“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!”
WILLIAM, I HAVE BEEN READING EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WRITTEN , OVER THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. THIS HAS PROVIDED ME WITH A WEALTH OF INFORMATION, AND HELPED KEEP ME FROM KILLING MYSELF. HOWEVER IN THIS E-MAIL, THERE IS ONE POINT I THINK IS WRONG.
YOU SAID,” NEVER BUY A SECOND HAND ENGINE”, IF THIS IS TRUE, THEN AFTER YOU ARE THROUGH BUILDING YOUR PLANE AND ARE GOING TO MOVE ON, YOU SHOULD NOT SELL IT, THE PROJECT SHOULD JUST BE THROWN OUT. THIS I DO NOT AGREE WITH.
KEEP THE E-MAILS COMING. CHARLES LEONARD 601XLB
Charles, I was not clear enough in my comments, and I have gone back to amend the story to fix that. What I didn’t want people to buy were unknown second-hand, project engines. An engine like the one in your aircraft is fully proven and conforms to the best ways we have of doing things. No problem there.-ww
Aviation professional Jon Ross Writes:
“William: I know how you feel… I was asked to assist in licensing a Fairchild that had been damaged in a ground loop accident. The airplane was in the experimental category (not amateur built of course) and the owner wanted to put it back in the standard category. There had been an engine change to another model of the Ranger engine. The TCDS supported the change to the more powerful Ranger, so that was not a problem. But in the accident the propeller had been splintered down to about 3 feet in diameter. The aircraft owner (a physicist of all things) was surrounded by friends and “Experts” that stated all that was needed was a runout check on the crank. I wanted the engine torn down and inspected but with Ranger so long out of business I could not supply any data supporting the need for a teardown after a prop strike. If it had been a Lycoming or Continental this would have been no problem. I refused (politely) to assist. The aircraft owner heard what he wanted to hear from his friends and so they repaired the airplane and hung a new prop on the existing engine. I reminded the owner that he was not exempt from the laws of physics and that this was simply not safe.
I am now the bad guy, and I no longer feel welcome on that side of the airport. After witnessing two crashes of pilots from the same group of guys as a result of taking off downwind I am really on the outs with these folks. All because I did not tell them what they wanted to hear.
I tell you this because you are not alone. Your situation is worse because you have much more latitude in the experimental world, which makes many builders hide behind the Experimental label… It is all very dangerous.
People like you describe will continue to do as they do, and guys like us will continue to counsel them. When it’s all over perhaps we will have made a difference. You would make a very good DAR William, I encourage you to apply for designation as such. You do look better with shorter hair, but that is just an opinion and I suppose Grace has some preference here:) Best, Jon Ross A&P IA AB DAR”
Pietenpol builder Terry Hand writes:
“William, If I buy a Corvair engine that I did not build, then I do not know for sure what I am flying behind. I might as well buy an O-200 (with a similar unknown provenance) at the Flymart. But I want to build my Corvair so I KNOW what is on my airplane. There are no shortcuts to that feeling of accomplishment.”
Noted Corvair enthusiast Bob Helt writes:
“William, You certainly don’t need my feedback, but I feel it necessary to compliment you on your knowledge, explanations, and concerns. Thank You. This is a very impressive educational lesson.
