Shop Notes, 10/26/14

Builders,

Vern and I were welding in the shop last night until 1AM. In a few minutes, I will be back out there and working all day. Vern and I are working on a very large batch of motor mounts slated to go into power coating on Wednesday. We have less than two weeks to CC#31, and we are in the phase of back to back 14 hour days. It is productive, and many parts are headed, to builders this week, not just to people headed to the College.

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I have laid off writing in recent weeks as we move closer to the College and the end of the year. Some people miss that I do most of the writing when I am on the road, and don’t have access to the shop. I also go through phases where I am convinced that few people read the stuff in detail. The counter on this site is nearing 700,000 page reads in 33 months, but at a recent college I asked 40 builders if they had seen the detailed story Balancer Installation.  Exactly zero out of forty had read it. Not very encouraging.

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If you would like to review your own reading list, click on this link to 200 of the 589 stories on this site, they are listed in groups. 200 Stories of aircraft building. In the last 5 years, I have seen less than 5 hours worth of television total, but I have read more than 200 books. Everyone can spend their time how they like, but I get a lot more out of reading than entertainment. If you want to have a Corvair powered plane that serves you, that you really know, reading will be the best path to get there.

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Behind the scenes we have had some real advancements in parts and shop ability.  We have had a long wait for intakes because the friend of mine who owns the robotic tubing bending company that made them for us for 10 years has become astronomically wealthy by switching from producing parts for the aircraft industry to the medical industry. O2 concentrators are much better revenue that fuel injection lines. By appealing to our 25 year friendship I have gotten him to agree to make 3 years worth of intake pipes in a single run, and we should have these just after CC#31, and will shortly be sending them out as the flanges and brackets for them are already made.

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This fall I have invested countless hours in getting our Jacksonville cylinder head source perfected. While Mark at Falcon still makes fine heads, his back order list is at least 6 months, and in many cases it has been well over a year. For builders moving faster, we have our new source here. We have had several rounds of test and production heads and we are close to having heads on the shelf to exchange. Right now I have 36 pairs that I own personally lined up to be processed. More news shortly.

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Even shop capability like our cleaning and blasting cabinets are being upgraded here to shorten the time on items like 2000HV oil cases. I bought a compressor so powerful that it can relentlessly  hold 175 psi against an open 3/16″ blast gun nozzle. Yesterday the electrician was in the hangar installing a dedicated 100 amp line to run the unit.  You can never have tools too big or industrial.

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If you have an important question, please send it to my personal email directly, with a number and time I can return the call. It will likely be too loud in the shop today to hear the phone, but I will be glad to get back to you. -ww.

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From our website in 2011: “For the greater part of his years on earth, Vern has been a welder. In the world of experimental aircraft, when a company wants to  sound impressive, they always tout that their welders have “Built race cars.” I welded the frames of lots of NHRA legal dragsters before I was 21, and this experience taught me nothing about aerospace welding. Vern has welded countless race cars together, but that  has nothing to do with why we utilize his skills making Corvair parts. What counts is the little piece of paper on the orange board.”

“If you look closely, it shows that Vern has every aerospace material welding rating in every thickness recognized by his employer, the United States Naval Aviation Depot. In this facility inside NAS Jacksonville, Vern has welded every kind of material that goes into modern combat aircraft. This includes titanium, Hastelloy X and magnesium. While some people can weld this when it is new in a purged box, Vern can weld things like the inside of a jet’s burner can while looking through one bleed hole and feeding the rod through another.”