Corvair Outlook 2011
I started typing this update on January 20th. On that date exactly 50 years ago, JFK gave his inauguration speech including the famous words: "Ask not what your
country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." It is a very stirring speech, yet most people have never seen it
in its entirety. It is well worth taking the time to watch it on the Internet. A majority of Americans, myself included, were not yet born 50 years ago.
However, most of the people in experimental aviation are old enough to remember that day.
Today, people are bombarded with messages at a rate that was inconceivable 50 years ago. The predictable effect is that none of it sticks,
none of it moves anybody, and a few kernels of wheat are most often buried in a mountain of chaff. If you're young, it is very difficult to imagine
how powerful JFK's speech was as a motivator to his "New Generation of Americans."
On January 18th, 2011, Sgt. Shriver, JFK's brother-in-law and the first head of the Peace Corps, passed away at age 95. He spoke countless times about
how JFK's inaugural speech was a summons to action for the Peace Corps volunteers. Opinions differ on the net effect of the 1960s on American culture. But
on this day, it is well worth remembering that the era started with great ambition on a very high note. What words on a page could I write that would similarly charge you to take the reigns of your own aviation goals this year? While JFK's message was a
challenge to young Americans to take their place in the world, homebuilding is conversely a challenge to yourself, to essentially take your place as the cognizant
commander of your path, an opportunity to measure your own worth and potential where the rewards are very real because the subject is serious, and the tasks are
intolerant of lackadaisical attitudes of dilettantes and posers.
There are roughly 335 days left in this year. What you will accomplish in aviation this year is still an open question. Most people who are yet to start a project
incorrectly believe that external circumstances dictate the odds of success. Let us squarely address the largest external factor; the vast majority
of Americans traditionally involved in homebuilding have earned between $25,000 and $65,000 a year. The educational background and the ambitious nature of these
homebuilders have previously insulated them from the ups and downs of the economy. However, our same group, due to loss of manufacturing jobs and outsourcing, has felt
the real bite of this recession. A lot of magazines in our industry are afraid to say this, but it is reality. The acknowledgement of it will not deter a real
homebuilder. It may alter his plans, change his timelines or readjust his goals, but if it makes a builder quit experimental aviation outright, perhaps homebuilding
was not one of their more closely held dreams.
The real factor that counts in homebuilding success is internal, not external. Simply put, do you believe you can? Are you interested in a real challenge or is drifting through
acceptable? Once started, will you find the task of creating things with you own hands rewarding enough to keep you going all the way? These are the only things that
matter. External factors, no matter how strong they seem, are not the major determinant. The largest
single factor is your determination that this will be your year and your will to carry it through. Tacked up on the fridge in our house is the simple phrase
"Do not be optimistic nor pessimistic; be determined." In the Corvair movement, your planning, determination and will put you in the company of some
first class characters. You deserve to take your place among them.
Think about this: A guy can be from your hometown, be the same age as you, have the same number of kids, live in the same kind of house, etc., but just
because you bought the same kind of car he bought, no matter how unique or sporty, in reality, you have nothing of substance in common with this person,
you're merely two car consumers. You both might be great guys in your own right, but merely owning a product in common, no matter what advertising agencies
want you to believe, doesn't give you a real connection, or any common understanding. Conversely, if you choose to build and work to create something as unique as a homebuilt
aircraft, the story is totally different. A person of a different generation living in a different place and perhaps even speaking a different language
who also chose to build an aircraft overcame the same self doubts and pessimism of people in his day-to-day life, learned the same skills and met
the same challenges, and is certainly a brother of yours. The external differences in your lives of circumstance and place, things that were not
your choice, are not what define you. Your desire to build and your determination to see it through speak volumes on your character that situation,
circumstance and consumerism will never reveal.
If the economics of the past two years gave you pause, made you stop and look at the choices we all make in life and truly examine the alleged rewards of
typical consumer goods vs. real challenges and adventures in life like homebuilding, then some good came of it. Anyone reading this can decide today that this will
be their year in aviation, the year that was the turning point, from which they made real and steady progress. Likewise, everyone reading this is fully capable of
spending the next decade in front of a TV or computer screen, entertaining themselves. I don't judge people by their choice. I have more friends in the latter category
than the former. My sole point is that I know for myself, happiness lies in the hours spent in the shop, not in the living room. I am here to work with anyone who
feels the same way.
