Scoob E Doobie D Doge on his First Light Plane Flight. Although he's a seasoned pro at airline travel, Super Bowl Sunday was Scoob E's first time aloft in Grace's
Taylorcraft. He liked it more than a car ride, as he only took a short nap during the flight.
Corvair Colleges #13, 14, 15 & 16
2009 Production Engines
Blast From The Past
Zenith 750/Corvair Development
We are just a month into the New Year, and the Corvair movement is already in high gear. Corvair College #13 is in the record books. Rick Lindstrom and
his crew at FLAG in Livermore, Calif., hosted the most upscale Corvair College we've had to date. Here are a few photos from the event. I was planning on taking a lot more,
but the fun and productivity of the event was continious, and when it was over, I found I had spent all of the time in the moment rather than documenting much of it. There are
Many more photos from #13 at the Flag website, and we welcome ones from builders who were there.
The above photo shows most of the group at noon on Saturday. It was taken from the upper deck at FLAG. The deck includes the offices, dining area, pool table and the
area where Rick's Rock and Blues band set up in the evenings. FLAG sets new standards in the definition of a builder's paradise.
Pat Panzera, above left, with his Corvair engine. On the right is Mike Studer holding his copy of one of our earlier Conversion Manuals,
which featured Pat's engine on the cover.
The event was well attended by builders from across the country. They drove in from as far away as Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. Others flew in commercial from
Atlanta and Boston. Aviation media attention also abounded. Marc Cook, Kit Planes editor, flew in to meet builders and get the story for an upcoming issue.
Pat Panzera, editor and publisher of Contact! magazine, and editor of the EAA's Experimenter online magazine, also came to cover the event and display
his own Corvair engine. Pat hosted Corvair College #5 in California, almost exactly five years earlier. This gave him the perspective to
comment on the growth of the Corvair movement. A good indication of the supporting network of friendships inside the Corvair movement was the fact that several
people on hand who are now friends met for the first time at CC#5. In this aspect, CC#13 was the same kind of success. There were plenty of new people and old friends.
By the end of the event, the most common subject was when we could have the next West Coast event.
Host Rick Lindstrom uses his forklift to deliver some of the cornucopia of food he brought in for the event. As with all previous Colleges, the event was free. Rick
had the entire event catered for a modest meal charge that everyone was willing to jump on. It worked out great because we not only ate like pigs, but everybody stayed
at the shop instead of running out for a bite to eat and missing any of the action. This worked so well it will likely be a hallmark of future Corvair Colleges.
Rick's large, modern, two-story facility is exclusively devoted to aviation. It has four bays available to kit builders, as well as a large, well-equipped workshop.
It also sports a pilot shop, lounge, locker room and dining area. The location also supports Rick's aviation media business and his aircraft rental operation.
There are a lot more CC#13 photos on the FLAG Web site at http://web.mac.com/flaglvk/iWeb/FLAG/CC13.html
Mike Studer with his Cassut, which he trucked in and test ran outside to everybody's delight. Even on a mild Corvair, this aircraft is easily capable of exceeding
At left in the above photo, Roy Szarafinski of RoysGarage.com, who came out to assist with the very nice 3,100cc engine, center, of Gary Briggs, right. The engine features
one of Roy's bearings, a set of Falcon heads, and all of our Gold System parts. The engine is destined for service in Gary's 601 XL.
The success of Corvair College #13 is a continuation of the great times and learning that came with the previous events. As you look at the photos on Rick's
Web page, as well as photos of previous Colleges on our Web pages, make the determination that 2009 is your year, and that you will take
positive actions to get what you want out of it. A Corvair College is a great place to share this mindset with other builders who think the same way. My events
are open to anyone who likes Corvairs, has a positive attitude and is working for their personal flying goals. There is room for almost everybody. Make plans to
attend one of the upcoming Colleges, and enjoy a weekend in the company of people who completely understand your need to create an airplane with your own hands
and fly it.
