2014 Conversion Manual Notes


Some quick notes on 2014 manuals:


If you are the original owner of an earlier manual, and you would like an upgrade, Send a check for $50 to 5000-18 Highway #17, suite #247 Fleming Island FL, 32003. If you are outside the US, sorry, the additional postage is $20. I am ending this upgrade period on Dec. 15th, after that, all manuals will be regular price.


A while back we asked anyone who wished to upgrade to the new manual to send in their address. We sent out a notice of the $50 reduced price of manual for upgrades. Because of the increased cost of the size and color printing of the manual, and the low rate that builders sent in the payment, we didn’t even cover the cost of sending out the first 200 manuals. I am not going to try to “make up for it on volume,” so we are just going to send out manual upgrades we are paid for .


We goofed up about 10-20 of the several hundred requests ourselves. This fall, we have had two large colleges and both Grace and I have been caring for parents. We have staggered our time to try to have one of us here to deal with orders, but we have had less than 15 days out of the last 120 where both of us were here together in the office at the same time. This is not an issue on any regular order through our normal system, but the “on request” idea with manual upgrades, led a handful of requests getting missed.  If you are one of these builders, and you sent in a request before this week, we are still glad to send you one, just let us know, you can send a direct email to me at: WilliamTCA@aol.com.




In our house, the walls are lined with book shelves. On the sun porch, I have about 40′ of shelving holding nearly every technical textbook and notebook from my 5 years at Embry-Riddle. Even 25 years ago my tuition alone was about $60K. With this and my hours, the $4-5K in textbooks seemed a very small, but vital part of my investment. There were people who were there just there for the diploma, they didn’t keep a single book. I was just there for the education, and kept all of them.



In order to graduate from Riddle without student debt, a vital requirement to allow me to pursue any part of aviation I wanted, regardless of it’s pay, and to stay focused on education, I intentionally lived a very Spartan life in my college years. I lived in a 1907 house without heat nor a/c; I rode a bicycle most places; we cooked everything at home. Rent was $87.50 a month; I lived on $3,500 a year, total. This said, I never was reluctant to buy any book that expanded what I knew about aviation. My copy of Brun’s Analysis of Flight Vehicle Structures cost more money than I spent on food in two months. 24 years later the book is sitting on the shelf 8′ from me.


I wrote the new manual over 18 months of countless late nights. Ignoring the time it took to learn the data it is based on, it took about 2,500 hours to write and edit. At the last College, I had one person who told me he didn’t want to spend $50 because he “just wanted to get his motor done.”

He actually said he would only get one after his engine was finished. Another person with an eight year old manual, of which he was not the original owner, told me he felt “entitled” to a free new manual. These two people do not represent the majority perspective, but I have to acknowledge that many people who wish to be a homebuilder do not place the same value on printed information that I do.



Blast From The Past. I stand next to my 1967 Monza, above, in Monument Valley in the four-corners region during the summer of 1992 8,000 mile circumnavigation of America. This was between my junior and senior years at Riddle. Look at the car and understand that I lived very frugally in those years, intentionally, to stay focused on my education.

The 110 hp engine in this car was remanufactured into our original 2,700 cc engine installed in our 601XL in 2004. Today the same engine is the 3,000cc engine in our Wagabond.


Blast From The Past circa Winter 1993: Look closely at the photo: It’s Corvair builder and Northrop Grumman E2D expert Chris Welsh with much longer hair. At the time, his daily driver was a ’67 Beetle. He’s holding its hood ornament in this photo. In the foreground, a corrosion damaged Corvair case roasts in a roaring fire. I shot this photo in the backyard of 1235 International Speedway Blvd., a 1907 two-story coquina stone house that a number of us rented during our five years at Embry Riddle. It was the end of a semester, and we were blowing off steam with a backyard party highlighted by a bonfire fueled by Corvair magnesium blower fans. The case and a pile of heads ended up as a little puddle by daylight.

People often hear me speak with pride of our years at Embry Riddle. I had a previous history degree that was a more typical college experience. Embry Riddle was far more challenging and was an immersion environment shared with other very serious students. Consider what our other friends who shared the house with us are doing today: Kurt Fabragass, A&P and aeronautical engineer, is a production engineer on the 787 Dreamliner. Chris Benweigh and Ed Hemmy are both ATPs and captains with Continental Airlines. Andy Mel has a PhD in physics and works for the Naval Weapons Lab. Jennifer Kimbell has a masters in physics, is fluent in Russian, and is a Mission Controller on the International Space Station out of both Houston and Star City, Russia. Not bad for a bunch of college kids in the backyard drinking beer.


5 Replies to “2014 Conversion Manual Notes”

  1. Hi William;
    I have “Corvair Flight Engines” Manual #7939 bought through Clark’s Corvair. Can I purchase the update by providing my Visa data just as if I were buying parts?
    Cheers! Stu.

    1. Stu,

      Yes, you can buy an upgrade through paypal if you like or you can call in with Card information on Monday when Grace will be back. -ww.

  2. I don’t own a vast library but I do own two different copies of your conversion manual. The latest, which recently arrived, is excellent. The upgrade cost of $50.00 is quite a remarkable achievement as that comes out to a whopping amount of 0.20834 cents per page and the cover and binding is free! 8~) (The page numbers also don’t take into account over 20 pages up front with many beautiful color photos of Corvair powered aircraft with information about the builders and the history behind these remarkable people and planes.)

    Seriously … I’d be quite embarrassed to admit to anyone that I wanted to convert a Corvair engine into an aircraft flight engine but couldn’t bring myself to spend a few dollars on the best reference book available!

    Again, (and you can quote me): “common sense ain’t so common anymore!”

  3. I have always equated a good technical book to a high precision tool, and I would no more steal (or “acquire” if you want to be mealymouthed about it) one than the other. In the spring of ’73, I was a senior at Texas A&M, and the Aero Engr dept had a room setup with desks & bookshelfs as a study room for seniors and grad students. Most of us kept all our books there since the room was locked and only people with assigned desks had a copy of the key. One weekend, some asshole gained access to the room and cleaned out all of the high value books. I lost my copies of Bruhn, Wood, and 1 or 2 more. Even though I was eventually (20 years later) able to replace them, at 40+ years later, I’m still pissed at the scumbag who did that. Asking for an upgrade, and ‘forgetting’ to pay for it is no different than sneeking into a room and stealing the books that catch your eye.

  4. I have just sent my check for an upgraded manual with returned old style starter brackets. I am also about to assemble my short block. I have watched the DVD 1 on assembly 4 times. Should I stop assembly until my upgraded manual is delivered? Also, does one plasti-gauge the crank and cam at the same time or in two assembly trial fit torque-downs?

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