September 30, 2013 Leave a comment
September 28, 2013 Leave a comment
A number of builders wrote me today pointing out an error in the EAA publications story on engines at Oshkosh. It appeared in the Experimenter magazine. Basically, the whole coverage we received was just a paragraph, and the picture that went with the story was a Jabbaru engine, and it wasn’t even a good photo of one either. The story was written by Tim Kern. I am typing this because I have known Tim for about 15 years, and he is one of the very few journalists who knows anything about experimental power plants, and he certainly knows what a Corvair looks like. I just didn’t want anyone reading Tim’s byline on the story and discounting his aviation experience. He has written very informative stories on the Corvair previously, and todays glitch had nothing to do with him. This does bring up a bit of a larger discussion. I worked for EAA publications for four years, and I have had about 50 stories published in their periodicals. Let me share some insight on how this type of error happens.
Above, Tim Kern on the left, and Journalist Pat Panzera outside our booth at Sun n Fun 2011. This was the first photo in our files I drew up of Tim, but ironically it actually is an ideal photo to explain a little about how stories get messed up after writers submit them.
Many of the people who have written for EAA publications, Tim and myself included, don’t live anywhere near headquarters at Oshkosh. Many of us set foot inside the publications office in the lower floor of headquarters less than once a year. Even when my name was on the EAA masthead, we just wrote stories and submitted them. If one of them was published in a month, the EAA sent me a check for $200. No one does this to get rich, it is just a good way of making a contribution to the general body of knowledge of the EAA membership.
What made the whole system work smoothly was having outstanding people as editors at headquarters, people who really knew journalism and homebuilts. When I worked there, Scott Spangler was Editor in Chief and Mary Jones as my direct boss. Both of these people love homebuilts, are outstanding in their craft, respected by industry people. In the years I regularly wrote for Publications, nothing like today’s error would have happened, because the teams would have caught that kind of error. Not so today, and I am going to use the other guy in the golf cart to explain why…
When the EAA transitioned the Experimenter to an on line publication, they made a very smart move and made the second guy in the golf cart, Pat Panzera, the editor in chief of it. I have known Pat for a very long time. We are close friends, to the point of bickering like brothers at times. I will be the first person to tell you that In the several years that he was the editor of the Experimenter, he wasn’t perfect, but he damn sure knew a lot about homebuilts, flying and builders. He ran the magazine out of his office in California. The EAA had almost no overhead, they didn’t even have to give him a desk. The EAA does waste money on some things, but on line editors salaries isn’t one of them. Pat ran the whole show and wrote a good chunk of the stories for a whopping $15K/year. That had to be the bargain of the century in aviation publishing. Use this as an example that many of the people who do the hard work at the EAA are barely paid. You are correct in assuming that many of the people higher up in the organizational chart have comparatively astronomical paychecks.
Pat doesn’t work for the EAA anymore. If you are thinking that he quit after realizing that he could earn more money per hour by accepting any minimum wage job in his home state of California, you are not correct. He was terminated when the new director of publications, “J-Mac” Mcllean arrived. Yes, that is correct, the editor infamous for selecting the French TBM-850 turboprop as an “affordable” aircraft to feature in Sport Aviation, the same person who has shown countless times that he doesn’t like homebuilts nor homebuilders, the guy who came to Oshkosh more than 30 times as the editor of flying magazine, but never stooped to becoming an EAA member until the new owners of Flying fired him and he needed a job, yes that same guy decided that the EAA didn’t need anyone working there who knew one homebuilt from another.
