Alert on Azalea LLC and Bill Clapp

Discussion in 'Corvair' started by William Wynne, Mar 18, 2015.

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  1. Mar 18, 2015 #1

    William Wynne

    William Wynne

    William Wynne

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    To anyone considering working with Azalea LLC or Bill Clapp of Valdosta GA.

    Mr Clapp failed to mention in his posts that he was a 50% partner, and eventually the sole owner of the now Defunct LLC "Aeromax" They operated for several years, selling the same products he mentions here. The Company is closed, and effectively does not support the people who bought from them. Because Aeromax was an LLC, just like the 'new' LLC, their customers have little or no recourse. Google the names "Aeromax" and "Bill Clapp" and read the stories for yourself.

    Do your own homework, contact any of the following people, make up your own mind. In my opinion, our industry has had far too many people start an LLC, then fold up the tent, and restart under a new name, and fail to mention their previous failure, that often cost others dearly.

    If there is some question about the validity of my warning here, please contact the following people. All of them have dealt with Clapp in person.
    Mark Langford: The Moderator of "Corvaircraft" forum and the KR net discussion group ml@n56ml.com,

    Pat Panzera, Editor of Contact, former editor of the Experimenter; editor@contactmagazine.com

    Rick Lindstrom, Kitplanes Contributing editor rick@aveogroup.com,

    Sebastien Heintz, President of Zenith Aircraft seb@zenith.aero

    Dan Weseman, Designer of the Panther, president of SPA dan@flywithspa.com,

    Steve Glover, President of NV-aero, the authorized source for KR parts and plans steve.glover@nvaero.com,

    -ww.
     
  2. Mar 18, 2015 #2

    FritzW

    FritzW

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    I hope you've done more home work on your attack against Azalea and Bill Clapp than you did on Moody's A&P program.
     
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  3. Mar 18, 2015 #3

    William Wynne

    William Wynne

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    Mr. Fritz,

    My comment about Moody Bible institute was not an attack on the school, it was just to point of that the school produces mechanics, and Mr. Clapp did not get an engineering degree there. The Comments on the Mark Langford crank thread indicate that a large number of the frequent contributors to HBA have very significant educations and experience in engineering, and this training and study is very different than the subjects that mechanics are taught.

    Before you reject my comments because of the misperceived statement about the school, consider googling the name "Aeromax", I trust you will find I did my homework.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2015 #4

    FritzW

    FritzW

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    When you have a problem with someone it's better to use a rifle than a shotgun.
     
  5. Mar 18, 2015 #5

    cheapracer

    cheapracer

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    No one likes to see these threads started but there's a real world out there and that's what life throws up sometimes. Best that people do make their own research and the OP said "Do your own homework, Make up your own mind", has supplied links to follow and people to refer to - the results are what you come up with yourself.
     
  6. Mar 18, 2015 #6

    pwood66889

    pwood66889

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    Saying what I have said before, though in a different way: "Look before you leap."
    * Mr. Wynne: It is not that far from your Florida place to Valdosa, GA. That way you can be Much More Authoritative. Remember, no one knows you're a dog (or the opposite) over the Internet.
    * The airplane "biz" is awash with dreamers that are not scammers - at first. See Jim Bede, and many others. They Are Not Business Persons!
    Just my couple a centa worth... :)
    Percy in SE Bama, who isn't that far from Valdosa either. `Specially as the `coupe flys.
     
  7. Mar 18, 2015 #7

    rbrochey

    rbrochey

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    I think it best to make up your own mind when dealing with other people... I also think the internet is rife with mis-information about just about everything. I don't believe negative comments about anybody on the internet and am old enough to make up my own mind about who I will associate with. Besides, this forum should be what it normally is, a place for the love of building planes and associating with pilots and other aviation enthusiasts. There's enough negativity in the world, we don't (at least I don't) need it in here. IMHO :)
     
  8. Mar 18, 2015 #8

    Topaz

    Topaz

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    Moderator Note: This is the second post in this series that has been brought to the attention of the moderators, by members who are not either of the two "involved". So again let me remind the membership of a specific item in the HBA Rules of Conduct:

    HBA is not the place to conduct a personal campaign against someone else. If you have allegations of illegal conduct, make those allegations in a court of law. Not here. Once you have won a judgement against the offending vendor, that's something that's welcome to be reported here. Broad untested allegations are not.
     
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  9. Mar 18, 2015 #9

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    How should we discuss a bad experience, or someone who has shown themselves to not be above boards, without violating these rules?