I don't like to dwell on it, but I'm middle aged now (much, much, much older than Grace), and I've lived long enough to look back with some perspective on
choices I've made. Buying something has never made me happy like creating things does. Nothing I started that had a certain positive outcome felt
rewarding when I got to the end. Only challenges ambitious enough to contain the possibility of failing resulted in feelings of victory and
accomplishment at their successful conclusion. This isn't particularly insightful; we all know this at some fundamental level. Reading this drags the thought
out front and center. Will you define your challenge and make your plan tonight, or will you have another year drift by?
This month brings the Superbowl. I was born in Pittsburgh, and have been a fan back to the Mean Joe Green era. I am sure Grace and I will watch the game somewhere
in the company of both aviation and non-aviation friends. After the game is over, I may not watch another game for a year or two. This doesn't make me a better
person than my friends who will spend countless hours on the couch holding a remote. It just makes me different. At the end of each day, I would just prefer to be one
day closer to flying something I built with my own hands. There is nothing wrong with spending your hours in either method. The only tragedy would be knowing that you are
a builder, but you didn't take your shot, for reasons that will seem small and petty when the possibility is finally gone.
Sun 'N Fun, Oshkosh, Corvair Colleges 2011
We are 50 days away from appearing at Sun 'N Fun at Lakeland (Fla.) Linder Regional Airport. This will be my 23rd consecutive year there. We have rented BOOTH NE-4 in the
outdoor commercial area strategically located between Zenith and the Beer Garden. We'll post an exact map shortly. I will be giving the Corvair engine forums in the
Contact! Magazine Forum Tent for the 15th consecutive year. Mark Petz and Brother Roy are traveling down to be our guests in the booth. We will be there all week.
Please note that Sun 'N Fun starts two weeks early this year, on March 29, and runs through April 3, 2011.
As usual, we also will have a booth in the North Display Area at AirVenture Oshkosh July 25-31, 2011. You can visit our Web site and read the Oshkosh Updates
to get a good idea of what we will be up to, and who the cast of characters will be.
Corvair Colleges #20 and #21: At this point we have plans for two Corvair Colleges. We are looking into having one at Roy's Garage in Michigan in late Spring or early
Summer 2011. We also have firm plans to return to Barnwell, S.C., in November 2011. Colleges take a lot of planning and effort to pull off. In 2010,
we had three great Colleges. All total, I spent 90 days on the road last year. In 2011, I'm putting forth a serious effort to get the same amount of road work and in person
contact with builders, but packed into 60 days. The traveling saved is aimed at getting more parts on the shelf.
Mark Langford At 1,000 Hours
We have known Mark Langford since 1999. Although we're friends, a few months at a time will pass in between long phone calls
or quick visits. We had a chance to get caught up on the phone in a late night call last week. In conversation, he told me that his airplane was sitting in his hangar
with 996 hours on it. If you're new to homebuilding, you may not recognize that less than 15% of homebuilts are completed, and fewer than 10% of those completed
reach 1,000 hours. No other Corvair pilot has accumulated this amount of time this quickly. If Mark's average speed was 160 mph, he's flown two thirds the distance
to the Moon. While Mark acknowledged it's something he's proud of, here's an insight into his character: He wanted to spend most of the conversation on the subject
of providing clearer guidance to people who are just entering the Corvair movement. He had some really good ideas on Web site updates, and the presentation of pathways
to success. This is another example of how he has consistently worked to share what he has learned with builders who are just learning things that he navigated years before.
This is why he was selected as the Inaugural Winner of the Cherry Grove Trophy.
Mark Langford and Grace in front of his aircraft. We had just put the decals on the front sides of the fuselage.
On the spur of the moment, Mark decided to fly the 450 miles down to our place after leaving work on Friday, spend the night, and cross the 1,000 hour point on the flight home Saturday.
His trip down was a casual non-stop flight, arriving 30 minutes before dark. Mark, Grace and I went out to dinner in our little town and spent the evening talking. 11 years
ago, Mark drove down to Corvair College #1. He is a lifelong German sports car lover, and something of a serious driver. His record drive time in a marathon all night run
back to the Huntsville area was 10.5 hours behind the wheel (it is a lot more miles by land than air). This contrast illustrates why Mark refers to his plane
as his "time machine." It can place him in a completely different part of the country in a few hours and 12 gallons of fuel. If it meant 21 hours of driving in a weekend, few people would
make a plan to travel to see friends. Creating a solid, efficient plane, and making a lot of friends along the way, completely transforms the amount of things you can do in
the 52 weekends of a year. A lot of people in the personal network age sent messages back and forth on Facebook last weekend. It might be nice, but it will never compare to
greeting Mark as he landed and then heading off to a little Italian restaurant for food and conversation. This type of in person access to different settings and dispersed friends
was once reserved for our country's idle rich and the wealthy retired. A light, efficient plane changes the game for a family guy who has a Monday through Friday working life
and the normal constraints on his time. Mark has subtly pointed this out on his Web site many times, but the point bears repeating directly.
