Corvair College #9
November 11-13, 2005
Corvair College #9 is now complete. It was a tremendous success by any measure. Consider the numbers: 86 builders
signed in from 20 different states, including Hawaii, and three foreign countries. Nine Corvair powered aircraft were
on hand, the greatest number in one spot in the 45 years of flying Corvairs. We had six engines run on the
dyno, and made serious progress on about 25 others. Builders went out of their way to tell us
how much they appreciated the efforts of the Hangar Gang. The feeling went both ways.
After the event, my crew universally agreed that the builders on hand had done their homework and those that flew in
had produced some really fine equipment. After years of working together, there was a lot of pride in the shop on
how our research, testing and work has come to fruition, expressed in the craftsmanship of our builders. The above
photo captures many of College #9's graduates. In the foreground of the photo are two KR-2Ss.
In the middle row are our 601, Steve Makish's KR-2, and Dan Weseman's Cleanex.
The back row has Chuck Ufkes' Dragonfly and Pat Green's Pietenpol.
The following photos were contributed by Grace Ellen, my father, Mark Langford, Glenda McElwee and Mike Whaley.
They do not appear in exact chronological order. Sitting here, the College comes back as a flood of memories and
thoughts, also not in any particular order. As you read through this, follow the narrative as if you were sitting
across the table from me, listening to the tales of Corvair College #9.
Above is a photo of the first hour of the first day. I walked builders through the process for engine
assembly outlined on our Web site. I introduced each member of the Hangar Gang, and took the time to orient new visitors
with the layout of the shop. These steps made the College more informative to first time visitors, who can occasionally
be overwhelmed by the beehive of activity.
After the brief introduction, work commenced immediately. Here, Kevin directs the assembly operations at the main
table. Visible in this photo are builders from points as distant as Canada (Lincoln Probst) and Hawaii (Dennis Hall).
Above is a shot of the Turbo Skycoupe with its new cowling. Of course the cowling is based on our
Corvair Nosebowl, backed up by a custom cowl made of .025" 6061 T-6. This is a light, efficient way to fabricate
cowls that look good and offer easy access for inspection and maintenance. The Skycoupe's cowl is the work of Steve Upson,
who also came up with most of the cowl for Dave The Bear's Wagabond.
This sunset shot of our 601 was taken by Mike Whaley. Gus flew 12 builders in the plane during the College. He politely
asked Florida builders to allow more distant guests to take flights, and we promised to fly the Florida guys at a later
date. Gus told me that our in-state friends understood entirely, and agreed with his plan. Click on the photo above to
see a movie Mike also shot.
A good shot of Dave's Wagabond outside. Here the Corvair cowl with custom sheet metal is adapted to this PA-22 based
airframe. Sharp eyes will see that Steve put a pseudo compound curvature in the lower corners. This is also a good photo
of how our Front Spinner Bulkhead mounts. This mates the Warp Drive prop to the Van's FP-13 spinner. The Wagabond's
details were featured in our October Web Site Updates. Builders who checked out Dave's
handiwork in person found the airplane very impressive.
Steve Glover in the white shirt and his father Paul listen while Mark Langford holds court beside his Super KR-2S.
When he landed at the College, he had more than 75 hours on his aircraft.
This was a historic connection because Mark Langford was a graduate of Corvair College #1. His flying return for #9
is something to be celebrated. I have one Golden Rule for homebuilding: Persistance Pays. The people who can sustain
productivity over a long period of time will be the ones who savor the rewards. The prop on Mark's plane is a Sensenich
54x54 which he picked up through us. Sensenich granted us OEM status as known engine builders. We supplied
three of the planes at the College with these highly efficient wood propellers. On the right side of the photo is
Ohio State University student Tim Hansen. You want to know what impresses the Hangar Gang? Tim took a Greyhound bus
26 hours to the College, was able to stay little more than a day, and then returned by bus in time for classes. Kevin
told me after the College that Tim had clearly done his homework, and asked some of the most well thought out questions
of the College. My experience tells me this level of commitment and prep work makes Tim a builder to watch in the next
phase of Corvair creations.
Steve Makish of Boca Raton, Fla., and I in front of his KR-2. Steve now has about 200 hours on Corvair power. Steve
recently removed his propeller extension, and switched to one of our new cowls. Steve grafted on an inlet duct to feed
ram air to his Ellison EFS-3A carburetor. Note the landing lights integrated into the cowl. Steve's cowl was the first
one we pulled out of the mold. It's made of heavy duty pre-preg. Steve put some graphics on it, but has not yet had a
chance to paint it. Steve reported the airplane was 3-4 mph faster than it was with the old cowl.
Above, I stand with Pat Green of Jacksonville, Fla. Pat started his plane in 1967, and first flew it in 1977. Since then
he's logged about a thousand hours in it. Again, the Golden Rule in action. In my hand I'm holding a photo of Pat and I
standing in exactly the same positions in my old hangar eight years earlier. We had a laugh, because I pointed out Pat
was wearing the same hat, and he commented that it looked like I was wearing the same shirt. Pat is good company, and
a sharp observer of human behavior. When he talks, I listen because he's a man of many experiences in life. Among them is
having known Bernie Pietenpol personally.
In the center of the above photo, wearing a blue shirt with white collar, stands Chuck Ufkes of Ocala, Fla. Chuck's
Corvair Dragonfly had the sharpest appearance of any airplane on hand. Chuck flew in on Saturday, and spent the day
sharing his creation with many interested builders. While many people from the Dragonfly community wanted to be the
first person to fly the Corvair/Dragonfly combination, in the end the honor went to Chuck, who's been flying about a
year. Chuck is a highly experienced Dragonfly pilot and a builder of composite airplanes with few peers. His highly
motivated get-it-done nature and his previous experience with the Dragonfly in combination with his close proximity
to our shop put him in the air first. With Les Laidlaw's Corvair Dragonfly now airborne also, builders are eager to see
who will be the next pilot to take their work airborne.
Chuck's Dragonfly is not the lightest one, but it does have all the whistles, bells and creature comforts.
I stopped Chuck to take this photo just before he headed home. The photo does not do justice to the finish on the
Mike Whaley took this shot of Chuck on his way out.
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