Front Alternator Belt, Part #2904, new source.

Builders:

In our conversion manual, (http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/conversion-manual/) , The front alternator group is #2900, and the belt itself is Part #2904.  In the manual we specified a Continental AVX10-710 belt. A number of people have asded about another source, as Conti, now lists their number as obsolete, and people had a hard time at their local auto parts store getting an interchange.

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The issue is that most countermen don’t know enough about the parts they sell. Conti is a German company, and the “10” in their part number is 10mm wide, and in the US that is a 25/64″ width belt. “710” is the pitch length in mm’s, which is pretty close to 28″. The belt pictured below, available from any NAPA store, is a valid interchange. Please write this note in your conversion manual.

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Above the correct replacement belt.  This has been verified to work on a Gold hub, with a Front Alternator bracket set and a front alternator.

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-ww.

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Part #3901-A Zenith/Bearhawk Stainless Exhausts, now on shelf.

Builders:

Out of the many different models we offer, our best selling exhaust system is #3901-A, the model that fits all Zenith 601/650/750 aircraft, and also coincidentally fits the Bearhawk LSA. Because of it’s quality and popularity, it has usually on backorder for all 13 years we have offered it. The average delivery time has run something like 90 days. However, as another sign of the progress of 2016, we have made a very large batch of #3901-A’s, enough to cover all the existing orders and put about 10 more sets on the shelf.

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Above, a picture of a bin with 8 sets of exhausts in it waiting final inspection. The picture was taken in the SPA/Panther shop. Over the years I have personally welded several hundred stainless steel exhaust systems for Corvair powered planes. Welding stainless is a skill that most welders never develop to a standard required by aircraft exhaust systems. They rarely understand the requirement for continuous internal purging of the weld, nor do most “local experts” understand the benefits of low hydrogen filler rods and pulsed welding.  Fortunately for me, when my plate is full, I can have Travis, the head of welding at SPA/Panther weld many of the parts in our catalog. He is professionally trained by one of the nation’s oldest welding schools, he now has a number of years of experience, his uncorrected vision is perfect, and his concentration and focus are phenomenal. This most current batch of 3901-A’s are Travis’s craftsmanship. I inspected them closely, and I have to admit that the workmanship is as good as mine ever was.

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If you would like to learn more about #3901-A exhausts, follow this link: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/3901-a-zenith-exhaust/. If you know that you will need one of these systems for your aircraft, and you would like to avoid any type of future delay, you may consider ordering one soon.

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-ww.

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New Front Spinner Bulkhead 

Builders:

For the last 15 years we have made a part called the “Front Spinner Bulkhead”. In our conversion manual numbering system it is Group #4000, Part #4002.  It is just for Corvairs using Warp Drive Props and the Van’s 13″ spinner. The part has traditionally had a molded fiberglass bulkhead with an aluminum crush plate. Below are pictures of the latest version, it has been modified to be 100% Aluminum. All of the existing backorders on this part have been filled with this new design.

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Above, a look at the part from the engine side. This is the 3/8″ thick crushplate required by Warp Drive Props. It is a precision CNC part.

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Above the spinner side of the part.  The six large holes allow getting a socket on the prop mounting bolts. The spun aluminum part starts out life as a Van’s aircraft part, but it has been fed through the CNC router at SPA/Panther to produce the correct SAE#1 bolt pattern and enlarge the holes for clearance. The complete assembly is put into a lathe, and checked for trueness. These Aluminum assemblies are slightly lighter and more true than previous Aluminum/fiberglass models. The sticker on the part shows that it has passed the final assembly check.

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This improved part is another example of how builders have benefited from my collaborative work with the Wesemans. 2016 has been a year of progress on the manufacturing and distribution of a number of products, all of which adds up to builders having a better opportunity to Learn Build and fly.

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To learn more about the part, follow this link: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/4002-front-spinner-bulk-head/

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-ww.

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Corvair Case sale, 36 available, $100 each.

