May 31, 2013 Leave a comment
May 30, 2013 Leave a comment
Several people have been discussing these types of cowls for their Corvair powered planes. Clearly they work on 65 hp Cubs, why not on a Corvair powered Piet? Well, they can and do, but there are subtile points to the design of these things that are just as critical as enclosed cowls. I am quite sure that Piper learned these by trial and error before standardizing the “J-3 Eyebrows” that people tend to use on 65 hp Continentals. As we go over this, keep in mind that when Piper went to 90 Hp engines in Cubs after the war, they switched to regular pressure cowls. Every Super Cub has one of these, and there is little argument against the proof that they work better, even on slow planes. However, if your heart is set on a J-3 style cowl, please read the following notes to avoid harming your engine.
Above, Frank Metcalfe’s plane at sun n fun. This installation works. Look at how large the eyebrows are in relation to other examples. If a 65 hp Piet and a 100 hp Piet are both climbing at 55 mph (They will have a very different rate of climb) it makes sense that the 100 hp plane will need more cooling air. Yet, I see too many Corvair powered planes with eyebrows that are smaller than the ones on a J-3. Think that over.
Above, our Pietenpol in 1999. This system worked great, but the two versions I made before it didn’t. TLAR (that looks about right) does not apply here, evaluation and testing does. In a phone call today, a Piet builder told me that a set of Corvair eyebrow scoop drawings are circulation on the net. What is the first question to ask? Have they ever flown and been proven on high hp Corvairs in hot weather? He was not so sure. If you want advice on down parkas, I am not your guy. If you need advice on cooling systems that work in hot weather, ask the guy in Florida.
Above, several details, some visible, some not. Notice that the scoops extend downward. They capture air that would run under the front cylinders at high angle of attack and ruin cooling. Notice the rounded nose bowl and spinner. If you want to have a flat plate as big as an end table, you will need to have much larger scoops to make up for this. Note also that the alternator is in the back. If you have a front one, it will work, but again the scoop must be bigger. (Dan Weseman has just finished testing his rear alternator, and it is the only one I endorse) The most critical part of this whole equation can not be seen: under the cowl there is a 3.5″ diameter hose connecting the two sides together. Without this, you are hurting the engine. You have a choice: connect the two sides, or use scoops 50% bigger. If you copy the size here, and then use a very blunt cowl and no transfer hose, than you are not doing anything positive for yourself, my reputation as an engine instructor, or the Corvair movement.
OK, now we get to the big quiz: Would you rather spend an hour reading something that requires a little thinking, or would you rather fry the heads on your engine, spend $1,000 or so, and loose half a seasons flying doing a rebuild? Right now you are thinking that 100% of the builders thinking of J-3 cowls are going to choose the first option, but you are not right……
This link : http://www.flycorvair.com/pietengineissue.html
goes straight to a 16 page story ( it has pictures, it is only about 5,000 words) about how I had to rebuild Gardiner Mason’s engine several years ago after he used TLAR to design a very blunt cowl. I like Gardiner, so he just bought the parts, I did the work, then wrote the story. KNOW THIS: I am not ever going to assist anyone for free to rebuild another engine that cooked it because: “I saw that story but I didn’t have time to read it because 1) It was sooo long 2) The big game was on 3) I didn’t think it applied to me because my plane is gray not red.” All future rebuilds will be done at the shop labor rate that Lockwood Aviation charges (the US importer of Rotax engines) Just read the story, learn something, save yourself a $1,000 in damage and preserve a little of my sanity. Please.
Above is Gardiner’s plane, the focus of the 16 page story. It does not look like it has a J-3 cowling, but it functions like one. This is a blunt cowl. This means you need bigger scoops. It isn’t hard to put some effort into making the front end smaller. It doesn’t just help cooling, the plane will be faster and look better. On a Pietenpol, a plane with a bad cowl and poor windshields actually has less elevator and rudder feel. If the entire fuselage is bathed in a foot thick boundary layer of very turbulent air, you can feel this when it gets back to the tail.
So, you were planning on reading the 16 page story after watching Dancing with the Stars and the Celine Dion concert? Keep in mind that this website has story tracking on it, and I will tell if 600 people read this but only 150 click on the link to the Gardiner story. Lucky for all the Celine Dion fans it doesn’t keep track of who didn’t read what. Just how many people didn’t. Don’t worry, I will still be able to tell who read it by reading the Pietenpol archives and seeing who writes in asking what to do after their engine severely overheats…….
Below is a sample from the 16 page story:
” Here is the major cooling issue of a propeller-driven aircraft that many builders don’t understand. When the plane is climbing at a 10 degree angle of attack, the blade roots near the cooling inlets have a 20 degree difference in their angle of attack between the effective angle of the ascending and the descending blades. They pump very different amounts of cooling air into each side of the engine. This is not theory, it is fact. Get into a light plane, fly to a safe altitude, slow it down to its best angle of climb speed and set it to full power. Notice how much rudder you have to put in to hold the aircraft heading. You may have been told that this was some swirling slipstream or “P” factor. Discard those ideas. A strand of yarn behind an engine on a test stand will show you the air even at zero airspeed doesn’t corkscrew much, and “P” factor does not apply to aircraft in steady flight like a continuous climb on one heading. What is going on is far more simple; the ascending and descending blades are making very different amounts of thrust. You feel it in the rudder pedals, the engine feels it in differential cooling.”