When Mark headed out, I got in the back seat of our friend Dave Dollarhide's RV-4 and snapped a few photos and a few minutes of video.
Above, Mark is climbing out over
North Florida. The St. Johns River is in the background. About 30 minutes after this, Mark crossed the 1,000 hour point. The fact that he experienced this milestone
alone is symbolic of homebuilding: It is largely a personal path where you have an unmatched opportunity to develop your own self reliance. While I have set up the Corvair
movement with a support structure and a social side, builders come to learn that the hours in the shop, the time aloft, and the milestones will most often be something
you do alone. If this initially sounds daunting, it's because modern society champions the "team player" over the individual, makes people obsess over what others think, and
works to steal your pride. This is done so subtly over time it often takes new builders a while to realize that the only person their plane need please or make sense to
is themselves. While you can be thankful for support along the way, when you reach your own milestone you will know real pride, for the accomplishment will truly be yours.
If you're part of a large EAA Chapter, you might have a guy in your area who has 1,000 hours on an RV-4 or RV-6. That man is also to be commended.
But, few other homebuilders have gone as far out of their way to share what they have learned and provide guidance to those who would follow. Before he left, Grace and I
put some vinyl graphics on Mark's plane that said, "This aircraft has flown 1,000 hours on Corvair power." Ever the technical and modest guy, Mark pointed out that it
didn't do it all on one engine. This is correct, as the time was mostly on his 3,100, but partially on his 2,700. Long before 5th bearings, Mark fractured two cranks.
A review of his Web page gives a very frank history of the effort required to truly pioneer this engine/airframe combination, and also the role he played in
flight evaluations of developments in the Corvair movement. It is precisely because of this work, and his frank discussion of it, that a KR/Corvair builder can
finish his aircraft today, taking advantage of all of our improvements in the engine in the past 10 years, and go out and fly his own 1,000 hours without incident.
Mark willingly evaluated and documented a lot of things that paved a very broad and smooth path for others to travel.
My theory on people is that you can divide them into two groups based on loaning them your car: When they're done, most people will say thank you, but
only some of them will return it with more gas than they used. When we were young, some of the characters who returned your car empty had other
qualities that made them entertaining and fun. As I have grown older, I have come to realize that everything I value, things that are lasting and
important, are done by people who would return your car with a full tank. For all the fun that he's extracted from the world of Corvairs, Mark
Langford has certainly time after time returned the car with the tank full. And every Corvair builder has been the better for it. Hats off to
Mark Langford at 1,000 hours.
Test of Rotec Carb
Above is a bottom view of our run stand with the Rotec installed. Note the throttle axis is running front to back.
This Rotec -3 flat slide carburetor is installed on Cliff Rose's 2,700 cc Corvair. We are currently running tests with this carb on our run
stand to compare its operation against the MA3-SPA we regularly use. The Rotec operates under the same principal as an Ellison EFS-3A. However, the
fact that the diaphragm is a separate unit makes it easier to mount the Rotec with the slide oriented front to back. Flat slide carbs such as the
Rotec, Ellison and Aero-Carb, have a greater tendency to bias flow to one side of the intake or the other than a butterfly throttled carb like an
MA3 or Stromberg. Turning the carb 90 degrees does a lot to mitigate this. We'll have more to report soon.
Above, the same engine viewed from behind.
Notice that each of the exhaust pipes has an O2 sensor to drive an air/fuel mixture gauge.
Our stand has its own dedicated MA-3SPA carb which has already run Cliff's engine. This type of direct back-to-back instrumented running
provided useful comparative data.
Two EFS-3 Manifolds On The Shelf
In the past two weeks, we have been working to produce all of the back ordered Intake Manifolds. We already made all of the
13 degree variety.
