First Update of 2007
It's a new year, and things are off to a great start. A lot of exciting developments happened in 2006, but there's a lot of
reasons to believe 2007 will be even better. This is the first of many updates this year, and as a builder at home reading this,
you should set your mind to making 2007 your year in Corvair power. The great accessibility of Corvairs means that your photo with
your running engine, flying plane or smiling face at a College can appear on these pages. The Corvair movement is all about people
and their planes, not products. Make 2007 your year in the arena.
Two Cleanexes In Flight
In close above is Dan Weseman's Wicked Cleanex. Off his wing, Chris Smith flys the Son Of Cleanex. The photo was taken over a
bend in the St. Johns River in North Florida. I've spoken with Chris many times since the first flight, and Chris is very happy
with both airframe and engine. My Golden Rule of Homebuilding is Persistance Pays. Chris doggedly pursued the completion of his
aircraft. After the first flight, he wrote a very nice thank you note to those who assisted him which included a very moving tribute
to his late father, who started him in aviation. It was the most moving thing I read in aviation in 2006.
Above is a shot of Rick Lindstrom's 601XL with its complete paintjob outside our hangar. The prop is a Sensenich 64x41. This prop
will produce extremely sharp climb performance, and may yield the top speed available from a wooden prop on a 2,700cc 601XL.
More flight numbers as the test time is flown off.
Rick works on an antenna installation on his aircraft. He's currently here in Florida for the flight tests. This is his fifth or
sixth long visit. Again, persistance paid for Rick seeing through completion of his aircraft in 2006. The series on building his
airplane will appear shortly in Kit Planes.
Here's another photo of Rick's N42KP in our hangar. On the far side is a Rotax powered Rans S-6 that belongs to our friend Scott.
The aircraft is being temporarily stored in our hangar while we look at the possibility of a Corvair installation for it. The S-6
is a cleverly designed, very popular aircraft. Rough measurements indicate that it could be Corvair powered. But this potential
project is a long way off. We have a lot on our plate right now, and would not seriously consider looking into the installation
Above is the ignition wiring diagram for a 601XL. This was drawn by Gus. It will be included, along with a lot of explanatory
details, in our long awaited Installation Manual. In addition to being a very sharp pilot, Gus is a very good graphic artist.
He's done all our logos, and many of the paint jobs in our shop. His wiring diagram clearly has an artistic side that makes it
far easier for amateur builders to see. He's currently putting the finishing touches on the charging system diagram. We're working
very hard to get the finishing editing done on the Manual. It's currently over 100 pages long. Although it is very specific to
601s, a lot of the data will carry over to other aircraft. For example, the above drawing would work perfectly well for a
KR-2 without a header tank.
A tremendous amount of thought and consideration go into the details of how we do everything, including
the wiring. Occasionally we get someone who's never built an airplane who wants to tell us that we wired it all wrong, and
he's got the perfect diagram. Those interested in such a debate be forewarned that we don't engage in such debates. It takes Gus
about 10 seconds to spot the fatal flaw in amateur wiring layouts. We also have in the works wiring diagrams for gravity feed aircraft.
My work in 2007 belongs to the builders who want to work and make progress. The debate club can continue to do what they
accomplished in 2006 ... nothing.
Above, Kevin clowns around with Corvair builder Gordon Alexander. Gordon's holding up the newspaper and making a joke about
proof of life and kidnapping. Gordon is a Corvair builder from Minnesota whom we've known for many years. To escape winter's
wrath, he's come down to our hangar to work on his airplane and has graciously volunteered to handle telephone communications as well.
In the first half of 2006, this job was covered by Merrill Isaacson, our video guy. After Oshkosh, Merrill returned to work in
the broadcast industry. If the hangar line, (386) 478-0396, is busy, it means we're speaking with someone, as I do not believe in
call waiting. The answering machine can hold about 30 messages. Before Gordon arrived, if I was in the middle of welding, I'd let
the machine get the call. This worked fairly well with the occasional exception of a builder who called and hung up on the
machine as many as 15 times in a day. I spoke with the particular builder from Kentucky about this, and feel that with Gordon
on hand, we'll have much smoother calls and no one need engage in rude behavior that blocks others from leaving a message on the machine.
Everyone should keep in mind that Gordon's a volunteer who just walked in the door. Patience and politeness should rule the day.
To streamline orders through the mail, all shipments can be sent directly to our office address instead of the P.O. Box or hangar:
5000-18 HWY 17 #247
Orange Park, FL 32003
I've had the same P.O. Box for 15 years, and it's still valid, but it's much faster to ship letters and packages to the office
address. Additionally, UPS, FedEx, etc. should be mailed directly there. The hangar address has previously been a problem because the
Post Office doesn't deliver inside the fence at our airport. Directly mailing to the office fixes all these issues.
We've had from very strong Manual sales lately, and Grace is in the middle of printing a fresh batch. If you've just ordered one,
we thank you for your patience on this.
