Dale Williams – 3,000 cc Cleanex at CC#31

Builders:

If you are a regular reader of this page, you will recognize the name Dale Williams as the builder and pilot of a very nice 3,000 cc Cleanex.  Dale often writes very thought provoking and factual statements in the comments section of stories. He has a long GA background and an easy going approach, but he is serious about risk management and having a good time. I frequently hear from new builders in South Carolina who cite Dale as the influence that steered them to Corvairs.

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An interesting trick: Although I can count the amount of hours I have spent with the man in conversation on one hand, and have read less than 4,000 words from him in posts and email, I still feel like I know him very well. In this instance, it is quality, not quantity that makes the difference.

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CC#31 was the second Corvair College that Dale flew his plane to. We are looking forward to having him at many more. Good company is always welcome. -ww.

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Above, Dale stands in front of his Cleanex. Bob Lester’s Corvair-Piet in the Background

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IMG_1739 Above a small sticker on the forward fuselage suggests Dale’s sense of humor.

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Above, right hand view of the plane. Don Harper and P.F. Becks Corvair-Piets in the background, Mark Langford’s VW powered KR2 is beside it.

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For more information on Dales plane, read:

New 3,000 cc Cleanex, Dale Williams, SC

and the very moving:

Video of Grandson’s first flight, 3,000cc Cleanex:

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12 Cylinders / 6.0L of Corvair Power for JAG-2 run at CC#31

Builders:

If you read this site regularly, you have already heard of Jim and Ginger Tomaszewski’s twin project, the JAG-2. They finished both engines for it at Corvair College#31, and we got both of them on the run stand on Sunday for 30 minutes each. They ran flawlessly.

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You can see photos of the nearly done plane at this link: New Photos of JAG-2, a Corvair powered twin. and you can read a longer story on the development of the plane in Jim’s words at this link: JAG-2, Corvair Powered Twin, Jim Tomaszewski, N.Y.

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Without fail, when the topic of this plane comes up, someone will chime in to say that flying a twin requires a special rating and twins have a poor safety record when flown by amateurs with the wealth to buy them but not the skill to operate them. These statements are true, but they do not apply to Jim.

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He is a low-time single engine pilot with 500 hours, but he is a high time multi pilot with more than 15,000 hours in planes with more than one engine. You would think people might pick up on this as Jim’s Email address is ‘DC-8Jim’, but they often do not. Much of Jim’s time is global corporate flying, often to very challenging destinations. Ask any honest ATP and they will tell you that very few airline destinations require the skill of a night landing in a corporate jet at Aspen Colorado.

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Above, both engines on the bench. These are first class 3,000 cc Corvairs. They have Weseman Billet cranks (https://flywithspa.com/product-category/corvair/) and all our Gold system parts. (these were painted by Jim to suit his taste).  Note that both engines are equipped with our new Ultra light weight Starter assemblies, part number 2400L. These engines are essentially clones of the one on Dan Wesemans Panther, (although most pictures show the Panther engine with our standard starter, it has been flying on a 2400L since the spring.) For a look at the logic behind that engine, read this story:Why Not the Panther engine?

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Above, both engine in process with Jim and Ginger on the right. They ordered  #2000HV cases before the event and picked them up in person, they took only a 30 minutes each to install. The engine oil fillers are on the top covers because the narrow twin cowls do not have the space on the sides like single engine cowls do. Both engines have group #2800 oil systems and rear alternators.

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 Above, two more photos of Jim and Ginger with the engines.
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 Above, the second engine runs at the college. Jim said his time line is to fly the twin back to Barnwell next year, fully flight tested and proven. A great number of Corvair builders will rightfully hail him on that day, as a champion of homebuilding and as a builder who was willing to put in the had work to do something extraordinary in aviation.-ww.