We have two spares on the shelf, both for the Ellison EFS-3A/Aerocarb/Rotec setup. These intakes fit virtually any Corvair powered
airplane, with the exception of the Cleanex. (The Wesemans sell intake manifolds for Cleanexes.) If you would like one of these
two EFS manifolds, just order it from our Web site at the Intake Manifolds page with a quick email on your carb choice and we'll send it right out.
A Corvair Midget
A mechanically fuel injected Corvair powered Midget, above.
In the category of Things You'll Never See A Rotax 912 Doing, the above photo was sent to us
by a Midwest builder. He bought the car at an auction a while back. Midgets are an eternally popular class of race cars, primarily raced on dirt
ovals. They have the wheelbase of a go-kart combined with the power-to-weight ratio of a Japanese sport bike. To give you an idea of how wide the
powerband is on a Corvair engine, these cars are direct drive and do not use transmissions. They're push started, but even on the tiniest of tracks, run
well over 100 mph lap speeds. To be competitive, this car has to produce about 300 hp at 7,000 rpm. This is another good indicator of how robust the
basic Corvair design is. While a 912 and a Jabbaru are lighter, ask yourself if you really believe that they could be built to reliably produce 300 horsepower.
The basic reason why the Corvair works so well in planes is that we are operating it well below the peak output for which it was designed. No automotive engine
will have a good track record in the air if the user is lead to believe that he can fly it at the power output at which the car designer rated it.
To be reliable, the flight version must be "Flat Rated" at a lower output.
Originally, Corvairs were built up to withstand short bursts to 180 hp. Power rating of cars are all based on the assumption that the engine will spend
very little of its life anywhere near rated output. On a 164 cubic inch engine, this is a power output of 1.1 HP/cubic inch, a very
high number for an engine with a 5,500 rpm red line. The basic design of the Corvair is 50 years old, but it is worth remembering that American engines of that
era were designed with very large margins of safety on the ultimate strength of components. Flat rating this engine at 100 hp means we are asking only .6 HP/cubic inch,
a radical reduction in the
stress on every component in the engine. Even a 3 Liter Corvair is only operating at .65 HP/cubic inch to produce 120 hp. The fact that we are only asking
the engine to produce 60% of its automotive output is the key factor, and the sole greatest contributor to the fact it is a very cool running engine. Other engines,
like 2,180 cc VWs are also operating at .6 HP/cubic inch, but they are at a disadvantage because they are derived from an engine that originally produced far less
power in the car than they now ask of it when it is in a plane. While a 2,180 VW has far more displacement than original Type One engines had in the car, it still essentially
has the same amount of cooling fins. VWs make fine aircraft powerplants, and I have many friends among the people who sell them. The engines are light,
but they do not take advantage of flat rating like we do with Corvairs.
Our Work In Print: The Hat Trick - BPAN, Sport Aviation, Kitplanes
2011 started off right with three major publications running very favorable articles about our work with Corvairs or our expertise with aircraft systems.
Tim Kern, the most engine savvy writer in the EAA'a stable, wrote a very nice piece about us for Sport Aviation. Rick Lindstrom, who has written for Kitplanes
for more than 20 years, wrote a piece focused on our collaboration with the other members of the "Corvair Consortium:" Mark Petz, Brother Roy, and Dan Weseman.
The Brodhead Pietenpol News enjoys one of the largest circulations of the Type Club newsletters. It is produced by Doc and Dee Mosher and is available by visiting their
www.Pietenpols.org Web site. If you want a look at his picture,
it accompanies the Introduction Doc wrote for our Conversion Manual. Ryan Mueller and I teamed up for a very lengthy article on weight and
balance calculations for BPAN.
These publications vette their sources on long articles carefully. It is an achievement to be in any of them. Three in a month is unheard of. Many alternative
engines and their promoters go 5 or 6 years without this kind of exposure. We got it not because I am brilliant nor charming. We got it because I worked very hard
at becoming educated in aviation, I have been doing this for 22 straight years, and I have always been willing to enlist the support and acknowledge the input of other
qualified people of good character. I mention it here so builders understand that I'm glad to give credit where it is due.
As you might suspect, all of the above added to the usual post-holiday return to building, and temporarily swamped our email and telephones. We were getting
more than 50 emails and 50 calls a day. This stuff always arrives in a wave that leaves a new highwater mark, but subsides to a normal tide shortly. If you are one
of the many people who sent us a message, be assured that we are working our way through all of them.