Above, the Pietenpol of Kurt Shipman. This plane won the Bronze Lindbergh trophy at Oshkosh. Before anyone starts saying how nice work Kurt does, keep in mind that there were 24,500 other planes at Oshkosh that year, and the judges were able to find four others that they thought were ‘better’ than Kurt’s. So he beat out 24,495 other planes…..that still isn’t first place. Nice try Kurt, maybe you can do better on your second home built.
Seriously, I flew in this plane and it is phenomenally well done. Look at the cowl. This is a typical pressure cowl. This is built off the nose bowl mold that Piet builder/flyer Shad Bell made. Rounded edges and reduced area like this make a huge difference. If you don’t have a committed feeling about cowling design, I highly encourage you to look at this set up. It works very well, and has a front alternator. Either system you choose, use all the available data that has been flight proven in hot weather, do a good job, and don’t alter the details without good reason.-ww
May 29, 2013
My Fellow Americans:
We have all been subjected to a zillion partisan stories over what is wrong with our country. I am here to tell you the truth: Yes America has issues, but I know what the cure is, and it is going to cost every American $1.69, and the sooner we face this and get on with it, the better off we will be.
My epiphany came this afternoon. Greg, our local Post Office desk officer, had given me the assignment to be the guest speaker at Cub Scout Pack 422, of which he is the scout master. I didn’t dare refuse; Greg has 19 years in at the Post Office and previously was in the 82nd Airborne Division. He seems pretty laid back, but if you combine the mottos of his two services you come up with something like “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night prevents death from above.” Besides, I thought it would be fun, and I knew that the centerpiece of the presentation would have to be that all-American youth classic, the Guillow’s Balsa plane.
Above, my personal Guillow’s Skystreak, with some fresh damage from enthusiastic Cub Scouts of Pack 422. Retiring this baby is going to set me back a hefty $2.99, but no one ever said educating youth was going to be cheap.
Here is where I found out two disturbing things at once: They don’t sell Balsa planes in normal stores any more, and I am so old that people who have 10-year-old kids of their own have never heard of the toys of my youth.
I went from store to store in our town asking for them in a mad search to find little planes before I faced the wrath of Greg at 7 p.m. for disappointing his Scouts. I went to Fred’s, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, CVS, the convenience store run by the Cambodian family, Wal-Mart, Target, the Dollar General, the Dollar Tree, and the Dollar Mart. Not one single plane was to be found.
Midway through the trip I realized that people were being really polite to me, because that is a safe strategy when you are asked an odd question by a mentally ill person who is on some quest for an imaginary object. Not only didn’t they have them, only two people I encountered had ever heard of one. Just the old African American man who manages the Dollar Tree and the Cambodian grandmother knew what I was babbling about. To everyone else, I looked just like Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life when he goes around his home town and not a single person understands what he is talking about. I had found myself in a kind of Potterville, a horrible place where no kid had ever played with a Balsa plane.
Good news was that I found a fleet of styrofoam gliders at target. Compared to Balsa, foam planes are priced for sale to the Pentagon. I thought about the expenditure for a nanosecond, but whipped out the credit card after I had an image of a flight I take in the future where things look very bad, and I whisper “Dear God, I need some assistance now…” and a loud clear voice says “HELP YOU? A JACKASS WHO DIDN’T BUY PLANES FOR CUB SCOUTS? ARE YOU WEARING NOMEX TODAY JACKASS?”
The presentation went well, everyone had a good time, and I taught them all the basics: Wrights invented it, Lindbergh used it, Armstrong goes to the moon, time for you to do your part. Only one kid thought the Wrights were from Europe. They all liked the fact that Buzz Lightyear was named after Buzz Aldrin. Not a single one of them had flown in an airplane before, including an airliner. I told them that there were many reasons to use planes, but the best one of them all is just to have fun. When one of the kids asked if this was OK, I told him it was not just ok, I did it for a job. There was a lightbulb that went off in his mind, this was the first time he had heard you could evade becoming a grown up.
OK, I am just going to say that it is time we put the train back on the track, and I know exactly where it went off. It is time to buy Guillow’s planes, not just for kids, but for ourselves, to get back to where things were right. I could have a tirade pointing out that the checkout counters of every single one of these stores had candy bars that cost more than a basic Balsa plane. I could point out that Wal-Mart’s special was a game called “Angry Birds Death Star” and it was for kids 8 and up, same age as the Cub Scouts. In the next aisle kids no older than 12 were pointing to video games they played regularly, all with the sick designation “first person shooter.” We all know it is time to get away from poisons like that. Defending people who develop and market that stuff by saying people buy it is the same as defending the people who run meth labs because that product sells also. Let us all take a step back to something good and pure, little Balsa planes. You can study the factory’s offerings at: http://www.guillow.com/index.aspx . They have been around since 1926, and you will never find a kit plane that can be built faster. I am going to order a crate and trade them to kids for the junk food they are eating.
Phase Two of this crusade is to bring back the flathead, horizontal shaft lawnmower engine. In my view, all normal childhoods have three vital elements: The little Balsa plane, the tree house, and the go-cart with the horizontal shaft lawnmower engine. If you understand the importance of the movie October Sky, you will probably agree that this country churned out legions of top-notch engineers who were all pre-schooled in flight, structures and mechanics by the above vital trio of experiences.
