A 29-year-old aerospace engineer on using obsolete machines as a relief from high technology – David Conwill @Hemmings

Technology is great. I’m writing this on a computer—you’re reading it there. If you need parts for your old car, or simply a new old car, the links are at the top of the page. Still, the technology of the present sometimes ties us a little too tightly to the negative aspects of today. Something simpler can be a welcome escape.Nobody can accuse Dustin “The Flying Fiddler” Mosher, of Mojave, California, of being a technophobe.

By day, he creates flight simulators for the Virgin Galactic space program. In his own time, Dustin relaxes with the still-usable relics of a bygone era: his turn of the century (that’s 1890s, not 1990s) fiddle, a 1931 Ford Model AA truck, a World War II-vintage Boeing Stearman biplane, and a 1947 Cessna 120.The fiddle he uses to entertain himself and friends, playing bluegrass and old time fiddle tunes, and he’s been at it for a decade now.

The planes and the truck are how he gets to those gatherings. The common thread through all of these items is that they were never intended as fundamentally disposable. Instead, they were essentially designed to be infinitely rebuildable and easily maintained. Properly cared for, they will still do everything they were designed for.”It’s amazing what they’re capable of for such simple machines,” Dustin says. “You can self-manage all your problems if you know the fundamentals of mechanics. And they’re actually fun to work on–they have a complexity you can grasp.”Contrast that with the sealed, maintenance-free devices of today. Some can be repaired, of course, but it involves delving into areas you were never intended to go. Some manufacturers even go so far as to hinder disassembly by the user, to say nothing of the proprietary information they refuse to share with the public. There’s none of that with anything built 70 years ago or more

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Categories: 1931, David Conwill, Hemmings, Model A Ford

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