Chuck Slusarczyk posted this on rec.aviation.homebuilt in March 1995.
From: chucks1...@aol.com (ChuckS1067)
Date: 3 Mar 1995 11:53:28 -0500
Local: Fri,Mar 3 1995 8:53 am
Subject: Zoomed... Part I
(I'm sorry this has taken so long to post. Please understand that I'm an engineer, not a writer, and hunting and pecking with two fingers is time-consuming.)
Zoomed... Part I
Zoom v. 1: (1930s-1940s) to obtain something without paying for it; to sneak (without paying) into a public place (like a theater where admission is charged.
"From Juba to Jive: the dictionary of African-American slang"
by Clarence Major, 1994, by permission of the author, page 521.
In the Jan. 95 issue of U.S. Aviator our company, CGS Aviation, was listed in a negative light for the 3rd year in a row. It's time to tell our side of the story, unfiltered by US Aviator s slanted editorial policies. Since I don't own a magazine in which to defend myself, I am using the Internet as a vehicle to exercise my First Amendment right to "free speech". As to the question of whether this posting belongs in this folder; I believe it does, since I design and manufacture recreational and homebuilt aircraft. To those of you who are not interested in this subject matter, please use your kill file or leave now. Those of you who are interested in my side of the story, I welcome your participation
I have documentation for anything I state here as fact, (ie: dates, newspaper articles, magazine articles, police reports, canceled checks, NTSB transcripts, etc.). The rest will be to the best of my recollection.
First a brief history is in order.
My name is Chuck Slusarczyk and I started Chuck's Glider Supplies (later known as CGS Aviation) in 1971. I designed and built hang gliders from 1971 until 1981 when I sold the hang glider portion of the company. During 1973 I started experimenting with the idea of motorizing my hang gliders. As a result of this work, I received a utility patent from the U.S. Patent Office entitled "Powered Hang Glider with Reduction Drive" (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. #4,262,263). I designed and built reduction drive units and engine conversion packages for various hang gliders and earlyultralights like the Easy Riser, Fledgling, Mitchell Wing, Quicksilver, Viper, F.L.A.C., and others. In 1974 I piloted a towed hang glider 52 miles across Lake Erie from Cleveland, Ohio to Rondeu Bay, Canada which was the first international flight in a tow kite. In 1979, as part of a promotion for the Cleveland National Air Show, I piloted my Easy Riser ultralight 62 miles across Lake Erie. This was the longest over water flight in an ultralight at the time. I also carried 100 first day covers stamped by the Post Office to be the first ultralight to carry the mail. My Easy Riser now hangs in the EAA Museum at Oshkosh.
I started designing the CGS Hawk in 1981. The prototype was flown in February of 1982 and has been in continual production ever since. The EAA museum in Lakeland has accepted the prototype CGS Hawk for their permanant display. Prior to all of this, I worked at NASA Lewis as a research technician and for Scheutzow Helicopter Corp. as part of their type certification team.
I say all of this not to blow my own horn, but to establish the fact that I am not a newcomer to this sport, nor am I unqualified for what I do.
My first contact with Mr. Jim (Zoom) Campbell was, to the best of my recollection, at Oshkosh 1981. He and Pat Trusty claimed to be in the process of flying around the world in ultralights. I autographed the canard on his Pterodactyl at his request. At that time there were rumors floating around the U/L area about Mr. Campbell's alleged impersonations of a Medical Doctor, and that he was something of a "unique, colorful character".
A year or so later I encountered Mr. Campbell while he was working as a writer for an aviation publication. He flew the CGS Hawk and wrote a pilot report for the magazine. However the flight we observed bore no resemblance to the way he described it in his article. The actual flight was in no way as "dramatic" as he described it.
In 1985 Mr. Campbell wrote a book entitled "Flyers Guide to Ultralights" published by Tab Books Inc. In it Mr. Campbell says of me "There are few people in the ultralight community who can claim to have done as much for ultralight aviation as Chuck Slusarczyk....his sense of humor, fairness, and propriety have made him one of the sport's more endearing participants" (page 41).
After Mr. Campbell left Hot Kits and Homebuilts Magazine, I neither saw nor heard any more of him until Sun-n-Fun 1990. Up to this point I had no problems with Mr. Campbell. Little did I know what I was in for.
End part 1. (To be continued).
From: chucks1...@aol.com (ChuckS1067)
Date: 7 Mar 1995 12:50:45 -0500
Local: Tues,Mar 7 1995 9:50 am
Subject: Zoomed... Part II
Zoomed... Part II
Zoom; zooming v. 2: (1970s) to deceive; betray; kid.
(Hear Aretha Franklin,"Who's Zoomin' Who?")
See "Zoom [one] out."
"From Juba to Jive: The dictionary of African-American slang"
by Clarence Major, 1994, page 521 by permission of the author.
At Sun 'n Fun 1990 I entered into an agreement for three magazine ads - May, June and July 1990 - with Dawn Blackwell, the ad sales rep for US Aviator. I was told I could cancel at any time. Because we recieved only 2 responses in the first two months I sent a US Aviator a letter cancelling our third ad, and included payment of $160 towards our account. Mr. Campbell ran the third ad anyway and billed me for it. Mr. Campbell then phoned me on Aug. 14, 1990 and left a very nasty message on my answering machine, stating among other things that I had 24 hrs to pay in full or he would send my account to a collection agency.
Which he did. I had intended to pay Mr. Campbell in full, even for the ad that I canceled. But his coarse, rude, threatening attitude led me to deal with the collection agency instead. At this point I wanted nothing to do with Mr.Campbell or his magazine.
