Thought For the Day, Thanksgiving 2015

Builders,

I wrote this on Thanksgiving last year. I bring it back as a timely reminder of what decent Americans share in their hearts.  We are 347 days away from what threatens to be one of the ugliest national elections in living memory. It will likely be a contest between two factions who will have no future in politics if they don’t win, and therefore will say anything, without limits, to be elected. The media will fan these flames for ratings, putting a camera on the person with the most outrageous or vile words. There will be no space given to the reasonable, the understanding, nor the civil.

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Harvest of Shame is a reminder that there once was a time when there were issues of great national concern, issues that didn’t belong to any party. Things that warranted action by any decent American. These issues were presented by actual journalists like Murrow, men who were members of nether party, men who identified themselves only as Americans. 

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In the next 347 days you will be served countless opportunities to succumb to the dog whistle signals the media and parties send out, demanding that you abdicate from being a rational human and adopt their pre-packaged anger, fear, and belief that if ‘they’ don’t win, the country will end.

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The only thing that will end in 347 days is the rabid political power ambitions of some group that only a fool would trust. If any group uses negative attack ads or bull shit media stories to get inside a persons rational, civil, caring, American mind, and gets them to give up on their plans for an optimistic future to adopt their poisonous dark views, then that person has willingly become the servant of others.  Unpaid servants are generally called slaves, the difference here is that actual slaves hate their oppressors and don’t willingly give up their freedom to live in the mental chains of another persons ambitions. I would not give up the positive adventures I have planned for 2016 even if I was actually threatened. Sadly, there are many people who will give up on their dreams just because of something some idiot says on TV. Chose your own path with the courage and clear head of Edward R. Murrow, choose carefuly, it is the ownership of your mind which is at stake.

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I have only one personal Thanksgiving tradition. I reserve one uninterrupted hour to watch the CBS/Edward R. Murrow documentary “Harvest Of Shame.” It is considered by many to be the high water mark of television documentaries. Murrow cashiered his entire news career to make it and see it broadcast. It is an unflinching look at destitute and impoverished workers providing food for our nation of plenty.  It originally aired the day after Thanksgiving, 1960.

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Like The Grapes of Wrath 21 years earlier, Harvest of Shame was attacked as socialist propaganda. In the 54 years since it has been broadcast, the documentary has been called many things, with the notable exception of being called untrue.

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If you have never seen it, it can be found at this You Tube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJTVF_dya7E

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Murrow delivers a harsh message; They selected a deeply moving American composition to accompany the title: Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”. There is a 3:14 excerpt from it at this link, The segment from the documentary is at 2:20 :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiLTwtuBi-o

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Poverty does not have a color or a language in Harvest of shame. It defied stereotypes and generalizations.

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“This scene is not taking place in the Congo. It has nothing to do with Johannesburg or Cape Town. It is not Nyasaland or Nigeria. This is Florida. These are citizens of the United States, 1960. This is a shape-up for migrant workers. The hawkers are chanting the going piece rate at the various fields. This is the way the humans who harvest the food for the best-fed people in the world get hired. One farmer looked at this and said, “We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them.” – E.R. Murrow, opening statement to Harvest of Shame.

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Several months ago I spoke with two little boys, seven or eight years old, outside a local convenience store. They were putting a chain back on a rusty bicycle. It was 8 am on a Sunday. Neither one had eaten anything since the day before. I went inside and got each of us an apple and a banana. They ate theirs right away.

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A man standing in line, dressed well enough that he was probably on his way to church, made a point of telling me in front of a half-dozen people that “you can’t help those people they choose to live that way.”

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I stood a foot away from him and looked him in the face and asked him to explain to everyone how a seven year old boy is to be held accountable for the poverty he lives in. He wisely chose to leave without offering any further social wisdom.

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    1. Dan-o says: November 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm (Edit)
    2. William, we have so much here that we seem to forget that 90 percent of the worlds population do not have a roof over their head or food to eat. Vikki and I have supported 2 children in Africa for over 20 years now, when they reach adult age we pick 2 different children, for 30.00 each per month they receive 2 meals a day, clothes and education. it pays for all school supply’s. every couple years we send extra and it buys a goat which provides milk for the whole family. you wouldn’t believe the letters we get from them about how that little money makes their lives better. its very neat to watch how their English and writing improves as they progress over the years. we may never know the outcome of helping these kids, but I’m pretty sure the outcome if we don’t help. as we all sit down to a hot meal today lets remember those that wont have one. I’m thankful for my health, family and all the wonderful friends that I have. You and Grace have a wonderful Holiday. Dan-o

  1.  Bruce Culver says:

    The famous parable in Matthew 25 says it all: “inasmuch as you have done this to one of the least of these my brothers, you have also done it to me.”

