JAG-2 Corvair Twin, running on film

Builders,

I got a quick note and a link to this video from Jim Tomaszewski, about the first engine run on the wing of his Corvair powered twin, The “JAG-2” :

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“Hi William & Grace (ScoobE too), Here is a video of my first engine run of my
right engine on the airframe.  I hope to have the left engine running also by
next week.   I will then be checking the timing at WOT.  The Ellison runs very
well.”

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Engine running on the airframe You tube film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcImWpnbb2M&sns=em

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 Above, a Corvair College #31 photo of Jim and Ginger with their engines twin 3,000 cc Corvairs, first class motors with Weseman billet cranks and 5th bearings. The engines use all of our parts, including 2400-L ultra lightweight starters.
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Here is a link to a story about the engines:

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

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Here is a link to a story with many details about the design and construction of the airframe:

JAG-2, Corvair Powered Twin, Jim Tomaszewski, N.Y.

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-ww.

Thought for the Day – Corporate trust?

Builders:

In the 1960’s any American who expressed any distrust of the government, even a part of it like J. Edgar Hoover, was instantly labeled a subversive or communist, and publicly marginalized. Today, the pendulum has come full swing, and a significant and vocal number of people consider anyone with any trust in any act of civil government to be a lackey and dupe. It is ironic that that these extremists often  ignore the fact they went to public schools, drive on federal highways, fly on FAA regulated planes, eat food made to FDA standards, work 40 hour weeks, enjoy national parks and appreciate things like the internet, the P-51, the Jeep and the .30-06, (which all have their origins in the US civil government). The government isn’t perfect nor efficient, but these people still call 9-1-1 when they have a heart attack because they want to live to complain another day.

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Moving away from civil affairs, I will say that I am astounded how much trust people have in the giant corporations that have tentacles into most facets of our lives.  While I have reluctantly grown used to being treated to unsolicited dissertations on the absolute evils of civil government by people who don’t know how many articles there are in the constitution, very few people ever express to me the same lack of trust of international corporations, as if being in the private sector and devoted solely to making profits insured fully ethical behavior. An odd perspective where lobbing, bribing and purchasing politicians is perfectly acceptable, but actually being a politician of any kind or quality is evil.

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This week offers a great example of the public trust of international corporations, particularly of ‘brands’ they have been taught to ‘love’ through very effective marketing. So Volkswagen finally admits to a giant scheme to defraud US laws, extending to 11 million vehicles.  While VW fan’s were stunned to learn they had been lied to by the ‘nice people’ who make colorful Beetles, I was not. I don’t have blind faith in government, but I do have an absolute faith that management of international corporations will take every opportunity to make profits, even if this means subverting the laws that they couldn’t block from being written in the first place.

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To give some perspective, there are auto mechanics who have done actual jail time for disabling the emissions control equipment on as few as 10 cars. If the CEO of VW were to spend 5 minutes behind bars for each of the 11 million cars, he would not live long enough to see daylight again. ( Assuming we learned how to send white collar criminals to jail).

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To VW fans with surprised looks on their faces, or investors who saw their stock value tank 30%  in 48 hours, I say get real, wake up, and have another coffee. We are talking about a company that was founded at the request of Adolph Hitler and used slave labor from concentration camps in WWII. To expect the ethics of Jesus from a corporation with such origins is slightly naïve to say the least.  A VW fan and perpetual owner I know, who has treated me to countless lectures on the alleged superiority of ‘German engineering’, told be he could hardly believe his TDI was going to have a recall because it produced up to 40 times the legal level of emissions. On the phone I asked him “Let me get this right: You can’t conceive of guys from the Fatherland putting toxic gasses in the air other people were going to breathe and then lying about it?” It was a new idea to him, he was focused on not trusting the evil National Park Service.

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Your Aviation Connection:

The Homebuilt aircraft in your shop will be trustworthy because you know the ‘corporation’ that is putting it together, and ‘they’ are driven by learning and doing a good job, not making a ‘profit’ by doing the job as cheaply as possible and subverting every regulation ‘they’ can get away with.

