Many people ask me why I want to build a tri-motor. As evidence of neccessity, I submit this photo of Grace Ellen
packing light for a few days on the road. Some of this, like the U.S. box and flight jacket in the foreground, is my stuff,
and some is food, necessities, etc. for the mobile command center.
Above, Grace Ellen gives a sunset hug to Tom Brown in front of his Lycoming powered Monocoupe. This was at the
fourth annual SAA gathering of friends in aviation June 11, 2005. Although Tom was flying his Monocoupe, he is
best known as the man who probably has more hours of Corvair flight time in his logbook than anyone else. He's been
regularly flying his Corvair powered Pietenpol out of Unity, Wisc., and is coming up on the 1,200 hour mark. For
more on the SAA story, read on.
This week, we are out on the road in direct support of affordable aviation, plain old progress and fun. The main
event was the SAA Fly In hosted by Paul Poberezny's grassroots organization and all the fine folks in it. You can learn
more about the SAA at their Web site, SportAviation.org. A few thousand members are in the
SAA, and one of the benefits is receiving their To Fly magazine. Some people long for the earlier simplistic days of
the EAA in the 1950s and '60s. I daresay the SAA is as close as you'll ever get to that. Because, of course, it's brought to
you by Paul Poberezny and friends, the people who brought you the EAA in the first place. Their once a year gathering
in Urbana, Ill., is a highly successful combination of nostalgia for simpler times at aviation gatherings mixed with a
lively collection of creative individuals together to share their love of airplanes. This year's fly in was the fourth
gathering and the fourth one that we have attended. It is held at Rudy Frasca's airport, a beautiful setting.
We have to thank the Frasca, Poberezny, Mosher, Lumley, Schmid, Warner, Mike and Jen and so many other families who worked very hard
to bring all of us a nice event. Keeping with tradition, Grace Ellen was the first speaker Saturday, followed by myself, and
66 builders and pilots attended our forum, below. We enjoyed seeing all our old friends, and meeting some new ones. As you
look through the following photos, picture yourself at the next fly in. You're more than welcome to step into the arena.
The SAA is populated by real builders. Over the years, our forums have been extremely well received. The membership
was primed this year by two excellent To Fly magazine articles by SAA member P.F. Beck of Barnwell, S.C. He wrote two good stories about
how he recently completed and flew his Corvair powered Pietenpol.
Everyone who received Corvair Flyer #11 will recognize the name Don Taylor. Don created the
Tinker Toy, a unique Corvair powered pusher he designed, built and flew in the '70s. Here's the man himself with Grace Ellen
and I, above. We were pleased and surprised to run into Don at the SAA gathering. We'd never met him before in person
and certainly enjoyed it. A good indication of what a nice guy Don is was the group of letters we received from his
friends after we published the Tinker Toy story.
Our forum was followed by Ed Fisher's, on the history of Mong biplanes. Ed is a huge fan of the Mong, a small biplane
with a glorious history of sport and race flying. The Mong holds the distinction of being the world's fastest biplane.
Ed is a good friend of Ralph Mong and owns the design rights to the plane. At the slide projector is Ed's father,
Big Ed. Ed's preliminary sketches for the Corvair powered Sport Fleet biplane appeared in Flyer #11.
I want to remind fans that Ed knows people like the idea, but being an extremely busy guy, Ed cannot always afford the
time to discuss things he's working on. It's also a little out of his style to talk about things that aren't quite done yet.
We'll keep you posted on his progress.
The evening speaker was astronaut Hooter Gibson, here being introduced by Paul Poberezny. To illustrate that Hoot is a
regular guy, he flew in his record breaking, taper wing Cassutt. It was a long cross country flight in a plane with an
8-gallon fuel tank.
Here's the night air show, above. Tom Brown's Monocoupe.
It is warm at our next stop, 100 miles south at Cleone Markwell's hangar in Casey, Illinois, above. Especially warm for Grace Ellen, who is still getting over her cold. But there is a
breeze blowing, and we have just had a very good time as always at the SAA Gathering at Rudy Frasca's Field. For the
several of you who called and e-mailed wondering if anyone ever checked the phone messages or e-mail, let me tell you
that when Grace is sick, the answer is no. I do answer the hangar phone, and when I'm on the phone, it forwards directly
to voicemail, which Grace Ellen checks. Roman Bukolt followed our request best with the slowest, clearest, eunciation
of his phone number. Lincoln Probst of Canada, whom many of you met at Sun 'N Fun 2005, made
Grace happy by repeating his phone number. Grace says thank you to both gentleman, and for everyone's understanding on the
lapse in service during her cold. She is feeling much better now, and is on it. But she's lucky she survived this one in that she gave the
cold to Kevin, who was not amused in the least.
We had longstanding plans to attend SAA and return to Cleone's hangar. While we often talk about being the last
engine people on Planet Earth who make house calls, there is a very good reason why we make these stops,
beyond seeing friends and being helpful. In the field I learn a great deal about the capabilities and skills of our
builders. This information is taken back and the products are fine tuned based on these observations. Mostly, we
learn what to increase attention to in videos, writing and forums. In the 10 years we've been in business, we've had
a number of friends who also had businesses in experimental aviation. The vast majority of these people work in other
fields now. A common thread amongst those people who quit was that they spent very little time in the field.
One of them prominently held that he could track the market from the Internet without ever attending an airshow or
going to a builder's hangar. His business folded, and we're going strong. Athough you're reading this on the Net now
and we obviously use it as a tool, it is no substitute for in person contact with builders. In this way, working in
Cleone's hangar directly improves what we have available in our experience to improve the quality of
our products and information for you and
As you may remember, Cleone attended Corvair College #8, and you can see him there as we run the
Production Engine he bought from us. He purchased it for his 601HD, which was formerly Rotax 912 powered. We
delivered this engine and did a little installation work on the Midwest '05 Tour in February.