In the 1993 affordable flyers section of US Aviator, we were listed in the "not recommended" section. I felt I was being punished because of my cancellation of my advertising. But after seeing how Mr. Campbell used the magazine during his dispute with Don Jones and Max Air by telling only his version of the story, I wanted no part of a fight with him. So I just kept quiet about what he had written and hoped he would go away and leave me alone.
Unfortunately my silence did not deter Mr. Campbell. In the March 1994 issue of US Aviator he wrote:
"Our complaint ratio on the Hawk is very high... and for a number of different corporate iterations that this design has been subjected to. The designer of this bird is an old friend of mine and it pains me to have to do this,but the financial problems that he has had, and the people (customers) who have gotten burned in the process of trying to work with him do not make the Hawk a very safe bet, in our opinion,for your flying dollar"
After reading his rating of my company my first thought was, how can this be true and what can I do to rectify the situation. I wrote Mr. Campbell and asked for the names of the people he said I had "burned ". If there truly were people who felt that I had burned them, then I wanted the opportunity to correct the problem. I also asked for some data on how he compiled the "high complaint ratio". Since a ratio indicates relative numbers, (ie: good reports vs bad reports), how many reports did he receive? 5, 10, 50, 100? Mr. Campbell told me that the data I requested was private and confidential and he would not disclose any information. I then asked him to notify the people I had allegedly "burned" and have them contact me so I may be allowed to rectify the situation. I have yet to be contacted.
At this point I began to doubt the validity of Mr.Campbell's claims, based partially on my prior experiences with him and conversations I had with other companys who were listed on the US Aviators "not recommended list."
This would have been a golden opportunity for Mr. Campbell to provide a real service to his readers and my customers, by providing the medium for resolving consumer problems. Yet Mr.Campbell refused to co-operate with me in this matter. I then contacted all the major aviation publications to see if they had received any negative reports about me or my company. The answer was a resounding no.
How is it that disgruntled consumers only contact US Aviator?? How is it that US Aviator can write about and grade companies they have never visited?? How can US Aviator claim to know about a company's finances, but never see a profit and loss statements?? How can US Aviator write a review about CGS Aviation and do a company profile, but never interview me?? How can US Aviator rate the ngineering of a design while never looking at any engineering data?? Who is the qualified engineer on staff or retainer that evaluates the various designs? What educational background does Mr. Campbell posses that qualifies him to be judge and jury?
It is my opinion, based on the treatment of CGS Aviation, and on conversations with other manufacturers and former employees of US Aviator, that very little real data exists. It appears that these ratings are based primarily on how the editor feels about a particular company; on opinion, rumor, and hearsay rather than on real, factual data. In fact, in US Aviator, March 1994, p.21, Campbell says..."companies or aircraft kits that we cannot recommend for one reason or another. Based solely on the expert OPINIONS of my staff and I.."
Because of my doubts about Mr. Campbell's credibility, I began to make inquiries to verify some of the more dramatic claims that he has made on line and in his magazine. Among others I contacted the Oshkosh Police Department and the Edwards Air Force Base Test Pilot School.
Statement: "threats of extorsion issued to us by Flightworks employee Laurel Lee Ramey in early August 1993 at the EAA Oshkosh Fly-In (as reported to the Oshkosh PD and other legal entities)" US Aviator July 1994 p.60. Mr. Campbell also told me in a phone conversation that this incident was "a matter of police record".
Fact: There is a police record of an incident involving Mr. Campbell at Oshkosh Aug. 1993, but it's not for an extortion attempt. It was a dispute between Mr.Campbell and Laurel Lee Ramey, Campbell's former fiance, over the ownership of a camera lens. There's a very big difference. It was a civil matter, not a criminal one as Mr. Campbell has claimed.
Statement: recently Mr. Campbell has written about being asked to give a talk at the Edwards AFB Test Pilots School. It sounds very impressive.
Fact: he was a guest at a meeting of EAA Chapter 1000, which met in the TPS auditorium. While there he introduced himself to the group.
"falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus"
This and other information strengthens my opinion that much, perhaps most of the information in Mr. Campbell's magazine and promotional literature is not accurate, and is the result of fabrication or embellishment.
Once I started asking Mr. Campbell for hard, factual proof of his statements about my customers his attitude toward me hardened further. The following are some exerpts of communications from Mr.Campbell to or about me:
"you posted some libelous mat'l on the Inet....are you nuts???
"do you know how easy it will be to get a libel judgement against you???"
"in the morning I'm going to take action."
"Jesus Christ ....is that jerk out of his mind??"
"our attorney has already started action against you for your libelous actions"
"you've broken the law, told lies and acted like a true space cadet"
"look Chuck you have been behaving like an ass"
"We are working with law enforcement as regards to your harassment efforts"
"be assured that I will see you in court and I will see justice done."
"your reprehensible personal conduct and illegal attacks on my staff, magazine and I"
"please note we treated you professionally and responsibly.."
All this because I wanted to know the names of the people he said I burned, and because I questioned his data. I have studiously avoided contacting his staff in any way, shape or form. I have never harassed Mr. Campbell or his staff, nor have I ever, as he has alleged, threatened to bomb his office, rape his staff or girlfriend or kill his dog. I have committed no criminal acts.
In the hours that followed my posting of part I I received a phone call, a fax and a E mail message from Mr. Campbell, threatening me with a variety of lawsuits and criminal prosecution for writing about my experiences with him. I will deal with those and other threats by him in a future post.
The real issue, then, is simply one of credibility. When Zoom Campbell makes an accusation, should it be believed? Should the person on the other end of the accusation have to defend himself in order to stay in business? Can Zoom Campbell and US Aviator stand up to the same standards it sets for others??
End Part 2 (to be con't.)
The "Zoomed" series was not continued, at least under that name.
However Chuck courageously went on to write dozens of other posts about Campbell.
Credibility, It's always about credibility
- Chuck Slusarczyk -