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In the last 26 years I have seen countless examples of the management of corporations, both big and small, both certified and experimental, lying about the airworthiness of their products, just to make a profit. Go back and look at Cessna still claiming that the C-162 Skycatcher was an ideal beginners plane even after both of the first two examples were lost in unrecoverable spins, in spite of being flown by professional test pilots. Would you like some immunity? Be a homebuilder, build your own skills, work with proven designs, and work with company owners who own, use and speak frankly about the designs and components you will use.

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April 20th 1939 was Adolph Hitler’s 50th birthday, and he was presented one of the first VW’s ever made in acknowledgement of his full support of the enterprise. The business was a joint venture between Ferdinand Porsche and Albert Speer. They were not ‘just Germans’, they were both Nazi party members, SS officers, convicted war criminals, and personal friends of Hitler’s. Most Americans have never read Speer’s 900 page memoir “Inside the Third Reich” to understand that even in war, German companies were private enterprises that competed for contracts and made money. Speer was eventually head of all war production in Germany. Convicted of using slave labor, he served his full 20 year sentence, and was still in Spandau prison, long after shiny new VW bugs were popular cars in the US. It was a triumph of marketing to people who didn’t read books.

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Above, Slave labor from a German concentration camp. VW, by their own admission, used 15,000 slaves, (80% of their workforce) between 1942 and ’45. These were only supplied by the Nazi’s at the specific request of the company ownership. In America we are immensely proud of the factual image of “Rosie the Riveter.” Look at the faces in the above photo to see the difference in two worlds. Our mothers and grandmothers were paid to go to war plants with bandanas holding their hair back. Question: How angry would you be if your mother or grandmother went to the VW plant with a shaved head and a 9mm Gestapo Luger pressed to her scalp? Answer: Odds are you wouldn’t have ever been born to care, as the fatality rate, even among highly skilled slave laborers was more than 50%, for women it was much higher.

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The parody add run by National Lampoon magazine (the same people who brought you the movie Animal House) in the 1970s. VW sued the magazine for millions of dollars. They were not concerned about the joke or it’s taste, or the Kopechne family heartache. They were only concerned about the VW trademark being associated with something negative for their brand. To their perspective, a valid concern considering how much effort they had spent to go from Hitler’s car to the choice of ‘happy people’ everywhere.

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Last year I had a guy driving a VW give me a giant lecture about the fact 100% of the cars and trucks I own were built by GM. He was spitting mad, because GM had been bailed out by the US government after the financial crisis, and he told me I was “Immoral” for continuing to drive GM products. I told him I was not a fan of bail outs for either banks nor car makers, but it seemed like a smaller crime than using slaves to further the goals of Adolph Hitler, but if he felt the opposite, I was glad to know it.

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Full disclosure to those who want to send hate mail – 125 years ago 50% of my DNA was all in Germany. My maternal great grandparents were all Germans. I have been to Germany, I have worked for a German corporation, I have read the works of most German political writers from Marx to Todenhöfer. I have a handful of friends who are Germans, and I have spent far more time listening to them than speaking to them. I have never owned an imported car or truck, but I have no real objection to others who feel the need to. Please read the short note: What the 4th of July means to me. before making a decision about what my position on Germans is. I honestly think the simple fact that Americans are less respectful and obedient of authority may have been the only thing that spared us from following some of the worst leaders of our own nation. I don’t think we are superior, just raised differently. -Besides, I just write these stories to make sure I have a really short Christmas card list.

Please note that I never post comments from people that don’t include their actual names. If you have a perspective to share, have the conviction do so with your name.

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Above, a 2005 photo. With me in the photo is an old friend, Mood Juma. Mood and I got our A&P licenses together from Embry-Riddle 25 years ago. On that day he drove up in front of my Edgewater hangar in his 1967 Beetle and jokingly yelled out the window “I hear you don’t like German cars, and you don’t like people from the Middle East”  When we drove it to lunch we had a good laugh all the way.

-ww.

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Thought for The Day – Have we squandered the great gift?

Builders,

Today I am sitting with my father in NJ, watching media coverage of the life of one of his favorite sportsmen, Yogi Berra. He was the last living connection to the golden era of baseball in my father’s youth, held sacred with memories like this: Thought for the Day “The luckiest man on the face of the earth”  My father feigned stoic indifference, but he was clearly bothered by the last light of an era fading out.