Corvair Colleges 14, 15 and 16
Builders frequently ask us to outline our Corvair College plans so they can get a framework together for their year's progress. Here's a look ahead to the
Colleges we have planned for 2009:
CORVAIR COLLEGE #14: We're working with Pramod from Nitron Inc. to hold Corvair College #14 at his location in Lowell, Mass., in late Spring. We'd originally
planned for March, but we have a number of people bringing running engines to the event, and scheduling it for later in the Spring will make the outdoor portion of the
event much more enjoyable. We'll have more details as soon as we settle on a date and firm up the plans. Nitron is in a large industrial building, and has plenty
of space, tooling and facility for a first class event. ZenVair 601 builder Ken Pavlou will be acting as Pramod's aide de camp. We've already heard from a number of
New England builders who are looking forward to attending this event.
CORVAIR COLLEGE #15: CC#15 will be held at Falcon Automotive, just south of Madison, Wisc., Sunday-Monday, July 26-27, 2009, preceding and overlapping AirVenture Oshkosh
July 27-August 2, 2009. The Pietenpol Gathering at Brodhead, Wisc., is in the days prior to this College. Mark's place is halfway between Brodhead and Oshkosh, and
a natural stop between the two. Last year, we held a highly successful Open House at Mark's place at the same spot on the calendar. This
year we're ratcheting it up to a full College. The majority of the action will take place on Sunday, but Mark plans on keeping the College going on Monday so builders
can get the most out of the event. I generally have Monday forum commitments that may draw me to Oshkosh, but this will not impact the quality of the College because
we'll have plenty of highly experienced Corvair builders and College graduates on hand to share what they've learned at previous events.
CORVAIR COLLEGE #16: #16 will be during Veteran's Day weekend at Ed and Val Fisher's place in Gilbert, S.C. This is the same location and time as the
super successful Corvair College #12 that Ed and Val hosted. Ask anyone who was at CC#12, and they will tell you they are headed back for #16. Located
directly on the airport, it is easy to give builders direct exposure to flying Corvair powered planes in a productive setting. Even if you have seen a plane like Mark Langford's
KR-2S at Oshkosh or SNF, it is entirely different to be able to look it over closely, ask him any question, see it run and fly, and turn around and do work on your own engine,
working toward the day you will fly the same engine back to Ed and Val's.
We will have more information on our Web site as it develops, but this outline for coming events will give builders a chance to map out their strategy of success for
this year. Aviation businesses that are based on selling expensive consumer goods are likely to find hard times in 2009. Conversely, we have built the Corvair
movement on the original EAA motto of "Learn, Build and Fly." The Colleges we have scheduled for the year reflect our commitment to this creed. While anyone
who is experiencing economic challenges has our empathy, builders should be aware that aviation companies formed in the past two or three years, motivated by money,
primarily aimed at a clientele of fairweather friends of aviation, are in hot water. If you hear of Eclipse, Liberty and importers of expensive LSAs tanking, it should come
as little surprise, and not be taken as a bellweather for homebuilding. Homebuilders' dreams of building and flying remain steadfast in easy and tough times. The longstanding
companies that have served them will remain.
2009 Production Engines
In our December 2008 Update, we were test running Anthony Hanson's engine, perhaps the last Corvair engine completed in 2008. Here's a
photo of it on our dynomometer an hour before it ran. The engine features a Dan Weseman fifth bearing, Falcon heads and
all of our Gold System parts. This engine is the evolution of our years of research, flight testing and relentless development.
If you're a homebuilder, it's an excellent engine to build a clone of for yourself. If you'd like to purchase a completed one from us, please check
this link to our Complete Engines Page.
Many people saw Zenith's new 750 in person at its debut at Oshkosh 2008. As invited guests in the Zenith booth for the past 5 years, we had a firsthand look
at the kind of excitement a new airplane like this generates. It is a 2-seat aircraft, splitting the difference in size between the 701 and 801. Although most
people wouldn't notice it at first glance, the aircraft has about 95% parts commonality ahead of the firewall with the 601/650 designs.
