Steve Bennett, master of VW flight, passes from this Earth.

Builders,

Yesterday brought the somber news that Steve Bennett, the man behind Great Plains VW engines, has passed from this earth. It is 4:30 am now, and I have spent the last few hours sipping beer and thinking of how I could explain to someone who joined the EAA in the last few years how extraordinary Steve was, what kind of a person we have lost. I keep coming back to the conclusion that it can’t be done, that the scope and depth of his influence is too great, but maybe a few points might be an acceptable start.

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Steve was contrary to everything people who work in experimental aviation are unfortunately known for: In a field of salesmen without expertise, Steve was the world’s leading expert on VW flight engines; In a field of egos, Steve was a very modest guy; In a field where people bring too much emotion, Steve as always stoic and calm. In a field were everyone chases the money, Steve pursued affordable products so working people would have options other than being a spectator. In a field full of males, Steve always had Linda present as a partner, confidant and best friend.

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In all the hours of all the years I spent with him, Steve never reminded me of anyone else. Thirty years in the homebuilt industry did not erode nor tarnish the qualities of character he had. He always had a clear head, and a good take on any issue or event; I never saw him change course because of flattery nor praise, he only responded to logical cause. He was always like this, and he remained so to the last time I saw him. He had something most do not, a steady hand on the helm of his own life.

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To balance that image, let me share the first time I spoke with him. We were at a KR gathering, he was an established legend and I was transitioning from ‘nobody’ to ‘Johnny come lately’ status. In the general form, I guy I had never met stood up and said he has been a VW guy and he had liked Steve, but he now knew VW’s were bad, and he was going to be a Corvair guy now. I was mortified, and at the end I went over to explain to “Mr Bennett” that I didn’t know that guy at all. Steve saw me, but patiently answered every builders question first. When he was done, he walked over and cracked a smile and put his arm on my shoulder and said “Congratulations sport, he is all yours now. This year you are his hero, but next year, if you have any luck, he will hate you and announce he is moving on to Subarus.”

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It was the start of a long friendship with Steve and Linda. Even though I was very small potatoes for many years, They always treated Grace and myself as friends and colleagues. Steve went out of his way to share with me things he had painstakingly learned about builders, the media and our industry. Time proved his counsel was 100% correct. I freely admit that many of the approaches to Corvair I use are directly patterned after things Steve did with VW’s first.  I often told Steve that, but he always shrugged it off with a bit of embarrassment. I am guessing he was most comfortable being himself, and didn’t like even the idea of being anyone else’s role model. He could like it or not, it didn’t change the fact that in this industry, he was mine.

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Steve retired a few years ago. When he was done, he had set a record. No other alternative engine guy had continuously been in business, serving builders for longer. I kidded him saying it was about time, because no matter when he stopped, I still had to work 8 more years to match his record. Tonight is the first time I realize just how much his thoughts mattered to me, because if I am able match his record, all I really wanted was to have him there to say ” Good Job”.  The opinion of no other person in our industry would matter to me nearly as much.

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Let me offer one more voice of thanks to the thousands of others over the years, offering my gratitude for the contribution Steve made to homebuilding, contributions that live on in the skills and understanding he gave to others, that they would be able to follow their dreams. As much as I will miss him, I remain grateful for every hour spent in his company.

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Steve, May you have only blue skies and tailwinds.

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From our Oshkosh 2015 coverage, the last time I saw Steve:

“Above, I stand with Steve Bennett, 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.

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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 Bennett provided affordable access 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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CNN and Wolf Blitzer: “Flammable Helium”

Builders:

If you ever needed further evidence that most media people are morons, today CNN and it’s reporter Wolf Blitzer invented something new to panic people and boost ratings: Flammable Helium:

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Think I am kidding?

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/28/politics/loose-blimp-norad-east-coast/

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I am guessing that not one single person, in front to the camera nor behind it, passed eight grade science class, and understood the difference between Helium and Hydrogen, nor the basic concept of an “Inert Gas.” Nor can they read a Wikipedia page:

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“JLENS aerostats are filled with 590,000 cubic feet of non-flammable helium.”

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Keep in mind that these are the same people who feel fully qualified to explain climate change and to run presidential debates.  In the next year, these same people will bring us countless stories, mostly about politics, all with this level of “accuracy.” Notice that the goal of this report, like most of the others they make up, is to spread fear, and this is because fear boosts ratings, and big ratings is what pays Wolf Blitzer millions of dollars a year, to invent flammable helium. Every hour of your life listening to these fools and their industry of bullshit is a waste you will never get back.