Above, two of our personal collection of Flatheads. On the left is a 2hp Briggs and Stratton with an ultra-rare wind up starter. This belonged to Grace’s Grandfather. It is early 1960s vintage. The color is original. On the right is a 1.5hp iron block, rope start, Clinton. This is probably 1950s vintage. It belonged to our neighbor. Please take a moment to read a story about him by clicking on this link: Dick Phillips – Bravo Zulu
Never look down on these engines. Briggs and Stratton perfected the Nicasil all-aluminum cylinder and produced tens of millions of them before Porsche ever dreamed of making one that worked. The 5hp Briggs is one of the most mass-produced internal combustion engines ever. Look up the term “Blockzilla” on their site for the last word in mower engines.
From the Clinton engine historical website : “After its arrival in Iowa in 1950 Clinton Engines was producing 2000 to 3000 high quality gasoline engines per day using so-called untrained farm labor. ˜Untrained” proved inaccurate. The employees of the plant came mainly from the farms and small towns of the area where tinkering and fixing things with nothing was a way of life. These resourceful people quickly rammed the company to world leader, eclipsing Briggs & Stratton. More than 18 million engines were produced by the company and more than $550,000,000 pumped through the East Central Iowa economy and the economies of outlying areas in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.” These were the jobs America threw away in search for the cheapest labor on ther planet, to replace the best labor.
Flatheads are the greatest mechanical self-instruction tools of all time. If you didn’t have one in your childhood, you have my condolences. These engines are great because a 10-year-old can take the head off with a 1/2″ wrench and all the parts stay in place. He can then turn it and see the sequence of operation in a 4-stroke engine. He can then put the head back on, no torque wrench nor pattern, and it will run again. There is nothing in the world of electronics that will ever be like that. Before anyone scoffs at this, keep in mind that I have taught hundreds of people how to build engines, and I will tell you that the people with the balsa plane/tree house/flathead childhoods have an advantage in aircraft building that is very hard to overstate.
Although I have had some good times in California, lived there and love many things about the place, here is something that the people there have to answer for: Flatheads are being phased out of production because they are actually illegal to sell in California for emissions reasons. Yes, I said that correctly, illegal. This happened at the same time that California decided that it was a good idea that anyone with an ailment from low self-esteem to a hangnail should have a prescription for smoking pot. Beyond the point about smoky emissions that are not good for you, I hold that if you take away all the mechanical toys of youth and leave only the video games, you will automatically have a generation that thinks sitting around the house and getting stoned is not only normal, it is therapeutic.
If you read all of the things I write about detesting the layers of electronics that people apply to homebuilts (often while having substandard mechanical builds) and wonder where it comes from it is because I was born in 1962, and I am on the fault line between the Stand by Me childhoods and video game kids. Over time, I have always moved back to the simplicity of the pure mechanical world. To me, video games are nothing more than junk food for your mind. I remember when they thought it was just going to harm kids; today when I see someone obviously compulsively looking at their smart phone they are just as likely to be a baby boomer. Addiction in any form, at any age, isn’t attractive. It isn’t about being in control of your life either, which is my main focus in building and flying. -ww
May 27, 2013 Leave a comment
We had a visit from well-known and liked Corvair builder Jim Waters. He is from Pennsylvania, but he drove down to Florida with a trailer to pick up a nearly done 601XL-B that he found for sale on Barnstormers.com. Jim has a Fisher Horizon project in his shop, but he has been reading about the adventures of 601/Corvair pilots like Lynn Dingfelder, Ron Lendon and Phil Maxson, and he decided to change gears a bit and put his complete, test run 2700/Weseman bearing engine on the more versatile 601 airframe. When this one came up for sale, he saw his chance, made the move and got his own aviation adventure into high gear.
Above: Jim, his girlfriend Suzi-Q, Grace and Scoob E do the “looking skyward” pose in our back yard. The airframe is a Zenith quick build kit, with a panel in it, instrumented by the original owner for a Corvair. Jim and Suzi spent the night at our place and picked up most of the parts to install Jim’s Corvair on the front of this plane, including a powdercoated motor mount. This plane could easily be flyable by the end of the summer with just part-time work. Getting an aircraft this complete does not present any 51% rule issues. As long as 51% of the work in the plane was done by non-paid builders, it does not matter how many of them worked on it. A plane can have 11 different owners who each do 5% of it, and it will not have any issue qualifying as a homebuilt. Note that Jim has a copy of Stick and Rudder in his hand. It is a good luck present from Grace and I at the beginning of his new adventure.
In looking at our Web site, I was reminded how many Colleges and airshows Jim has made it to, and how he has always been a positive force of fun at each of these. I found photos of him at CC #9, #14, #16, #17, #20 and Oshkosh. He completed his engine at #14, and test ran it with a 5th bearing at #16. At the other events he just came to help out and enjoy the company.
At these events Jim saw the increasing amount of guys who were finishing 601s and flying them back to the Colleges, guys who had completed engines at Colleges right beside Jim. At some point he decided that time was getting past him a little too quickly, and it was time to switch gears and get in on the group of people who are out crisscrossing the country in Zenith 601s and 650s. I am not sure how long ago he started thinking about it, but from making up his mind to having his new plane sitting on the trailer at our place was about 21 days. He decided that he was not going to let another season get by without a serious change in strategy to make progress happen faster.