    Example: Jim Bede announces his newest version of the BD-5, on HBA where there are a whole generation of new builders and pilots who have never heard of him before. Being old enough to remember, I desperately want to let it be known that people are still waiting for BD-5 engines from 1974, and that Bede was witnessed flying a Baron into Newton, KS (by a friend of mine) in the middle of the night, picking up all the deposit and checks for BD-5 kits, looked back and forth for lawyers and process ervers...and flew out with the checks in hand knowing that Hirth would not supply him with engines. So I want people to not fall victim to this, and HBA is the place where a large number of homebuilders hang out. But reading the rules, and not wanting to break those rules or defy the forum owner... how can I save people from falling victim?
     
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  10. Mar 18, 2015 #10

    rv6ejguy

    rv6ejguy

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    Buyer beware. Talk to others who've dealt with the company before you put any money down and if you're really paranoid (or careful), ask for monies to be placed in escrow if the company will do that. There are few 100% guaranteed things in this world and plenty of people in the experimental aviation world have been hosed by someone or some company before, especially in the alternative engine world. A mutual letter of agreement with a firm ship date and payment by PayPal a couple weeks prior might offer some protection as well.

    Even some companies which have been around a while can suddenly go broke leaving you holding the bag.
     
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  11. Mar 18, 2015 #11

    Bill Clapp

    Bill Clapp

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    Great point Ross. It is something that we strive for is to build up that confidence a bit at a time. I believe that an open door policy works well for us. We have a physical location that people can come and see, we answer our phones and get back on emails as soon as possible to keep lines of communication open. When you are startup company as we are in many regards you need to take orders and product in small batches and work with people as much as possible. Just as easy as it is for a company to burn someone (intentionally or not) it can be easy for that company to be burnt by someone. We do escrows on large items and keep our liabilities as small as possible. Our biggest issues can usually be supplier induced. The joys of business. However - don't forget the fun....just landed from giving my wife her first ride in the Saberwing....she's all smiles :))
     
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  12. Mar 18, 2015 #12

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    You guys missed my point. I was asking Topaz how a member of the HBA online aviation community would post a warning without breaking the rules of the forum.

    Surely the forum admin does not want someone to stand by silently instead of warning others about their own bad experience.

    And likewise, certainly the forum owner does not want its members to slander or defame someone, or post ad hominem attacks against others either.

    My question for Topaz was where is that line drawn.

    "caveat emptor" is obvious. Due diligence is obvious. That has nothing to do with the threshold for forum posts discussing something or someone that one of us thinks is bad news.
     
  13. Mar 18, 2015 #13

    rbrochey

    rbrochey

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    My grandmother taught me that if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. This is an open forum and I've always admired and respected the members and what they bring to aviation... I like its positive nature. If you want to say something about someone or something that is less than that, do it privately. I don't want any unnecessary clutter in my already cluttered brain! :)
     
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  14. Mar 19, 2015 #14

    Topaz

    Topaz

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    It's pretty simple, actually: Discuss an experience that you had, personally, and don't make accusations that haven't been tested in a court of law.

    For example, back in the early 1980's, I sent a rather large deposit to BJ Schramm's nascent engine company (which he tried to start as an offshoot of Rotorway), for a spot on the production schedule for a... I think it was a small single-rotor rotary engine from their advertised line. I never received any further contact from the company, never did receive my motor, and repeated attempts to contact them by phone and mail went unanswered until, eventually, the phone number was disconnected and I learned some months later that the company had folded and that a number of deposits (including mine) were not returned.

    Note that I just related something that happened to me, and that I made no accusation of anything that was not adjudicated in a court of law. In fact, I made no accusation of illegal intent at all. I just relayed facts that I personally experienced. If I had taken the company or individual to court and won a judgement against them, it would be perfectly fine to report that, and all the facts of the judgement.

    We're completely fine with people reporting personal experiences, so long as they keep those reports to the personally-experienced facts of the matter and, however angry or cheated they might feel, don't resort to allegations that haven't been independently adjudicated. There's a long-running thread here that has been reporting on the conviction of an aircraft company owner and the attempts at the builders to get some kind of restitution. That's within the bounds because the people making the posts are actually involved in the court case, stuck to the plain facts, and have been the ones who had personal experience with the matter.

    If you read HBA RoC #9 and #10 in that light, I think Jake did a remarkably good job of setting up the limits we use.