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-ww.

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Outlook 2016, Corvair College #38, Cloverdale CA, 5/6/16

Builders,

I have spoken extensively with Doug Dougger of quality Sport Planes, Zenith’s west coast distributor, about returning to his shop in Cloverdale California for another Corvair College. Since we will be on our Western tour: Outlook 2016, College #36 and Western building tour, and holding a Southern California College; Outlook 2016, Corvair College #37 Chino CA, 4/22/16, It makes sense to hold CC #38 in Northern California as a stop on the tour.

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Chino and Cloverdale are just 500 miles from each other, and that might seem pretty close for holding two colleges 14 days apart, but there is some logic here. I am going to continue the Western Tour up into OR and WA, making house calls and holding night schools, but right now we don’t have a full College in the works for either Oregon nor Washington. If a builder from that area wants to attend a full College, they should be forming a plan around #38 at Cloverdale.  Although it may be a drive, it would cut 1,000 miles off a round trip to Chino.

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After speaking with many builders, I suspect that CC #37 at Chino will draw Arizona and Southern California builders, and CC #38 will draw the northern builders planning on a full college. Part of the reason why we are not opening up the sign up for the 2016 colleges until mid December is that I want to get them all laid out, so builders can choose the one that makes the most sense for them. (Of course, everyone is welcome to sign up for more than one.) Once we have the Colleges on the trip set up, we will fit in the Western Tour path and detail where we will hold the “Night School” stops. Just for example, we are already working on stops in Hanford, San Jose, and Vacaville in between CC #37 and #38.

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To learn more about the excellent facility and the services that Doug provides to builders, check out his website: http://www.qualitysportplanes.com/

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-ww.

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Above, a 2007 photo From Cloverdale: Michael Heintz, at left above, joins me in presenting the EAA Copperstate Fly In Award for Best Alternative Engine. This was awarded to Rick Lindstrom, center, for his 601, behind us.  Two weeks earlier, Michael had flown the airplane on an 18-hour round trip to Arizona for the show. Hundreds of Southwest builders got a chance to see Rick’s plane in person, and it was given the award at the end of the weekend. The Photo above as take at Corvair College # 11,  ( http://www.flycorvair.com/cc11.html ) which was held in the same Quality Sport Planes facility that CC #38 will be.  In an industry where it is considered ‘normal’ for an engine company to last just 36 months before going bankrupt, it should be notable that we are still here, returning eight years later for another Corvair College, just part of a 26 year unbroken track record of serving builders.

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Sources Reference Page

Builders.

This is the ‘Sources Reference page’, the single location for builders to understand where particular engine parts come from. The numerical listing below is directly from my 2014 conversion manual. It has been abbreviated to distill it down to the parts it takes to complete and run an engine at A Corvair College.

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The new development this year (2015) is Dan Weseman of SPA/Panther and myself now cover the full list of parts. In years past, we have had others provide some of the parts or an optional 5th bearing. But today, for the sake of builder progress, getting this done faster, and simplifying the process. Some of the old sources still make a trickle of parts, but Dan and I have committed to making the investment of great amounts of time and money to mass produce the parts and stock them. In years past, having an item like heads made by a guy who treated the task as a part time hobby lead to the number of successful builders being limited by one suppliers unwillingness to address the demand. From here forward, the number of successful builders will be determined only by the number of builders motivated to learn build and fly.

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Since 2011 we have held four Corvair Colleges per year, and in 2016, we are looking at raising the pace to five or even six Colleges. In years past I was always more than fair about bringing in smaller suppliers and encouraging builders to consider their work, but I have moved away from this because the smaller suppliers never took meeting the actual needs of builders seriously. Today I have no problem if a builder brings a set of Falcon heads or a Roy bearing to a college to finish his engine, but any builder getting started now, should just follow the sources below, because it is the proven way to make progress now. It is much easier for Dan and I to coordinate to make sure every builder get all the parts he needs, and they are fully compatible. Dan works most of the Corvair Colleges with me to demonstrate and supervise the installation and assembly of his products. If you are planning on assembling your engine at a College, utilizing a Crank, 5th bearing and heads from Dan makes sense.

