Thought for the day: Being simple and done.

” The most simple flying Plane, even if it is not aesthetically pure, or record light, provides more satisfaction than any masterpiece that is over budget and years behind schedule, sitting in a garage, that will fly “someday.” We flew the Skycoupe and its funky looking trailer tires to many airshows. In the second incarnation we even had a turbo on it. Practical people loved it. The 1 of 500 who made a negative critical remark was treated to me getting “New Jersey” on him, and asking in front of everyone, to show us all his own plane, which invariably didn’t exist.”- ww.

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Above is a shot of the Turbo Skycoupe in it final test form. This was taken at Corvair College #9.  It was our test bed from 2002-04 naturally aspirated, and made a second appearance with a turbo in 2005-07.  The fabric was damaged in a windstorm, and after some storage the plane was bought by Craig Anderson of SD. It is restored to glory with a 2,850 engine Craig built at Corvair College #22. Note the 3″ turbo outlet pipe on the pilot’s side of the cowl.  It was a lot quieter than people would guess, turbos work by extracting energy from the exhaust stream in the form of heat and velocity. They are natural mufflers.

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The trim on the plane above is blue and yellow, the earlier photos below and in the link shows the trim green and black. After dinner one night we stopped by walmart and bought $.97 a can spray paint and off-brand masking tape and changed the paint job for a $12 investment. After examining the results I said “A $12 paint job…that could easily pass for one costing twice as much.”

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 2005 at our Edgewater hangar: The Skycoupe with a complete turbocharging system retrofitted to its existing engine. The turbo was a Garrett TO-4B with a .58AR housing, no waste gate. It worked very well. Many people admired the cool custom stainless heat shroud over the turbo. It actually was a $7 ice bucket from Wal-mart that said “Made in Pakistan.” Grace’s polish job on our 601 stands out in the sunshine in the background.

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With the turbo in boost, the brakes couldn’t even come close to holding it. It’s chained to my blue pickup truck in the photo. It was a specifically modified Garrett turbo on a draw through Stromberg setup. The fuel didn’t even require a pump, it was gravity feed. The exhaust system was 304 stainless. The ignition curve was modified to restrict the total advance. It has passed all of its tests with flying colors and flew well (for a big boxy plane) It’s first public airshow in this configuration was Sun n Fun 2005. This installation was quieter than many aircraft sporting full mufflers.

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A glance at the instruments tells an interesting story. At 40″ MAP and 3,000 rpm, the engine turns its 66″ Warp Drive prop 400 rpm higher than it did when it was naturally aspirated. It was probably 120 hp in this condition. The second needle on the MAP gauge is reading the pressure between the carburetor and the turbo. Even though the intake air was being compressed from 25-40″, the evaporative cooling of the fuel kept the upper intake manifold cool to the touch. The engine ran smoothly without missing a beat. The Hobbs meter shows the 115 hours the airplane has logged on natural aspiration Corvair power.

 (Historic Note: The first person to fly a turbocharged Corvair engine was Waldo Waterman in 1968.)

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for more old Skycoupe pictures look at this link:

2,700cc-Skycoupe-2002 Photos

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Corvair College #30 and #31 sign up now open

Builders:

The registration pages for the next two Corvair Colleges are now open.

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Corvair College #30 is at the Zenith Factory in Mexico MO September 16th-18th.

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Click on:   https://corvaircollege.wufoo.com/forms/corvair-college-30-registration/

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Corvair College #31 will be in Barnwell South Carolina, November 7th -9th.

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Click on:  https://corvaircollege.wufoo.com/forms/corvair-college-31-registration/

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To read more details about these colleges and other events this year click on this link:

Corvair Colleges and Airshows – dates 2014

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To learn all about Corvair Colleges, click on this link:

Corvair College reference page

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To get a look at hundreds of photos and stories from 10 years of colleges click on this link:

Corvair College History….in photos

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 Special thanks tour local hosts of these colleges: Two, blast from the past photos, a reminder that both of these men have long played a role in the success of the Corvair as an engine option for builders:

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Above, a 2004 photo from Sun n Fun, the first where one of our Corvair powered planes have been displayed in the Zenith Aircraft booth. On the right, Sebastien Heintz is easy to recognize,  but on the left it is harder to tell that is actually me with short dark hair. This was the first show we brought our 601XL to. It began a long lasting cooperative relationship that we enjoy to this day, one that benefits both our builders.

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Above, P.F. Beck, Grace and ScoobE in front of P.F.’s Air Camper at Corvair College #12.  P.F and his crew are about to host #31, an unprecedented 5th college. Even before this P.F was involved in the SC colleges #12 and #16, flying in to demonstrate his Pietenpol and be an outstanding ambassador of Corvair powered flight.