Although Jim has picked up this airframe largely done, it is only 25% of his “project.” As we sat around our dining room table, we spoke of how his project is four parts: Building the engine, building the airframe, putting the two together and getting them operational, and in Jim’s case, learning how to fly.
Although he has wanted to build and fly for a long time, he had other responsibilities. He is a man of action, ridden motorcycles all over the country, and experienced a lot of things. Building and flying is a just new chapter in his book. As I reminded Jim last night, learning to fly a plane with a good instructor is not a difficult task; people do it every day. Continuing to improve and hone your flight skills is what sets good pilots apart, not the initial license. I like the fact that he dove into The Arena, built the engine and got the plane, all with the confidence that he would later learn any skill he needed, including flying. There is a good lesson here for people just getting started.
By my measure, picking up the airframe saved him 25% on his four-part task. Smart move in my book because the goal is to build and fly. If a purist builds every single part, he may have satisfaction, but if his goal was to fly it and the depth of detail vs. available time equation means it never gets done, then that builder didn’t get his goal. Conversely, I think Jim has a plan of action, and the accomplishment of his four-part plan is now on the horizon and getting closer. There will always be purists who claim (often from the safety of an Internet connection and a mystery email name) that it isn’t really homebuilding unless it is plans built and you grew the trees for the spar yourself or smelted the aluminum. I don’t think like that.
To my perspective, “homebuilding” isn’t a competition over building aircraft, and I don’t think it is really about planes at all. I think that the real project is how the accomplishment changes the builder. How much more he knows, how much more he can make, and how he sees himself on the other end of this major challenge. The only person you’re competing with is the lesser side of your personality that would settle for you doing less with your life. That is the real enemy that you are confronting, and that is who you will defeat when you reach your goals. I look forward to hearing of Jim reaching each of his new milestones as he met the ones he has achieved already. Of the thousands of builders we have met in the past 20 years, Jim is one of the really special ones, and on the future day that I hear he has flown his plane, I will take an hour out to just simply be glad for him.
May 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Here is a sample of the mail:
On the story of Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)
Zenith builder Larry Magruder writes:
“William: I agree about Stick and Rudder. When I learned to fly in the ’80s my instructor suggested some video tapes and a text that he said would teach me about flying legally. He suggested Stick and Rudder which he said would teach me to fly safely. I pulled it out just before Corvair College #25 and reread it just for the fun of it. Twenty-five years later I find my original flight instructor is still right.-Larry”
Pietenpol builder Harold Bickford writes:
“Stick and Rudder was one book I bought when working on a private certificate in ’76. Reading it was a tremendous counter to conventional wisdom and hangar tales. It is not a hard book to read though some folks might find themselves thinking about flying in new ways, such as airplanes do two maneuvers – climb and turn. Langewiesche had a great way of simplifying then building on that base. $16 is a most excellent purchase though I recall paying less.-Harold”
Merlin on floats builder/flyer Jeff Moores of Newfoundland writes:
“Hi William, My copy of Stick and Rudder was given to me over 30 years ago when I first started flying by a pilot/friend who is now 78 years old and still flying his C172 on floats. He is definitely old school having flown skis and floats since the ’70s in our challenging environment. My copy is the nineteenth printing copyright 1944. I have read and reread it many times over the years.-Jeff”
Cleanex builder/flyer Dale Williams writes:
“Hi William, Back in the day when I taught ultralight flying as an AFI, I encouraged my students to read this book. I’ve read it several times and still refer to it often. Langewiesche had my attention from the very beginning by first making the point that the art of flight is understanding how to fly a wing. His insistence that all of our instincts of what we believe we should do to achieve a certain result is wrong and ultimately gets people hurt or killed is absolutely correct. How anyone with a true love of flight can find fault with the valuable teaching in Stick & Rudder is beyond me, yet it doesn’t surprise me much. I’m reminded of the man who looked at my plain Jane panel and asked me, “What do you use for obstacle and terrain avoidance?’ I replied, ‘I look out the windshield!’ Crazy but true …There is a huge difference between aviators and airplane drivers … Thanks for another great perspective.”
750 builder Dan Glaze writes:
“William, my book is on the way, Amazon books $7.75 , $3.00 shipping, the site has 75 at this price, Dan-o”
Builder Bruce Culver writes:
“This is a great book William, and I just ordered a second copy to go with my ‘new’ second copy of Fate is the Hunter by Ernie Gann. I stored a lot of my old aviation books many years ago, and will dig them out when I copy Schliemann at Troy and excavate the storage unit this summer. I have been buying new copies of the old classics in case the years in the heat and cold have not been kind to the originals. The opinions expressed by your paraphrased group show that they have little or no interest in aviation, but instead will do Point A to Point B, perhaps never looking out the window to see the true wonders waiting for them to notice. How sad. … Your Web site has revealed to me another gift for which I thank you. I am going to go through all your postings and copy out all the information on the proper way to build and outfit an engine installation and airplane (mechanical/electrical/controls etc.), and I am going to make up a notebook with all the pages printed out as a supplemental shop manual to show me what a good safe installation looks like. I have all of Tony Bingelis’s books, but I find that sometimes photos show details better than sketches. These are really valuable to me.”