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Notes on this reference page: Groups marked with a WW are from us, Flycorvair.com. Our products page is here: http://www.flycorvair.com/products.html .  Groups marked with SPA, are from Dan and Rachel Weseman, their site is here: http://flywithspa.com/corvair/ .  Below many of the group listings are links to go to stories about that specific group. At the bottom of the page are a set of links to stories about up to date sources and specific engines. This page will be continuously updated.

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-ww.

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Above, Dan Weseman and I stand in my front yard; This was the first run of the Panther’s engine. Although we have fully independent businesses, our products, teaching and philosophy mesh, and this directly works for both builder progress and learning. I have known Dan for almost 15 years, and for the past 10 we have lived at the same small grass airport. For each of us, homebuilding isn’t a hobby nor even a job, it is a calling. Over 25 years of work with homebuilders it has long been obvious to me that every new homebuilder needs trusted and experienced mentors, who painstakingly acquired the knowledge and experience the new builders are working to master.  A successful plane is built from a comprehensive plan, guided by mentors who know the skills from making the first part to flying it.  Dan and I have both have a very long track record of being this kind of guide to countless homebuilders.

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Corvair Flight Engine Conversion Groups And Parts Numbering System:

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1000- Crankshaft group – SPA

Sources: Group 1000, Crankshaft

1100- Camshaft group –  WW

Sources: Group 1100, Camshaft.

1200- Crankcase group – SPA (If building a 3,000 cc engine)

Sources: Closing a case

1300- Piston and rod group – WW 2,775 cc  SPA 3,000 cc and 3.3L

Sources: Choosing a displacement.

1400- Cylinder group – WW 2,775 cc  SPA 3,000 cc and 3.3L

2,775 cc Pistons are here.

3,000 cc Corvair Engine Details

1500- Head group – SPA

Sources: Group 1500 – New cylinder head source

1600- Valve train group – WW

1700- Head clamping hardware group – WW

1800- Steel engine cooling baffles group – WW

1900- Valve cover group – WW

E-mail Now: Custom Valve Covers Available Through Monday

2000- Rear oil case group – WW

High Volume Oil Pump

2100- Harmonic balancer group – Clarks Corvairs

2200- Oil pan group – WW

2400- Starter group – WW

2400-L Starter

2500- Hub group – WW

2600- Top oil group – WW

2650- Oil filter group – WW

2700- Stock oil cooler group – From your core engine

2800- Heavy duty oil cooler group – WW

2900- Standard charging system group – WW

Front and Rear alternators, their part in numbering system

2950- Rear charging system group – SPA

2970- Alternator group – SPA

3000- Weseman 5th bearing group – SPA

Sources: Choosing a 5th Bearing

3050- 5th bearing oil line group – WW

3300- Ignition group – WW

E/P and E/P-X Ignition systems, (3301E/P and E/P-X)

Ignition system, experimental “E/E-T”

Outlook 2016, Corvair College #37 Chino CA, 4/22/16

Builders,

I have just spoken with Steve Glover, and we have confirmed that CC#37 will be at his hangar in Chino California the weekend of April 22nd. This College will be a full regular College with a sign up that will open in December. This event will be part of our Western tour, ( Outlook 2016, College #36 and Western building tour ).

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Grace and Old friend/KR expert/Mr. NVaero.com Steve Glover, photographed at CC #28. He is kind of a prankster; Two weeks before that college I walked into my shop with a neighbor, and caught the end of a phone message where an ominous voice repeated “You can expect trouble in Texas.” My neighbor was worried until I explained that this was just my friend Steve saying he was planning on attending College #28. Steve’s sense of humor and definition of ‘entertainment’ was developed during long service in the Marines.

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I selected Steve as the Local host of the college for 3 reasons: He has attended many colleges all the way back to CC #9, He has an excellent facility for the event, right on the Chino airport, and he is a tireless supporter of experimental aviation. He has owned built and flown more than a dozen Experimentals, he owns the rights to the KR series of aircraft, he just started an FAA repair station, and he is now brought the Ellison series of carburetors back to the market. On top of this he has a Corvair/KR-2s under construction and owns a flying Corvair powered 601XL. He is friendly to strangers, patient with beginners, kind to animals, short with trolls, courteous to the civil, and a good friend to those up for his version of ‘tough love’.  He is one of a kind, which is good, because I’m not sure the world is ready for more than one Steve Glover.

