Pictures from Oshkosh 2014

Builders:

Here are a few photos from Oshkosh this year. We have a lot more, but these will give some flavor of the event, along with comments to give some idea of what I still find interesting about Oshkosh, even after making 24 trips there.

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Above, myself, Grace and the legendary Chris Heintz, inside the “One week wonder” tent where the Zenith 750 was built in a single week. Chris is autographing a copy of his design book to Grace and myself. I consider this man on a plateau with Bernard Pietenpol and Steve Wittman.

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The norm in experimental aviation is that very talented designers start by making affordable designs for rank and file EAA members, and after they are known, they ‘progress’ to just making ultra-expensive toys for the wealthy. Rutan is an easy example, going from the Vari-Eze and Long-Eze to working with Richard Brandson on ‘affordable’ spaceflight. A “Lancer 200”, (the first Lancair), was a neat affordable plane, and a long way from a turbine IVP.  To a lesser extent, An RV-3 is not the same idea as an RV-12 nor RV-14. There are a wealth of products for the wealthy not just because you make more money selling them, but it is actually easier to design things for people with bigger budgets. The simplest product requires the cleverest designer.

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 There have been only handful of designers who have continued to meet the far tougher challenge of designing  good planes for people with a tighter budgets. As a servant of the rank and file EAA builder,  Chris Heintz has produced 14 commercially successful affordable designs in succession. He is ‘retired’ today, and makes the trip from his home in rural France to Oshkosh infrequently. He made it this year to participate in the “One week wonder” build. This was a recreation on a grand scale of Chris and a small crew building an early Zenith kit at Oshkosh in the 1970s in a single week.

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Chris is by far the most approachable of all the well known experimental designers. I have met many of them, and respect them all for different reasons. In recent years, many of these designers  wrote their memoirs. Almost all the other books were a look back at their work for people to admire. Conversely, when Chris wrote his book, it was a design textbook, because first and foremost, he is a teacher.

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Above, a Martin RB-57F flying for NASA at Oshkosh. This is a good example of something you can only see at Oshkosh. This aircraft was the predecessor to the U-2. Want to know what really exacting engineering with slide rules was? To get performance, the wing was engineered with a 500 hr fatigue life span. It did not have one spare ounce of weight in it. There is modified B-57 on static display at Warner-Robbins AFB, but nothing is like seeing the plane fly in person. This particular one spent 41 years in storage at Davis-Monthan before being brought back to service. This is the record for longest storage a return to flight from the D-M bone yard.

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Above, the EAA is actually investing in homebuilding education. I had a strong attachment to the low wooden workshop buildings because I gave nearly 20 years of forums there, but these have been torn down and replaced by first class buildings on the same site. Mark Forss, who does an outstanding job of organizing all the forums at Airventure, set us up with several in the new buildings. They were well attended and lively.

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Above, Our booth was packed at peak times of the week, I am standing on the display conducting a Q&A on Corvairs for a large group of builders, Inside the tent, we have a large amount of educational information. This year, Roy brought his actual water brake dyno to display. As I said previously, most companies claim to have run their engines on a dyno, but can’t produce a single photo of the alleged test. The world of Corvair building is different: we display the dyno itself. If you look closely at the photo you can see ScoobE in the arms of 3,000cc Corvair/Kitfox builder Mike Marury. Because the dog is looking right at the camera, you can tell Grace took this photo.

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Above, Old breed EAA member Marv Hoppenworth, a class act guy who is well known among 50 year veteran EAA members. Years ago Marv designed all the pedal planes for kids seen at Oshkosh. He took his wife on their first date in an L-4. For Oshkosh this year, Marv made a special hand powered trike to get him around, He will not let advanced years keep him from getting around and staying in shape. For at moving father-son story, read the last photo down on this 11 year old link  http://www.flycorvair.com/osh2003.html ,it is about Marv and his son Jay. As much as I love planes, it is the people who love planes that make aviation captivating.