601XL-2850cc Builder/flyer Ron Lendon writes:
“I bought that book when I was a student pilot and it made my landings better. He has a very good way of explaining things. I loaned this book to a friend who claims he doesn’t have it, so I bought another copy and read it again, it is on my bookshelf and is not available for loan.”
Sarah Wallhauser Matthews writes:
“Just an FYI, my Dad wrote a book about flying – Pioneers of Flight – published by Hammond in Maplewood, N.J. (Henry T. Wallhauser) – have a great Memorial Day weekend WW!!
Builders: I have known Sarah since I was 13 or 14 years old. We grew up in the same town in N.J. At the time I did not know her Father’s aviation background. I went on amazon.com last night and bought a mint condition copy of her Dad’s book to add to our library.-ww.
On the story of Built by William Wynne? Built according to The Manual?
New builder Dustin L. writes:
“Hi William, I just ordered your Conversion Manual. I’ll be starting a CH750 STOL in the next year and will be looking hard at the Corvair for the powerplant. Being 28 years old, I’m hoping to build several airplanes eventually and many of the planes I’m interested in could be Corvair powered, so you’ll likely be hearing from and seeing me in the future. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading your .net site/blogs. I have to say I really appreciate your ‘attitude’ about your work. In your last post about the 3 engines that were supposedly built to your plans/built by you, you mentioned you’re a jackass. I just have to say, with what you do and the consequences of failure, if you aren’t a jackass occasionally you aren’t doing your work justice, you aren’t doing the Experimental Aviation community any good, and you aren’t doing me any good. So – I look forward to working with a jackass like you in the future. Should be fun.-Dustin L., Oconowomoc, Wisc.”
Builder Randy Curtis writes:
“Hello folks. I’m new here as far as comments go. I’ve met WW a couple of times at Sun & Fun and bought a few parts from him as I’m starting a project. The comment I have is that the precautions that William is promoting should be common to any attempt to enter aviation. We live in a fast paced community, meaning our society. More often than not we don’t take the proper time to prepare to do many of the activities that we dream about. … That’s ok for the most part, but when it comes to aviation it’s not as forgiving as the others, therefore it makes a lot more sense to take the needed time to get things in the order that theater need to be in. Unfortunately, I can tell a couple of stories of fatalities because people weren’t doing as they had been taught or were just too busy to take care of the critical things. … It changes life for all of us and leaves a few feeling responsible for things that they had no control over. When it comes to Corvairs, William has done a fantastic job on researching and getting the information out there on what works best. … I’ve had the opportunity to buy a Corvair motor, but without documentation from the builder it’s not worth any more than a core engine. … so it was turned down. I’ve also had the opportunity to fly a certified plane that hadn’t been flown for several years but was annualed by a heavy equipment mechanic who had a very good friend who was an AI mechanic that lived several states away and would sign off the annual based on the equipment mechanics report … not a good situation in my view. … I was offered the chance to fly this plane and refused. … Yeah it would have been a cheap way to fly, but ????????And the equipment mechanic/owner was a bit offended. I felt it was too risky and would have been poor judgement on my part. … I tell these two stories because these things happen in both in experimental aviation and certified aviation. … I’ve said my peace and hope that all enjoy their projects, whether it be craftsmanship of flight…..Randy”
650 Builder Becky Shipman writes:
“Hi William, This gets me a little riled, it is maybe the biggest threat to the reputation of the WW Corvair. I particularly don’t like the cast pistons from China hidden inside a ‘WW’ Corvair. Maybe you should have a logo that can be stamped onto the case? Or an official WW Corvair sticker? Or if a builder needs to sell their engine, should he/she notify you? Probably not a huge problem yet, but I imagine that several Corvairs will outlive their builders. You could put the logo on your polo shirts for the booth. Of course, knowing how you feel about polo shirts, maybe greasy coveralls? -Becky”
Becky, the best thing to do about the situation is talk plainly about it, and remind builders that “buyer beware” applies here. Not all project engines are bad, but far too many of them are, or they want today’s price for an engine that was built to 2003 standards. The main objective is to get everyone to the point where they prefer their own workmanship to that of any other builder. If I ever have a clothing line, it will be black t-shirts that come already scented of 10w-40, and Carhart jeans that are already stained and come as cut-offs. The line will be exclusively marketed at Salvation Army outlets. -ww
601XL builder/flyer Patrick Hoyt writes:
“William – Your high standards are contagious.-Partick Hoyt, N63PZ”
On the story of Starting procedures on Corvairs, 2,000 words of experience.
Cleanex builder/flyer Dale Williams writes:
“William, A personal thanks for the information on Corvair starting procedures. As you know, my Cleanex has the MA3SPA carb. I had been shutting it down with the mixture. Well the past few days I have been using the procedures you had given and that Dan had shared with Mr. Woolley. To say it made all the difference in the world is an understatement.