To complete the picture, I also have to mention that such popular commentary in print always brings out the negative lurkers on the Internet. For reasons that
are most probably related to emotional injuries suffered in unfortunate childhoods, there are a handful of people who cannot tolerate the successes of others, no matter
how well earned the praise might be. One of my least favorite things these people do is type posts to Internet groups telling people that we are "Probably out of business"
when anyone remarks that I can be difficult to reach on the phone.
Here is a test: Your best friend comes up to you and says you need anger management training. If your first reaction is to tell
him to shut his pie hole and mind his own business, he is probably correct. Several years ago, in the interest of becoming a better person, I attended an anger management series
hosted by an acclaimed master, nationally noted for his highly successful work, particularly with veterans. The man had the demeanor of the Dali Lama, the heart rate of an Olympic
marathoner, and the stoicism of a Greek philosopher. While he stared out the window, he asked me to cite something that really ticked me off, and I mentioned people making
mindless negative comments on the Internet. A smile crept over his face and he casually said, "I hate those F___ heads also."
Above, Mark Langford's plane on our front lawn on a chilly morning.
I took this photo from our front porch. Our hangar is on the right side of the photo. Behind Mark's
plane is a drainage ditch. This is the edge of our airport's 150' wide, 2,800' long grass runway. When I tell people that we live on a runway, I don't mean it metaphorically.
We have lived here the past 5 years. The house is a modest size and the 2,400 square foot hangar is an older metal building, but I did work past midnight six days a week for
15 years to get to this point. It was a long odyssey with a lot of high points and a few low ones. After 22 years of daily work in this field, it initially
ticks me off when a person who has never met me questions my commitment to experimental aviation. In the end, I just feel sorry for such a person because they don't
understand having a calling in their life that they devote themselves to without reservation.
While it is never going to stop people from typing messages about being out of business, let me review a few things for people who have not yet met us:
There are a lot of good reasons why I am not ever going out of business.
1) I have been doing this for 22 years, and we are well known and respected in
2) We don't have any business loans nor any partners or creditors. We are not looking for, nor would we accept, any investors. We have all the money we need.
3) We operate a thrifty and simple life. I can, have, and continue to be easily capable of running the Corvair movement while deficit spending for months, and
even years at a time. I have very specific non-monetary goals in experimental aviation, such as having 500 builders who have each flown more than 250 hours. I have been
and remain willing to expend our resources to achieve these goals.
4) I have never been sued, named in a suit, or seriously threatened. I have been the most vocal advocate of making people aware of the risks involved in experimental
aviation. This insulates us from frivolous or harassing action. Additionally, we enjoy the support of a number of highly accomplished corporate lawyers in our
family, starting with my older sister. From childhood, my siblings and I were trained to be mutually supporting without reservation. This now extends to our spouses. My sister is
glad to defend us for nothing.
5) I have first class heath and disability insurance. I have just had an extensive screening and have been found to be in
outstanding health. I have never smoked and I gave up drinking years ago. My father is 85 and going strong. I am 48 and have every reason to believe I will live as long.
6) Although I am a pilot and an avid motorcyclist, I am well trained, experienced, and well beyond the point of taking stupid or unnecessary risks in life. When it comes to
things that have killed countless pilots - showing off, get-there-itis, and peer pressure - I am immune.
7) I have known my wife since 1991, we have been together since 1999,
and married since 2005. She loves me despite my faults. My work will never be interrupted by divorce.
8) I am not self destructive; I don't gamble at all, take drugs or medications of any kind. I never ride without a helmet, and usually fly in a fire suit.
I do not argue with drunk rednecks, wrestle alligators, spray imron paint, or mock 300 pound bikers who can't kickstart
their shovelheads. At 48, I can no longer die young nor leave a good looking corpse. I am now resolved to live a long time.
9) While my work is not all fun, it is very rewarding. In 2000, I was lured into a certified aviation day job by a paycheck that was six times more than what Corvair
work was generating. In a few months I returned to full-time
Corvair work, because my need to do something important and creative was greater than my desire for comfort and consumer goods. We have made countless friends from a
collection of the finest people you could hope to meet. When I was younger, I would have been depressed to think that my life's work would largely fall into one area. Today,
I actually consider it something of a privilege that through persistent hard work and the support of family and friends, I can actually focus my efforts on a single front
and see how far I can advance the experience of building and flying.
These are the nine factors that tell everyone in the Corvair movement that I am in it for the long haul. Anyone who suggests otherwise has an axe to grind or should read
the paragraphs above a few times. If you are on an Internet list and anyone suggests that the fact I don't answer email the day it arrives means I am no longer in business,
please cut and paste the above paragraph to your group.