  2. jaksno says:

    I imagine the Jesus I read about would have done and said something quite similar. People do choose identities well below the truth – our job is to fan the flames of the higher identity that is available to everyone…something like your mission to maintain the still available opportunity to learn, build, fly. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. David Winrod says:

    Thank you for that story.
    My old friend died a few weeks ago here in SE Alaska. For fifteen of his later years he wintered in Mazatlan. There were some Canadians and Americans at his favorite street cafe one morning when a dozen hungry children showed up. The turistas began swearing at them and shooing them away. When my friend uttered some choice words similar to yours, they whined,”Well you can’t feed them all!” Whereupon he filled all the chairs in the place with little ones and did just that – whatever they wanted.
    His formal education was nil, but he was an impeccable educator.

Photos from Corvair College #34 at Zenith A/C

Builders,

Here are a few photos from Corvair College #34, which was at the Zenith Aircraft factory in Mexico MO, this last September. As cool weather sets in throughout most of the northern US, it is good to look back to a great event held on a very sunny week,….and decide now, that 2016 will be your year in aviation, and that you will be in next years sets of photos, in the Arena, having a great time with like minded friends. You will note that most pictures are of people, not engines; this is because Colleges are about people, learning and building among friends.

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Above, Dr. Steve Minart flew in with his 601XL from Iowa.  Would you like to see a picture of the two of us 10 years before with the plane as a project in Steve’s garage? Read this: A decade later: Midwest tour, winter 2005

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Above, We elected to hold the College in a very large industrial tent, right next to the Zenith Factory. This made it easy to plumb in power and compressed air, and have acess to tools like drill presses. This was our third College with the Zenith Aircraft crew as local hosts, and it was a great event. For space reasons we limit the Mexico MO colleges to 60 builders, and the #34 sign up filled up about 45 days before the event.

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Above, Paul Visk’s Corvair comes to life. It is destined for his KR-2S. Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith aircraft, welcomes all homebuilders to colleges we hold at his facility, not just Zenith builders. It is a demonstration of his family’s across the board support for homebuilding through 2 generations.

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Above, A look at the great weather, and the fact that we eat all together, all of the meals at colleges are catered and fully paid for by the modest fee charged at sign up. The events are educational, not profit making exercises.  When you consider the cost of expenses like tent rental, an accountant would question the value of the College, but as an educator, homebuilder and friend, I find these events to be priceless, and beyond putting a dollar figure on.

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Above, A look at the low calorie, fat free, ‘vegan’, low cholesterol dining provided by Steinman’s catering in Mexico MO. At least that is what I told myself. We work long hours at Colleges, you have a chance to burn the calories.

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Above, We ran from 7am until 11 PM most nights. The evening weather was just as pleasant as the days. He is a look at Mike Maury, last guy in the hangar on the second night. The white tent was surprisingly bright at night when lit up with halogen lights.

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Above, Two new friends. These two did not know each other before the college. If you find yourself at aviation events, and don’t feel like you ‘fit in’ because you are an ‘old school’ homebuilder, then come find your home in homebuilding among the tradition homebuilders at Colleges.

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Above, Sometimes people who have never been to a college ask about the nature of the events, mistakenly assuming from a few politicaly incorrect photos that the Colleges are not civil events: Here is reality: The of the better halves, comfortably enjoying the afternoon. I am willing to bet we have a far higher percentage of women builders than nearly any group in experimental aviation.

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People who wish to be offended, before they even learn about events can certainly find all the evidence they need reading a few words on my site and looking at a picture or two. I have gotten letters from people who assumed the events were drinking events for males, letters from those offended by the “No politics, no Religion, no Communism” sign,  and letters about how they assume people behave. Here is reality: The Woman in the center above is Edi Bickford, She has been to a half dozen Colleges, including the ones at Barnwell, where all evening meals are started with a Prayer of thanks. BTW, Edi is a minister, and so is her husband, and they are both comfortable with the people and atmosphere of the Colleges. Maybe people wishing to be offended have no idea what colleges are really like.

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Above, another shot of the beautiful weather, and the outdoor setting for dining.