I did a bit of airport hopping today and most starts seemed to be within a 1/2 blade or so. Seriously, that 3.0 Corvair was impressing anyone who witnessed it on start-up and I was quite pleased to see it ignite so effortlessly. On a side note, I agree with all I’ve heard about the smoothness of these engines. I only have about 24 hours on mine but it has been quite impressive both in smoothness but also power and performance. It cools very well and has been virtually trouble-free. This is the engine my airframe needed! Best to you, Dale Williams N319WF @ 6J2 Myunn – ‘Daughter of Cleanex’ 120 HP – 3.0 Corvair Tail Wheel – Center Stick 23:47 hours – Phase One Status – Flying”
Piet builder Dave Aldrich writes:
“Your description of starting issues with Lycoming engines is, at least in my experience, only partially correct. The O-320 in my Cherokee is almost impossible to overprime. The primer line runs to two cylinders, leaving two unprimed, and allows the fuel to drain down the intake runners. None goes directly into the cylinders. The impulse coupling on the left magneto produces adequate spark to get things running nicely. Hot starts are a no drama event. Push the button, engines starts. Where your description IS correct is in the IO series. Restarting a hot IO-360 in a Mooney can be a frustrating experience. Starting with the fuel in full lean and the throttle wide open and then juggling levers when it finally starts to run is a certified (or is it certificated) PITA.
I also agree with another poster that shutting down the engine with the mixture control does minimize residual fuel in the cylinders, lessening the chance of the engine starting if the prop moves and the mag switch is defective. For that reason, I do a ‘dead mag’ check just prior to each shutdown. It has also been hypothesized by Continental experts that using the mag switch to shut down the Stromberg carbureted A and C series engines leaves residual fuel in the cylinders that wets the plugs and makes them hard to start when warm. These experts recommend using a fuel shutoff valve in the primary line to stop the engine and eliminate the problem, especially if there isn’t an impulse coupling on one of the mags. I realize this is a major digression from the subject of Corvairs and almost certainly adds nothing to that body of knowledge, but does try to paint a more complete picture of these issues.
On a different subject, there is no regulatory restriction on the use of a Corvair engine in the RV-12 as long as it’s registered EAB versus E-LSA. Van’s site even says that you can, AT YOUR OWN RISK, do whatever you want to it. I suspect that there are packaging and weight issues but wonder if it isn’t a practical idea nonetheless. If you can put a Corvair into a KR and a Sonex, neither of which were designed with the Corvair in mind, then the RV-12 should be possible. Enough drivel. Time to go work on the Pietenpol.”
Dave, I have an O-320 Lycoming cylinder right in front of me, and the injector port and the primer port are about an inch apart, and they are both aimed at the intake valve. If the intake on that cylinder is off its seat, using the primer is going to put fuel in that cylinder. You are correct, the carb models don’t flood as easy, but they can. Most carbed Lycomings have 3 or 4 primers in the intake ports, 3 if the plane has an MAP gauge, varies by installation. As you said, we are focused on Corvairs, so it is academic. I have shut Grace’s C-85 off with the mag switch for 12 years, and never had a starting issue. Again, there are many variations on certified engines, we just need to share Corvair perspective.
The RV-12 was not designed to take many engines, the Corvair or an O-200 would definitely put it out of the CG range, where the Zenith can take engines up to an O-235. If you wanted to try it, even “at your own risk,” I am sure they would have Doug Reeves, their all-powerful list moderator, delete any reference to your project. I have been present at a number of closed-door industry meetings where Mr. Van Grunsven was the chief speaker. Trust me, he doesn’t want anyone putting any alternative engine in “his” aircraft. For a guy who started out his whole business by building a modification on another mans design (the RV-1 is a Stits Playboy with metal wings), he has long forgotten that some people build experimentals because they can be tailored to individual missions. – ww
Parting Shot, from KR-2 Corvair Builder/flyer (for 13 years) Steve Makish:
“William, you mentioned Steve Jones in your post. I knew Steve briefly and met him at Sun and Fun some years ago. He was flying his trigear KR with my old type4 engine and wanted to see my Corvair installation. He said he was going to Corvair power when he got home from the fly in. That night at the KR dinner, he was talking about his Corvair engine and was going to run very high compression with turbocharging. We all looked at him and questioned his statement and he got very indignant and said ‘I really know what I am doing.’ I guess we all get opinionated at times but as you get older, the been there, done that, didn’t work seems to be the guiding factor. -Steve”
May 25, 2013 1 Comment
Here is another opinion from me, man of a thousand opinions: Stick and Rudder is the greatest book ever written on how to fly planes, period. Unlike some of my other opinions, I am not alone in this one. While most people with a pilots license in their pocket have never heard of this book, virtually every single veteran aviator noted for his skill and experience holds the same opinion of this book. My 25 years of building planes and modest amount of hours doesn’t make me one of those “Old School” pilots, but I am smart enough to hold the same text sacred as they do.
To assist in the discussion of this book, I will use paraphrased comments that people have made to me over the years at Sun n Fun and Oshkosh when I bring up the point that the book only costs $16, and maybe half of the fatal accidents each year could be avoided if the deceased pilots had owned, read, and understood the contents of this 69-year-old book. The paraphrased peanut gallery comments are in blue italics.
“They must have written something better since. I think Rod Machado’s books are better because they are funny and entertaining.”
OK, let me start by saying I have nothing against Machado, but he isn’t in the same category. We are speaking on educational classics here, not comedy/entertainment/flying lite.
“But that Machado is such a character! He is so daring and out of the box! He is really bold.”