Builders:

Below is a picture of 36 Corvair Cases I pulled out of my hangar over the weekend.  I gathered these is the last three years without even trying, just picking them up by running an occasional ad on the Jacksonville Florida Craigslist. I have moved these to the Shop of Dan and Rachel Weseman, where they will be available for sale to supply our builders with an option for getting in the game or making progress on their project.

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Above, thirty-six 1964-69 Corvair Cases pictured on the patio between our hangar and house. They have since been moved to the SPA/Panther factory.

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Here is the idea: The cases sitting in my hangar don’t support my mission of getting people building Corvair engines. They only do this when they are part of a builders active project. Since Dan and Rachel already process 8409 cranks and offer Billet cranks, and also supply the finest remanufactured Corvair flight heads, having the cases at their shop allows them to coordinate a number of different build options, and integrate these cases into their plans.

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Let’s look at a few build scenarios these cases might serve:

Picture a guy who wants to build a 3,000 cc Corvair (3,000 cc engines and parts going out the door.), but has not yet found a core; He could start with one of these cases, have the Wesemans prep the case and bore it, he can pay the core fee on a 8409 crank ( The Wesemans have a number of these on hand) and get things in the works so he can assemble his case at home or at a College.

Picture a builder who wants to get started on a 3.3 liter stroked Corvair (3.3 Liter Corvair, a Smooth Power House): he needs a case, but because all 3.3 engine have a new billet crank, he doesn’t need a crank nor does he have a core fee. Just having a case available gets him started with a 3.3 liter crank order and a group 1300/1400 piston-rod-cylinder kit.

Picture a builder who wants one of the Wesemans new “Engine in a box” Kits, (https://flywithspa.com/product/corvair-engine-box/)  these cores can support those engine kits.

Picture a builder who sends his case to the Wesemans for modification to a 3,000 0r 3.3 liter, (https://flywithspa.com/product/corvair-3-0l-case-machining-service/)  but it is found to have an issue that is uneconomical to repair. Such a builder can simply get one of these cases from the Weseman’s rather than go back out and look for another core.

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Keep in mind that for $100, the cases are not “mint”, they are serviceable. Most of them need at least some studs replaced. Good news is that the Weseman’s are experts at this. They can prep any of these cases to make sure it is ready to be the foundation of your Corvair Flight engine.

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There are many ways these cases can serve a wide variety of builders plans and needs. If you have questions about how one may serve your building needs, please contact the Wesemans : https://flywithspa.com/contact-us/

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-ww.

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Just in case the guy at your airport who has an opionion on everything but obviously knows nothing, has a comment about Corvair cases, let me share a little factual data: Both Continentals and Rotaxes are good engines that work, but they have astronomical prices on parts by comparison. Neither of them have a spotless record on case issues, and when they have one, it can cost an astronomical amount of money to solve. For example, ten years ago, Rotax 912’s an engine that is relentlessly fictionally  portrayed as always going 3,000 hours between overhauls, has a serious case issue, where a great number of them fretted the case to needing a replacement in less than 1,000 hours. The case on these engines is more than $5000. Read the thread below to understand that it was an issue that could be caused by issues as slight as excessive prop pitch or even unsynchronized Bing carbs. It was not usually covered by warranty. Rotaxes are fine engines, but they are not for people on a budget:

http://www.rotax-owner.com/en/rotax-forum/3-4-stroke-technical-questions/2271-rotax-912-uls-fretted-crankcase

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Lest any expert claim that Continentals are “inexpensive” Look at the two adds below, the used case on barnstormers is $1200, the one on Ebay is $2,000. These are not rip off prices, they just represent market values for a high demand, limited supply item:

TELEDYNE CONT’L O-200A CASE • $1,200 • OFFERED FOR SALE Excellent first run case for O-200A • Contact Stephen E. DunbarVIKINGOK, Owner – located Broken Arrow, OK USA • Telephone: 918-568-8880 . • Posted August 24, 2016 • Show all Ads posted by this AdvertiserRecommend This Ad to a FriendEmail AdvertiserSave to WatchlistReport This Ad

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TCM-Continental-O-200A-Crankcase-P-N-643250-W-Data-Plate-915-24-/141878151225?hash=item210898c839:g:IAYAAOSwQTVV8dkN&vxp=mtr

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The next time anyone wants to tell you about magic engines that have no issues or how inexpensive other engines are, please understand they are just speaking of unicorns: Unicorns vs Ponies.