Regards, Bob Helt”
Cleanex Builder and CC#22 grad Vic Delgado writes:
“William, I am one of those people that is stubborn in my ideas once I have done my research and made up my mind. I actually had chosen another option which I thought would be simpler, less expensive, and dependable. Once I had the opportunity to speak with you at CC23 about my choice, and you explained the different options available, and why you thought the MA3 was a good choice, I was reluctant to change, at that moment. But the explanation you gave made so much sense, and your experience counted for a lot as well, that I knew I was looking for an MA3 carb for my engine before the weekend was over. I really appreciate the way you explain things, and even more that you don’t sugar coat the truth, bad or good. I respect that presentation because it is honest, and straight forward, which it the way I like to deliver as well. I am still looking for a good MA3, if you have any good leads where I should be looking for a fair price, please let me know. I too am building for myself and my family to fly behind, and there is no “Bargain” that will make me skimp on my safety and peace of mind. My goal is to try to have my engine completed by end of 2013 if possible. I am really looking forward to it! I will be getting in touch with you regarding my engine block and work. thanks, Vic”
Builder “Jacksno” writes:
“…stone reliability…” If I had an aircraft parts company, it’d be Stone Reliable Aircraft Parts. Also, really like your priorities, especially concerning ‘glass/’instruments’ a distant priority from that of a reliable carb. I try to stay positive, but have to admit I was sorely disappointed with the choices made by the EAA staff (latest mag) and their CH 750 build- I love the concept, the airframe choice, am willing to accept the use of the on hand historic Continental power plant, (although, of course, would rather see a 5th bearing Corvair), but reached for the puke bag when I got to the sell out (my opinion) on the Dynon. Not saying anything at all against Dynon, just that a) having them do the panel is completely out of line with homebuilding and may violate the 51%/majority build rule, (which may not apply to the organization as it would to an individual), and b) as an example of entry-level home building for entry-level pilots ostensibly planning to fly for the pure joy of it, (just like crows do as opposed to mission oriented raptors), ‘steam’ gauges seem far more appropriate. They are free to do as they please, just didn’t like it and using this opportunity to vent. Thanks.”
Jacksno: Everyone knows I like stupidly simple stuff in aircraft, so let me take the counterpoint on this and give a little of the opposing perspective: Of all of the Glass cockpit stuff, I like Dynon the best, it is well proven, and if someone likes that stuff, it is a good value. Part of the mission of the plane is to fly all of the EAA air academy students that go there during the summer. Most of these kids are far more familiar with that type of display that steam gauges. The thing I like best about their choices are that the plane, the engine, and the instrumentation are all US made products. You know what aircraft they were using at the Air-acedemy? A Chinese built Skycatcher. I will accept nearly anything over that. I want every kid who goes there to understand that Americans wrote a large part of the history of flight, and we still have a fantastic engineering education system here, and that they should take their place as the next generational link in the chain of achievement by becoming as educated as possible and then using that knowledge to create more manufacturing here. The plane, as they are building it, supports this. Flying in a Skycatcher built by repressed labor in a communist country sends the message that we once went to the moon, but today the best you can hope for is a ride in a cheap toy built for maximum corporate profit by using the lowest wage workers they could find on the planet.
The paint, interior, engine and panel all are not considered as part of the 51%. Builders are not penalized for purchasing these items nor hiring them out.-ww
“I always considered that cutting off the mixture would starve the cylinders of fuel that could be fired by magneto ignition if the prop was moved and either there was a broken P-lead or the ignition was not turned off.”
Charles Leonard 601XLB builder/flyer writes:
“If I start using the ignition switch to kill the engine, may I leave the mixture control in between flights, or what?it sounds like I can just leave the mixture control alone. Charles”
“Great topic, with 1/2 a beer I could go on for hours about this. Mostly I agree w/ a few exceptions. Rotax 912s – you are right for the most part. I do know someone who rebuilt one who was not an A&P but took a Rotax repair class.
Cars – while they are harder to work on, there is one particular area where I love modern cars. They don’t rust! I would still drive my ’76 Nova if it hadn’t rusted out. In 5 years. And because of unibody construction, once the rust gets significant you are done, unless you weld / replace major body portions. My 2004 Ranger, 150,000 miles, not a spec of rust.
Materials – especially rubber and plastics, last much longer. Modern cars rarely leak oil if you don’t abuse them. Door and window seals last forever compared to the ’60s. I like that you can incorporate that into rebuilding old engines w/ improved seals. In the process control world, a computer is much more reliable than a room filled with timers and counters and relays that gets really, really hot. But if something goes wrong, you need a EE degree just to get into the logic and trace the circuits.