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Special Note to RV Builders: The section of the Van’s Airforce discussion group that showed just a few pictures and short descriptions of this aircraft generated thousands of hits before their list moderator banned the photos and deleted references to it, and put up his own negative comment. That list is operated as a commercial venture by Doug Reeves, a controversial personality who promotes a very conformist model of homebuilding and flying. He will delete your posts if they reference things he dislikes, often as simple as making a low pass. 

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In a single week, the tracking on our site showed that 220 RV builders on that site followed a link to come here and read my story 2,500 words about levels of aircraft finish… Reeves also deleted all of the links to that story to block RV builders from even referencing it. It was deemed too controversial because it included the single sentence “We were not the ones who decided that regular looking people and the planes they built were not cool enough to be on the cover of their own membership magazine. That one is on the Editors and the management of the EAA…” To my perspective, Reeves is a throwback to the type of aviation magazine editors of the 1980s and ’90s who worked to make sure only people they “approved of’” felt welcome in experimental aviation. RV builders are often unfairly characterized as uncreative conformists. Reeves’ actions unfortunately reinforce this stereotype. RV builders with open minds are welcome to come here and directly read unfiltered ideas.  -ww

 

 

5 years ago today.

Builders,

Five years ago today I wrote a story about a single hour that had passed the day before at our airport. Most hours go by in your life with little or no memory, others stay with you vividly. I would remember this hour well, even if I had not written it down in the story.

It was widely read at the time. I initially wrote it on Mark Langford’s discussion list, just as a set of notes in the middle of a long night of insomnia, but it was eventually circulated in email and printed in a magazine. It has an element in it that moves some aviators. At places like Oshkosh people will mention it to me, even years later. People ask sometimes if the characters in the story were ‘real’. I tell them they were not characters, they are people. I share stories, but I don’t write fiction. When you are immersed in aviation, you don’t need to, just recording observations on reality is enough.

Today, 5 years later, a handful of photos of the people from the story.  I consider myself lucky to know them.  I am 51 now, and have spent 26 years in aviation, literally half my life. It is enough experience to say that the humans you meet at airports can be a lot more alive than the people you meet on the street.

All my life I have been plagued by the feeling that time passes too quickly. Although we have done a lot in the last four years, it isn’t enough, and the thought that the hours and days got away bothers me. Yet, one hour, five years ago, will never slip from my grasp. I get to keep it, and herein lies the secret of my happiness: fill the hours with quality and they will not get away. I can not remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday, but I can remember that the tug boat captains shirt was blue and he waved a white hat as we passed 100 feet above the Tennessee river in our Pietenpol on the way to Oshkosh 2000.

The full story “Friday night” is reprinted below. It’s subject is somber on the surface , but the story in it really isn’t.  It is just about being alive and how you can really feel it some hours more than others. -ww

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Above, Dan Weseman and Dave Dollarhide at Sun n Fun 2013. They are both in the story “Friday Night.” Dave is fairly well known in Naval Aviation circles because of a short film clip of a young pilot escaping from an A-4 in the USS Forrestal inferno. In one of those stories that only happens in aviation, Dave is now flying one of the very few remaining airworthy A-4′s… 45 years later.

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Above is Dave’s RV-4. I shot this photo from the RV-7 of Pat Lee, another person in “Friday Night”  when we departed St. Augustine airport. Off our other wing was the RV-4 of Bob Woolley (who is now building Panther #2). In the story he is “Bob from the north end.”

The buildings in the photo are Northrup-Grumman; the road is U.S. 1. St. Augustine is on the coast, about 20 miles east of our grass airstrip.

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Above, Dan Weseman flying “The Wicked Cleanex” in the foreground. This is the aircraft that Dan is flying in the story. Off his wing is Chris Smith in “The Son of Cleanex.” The location is a bend in the St John’s river a few miles from our airstrip. The site of the Glassair accident was on the far bank of the river, visible in the upper right as a peninsula. This photo was taken in 2007, a year before the accident.