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-ww.

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Zenith 25th open house, Mexico MO, Sept. 23-24.

Builders,

Zenith Aircraft is holding their 25th annual open house September 23 and 24th, in Mexico MO, to celebrate 25 years of kit production at that location. (the company’s origins date all the way back to the early 1970s in Canada.)  This is a landmark event in an industry noted for short lived businesses.  The event will be well attended by builders, but many industry people associated with Zenith will be on hand to celebrate and make a contribution to the success of the event.

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I have been working directly with Zenith and the Heintz family since Grace and I bought our 601XL kit in 2003. You can read the story at this link: 12 years of Zenith’s powered by FlyCorvair Conversions.  We are writing new chapters in this story all the time, such as this one: A tale of three Zenith builders. But for the 25th, We are planning on something new.

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At the open house, Dan Weseman and I will be on hand, and We are going to start to finish, assemble and test run a large bore Corvair on Friday the 23rd. We will demo run the engine on Saturday also.  We will be on hand for the whole event to answer any builder question and inspect builders core parts. While we have previously held four Corvair Colleges at The Zenith factory, this demonstration assembly is a different event, it is open to all interested builders, and unlike colleges it does not require signing up in advance. Want to learn a lot more about Corvairs? Just show up.

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To learn more about the Zenith open house, follow this link provided by the EAA: http://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/eaa-news-and-aviation-news/news/07-07-2016-zenith-aircrafts-25th-annual-open-hangar-days–flyin.

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Here is Zenith’s own page with a detailed description of the event, including directions and area information: http://www.zenith.aero/profiles/blogs/planning-open-hangar-day-25

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Above, Dan Weseman and I in 2012 at the test run of his 3,000 cc Panther engine. We have been friends for 15 years, neighbors for 10, and for the last year, He and Rachel’s company, SPA/Panther has marketed and distributed our line of Corvair products and components alongside with their own Corvair stuff. This collaborative effort serves builders as a one-stop resource for everything they will need in building and mastering the Corvair.

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Important points:

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Everyone interested in homebuilding is welcome; you do not need to be a Zenith builder to be welcome at their open house. The Heintz family has a 40 year history of supporting homebuilders of all kinds, not just their current builders.

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Dan and I will be demonstrating all of our assembly techniques; we welcome builders taking pictures, notes and video. While I will have plenty of Conversion manuals on hand, anyone seriously interested in getting the most out of following every detail of the build and test run should read the manual through in advance. If you don’t have one, you can order one here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/shop/ and it will be shipped out right away.

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We will have a limited selection of Corvair parts and installation components with us, but if there is something specific from either the Flycorvair or the SPA/Panther catalog you would like to pick up at the event, the only way to insure that we have it there is to order and pay for it in advance. The single most popular items to pick up at events are motor mounts, because you can save nearly $100 on shipping by doing so. If there is a specific item on your shopping list, contact Rachel Weseman at 904-626-7777, about making sure it is ordered and in the trailer before we leave Florida.

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We will be conducting “Parking lot Inspections” which means any part you have for your Corvair that you would like us to look at, bring it, and we will.  If you have a case, crank, heads or any other part that you would like inspected, bring them, and we will be glad to give them a look. This is also an opportunity to get in the game and save the shipping on sending these parts in for overhaul or modification. We will load them in the trailer and bring them back with us to Florida. This saves packing and shipping, and gets you started and ready for the coming Corvair Colleges.

