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:


About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at and in more than 50 magazine articles.

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