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Thanks also goes out to Corvair/Zenith 601XL builder/pilot Ken Pavlou who set up this on line registration. Ken has just flown off his 40 hours and will be headed to Oshkosh next month.

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Thought for the Day: Obsession with electronics

 

” If you work outside of aviation, let me teach you something: Many mechanics can fly a plane; Many pilots can change plugs or tires; Many ATC guys can navigate; Many dispatchers can forecast weather; Many linemen can start and taxi a turbo prop; Many glider pilots can hand prop a plane, and so on. As a general rule, people in aviation have an interest that exceeds their job description. While there are obviously plenty of avionics guys who know how to fly, build, navigate, or what ever, most people who work in aviation would gladly tell you that avionics people tend to think of the rest of the aircraft as a support system for the panel.”

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Read the whole story here:

MGL vs Corvair ignition issue

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Michael Heintz, left, and myself on the right congratulate Rick Lindstrom for winning the Best Engine Installation Award at the 2007 Copperstate Fly In. His 601 XL is behind us. The photo was taken at the Quality Sport Planes facility in California during Corvair College #11. Michael actually flew the plane on the 1,500 mile round trip to the Copper State airshow. It is a testimony to our work with Corvairs that a pilot with no previous experience with them could confidently get in the plane and fly it for 12 hours over some of the least forgiving terrain in North America without checkout, special briefing nor concern. We set them up to behave just like Lycomings and Continentals. Some of the numbers marked the tach and temp gauges are slightly different, but the engine operate with the same feel.

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For many years Rick covered avionics for Kitplanes magazine, but in the big picture he is a pilot first, mechanic second and avionics guy third. Rick’s 601XL was built in our hangar in Florida in 2006. During the test phase the engine and airframe behaved flawlessly, but we had a number of issues with the glass cockpit which was made by made by the much heralded Blue Mountain Avionics. Their hay day was short, they ceased production in 2009 and closed the company. -ww.

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Thought for the Day: The color of your Day.

“So long as they continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern…Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”

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I awaken in the middle of the night; there has been a power outage, all the clocks are wrong, the one on the microwave is blinking. I cannot remember what time I fell asleep. It is pitch black out. Thought: if it is before 5am, back to bed, after, make coffee and walk out to the shop. To find out what time it is I turn on the cable TV to a random channel: 3:22 am. I almost flick it off before noticing the movie is the 30 year old adaptation of Orwell’s book “1984”. The part of the film is covered by the quote above. I watched 60 seconds and turned it off. I don’t need to see more, I have read the book countless times, much of it lives in my memory. I hold it to be the most disturbing book ever written.

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Yesterday at the gas station I had waited in line behind a man speaking heatedly into a cell phone. He held a 12 pack and asked the person behind the counter for a carton of cigarettes and a number of lottery tickets. His belief in luck exceeds his understanding of statistics; Odds of lung cancer 1 in 5, odds of being a millionaire 1 in 30,000,000. Orwell’s quote brings the man’s image back to mind. It is not a significant coincidence. Had I stood there an hour, I could have seen a near continuous stream just like him.

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I am not better than that man. He evokes no sense of disgust nor superiority in me, just an empathy, a strange sense that I genuinely wish that other elements of his life have rich meaning, but I can’t even pretend to imagine it. I too have allowed myself to be anesthetized by the colorless grind of unmemorable days folding into unmemorable months. I am not better than that man.

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I have the personal perspective that the chain of days in the calendar of life are all delivered in a black and white format. The 1,440 minutes that make up each of them pass in a gray flow unless a genuine effort is made to paint them with color, the color of real life.

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It is 4:12 now. The first cup of coffee is done, I am going to the shop now.  1,188 minutes left in this day. I am going to color them by making things with my own hands that will later leave the ground as parts of a machine that will last many decades. If the weather at sunrise is good, the sky will be full of color, and I fire up a 68 year old plane and spend 15 minutes aloft welcoming the color to this day. -ww.

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Above, Grace hugs old friend Tom Brown in front of his Monocoupe in June 2005 at the SAA gathering at Urbana Ill.  Tom is well known for his 1,500 hour Corvair powered Pietenpol. I took the photo, and I can remember the moment so clearly it seems no longer ago than yesterday.

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Thought for the Day: Two paths in managing risk

“At Corvair College#28, Kevin Purtee remarked that he and I are both the same age, have both worked in aviation every day since we were 26, both hold the same degree from Embry-Riddle, and have both extensively studied and managed risk programs. Yet he pointed out that he has learned a lot from the things I have written on the topic.

