as a model, but being underpowered it did not get truly airborne ( yet ). ALbeit I am amazed that after 7 flight attempts the 1/12 scale model is still in tact as if she waits for the new engine and shows us later what she really can do.

    Bottom line is that if you don't have fun doing your job it is not good. Remember the fighter ace Erich Hartmann who got prisoned in USSR; he said never get angry at someone because it just wears you down. That is how he survived after seeing insane cruelty ( rapes and killings ) as an inmate in Gulags.

    Just keep going as nothing had happened.


    later dudes,

    Juke T


    PS: I like the new avatars Cobra and Sagar brought in...gotta figure out what sorta animal I would be !

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Whittier CA, Los Angeles USA
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: An ethical question

    If there's one thing in English that drives me nuts, it's when people pluralize individuals...."Your John Sandbergs, Zeuschels..." I thought those were single people.

    John

  5. #15
    Unregistered Guest

    Default Re: An ethical question

    I want to thank everyone for their input and the kind words. I have to say that I didn't expect to be missed. Since everyone asked, I will give a few updates:

    1. I have been very busy, although much quieter about the projects I am working on. Some things haven't worked out, and other things are in process.

    2. The backer of the Dart and I went separate ways based on mutual agreement. For anyone curious about the status of the project hit rennaisance-research.com. All references to my participation in the project have been removed from the site other than a link to AAFO. I have not has any contact with the backer for almost two years.

    The primary developer of the engine that was planned to be used at the time I left the program is Bob Norwood. Among all of his racing projects, he also writes a monthly column in "Turbo" magazine. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Bob, and someday I hope to work with him again. He is a truly brilliant engine designer, builder, tuner and a hard-core racer to boot.

    3. Based in no small part on the advice posted here, I will publish on the aforementioned subject. I will also compete in my own way and continue my business.

    Thankyou,
    Eric Ahlstrom

  6. #16
    Race #21 Guest

    Default Re: An ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by John H
    If there's one thing in English that drives me nuts, it's when people pluralize individuals...."Your John Sandbergs, Zeuschels..." I thought those were single people.

    John
    They are "Leading edge" and therefore (and thank God) plural.
    Tom Campau

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: An ethical question

    Eric,

    I too have enjoyed your posts over the years and wondered where you've been. I'm glad you're back.

    My suggestion is something which I have not seen in the other posts but which you and some of the other creative types who post on the board need to consider:

    Get an Lawyer.

    A real-live, no-kidding lawyer to advise you on business entity formation, intellectual property questions, contracts, air-tight non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, etc.. Not a document package from Office Depot but someone who'll take the time to listed to what's going on with you and your business. Not necessarily a big high-dollar firm but a good lawyer who works hard for you. Ask around until you find what you need. You need to hit it off and have a sense of trust. If you don't have that feeling, keep looking.

    No one likes to pay a lawyer. Are lawyers a pain? Yes, until you need one. Your post drives home the point -- lawyers can be expensive but how much more expensive is it when you need one and don't have one? How much would your speed mod be worth if you had sole marketing rights? Would have been worth it to pay a lawyer to protect it? Could a lawyer have prevented what happened to you? Absolutely.

    A lot of people think they can do business without involving a lawyer. Really? You might do just fine, but eventually somebody's going to do something to you that requires legal counsel, then where will you be? Was that biz law course in college enough? Of course not. Otherwise, law school wouldn't be three years of hard work. It is not a coincidence that big, successful, aerospace industry companies have lawyers on staff or in some cases running the company. There is no more cutthroat industry in the world.

    As others eluded to, your post involves not only ethics but substantial legal issues. A good lawyer would help you recognize both. Eric, as some friendly advice from a fellow air race lover -- find yourself an attorney.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    907

    Default Re: An ethical question

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkB.
    Eric, Get an Lawyer.
    Eric-
    Ditto that, the concept of adding a fairing, here or there is hardly a unique idea, it's been going on for decades. You're specializing in specifc applications, and unless someone is copying a VERY unique and distinguisable feature, I think you're dancing on thin ice.
    An article is not a bad idea, but I would think that would scare off potential clients.
    Produce a product, or create a contract with verifiable speed increase clause, (tough part here, think lap times would be one of the few ways to quantify a change), and I think you'd be on more solid ground.
    Find someone doing a video on air racing, and offer to do a segment on what makes some airplanes faster then others; I would think that would generate some positive results, or create your own video "How to make your airplane faster".
    Any way good to have you back, keep carving & scratching....Paul

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