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I spoke with Dan Weseman, and he is going to fly out to Chino, and work hands on with builders at CC #37. We had 60 builders on hand for CC #34 at the Zenith factory in September, and Dan and I covered the technical instruction between us, and it worked out great. ( CC#34 and the Zenith Open house -2015 -quick notes )  Between our two businesses FlyCorvair and SPA/Panther, we now cover 100% of the needs of every Corvair builder: Revised sources, listed by Group numbers, Aug. ’15 . We have gone to great lengths to streamline and organize the builder support system, and it makes a very large productivity difference at Colleges. #34 was the first College where we had the processes and support well coordinated, and we are just 2 weeks away from #35 in Barnwell SC, where we will further apply this at our largest College, where P.F. Beck and his crew have a highly perfected support setting. I am justifiably expecting a large increase in the learning and productivity. The 2016 Colleges will directly benefit from these improvements in parts availability and organization and coordination of technical support.

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A Steve Glover story: Several years ago, I ended up buying an aircraft project in California and storing it in Steve’s hangar. At the same time, Steve bought a KR project in Florida, and it ended up in my hangar. After several months of considering shipping options, Steve and I hatched a serious bet: We would flip a coin, and the winner would pay for the fuel to drive both ways, but the looser had to drive the round trip, obviously towing a plane both ways.  I won, and bought $1,600 in gas. In a very hard core piece of solo truck driving, Steve did the round trip in 6.5 days, including spending 18 hours with us in Florida and making a quick detour to eat dinner in New Orleans.

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Outlook 2016, College #36 and Western building tour

Builders,

I had a long phone call with Shelley Tumino and Kevin Purtee to set up the first College of 2016. This will be Corvair College #36, and it will be in Austin TX the weekend of April 1st, 2016. We will open the sign up page for it in mid December.

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Above, Kevin Purtee and Shelley Tumino receive The Cherry Grove Trophy at Corvair College #24, Barnwell SC. They hosted the last three Texas Colleges, #22, #28 and #32.  They have been tireless supporters of our work with Corvairs. Shelley runs many of the on-line College registrations and maintains the College Facebook pages. ( https://www.facebook.com/CorvairCollege )

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The Western Building tour:  This month, I am forming a plan that right after Corvair College #36 in April, I am going to push west, and do a very large 7 week tour of the Western states. The tentative plan is to hold two Mid sized College events, in Chino and Cloverdale California, but I also want to make stops nearly every night along the way, just as we did on this tour : A decade later: Midwest tour, winter 2005 I also plan to visit many builders projects like this House Call on Pat Green’s 1,000 Hour Pietenpol and this Corvair House Call, Range: 335 miles.

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My proposed track is to head through New Mexico and Arizona, run the length of California, Oregon and Washington, and turn east and head back over the top of the country. (I have to travel through North Dakota, because it is the only state in the US I have not been to.)  I am open to any suggested stop on this track. It is my goal to meet 350 builders in person on the trip.

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We have a plan in place to use the months over the winter to stock pile popular parts in preparation for the trip. We have assistance lined up to send out regular orders, even though we will be far away. Between websites, email and phones, we will have an easy way for builders to get daily update on the location and stops along the way. Between now an January we will have a number of updates on this tour as details solidify.

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Gratuitous Dog Photo, ScoobE in blankets at CC#22, “When you only weigh 9 pounds, you don’t have a lot of spare insulation. When it got good and chilly, Scoob E enjoyed a pile of blankets on his chair at the College.

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Some notes from previous Texas Colleges:

Corvair College #28, San Marcos, Texas

Schwartz Engine Runs at CC #22

Shipman Engine at CC#22

Franklin Engine Runs at CC ##22 KGTU Spring Break 2012

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For a good read on Kevin’s personal perspective on homebuilding, read his story at this link:

Guest Writer: Pietenpol builder/flyer Kevin Purtee

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Corvair College Links:

Corvair College reference page

Corvair College History….in photos

College engine build options for closing the case

Basic Corvair College Skills, examples of learning

College Tech

Running an Engine at a College, required items. #2

Running an Engine at a College, required items. #1

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As always, remember my saying “Your Cadillac dealer does not service Yugo’s, nor can he bolt parts on them and turn them into an Eldorado.”  We do not allow parts from bankrupt LLC’s to be brought to Corvair colleges, and I will not assist nor support anyone in the delusional idea that you can bolt good parts on a piece of feces and transform it into something to fly behind. The colleges are focused on serving builders who want to learn how to build Corvair flight engines the right way, not to work with people who bought things from people I have always warned them not to. Keep in mind that I have the memory of an elephant, and things said on many internet lists last forever, so people who formerly offered glowing reviews of now gone LLC’s will find it very hard to switch to my team now. If anyone has a specific question on these matters write to me privately before attempting to sign up for a College