Three Types Of Hubs On The Shelf
We sell three different Hubs for the Corvair. They are the Standard Gold Hub, which is for Front Starter
Corvair conversions without a fifth bearing. (If you later opt to
install a Weseman bearing, this Hub can be shortened by the Wesemans.) Next is the Short Gold Hub, which is used on a
Front Starter Corvair conversion that has a fifth bearing.
This works with either a Weseman or Roy bearing. Third is the light weight Black Hub, which is used with hand prop or Langford style
rear starters. It works with or without
a fifth bearing. All of the Hubs use the same Hybrid Studs and the same Safety Shaft.
The Short Gold Hub is by far the most popular, accounting for 85 or 90% of our sales last year.
However, we still offer the other two designs, and recently restocked a smaller quantity of both of them. If your plans call for a Standard Gold Hub
or a Black Hub, know that
we have them on the shelf right now and will be glad to ship you one.
Stitts SA-7 Skycoupe Airframe For Sale
Above, the Turbo Skycoupe on the ramp outside our old hangar at Corvair College #9. The turbo outlet pipe is just in front of the
Our friend and Corvair pilot Gary Coppen is putting the airframe of his very famous Corvair powered Skycoupe up for sale.
He owns five aircraft at this time and he is trimming his herd
a little. The aircraft was originally built in the 1960s and displays outstanding craftsmanship. About 10 years ago, Gary and I converted it to Corvair power, and used it as
a test mule for many items we sell today. In 2005, we installed a turbo on it and conducted extensive flight testing. A few years ago, we took the aircraft off line because
it really needed to be recovered. At the same time we bought an aluminum spring main gear for it and welded mounts into the steel tube fuselage for it. We also started work
to install a Zenith nosegear to provide a softer action. The plane has its Motor Mount and cowling included, but it has no engine components with the project. A Skycoupe
is an easy to fly, LSA legal, sturdy two-place plane. I consider this an excellent deal at $4,500. Gary's Corvair powered KR-2S is nearing completion and he would like to
focus his efforts on it. If you are interested, give him a call at (904) 449-0039.
New vs. Used Parts: Quick Thought
On an Internet Discussion Group, a well intentioned but misinformed homebuilder stated that he felt Corvairs should be built with new crankshafts and
rods like other alternative engines. He further stated that he would not fly behind an engine built with used parts. Here's a reality check: Virtually
every person reading this who has flown in a certified general aviation aircraft in the United States has flown behind used crankshafts and rods, many
of which have seen more than 10,000 hours of service. The overhaul practices, including magnaflux inspection, have long proven that people can safely take
to the air with these components if they've been properly inspected and overhauled before assembly. The Corvair is no different. This is the way that it is done.
From Embry Riddle, I have an excellent background in statistical analysis of aircraft components and systems. It was very clear from the comments made that the
writer understood nothing about concepts like infant mortality, infinite life cycles, nor propagation. These are some of the tools that industry uses to make
statements that aviators can count on. I applied all of these to my work with Corvairs. People can write what they want, but a writer who doesn't understand the
significance of the number of 1x10 to the sixth power doesn't have anything to say about fatigue that is worth reading.
Ironically, the specific "new" parts the gentleman was referencing were all made in China. He was promoting the work of a person who imported five Chinese
built copies of a Corvair crank, and in spite of no engineering proof, they were sold as "2.5 times stronger than original GM cranks."
After the first customer ground ran the engine for 30 minutes, the crank failed at the snout. Close inspection revealed that the Chinese manufacturer had
made the crank snout too small
and tried to hide it by putting a sleeve on the output end of the crank. When it let go it made the crank to cam timing fail, bending all the exhaust valves.
The Chinese can obviously make things that work on a national level, but when an individual sends a pile of money
to an agent in Taiwan, he is betting other people's safety on a country that has little understanding of manufacturing ethics. If a person wants to put
such parts in their engine, that is their call. But I believe that people should be very reluctant to encourage others to use such things, including
simply repeating stuff like "2.5 times stronger" on a Discussion Group. I am pretty easygoing and open minded on lots of things, but this doesn't extend to
inaccurate statements about parts that people will use to fly their children. If you joined the Corvair movement to learn, build and fly, and you want to avoid
the drama club stuff, just stick with people with a long track record of flight proven success.