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Friday Night, November 20, 2009

Just as I am getting used to Daylight Savings stealing an hour of the  evening, the days are getting noticeably shorter here. During the week, our  clock revolves around 4 p.m. This is last call to drive the ten miles into town to  the Post Office with the days mailings. In the summer there are hours after this  to eat dinner, mess around in the shop, and casually pre-flight the Taylorcraft  before going aloft for the last hour of light. But now the casual hours are  gone. I drove back to the airport with an eye on the low angle of the sun, maybe  only 50 minutes until it sank.

I pushed the plane out to the edge of the runway. I stood there for a  minute, not a single person was in sight. Just the sound of a circular saw from  somewhere up on the North end of the field. The visibility was poor, there would  be little to see, but I had been out the past 6 days in a row and today would  make a week. Kind of a pointless exercise, going up for 20 minutes to round out  a week, frivolous really.  These are the things you think of on the ground,  by the time I am running through the mag check the pros and cons of going  aloft are forgotten. I orbit the airport in big slow circles at 70  mph, engine at 1700 rpm, just licking over. It all looks gray and  colorless. Was it noticeably greener a week ago or is it just the  haze setting the mood?

When I touch down, the landing gives me the  same feeling as finishing a chapter in a captivating book: Looking up  from the last page with the powerful feeling that you have just been  somewhere else. Taxing up to the house and shutting off the engine I  have the same sensation.

Three or four minutes later, our EAA chapter president returns from being away all afternoon. A 180 mph pass at 10 feet  signals the arrival of his RV-7. As he flies the landing pattern, I walk  the 400 feet up to his hangar. We arrive at the same time. He has an unexpected  passenger, Dave, our airpark president. Dave has his own RV-4, and I have never  seen him as a passenger in any plane. In his youth he flew an A-4 from the  USS Forestal into the most fiercely defended airspace on the planet. The black and  white photos of him in his hangar are of a much younger man in a flightsuit  with a helmet under his arm. He has the same grin today, but you get the  impression that big chunk of Dave’s youth, and a good number of his friends, only  exist in his memory after 1967. Either way, he looks really out of place in the  right seat, or in any side by side aircraft for that matter.

The moment fits the gray haze: Pat and Dave have just returned after  delivering the RV-9 of a fellow EAA member.  This man has also taken up  residence in Dave’s memory. He was killed this summer, along with another friend,  in an unexplained Glasair crash. One moment they were flying a low pass over our  airport, a little dog leg to say hello on their way home. The next day  Pat found the wreckage in the woods a few miles away. They delivered  the RV-9 to the man’s widow, who was very thankful. The plane was just  finished, and it is magnificent. She is keeping it in storage until next Oshkosh.  The man was an EAA member for 30 years, known in some circles. She would like it  judged posthumously. She had said some moving things to Pat and Dave, but at the  moment we were standing out on their ramp with the sun fading, neither of them  felt up to relating her exact words.

Dave started a sentence twice, but after  a pause he didn’t finish.  Pat spoke about a guy he knew in flight school,  lived 3 doors down, a Marine. Pat heard about his crash on the news, and walked  out his front door in disbelief. Seeing the black cars gathered down the block  took away the doubt and hope at the same time.

An engine starts at the far south end of the runway. It is Dan Weseman and  the Cleanex. After a minute of run up, he roars past us, 50 feet at midfield.  Dave looks at Pat and says “Let’s get him.” The RV-7 turned around and back on  the grass in seconds. Dave pushes out his RV-4. Their take off alerts the  airport, and several people drift out of their hangars to sit on the grass and  watch.

 If flying at most airports is an elegant ballet, flying at our airport is  Mixed Martial Arts. The furball is formed, broken and formed again over our  heads at 1500′. Between the sounds of wide open engines, the radio  chatter barks out from the base station in Alan’s hangar. In minutes they  are joined by Bob in an RV-4 from the North end, and then another  RV-7. In the sky they turn impossibly tight. You can’t always make out who is on  top, or even who is who, until a glint of the sunset differentiates a painted  wing from a polished one. It is hard to believe that the same airport was dead  silent 20 minutes ago.