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From Corvair College #17 in 2010:

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Above, introductions at CC#17, At my side is James Barrett. I’m introducing him as the Longest Distance Traveled Winner. He was in rural Afghanistan a few days earlier. His route to the College was more than 10,000 miles.  When a person claims he didn’t read about a college and missed the sign up, I point out that if a guy like James, on the other side of the globe, fighting the Taliban in a country locked in the 13th century has time to read about and sign up for Corvair College, I can reasonably expect anyone in suburbia to do so also.

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From Oshkosh 2013:

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Above, in the middle is a man exemplifies the spirit of the Corvair Colleges, Mike Quinn of North Carolina, a skilled mechanic. He has attended a number of South Carolina Colleges going back to #12. He holds the distinction of being the last man working on the last engine running during the last hour at several Colleges. What makes this truly unique? None of the engines he was wrenching on were his. He came to the Colleges and shared in the creation of other people’s engines, and gave assistance to people new to engine building. You can attend as many other aviation technical seminars as you like, but you will not find an old school homebuilder like Mike Quinn repeatedly attending them for the benefit of others. This is what sets Corvair Colleges apart.  When anyone says they do not wish to pay their share of the colleges expenses, I point out how ironic it would be if I allowed this but Mike Quinn ended up working on their engine, after paying his share of the expenses and a portion of theirs. If I have to explain that to anyone twice, they are a poor match for the values I promote in the Corvair movement.

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One of my favorite films is the very moving 1966 Steve McQueen film “The Sand Pebbles” , a drama about the crew of a US gunboat in China in the 1920s. During an uprising where the crew may have to fight to the death, the Captain of the ship, played by Richard Crenna, explains that any crewmember not committed to the mission who stays aboard is “A thief of every bite of food he eats and a trespasser in the bunk he sleeps in.” I can remember this line 40 years after I first saw it because it resonates with my upbringing where my parents taught us that people who expected others to pay for benefits they would receive are to be pitted, as they have a disease that curses them to never know friendship nor self esteem.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvbCE0z-aSk

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-ww

Participation in Discussion Groups and Colleges.

Builders:

At the most basic level, my work is simply sharing what I have painstakingly learned over 25 years with builders who will use this knowledge to understand, create and master the power plant on their homebuilt aircraft. Yes, we make and sell parts, but we do this to provide the hardware of learning. Aviation is full of consumer products that people buy and have with no understanding, but that is on the other end of the spectrum from my work.

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The information flows through a number of paths, including both of our websites, the manuals, DVD’s and videos, emails and phone calls, and speaking with builders in settings as large as Oshkosh and as focused as making a house call to their shop.

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We also have two other very important paths, our private Zen-vair and Piet-vair discussion groups ( “Zen-vair” and “Piet-vair” Discussion Groups, your resource. ) and our Corvair Colleges ( Corvair College reference page ) These latter paths are excellent sources of learning for builders who are using our information and parts to become the creator and master of their own engine.

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I have said in countless places, that our colleges and discussion groups are just for people who want to understand and follow the parts methods and processes that 25 years has shown work. I am under no obligation to have people at colleges trying to fix junk from bankrupt LLC’s  ( “Beautiful” Garbage from a bankrupt source ) nor am I required to have endless discussions of what might work ( Sherpas. Part #2 ) on our private groups.  Although I constantly promote other business and sources that work for our builders, I don’t allow our discussion groups to be used to promote businesses that have a poor track record.

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There is a sub group of personalities on the net, who will decry my choice to stay focused as “Censorship”. The same people often like ideas like private property and individual freedoms, but for some reason I am a tyrant for insisting that our private events and groups not have the anonymity and chaos that is available on hundreds of other aviation discussion groups like “Corvaircraft”  If you want to learn why I choose to be focused in our efforts, get a look at this: Thought for the day: “Censorship” on the net .  Years ago, I wrote 400 technical posts for open internet groups, mostly on ‘Corvaircraft’. I have tried both open and focused private groups, and there is no question that my time produces more learning and builder progress in our private groups and focused Colleges. My life, my choice, I suggest reading this and making your own: How many flying seasons? With whom will you spend them?