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Seventy three years ago, the world had descended into madness, and offered a stark choice. It would either be freed by moral and ethical men, or it would be as Orwell said “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” 

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When he turned 17, the young man who would become my father 21 years later,  joined millions of other free men, and took up weapons to prevent the human race from being enslaved by the most vile totalitarians the world had ever known. They imagined a decisive conflict, but it didn’t play out that way; my father is a WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Cold war veteran. Each of those conflicts took the lives of friends and family, men who’s names he can only speak after a long pause or hard swallow. He well understands the cost of a forty year struggle to keep that boot off mankind’s face.

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I have not watched TV at home in many, many years. But here, in the home of my parents, I sit beside by father, his mobility robbed by age, as he looks into the TV to find some evidence that we have not squandered the gift, a free world, which we received from the men of his generation, perhaps your father among them. It is a gift we didn’t earn, they purchased it for us anyway, at a staggering human cost.

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Father is an eternal optimist, he only needs to find some trace of good that was built on the foundation we were bequeathed. But in an hour, there is nothing to hold on to, nothing to salvage from the endless waste of consumerism, at astronomic levels of narcissism, all acts of selfless heroic deeds pushed aside by a tide of greed and gluttony, bathed in comments from the most inane actors pretending to be journalists, offering no insight, only triggering knee-jerk emotional reactions to dog whistle phrases.

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I do not look at the screen, I only see it reflected in my fathers glasses as sifts through news channels looking for some bit of rectitude hidden in the waste. When I can take no more, I put my hand on his, and impulsively say “I am sorry”. For a moment he looks in my eyes to assess if I really understand what the gift cost. At this moment I understand that every old story was told in the hopes that we might understand what was done for us, not so we would thank them, just so that we wouldn’t waste it. On this day, I remain profoundly sorry for how little we have done with the gift.

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-ww.

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Media Correction: Several times today, I heard an elected $80,000 per year government bureaucrat who refused to work, resign, or obey the law she swore to defend, referred to as a “religious martyr” for spending 5 days in a minimum security jail for contempt of court. This is one of the things I detest about corporate controlled media entertainment and marketing pretending to be “News.”  If anyone cares, I offer an actual definition of an actual religious martyr: Thích Quảng Đức

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Thích Quảng Đức , Saigon June 11th 1963. This is the last act in this world of a devout, 66 year old Buddhist monk. He was protesting the repression of the majority Vietnamese Buddhist population by the ruling Vietnamese elite, who were Catholics. Madame Nhu, the de-facto first lady called it a “barbecue” and stated, “Let them burn and we shall clap our hands.” Most other people in the world, including JFK in the White House, had a different reaction.

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Lest any American see this as the act of a different culture, know that there were at least five Americans, of different faiths, who repeated this act on US soil between 1965 and 1970 as a war protest. The last was a 23 year old UC student named George Winne Jr, who just like me, was the son of a US Navy Captain.

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If you have the courage, you can watch the 2 minutes of film of 11 June 1963 on You Tube. In a supreme act of will, Thích Quảng Đức does not even flinch as he is consumed. Having once been partially on fire myself, I suspect it takes more than a minute to die, and I will assure anyone it is more painful than your imagination allows you to believe. Before anyone asks if I think people with suicide vests are martyrs, I don’t think that takes courage at all, and I have no respect for people who wish to harm others to please their God.

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Your aviation connection:  Your shop should be your own fountain of truth: Believe what you have made with your own hands, what you have seen with your own eyes, what you have learned with your own mind. When you do these things, and live with kindness and tolerance, both giving and insisting on human respect, then perhaps we are making the best use of the world our fathers made for us.

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* I am not just a critic of the modern media, the issues of reality extend to most forms of journalism, and have been there for a long time. I am particularly well read on 20th century US conflicts. The two best known US writers on Vietnam were Neil Sheehan, and David Halberstam, the latter was an eye witness to the picture above. Both writers  had two things in common: The won Pulitzer prizes for their Vietnam work, and both of them heavily relied on a time/Reuters reporter in Saigon named  Phạm Xuân Ẩn. In 1976, after the war, it is revealed that Phạm Xuân Ẩn was the highest ranking North Vietnamese spy, who fed both of the writers and his employers disinformation throughout the war, but they never suspected this. To learn how US journalists were manipulated, get a look at the 1985 Truong Nhu Tang book “A Vietcong Memoir.” It was written in French, but is available in English.

