Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #1, Intro.


Here is a slightly different series, with the goal of giving builders a foundation of facts, which are the basis of all the information I provide.  We present a lot of details, and a fair amount of ‘big picture’ stuff, and philosophy, but I have noticed in conversation with builders at airshows and colleges, they are often missing many fundamental ‘truths’ that my testing has long conclusively proven.


Here I present a series of perhaps 20 short pieces, Each providing a block for a solid foundation of understanding.  The things I say here are not up for debate. If anyone reading these says “I don’t think so’, they  will do well to consider that no one has been doing this longer, tested more ideas, and seen more Corvair powered planes, and studied the results, both good and bad than I have.


If someone is betting that I am wrong, understand that their wager is pretty steep: They are betting years of their time, cubic yards of money, their life, and that of their passenger. Plenty of people have been convinced I don’t know what I am speaking of, and lost this bet. In most cases they lost lots of building time, and a fair amount of capital. It often was the undoing of their building momentum and the end of their project, and an exit to homebuilding. In a handful of cases, it cost a lot more. I sincerely suggest evaluating the need, at times emotional, to believe I am wrong on this topic, and then placing one’s  bet accordingly.


Some people who thought I was wrong:

“If only someone had told him……”

Risk Management, Judgement Error, money in the wrong place.

Cloudn’t have happened to a nicer guy……

How I became a genius in 6 minutes

“Local Expert” convinces builder to use cast pistons


I have plenty of these stories. A number of them involve the aircraft being destroyed on the first flight.  Dragonfly, Quickie, Zenith, KR you name it, I have a story of a guy who was going to show me how wrong I was, and ended up with a broken plane in a field. Lots of them are just about people spending 8 or 10 years of their life in the shop, much of it building an engine installation I know will not work well.


I had a guy call me yesterday and tell me he is going to design a gear box for the Corvair, put it on a turbo engine with 140HP heads, set it up for 200HP, and put it on a Zenith 701. He was serious.  Funny, we had a guy come to Corvair College #18 with basically the same engine (not running) to make the point that I wasn’t “the only guy who knew Corvairs”  He envisioned a business building these. A few months ago it was on barnstormers, never flown, asking $7,500, worth perhaps scrap metal value.


Read the stories, follow the logic, adopt it into your perspective and understanding, plan your progress accordingly. The other option is to stick with an understanding based on an incorrect assumption long ago adopted, even if no evidence supports it. Take your pick, have it any way you like. -ww.



“If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it–the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”


William Clifford, The Ethics of Belief – 1877.


8 Replies to “Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #1, Intro.”

  1. It’s all in either manual. I appreciate you want to keep the FlyCorvair record stellar as it should be, and maybe save a life or two. But there is the 80-20 rule, roughly applicable here, that putting so much effort into attempting to ‘save’ the guys that I guess are just crazy or maybe jealous of your knowledge and experience that comprise a small % of builders takes the same energy that has created the true disciples that ‘get it’ and have nothing to prove with half cocked dangerous ‘ideas’. Less coffee, more sleep, no worries, and maybe print up some cards that say, ‘RIP’ to hand out to the loonies. Cool, adventuresome pursuits, being on the fringe, always have and always will have the loonies.

  2. Hey William.

    FYI. The first and third links in that series seem locked and require a log in.

    Thanks for all the info and hard work.


    Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:18:32 +0000 To: a440@msn.com

  3. I for one have a lot of years and money invested in my project, my 2700 corvair was run at a college over 3 years ago, since then I have been to numerous colleges and have to date not returned home from a college without learning something new about the corvair engine, my advice folks is this, go, learn and do not stray from the path that William has cut for us, do not be led off the path by some internet idiot. Just my 2cents worth, dan-o

  4. I was stunned when I learned of the reason for the crash that William cited above. The other part that got to me was the pilot saying after the crash, “I almost made it.” Certainly it’s difficult to know how he meant that statement but the fact that he ran out of fuel in an aircraft that he’d been flying for two years is just stupid. The story is here:


    I say this with egg on my face as one day I went to get fuel knowing I would land with close to my VFR reserve. When I landed I was legal, barely, with just about 2-1/2 gallons in the tank. I wondered what would be the outcome if the airport had been closed or I had to divert for some other reason. I was quite embarrassed at letting myself be so stupid! It won’t happen again.

    This year at the American Sonex Association gathering many were quite surprised at how many time airplanes land short of the runway because of too much air in the fuel tanks.

    But I understand William’s disgust over this. It’s difficult enough to do all the research to develop proven systems that work but to then see good knowledge, gained from years of testing, disregarded for what amount to no reason at all … it’s infuriating. Not only is it very unfair to the entire Corvair movement and William Wynne in particular, the cost is sometimes human life. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: