Mail sack – 5/10/12


Here are some notes that came in the last few days….


On the EAA webinar, Military and commercial pilot Terry Hand wrote:


I attended the EAA Webinar last night, and wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your time and knowledge. It was well-laid out, informative, and interesting. I am already a believer in the Corvair engine. You just gave me more ammunition for when I talk to other pilots and builders.

Just one question – you spoke about the potential to fly with a high-octane fuel that had ethanol additive in it. Is there a limit to the amount of ethanol, and is it something that is more suited to a low altitude flyer like a Pietenpol as opposed to a higher flying and faster airplane like a Cleanex or a Zenith? Just looking for clarification. Thanks again for a great webinar. Semper Fi, Terry Hand Terry, The engine itself has no issue with ethanol.

However, each builder needs to look at his airframe and make sure that things like his tank material and fuel lines and gascolater gaskets are all ethanol tolerant. Second, builders need to understand that certain carbs lean differently on fuel with ethanol, and there are limits to how much ignition advance you can use with auto fuel. For these reasons, I suggest that builders run the 40 hours of test time on 100ll to establish what ‘normal’ is for their aircraft, and after getting to know this move on to different fuels if they wish. -ww

Builder Harold Bickford wrote:

I rather liked the presentation as the logic behind using a Corvair was well presented. I was surprised that the helicopter engine story came up. Conversely I though the rebuttal was tremendous. Come summer it’s on to Brodhead and Oshkosh and then to actually start an engine project.- Harold

Highlander builder Pat Ray wrote:

Good Morning William Thoroughly enjoyed your EAA webinar last evening. Thank you.  I have just purchased a Highlander kit.  While at the factory I was pleasantly surprised to discover a Just with a Corvair installed.  Anything you can advise me about the possibility of a Corvair powering my Highlander?  Thanks a million.Incidentally I retired from AlliedSignal/Honeywell flight department and worked with your cousin Irma Hujer.  Everyone loved her.- Pat Ray

 Pat, I took the liberty of answering your note on this forum. Thanks for the nice words. You likely saw Scotty’s plane at the factory, everything to this point says it’s an excellent combination. In the coming months I am also working with Dick Holt to get his installation together. Scotty has a number of custom hand-made items on his plane, on Dick’s I am working to see if we can use more of our regular production items like the U-2 exhaust and an Ma3 intake and Gold oil system, so that the installation will be easier for people to replicate at home without the metal working and fabrication stuff that Scotty had access to at the factory. We will have lots of photos as we progress post Oshkosh.

Nice surprise to hear you worked with Irma. Everyone in our family knows her by the life long nick name her father gave her as a child, “Birdie.” Both her father and grandfather were master tool and die makers in the pure Germanic tradition. Her Father Robbie was a major influence on my mechanical world, he lived only 5 miles from us in NJ. He was the best kind of uncle you could imagine. I made a 12″ long brass cannon under his supervision on the metal lathe in his basement when I was 13. Always fun before caution, Robbie showed me how to bore it to .32 caliber and even gave me black powder for it, after swearing me to secrecy. Very exciting when it shot straight through a 4×4″ post in the Masterson’s backyard.  Robbie taught me a thousand lessons in the shop, the lasting and most valuable ones being about how to behave in the presence of adults in their shops and that there is tremendous pride in a craftsmans life, a feeling that many people wearing a suit to work long for. He passed away about 10 years ago. Four drawers of my main tool box contain metal working tools from Robbie and his father Max, Starret and Brown and Sharpe stuff, some of it 100 years old. I use it all the time, as both of these men defined themselves by the work they did, and it seems wrong to let their tools be idle.  A world without men like Robbie and Max is a lesser place, they left some very big shoes, and I honestly feel my tiny little feet will never do much to fill their empty shoes.-ww


On Corvair College #23, Corvair aircraft designer Spenser Gould asked:

Hi William, For CC #23 I’m not sure if this has ben addressed before, will there be an ample supply of build tables on site or should builders plan on bringing build tables? Thanks,-Spencer (TGI)

Spenser, we will have tables at the event, although it never hurts to have one of your own. Folding chairs are also good, and people have started to bring shop stools to colleges because some of the detail work is better done sitting down.-ww


On the topic of economical carbs, Terry Hand asks:

 William, This is a very interesting discussion for those of us looking to build a fun, yet economical airplane and engine combination. This is a question rather than a comment. Is this concept of the single barrel automobile carburetor applicable to both the 2700 and the 2850 engines? Also, how would it affect the use of Autogas? I know your strong opinion of using only 100LL during the initial flight testing, but would this work with Premium, ethanol-free Autogas for flying an aircraft after the flight test phase? I look forward to your response. Semper Fi,-Terry Hand.

Terry, The carb we are testing is straight from a nation rebuilder, and is intended to be used with regular auto fuel  that contains ethanol. The test runs we have done had ethanol in the fuel, and it showed no signs of bothering the carb. If it did, you could imagine that there would be a lot of people bolting these on Ford cars and going to the gas station that would be ticked off. If the carb runs well on a 3,000cc Corvair we know that it is big enough to run a 2700 or 2850. If it shows itself to be a little on the small side, I can always bump up to the same model carb’s bigger brother that was fitted to Ford’s 200cid sixes. Just once in my life, somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, I want to land on a road near a mom and pop gas station and taxi up to the pumps just like John Belushi in ‘1941’. It would ruin the whole moment if I have to ask the owner if the gas has ethanol in it, thus I am always working to develop data that takes into account that automotive fuel in the US is probably going to always have ethanol in it from here on out.-ww






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