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Schedule 9/13- 9/30 -2015

Builders:

In a few hours I depart for Corvair College #34 at the Zenith Factory in Mexico MO.

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The College runs from noon on the 15 through the end of the day on the 17th. As a late addition, Dan Weseman from SPA/Panther will be flying in to assist builders at the College. ( Please note that this college is at 100% capacity, and does require prior registration to attend.)

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I will be staying for the Zenith open house on the 18 and 19th. Zenith welcomes all visitors for their event, we have been there the last eight years in a row, it is a very good time and we will be glad to show people the Corvair installation while we are there. You can read more on the Zenith aircraft factory website.

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Next leg is an 1,100 mile direct drive to My Parents house in NJ. I will be spending time with them until the 28th. I will not be able to cover our shop phone from the road, but I can catch up on Email while in NJ. Please include your phone number in any email you send, in case it is easier to answer the question on the phone.

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I will be returning to our shop, driving the 1,000 miles back to Florida on 29/30th.  The answering machine will undoubtedly fill up in the first few days I am gone. If anyone chimes in on the internet to say they tried calling but I didn’t answer, so they came to the only logical  conclusion, that I must giving up aviation to run for the White House , please direct them to this schedule note, and suggest they watch less TV.

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Do you feel blessed to have good friends? I do. Corvair/Panther builder Paul Salter has a hangar about 500′ from ours. Today he took one look at how much stuff I have packed in the trailer for the trip to CC#34 and noted that the trailer outweighs our Suburban by three or four thousand pounds. He suggested I borrow his Power stroke F-250 for the 3,200 mile trip. In a world where generosity isn’t quite so common anymore, it feels very good to have a friend like Paul. Plus, he gets to tease me for the next year about being the guy who drives a Ford to an event dedicated to teaching people how to build Chevy engines.

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Above, a 2014 shot of  the 3,000 cc Corvair built for Zenith builder Thomas Fernandez running on the stand in front of our house. The Christmas Lights are on the trees in front of our porch. Grace likes them all year long. Read the story at this link, It includes a short film:  Night Engine Run, December 20, 2014

Thought for the Day – 9/11

” At sundown we sat in the kitchen, as did people all over America. The telephone rang many times, people asking if Dad was O.K. I answered a long series of these quick calls which were punctuated by a number of people asking if my father had seen theirs leaving the building that day. I could offer them nothing but hope. They were searching for a shadow of doubt that they would not find. I gently hung up the phone each time and felt a palpable mixture of luck and guilt that I would keep my father and they would probably never see theirs again. Their voices contained a desperation that stays with you even 10 years later. “

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Old friends know my father worked on the 89th floor  the World Trade Center for more than 20 years, rarely taking a day off. We had planned on going to his office that day, but by a small twist of fate, did not. You can read the story here: Holiday Hours, shop dates, Family notes..

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I took the photo above on 9/12/01. The letter is taped to Washington Rock, a 500′ ridge a few miles from my parents’ house in N.J. It has a direct view of lower Manhattan from 10 miles. Hundreds of people stood in silence there and watched the smoke pour out of the city. The letter was a note to a dead friend promising to take care of his children and to raise them as he would have. Below it is my Father’s business card. Note the address of World Trade Center #2.

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ww,

Outlook 2016 – Reference page

Note: This is a ‘Reference Page’, so it will be updated with links to other stories as they are written, including several follow on stories under the Heading “Outlook 2016”.

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Builders:

Here is a series that will look at plans and developments we have for the 2016 flying season. Even though we still have two Colleges to go in this year, and much to do, We have long since laid the ground work for a new era in our work with the Corvair. We are implementing many of these changes now, all of them will be in place by the end of the year.