Although the design is thought of as new, it has been in the works and being refined for many years. We were quietly shown the prototype fuselage in 2005. While the
kit is clearly an aerodynamic evolution of earlier Heintz designs, it contains the trump card of rapid manufacturing in sheetmetal, matched hole tooling. And as other
Zenith designs are clearly among the fastest-to-build kit planes, CNC manufacture and matched hole tooling is an astounding leap forward, a particular advantage
to first time builders. It essentially eliminates layout work and jigging. Compared to a 701, a 750 could potentially be built in half the amount of time.
January saw the 750 as the cover story of Kit Planes magazine. We received dozens of e-mails from Corvair builders wanting to know about the combination.
While I can tell you that it is a good match based on how well the factory prototype flys with its Continental O-200, I can now report that there will be a flying
Corvair testbed in the coming months. Gus Warren of FlyWithGus.com received the first 750 kit from Zenith. This is now under construction in his hangar in
Edgewater, Fla. Gus' previous experience building Zenith 601, 650 and 701 airframes is allowing great progress to be made. Gus and I are working out an arrangement
for his 750 to be powered by one of our Engine Packages. The goal is to have this done and tested very rapidly, before Sun 'N Fun this year,
April 21-26, 2009.
As most Corvair builders know, Gus was an original member of Our Hangar Gang, the highest time Zenith/Corvair pilot in
the world, and the only person to fly a Zenith 601, 650 and 701
on Corvair power. This experience, plus our engine background, will be required to prove out this installation combination. While I don't expect too much of a challenge,
we will be adhering to our fundamental policy of never selling anything we have not flown. Once it is tested, the high parts commonality to our existing production
601 installation components translates to rapid availability. In the coming weeks, we'll have updates on our Web site about our work to develop the combination.
It was slightly humorous to me that as soon as the Kit Planes magazine hit mailboxes and newstands, half a dozen Web sites appeared offering firewall
forward engine packages for the aircraft. Obviously, none of these companies had flight tested the combination, nor even as much as had a kit or any contact with the factory.
While we all understand why somebody motivated by money would try such a tactic, here's a simple story from my personal experience to illustrate why it's a bad idea:
When we developed the 701/Corvair combination, it had its share of teething troubles despite using all our knowledge, experience and components that had been proven
on other designs. It initially refused to cool itself at certain angles of attack, until we installed a tiny set of exit baffles on the upper corners of the cowl.
The need for these was revealed after extensive flight testing with tufts by Gus. We were willing to put in the long hours and tirelessly re-examine the installation
until it was right. Had we never flight tested it, we would have used our first customer as a guinea pig in a very serious experiment. Any company offering untested
engines with no plans to own and develop the prototype of their combination is demonstrating no regard for their customers' safety and no understanding of
the level of experience and education that we can bring to this project.
Seen At The Airport
I stopped by Dan Weseman's Fly5thBearing.com hangar when two old friends, Corvair/KR pilots Bob Lester and Steve Makish, had flown in from South Florida to assemble one of Dan's
bearings on Steve's case. Steve is at right and Dan at left, above. Steve is one of the most prolific testers of innovations in the Corvair world. He was the first pilot ever to fly a
3,100, and he went on to test lots of carburetors and propellers to provide impartial data. During my investigation of crankshaft issues that led to nitriding,
Steve allowed me to take apart his perfectly good engine to magnaflux the crankshaft to confirm the theory that nitriding was a great improvement over previous
crank preparation. While he does test innovations, Steve also has a very practical side. Dan's bearing is now flying on a number of aircraft, and Steve chose to
use one on his engine from here forward. The crankshaft in this engine is one of Brady McCormick's billet prototypes. Steve will commence flight testing on this particular
combination shortly. Even though he has more than 1,000 hours time in type, several hundred hours of Corvair experience and a very cool demeanor under pressure,
Steve is very cautious when testing new parts.