There is a simple explanation for this. He has worked in a very dangerous environment (combat) but has done so with professionals who understand risk management. Conversely, I have spent the same years in the wilderness of homebuilding, working with people who often didn’t think they had anything to learn from me. Simply put, I have had a front row seat to countless examples of dangerous thinking and seen the results. I have enough stories, but right now, someone is working on adding to the list. Just make sure it isn’t you.”-ww.

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Left, Hans Vandervort, middle Kevin Purtee and myself, all  Corvair /Piet guys. Kevin has two lives in aviation, one as a fun-loving homebuilder who wears a sock money hat and Hello Kitty tee shirt at Corvair Colleges, and the second as a deadly serious Attack Helicopter pilot with 25 years in the trade.

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In person he is polite, charming and friendly. He and Shelley were the hosts of Colleges #22 and #28. We awarded them the Cherry Grove trophy in 2012 for their contributions to Corvair Powered flight.

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Kevin says that his two worlds in aviation are so far apart that the professional Warrior stays “at work.” I have spent a lot of time with Kevin, and can verify that this is almost always true.

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The sole exception I can think of was when a self-described “professional homebuilder” was giving Kevin an unsolicited lecture on how the style of his plane was not quite right. Kevin politely responded with a big smile, telling the guy that he appreciated the advice, but he builds planes just for fun, it isn’t his day job. He looked the guy in the eye and said “I kill people at work.” You can dress him in a sock monkey hat, a pink shirt or whatever, He is still 100% Warrior under it all.

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Kevin and Shelley keep a busy schedule. For example, the week before Corvair College #22  they were having dinner at the White House.

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Further reading:

The Cherry Grove Trophy

50 days until CC#28, and a look at CC#22

Corvair College #22 KGTU Texas Spring Break 2012

Guest Writer: Pietenpol builder/flyer Kevin Purtee

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Thought for the day: The Cost of Economy

” Historically, the biggest reason why people don’t build better engines is they are trying to “save money.”  I am not wealthy, and I understand this. First, let me say, if your primary goal is to save money, the easiest way to save the most money is to get out of aviation. If your primary goal is to build a good airplane, there are times where you will have to spend money. There are many places where learning and putting in work can offset huge amounts of cash outlay, (Corvair vs Rotax 912) but there are very few places where you can significantly trim the budget just by using cheaper parts Learn this WW aircraft philosophy axiom, and your airplane building will be a lot happier:

“Doing things the right way usually costs a fair amount of money, but doing them the cheap way always costs a fortune.”

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Read the complete story at this link: Why Not the Panther engine?

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Above  Lynn Dingfelder’s  601XLB with 2,700cc Corvair in the Zenith booth at Sun n Fun 2013.  Lynn is an incredibly skilled mechanic and fabricator. If we were to have a contest, to see who could build a successful plane with the best value, Lynn would be my candidate. He can bring a lifetime of mechanical skill to every single part of a plane. Yet if you look at his personal plane, it is a kit with most of the parts right out of our catalog.  This is the balance of time vs money, even to a guy with a very broad skill set.

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Notice that I didn’t say “who could build the cheapest” plane, I said the contest would be “a successful plane with the best value” I have seen 601’s that cost less than Lynn’s, but these planes were built by people who’s sole over riding goal was to not spend any money, and they ended up with a plane that either didn’t work or couldn’t be trusted.  The value equation is what you get out of it divided by what it cost.  If you don’t get reliability out of the project, then the numerator in the fraction is zero, and the value is pretty much zero, no matter how little was spent. -ww.

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Fathers Day – 2014.

On this day, I hope that everyone has a chance to reflect on good memories of the men who made us who we are, both the fathers still here and those that now live in the hearts of their children.

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The photo above was taken by the U.S. Navy in early 1968. In my 5-year-old hand, I hold the Bronze Star awarded to my father during his 1967 tour in Vietnam.

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Further reading links:

William E. Wynne Sr. turns 88 today.

William Edward Wynne Sr. – Father’s Day Notes

Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.

A Father’s Day Story – Lance Sijan

 

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Above, My Father as a 17 year old enlisted man in WWII. He stands between his beloved pony Bob, and his own father. My grandfather served in every station on the Passaic NJ police department from patrolman, Chief of Detectives to assistant Chief.  The only years he took off from law enforcement in his adult life were 1917-1919 when he was a Sargent in the 78th division in France where he saw savage combat in the trenches. His only real wish in life was that his own son would not have the same experience. It didn’t come true, as my father went to both Korea and Vietnam.

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