In the above photo, 20 sets of Stainless Exhaust stubs are being welded into Exhaust Systems; about half of these are for back orders, the rest for stock. Behind them,
a crop of Electronic/Points Distributors in process. The notes on the table reflect the components inside that make up the centrifugal
advance. GM made 9 different plates,
12 different cams, and 7 major variations of weights. Mathematically, these can be assembled into more than 1,000 different combinations. However, just 8 of these will produce a flight distributor.
The primary fault with most of the combinations is that they will add more advance at higher rpm, a sure way to detonate a motor to pieces in an aircraft. I individually test
each Distributor to verify the advance and make sure that all the advance is in well below the static rpm of the prop. All a builder
has to do is install it and
set the timing with a light at full static rpm.
In the 10 weeks since Corvair College #19, I've laid off most of our work on the Internet and focused on part production, including
subtle improvements to the tooling and processes to speed up future production. As a result, we have wiped out the back orders on a number of
products that have traditionally taken time to get into builders' hands. Over 80% of the items on our shelf are sitting
on the shelf ready to go out on any given day. If you're curious about a specific item, check the availability notes on our
Above, an 8 ounce weight hangs from a digital caliper. In the small end of the caliper is a light weight spring for the advance mechanism of
a Corvair distributor. The springs control the rate that the ignition advance comes in at. The caliper reads the length of the spring at the known weight.
A simple but necessary step to predictable ignition performance. This step is verified by the later run of the complete Distributor.
2,850 cc Program Update
Above, both the 2,850 and 3 Liter Pistons that we have purpose built for Corvair flight engines feature this dish in the crown. The flat spot at the bottom
mates with an opposing area in the head called the quench. The gap between this is the "quench height." The closer this is, the better the detonation resistance and
combustion efficiency is.
The 2,850 cc engine is our exclusive mid-size Corvair. This is the largest displacement Corvair engine you can build without having special machine
work done to the case and heads. This engine takes no more work to bolt together than a standard 2,700 cc Corvair. Two years ago, Mark Petniunas, Woody
Harris and myself worked together to develop this particular displacement.
The basis of it is a .105" overbore from a regular Corvair. However,
the centerpiece is a purpose-built, made in the U.S.A. forged piston with a specifically designed dish over two thirds of the face. This is not machined
into the piston as an afterthought. The forging slug started out with a very thick deck to allow for this. The dish in the piston allows a very tight
quench area of .030" while maintaining a low static compression ratio. The net effect is that these engines have very efficient turbulent flow in the
chamber. In modern automotive engineering, this is known as a "fast burn head." It will make full power on lower octane gas with less ignition advance
than traditional engines.
While any Corvair engine can have its mixture and timing advance altered so that it can be run on car gasoline, the two engines we've developed in
this family, the 2,850 and the 3 Liter, can run automotive fuels without compromising their detonation resistance. A 2,850 with 95 hp cylinder heads
produces the most turbo ready combination in the world of Corvairs.
The engine kits we're selling for the 2,850 consist of the forged piston set with wrist pins, Total Seal rings, brand new, heavy duty cylinders from
Clark's and completely rebuilt Corvair rods with ARP bolts which are balanced both in weight and end for end. The sets will come fully assembled
with pistons with rings on them already on the rods and in the bores. All a builder will have to do is slide the assembly onto his case and bolt on the rod
cap. We will be doing these in groups of eight. We intend to run these batches two or three times a year. The 2,850 is not for everybody, but it is an
excellent and proven complement to the existing range of Corvair options. The current batch is scheduled to be complete and shipped before Sun
'N Fun. The price for a complete set is $1,750 plus S&H. If you'd like to order a set, we need your connecting rods as cores (it's ok to send them
with the pistons still on them) and an $875 deposit check payable to William Wynne, 5000-18 US HWY 17 #247, Orange Park, FL 32003.
Zenith 750 builder Jeff Cochran of Alabama supervises the run-in of his 2850cc Corvair, above, at Corvair College #19. Jeff chose to have
us build the engine for him. We delivered it at the College. The engine features a RoysGarage.com bearing,
the 2850 cc dished pistons, all of our Gold Systems, and Falcon heads equipped with Inconel valves and exhaust rotators. This is a seriously
robust engine. A builder working with one of our 2,850 cc Kits can create the same powerplant for his own aircraft.
"Real freedom is the sustained act of being an individual." WW - 2009
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