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The last few days saw two people on the open net group “Corvaircraft” say that I censored their comments and bumped them off our private Zen-vair discussion group.  The implication was that I was a censorship tyrant. They neatly forgot to mention the actual issue, or that I had spoken to them about it several times, including an hour long phone call the night before I cut off their ability to post on the private group.

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The actual issue: Both of these people are friends and supporters Of Roy Sarafinski of Roy’s Garage. Both of them disagree with my choice to no longer promote his work ( Sources: Group 1500 – New cylinder head source ) They were both using my group to get around this. I spoke to them about it, and they made the choice to continue.  If they don’t like the results, they could form their own groups, or even go out and put on 34 colleges promoting their path, but is suspect they will just spend their on ‘Corvaircraft’ complaining, I find it mildly ironic when people do this, they are often taking the position that I am somehow the major impediment to people building and flying Corvair powered planes, and that my work of the last 25 years is a net negative in Corvair powered flight.

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That exact argument, presented on any open internet homebuilding group will always bring verbal ‘high fives’ from a wide array of personalities, all chiming in. If you speak your mind in public for 25 years writing stories like this: Homebuilding, Mt. Everest and Sherpas. and Unicorns vs Ponies. and The cost of tolerating fools, you will make ‘enemies’ of a large number of people who spend all day at their keyboard, people who will chime in on any negative mention of my name.

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I get plenty of hate mail from people who hate southerners, (I am a Yankee) hate people with long hair ( I have had short hair most of my life) hate Americans ( I spend a lot of words pointing out our failings) and hate smart people ( I wrote this about myself Lifestyles of Troglodytes ) Be assured that each of the 735 stories on this site offended at least one person, and a few dozen of these people are always willing to chime in to call me an egotistical tyrant, seemingly unaware of the concept ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ and their contribution to my efforts.

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On the open web, people will always try to claim I randomly exclude people I don’t like, and that there is some type of mass list of people that have been excluded from our Discussion groups and Colleges. Having just 2 of more than 100 builders on our Zen-vair group loose their ability to post there hardly constitutes a land slide. In 34 Colleges, I have told 3 people to leave, and specifically told 2 others they were not invited. 34 Colleges times an average of 50 people is nearly 2,000 builders. 5/2000 is a very small fraction.

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If you want to Come to a College, or you want to sign up for a private discussion group, don’t let anyone tell you that you are not welcome. I have a very broad range of builders, and they all get why I have chosen to stay focused on progress, not debate. If you came to learn and build, than we have a place for you.

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

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Above, Phil Maxson with his Corvair powered 601 XL at Corvair College #24 in Barnwell SC. Phil Maxson goes to 3,000 cc for his 601XL Phil is the moderator of our Zen-vair discussion group. To debunk the idea I only work with people who are like me, a Comparison: Phil is a white collar corporate exec. and is actually a southerner. I am blue collar Yankee, He has kids, I have none; We belong to different political parties, we have different faiths, and he is a very smart guy and I am a monkey. Phil happily drives a Prius, and given the choice, I would rather be caught wearing a dress and smoking crack. When it all boils down, the only thing we have in common is being motivated to share what we know about, learning building and flying homebuilts.

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In the history of 34 Corvair colleges, I have thrown out 3 people. As mentioned here: Would you allow a combat Veteran to be called a “Whack job”? I tossed the first one for insisting it was his ‘right’ to say anything he wanted to an 82 year old veteran in my hangar. The second was a person who thought it was his right to use the word “Nigger” repeatedly (Note: this person was from New England not the south) and the third was a person who felt he had the ‘right’ to attend several colleges and never sign up to evade paying his share of the local hosts expenses.  All three of these people later went on the open net ‘Corvaircraft’ group and used many opportunities to tell people what a bad person I am, although their comments forgot to mention their respective credentials as an asshole, a racist and a thief.

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Outlook 2016 – Fall Corv-air-tour

Builders:

Here is a plan I have been working on for a long time. the “Corv-air tour.” In a nutshell, We are planning on gathering Corvair powered planes to make a 14 day, multi state tour of the US in 2016. I have spoken with a number of Corvair pilots, all of whom really liked the idea. I am sharing it here, well in advance, because we are now taking suggestions for destinations on the tour, and I invite builders to write in the comments section with ideas.

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Here are the elements that we do have set;

The dates are the first two weeks of September 2016. I want to make the last stop on the tour in Mexico MO, at the Zenith open house, which will also be Zeniths 25th anniversary in Mexico.