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If you have never met Dan or myself in person, and you are still in the decision process of which engine will power your homebuilt, the Zenith Open House is an outstanding opportunity to come, look and make a much more informed decision. I have always said that Corvairs are not for everyone, but for the traditional learn build and fly homebuilders with the goal of mastering their engine, not just owning it, the Corvair is an excellent option. I welcome the chance to meet new potential builders in the relaxed setting where they can get a very good look at how much Dan Weseman and myself have to directly share with builders.  The very best relationship between a builder and his engine provider is one based on mutual respect. Come meet me in person and get a much better understanding of why I have been continuously working with homebuilders for 27 years.

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-ww.

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Thought for the Day: Qualities of an aviator on display

Builders:

I have watched the viral video shown below about twenty times. It is an astonishing display of one young man keeping his head, acting without hesitation without instruction, training or a plan, to save someone who was seconds away from a very ugly death.  The Link is to CNN’s 60 second cut, there are others on Youtube that show 2:40 of the events. From any angle, This young man is heroic in his actions.

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All of us know people who use the phrase “I almost died” to describe traffic encounters, weather storms, etc. Looking at the video, the woman’s exasperation can be forgiven by the fact she really was facing death, and knew it. The story isn’t about her, it is about the young man. If you say “Qualities of an aviator” people start listing skills, which are something different. Look closely and watch the man does not panic, even when the first tries to extract the woman don’t work.  Cool and effective under pressure is a Quality of an Aviator.  Second, study how quickly he evaluates the deteriorating situation, makes a new plan, and acts on it. That is also a Quality of an Aviator.

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I have looked, but I have not yet found the Man’s full name, just that he is called “David.” Perhaps one of the many people reading this can find it and let us all know who he is .  I would like to meet him and know more about what his goals and plans are.  This week the cable news industry is bombarding every home in America, 24/7, with a continuous stream of poison noting every failed person they can find, and the more vile the act or venomous the words, the more airtime they are given. We can’t change that, but I refuse to drink the poison when in front of our eyes is obvious evidence of good people in our world.

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In this country, we send a large fraction of students to college because they can play a sport or a game, this is arguably paid for by overcharging the rest of the academic students.  I understand the potential values taught to high school students my athletics, my only point is the Qualities shown above, demonstrated without the scripting of a football play or the safety of a gym, should be a better predictor of future performance and value to society. Perhaps after finding out who he is we can do something to test my theory. I don’t care if he wants to be a Pilot or an EMT, I would just rather put any effort into supporting it, rather than do nothing and listen to another day’s poison.

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-ww.

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The ‘Wrath of Gall Bladder’

Builders:

Thinking  I was in the clear when I made it home on Wednesday night,  it soon became obvious my dear old gall bladder wasn’t quite done messing with me. Just like a dying Messala says to Ben-Hur at the end of the Chariot race: “It goes on”  For those of you who have exorcised the little demon from your chest, perhaps you can relate to the black humor; for those living in a fool’s paradise, believing your own bladder has nothing personal against you, enjoy it while it lasts, and remember this story when it suddenly feels like someone shived you under the ribcage with a rusty rebar.

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To recap: Everything was normal Saturday night at the airpark, Vern and I were grilling chicken and enjoying the twilight. I felt a slight twinge, but wanted to dismiss it. By midnight, I was well into the worst gall bladder attack I have ever had in 15 years of having them. Yes, there is a small, stupid optimistic part of my brain that was able to believe that each of them would be the last, this is the same part of my brain that thinks I am just as strong and tough as I was when I was 24, The same part my doctor is addressing when he looks in my eyes and says “People don’t actually get younger, you are middle aged, period”

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At 5:30 am on Sunday, I would have confessed to being friends Osama Bin Laden to make it stop. Time to go to the ER, but the ability to drive had passed several hours earlier. We are way out in the country, and 911 takes more than 15 minutes just to get here.  I called Corvair Panther builder, and my neighbor, Paul Salter.  He didn’t answer, but it wasn’t smart enough to roll his hangar door all the way down. I crawled under it in growing desperation, and got him up and we were shortly in the Baptist-Clay ER, IV Demerol to the rescue. Paul is a great guy, and waits through six hours of tests. It is a slow morning, and the primary entertainment is mocking the guy so dumb he would to this for 15 years. At noon I am put in an ambulance and transferred to Baptist-South, where the extraction will take place. Monday it is out, Tuesday is recovering, and Discharge is Wednesday night at 5 pm. Problem solved…..for 3 hours.