“J-Mac” is a hold over from the ill fated time of Rod Hightower trying to be president of the EAA. They were good friends, but now Rod has been dismissed by the BOD, and a number of friends of mine who have been EAA members for the last 25 years are looking forward to ” J-Mac” finding a new employer. I have friends in the position of knowing a lot more about the current outlook of the EAA who assure me that the organization has turned a corner, and things are being fixed. I genuinely hope they are right. One of the first outward signs that will tell me the EAA is back on track is having a new editor in chief of EAA publications, a person who understands and respects the fact that the EAA was founded by, and exists to serve the interests of homebuilders.-ww
September 28, 2013 Leave a comment
Here is the second half of the mail:
On the topic of: Bob Barrows to Fly LSA Bearhawk to CC #27, Barnwell, S.C., Nov. 2013
Builder in Hati, Howard Horner writes:
I have been a member of the Bearhawk builder’s groups for years and really admire Bob’s designs and the support he and the more experienced builders provide not to mention his character. I spoke to Bob some time ago to inquire about the possibility of hiring him to engineer a folding wings option for the LSA as I wish to pull my plane behind my motor home when I travel. He very kindly and graciously said no and suggested I buy a powered parachute. Still chuckling…
On the topic of: Larry Hudson, Master Upholsterer, parts and core for sale
Zenith 650 builder Paul Normandin writes:
William, glad the Zenith college went so well, good to have you back! Just to let you know, I took that core off Larry’s hands about two hours ago. My original core is so badly corroded that I was never going to get it apart in time for college 27. I will keep it and continue to work on it but it is destined for something other than my 650… I am thinking maybe a Tailwind sometime in the future! Paul
On the topic of : Communist Chinese government at Oshkosh
Builder Jon Ross writes:
William: So at EAA you would prefer Hightower over Pelton?
The Chinese are indeed very underhanded, and having spent time there I can tell you that they are very nefarious. Like you, I am concerned about the transfer of technology to China, and it usually begins with the search for cheap manufacturing; American companies begin by selling expertise and tooling to China and the products end up being cheaply made in China. Try buying an American made air compressor… And that Chinese 4130 tubing that is available is real junk, I tell builders not to use it. Almost all the tubing Wicks sells is of Chinese origin. All that said, one cannot deny the Chinese display space at Oshkosh. American companies are free to sell their stock to any buyer, and that includes the Chinese. Most business owners are fully aware of the real facts behind this situation, and they make a choice to knowingly sell to China. It’s an old trick in aviation called find a bigger sucker. I remember a phase some years ago where American companies were selling like crazy to the Japanese, that did not work out very well did it? Likely, the same will occur with respect to China, and it will be exacerbated by the huge amount of “American Paper” that they now hold. This will not end pleasantly… of that I am certain. Warm Regards, Jon Ross
Parting Shot; On the topic of: Deal of the Day, simple MA3 carb. (Sold at 1 am, 9/1/13)
Zenith 650 builder Becky Shipman writes:
When my instructor first showed me an aircraft carburetor, I laughed. Even the low end motorcycles I was riding at the time had much more sophisticated carburetors. This looked like something off a 1930′s tractor, to my untrained eye. Later, thinking on it, the words of my Dad came back to me. Dad was a combustion expert, and during long car drives I would ask a question and he would “pontificate”. I will paraphrase one of these discussions that hit me. The internal combustion engine is a constant speed device. The car is a variable speed application. Carburetor design is the art of making one fit the other. The reason we use it is because gasoline is light, compact, and powerful. A car engine runs most efficiently on a small engine with its throttle open. But we put tremendous demands for acceleration on our cars, and years of engineering have been spent adapting the engine to a task for which it is ill suited. It is much better for boats or airplanes.
So now it has become clear to me the differences in carburetor design. Freed from the constraints of acceleration against a fixed object (the road), aircraft carburetor designers can concentrate on the important factors, which are reliability, and ability to adapt to different air densities. And I no longer laugh when I see an aircraft carburetor.
And in your business, I get a better understanding of the decision making and challenges involved in taking an auto engine and converting it to an aircraft engine.
Progress – mounted my nose gear, and the motor mount, and now I can start working on the jigsaw puzzle of installing the fuel, ignition, air, and cooling flow paths.
September 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Here is a sample of the mail on a number of different stories. To refresh your memory, you can click on the link to read the original story the letter is referring to. To cover mail like this takes a few hours, but I like it because the things builders write make me stop, consider, really think. At 50, I am less sure of many things than I was when I was 25. Today there are more facets to issues, less hard lines on many topics. I am never convinced that I am absolutely right on any issue, I only am willing to say what I believe to be true because I have experienced it under these circumstances, and took the measure of what we are speaking of. I go out of my way to resist using that position as a spring board to jump to conclusions that come in sentences with words like “always”, “never” and “everyone.” Invariably, such sweeping statements are proven wrong with a single exception, but their real trap is they are the easy way out, the simple answer to the hard question, something I have learned never to trust.
