Hoskins and Perry make consummate good sense in their emails.
Newbie that I am not, I am reminded of a fatal accident of a T-18 at
Oshkosh in the late 70's. Wing failure. For some reason it turned out that the
builder substituted a slightly smaller rivet in his wings build.
His plane flew it for 10+ years before the fatal failure which killed him
and a 13 year old girl rider.
My conclusion is that flying a modified airplane for many years without a
failure is a foolhardy test of adequate engineering. But one is free to risk
HIS OWN life only. A correctly conceived engineering static test to an
appropriate load is the way to go, IMO.
Since the 70's, a number of Q wings have been tested successfully. I've
seen 2 failures on video but the test jigs were wrong. Consulting an
"experienced" aero engineer is a wise thing to do.
Modifications: if it ain't broke, don't fix it and don't lead other
builders down your garden path... do it quietly and without showing off your ego
until you sucessfully prove it out. And don't disregard the past.