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Several times I have ‘re-invented’ our approach to the Corvair movement, to better serve builders. The ‘early years’  were a long gestation period to simply show people that Corvairs worked; The ‘Hangar Gang” years were about expanding on all fronts, magazine attention, flying several hundred builders and expanding Colleges;  The ‘All Stars’ were about replacing my employed team with independent people who were to serve their corner of the builder’s needs. Things have evolved again, and we now have ‘Outlook 2016’, an era where builders need good information combined with simplified parts delivery from sources motivated to stay in home building for the long run. 

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What needed to be different?  The entire point it to make things work smoother, and make the learning and building experience of being a Corvair builder more rewarding. This is not a new goal. We have always worked at evolving how we do things. But to make a ‘sea-change’ level of improvement, as I have done twice before, requires a vision, a long plan, and consistent hard work. We are almost there.

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At it’s very root, homebuilding can only be defined as Learning.  Two people can be the owner of the same model of homebuilt aircraft; What makes them different? One of them will have built nearly part, including the engine, the second is a guy who bought it second hand. Although people speak of esoteric ideas like ‘pride’ of the man who built his plane, let me define it in more concrete terms. The primary difference in the experience of the two people is how well they know the machine they are operating, and that isn’t pride, it is Learning. For this reason, my personal definition of accomplishment is simply the measurement of what our builders learned, period. Although there are certainly exceptions where the original builders learns almost nothing or the second owner is the master of his ship, they are rare and the point remains the same.

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Here are some of the ways we have moved toward our “Outlook 2016” on the “Learning Front”:

Writing the new manual:

Brand New 250 page 2014 Manual- Done

Maintaining the four Corvair College per year pace:

Corvair College reference page

Running our own discussion groups:

“Zen-vair” and “Piet-vair” Discussion Groups, your resource.

Putting more than 700 stories, (Which now have more than 1 million page reads) here:

https://flycorvair.net/

And further indexing these stories into organized groups:

Reference posts and updates to FlyCorvair.com.

(We filmed many of these subjects to be released as short You Tube educational videos in 2016)

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Above, Front quarter view of a 2,850cc engine built in our shop.

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The second half of the equation is the production of parts, the hardware used in learning. It is no secret that many of our most popular items are backordered. There are reasons for this, and the corrections are already in the works.

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If you have been around aviation for a while, you understand that the 2008-09 recession killed as many airplane companies as the great depression did eighty years earlier. More than half of the companies in experimental aviation tanked, many of them taking a river of builders money with them. We are immune to this kind of disruption, as we have neither a get rich scheme nor investors to please. All we did was adjust production down to meet demand. The affordable end of homebuilding was the last element to come back, and it has done so fairly strongly in the last 2 years, but gearing back up had to contend with expanding our written information base, product developments and serious supplier changes.

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We were in the process of developing many highly improved versions of our parts: in addition to greatly expanding the ‘learning’ element of our program. We bit off a lot, but I was unwilling to postpone the evolution to were we going.  2400-L Starter ,  1100-WW Camshaft Group ,  High Volume Oil Pump ,  Ignition system, experimental “E/E-T”Adjustable Oil Pressure Regulator, #2010A2,775 cc Piston and Cylinder kits  etc. are all examples of improved products.

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We have changed 65% of our suppliers: This has both obvious examples, such as cylinder heads, but it also extends to internal subcomponents which are parts of completed items we sell. Few people looking at something as simple as a stainless exhaust system understand that it actually has components from six different subcontractors in each one, and it only takes one missing element to stop production. This is typical of many of our complex parts. It is a reality we have to work with. The modest margins on the parts don’t support coarse solutions like stockpiling large amounts of sub components. Below we have notes for the different solutions we have putting in place.

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What is different on parts production now?

We have already developed and brought up to speed new companies on almost all of the subcontracted parts that became an issue.  Old stories of long waits for nose bowls no longer apply, as our new shop has consistently produced batches of 10. All of the new product listed above, like starters, have machined parts from new, motivated sources. These are not changes that you can make with the wave of a magic wand, it takes months to get these systems in place, but we will have these supplier changes fully implemented before 2016, and they, the information, and the parts we sell will serve builders for many years to come.

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Revised sources, listed by Group numbers, Aug. ’15.

(Note that the above link is the first story in a multi-part series, they are sequential, please read them all)

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What about service in 2016?