On the topic of: Sunday, a long day at the airport.
Elaine Culver writes:
You are one heck of a theologian. “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi set” (sounds even better in Duruflé’s setting.)
Gyro builder and CC#9 grad Brent Brown writes:
I hope to see you and Grace at a fly in someday.
Brent, it has been too long, if you are in the country, stop by and see us at CC#27.-ww.
builder Phil Carley writes:
William, Thank you for sharing the Tom C. story. Just another reminder for me to be thankful for the loved ones in my life. My wife always tells me (and I need reminding of this). We do not know what events or sorrows happen to other people. Therefore, patience and kindness speaks volumes.
Builder Daniel Mears writes:
Your reflections on Tom C. remind me of my father-in-law who was somewhat like the Clint Eastwood character in Gran Torino. Rough on the exterior, a World War II Vet who was an avid gun collector, he drank a little, and wasn’t easy to warm up to. Once you got below that crusty exterior there was an absolute treasure trove of historical data locked into a mind with an IQ off the chart. So easily we dismiss people because of their bluntness or lack of finesse but I find that folks shouldn’t be so quickly judged. I too am an Army veteran and my son just returned from Afghanistan a couple of months ago. You never know what dragons are in the closets or the atrocities a person may have repeating in their mind… Thanks for your insights, it is uplifting to see what you’re thinking about in the wee hours.
Builder Allen Oliver writes:
“J’aurais dû être plus gentille—I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, Ah, I wish I was not good to that person. You will never think that.” ― Khaled Hosseini, “And the Mountains Echoed” William, you appear to have done better than most with Tom in this regard.
Builder Sonny Webster writes:
William, while I fully appreciate all you have done and continue to do for the Corvair “movement” I think you should consider writing as a second career or hobby. You have great insight on the human condition and a way with words that conveys the true depth of every story you write. I too am thankful for having a loving family upbringing and feel very sad for people like Tom. Building airplanes and motors is more than just going through some mechanical motions; it is really more about the characters of the people who take this path to finding satisfaction in life. While I have chosen the path of a professional life for the sake of providing a “nice” lifestyle for my family I truly long for a simpler, more gratifying lifestyle – even if that means making much less than my current 6-figure income. Were it just me I would gladly step back however, I have a wife and two teenage daughters who have become accustomed to the material and social standards that have become normal so I will have to stay committed to a very stressful, unrewarding existence in my current automotive career until such time that I can justify finally living a little more for me and my dreams. I sometimes feel guilty for such a seemingly selfish agenda but I always go back to the analogy of cockpit decompression: I must put on my oxygen mask first because if I pass out I can be of no help to those around me. Thanks again for your work and words.-Sonny
Pietenpol builder Terry Hand, USMC/ATP writes:
William, You wake up every morning with the perfect reminder of how we should live our lives. You wake up and say, “Good morning, Grace.” Grace is defined in Christianity as God’s free and unmerited favor toward us. People may not be Christian in their religious beliefs, but it is hard, if not impossible, to argue with the concept. Free and unmerited favor. It is how we should live and treat those around us. Thank you for telling us Tom C.’s story and reminding us a little of how we should be as humans, and not just builders. Semper Fi, Terry.
On the topic of : Brodhead, Oshkosh and Beyond 2013
Merlin on floats Corvair builder and flyer Jeff Moores writes:
Hi William, I know you guys were very busy but it was great to talk to you and Grace at Oshkosh this year. I also had the opportunity to meet and chat with Vern, Roy and Mark at your booth, as well as the Johnson brothers. My wife and I also met fellow builder/flyer Pat Hoyt and his wife. To be able to talk to another successful builder and see his installation was an excellent experience. When we were at Oshkosh four years ago I was only considering using the Corvair and this year being there as a successful builder and flyer was very special indeed !!-Jeff
Pietenpol builder Mark Chouinard writes:
Took several photos at Brodhead and around the booth at OSH with the intention of sending you some, which I obviously never got around to… glad to see that you got a bunch of good ones. Getting a lot of compliments on my engine and mount. Looking forward to getting both installed. Enjoyed the write up… by the way, my tape measure is fine, I’m 77″. It was good to see you guys… see you next year in San Marcos, TX.
