ZenVair and Cashex Fly
Corvair College #15 Update
Here's a quick update on two new Corvair powered airplanes built and recently flown for the first time by friends of ours. Above is a photo
of Vince Olson and Louis Kantor's 601 XL N601LV just before its maiden flight from our airport. In the center is Grace's Taylorcraft. On the
right is Dan Weseman's Wicked Cleanex.
Our friends Vince, above left, and Louis, far right, flew their airplane for the first time on June 14, 2009. They had purchased their Zenith kit slightly less than five
years ago. Busy schedules and several moves around the country greatly extended the project calendar-timewise. In the end, the Golden Rule that
Persistence Pays was the final factor. Working with myself, Dan Weseman and Grace, both above in blue shirts, and Chris Welsh, they planned and executed a flawless first flight.
Dan and Grace flew the Cleanex as the chase plane.
Upon Vince returning to Earth, he said N601LV was as smooth as any piston engine he ever flew, and all the systems worked flawlessly. A thorough
post flight inspection revealed absolutely zero adjustments to be made. They have posted some videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSadGnsvmFc on YouTube.
Their engine, above, is a 2,700cc Corvair that utilizes all of our Conversion and Installation Components and a
Dan Weseman fifth bearing. Louis made the second
and third flights, adding 1.5 hours to the Hobbs. At Sun 'N Fun, a silly person kept saying that engines with Ring
Gears on the front can't cool themselves. Besides the fact that all Lycomings have ring gears on the front, the above photo shows that the 11" Ring
Gear on a Corvair is significantly smaller than the spinner and in no way interferes with air flow into the engine.
After this, Vince and Louis took turns piling the hours on the plane. They flew more than five
hours several days in a row. Flying off their test time has been what it should be, boring. When Vince and Louis came to our hangar, they told me that
they wanted an engine installation based on the best of what we have learned. Their installation is unique only from the perspective of a 60 amp
rear alternator, and a modified oil cooler location and throttle bracket, above. The alternator has an integrated voltage regulator. We tapped into this
to make the field wire switched on the instrument panel. This way, it can be taken completely offline at will. The Dynon reads the exact amperage output
at any moment on the system. The balance of their installation is all systems we pioneered years ago that have flown on dozens of
other planes. Their willingness to go with what we've proven is rewarded with
an aircraft that works perfectly, runs cool and is more than halfway to having its time flown off in a single week of operation.
There's a handful of Corvair builders who have flown their aircraft and experienced a seeminlgy endles set of issues. Many times, I've spoken with
these builders and suggested corrections, only to have them argue with me. The Corvair engine is made out of metal. It works because of physics, and it
doesn't play favorites. Anybody who built a clone of Vince and Louis' engine and put it on their plane would be rewarded with the exact same
reliable performance. People who argue otherwise live by superstition, or don't have the ability to admit they've made mistakes.
Despite ambient temperatures as high as 100F and humidity above 90%, the engine runs exceptionally cool. The OAT at 3,000
feet was in the low 80s. The cruise CHTs were 310F on the right bank and 285 on the left (the difference is primarily caused by the location of the
stock temperature sender location, which ends up being all the way forward on the #6 cylinder and all the way aft on #1). Their dual Dynon
equipped panel, primarily wired by Vince, worked flawlessly and has excellent visual presentation. We are looking forward to posting in-flight
video of this data on YouTube.
We've known Vince and Louis a long time. They were at Corvair College #6 at our Edgewater Hangar. Their hangar in
St. Louis was a stop on our Midwest '05 Winter Tour, and they brought their aircraft to our North Florida hangar to
finish off the last few months of work and do the test flying. Many people got a chance to meet Louis in person, as he was my right hand man at
Sun 'N Fun this year. If you distilled out all the interruptions in their project, they probably could have polished it off in 2 1/2 years. Now that
it's done, the extra time matters little. It is a very good illustration of the fact that I've been working on Corvairs for 20 years and
will be there throughout the whole process for any builder who shows the persistence to complete their project.
Cashex In The Air
Danny Cash emailed to let us know that his Corvair powered Sonex airframe had taken to the air. Along with a very friendly, thankful note,
he sent these photos of an awesome looking creation. Like Vince and Louis, Danny has been part of our Corvair movement for a long time. He was
at Corvair College #7 in Ohio, and also attended the Night School we gave at the same location on the
2005 Midwest Tour.
A while back, Danny and I kicked around potential names for his aircraft that would reflect his unique iteration of installing a Corvair on a Sonex
airframe. Danny chose the name "Cashex" to highlight the bird he built. Danny thanked Dan Weseman of Cleanex fame for a lot of assistance with his plane.
He also went his own way on a number of details, including modifying the Sonex supplied cowling to house his 2,700 cc Corvair. Danny's plane has a 54x54 Sensenich that he got from us a while back. The prop is a good match for a standard displacement Corvair in this airframe.
The photos show some very tasteful finish work, making for an attractive aircraft.
To me, the most appealing part of Danny's success story is behind the scenes. He and I are about the same age, and both of us would proudly call ourselves
members of working-class America. Danny also has the responsibility of being a family man. Our work to make the Corvair engine a proven, affordable
powerplant, and mating it with numerous plans built and affordable kit airframes allows an awful lot of people a clear path to participating in the
adventure of flying, rather than just spectating.
