Zenith Open House September 16-17
Corvair College #21, S.C., Nov. 11-13
Engine Mounts Now
We have been invited out by the Heintz family to participate in the Zenith Open House September 15 and 16th in Mexico, Missouri. This is an annual event that gathers several hundred Zenith builders to the factory where their kits are produced. We have spoken to a number of builders who are out successfully flying their aircraft, and invited them to make the trip to the factory. The last time we had an opportunity to attend the Zenith Open House was in 2009, and you can see that story at this link: At the Hangar in October 2009.
For more information on attending this year's Zenith Open House, read this link to the Zenith page: http://www.zenithair.com/news/oh2011.html . Sebastien Heintz mentioned to me that he wants to welcome all Corvair builders, not just Zenith people. If you have a different homebuilt project in your garage, he wants you to feel welcome to come into her his shop so you can plan your next project. As always, bring any part you want to have inspected and I will get a look at it on a parking lot tour. I am bringing a full complement of our machined parts and a number of items like Distributors and Stainless Exhausts.
Zenith 750 Mount before shipment. Destined for service on Mr. Haney's 750.
Right now in the shop we are welding up
a run of Zenith 601/650 and 750 Motor Mounts. These are very expensive to ship. If anyone is planning on attending the event, or has a friend who is attending, and you intend to purchase a motor mount this fall, I highly encourage you to purchase one this week and pick it up from us at the Zenith event. It saves approximately $50 shipping.
If you have any questions about Motor Mounts or any other parts, just drop us a quick e-mail, preferably with your phone number on it, and we'll get right back to you. I'm looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this event.
Corvair College #21
Corvair College #21 will be held November 11-13 at Barnwell Regional Airport KBNL in Barnwell, South Carolina. This will be a large and technically sophisticated Corvair College. If you would like a sample of what the event will be like you can get a look at this link to Corvair College #19, which was held one year ago with the same crew and facility.
The event promises a very large turnout of builders, and a number of Corvair powered aircraft flying in. Last year we ran a dozen new engines on the break-in stand, and we had a half-dozen Corvair powered aircraft in attendance. Our host P.F. Beck and his crew have had a full year to prepare for this event, and I think we're in a good position to run 20 to 25 engines and have 10 Corvair powered airplanes on hand. Additionally, we have space for 90 builders working in the shop. In addition to all the members of the Corvair All-Stars, Mark from FalconMachine.net, Roy from RoysGarage.com, Dan from Fly5thBearing.com and your humble narrator, we will have a great number of returning veterans of previous Colleges who will be there to assist new builders in making progress on their own engines. The College will be an outstanding event where new Corvair builders can get the full immersion experience in one setting. Don't let the opportunity pass you by: Register and make plans to attend today.
A week from now we will be promoting the College on a wider scale utilizing national magazines and Web sites aimed at rank and file homebuilders, people who are not yet in the Corvair movement. While it's important to attract new people like this, I want to give everyone who is already a Corvair guy a head start on registering for this event. In spite of the weak economy, the Corvair movement has had a very strong response at airshows and Colleges in the past 12 months. There is a good chance that we may close the registration early if it fills up quickly. Again, don't postpone registering if you know that you're going to attend.
Here's a link to the registration page set up by Ken Pavlou, aka The Central Scrutinizer:
Special thanks go to Ken, as he has run the registration for 5 of the past 6 Colleges from his undisclosed location in Connecticut, where he continues to put the finishing touches on his own 601 XL, Corvair powered of course. Please note that there is a registration fee that goes to covering the expenses that P.F. Beck and his crew are putting into the College. The modest fee covers just the expenses that the host is encountering. Everything else is done on a volunteer basis. If you're flying in with your Corvair powered aircraft, your registration will be paid for by Grace and myself.
As with all previous Colleges, a few footnotes: We expect all people attending to follow the basic safety guidelines that we outline before the event, and I expect everyone to exercise common sense and follow directions from the host, his crew and myself while we’re there. Two topics at the event are absolutely off limits: politics and religion. We want to keep everything focused on building Corvair engines and having a good time.
Everyone is welcome with three common sense exceptions. 1) If you're planning on attending so that you can learn something about Corvair motors to later build them for a profit, you're missing the point of the College and you're not welcome. 2) If you're argumentative and have never mastered socializing at the level of five-year-olds in a sandbox, the event is not for you. Serious builders have overwhelmingly supported the concept that the event belongs to people who are there to have a good time and learn. I personally found that argumentative Internet type personalities are a distraction to the staff and therefore a potential safety issue. If you're coming to have a good time and learn, have no worries you'll fit right in and no one will be there to detract from this.