Builder Brian Manlove writes:
William –Hope you had a good time at Brodhead & Oshkosh. Just finished a good book: Shop Class as SoulCraft, by Matthew B. Crawford. Pretty relevant for today’s world and the loss of craftsmanship and pride in “work of the hands.”Looking forward to more of your words of wisdom…Brian
Zenith 601XL builder and flyer Pat Hoyt writes:
Brodhead and Oshkosh are the high points of the year. Reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and seeing all the amazing examples of craftsmanship on display. A week or two just isn’t enough…Flying ones own homebuilt airplane into Oshkosh for the first time is one of those big milestones of life for people like us. The experience of flying there and “being there” – in an airplane that I built – was unlike anything I could have imagined. Patrick Hoyt N63PZ
PS: here’s a nice picture of your dog along with a couple of characters at the fire circle at Brodhead: https://plus.google.com/photos/104939905154766012049/albums/5774020932215628737/5911667591985435314?banner=pwa&pid=5911667591985435314&oid=104939905154766012049
On the topic of Back from the road, notes on Communications
Builder Dan Branstrom writes:
William, I suggest that you repeat this every month, especially before you go to OSH, SNF, or a CC. You might also might put it on your website, as well as close to the order form. Yes I know, people don’t read, but it sure stops complaints cold when you say, “As I wrote on my website…” (or manual or blog). As it’s written in your manual, people expect someone with white lab coat and lots of assistants, while the reality is far different. By running a lean operation, you’re able not only to stay in business, but provide excellent, safe products at a reasonable price.-Dan
Pietenpol builder Terry Hand writes:
What a great post! Now I know EXACTLY how to reach you! It is now in my important notes binder. I have heard people at times say, “I can’t get hold of that William Wynne guy”. What is his issue? The issue is that you are focused on the task at hand and the person at hand. Simple as that. I would much rather have you focused when you are building my die spring gear, than to have you trying to talk, eat, hold your phone between you ear and your shoulder while trying to safely and accurately weld on my landing gear, thanks for what you do. Terry.
Zenith 650 builder Paul Normandin writes:
William, I don’t have any issue with your philosophy; when it comes time for you to weld a mount for me I would rather know that 100% of your attention is on the task at hand! Too many folks today want/require instant gratification, thank you Electronic Age. I more or less expected that you would take some much deserved time off after your 20 state trip, any normal person would. Why don’t the allegedly normal people who call you and complain understand that?
I enjoyed reading about Brodhead and Oshkosh, thanks for the wonderful update and photos. I hope your trip to visit your Dad and family, and Grace’s visit as well, were both pleasant and restful. I will be swinging by my brother’s place in N.C. before heading to Corvair Collage 27. I haven’t seen that one in years and am looking forward to a long talk (or fight) like you can only have with family… and I won’t have a cell phone to my ear while driving either!
BTW, I have done some small amount of retail and customer facing jobs and I can say without fear of INTELLIGENT contradiction, that the customer is not ALWAYS right… I have found that the customer is occasionally an idiot.
Paul, one of the core qualities of our work is the recognition that if you gather people who want to learn and create things, you will have a much better group of people to work with than a guy only gathering customers who want to buy something. Many of the people who work in our industry relentlessly complain about their customers behind the scenes. I will often interject that you get the people you attract, and we are a lot happier because our efforts attract builders, not consumers.-ww
Builder Vic Delgado writes:
I don’t know about that truck being basic William, I see some luxury as that looks like a pretty fancy armrest you have there. -Vic
Parting Shot on Sunday, a long day at the airport.