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The tour will form a loop, made up of 200-300 mile daily legs. It need not start exactly at Mexico, MO, but the idea is to lay it out so guys who can’t do the whole tour can intercept it for a few days of flying on the segment that passes by their area. I have five guys who have said they intend to fly the whole thing, but many times this have said the are going to catch 4 or 5 days of the tour.

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The idea is to alternate nights between grass airstrip camping with the pilots on the tour enjoying the evening, and then on alternative nights, the tour stops at an EAA chapter, where area Corvair builders can drive in, see finished versions of the planes they have at home in the shop, maybe do some flying in them, and get to know other builders in person. We can have catered dinner brought to the airport and hang out late, and pilots on the tour can head to motels to take a night off from camping. This way the tour can serve both flyers and builders alike, and over the course of the tour, several hundred people can be a part of it. I would also like to get individuals to cover it with posts, videos, and notes, as it is happening.

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If the course is set out in a pattern that looks like a star shape, it is easy to scrub a day’s flying for weather without having to double the next days distance. We can also have extended legs  where guys with faster planes can travel out further, expanding the envelope, so the range of the tour isn’t planned around a 75 mph Piet with a 12 gallon tank. While I assume that some types of planes will fly together for fun, the flying between points will be a loose affair, at the pilots discretion. A pilot with a 150 mph plane can sleep in and have a very leisurely morning compared with the Piet pilots. The idea is to have a fun tour, not to run an airline or plan a strike mission. I want it to be casual about everything but safety.

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On general geographic limits, I was thinking about keeping it between Kansas and Kentucky, Wisconsin and Louisiana, but I am open to ideas. To builders outside this area, I will point out that I already have pilots from Florida, California and New England who are planning on flying the tour, and with some planning, their stops traveling to intercept the tour route can be made into ‘satellite’ tour stops and a chance for builders to meet in person.

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A thought: I have been going to aviation gatherings for more than 25 years, and they are fun, but they are all focused on things being done on the ground. The Corv-air tour is an event that can rebalance this by bringing half the focus back to flying. Going to Oshkosh is great, but it doesn’t really have any of our flying at it, and a Corvair builder can’t even hear an engine run there. Conversely, the tour will be the perfect opportunity for a builder to see up close and personal, what he is working towards, to meet others and have a good time. It can be the perfect mesh of building and flying experiences, something completely focused on the purest elements of homebuilding, removed from all the consumer pollutants that fill up “airshows” and too many of our magazines. It can be anything we wish to make it, and I believe that this format will prove to be a great return to pure homebuilding.

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I look forward to reading ideas in the comments section, or you can email them to me directly. -ww.

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Would you allow a combat Veteran to be called a “Whack job”?

Americans:

Today, on national TV, the chief strategist of one of the political parties, a person who has spent his entire working life as a lobbyist in DC, specifically named the veteran in the picture below, and dismissively called him a “Whack Job”.

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The journalists present received this as a perfectly acceptable way to speak about a distinguished veteran. There is a disturbing trend for people in politics and media, who have often gone to great lengths to avoid personal service, to not be held accountable for making repugnant comments about the service of our Veterans. Our nation has spent the last 15 years generating an entirely new generation of combat Veterans. Out of gratitude for their service, and concern for the potential human difficulties they may find , we cannot allow it to be socially acceptable to demean or disrespect these men and women.

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Jim Webb in Vietnam. (Photo: Webb2016.com)

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The man pictured above was awarded the nations second highest award for Valor, the Navy Cross in Vietnam. He was also awarded the Silver Star, two bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. He went on to work with both Republican and Democratic administrations. His father flew both B-17s and B-29s in WWII.  Members of his family have been in every American conflict back through the Civil War. His son served as an infantryman in Iraq. Before dismissing him as a militarist, understand that he wrote the following in a Washington Post editorial, seven months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003:

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“Those who are pushing for a unilateral war in Iraq know full well that there is no exit strategy if we invade. The Iraqis are a multiethnic people filled with competing factions who in many cases would view a U.S. occupation as infidels invading the cradle of Islam. … In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends. In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets.”

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I do not have to agree with the things this man thinks, writes or stands for. My respect for his experiences is not conditional on his perspectives. I do not have to agree with people to recognize that the should be accorded being respectfully addressed. I do not have to agree with this man’s views to have a thousand times more respect for him than the scum political lobbyist who intentionally called him a “Whack -job” or the media personality posing as a journalist who allowed him to say it.