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Above, To balance all the rotten things I have said about the Internet over the years, here is something good: The couple above stopped by my booth to talk about Corvairs, but particularly mentioned things I had written here, singling out the story I wrote in June about a friend of mine who died at 23. The length of their trip is worth noting; they are from New Zealand.  I am well aware that we present a lot of things here that are beyond the scope of ‘technical Corvair details and sales’, things that don’t belong on proper business sites.  I try to keep Flycorvair.com more business like, and then have this site flexible enough to cover thoughts and ideas that compliment building and flying.  As I said before, no one is required to read it all, far less agree with it. At best, I hope it is thought provoking, and I never intend for it to be thought providing.  Not every story or perspective will appeal to everyone, and some of the most unusual stories have the smallest group to connect with, but if you are one of those people, the connection can be very strong, even if you live half way around the world in New Zealand.

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Above, the turtle deck of Ken Pavlou’s  2700 cc powered 601XL-B. Some explanation is in order: The autograph is that of Chris Heintz, who paid a personal visit to Ken’s plane; the 2014 decal is for flying into Oshkosh; Our logo is a thank you note from Ken. The Speedo bathing suit logo is part of a joke around Ken’s friends. A year ago, Ken said that if he didn’t get his plane done and fly it to Oshkosh in 2014, he was going to come to Airventure wearing only a blue speedo suit (not a pretty picture of a 260 lb Greek guy). Ken is a man of his word, and this motivated him to work like a dog the last 12 months.  Many of Ken’s friends stopped by the booth of the first day to find out if Ken made the dead line. Upon seeing his plane the most common expression was “Oh, thank God!” Having averted a visual image that would have been very difficult to later block out of the mind.

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Above, a look at Ken’s dual Dynon cockpit. Although I like simple old school panels, I will be the first to admit that this is a very nice, well executed glass cockpit. Corvairs are fully compatible with just about any type of instrumentation. If you compare the price of a top end Corvair build with an imported engine like a Rotax 912si or a UL-350, you can basically have the panel above with a very nice Corvair for the same price of the imported engine alone. That is a very, very large cost savings for anyone will to put in some effort to attain their goals in flight.

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Above, Ken with his plane.  All week, it was parked with Lynn Dingfelder’s 2700cc 601XL and Pat and Mary Hoyts 2700cc 601XL right behind our tent. It was very nice to say to any Zenith builder, “Follow me behind the tent, where I can show you a 3D, real time, interactive display representation of just the plane you are thinking of building.” Having these four on hand was a lot of fun and a very good look at the diversity of people that consider the Corvair movement as their “Home in Homebuilding.”

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Pat and Mary Hoyt’s 601XL (it has a 650 canopy) on the flight line at night. Our booth was a focal point of fun and conversation until late into the night. This was the most fun I have had at Oshkosh in many years.

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Above, Grace snapped this photo of four of the F-16’s of the Thunderbirds in action. I may have seen my lifetime quota of T-6’s in airshows, but for just about anything else flying in the show I will spend a few minutes looking up. What I like best about the Jets in afterburner: It drowns out the at yelling announcer voices.  I would much prefer to listen to any aircraft, even the supersonic prop tips on a T-6, than to listen to the shouting announcers on a PA system. For a long time, the silent aerobatic glider routine of Manfred Radius set to classical music was my favorite act, and one day I realized that a big part of the appeal was the lack of narration in voices borrowed from used car commercials.

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Above, Roys dyno. The day after Oshkosh we drove the 8 hours to Roy’s in Michigan to complete a break in on a 2,850cc engine.  In the photo Roy is leaning forward checking the discharge from the pump. The dark blue box is a very large squirrel cage fan used to pump cooling air (because this does not have a prop for a load.)

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

One Response to Pictures from Oshkosh 2014

  1. I have seen Ken’s 601 up close and it is a thing of beauty! Glad he finished in time, no one wants to see guys our age in a speedo!

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