Now let’s just hold on a minute: One of my pet peeves is how Flying magazine and some elements in marketing the EAA have tried to make aviation less offensive, more family entertainment. They want every person pictured to be drawn from the pages of the J. Crew clothing catalog, clothed in khaki slacks and getting into their Cirrus or 912 powered S-LSA. Compared to those contrived marketing images, Machado is Keith Richards, but judged against real aviation characters, he is just another guy in Levis Dockers with a John Edwards haircut.
And now, a brief break from our sponsor, Real Aviation Character. Take this quiz: See how many of the 8 aviators of character below that you recognize. …
What an actual Character looks like #1.
Scoring: If you have heard of Machado but knew six or more of the Aviators of Character, you are in good shape, proceed as you are. – If you have read Machado’s books, but only identified 3 or 4 of the pictures, take warning: Do not read Flying, try to fly a Comanche 400 or radial powered plane soon. Throw away your Sporty’s catalog. Watch The Great Waldo Pepper or Thirty Seconds over Tokyo this week. – If you own Machado’s books but knew none of the images, you need serious help. You have been made a victim of the consumerism people who have told you that flying is about spending money, not learning, challenges, and personal achievements. Leave tonight for Cherry Grove, Minn., Pietenpol’s home town, and make it your aviation pilgrimage. Never speak to anyone with a Rotax 912 ever again. Fly in a biplane to Kitty Hawk, and look into the glass case at the little square of Wright Flyer fabric, carried to the surface of the moon and back by Neil Armstrong. Develop a plan on how your actions in aviation will show gratitude to those who came before you and gave you the possibilities you have. Do this today.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. …
“I read some of the book, and it isn’t all nice. Langewiesche says things I find scary and threatening like ‘Most pilots would rather die than think.’ I just want to go back to reading how I can use my Ipad to listen to Celine Dion and Barry Manilow while ATC tells me which pattern to fly the designated ‘practice area’ in our controlled airspace.”
The goal of real aviation books is not to tell you some answer, but to get you to think. The resistance to really thinking is the actual roadblock to learning and being able to use new understanding. Langewiesche knew that people are so set in their ways that they are hardly even moved by the seriousness of the consequences. Thomas Edison’s favorite quote was “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the true labor of thinking.” Set yourself apart, buy the book and read it. Recognize that the part of your brain that resists this is what Langewiesche and Edison were speaking of.
“If this book is so important, why isn’t anyone talking about it? Why are magazines all filled with avionics reviews and new imported $159,000 S-LSA aircraft, and not talking about this book? If it were important, magazine editors would have told me about it.”
Wrong. Nearly the entire system of general aviation as it exists is about one single thing: Money. This book costs $16, no one is making big bucks off it, Langewiesche has been deceased more than a decade, and getting you to buy it doesn’t line anyone’s pockets, so it doesn’t get any attention. Contrast this with some new $2,000 glass cockpit: The factory makes 400% mark up on the hardware, this pays 100 “dealers” who each make a 15% cut off each sale; it also pays for full-page ads in magazines; it covers free units traded to influential journalists and prominent builders to write glowing endorsements. It covers dinners, evenings at strip clubs, airline tickets and many other “perks” for people who offer “independent” reviews. Every sale has a large chunk of the money going to grease the palms of a whole chain of people, all unbeknownst to the purchaser, who thought the echo of glowing endorsements was driven by the quality of the product. This system works on every major part. If you buy a kit, and the sales staff works pretty hard to steer you from a Corvair to a Rotax 912, it is because the dealership has already registered your name with the U.S. Rotax importer, and they will quietly get a check for $2,000 of your money right after you buy the 912, even if it is a long time later. Most engine companies do this (we do not).
There are many great things in aviation, like Stick and Rudder and steam gauge instrumentation, that will get damn near zero discussion, simply because no one gets paid if you use them. Learn this: The system isn’t going to spend the time discussing what you need to know, nor what might be economical or useful for your plane. It is only going to spend time discussing things that make insiders in the system money.
“How can this book be of any value to my flying? It doesn’t tell me how my GPS works, it doesn’t talk about airspace letter codes, and it doesn’t say anything about how to get the magnetic swipe card to open the 8′ chain link fence at my airport. I hear that none of the information in it is on the private pilot test, and if I only need a 70 to pass that, why should I waste $16 on another book filled with words?”
GPS, radios, arbitrary boundaries and written tests have nothing to do with flying. Don’t worry about the test from the FAA: be much more concerned about the one run by Physics, Chemistry and Gravity when you leave the ground as there are much greater consequences to failing theirs. Langewiesche is going to teach you to pass this far less forgiving exam. Flying is about controlling your aircraft, knowing weather and knowing yourself. These are his subjects. They have not, and will not ever change.
Here is my perspective: Aviation costs money. About the least expensive plane I can picture has an all up cost of $10,000. Let’s say that you take 8 years to build it, that’s $1,250/year or $3 and 42 cents a day. If you smoke or drink coffee, you spend a lot more than this. Don’t like to hear about 8 years? Want to change that? Here is the easy way: Do nothing this year, and next year it will be nine years. $20 a day for 3 years is $21,900. For that kind of money you can have many airplanes, including a Panther with engine. Being wealthy isn’t the key, getting started is.
