William Wynne

"The Corvair Authority"
5000-18 HWY 17 #247
Orange Park, FL 32003

The Corvair Authority
Broadcasting On Ultraflight Radio Show
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Roy from www.UltraFlightRadio.com called to set up a live Web cast interview for 10:40 a.m. EST Tuesday morning (7 a.m. PST) on the Web at www.UltraFlightRadio.com. This is about a 20 minute segment in which he'll be interviewing me about Corvair engines. For those unable to tune in, it will be permanently accessible on their Web site at the Show Archives.

Tuesday when you get to the www.UltraFlightRadio.com Web site, you need only click on the "Listen Live" button to hear it when it's Webcast. These shows have become intensely popular among experimental aviators. Roy told me their Web site literally approaches a million hits a month.

Tune In, Turn On And Drop Out Of Overpriced Aviation

Hangar And Business Developments
June 2006

We've recently put several changes into effect aimed at providing better service to our customers. We're implementing these after careful consideration after years of experience helping countless successful homebuilders. We share them here so our builders can better understand the adjusted operational format and, very important, understand we're working very hard to provide the best service possible within the obvious constraint of providing the most affordable engine on the marketplace.

Most builders understand that brand new, expensive, imported engines have very high profit margins. Being simple consumer products, imports require and are given very modest tech support. Our situation, although we're providing an engine alternative, is entirely different. Our product is the least expensive engine on the market, and has vastly lower cost markup. Our Mission is educational, and therefore requires far greater exchange of information with builders. This technical support takes the form of phone calls, e-mails, Night Schools, Colleges, demo flights, and air show appearances.

Reasonable builders recognize that our efforts to share what we know with the maximum amount of builders funded solely from the efficiency of our modest cost operation is a challenge. But one we have met on a weekly basis for more than a decade. This latest round of fine tuning and adjustments to our operations will work to improve our efficiency without burning out My Crew or overtaxing the patience of our builders.

Visitors to our hangar quickly understand that the hangar is the center of building and flying activity, but Web and office work has always been done out of the office we maintain at our residence. Three weeks ago, Grace and I moved to a new residence, which has much more dedicated office space. Office reorganization will be completed shortly. Our mailing address remains the same one it has been for the past 13 years. The move provided a brief interruption and start up period on Web information, the most visible of which was that our Web site was down briefly to modify servers. This prompted about a dozen phone calls every day; most friendly reminders, one or two from concerned builders who had diplomatic questions about business stability.

These are fair questions in an era when major industry names like Kitfox and Glasair, providers of proven products, disappeared into bankruptcy. This doesn't even touch on colossal ripoff schemes like Dreamwings. To better understand why businesses in our industry disappear, let me give you the insider perspective: Most experimental aviation businesses have financial partners, underwriters or money people involved. When the operation has been mismanaged or a downturn has struck, or perhaps development of a new product has overextended the company, the financial people, who only care about money, pull the plug. Conversely, the most successful and durable of aviation companies, ours included, all have the common thread of having no investors, just dedicated ownership. Van's Aircraft, Zenith, Sonex and Corvairs all are brought to you by dedicated airplane people who replaced investors with hard work and efficiency.

In our case, and I'm sure it's true with the other companies, the support of dedicated and faithful builders was much more of an asset than any financial deep pocket. Money people blindly chasing profits forget that safety is paramount in aviation, and profitability must always take a back seat to it. If turning a profit by the end of a quarter was ever important, we would have long ago been doing something else. We've been around more than 10 years, we'll certainly be around another 10, God willing.

One of the biggest builder complaints was our phone system. Previously, the answering machine was tied into an Internet based answering system which made message retrieval problematic. The solution to this is surprisingly low tech: A regular desktop answering machine is in place and working as of Monday, June 12, 2006. Merrill returned Monday after a week out of the shop and used his Skymanta broadcast radio voice to place a very melodic message on the hangar line. We all watched to see who would be the first person to listen to the new message. I recognized the number as 601/Corvair builder Bill Howerton of Colorado. Bill promptly got the machine, and left a puzzled "What the ______ " message, then called back a moment later. Although he wasn't expeting Merrill's voice, I pointed out to him that Merrill has done all the narration on our videotape series for years. Bill said it was just a bit unexpected.

Merrill is in our shop and covers the phone Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. He's an experienced builder, and a regular member of our crew, and can easily cover most questions. This is an excellent time to call the shop. If the line is busy, call back. We're politely asking builders to organize their questions before they call in order to keep the phone line available. As we approach Oshkosh, we're working an awful lot of late hours, and we may be able to answer some evening questions, but it's not unusual to get the machine after dinner. Please leave us a number where we can call you during the following day during business hours, and your calls will be returned far faster than previously.

We'll try to cover some calls Fridays and Saturdays, but Mondays through Thursdays will remain the optimum days to call. The hangar line remains (386) 478-0396. The cell phone messages are far harder to retrieve than the hangar line. Please try to contact us on the hangar phone.

A Few Words On Custom Products

Over the years, it's easy to see that the small percentage of custom pieces we did for builders took disproportionate amounts of time and never paid for themselves. I'm making a conscious effort to eliminate these from our work schedule. Here's a good example: At a recent air show, a builder approached me and said that he didn't want to "waste any of his time gathering up the parts to build an engine." He wanted me to find them all, ship them to him so he could assemble the engine (because he didn't want to travel to a College), then ship it back to me for a checkup and test run, with me providing log books in the engine crate I shipped back to him. Mind you, this was said with a straight face by someone who appeared to be sober.