Hats off to Danny Cash, creator of the Cashex, and another builder in the Corvair movement who has proven again that persistence pays.
What's Up With Wisconsin
We will be at Brodhead, Wisc., the annual Pietenpol Gathering, Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, 2009. I traditionally am invited to give a forum,
and the tradition continues this year with a 2-3 p.m. forum Saturday.
This year is the 80th anniversary of Pietenpols. I've spoken with several customers who plan to fly in their Corvair powered Pietenpols for the
event. It is a relaxed, non-commercial setting. We have a lot of friends in the Pietenpol community dating back 10 years, when we gave
countless rides in our own Pietenpol, from Florida, to Kansas, to Wisconsin. If you have one of our Conversion Manuals, the
photo of our Piet was taken on the field at Brodhead in 2000. It gave more than 20 people their first ride in a Pietenpol on that day alone.
If you're a fan of the design and friendly people, Brodhead is a great place to be.
Our next stop will be AirVenture Oshkosh, Monday through Saturday. Our major new development for this year's AirVenture is that we have our
very own booth in the North Display Area. The past six years at Oshkosh, we've traditionally been a small part of the Zenith Aircraft booth. This year
we have expanded to our own full size outdoor display. Our location is Booth #627, between Vans Aircraft and Sonex.
Our booth will be show central for AirVenture if you are a Corvair builder. Assisting Grace and I with the operation of
the booth will be Mark from Falcon, Roy Szarafinski from Roy's Garage, and Dan Weseman from Fly5thBearing.com. We will additionally have Pramod Kotwal,
host of Corvair College #14 on hand. We will have all the hardware and complementary Corvair products from these creative people
on display all week.
The real draw will be the personalities, not the parts. This week will be an excellent chance for all builders to come and meet dozens of others,
some just getting started, others many years into flying their Corvair powered creation. Well known Corvair pilots Mark Langford, Joe Horton and
Mark Jones will be representing the KR world. I've heard from more than 10 601 pilots who intend to fly in for the event, among them Woody Harris,
Rick Lindstrom and Andy Elliott planning on flying in all the way from the West Coast. Even one or two of the Pietenpol pilots have talked about flying
up to Oshkosh for a day or so. The event promises to be the site of the most Corvair powered airplanes in one spot ever (the record is nine that
we had at Corvair Collge #9). While we will be at AirVenture to do regular business, our 20 years of work with Corvairs
allows this to be perfectly blended with all the fine social attributes associated with the Corvair movement. Our commitment to education will
find me giving four forums as well:
8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, 2009, in Engine Workshop 20
10 to 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 29 in GAMA Pavilion 2
8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Friday, July 31 in Engine Workshop 20
1 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday, August 1 in Utah Valley University Pavilion 6
If you're relatively new to homebuilding, you may have attended a few major airshows. Twenty years ago, I was in the same position, and after the
initial amazement, I realized that I had just walked through dozens of acres of displays, been exposed to countless ideas and pieces of hardware, but
didn't really have anyone to share the experience with. To me, people are the centerpiece of the Corvair movement, and I have always worked to put
people in the focal point.
Blast From The Past
The above photo is from 1995. In the background, the first of the V-8 Lancair IVPs, N420HP, at the time still under construction. The crew is an
all-Embry Riddle showcase that I led to the completion of this project. The airplane was on the cover of Sport Aviation in 1997, won
Oshkosh Champion, and the EAA's prestigious August Raspet Award for Engineering Innovation. Upon completion, it was probably the fastest
single-engine piston general aviation aircraft in the World. It was capable of cruising above 30,000' at 380 mph for more than 1,500 miles. We later
went on to build a number of copies of it. Within a few years, I abandoned this part of homebuilding to concentrate my efforts exclusively on the Corvair.
Left to right above are: yours truly, WW;
avionics and structures wiz Mark Christmann, 4.0 Embry Riddle graduate who today works in the engineering division of Boeing on the 787; Jim Rahm, aircraft
owner and the man who envisioned the project and personally bankrolled it past a million dollars; avionics engineer Bryant Cervents, who today owns a
business making panels for a very exclusive clientele; ERAU Air Science major Guy Polachek, third generation master painter who at the conclusion of
the project was hired to paint private aircraft in Europe; painting expert Eric Demaray, today a neighbor of Ed Fisher's in South Carolina, site of
Corvair Colleges #12 and #16; and Gus Warren, who now operates FlyWithGus.com - both Eric and Gus were from Embry Riddle's
Aviation Maintenance/Management program.
Developing affordable options is much more important and rewarding work than a handful of stellar showpieces. Although the planes were the
talk of experimental aviation in the late 1990s, they faded from the forefront because they fulfilled the dreams of a few, and the attention
of spectators is easily drawn elsewhere. Conversely, my work with Corvairs is self-sustaining and timeless. We have taught countless people to
be In The Arena themselves, and to fulfill their own dreams. Each new Corvair Flyer has been an example to others, forming a chain reaction. Even
as I worked on the high end composite planes during the day, we toiled late into the night on Corvairs. Although I had big ideas and dreams, our
Corvair movement today exceeds all the expectations I allowed myself to dream of in 1995.
Now At The Hangar
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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 1
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At The Hangar In April 2006
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At The Hangar In December 2005
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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