Mail Sack, 10-9-12 , Various topics


Another round of mail on the last week’s topics;


On the subject of alternators:

2850cc Zenith 750 builder and Pilot Jeff Cochran writes:

“I’ve had John Deere tractors since 1974. My ID photo on zenithaero is me on my new JD 5103 tractor (made in India). My new CH750 is green and yellow. But I am more than happy to have a Yanmar dynamo out front. I had to buy the regulator from JD, and while there asked to see their dynamo. The box does not look that much better, and the part was exactly the same except for price.


On the subject of Florida Beavers and info sources:

 Builder Bruce Culver writes:

“Didn’t these clowns realize that Florida is several hundred miles long north to south, and that the northern part of the state is not at all tropical? My youngest brother lives in Jacksonville, and the first time I drove there to visit him years ago, there were so many pine trees I thought it looked like Germany without the mountains….. There is a lot more to Florida than Miami Beach.”

Builder Matt Lockwood writes:

“Your opening paragraph on this one made me think you ran afoul (pardon the pun) of the spark plug guy who may have been with the mob. “leave the spark plugs, take the cannolli”

 Builder Tom Griesemer writes:

“I have been reading a lot of your stuff lately as I have been researching Corvair flight engines for a while. As a retired prof of 30 years I like your style. Missed #23 and may come to #24.  Working on my 4th plane at the moment. Keep up the good work, Tom”

Zenith 750 builder and student of 6 colleges Dan Glaze writes:

“I tend to draw my info from a much smaller pool, It consists of William W., Dan W, Roy S. and Mark P. I would advise all Corvair engine builders to do the same and stop playing into the interned synthetic intelligence. That is if you are looking for success on your project. Just my two cents worth, Dan”

 2850cc 750 builder Gary Burdett writes:

“Yes , one “been there done that” is worth a hundred “I think’s”and even then, verify. That has been some of the education part of my EAB education and recreation experience.”

 Zenith 601XLB builder and flyer since 2005, Phil Maxon writes:

Great post. This is true. This is why I start all my posts with “This is what I did on my plane… ” or I don’t answer. There is a very strong desire on the part of Internet writers to comment on stuff and be “right.”

 Zenith 701 builder Terry Samsa writes:

“Must be a consequence of the global warming. I wonder when I’ll see alligators in my back yard up here in Northern Minnesota! :)

 Terry,  Why wait 25 years? We will mail you one, we have plenty-ww


On the topic of spark plugs;

International man of mystery and DC-3 owner, Tom Graziano writes:

“William, Just because “Guys “A” and “B” have more than 10,000 flight hours between them” doesn’t necessarily mean they know anything about the mechanical aspects of aircraft and aircraft engines, troubleshooting, repair, etc. (that’s kinda like saying an aircraft mechanic with 30 years experience who is not a pilot would know a lot about flying). Having both – 30+ years & many thousands of hours – it is incredible how many times I’ve seen aircraft with simple, easily diagnosed and fixable discrepancies come in with pilot applied “fixes” that exacerbated the problem sometimes causing serious damage & expensive repairs. Not berating the two guys at all, simply saying that just because someone has a bunch of hours flying doesn’t mean they know anything about maintenance or troubleshooting. Tom”

Good point Tom, I just wanted to point out that people who already know that aviation is all about the detail being correct sometimes get a little careless about this as the experience builds up. Thanks for the perspective-ww


On the topic of trucks vs planes;

Builder P.J. (USN) writes:

“Loved the story about the old pickup truck, At least you live on the east coast where they don’t stick a probe up your tailpipe every year to check for noxious gases. Long live the carburetted 350 but I gotta ask, what would your second choice be? sign me antique air-cooled vanagon driver”

 P.J., We still have Grace’s Greenbriar Van, so were of the same air cooled van idea as you. I still have my ’66 Corvair and Grace drives her CTS-V every day., But we are doing better, the score at our house is cars and trucks 5, planes 4.-ww

Another new “Zenvair” 601XLB, Jim Ballew, 2700cc


I got a quick note from Jim Ballew yesterday saying that his 601 XLB took to the air on Corvair power. Today he had a chance to send me a photo. Jim’s name is known in the Corvair movement for good reason….He now has three Corvair powered planes. This Zenith Joins Jim’s 500 hour DA-2 and his Pietenpol.  Wondering if a Corvair is the right engine for your project? When old school builders have them on a trio of their creations, it’s probably a good choice.

