Corvair College #14 Part 2
Saturday at 11 a.m. we all took a break from wrenching for some introductions. Here, I ensure that everyone knows their host Pramod. I met Pramod at one of my Oshkosh
forums six years ago. Of all the people we have met through our work with Corvairs, Pramod is among the most highly educated in the field of engineering and metallurgy.
Pramod is a modest gentleman, but truth be told, he is an international industrialist with strong contacts in his native India. Everyone got a chuckle from my story about
Pramod and I being accidentally dumped out of a tiny Gator dumptruck at Sun 'N Fun 2007. I had moments before told him that we were going to get the
VIP treatment, being chauffered to my forum.
Above, I introduce our host Ken Pavlou. Ken is building a 601 XL which is about 90% complete, and sports a running Corvair engine. In addition to an impressive job at the College, he has a long
list of accomplishments: emigrating from Greece at age 8, he has gone on to earn an electrical engineering degree, become a registered nurse and skilled pilot. Happily married
and the father of two, he's also the State Ballroom Dancing Champion of Connecticut (no kidding). Not bad for a guy who's barely 40.
Above, I introduce Rick Perrson. Rick is the third person of the Pramod-Ken-Rick trio of trouble. Their campsite at Oshkosh is the scene of a lot of breakfast,
lunch and after hours fun. Their latest adventure was a bonzai, multi-state tour to pick up the nine cores that Pramod had on hand for the College. When Ken related the story,
he started off by saying, "An Indian, a Greek and a Swede get in a minivan ... " A lot of people thought it was the beginning of a joke. Rick is a fourth generation
wooden boatbuilder, a trade noted for mind blowing levels of productivity and craftsmanship.
Above, I introduce the real William Wynne, my father. My Dad has attended a number of Corvair Colleges and enjoyed them all. His career in the mechanical
world spans being a Company Commander with ACB-ONE in Korea through Director of Advanced Technology for Raytheon. The single thread that ties all of my father's experience together
is an absolute allegiance to quality control. Seven and 1/2 years of my father's 33 year U.S. Navy career were spent working directly under Admiral Hyman Rickover, The Father
Of The Nuclear Navy. Rickover's career spanned the impossibly long 1918-1982. Widely misunderstood as an all-powerful tyrant who was apparently immortal, my father states that
Rickover is easily understood when viewed as the ultimate proponent of quality who was willing to accept nothing short of perfection to ensure the dominance of the U.S. Navy in
the Cold War.
Above, I take a moment to introduce the ever-friendly Joe Horton of Coopersburg, Penn. After Sun 'N Fun, we posted a large update on our Web site.
Joe wrote us a very thoughtful e-mail saying that the last four photos on the update and their descriptive paragraphs is the core of the Corvair movement as he sees it. I have long listened
to his counsel because he is truly a man In The Arena. His outgoing nature and his travels far and wide give him a valuable perspective on the movement. Many people new to Corvairs
have the false expectation that the engine is another consumer product. Joe is living proof that you will get the most out of the Corvair movement when you regard it as an opportunity
to learn, build and fly, in a movement which happens to have some very inexpensive hardware. His aviation focus on Self Reliance has a common thread that extends back through Lindbergh all the
way to the Wright brothers.
The record for the furthest distance traveled to CC #14 goes to Kurt Schweikhard of Germany. I met Kurt several years ago at Sun 'N Fun. Like Grace and I, he's building a
Wittman/Luce Buttercup. He has a long and interesting background in aviation. At Sun 'N Fun, he gave me a detailed comparison of manufacturing variations
in Merlin engines that he had learned during the restoration of WWII aircraft. An engineer by trade, he worked with Opel for many years. He has a very detailed and
precise knowledge of the history of engine manufacturing. He shared some of this while looking at an original set of blueprints for the Corvair engine. Over the years, we've had
a number of European guests at the Colleges, and it was nice to have Kurt continue this tradition.
Above, the normally modest Roy Szarafinski gets the full Captain Kirk treatment from me. It can be a tad embarrassing when I drag you up front to say nice things about you, but
it's all in good fun and gives builders some insight into the man known as "Brother Roy" to his friends. Roy has attended a long chain of Corvair events; he was our guest at
CC #12, #13, Sun 'N Fun, and now CC #14. Look for him at CC #15 and #16 later this year. In addition to sharing details of his fifth bearing design,
Roy has consistently helped with very accurate measurements on builders' cases and crankshafts.
Above, I present Roy with one of our "My Ex Wanted Me To Quit Flying" T-shirts. Look closely and you'll notice he's wearing a similar shirt he fashioned. Roy said it's a popular
sentiment at his home airport. Roy is working hard to finish off his pilot's license in anticipation of completing his Corvair powered 701 this year.
Above, ZenVair 601 XL builder Larry Webber of Rhode Island gets an introduction. I jokingly told everyone that Larry had a long personal struggle with shyness. To spend
20 seconds in his company is enough to know he never had a shy moment in his life. A guy with a ribald sense of humor, everyone who spent a bit of time with him later
realized he's a very nice guy underneath it all.
I introduce our attorney, the illustrious Jason Bogli, above. For the past several years he's been on our legal team. With other advisors, our primary challenge was
to efficiently explain the landscape of experimental aviation. With Jason, the reverse is true. A ZenVair builder himself, he knows the landscape very well and hits the
ground running on any issue. He attended the College with his lovely wife and three sons.
Above, Ben and Roger Pritchard take a bow for bringing their yellow bird to the College. The aircraft is truly complete, but they opted to bring the fuselage in on a trailer
to allow 601 builders to get a firsthand look at a complete installation. Builders just getting started often feel that those who have reached the finish line must have some
secret advantage. New guys generally think this advantage is a thick wallet, a lot of assistance or a giant shop full of tools. I assure new builders that none of these are a
guarantee of success because I've seen plenty of people with all of them fail. The secret weapon that Roger, Joe and all the people with complete airplanes have is persistence.
In the course of his project, Roger has experienced the ups and downs that modern life brings, yet because of his persistence, his airplane is now complete.
Mark Newton, above left, best known to Corvair builders as "Mark from Clark's," drove across the state to meet CC #14 participants. Through all the years of our work with Corvairs,
Clark's has been a consistent and stable provider of high quality parts. In December 2008, Mark gave me a very impressive guided tour of their facility in Shelburne Falls, Mass.
Mark has worked for Clark's for 25 years and knows the facility inside and out. Most impressive is Clark's long-term approach to Corvair products. They have quantities of materials and
tooling, indicating that they plan on being in the Corvair business for decades to come. Mark brought samples of Clark's most popular proucts for flight engine builders. He
also brought several cartons of catalogs, which he provided to each and every builder who did not yet have them.
Ken and I introduce Matt Wien, the first guy to register for CC #14, at center above. Ken let everyone know well in advance of the event of his efficient check-in system.
When he put the system in operation, he was stunned to see the first registration arrive 19 seconds later. We were all curious to meet the guy who was that punctual and
efficient. Matt turned out to be a great guy, got a lot done at the College, and was a good sport about being called "Mr. 19 Seconds" for half a day. We look forward to
hearing about his progress in the coming months.
I introduce Dave Mullins of Nashua, N.H., above. We first met Dave at the 1999 KR Gathering at Lake Barkley in Kentucky. Known as a KR builder, perhaps
Dave's most impressive talent is photography. He took many of the photos in this update. He
teaches photography at a college level, and brought an impressive portfolio of his work with him.
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