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Corvair College #9 was held in our Edgewater Florida hangar on November 11th 2005, which was Veterans Day. Present was Sam Sayer, a B-17 co-pilot who was shot down on his first mission by an 88mm flack shell that past vertically through the throttle quadrant without detonating. After 61 years you could still see all the scars on the left side of his face and arms.

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He shared the story with others at the table, making sure that all understood that he saw himself as very fortunate.  Afterwards, a particularly insensitive idiot gave a dissertation on why he drove German cars and how ‘superior’ German mechanical products have always been, specifically their weapons in WWII.  I took the guy outside and told him he had 60 seconds to develop and deliver a genuine apology for his insensitivity. Instead he said he had the ‘right’ to say what he wanted. I simply said, yes, but not in my hangar and not on Veterans day, and I told him to pack up and get out.  In 34 Colleges, with hundreds of builders, I have only thrown 3 people out. This was the first one. I wasn’t going to allow an 82 year old combat veteran, a guest in my hangar, to be verbally set upon in my presence.

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This isn’t a statement about politics, conflict, nor military service. Those don’t even come into play here. Our country has an alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans, and you don’t have to be a social scientist to understand that when journalists and political lobbyists can speak disrespectfully of Veterans without anyone speaking up or objecting, recent veterans working through a difficult transition come to the conclusion that most of their fellow citizens simply do not care about their experiences. As a Nation of good people, we can not allow this.

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Our popular ‘culture’ is obsessed with celebrities and material wealth, and consumerism tells you to worship them as gods. I didn’t point out which party’s operative made the remark, because I think either of them would do it. I didn’t point out the veteran’s name, because the story isn’t about him, it is about you, and asking yourself what is acceptable to you, what kind of country you wish to live in.

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-ww.

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2,775 cc Pistons are here.

Builders.

Two very large corrugated shipping crates showed up from California today, inside are the first round of our new 2,775 cc piston kits. You can read more of the story here at this link: 2,775 cc Piston and Cylinder kits

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These are the slightly smaller brother to our 2,850 cc kits. I specifically developed these to use standard +.060″ Hastings chrome Corvair rings (2,850 and 3,000 cc Corvairs use metric rings because their bore sizes are actually 90 and 92 mm respectively) and to be set up for floating wrist pins, unlike stock Corvair wrist pins which are non-floating. Of course they are forged and made in America.

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The slight dish in the piston tops is designed to allow these pistons to be used with fuel as low as 87 octane when combined with 95 series heads. They are designed for 90-92 fuel with 110 series heads.  These engines will also run fine on 100LL fuel, but it will not be required.

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The cylinders for these engines will be re-bored stock GM cylinders. I have long proven motors in this bore size to be completely reliable on stock cylinders. A side benefit is that these motors will be several pounds lighter than 2,850 engines which use the proprietary Clark’s Corvair full fin, thick wall replacement cylinders.

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As per the linked story above, I don’t yet have the final pricing on these kits, nor do I have them on the products page. I will take care of this in the next week, as we asked before, if you are interested, just send me an email with “2,775” in the subject line, we will directly send the information on connecting rod options and pricing shortly.

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-ww.

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Above, a 2005 shot of our personal Zenith 601XL in flight on it’s way home from Oshkosh. During the years we owned and flew the aircraft, it used two different engines. The latter was a high compression 3100 cc engine with 140 series heads, but it did it’s first two flying seasons and dozens of demo flights on it’s original 2,775 cc engine. While many new builders would guess that there would be a tremendous performance difference, there was a fair difference in climb rate, but the 2,775 cc motor was a solid performer that we tested to prove that it still had a positive climb rate at 1,500 pound gross on a hot day, On five cylinders. In cruise flight, if both engines were set to five gallons per hour, they delivered the exact same airspeed. In the same airframe, any airspeed will have a certain pounds of drag to go a set airspeed. To make that many pounds of thrust requires burning a certain amount of air/fuel. The only thing that is different is the percent of available power being used. Larger engines will have more power in reserve for climb, but Zeniths and other typical Corvair powered planes have good rates of climb on 2,700 or 2,775 cc Corvairs. I do not promote any combination which will not have a positive rate of climb on a 100F day at gross weight on five cylinders. All the combinations we sell parts for will meet this criterion.

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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.