My car never knocks or detonates. There’s the darn check engine light – but what that really means is that the computer control system had to go full on or off to try and control the mixture (at least most of the time). In my opinion, the problem isn’t that the technology is bad in and of itself, it’s that the designers try to make it so you don’t have to know how it works to use it. In the Jenny days, you had to know how the OX-5 worked to be safe flying it. Modern airplanes, you sort of don’t have to know as much, but I believe you are still safer if you do.
The Corvair engine and the way you approach it guides builders into knowing how it works, and that makes us safer. It’s more reliable than an OX-5, even if you know the OX-5 by heart. But with the Rotax, I think there’s overlap – if you don’t know your Corvair the Rotax is probably safer, if you know your Corvair but not your Rotax, the Corvair is safer, if you know them both – maybe a tossup? But no one demands you know your Rotax before you take off, and that in my opinion is the real problem. I would like to hear you try to convince me to own a V8 Vega …….Becky Shipman”
Becky, think of a V-8 Vega as a Nova that weighs 700 pounds less, and has about 50% of the aerodynamic drag. Go to You tube and search “V-8 Vega – Burnout” , there are about 100 great clips in there. My Brother and I had several V-8 Vegas, mostly 1974 GT Wagons and a Panel Express.-ww
My Brother in Law Col. John Nerges shares:
“I am typing this on a Dell computer, a model they probably made 5 million of. This computer could be called a machine, but for all intents and purposes it isn’t. A computer is another thing entirely. It is an appliance. Is there anyone reading this who thinks that there will be a single 95-year-old laptop of this model working in the year 2105?”
Wow, talk about perspective.
Builder “Jacksno” writes:
“It’s hard for me to accept the word as applied today: technology. It WAS a beautiful word. As all words, it’s value and veracity are directly proportional to the integrity of the ‘heart’ that powers the brain, mouth, and lungs to utter it. You nailed it re ‘consumer-ism’. Such a poor, poverty spirit business concept. Somethings, like my product, are in fact consumable. It’s not a Machine, or even a machine, but a substance. That’s different than a Machine, which has a very widespread definition for me, something made by a maker called to make things, one who has the greatest admiration and respect for working parts functioning in harmony toward a designed purpose, made to last as long as possible regardless of the potential ‘profit’ of the greed driven concept of ‘engineered obsolescence’. Thanks for your standard of integrity.”
Builder Charlie Nowlin Writes:
“Yes, William, I am a 15%-er too! I immediately understood your first post on this subject. The second? A piece of cake! Keep up the great work!”
“To add to the biography of Lindbergh, it is the theory on the part of Pulitzer Prize winner Scott Berg that the reasons that Roosevelt didn’t want to let him reenlist were twofold: Lindbergh had voiced his opposition to the Army pilots taking over the air mail routes because he said that while the Army pilots were excellent pilots, that flying the air mail was a totally different type of flying. He was proved right when there were many fatalities. That ticked off Roosevelt.
The other is that Lindbergh in a dramatic move had resigned his commission to head up the America First movement. It was understandable that he would have those views because his father had been one of the few Congressmen to vote against going to war in WWI.
Lindbergh had even contemplated moving to Germany, not because of any great love for the country, but because in that totalitarian state, the press left him alone. If you think that today’s paparazzi are bad, the press of that day was far worse towards Lindbergh. It is for that reason he had moved his family from the U.S. to England in the years after his son was kidnapped.
The award he was given by the Nazi government was sprung on him, and it was a propaganda ploy on the part of Germany. The Germans, proud of the Luftwaffe, showed him everything, and he shared this information with U.S. intelligence.
Because Roosevelt didn’t let him rejoin the Army, he quietly became a manufacturer’s rep and troubleshooter in the Pacific. He had orders cut that let him go anywhere in the Pacific. He is responsible for teaching fighter pilots how to increase their range by a substantial margin. As he put it, “It’s in your engine manuals.”
