Second “Zenvair”, the McDaniel’s 2700cc 601XLB


Shayne & Phyllis McDaniel have just finished and started flying their second Corvair powered Zenith. They are both accomplished pilots and builders. Having a second “Zenvair” keeps them from having to figure out who gets to be PIC.  Now they both can be at the same time.

Shayne & 601 N809SP

Shayne stands in front of their second Corvair powered Zenith. The first one they built was a 650.  Not just any 650, it was the first amateur built one licensed by the FAA. After it was complete, they began looking for a second plane so the could have ‘his and hers’ models. I built the 2700cc/Dan bearing engine that is on the 650, but for round two Shayne and Phyllis decided to assemble the engine themselves, and it is virtually a clone of the 650 engine. Both aircraft utilize all of our Zenith installation Components.

 Second airframe was started by Corvair/Zenith builder from California. I had met the guy at a west coast College. A nice enough person, but he had a bit of a ‘glass half empty’ perspective. This builder worked on the kit a bit, but eventually decided he wasn’t getting anywhere. In my opinion, the lack of progress on his project could have been credited to many of the decisions he made. He put the plane up for sale. If the project seemed insurmountable to this guy, it seemed like a good deal and an easy completion to Shayne. One man’s mountain is another man’s molehill. We are not talking about a financial barrier. What we’re really talking about here is a positive attitude problem, something that doesn’t seem to affect Shayne.

My heart goes out to any serious builder who has to part with his project for legitimate financial reasons. This happens, and it’s never pretty. Other builders after giving it a shot, decide that it doesn’t fit into their lifestyle, and this is okay too. But when a builder is surrounded by positive examples, has the financial capability and still sees it as un-doable, the story is different. Every one is entitled to down days and frustrating moments, but there are a great number of people who start kits, but never make progress. Often they are far more inclined to blame the kit or some other factor than see their own perspective as the culprit. A common characteristic that many of these people have is making a roadblock out of some small issue which they will not get past. One of my favorite sayings is “the difference between adventure and ordeal is attitude.” People with positive attitudes can do some really impressive things.

Shayne is a very accomplished pilot and flight instructor, and has built another aircraft before his Zenith 650. He is the kind of guy would never bring this up in discussion, but everyone who has met the man in person understands that these impressive accomplishments have been achieved by a man who has only one hand. He has my profound respect. Clearly he
does not build, nor accept, obstacles between himself and success.

Above, Shayne & Phyllis with their 650 at the 2012 Zenith open house. This aircraft was seen by thousands of builders at its Oshkosh debut, it displays outstanding workmanship.

During a year, a number of builders will take a moment to personally tell me they find the work we do in support of the Corvair movement, particularly the writing component, motivational or thought-provoking. Generally, I listen and hear their perspective, and politely say “thank you.” If the setting and the moment allows, I try to take the time to explain to these builders that all of the things I write about come from knowing many different aviators, people I truly find inspirational, people worthy of serious consideration and appreciation for their accomplishments.  All of the credit actually belongs to them. My only part in the equation it writing it down and trying to share it with other builders.

If any builder would like a singular example of a builder that I personally find inspirational, they can directly look to the accomplishments and positive perspective of Shayne McDaniel.

Hats off to Shayne & Phyllis on their completion of these second Corvair powered Zenith.-ww

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