3) People who purchased Corvair parts from now bankrupt Internet LLCs, who are just finding out the issues with their ill-advised purchases, I'm sorry, but it's not the mission of my crew of volunteers to bail you out. At the College, every waking hour will be consumed with productive work getting builders to advance their projects and knowledge. The All Stars are volunteering their time to work with anybody who has chosen our products, or people who have creatively worked at home to make their own parts. Any builder who has a question on these policies is highly advised to contact me before registering. Note: I have never knowingly made an exception for Number 1,
on Number 2 I've had to remind a couple people at the College, but in 10 years I've only had to tell two people they were not welcome, and one person to pack up and head home.
On Number 3, I have made one or two exceptions for people who were tricked before
knowing about us. As a general rule, I'm pretty easygoing and common sense oriented about running the Colleges. More than 1,000 people have attended them, and all but a tiny group felt they were outstanding events. In the rest of our lives we may have to tolerate all types of people, but the Colleges are our private events, and we are under no obligation to pollute the experience by extending a welcome to the wrong people. If you're coming for the reason that 99% of the previous builders came for, know that my rules on these matters are there to protect your investment in time, travel and money coming to the College. You are the person that this event belongs to. We’ll be glad to see you there.
More information on Barnwell is at the
Since Sun ’N Fun, we have been working very hard to put more parts on the shelf. In previous years, attending Oshkosh meant taking orders that were built and shipped in the fall. At AirVenture this year, I brought up a trailer full of parts that we had built in advance. We had a very strong sales year at Oshkosh, which is not unusual, but this was because we had on hand and delivered every single part that we sold at the event.
This put us well ahead of the game. Compared to this time last year, we are more than 70 working days in the shop ahead. This progress comes from two fronts. First, our choice to run two Colleges this year, and second, we have hired a highly skilled welder with 30 years of experience working on DOD aircraft to work in the shop right beside me several days week. Right now, as I sit at the desk and type this, welding is still taking place in the shop. If you study all of our products closely, you'll see that a large number of them involve very high grade welding. I have traditionally done all of this myself. I have been continuously welding since 1978, and I had some really outstanding teachers along the way. I can't sing or dance, but I have welded components that have flown on several hundred aircraft. The stated, I will honestly say that the new guy in our shop is a better welder than I am on any material we use. In the history of our efforts, the only other outside welder I have ever hired was Ed Fisher, and outstanding craftsman well known to homebuilders. He built about 40 Zenith Mounts for us when we were very busy in 2006-2007. Other than that, if it's a weld bead on our parts, I made it. Skilled craftsmen like Ed don't grow on trees, and many welders with long experience have never worked with aircraft alloys of aluminum and stainless. Our new craftsman has a career's worth of experience in just these alloys to the demanding standards required by jet combat aircraft. While other experimental aircraft companies may feel comfortable hiring welders from trailer manufacturers, I prefer to have a guy whose previous experience includes working on the internal components of hundreds of gas turbine engines.
The significance for the people sitting at home reading this is that parts that traditionally required some wait are now available on the shelf. While the recession has effectively wiped out most of the here-today-gone-tomorrow LLCs that grew like weeds in the easy money era of 2003-2008, companies like ours built on a solid reputation of service and longstanding reputation in the industry are still here, making parts and hiring people in this country, and going strong.
This Exhaust System is built out of 321 stainless. Its future home is on Woody Harris’ 601 XL. Woody just completed a 66 flight-hour circumnavigation of the United States. This winter he will be retrofitting his 2,850 cc engine with a turbocharger. This is the engine half of the exhaust system, and it was built in my jigs. Our regular Exhaust Systems are built out of 304 stainless, which is extremely durable and fairly resistant to heat flow. 321 is the alloy of choice for Turbo Systems, as it withstands elevated temperatures even better. Notice how the one pipe crosses underneath the engine to go over and meet with the other before heading into the Turbo. After thorough testing, we may offer this as an option to a handful of builders who have need for it. It is worth noting, however, that naturally aspirated Corvair powered 601s with 2,700 cc engines have exceeded 17,000’ and have little problem with density altitudes over 14,000 feet. People building a Zenith today can continue to work with it knowing from Woody's example that the Turbo system is intended as a later retrofit for an existing flying aircraft.
