Corvair College #31 in Barnwell, S.C., Nov. 2014


We are just a few weeks away from Corvair College #32 in Texas. The sign up is closed out, and we have more than 75 people headed there from all points of the country. If you missed it, take heart, we have 3 more colleges this year.


Below is one more round of photos from CC#31 three months ago. They offer a look at several moments from the event, they give an insiders sense of what being there was like.


In the beginning, we had one college a year. Over time we slowly increased this. When the year’s started looking full, I had to decide if having a commercial display at Sun n Fun, which I had done for many years, was more important than adding another college.  The evaluation came down to admitting that Sun n Fun had devolved to a pure “airshow”, which is by definition a spectator event, and our efforts were much better invested in another College, because our mission is to serve builders, not entertain spectators. The result was CC#25 ( Corvair College #25, In Photos) and CC#29 (Corvair College #29, Leesburg, FL. – photo report)


For the last few years we have maintained a 4 college a year pace. We still Cover Oshkosh every year, and I have only missed Brodhead, The Pietenpol gathering once since 2001. We now time the September college at adjoin the Zenith open house, which we have covered the last 7 consecutive years. (Corvair College #30 Good Times)


I attended Sun ‘N Fun for a few days and gave some forums these in 2014. It was my 26th consecutive year there. I had a good time with friends, but we spent more time reminiscing about years past that speaking of the event we were attending. It was confirmation that the hours of a builder are better spent an event focused on learning and building, rather than being a spectator.


The vast majority of people ‘involved’ in aviation are spectators. I have long spoken against organizations or magazines that focus on high end expensive planes, because they are only creating spectators out of the new arrivals, people who deserve a fair shot and deciding for themselves if they are homebuilders or not, instead of being assigned the role of spectator by a manager or an editor too lame to examine an cover proven paths for new people to learn, build and fly. Feel free to share the comment below, it is a message more people need to here, but one that builders at Colleges fully understand.


“Aviation magazines are always highlighting the best, fastest, most elaborate planes with a moronic argument that these will stimulate aviation by getting people interested. Perhaps after decades of  this fiction, we can dismiss it. You don’t build a pyramid by making the top block and expecting the base to appear under it. Lasting things are built from the foundation up.”-ww-2012.



Tim Hansen sent in this Corvair College #31 photo he entitled “Chuck Callahan is a Good Sport about helping with my engine  until 2:30 a.m.”


Below, a stunning sunset brought action in the hangar to a halt for 15 minutes. This, and the awards dinner on Saturday night were the only things that did.


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Above, Ken Pavlou on climb out. Below, tech session on using a differential compression tester, case in point, Chuck Campbell’s newly run Piet engine.

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Awards dinner on Saturday night. Local Host P.F. Beck stand to take the microphone.

Below, It’s not ScoobE, It’s Moochie! The Pustel’s brought their dog, who I thought would  get along great with ScoobE. Alas, ScoobE needs a few more lessons on hospitality with members of his own species.


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Late tech questions. This is about 1 am on Sunday, nearing the end of a 19 hour day. If you want to pack a lot into a College, good, that is how we do it. However, the free form of the lesson plans allow each person to take in and digest at their own rate and pace.


 ScoobE, having sucessfully ‘defended’ Corvair College from that impostor Moochie, is exhausted and takes a nap. He doesn’t have any natural insulation, he has no fat on him nor fur (he is a hair dog like a poodle) so in chilly weather he has a cammo jacket he wears.


601 builder Paul Normandin working late. He is from the “New England tribe” of Corvair builders, a fun and eccentric group that formed spontainiously around Ken Pavlou’s constant support and get togethers.


 Below, Tim Hansen’s notebook on his work table at the College. While the atmosphere is fun, there are ways of getting a lot of learning and building into 3 days. Tim’s notebook is an excellent example.

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Above, another discussion: these take the form of 15 to 20 minutes of presentation and questions and answers, and then the group breaks up and goes directly back to hands on work. These have no set schedule, there will be 20 or so of them at a college. If a builder is intensely working, he skips it, as the subject can be revisited. We do them standing because builders can crowd in close for a good look, and also I have found that humans pay a lot more attention standing, and the subject that is covered at chairs and desks in an hour can be packed into a very effective 10-15 minutes.

In the top photo, I am holding the prop during a differential compression test, while compressed air is pumped into the cylinder for a very accurate check on it’s health. Every doctor in a hospital has a stethoscope, and anyone who is an aircraft mechanic has and knows how to use a differential compression tester. It is a tool that costs about $60, but provides a wealth of vital information if you know how to use it, which takes less than an hour to learn. The bottom photo is a tech session on heads.

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 Top: Core disassembly. Above, Rob and Melissa Lutz getting started on their 3000 cc engine for their Zenith 750. Below, another engine headed to the run stand on Sunday.


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Installing distributors, above.


 Above, a Sunday test run.


Gratuitous dog photo.


Panoramic view of the hangar.  It is about 100′ x 100′.



 Above, Chris Price and his KR engine. He flys KC-10s for the USAF as a day job.



Coffee or water, both go with Corvair building.

31pod1380 A prankster testing the ragged limits of the No Politics  rule we have a Corvair Colleges.








Above, a typical filthy core. Many people are impressed that this will be converted into a totally overhauled, pristine flight engine. As impressive as that change is, the before and after you can’t see, the change in the builders skills and perspectives is much more impressive. -ww.

2 Replies to “Corvair College #31 in Barnwell, S.C., Nov. 2014”

  1. Sun n Fun does not do a good job for home builds. I wish they would move them to the ultralight area. They close the area earlier and earlier.

  2. So glad to see Chris Price on your blog. He helped Kevin and I a lot at Barnewll in 2012. I want to hear about his KR.. I can tell him about our KR2

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