First off, this obviously would take twice the effort and three times the shipping as it would for us to build one of our complete engines for him. Even with the wild assumption that he was willing to pay for the actual cost of this entire endeavor, such a project would be a ridiculous distraction from regular work.

We have a long history of going much further to help out people in a jam than any other company would, but reasonable people will understand that if it's not in our regular catalog, we will try to help you out of a jam, but certainly not at the expense of builders following the plans and not at the expense of our sanity. If you have something that is outside our normal catalog, call and specifically speak to me, and we'll see if we can find you a solution. Keep in mind that custom parts take both extra time and money.

Corvair Fly In Events

A special thanks to Pete Klapp. Two weekends ago was the scheduled Corvair Wings and Wheels event in Alliance, Ohio. Because Grace and I were burned out after Sun 'N Fun, the 3,500 mile Canadian trip, followed two weeks later by the 2,500 mile Zenith Factory Corvair Day trip, we asked several of the KR/Vair pilots to make it. We were in the middle of moving, and had just completed it the day before the event. Although we had told people that we had penciled it in on our calendar, I had reservations about missing the event. If one of our customers was planning on seeing us there, I take even the implied commitment of the intention to show up very seriously. I discussed this with Kevin at 6 p.m. on Friday, and he felt we should get in his 1967 Corvair coupe to drive the thousand miles to Ohio overnight. Although the weather looked poor, he was more than willing to go. My sole reservation was that neither one of us had slept in 24 hours, and good judgment said it was a dumb idea to start a long trip in that physical state.

The weather was terrible, but three things worked to make the event a success:

  • One Corvair pilot successfully flew up there.
  • About a dozen Corvair car owners drove their vehicles to the event, much to the appreciation of the airplane people, who rarely see such fine examples of the car in good working order. Several airplane builders in attendance told me that they plan to become Corvair car owners also based on what they saw in Ohio.
  • The real hero of the story is Corvair/KR builder Pete Klapp. When the original promoter of the event had difficulty getting it together, into the breach steps Pete Klapp. On very short notice, Pete did exceptional work to sew together a good event out of difficult weather circumstances. Corvair builders everywhere should note his name and recognize his contribution to the spirit of building when you meet him in person.

    The positive outlook of the Corvair movement is driven by the countless contributions, large and small, of builders working to make it their movement. Pete Klapp's work on the Ohio event is an outstanding example of this.

    SAA Fly In At Frasca

    The annual SAA gathering at Frasca Field in Urbana, Ill., is June 23-25, 2006. Although we have attended the past four years in a row, and Grace was in fact the very first speaker at the very first SAA fly in, an important family event prevents us from attending this year.

    If you have never attended, you would serve yourself well to make the trip. It is a small, non-commercial event. But over the past four years, it's been attended by owners of many beautiful aircraft, and some of the most outstanding contributors to the experimental aircraft movement. Several Corvair pilots have discussed privately with me plans to go, but beyond this, I believe the event is worth attending and we'd certainly be going if it weren't the first opportunity for all the children in my parents' family to be in the same place on the same day in several years.

    Oshkosh 2006

    EAA Headquarters has returned to us the preliminary forum schedule for AirVenture 2006. We have five events scheduled, and a sixth one pending with the Replica Fighters Association. The amount of forums you receive at Oshkosh is based on the number of people who stayed the full length of your forums the previous year. The popularity of the Corvair movement with builders is reflected in this solid schedule:

  • 8:30-9:45 a.m. Monday, July 24, 2006, in Engine Workshop #20

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, in Pavilion #8

  • 8:30-9:45 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, in Engine Workshop #20

  • 8:30-9:45 a.m. Saturday, July 29, in Engine Workshop #20

  • 10-11:15 a.m. Saturday, July 29, in Pavilion #5

    When not in the Engine Workshop and Pavilions, we'll be in the Zenith Aircraft Company booth.

    We're also going to try to attend the annual Pietenpol Gathering in Brodhead, Wisc., the weekend before Oshkosh. But this may prove, like last year, a weather issue.

    Corvair Flyer Newsletter On Hiatus

    As most people know, we suspended publication of The Corvair Flyer newsletter about this time last year. It was an enormous amount of work to pump out, and we were very pleased with it, but something in the schedule had to give. If you're one of the handful of people who had a paid subscription and would like a refund, just call me up or send me an e-mail. Otherwise, we're going to send everyone with a paid subscription a copy of our new Flying Corvairs DVD when it's done. If you had a lapsed subscription to The Flyer and you'd like a refund, you can call me if you must and we'll have a good chuckle (this has been tried already).

    Goodbye to John Monday

    I was in the shop yesterday when Steve Glover called from California to say that John Monday had been killed in the crash of a certified airplane near Reno, Nev. This was certainly somber news. John and his son were very popular guests at Corvair College #5 in Hanford, Calif. They were working on a 3,100cc KR-2 project at the time. This was the beginning of numerous exchanges by telephone and e-mail. As in the photo above, John (at right with his son in the center and Grace Ellen at left) always came through as a work hard, play hard, energetic character, the best kind of people that seem to be generated and most at home in California. Although he'd recently sold his project and purchased a Beechcraft, he's still in my mind a Corvair builder. Steve filled me in that our brief in person experience with John was a small sample of his everyday life. Many people enjoyed his company, and there was a memorial service at his home airport for him over the weekend. All the aviators who crossed paths with him will have their own private thoughts on his passing. Monday night was rainy and I had a long drive to do in the pickup without a radio. I spent the time thinking about what his loss meant to his family. It's also a loss to his friends in aviation who certainly would have enjoyed his company for many years to come.

    Now 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

    January 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

    At The Hangar In July 2006

    At The Hangar In May 2006

    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

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