by Zenith 750 builder Charlie Redditt:
Reminds me of when I worked as a field assistant for a Geologist in Death Valley, from Oct of 1990 through May of 1991. Dr. Jay Kent Snow (aka Zeke) was mapping the strata of the Panamint Mountains that form the NW wall of the valley. In addition to helping him with fieldwork, I also did the cooking and other chores. Every two weeks we’d change camp, which meant I also got to do the laundry, take out the trash, and get the mail. All of which meant I got to hike an extra 5 to 10 miles back to our support vehicle and drive about 15 miles back to the Park Service concession at Stovepipe Wells, which is what passed for civilization out there, Our vehicle happened to be a 4wd Chevy suburban probably not too different from your recent purchase, although Zeke and his boss, Brian Wernicke, had special ordered it with a three speed manual transmission. It also came with a 55 gallon barrel of water, a week or two of food, two spares, shovels, and chains. Once inside the Panamints, the road was a canyon floor and breakdowns could be lethal if you weren’t prepared. The canyons could get rather narrow in places as well, and I remember having to roll the rear window down, from the outside of the vehicle, just in case we got wedged in a tight spot and wouldn’t be able to open the doors.
Well, the point of all this is that I can relate to your desire for simplicity due to one experience in particular. One day that December I found myself driving back into the Panamints when the suburban just died. No warning, no running rough, it just quit. I tried cranking it a few times, and it turned over just fine, but did not start. I looked under the hood and nothing obvious seemed amiss. Since that was the limit of my mechanical ability, I was faced with two choices: either hike back ten miles (through a sandstorm) down to Stovepipe Wells to get help, or hike 5 miles up the canyon to explain the situation to Zeke (who by now was wondering what was taking me so long) spend the night at our campsite with minimal supplies, and make the trek back to Stovepipe Wells the next day. Not life threatening, but not pleasant choices either.
“God takes care of fools and drunks,” and so at this point I benefit from what I can only explain as divine intervention. Note that by this time I had spent over two months in Death Valley, and during that whole time I had never seen another soul up in the mountains except for Zeke, the guy I worked for. For some reason Death Valley just isn’t that popular a hiking spot. If you want peace and quiet, it’s hard to beat. So, of course it is at this very moment that some random guy comes by, riding his mountain bike.
When I first saw him I realized that I passed his truck about 5 miles back at the entrance into the Panamints from the valley floor, and so I flagged him down and asked him if he could give me a ride back into Stovepipe Wells, or at least carry word back that we needed a tow. Before I could finish telling him all the particulars of my plight, however, he stopped me and says, “I’m a mechanic, do you mind if I take a look?”
Once I recovered from my faint, I eagerly helped him pop the hood and poke around. Took him about a minute to find the problem, which was a blown fuse to the ignition system. He swapped the radio fuse in for the blown one, and I’m good as new. Most of my driving experience till that point was in a ‘73 VW superbeetle, with which I had traversed the country. Although it had its issues it was not susceptible to sudden death by fuse.
The guy’s name was Gordan Yasman, and he ran the “Yaztek” garage in Sebastapol, California. Refusing payment, he gave me his card and continued on his way, cycling up the canyon. BTW in my remaining six months in Death Valley, I never saw another hiker, cyclist, ranger or any other person in the Panamints except for Zeke and my girlfriend Susan. After Gordon took care of me I was literally looking over my shoulder for Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold.
September 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Back in January I wrote a 20 part series on getting started in engine building. The first milestone that builders are working for is closing the case. In the new numbering system, this covers groups 1000, 1100, and 1200. In these stories, we are also looking at 5th bearing options, so we are also looking at groups 3000 and in the case of the Eddie Easy engine, Roy’s bearing, which is group 3100. I named each of the engines in alphabetical order, in the older, pre-NATO code.
1) I later changed the numbering system slightly after these stories were written. For example, a crank is now part #1001, not 1000 as written in these stories. Small change, but I wanted no part to have the same number as the group it was in. Almost nothing else is changed, but as you are planning the details of your build, look for this number shift. The price sheet on our main products page has the final correct number system.
2) If you are going to build a 3,000 cc Corvair, the cases have to be bored out to accept the larger cylinders. If you would like to build your case at #27 as a 3,000 case, you need to mail your cases to me in advance of the college, (say by October 12 or 15th) and we will bore them out for $200. When you later purchase the piston/rod/cylinder kit, we will deduct this from the total kit price.
3) the most common short block that builders close at the college is a Gen 2 Dan bearing/ 2700 or 3,000 on a GM 8409 crank. Both reground and stock cams are common. Today builders interchangeably use OT-10 cams from Clarks Corvairs or CC-10 cams from California Corvairs. They both work.
