Photos from Brodhead and Oshkosh 2015, Pt. 1


By any measure, Oshkosh 2015 was a very busy event.  By holding 4 colleges spread through the year we try to have an even work load around the calendar, but anyone who works in Experimental Aviation can tell you that 20-30% of the year’s effort and contacts go into the single week of Oshkosh. Although it is in the middle of the flying season, it is the axis that the year of work revolves around.


He is a first glance at a few photos from Brodhead and Oshkosh. They are in no particular order, just pulled a few pictures off the first camera card to share. Many people expect engine photos, but I end up taking mostly people pictures at events, because I inherently see Experimental aviation as people building and flying planes, not machines nor products.


We are still working our way through a back log of emails and phone messages from builders, and orders, while gearing up for the next two Corvair Colleges, but this coming week we will be back to writing and sharing more on Oshkosh and upcoming events in the second half or the 2015 flying season.



Above, Zenith 750 builder Joe Sarcione, The EAA’s Charlie Becker and Grace hanging out at our tent for the night airshow. Charlie is the director of the homebuilt elements of the EAA. He very effectively represents and serves the interests of everyone who self-identifies as a “homebuilder”. He is the key man behind important projects such as the “One week wonder”.  Although he is a skilled pilot and a real homebuilder, my respect for him and his work on behalf of homebuilding is centered on his exemplary personal integrity.



Above, Grace and ScoobE with Greg Crouchley. Greg has a 99% complete 3,000cc Waiex and a 30% complete Zenith 750 with another 3,000 cc engine for that airframe. He is well known in the Corvair world, having volunteered at more than 10 Corvair Colleges.



Tom Porter and the world’s newest Corvair powered Zenith 601XL.  We took this a Brodhead, which is within Tom’s test area. The plane is magnificent, and is now has 8 hours on it. In the 12 years since we first flew our own Zenith 601, we have assisted more than 80 other 601/650 builders in finishing and flying their Corvair powered Zeniths. Tom’s plane is 2,700cc with a Weseman 5th bearing and all of our Gold systems and installation parts.  Note how our cowling system allows full access and inspection to the engine by just turning a few fasteners.  Full fiberglass cowls do not have this ease of preflight. Tom worked on the plane for eight years….Golden rule of homebuilding: Persistence Pays.



Above at Oshkosh, a pristine, privately owned North American F-100F Super Saber. This is a 900 mph classic from the 1950s. It is powered by a single J-57 with a unique sounding “hard lighting” afterburner. I had not seen one of these aircraft flying since I was a little kid growing up in Thailand. Our country has plenty of wealthy people who spend their money on conspicuous consumption items I can not understand, but here we have an example of a person any aviator can respect, I guy who got up one morning and said “What aviation needs is a flying F-100” and went about the task of making it so.



Above, Shelley Tumino, Co-host of Corvair Colleges #22, 25 and 32, stands in front of the tear drop trailer she hand crafted at Brodhead.  Nearly everything in the picture was packed into the trailer for the trip from Texas. The woman is seriously into organization, logistics and deployment. Shelley has lead a long career in the Armed Forces.  Shelley takes having fun and camping more seriously than some countries take conflicts.



Above, in the Oshkosh tent: On the left Corvair “JRB” (Junior ranking Builder) Spenser Rice. He has been building his Corvair powered Zenith 601 since he has 13. He now has a pilots license and flew into Oshkosh from Oregon in a Cherokee. He is good company, intelligent and articulate, and it is very easy to forget he is just 17 years old. On the right, Highly respected VW engine expert Scott Cassler. Most of the engine people in experimental aviation know each other, and there is a mutual respect among those of us that are motor heads not salesmen, and have been around a long time.



Above, I stand with Steve Bennet, The acknowledged  master of the flying VW engine, the man who ran Great plains VW for three decades. He is now retired, enjoying some very well deserved time off, just walking around Oshkosh visiting friends.  Over the years, Steve and his wife were very good to both Grace and I, always being genuinely warm and friendly people with the sagely advise of experience.

.More than any other person, Steve’s work serving working class builders with proven systems and parts, and his legendary stoic demeanor, was the model I used in my own work with Corvairs. While print magazines of our industry tend to cover investment grade rip offs like the Cessna Skycatcher and the Icon A-5,  The real goals of the EAA, the motto “Learn Build and Fly”, are actually served by people willing to teach and provide products to working Americans. For decades, Steve Bennet provided affordable acess to flight for working people, his respect for rank and file homebuilders evident in the fact he always treated them as aviators, not spectators. His work provided an entry into the Arena for literarily thousands of homebuilders, an accomplishment which has earned the respect of any real homebuilder.




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