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Above, Our Friend Dave Bally, on hand for the whole college, broke down many cores and brought lots of parts for builders. He went out of his way to make the event great for others, all the while doing no work on his own personal engine. Dave also showed up out of the blue the day before Oshkosh and was a ton of help setting up our booth when we were too tired to think. He is the kind of selfless guy that always puts back a bit more than he received. He is a pleasure to simply know.

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Above, an engine, one of 15 that had their 5th bearings installed un the direct supervision of Dan Weseman and myself. Great progress was made on many engines, including a half dozen run. Don’t miss your chance to be at a college next year.

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-ww.

Group 3200, Wynne 5th Bearing

Builders,

I occasionally get questions about my 5th bearing design, which is Group 3200 in our manual numbering system. I developed it about a decade ago, thinking it might serve in special applications. Over many years, it has been conclusively proven that the Weseman 5th Bearing, (Group 3000) actually covers all common 5th bearing needs, and does so far more cost effectively than my design does. For this reason, my design is not in production, and all the production engine I build use Weseman bearings. The photos below are of my own personal 3,000 cc Corvair engine being assembled.

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Above, My bearing is a non-splitting design, which moves the thrust bearing to the prop end of the engine. The bearing is the actual aluminum plate, machined to the shape of a 3.375″ diameter bearing with thrust faces that are 4.375″ across. The plate in the bearing area is coated by Poly-dyn in Texas, but it also flew 100 hours with no coating. Some people said it would never work, but you can tell they never saw the inside of a Lycoming, as the thrust faces on 180-200 hp 360 cid Lycomings are the crank running on the bare aluminum case.

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The bearing is assembled by having the front and rear thrust journal on the 5th bearing as separate pieces. In operation the bearing stays perfectly round, because it isn’t bolted together. In the photo you are looking at the front thrust face, which only handles reverse thrust in the motor, like chopping the power and letting the plane drive the prop on landing. For 95% of the engine’s life, the load is taken by the forward thrust face which is behind the main aluminum plate and working against the rear face of the plate. Oil is fed by the AN-6 fitting at the top of the picture. The design is unusual, and it’s origins come from driving long distances alone without a cell phone nor a radio, just my thoughts.  None of my last 3 pickups, nor our Suburban have had a radio.  That is 300,000 miles of uninterrupted thinking. I have come up with a lot of good mechanical ideas in those miles.

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The hub in the photo is missing it’s gold anodizing because it has been shortened. This was done so it could be the exact same length installed as a Weseman Bearing. This allows the engine to fit into a standard cowling, and use standard hybrid studs and safety shaft. The original design used custom parts and a long Gold hub, and was about 1.25″ longer.  I shortened this one so that our own plane can test engines equipped with Weseman 5th bearings.

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Above, The bearing with it’s oil seal cover bolted in place.  The seal rides on the stepped down face that is 3.00″ in diameter, the same as the back of the hub.  I only ever made a handful of parts sets for this design. The protoypes were expensive, something like $3,000 a bearing. I gave one to Mark Langford in exchange for his flight testing of the design (I don’t sell things that are not flight proven) He flew it 450 hours in his KR-2S. Other than a teething problem caused by trying to run too tight of a clearance in cold weather with 20w-50 oil, it had a good record. The while item in the engine is the nylon U-shaped block I use to stop the rotation of the crank when tightening the studs and safety shaft nut on an engine. The red sealer is Loctite 515, the same stuff used to mount a Weseman bearing. This is also popular as a sealer at the base of 3,000 cc cylinders, which do not use base gaskets.

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Above, Installation almost finished.  Note that shortening the hub required removing most of the front alternator pulley, leaving enough to act as the ring gear mounting point. This is OK, because my engine is set up with a Weseman rear alternator, #2950.This is another view of the nylon anti-rotation block in place. Note the case also had ARP main studs, these were installed as a test in 2003. In the long run they have proven to be a nice thought, but not required.

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If my sole interest in Corvairs was making the maximum buck or having my ego polished, I would tell every builder that this was the best 5th bearing, that it is “Technically Correct” and other BS to get them to spend more money and buy it. In reality, my goal it to teach builders about engines, and get them flying with the parts that best serve their own personal aviation  goals. When it comes to 5th bearings, this means advising builders to use a Weseman bearing, just like we do on production engines.

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Read More:

Sources: Choosing a 5th Bearing

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-ww.