4) I prefer that the cam gear clamp the thrust washer tight against the cam. A long time ago, Clark’s had a batch of thrust washers made that had no inner chamfer, which meant that if you pressed the cam gear tight, you would invariably introduce run out in the gears. I ruined 4 gears in the old Edgewater hangar in a single night working with Kevin before we spotted that the washers didn’t have a chamfer. A later inspection of Clarks installed gears showed that they had compensated by not putting the gear tight to the thrust washer. The correct fix, only took 60 seconds per washer….I put them in the lathe and cut the chamfer. After I told Clarks of the issue, they stuck to the story that they intentionally wanted the washer loose, but did later send out the washers in a revised form with the chamfer. Which is a long and old story that leads us to…….CC#26 where I ordered several washers from Clarks, and promptly got ones without the chamfer, and at the event I saw a Clarks installed gear with a loose thrust washer again. Since they didn’t really see this as a problem last time, perhaps the best solution is letting us put the cam gear on for you.
5) The California Corvairs and LS billet gears are made in the USA. A number of parts sold by Clarks are “GN brand” which is Chinese. This includes the stock gear. They switched them over years ago. The first ones they got were trash. Since then, I am forced to admit that these gears do work. The CC billet gear is very tight going on a cam, you must watch how far your key is sticking up, it can drag on the top of the keyway in the gear. I talk about avoiding Chinese parts, but I suspect that very few people really care. I recently got an EAA hat with the “heritage” logo on it. Yes you guessed it, made in China, sold by the EAA for $18.99. I was going to write something about it, how it told me that the EAA was interested in maximizing profit instead of exercising values, but I have been speaking of this stuff for years, and lets face it, very few people care. A friend just pointed out that the Chinese government is now a major shareholder in ICON aircraft. Read the press release that says they are going to be built by Cirrus, which itself is owned by the Chinese government….Yesterday brought news that Continental, owned by the Chinese government, was pressuring the FAA to issue a killer AD against their major competitor, the US founded and owned ECI. by my guess, less than 5% of the people in aviation care that this stuff is going on, so to whom am I speaking to anyway? I am convinced that 50% of Americans would see nothing wrong with buying a Chinese sewn American flag from Wal-Mart, just as long as it was a buck cheaper. I am happier when I don’t think about such things.
Below are the example short blocks. You can click on the links to the stories just below each listing. Write in with any question you may have, I am going pack to putting up all the mail sack comments in the next day or so.-ww
Engine options with 5th bearings:
Allan Able = $2,062
(See part #5)
Bob Baker = $2,516
(See part #6)
Chas, Charlie = $2,770
(See part #7)
Davie Dog = $4,270
(See part #8)
Eddie Easy = $3,157
(See part #9)
September 26, 2013 Leave a comment
Bob Barrows, noted designer of the Bearhawk series of aircraft, is planning on attending CC #27 on Veteran’s Day Weekend in November 2013 in Barnwell, S.C. I spoke with Bob on the phone several times in the past few days. On Monday we are meeting in Georgia at the hangar of one of his LSA Bearhawk Patrol builders. Bob and I are going to use the builder’s fuselage to design and mock-up a Corvair/LSA Motor Mount to have these available for his builders in the future. Bob is well known throughout homebuilding as a conservative, traditional, old-school designer and craftsman. I take it as a great compliment that our efforts with the Corvair have earned his respect.
Above, Bob Grace and myself in our tent at Oshkosh 2013. Bob holds the distinction of having flown to every single Oshkosh, all 44 of them. All of his designs have been Continental or Lycoming powered. Opening the option for Corvair power to his LSA builders is a milestone in the Corvair movement.
In speaking with Bob, I suggested he fly his LSA demo plane over to Barnwell for CC #27. He liked the idea and plans to be on hand. His plane is powered by one of Bob’s hot rod small Continentals. Grace and I have been friends with Bob for a number of years. As impressive as his designs are, spending time with the man himself is even better than studying his work. In person he is a wealth of aviation knowledge and perspective, in a very down to earth delivery. In an era of consumer-spectacle, flashy marketing in experimental aviation, Bob is a great reality check, and Grace and Scoob E and I are looking forward to having him at the College. -ww
September 26, 2013 Leave a comment