Above is a photo of Gordon's airplane. It's a Pegzair. The design was introduced a dozen years ago from Canada. Although it's often
said that it was an offshoot from a 701, having both of them 10 feet apart in the hangar says they might have only been common
in concept, as I can't see a single part they share in common. Gordon has a 3,100 engine ready for it. Although they're not in
the photo, all the flying surfaces are complete and painted. This plane could easily be complete in 60 days. The Pegzair is a
plans built design, elegant, but perhaps not simple. Only a handful have been completed. We're looking forward to adding Gordon's
bird to the completed list shortly.
Above is our friend, aircraft designer Ed Fisher. Last year, Ed moved his shop from Ohio to a large, first class facility in
Sebring, Fla. Ed's design and restoration business is RaceAir, and his phone number is (863) 655-0361. I visited Ed after Christmas and again at the LSA
Expo. Ed's shop always contains a lot of interesting stuff.
Above is a famous Cassutt that Ed just picked up for himself. "Mother Holiday" was built and raced by pilot Nick Jones.
A Cassutt is an extremely strong midwing racer, and Ed is planning on installing a Corvair in this one. With an O-200, Mother Holiday
sustained speeds well in excess of 230mph. Perhaps we'll see what it will do on Corvair power by the end of the year.
My '66 140hp Corsa in the foreground above, with Kevin's '65 180hp Turbo Corsa. The vast majority of Corvair car collectors
recognize that the huge numbers of engines built every year by airplane builders keep engine parts like pistons and bearings
in continuous production for the Corvair. Very rarely, an emotional car collector objects to the engine being used in planes.
To these people, I'd point out that we also encourage builders to drive Corvairs as we do ourselves. I bought my car as an
unrestored mess in Tulsa eight years ago. The owner, who claimed to love Corvairs, said that he was going to get around to
restoring it. It had been sitting in the same spot 20 years. Kevin's car was a similar story and had been sitting since the
1980s. Clearly we're putting engines that would otherwise rot back into use both on the ground and in the air.
Above, a photo taken Christmas week of our 701 project. Look for it flying at Sun 'N Fun.
A builder wrote us who had just "discovered" a company called LN Engineering making aluminum Corvair cylinders for the
princely sum of $3,000 a set. I checked out LN's Web site to see if anything was new. These were the same people who years ago
told impossible stories that you could save 30 pounds on a Corvair by using aluminum cylinders. Notably, their Web site still
does not contain a single photo of a Corvair cylinder or Corvair engine, nor results from ground or flight testing. There's
plenty of information on pricing and where to mail your check.
Here's news for the guys at LN: Three companies right now are developing aluminum cylinders which can be used on Corvairs.
Scott Cassler made a set and sent them to our friend John Bolding for testing. When ready, they'll be 60% of LN's price. Steve
Bennett from Great Plains told me they developed a set for VWs which could be machined to fit a Corvair much the same way
that a 3,100 uses a 94mm VW cylinder. I'm looking forward to seeing these in person at Sun 'N Fun. They'll cost far less than
half of LN's price, and will include pistons and rings. They'll have to be machined, but it sounds like a good starting point.
A third source is very close to having a set of prototypes with thin wall, ductile iron liners. These are projected to be
50% of LN's price.
Aluminum cylinders require testing. The two main concerns are finding a ring package that will not destroy the bore and
dealing with the expansion of the aluminum cylinders, which has the very real possibility of pulling the studs out of the
case or imprinting the head gasket area. Unbelievably, last week I received an angry e-mail from a guy in Australia who told
me I was an unethical person because I insisted that people who market products for experimental aircraft test them first.
He condoned selling untested products as ethical and called criticizing such action uncalled for. We have a lot of friends in
Australia, so I wrote him off as an exception.
Actual flight testing in 2007 will probably reveal a workable combination for the Corvair.
Blast From The Past
We received a nice letter last week from Brent Taylor, executive director of the Antique Airplane Association Museum in Iowa.
Gus, Grace and I had stopped at the museum on a frozen day during our Midwest '05 Tour. Brent had
seen reference to the McLaughlin "Sky Buggy" on FlyCorvair.com and dug up some old photos from when it attended a museum
fly in 30 years ago. McLaughlin was an intensely clever guy. He made his own reverse rotation components for the engine, and
of course designed a very smart looking airplane, above. Today he's gone, but I've heard his plane lives on, flying in Canada.
This picture is timeless testament to two inescapable truths of homebuilding:
1. Your plane, when completed and safely flying, will be one of the great achievements of your life. Your creation will
have the power to inspire people decades later.
2. We all only have a limited time to achieve and enjoy this.
Savor the picture and then go out to your shop and get to work on your own piece of history.
Now At The Hangar
June 2011 At The Hangar
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Christmas 2007 At The Hangar
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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 1
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 2
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 3
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 4
November 2006 At The Hangar
October 2006 At The Hangar
September 2006 At The Hangar
August 2006 At The Hangar
July 2006 At The Hangar
June 2006 At The Hangar
May 2006 At The Hangar
At The Hangar In April 2006
At The Hangar In March 2006
At The Hangar In February 2006
At The Hangar In January 2006
At The Hangar In December 2005
At The Hangar In November 2005
At The Hangar In October 2005
At The Hangar In September 2005
At The Hangar In July 2005
OSH, Illinois and SAA June 13, 2005
At The Hangar June 13, 2005 Part II
At The Hangar In May 2005
At The Hangar In April 2005