One by one, they drop out and land. Pat is first, and has most of a beer  finished as Dave rolls up. Bob is the last to break off, leaving it where it  started, with Dan alone in the sky doing a few last slow rolls. The mood is transformed. It was 10 minutes of really being alive. Dan landed, rolled  out in front of us, turned a smooth 180 and taxied back towards his hangar, his  home, his family. He was close enough for us to see his expression, but he didn’t look  over. In the air, he had been far closer to the other pilots. The light is gone  now, and the day is over.

A few more words, and the hangar doors are shut, and people drift away.  Walking back to my place, I pause in the dark to watch Dave walk out to his  pickup. He had been the one to say “Let’s get him.”  This had been Dave’s  doing, perhaps his ritual. A little farewell to a man whose memory had just been  carefully and lovingly wrapped up for safe keeping. It was now stored beside the  others. A resident, final age 58, joining a group of younger men, some  of whom arrived 42 years ago. Although I’m sure he cherishes them all,  he probably doesn’t visit with them often. Dave is too full of life for much of  that. Besides, one day he will have all the time in the world to spend with  them.

William  Wynne, 2009

Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #8, Learning from other’s mistakes.

Builders:

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If you have not seen the Intro to this series, you can read it here: Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #1, Intro., It will explain the goals of the articles. Please take a moment to read it, including the comments section.

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In recent weeks I have written several stories about a builder who was trying to fly a Corvair powered Zenith 601XL on one of two SU carbs from a 60 hp British car. For the people who assumed that I was just making the whole thing up to illustrate a point, let me share this link to the man’s webpage:

http://www.zenith.aero/profiles/status/show?id=2606393%3AStatus%3A391095

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I wrote the story How I became a genius in 6 minutes about the man’s first flight, where the engine was severely damaged. Yesterday I commented on his choice to still try to use the same carb in: Thought for the Day: J.S. Mill – On Liberty. Today several people sent me a link to his page where he reports his carb still chronically leaning out.

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If you care to read the man’s description, you can see he suspects that his joyous British carb can’t take forward air pressure. If he had cared to read the stories I have written on Corvair Carb choices, he would have come across this personal story about Bing carbs, which work on a nearly identical principle as the SU:

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“A personal example of why I don’t like Bing carbs; Steve Rahm, our neighbor at Spruce Creek, designed and built the ‘Vision’. It had a Stratus EA-81  Subaru with two Bings on it. Since they basically ran full time carb heat,  he wanted to try cool ram air in search of more power. He went as far as testing the set up with a gas leaf blower on the ground. He did this because some people said Bings don’t like ram air. On take off it worked great, until the plane hit 70mph over the trees at Spruce Creek. Then the carbs  shut off all by themselves.

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Plane slowed to 65, power comes back a little. Very  skilled flight at tree top level is executed. Several minutes of listening to  the rough engine clawing its way around the pattern.

He appears on final gliding  in. Steve was a new dad, and his own father had been killed in a plane when  Steve was a young man. I could not believe that I was about to witness a  horrific repeat of a family tragedy. He barely made it, touching down at 75  mph. People on hand thank God aloud.

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As the plane rolls out in the three point  attitude, the airspeed drops below 60, engine comes back to full power and tries  to take off on its own. Steve later tells me he almost had a heart attack at that  moment. He switches to a Lycoming with an MA3-SPA. which operates on the stone  age concept of the throttle opening and
closing when the pilot wants. (the throttle on a Bing is controlled by a vacuum diaphragm) Steve is a  master skydive instructor with
4,000 jumps, he can keep his cool under pressure.  I figure most other pilots in a plane with a five mile per hour  wide speed envelope and 100′ altitude would have bought the farm. -ww

From the story :A question of Carb location…..

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I have no idea why someone wishing to do something different with carbs would not read all the available information. The mans website notes says that if his tests don’t work, he may later use an aircraft carb like I recommend.