Take this thought with you: You can’t really change the cost of planes by more than 25% or 35% even by extreme scrounging and plans building. There is no way to drop the cost by 75%, stuff justs costs money at some point. Here is what you do control: What you get out of building and flying. Picture two guys, both spend 4 years, and 2,000 hours building a plane, and 50 hours aloft and 200 studying to get a LSA rating. It’s five years into it. If guy “A” was a super scrounger, bought a used kit and spent only $20K vs guy “B” who spent $34K for the same plane by purchasing a kit and getting all his parts from Aircraft Spruce instead of the flymart, Which builder got the better value? Who won?
The correct answer: The guy who actually mastered each skill, learned the why’s of every step, didn’t just do every task to minimums, but aimed to master it. The guy who sought to know every piece and part of his plane and its correct care, feeding and operation. He aimed higher, did more. He has been changed by the experience, the guy who just did the minimums only accomplished the task, but it wasn’t transformative. Real value isn’t based just on what it cost, it is far more affected by the other side of the equation…what did you get out of it? On this point, the majority of builders cheat themselves. Reading Stick and Rudder is all about aiming to get the best value out of the hours of your life you invest in homebuilding and flying. The book is for aviators who will master light plane flight, not just be adequate at it.
Years ago I was a contributor to the “Corvaircraft” Internet discussion group. If you read the archives, I left 400 stories there, before I was banned for life (due to poor etiquette and intolerance of foolish people). In retrospect, most of my time there was wasted. In 10 years, the site produced only a handful of flyers, most of whom were already regular builders of ours. The great majority of the several hundred readers there were just doing one thing: Waiting.
What for you ask? Something better than what I was showing them could be done. I was basically showing how a very good engine that weighed 225 pounds, cost $5,000, burned 5 gallons an hour, and lasted 1,000 hours could be built, if you were willing to learn a little and get your hands dirty, and think some. Yet the vast majority of readers thought that was not good enough. Every time some troll/daydreamer/psycho surfaced and said “I know how to save 35 pounds!” they waited to see how he would do it. When people said “I know how to have an EFI system for $200,” they waited to see how it worked. When people said “We can use shareware and develop this as a Net group,” people waited. Every new thing discussed, virtually all of which turned out to be pure unicorns, was cause for these men to wait.
Many of the ones who were there 10 years ago are still there waiting, certain that this week, someone will show up and tell them how to build a 170 pound Corvair that has EFI, is reliable, burns 2.5 gallons per hour, makes 130 hp, assembles itself, lasts 2,500 hours for an investment of $1,500, no check that, $995. They will be waiting there in another 10 years because that bus isn’t ever going to come. The rainbow bus line from unicornville doesn’t have a stop on reality street, it only is headed to cyberville, and there is no airport in cyberville.
Their waiting is partially driven by the “consumer electronics experience.” To these people, their cell phones were vastly better and far cheaper than the ones they had 10 years before, why shouldn’t they expect the same from Corvairs? Because it is the mechanical world, not electronics, and it doesn’t work that way in metal, and things that you can fly. Popular Mechanics has been telling readers for 60 years that personal helicopters are 2 years away, and rip off artists like “Cartercopter” stole millions of dollars from NASA (yes, stolen from the taxpayers) for alleged R&D on this, but it doesn’t exist. You can’t fly it, but the people who wait eat this stuff up as the sand runs out of their personal hour-glass.
Do something this weekend to change your life: Buy a copy of Stick and Rudder this weekend, and get started reading it. Here is my special offer: The book is free to Corvair builders. Here is how: Buy a copy, read it and bring it to Oshkosh and show me, and I will take $16 off the price of anything you buy from us. How does this work for me? It is your instant identification to me that you are a serious builder, committed to your personal advancement. You are not waiting for an imaginary bus from Unicornville. Besides, the information in it could save your life.
Postscript: I am sure that many people think that my paraphrased comments are not portraits of real attitudes. Let me offer this proof: Below is a review of the book that is actually posted on Amazon.com. The D-bag that wrote it isn’t an aviator, even if he holds a pilots licence. His attitude is exactly what Edison and Langewiesche were talking about, the type of person A.E. Houseman referred to as “Chaps whom it hurts to think.” If your goal is to learn, welcome to aviation, we need you. Your place will never be with this kind of person:
“While I understand why pilots and other aviation enthusiasts highly recommend this book because of its thorough explanation of nearly every aspect of flying, I had trouble reading it. I could never get into the book. Perhaps because I began reading this book shortly after finishing a book I thoroughly enjoyed (Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight) Mr. Langewiesche’s book never lived up to my expectations.”
May 20, 2013 Leave a comment
Here is a large sample of the mail. You can click on the topic headings to review the original story the letter is referring to…….
601XL builder/flyer Ron Lendon writes:
“WW, you must have written this for me. Monday I will contact Russ and have him build one for me. The oneoff the 65hp continental should remain there. Maybe it it can be a core, but it’s coming off my engine and getting replaced by a D & G.”
Ron, I am glad to see you moving to the same carb that others find to be very successful. I feel that the smallish carb that you engine had contributed to lean/hot operation. Smart move.-ww
International Builder Howard Horner writes:
“Ahhhh. Nitrous! I had a conversation with Dan at Sun n Fun about Nitro vs Turbo or supercharger for short boosts of power on a CH 750 float plane. He thought you might like the idea… maybe he was right!”