It is a reality that there is only one of me, and we have several hundred active builders. Any solution needs to be built around this. This is the fundamental reason why I wrote the new manual and put the 700 stories on https://flycorvair.net/.  Both of these combine to self answer the majority of questions that previously arrived as a phone call or email. The answers are far more in depth now.

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Before an email asking about putting a Corvair on a Zenith 601 would require 20 minutes for me to write even a basic response. Now I just send a polite link to this: Zenith 601/650 – Corvair reference page , which has tons of well organized information in any depth the potential builder would like. Having the new manual and website solves a lot of the service issues by giving the new people answers they used to have to ask about. Now Zenith and Pietenpol builders can directly speak with each other on our groups. Combine this with every year generating 200 new Corvair College graduates who are qualified to share what they learned from our in person, hands on training, and we have a new system that provides access to fundamental conversion information, while allowing me to focus on more advanced technical questions.

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The next element in transformation is the way we take care of orders. The change here is bringing in professional assistance with on line ordering and shipping of our parts. Both Grace and I have been working with an issue that many of you understand very well, aging parents. We are blessed to still have them, and I consider it an understood duty to contribute to the care of the people who gave me life itself. In 2014 and 2015 this has lead to many weeks being far from our parts stocks. Combine this with our college schedules and Oshkosh, and the only practical solution is to bring in professional assistance who can receive and ship orders placed on our webpage, even when we are far away, at Colleges. Oshkosh or with Family.

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This assistance isn’t cheap, and to make it possible we are going to have a modest across the board price increase after existing orders are filled.  I have not changed the prices on prop hubs in 22 years, many of our other items have had no increase in the last 10. The majority of the cost of  professional assistance will be covered by us, the rest will come from the modest increase. We are working on an updated products page and automated ordering system that will reflect this, and expect that both will be operational by mid October. We will announce the change when it is effected.

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With the changes in place, we will be in a much better position to serve builder’s needs. I am looking forward to a much smoother year in 2016, allowing us to share what we know with builders who live by the original EAA motto of Learn, Build and Fly.”

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Note: Vern, our primary welder, has been out from April until just this week. We had him in the shop for only 4 or 5 days this summer. Traditionally I welded all of our production for years when we had “the Hangar Gang” but in the modern era, Vern doing 75% of it has allowed me to cover many other things. This summer we have built up a list of people who need mounts and other welded parts, we are just working though these now. If you have been patiently waiting, thanks for your understanding. -ww.

2,775 cc Piston and Cylinder kits

Builders,

Last week our piston manufacturer in California, the same one we have used for years to make 2,850 and 3,000 cc pistons, called to say that my order of 2,775 cc pistons will be done by the third week of October. I placed a very large order with them a while back, and these will be delivered in time to make their public debut at Corvair College #35 at Barnwell.

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These pistons are a large overbore on a stock 1965 Corvair cylinder. They are aimed at being able to run 89 octane auto fuel with 95 heads or 92 octane with 110 heads. Because they are a bored, the cylinder set is several pounds lighter than a smaller engine, and lighter than a 2,850 with it’s thicker wall full-fin cylinders. I already have several hundred original cylinders at Clark’s Corvairs, ready to be bored to match these new piston sets.

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These pistons are made with spiral locks, so they can have floating wrist pins, and be easier to assemble than stock pistons which need to heat the rods to install the wrist pins. The ring sets are .060″ over Hastings Chrome rings, the same ones we have put into Corvairs for more than 20 years. Because these pistons have floating pins, they can also use the new billet rods available from the Weseman’s at SPA/Panther.

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These will not appear on our products page until they are here, we are not selling them yet, we don’t need deposits, etc., but if you are interested, you can always send us a note with “2,775” in the subject line. we will let you know more in a few weeks.

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-ww.

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Above, a 2,850 piston made in the USA, specifically designed for flight engines. The  “2,775 cc”  looks identical, but is .045″ less in diameter and has a different chamber volume.  I wrote a story about having these on the back burner of development 24 months ago, but the project will be done shortly, and they will be an option for builders. read more: Getting Started in 2013, Part #15, 2,775cc.

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