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 I sit here and type this less than 15 miles from the spot in Florida where Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd is buried. On the subject of people who like to experiment with substances known to be harmful, he sang the song “That Smell”, which included the bit of wisdom  “Say you’ll be alright come tomorrow, but tomorrow might not be here for you.”*

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Above, three aircraft parked in our front yard. L to R, Louis Cantor’s 601XL – MA3-spa, Grace’s Taylorcraft –  NAS-3 and Dan Weseman’s Cleanex, MA3-SPA. This was taken on the day we flew a flawless test flight in Louis’s 601, the same plane as the man in question is trying to fly on the British car carb. I ask, why not have the sucess that Louis had?

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 Most of the people who are looking at a cheap carb don’t think I know what I am talking about. I find the concept that a guy who has tested either zero or one carb on Corvair flight engines assuming that his guess is more valid that my 20 years of testing, annoying. On the subject of low-cost, it isn’t a stretch to say that I know more people building a Corvair engine for a  plane than any other person on Earth. While cost may be an initial attraction, the reason why people stick with it is to learn something, be proud of what they  have done, and experience this in the company of other like-minded aviators. If you want to fly cheap, rent  a Cessna 150. If you want to do something rewarding, fly something you built  with your own hands that is reliable and works well.

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While I advocate the use of aircraft carbs, I have also tested Dyno many things from 1 barrels to tuned port EFI. If someone wants to use a cheap carb, there are many better options than a British car carb. Above, a 1 barrel down draft ford carb. If you would like to read more on our testing of this,  In Search Of … The Economical Carburetor

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From Wikipedia:

* On Labor Day weekend in 1976, Gary Rossington and fellow Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins were both involved in separate auto accidents in their hometown of Jacksonville. Rossington had just bought a new Ford Torino, and hit an oak tree while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  Van Zant and Collins wrote the song “That Smell” based on the wreck, and Rossington’s state of influence from drugs and alcohol at the time. It starts with the lines:”Whiskey bottles and brand new cars, oak tree you’re in my way.”

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You can see a live 1977 performance of the song at this you tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hib4n9RmFrQ

Playing in it are Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Billy Powell, Steve Gaines, Leon Wilkeson, Artimus Pyle and Garry Rossington. Ironically, today only Pyle and Rossington are left alive. The others died at ages 29, 37, 56, 28 and 49 respectively.

 

Thought for the Day: Time…..Your enemy.

“When I was little, I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau. It hasn’t worked out that way.  Sad but true, the lasting portion of my working life boils down to what I have done with the Corvair. In reality, I am neither overly proud of it nor ashamed of it, just OK with it.

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This said, none of my work is to show cheap people what they can get  away with. My work is to show people willing to make a serious investment of  themselves (mostly time), that there are great rewards awaiting the individual  who perseveres on his own terms.

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In 30 years I will likely be dead and  forgotten. Between now and then I plan on spending as much of my time as  possible in the company on people who want to learn build, fly and have a good  time. If I ever seem short with some ideas, it is because my experience allows me to see something that many people miss: This vital finite resource isn’t money, it’s time.

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Not in the free time sense, but in the years left sense. If you’re not young, nor a millionaire, then you have to make your shot count, you’re not going to get a do-over on this. Let my experience work to your advantage. Build as simple as a plane as you can, work on it every day you can, and understand that some components on it, like the carb, are going to cost money.

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There is a combination of simplicity/effort/money that can get a great number of people flying. You can be one of them, and the odds that you will be go up dramatically if you use my experience to avoid every mistake I made and paid for.” -ww-2o12.

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Cousteau, Jacques

Jacques Cousteau, 1910-1997. His first love was flying, and he graduated from the French Naval Academy in 1933 to be a pilot, but was prevented by a near fatal car accident. He fought for the resistance in WWII. He went on to be a great scientist, explorer, inventor, writer and the best kind of environmentalist. No popular figure today can hold a candle to the richness of this man’s life.