Shipman Engine at CC#22

Above is a look at Becky Shipman’s engine before I finished the assembly. Notice that the fins extend all the way around the head studs. These are 1960 Corvair cylinders machined 1/16 inch over bore. This makes them standard bore for a 1961 to ’69 Corvair. After carefully machining a notch in the bottom of the cylinders, it is possible to mate them to a set of 1964 heads and a long stroke crankshaft. This combination produces one of the lightest Corvair engines without resorting to unreliable or unproven components. Although these cylinders have more fins on them than standard 1964-69 cylinders, the fins themselves are thinner in cross-section and the cylinders are lighter. 1964 heads are about 1 1/2 pounds lighter each than ’66 and later heads. A number of small details like this when watched closely add up to an engine that is approximately 10 pounds lighter than typical Corvair powerplants. The cylinder heads on this engine were prepped for me by Falcon. A close look shows that the pistons in the engine are Sealed Power products with coated skirts. This particular set was made in the U.S.A. before production was corporately outsourced to India. Connecting rod bolts in the engine are ARP. The valves on the engine are one piece stainless with rotators on the exhausts.

Above is a view of the engine complete with its Gold System Components installed and prepped for a test run. I broke in the engine for approximately an hour before we brought it to the College for a further run and delivery to Becky Shipman. This view shows how thin 1960 fins are by looking at the upper stud on the number five cylinder. This engine is equipped with a Weseman bearing fed by the silver braided oil line leading directly from the Gold Oil Filter Housing to the bearing behind the Ring Gear. It has the inboard section of its front Alternator Bracket installed, the gold corner of which is just barely visible. I rarely install a charging system on an engine while we are doing the break-in on the engine stand, but it is far easier to install the inboard bracket before the ring gear and the Prop Hub are in place.

Above, I stand with Becky and her running engine at the College in Texas. The engine is destined to be installed in her Zenith 650 airframe. Becky drove all the way down from Minnesota to attend the College and pick up as much technical information as possible as well as bring the engine home. Her teenage son Kyle also came down from Minnesota. He proved to be a very sharp student himself and has plans to attend the Air Force Academy.

Becky is an Ivy League trained PhD engineer who works in manufacturing for 3M company. She has a good mechanical background and a significant amount of flight experience. I am always glad to work with any builder who shows a genuine interest in learning about the engine they will be operating.

Another view of the engine during an extended run on Saturday.

After the run, the engine was brought inside, allowed to cool off and removed from the test stand so that John Franklin’s engine could be run next. At Colleges, there’s always a lot of helping hands for any task to be taken care of.

Above is another view of the same engine running in our yard in Florida. The test stand is chained down to a giant concrete block in the ground. Our neighbor Wayne, an aviator of long experience, stands next to me and enjoys the smooth sound of Corvair power.Wayneis six months away from 80 years of age, yet he is an active IA, and flies his Wittman Tailwind and RV-7 every chance he gets. I have heard many men 20 years younger than Wayne talk about not going after their dreams in aviation because they felt too old. Probably something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Wayne never goes for such negative thinking. He constantly is working to enjoy the day at hand. Anyone attributing Wayne’s energy and longevity to clean living would do well to look closely and notice the beer can in his hand. He grew up on a rural farm in South Carolina that did not have running water, went on to raise several children as a single parent, served in the military and later as a Fire Chief in Jacksonville, has owned, built and flown a wide variety of aircraft. The common thread through his entire life experience is his outstanding positive attitude.

Here is a brief film of Becky running her engine at the College:

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