Bob and Steve flew up in Bob's 1947 Stinson 108. Bob popped the cowl to show me the 165 hp Franklin powering it. People who know aircraft engines most frequently
compare the Corvair to the certified Franklins. Take a good look at this engine installation, fully certified and flight proven through six decades. The installation
bears a striking resemblence to the way we teach people to install Corvairs in their aircraft. The bed style motor mount is made of
all straight tubing, and has bushings in the same location as the Corvair. The baffling setup is just like the Baffle
Kits we sell, which use the entire area above the engine as a plenum to evenly feed high pressure, low velocity air through the cooling fins. Setups like these
are also maintenance friendly, allowing for easy inspection and sparkplug replacement. The intake and exhaust system is very similar in fuction to the
Intake and Exhaust Systems
we use on Corvairs. While people often wonder about the length of the intake track on the Corvair, this Franklin has about the equivalent distance involved, and is
fed by an MA4-SPA, the big brother to the MA3 we use.
Blast From The Past
We have a special collection of photos of friends wearing Corvair t-shirts all around the World. This one from 2005 is of our friend Jeff Widman in Central America.
Jeff is a character of many facets, a free spirit who has traveled much of the world. He has more than 10,000 hours of cropdusting on several continents. He's widely
known as an exceptionally good stick and rudder flight instructor. In his U.S. Navy career, he was a carrier pilot flying the fearsome A-5 Vigilante. He's a very
easygoing guy, a demeanor he credits to 25 years as a martial arts student. In 2004, he did some flying for us in our 601 XL, N1777W. just before his scheduled
South American trip. Grace and I thanked him, and compensated him for his time. A few weeks later we got a letter from Steve saying he'd given the money away to
local children's charities. Wherever he is in the World today, we're sure he's making the most of the day and having a great time.
On The Horizon
Grace shot this air to air photo of Dan Weseman in his Wicked Cleanex from her Taylorcraft.
Sunset over North Florida sinking below the Taylorcraft's wing, above.
2009 will bring economic challenges to many Americans. While it's a serious national situation,
the very nature of aviators as positive, self-reliant people make them less susceptible to the negativity disseminated by many media outlets that are predisposed to view
people as victims rather than individuals in charge of their own lives. At the very center of aviation are homebuilders. Taking any step of action, even a small one,
toward achieving your goals and dreams in aviation sets you apart. Most people take several years to complete their homebuilt. I myself had several false starts
before falling in with a group of people who were relentlessly driven to practical and obtainable success in homebuilding. Some are gone, but I carry the message they
all shared with me.
If anything, the economic turmoil of 2009 should cause Americans to pause and carefully examine which elements of their lives they've spent their time and
treasure on, and which of these were rewarding. Homebuilding and flying for me stands up by any measure. It is fun, but also a serious arena of learning, craftsmanship and
discipline, all made better by the camaraderie of others who share the same passion.
Now At The Hangar
June 2011 At The Hangar
May 2011 At The Hangar
April 2011 At The Hangar
March 2011 At The Hangar
January 2011 At The Hangar
December 2010 At The Hangar
November 2010 At The Hangar
October 2010 At The Hangar
August 2010 At The Hangar
July 2010 At The Hangar
May 2010 At The Hangar
April 2010 At The Hangar
January 2010 At The Hangar
December 2009 At The Hangar
November 2009 At The Hangar
October 2009 At The Hangar
September 2009 At The Hangar
August 2009 At The Hangar
July 2009 At The Hangar
June 2009 At The Hangar
May 2009 At The Hangar
April 2009 At The Hangar
March 2009 At The Hangar
December 2008 At The Hangar
October 2008 At The Hangar
September 2008 At The Hangar
August 2008 At The Hangar
July 2008 At The Hangar
June 2008 At The Hangar
May 2008 At The Hangar
April 2008 At The Hangar
March 2008 At The Hangar
February 2008 At The Hangar
January 2008 At The Hangar
Christmas 2007 At The Hangar
November 2007 At The Hangar
October 2007 At The Hangar
September 2007 At The Hangar
August 2007 At The Hangar
July 2007 At The Hangar
June 2007 At The Hangar
April 2007 At The Hangar
March 2007 At The Hangar
February 2007 At The Hangar
January 2007 At The Hangar
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