They learned that at low RPMs that they could use power settings that were over-square to increase their range at low power settings. They could use settings of very low rpm and high manifold pressure without damaging the engine, yet cruise at much greater efficiency in the trip to and from the site of a battle. This gave them at least an extra hour of flight time. Because he was Lindbergh, fighter pilots listened to him. If he’d been someone else, they might not have. He also flew fighter sweeps with them and demonstrated that he knew what he was talking about.”
“William, I am in awe of guys like Jim and Dan Weseman and others. Their skills and their projects make my build project look down right minuscule in comparison, but I proudly stand up with them and say “I am a homebuilder.” And thank you for having a place for us to share the journey with likeminded people. Semper Fi, Terry Hand”
“Hello William, I am glad to hear that Gary’s plane is flying. Another zenith success story. It is interesting that you mention the RV-12 and zodiac 650 since that is exactly the choice I had to make before starting to build my plane. I went to both the vans factory and the zenith factory before deciding. The RV-12 looked to be an excellent plane, vans kits have a great reputation and the instructions were excellent. But there was no flexibility in design options. The plane was licensed as an ELSA which meant that every option had to appear in a production plane.
I have flown about 200 HRS behind a Rotax 912s. The engine was fairly reliable but there were a couple of problems I noticed. While the fuel consumption was low at low altitudes it was unreasonably high at high altitudes. The cylinder head temperature would occasionally be too high when climbing. Both of these issues could have been handled in flight with a mixture control, but the Rotax with its Bing carburetors didn’t have one. The Vans also didn’t allow any options for flight or engine instruments.So I decided to go with the zodiac which allowed me to put off making my decision on instruments and engine until I had checked out more options. Regards, Becky”
International Builder Howard in Hati writes:
“I chuckled (and cringed) when I read this blog post on a builder forum and it caused me to think about your dedication to educate and empower builders.
Charging Issue: …While taxiing to the active, my battery charge indication shoed low voltage, fluctuating into yellow. On run-up, the bar still showed slightly more than 12 volts. It usually reads 13.2 or so. I went back to tie down, and quit for day. Later, the battery would not turn engine. On charger all night. Does the Jabiru have a voltage regulator that may be bad? If so, where is it, and what does it look like…
–Thanks, Haiti Howard.”
Builder Paul Sanders writes:
“Great article. I spent a lot of time comparing the main players in the game and until recently had decided on the Viking, with the Corvair a close second (largely due to the perception that is a lot heavier – a perception that has since been corrected). As I’ve watched the Viking grow it has become obvious that it is not the engine for me for a lot of reasons. Your arguments are good, one needs to look closely at all aspects, not just cost and weight etc. In my case particularly, I know very little about engines, and the system you have designed to support the Corvair conversion is just what I need. I don’t think I can succeed if I buy an engine and am then abandoned. I’m hopefully going to be in touch with you soon to talk about having you build one for my “forthcoming” 750.”
“Hello William, It’s funny how dogs focus in on sound. My family had a Collie named Mac. The dog loved my father and used to run to the door when he pulled up in our 76 Chevrolet nova. I inherited the nova when I moved away after college. A couple of years later I drove back to the house to visit my parents and they told me that Mac ran to the door when she heard the car even though dad hadn’t driven it for two years. That nova, with an in-line six and three on the tree was my most reliable car. I would still be driving it if it hadn’t rusted out. Glad you and Scoob E survived Grace’s absence. Regards, Becky”
“William, Have you thought about drawing up your redesigned Piet gear? I think I would like to do something similar but not sure where to start. Ryan”
Ryan, I am working on an informal Pietenpol notebook which would have all of the information I have gathered on them, and drawing of this like the gear. I am gathering this along with positive storieds of fun and adventure in Corvair-powered piets. I hope to sweep this together before Brodhead this year.-ww
Builder “Jeffeoso” writes:
“I shall likely see you there. at Oshkosh”
Looking forward to it-ww.
Pietenpol builder John Francis writes:
“William, I am interested in purchasing a motor mount for a Pietenpol at Brodhead.”
John, Send me a direct Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and give me some detail on your fuselage. Be sure to include an evening phone number. I will be glad to get started and bring you one.-ww