Above is a Universal Exhaust System. The name is something of a misnomer as it is the appropriate Exhaust System for two different aircraft: a Cleanex and a KR-2. This Exhaust System is made entirely of 304 stainless. If you have a specific aircraft that we do not list a Stainless Exhaust for, please call me, we are willing to make systems to fit nearly any Corvair powered aircraft.
The above photo shows our Tailwind project aircraft getting a Corvair Engine Mount grafted to the front end of its existing landing gear structure. Getting ahead on production parts allows us to spend a few hours a week working on our own stuff. I have a 3 L engine under construction for this aircraft. The plane has flown before, but has been dormant since the 1970s. It needs a lot of work, but hopefully we'll have it done next year. Many people have asked if I think the Tailwind makes a good combination with the Corvair, and the above photo shows that I truly think it does.
I took the photo above on 9/12/01. The letter is taped to Washington Rock, a 500' ridge a few miles from my parents' house in N.J.
It has a direct view of lower Manhattan from 10 miles. Hundreds of people stood in silence there and watched the smoke pour out of the city.
The letter was a note to a dead friend promising to take care of his children and to raise them as he would have. Below it is my Father's
business card. Note the address of World Trade Center #2. My father capped his 33 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy with 25 more years
working on projects like the fusion reactor at Princeton and directing the construction of more secure U.S. embassies after Tehran. I often remind people
that I am not a licensed engineer, but I do know exactly what one looks like.
This week it is well worth taking time to remember what happened 10 years ago. People who have known me for a long time know that my father worked on the 89th floor of World Trade Center Tower Number Two for more than 20 years. On 9/11/01 I was recovering from an accident at my parents’ house in New Jersey. My father took the day off from work after the eye doctor called to let us know they had time for me due to a cancellation. This turned out to be a fortunate twist of fate. My father’s original plan was that he and I would go to his office for a few hours and head uptown at noon to see some of his friends at the monthly Naval Academy alumni meeting. Although I could just barely hobble around, my father thought it would be good for me to get out of the hospital mode and say hello to his colleagues and friends.
We were in the doctor’s office about 15 miles away when news that a plane had struck Tower One came. It was a crystal clear blue day outside, which removed the possibility of a mistake, and when the news came a few minutes later that it had been an airliner, it was the first moment when we understood that something very ominous had happened.
About 250 people worked on my father’s floor. Many of them, like my father, had been trapped in the smoke filled building for hours during the 1993 bombing. These people followed the evacuation order that came minutes after the first plane. The elevators were shut off and they began to walk down. A number of people, despite being able to see the other burning Tower 200 feet away, did not leave. None of them survived. The people who left later reported that they had walked down to the 44th floor when the building was
rocked very hard. It was the second plane hitting 500 feet above them. They continued down and were able to walk 5 to 10 blocks away before it fell. Listening to the stories of
my father’s coworkers, it was very hard to see how I would have hobbled down the stairs
in my condition, and I know that my father would not have left me, even if I begged him to. Getting one call from the optometrist had given us a future.
At sundown we sat in the kitchen, as did people all over America. The telephone rang many times, people asking if Dad was O.K. I answered a long series of these quick calls which were punctuated by a number of people asking if my father had seen theirs leaving the building that day. I could offer them nothing but hope. They were searching for a shadow of doubt that they would not find. I gently hung up the phone each time and felt
a palpable mixture of luck and guilt that I would keep my father and they would probably never see theirs again. Their voices contained a desperation that stays with you even 10 years later.
My opinion of things done in American foreign policy in the past ten years is no more valid nor enlightened than any one else’s. I am in the 97% of my countrymen that have never set foot in the places we have sent people. If you are in the other 3%, please know that you have the profound respect of both Grace and myself. My Father is a WWII, Korea and Vietnam veteran. By observation and understanding, all of the members of my family came to know that warriors have never set America’s foreign policy, they just paid for it. If you are reading this from a deployed position somewhere in the world, it is our most profound wish that you and the members of your unit safely return. I say this with the understanding that my life would have added up to very little had my father not returned from Vietnam in 1967. Both Grace and I wish you many rewarding years ahead.
"Real freedom is the sustained act of being an individual." WW - 2009
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At The Hangar In April 2006
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OSH, Illinois and SAA June 13, 2005
At The Hangar June 13, 2005 Part II
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