Above, Jim’s 601 on the day of its first flight.

I have to go back and look at the records, but I am pretty sure that it is the 60th Zenith 601/650 to fly on Corvair power. In the last 30 days we have had two other Zeniths make their first flights, and we will have updates on them shortly. Combine this with new Pietenpols and a Merlin, and we have been averaging one new Corvair powered plane a week since Oshkosh. A year ago a negative internet personality predicted a decline in Corvair popularity because “only a limited number of people want to get their hands dirty.”  Well, things are not going as Nostradamus Jr. predicted. Corvairs are not for everyone, but there is no shortage of traditional homebuilders, people interested in learning, craftsmanship and pride in making something yourself.  Everyone who has met Jim over the years understands that he is an outstanding example of the gregarious, friendly, salt of the earth builders that exemplify the Corvair movement. I look forward to having Jim at a number of events in 2013 where builders new to the Corvair movement can meet one of its most exceptional builders.

Jim sent us this note with the photo:

Grace and William;

FINALLY. Made the first flight of my CH601XL today at 1535. 2700,40 over with a Dan 5th bearing. Engine ran flawless. All temps stayed in the green. A couple of tweeks on the plane all will be great. Thanks for all the great info you provide and the fantastic parts you provide.

 Have a great evening, I’ve had a fantastic day:):):)

 Jim Ballew


For a look at Jim’s Pietenpol, look at this link to our website:

For a look at Jim’s Davis DA-2, look at this link to our website:


Outstanding Value on new Alternators, (Dynamos) $125.


Mike Schwab is a Vision builder working on a 3,000cc Corvair for his plane. He and his wife attended Corvair College #23, and they are regulars at Sun n Fun. In his day job, Mike is an expert on Marine engines, and specifically knows Yanmar Diesels.

Why should you care? Because he offers a great deal through his business to any Corvair builder in need of a Dynamo.  At $125 he is less than 1/3 the price that John Deere wants for the same part. This unit directly bolts on our front alternator brackets and is flying on countless Corvair powered aircraft. The unit is also the basis of the direct drive rear alternator the Dan and I are working on.

I am fully aware that publicly revealing that smaller models of the sacred Green and Yellow divine brand of tractor comes with a Yanmar engine can result in having a Fatwa against me issued from the sacred headquarters of the divine Green tractor in Moline Illinois. When I have pointed out that dealers for Deere have massively marked up their prices, I have been attacked by rabid fans of the green brand, who actually claimed that Deere parts are better, but this is the dogma of the indoctrinated, a mantra they were taught to repeat at the mention of other brands. I have held both dynamos in my hands at the same time, and they are both made in the same place in Japan by Kokosan-Denki. The only difference is the box and the price.  (Full disclosure: I own a Case tractor, drink Dunkin Donuts coffee and drive a Chevy truck. No kidding,  the last time I was trying to buy a dynamo at the Deere lawn care dealer, a guy drove in a Range Rover with a Starbucks travel mug in hand, wearing a cardigan.  jokingly I said “One of us is in the wrong place.”  When I refused to pay $396 for the dynamo, Mr. Starbucks leaned over and whispered “It’s you.”)

Mike also has a good deal on the matching voltage regulator. You can check the parts out on the link to Mike’s site below:

Mike is headed to Corvair College#24 and has offered to bring Alternators that are ordered in advance with him. For builders not able to make it to the College, Mike is willing to ship for a modest fee. Every one interested should contact Mike directly at:

 Mikes regular Email and Vision building sites are listed below:

Hats off to Mike Schwab for making aircraft building a little more affordable. -ww