    What we don't want to have happen is someone making allegations that they can't factually support with their own experience, and make any allegations of impropriety that haven't been decided by a court of law. We've had occasions where someone had a bad experience with a company - rightly or wrongly - and then tried to use HBA as a platform for a personal crusade against that company and its owner. That's not acceptable here. Many times, the problems they encountered were simple mis-communication or a business that was simply badly run, with no ill intent on the part of the business owner. The Internet has real power, for good or ill, and an unfounded personal crusade could significantly damage a business that's actually being run with the best of intentions and efforts. That's not fair, either.

    EDIT: Also, please keep any reports to a single thread or post. Don't flood the forums with "Beware!" posts. That's against the forum's double-posting rules, regardless of content.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
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  15. Mar 19, 2015 #15

    akwrencher

    akwrencher

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    Thank you Topaz for taking the time to clarify this matter. It seems like a simple thing, but as we are all human we all tend to interpret rules differently, depending on our point of view, and a few good examples really goes a long ways. Personally, I am glad we have those rules, and from the sounds of it so are others in the group. I read HBA every day as much for relaxation as for the knowledge I glean, and overly heated discussions just don't have the desired effect :) I do agree with VB that it would be hard to stand by and not relate a bad experience, though, so to complete the circle, thank's again for your well written post.

    My 2cents. Zach
     
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  16. Mar 24, 2015 #16

    Dave "Zip" Goodman

    Dave "Zip" Goodman

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    I have personally had engines built for me by both WW and Bill Clapp. The engine from WW is in a bin at my hangar. It self-destructed in 43 minutes. It was not properly assembled. Disassembly revealed the crank was stamped 10-10 overground but was in fact 10-20 overground. The bearings installed were 10-10, allowing the engine to eat itself. Bill built the engine in my KR-2S now. It has 300 hours on it, many of those hours over very inhospitable terrain (cold water/steep mountains). I trust my life and the lives of my children and wife behind this engine. It is a proven performer.

    As has been said here, make up your own mind instead of getting sucked into a he-said, they-said fight. Experimental aviation is about having fun, smartly. Make intelligent decisions about how you build, what you modify, and what you put on your plane. Airborne is not the time to find out you should have been more thorough in your thought process. Do not take my word or the word of any other when it is going to be your butt on the line in the air, do the research and analysis yourself so you can make the best possible judgment with all the facts available.

    Having personal experience going back over ten years with both Bill and WW, my OPINION is based on experience, facts, and safety. Here is a link to my old webpage if anyone wants more background on my engine, plane, and who I am. Feel free to e-mail if you want. https://sites.google.com/a/wildblue.net/goodmans/Home/firewall-forward

    Full disclosure: I have purchased another engine from Bill to go into the Saberwing I will be building starting this month. It will be the first kit off the line to start assembly.
     
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  17. Mar 24, 2015 #17

    don january

    don january

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    good for you Zip. Glad you gave a response, can't count the times I've ran across your plane. Don
     
  18. Mar 24, 2015 #18

    RonL

    RonL

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    Hi Zip,
    I have a question about "overground", can you clear that up a little bit :)

    Think you have a good web site and a pretty plane, look forward to seeing some more about your time in the air.

    Ron
     
  19. Mar 24, 2015 #19

    stol

    stol

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    So...........

    I do NOT have a dog in this fight and in keeping for a "fair and balanced" report.... I have some simple questions as I am VERY curious.....

    Bill.... What is the status of Aeromax?.. Your past and current relationship in it ? Where does that company stand now?

    Thanks in advance for your honest answers....

    Ps...
     
  20. Mar 24, 2015 #20

    Bill Clapp

    Bill Clapp

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    What is the status of Aeromax?.. Your past and current relationship in it ? Where does that company stand now?

    I started Aeromax in 2009 after had met a gentleman that I brought on-board as as equal partner due to his experience in composite aircraft (the direction I wanted my designs to go into) and an MBA ( needed someone to run the financials). After a couple years of development he tried to steal the company and move it out of state while I was on vacation. I found that he had done several things behind my back. Long story short, I was able to retrieve (through the law) all my assets and company back. When he took the company I had to file an injuction to prohibit his and my use of the name/company in order to minimize any damage. We closed the Aeromax LLC in 2011 but I continued taking care of any customers and worked on my new airplane designs. After taking care of any outstanding liabilities my wife and I reopened under Azalea Aviation. Aeromax still has an injunction to prevent any further damage. Aeromax had been the name my partner liked. My wife and I wanted to have our own name - Fresh start so to speak. Valdosta, our home town, is "The Azalea City" - hence Azalea Aviation LLC.....plus we have lots of azaleas around our house and shop :)
    That being said - I know people get concerned about longevity. I still support people I was helping in 2007 as well as a number of others customers....
     

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