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After just three hours at home I had a 101 fever, and Rachel Weseman sent Dan over to drive me back to the Baptist-Clay ER, exact same spot where the adventure had started 84 hours earlier. I actually get the same shift crew.  I honestly hoped to an inspection and maybe a new prescription, but instead was there from 9pm until 5 am the next morning getting a full battery of tests including a CT scan.

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Dan Weseman is the best kind of friend and neighbor, and his sits in a chair next to my gurney through all of this.  In between samples and vitals, the nurses entertain us with comments about men being comparative poo-nannies, who describe everything as a “10” on the pain scale to a nurse who had 5 C-sections, etc for several hours. All in good fun.  Over the hours the conversation with Dan drifts from this sucks to little planes we’d like to build and fly, what you want to be doing in 10 years etc. By 4 am sleep depravation is getting to Dan, and I am being treated with narcotics, and our conversation drifts to the concept that my gall bladder might have really had a mind of its own; there is plenty of evidence that it was out to get me; locked in a 15 year death struggle, just like Captain Kirk and Kahn, and just like Messala and Ben-Hur, It would go on.  Just silly stuff to entertain when you can’t think rationally anymore.

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5 am brought the decision that I would be transported back to Baptist-South, just like a few days earlier. The nursing staff keeps calling this “Ground Hogs Day” in reference to the movie where life keeps repeating the same nightmare for Bill Murray.  The transfer ambulance is staffed by two drivers in their early 20’s, working to become county EMT’s. They are very nice, and they hear the nursing banter about repeating the trip. As they are closing the doors one of them asks Dan why I am actually going back, and with a strait face Dan tells him I am having my gall bladder reinstalled.

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Two hours later I am beyond exhausted, drugged, and now filled with radioactive dye. I am being put through the HIDA machine, a nuclear imaging device that can find very tiny leaks in your bile system. You get to lay perfectly still in your gurney, and it is lowered down to you. I am told my job is to layback and fall asleep for 90 minutes. Sounds great. I fall asleep right away. Somewhere in the middle of my test the nightmare/hallucination arrives that my gall bladder, who speaks exactly like Ricardo Manitoban, has taken over Baptist-South, and tricked me into returning so he can kill me. I am being fed into a large casket, painted just like a Sharps infections material container, which is very coincidently the same size and shape as the HIDA machine.  As he is closing the lid, Gall Bladder wants me to notice the interior is made of “Fine Corinthian Leather.”  I must make a desperate lunge to escape!

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Bolting upright from a motionless sleep, I smash into the HIDA scanning heads while yelling “Gall Bladder!” Bizarrely, I find myself in the Nuclear imaging lab rather than in the clutches of my nemesis. Two lab techs are staring blankly. They say nothing, I wisely decide not to try to explain.  The test is completed without any of the light hearted friendly banter it previously had. They were young and likely still had their gall bladders, and wish them health and peace before they have to learn what evil lives in their own chests.

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“Gall Bladder!!!!!!!!”

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Here is something very real to take away:

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I finally came home late Friday afternoon. In my absence neighbors had mowed my lawn, recharged the house A/C, Paul’s mom and cooked enough food for a week and stocked it in our refrigerator, the Wesemans offered their guest room if needed, several people offered to stay over a few days in Grace’s absence.  It was all very moving because I am blessed with far better friends and neighbors than I deserve. I wanted to tell everyone that, but couldn’t finish any of the sentences without crying. It had been a very long week, and I was very thankful to be home.

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-ww.

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