Grace Ellen and I returned this week to give Cleone a hand polishing off the installation.
Cleone's airplane is an older HD he built from plans. Installing the Corvair on this airplane was actually a little more difficult
than a fresh installation. We did some clever work to utilize much of his existing instrumentation and fuel system, while
replacing everything required for a good installation. Cleone's airplane is different than most HDs in the fact that it
only has wing tanks, like an XL. All of our other parts, Motor Mount,
Nosebowl, Cowling, etc., bolted right on. Careful measurement revealed that the firewall in his plane was slightly
off in relation to the plans. This was quickly cured by shimming the mount, and this brought the engine into
I also packed quite a bit for this trip. Notice the blue bin from home in the photo above.
There are many more shades of green and flowers and gardens of course than last we visited
(when it was snowing in February), as seen above and below. Casey is a beautiful, paved municipal field, open to the public
right next to the town. They have fuel, clear approaches and friendly staff in Howard, Sandy and Cocoa. While it's hard
to tell by staring at a sectional, this is a very friendly airport.
While I worked on details ahead of the firewall, Cleone moved the battery behind the pilot's seat. The standard
practice with 601 aircraft with a Rotax or Jabbaru is to install the battery on the firewall; with a Corvair or O-200
it goes behind the seat; and if you install an O-235, under the horizontal stabilizer.
This aircraft has two access panels through the firewall. Above is a good view of the fuel system. Most HDs or HDSs
have header tanks and don't require fuel pumps. The fuel would simply flow by gravity to the carburetor. But this
aircraft only has wing tanks, like an XL. Thus, it needs two electric pumps installed. They were previously installed
inside the plane, but I much prefer any pressurized fuel line to be ahead of the firewall. With our type
of installation, the fuel lines are under suction, not pressure, in the cabin. Function-wise, the setup pictured is
identical to the one on our 601. In practice, it's made of slightly different parts and is attached
to Cleone's plane as a mirror image. Again, this was done to make an efficient transformation. We wanted to install a
new engine, not build an entirely new airplane.
This plane is set up with one of our new Stainless Intake Manifolds, as well as a brand new Ellison EFS-3A, above. After
studying the installation closely, Gus and I decided that this was probably the optimum installation angle. The
Ellison, being a throttle body, will operate at any angle where the slide is horizontal and perpendicular to the line
of flight. The nosegear arrangement on all models of 601s are the same. This carb installation position would also work
on a tricycle gear XL. For those of you opting for an Ellison, keep in mind that this carb is very particular about
smooth incoming air. We'll share photos of the air filter assembly we're installing when it's done.
Above is the $39 air/oil separator out of the Aircraft Spruce catalog. The same model has served us well all year in
our airplane. The braided lines lead to the remote oil filter housing, which contains the oil pressure and temperature
instrumentation. Because of the access panel on the left side of the firewall, we chose to mount this housing higher
than we normally do. The fittings at the top are Earl's full flow, swivel seal 90s. On the housing end are straight fittings.
Our standard 601 engine installation has 120 degree full flow, swivel seal ends on the engine, and 90s on the filter housing.
The top overview above shows our Standard Rubber Baffling Installation. Beneath the air/oil separator is the main
firewall passthrough for the battery connection. It is a Moroso part number 74145. On the right hand side of the firewall
is the MSD firewall passthrough for the high voltage line to the Distributor. The coils
and coil selector will be behind the firewall, just as they are in our own 601. Cleone has a few more airframe upgrades
he'd like to do after the engine installation is complete. With a little bit of luck, we'll see this airplane at
Oshkosh. It will be a nice addition to the ever growing fleet of Corvair powered airplanes.
Over the course of working together the past few days, Cleone shared with me that he has actually owned more airplanes
than cars. From very humble beginnings in rural America, he has always had a steady love for airplanes. An aviation cadet in
World War II, his first aircraft was a 1936 Taylor E-2 Cub. It was nine years old when he got it, and still worth more
than many people made in a year. The owner was impressed with Cleone, and gave him a payment plan that started with
$10 down. This story is a good illustration that flying has never been cheap. But it has always been worth your devotion.
I take it as quite a compliment when a senior aviator chooses the Corvair as his powerplant. After owning almost two
dozen aircraft, a number of them homebuilts he created himself, you're correct to assume that an aviator has some very
specific criteria for his aircraft engine. If the Corvair is your first aircraft engine, you can be assured that it's a
good choice that you've made in good company. When you see Cleone with his 601 and his wife Eleanor at an airshow, don't hesitate to introduce
yourself. You'll be meeting two of the finer people in sport aviation.
Next up for us is our wedding July 4 and honeymoon, then off to the Pietenpol Gathering in Brodhead, Wisc., July 23-24 with forums on Saturday,
and AirVenture Oshkosh 2005 July 25-31.
EAA says my forums will be 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Monday July 25, Wednesday July 27, Saturday July 30, and Sunday July 31 in the
#20 Engine Workshop Building; as well as 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Tuesday July 26 in the #8 Gama Pavilion; then a
doubleheader 10-11:15 a.m.
Saturday July 30 in Pavilion #5. I've also been invited to speak to the Replica Fighters Association in their
clubhouse at 2:30 p.m. Friday July 29. We'll be spending the rest of most days in the Zenith Aircraft Co. booth near the
flightline and fish fry. See you there.
Now At The Hangar
June 2011 At The Hangar
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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 1
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At The Hangar In July 2006
June 2006 At The Hangar
At The Hangar In May 2006
At The Hangar In April 2006
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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
At The Hangar June 13, 2005 Part II
At The Hangar In May 2005
At The Hangar In April 2005