Acceptable methods of payment for Corvair parts

Builders:

A slightly humorous story about “Acceptable methods of payment” for Corvair parts we offer; At Corvair College #34 in Mexico Missouri, at Zenith aircraft, 601HDS-TD builder Larry Nelson paid part of his parts bill with the 1,000 rounds of .22LR pictured below. While most experimental aircraft companies accept cash, checks, Cards and pay-pal, we may be the only one that also accepts ammunition. All part of a general policy of accommodating the builders who choose the Corvair….who are often highly individual characters.

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Benjamins, plastic or lead?  All are fine, as they all have understood value. Above, Larry Nelson’s engine on the bench at Corvair College #34.  The engine is a 2700 with a Dan Weseman bearing, outfitted with all our Gold System parts from our catalog.

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The photo isn’t meant to offend anyone, I am just using it to illustrate the connection we have with our builders is different than most companies. I had been communicating with Larry for many years, but CC#34 was the first time we met in person. While stories I share under ‘Thought for the Day” and philosophy are not part of normal business communications, they do serve to make connections with builders that go beyond typical customer-salesman contacts. Without ever have met me in person, Larry knew that we are both involved in shooting sports, and also I would not be offended if he offered to cover part of his tab with a commodity that is understood to be a form of ‘legal tender’ in his home state of Arizona.

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The concept of building your own aircraft engine isn’t for everyone. The majority of people in experimental aviation opt to know next to nothing about what is inside the engine they fly behind. Conversely, Corvairs appeal to those who have a life-long desire to understand how the mechanical devices in their world work.  This type of person also tends to be a bit further form ‘average’ on many fronts in their life, not just aircraft engines. Experimental aviation was developed and advanced by such people, and today we offer them an engine option, and a home among other individuals.

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-ww.

Ignition part #3301-DFI, a new optional system.

Builders:

We are now in the testing phase of a new ignition system, The “DFI”. The title stands for “Dual Fixed Ignition”.

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Above, the system installed on a running engine gathering data. This project is now about 2 years old, as you can read in the related link below. With some more testing, this will likely become the premium ignition system in 2016.  We will still offer our other ignitions – E/P and E/P-X Ignition systems, (3301E/P and E/P-X) – but there are several reason why I have developed this new system.

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At it’s core, the DFI system has 2 Crane units, and has no advance. The primary is set for the full advance, the second Crane is bolted into the housing with retarded timing, which aids in starting. I actually had six base plates CNC machines before we settled on the amount of timing offset we have on the first production plates.

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Here are the advantages of the system:

It uses a Ford, HEI style cap instead of the Corvairs 1960’s distributor terminals; The timing on this unit can be set at idle, there is no requirement to check it at full static rpm; The spark is more stable because it is tripped with a star wheel rather than a point cam;  The spark is not affected by shaft wear; proper operation and care of the system doesn’t require the builder to understand and follow directions on working with points; The system will be the basis of other systems for turbo engines and very high altitude applications.

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The down sides of this system:

It is more expensive; In theory, the diversity of an E/P system makes it more resistant to failure from something like an overheat or voltage spike (But in the last 10 years we have never had a single Crane unit fail in operation, only  issues were where builders pinching wires under the cap or wiring it backwards) ; It is new, and although we are testing it, it will be a long time before it has the track record of our E/P systems.

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Above is half of the system running in my 1947 distributor machine. The base plate is machined from .250″ aluminum. You can see the mounting holes for the second unit. The cap is head on by studs, just like our E/P-X distributor. I sketched the layout of this on a piece of paper, but the real CAD work was done by Corvair/Panther builder Paul Salter. Paul lives at our airport, and helps out on countless tasks from CAD work to loaning me his truck for the 3,400 mile trip to CC #34

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Above, a look at the main shaft with the star wheel in place. The wheel was laser cut for accuracy. It was made for us by Dan Weseman, who in the course of producing all the parts for their Panther kits, has become even more of an expert in many different types of aerospace grade production, like having parts laser cut.

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Above, a look at where the design was a year ago. You can read this story: Ignition system, experimental “E/E-T” for a look at how we make parts, and what the logic was.  This is a good photo of the Ford HEI cap used on the DFI.

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Above, the unit on an engine in my hangar. The primary tests have validated these ideas:

The engine can actually be started on either ignition, as long as it is being cranked by a 2400-L Starter. Any normal starter will start it on the back up/starting retarded ignition; When being run on the back up, the engine looses a certain amount of power, but this loss is only half of the loss of running on 5 cylinders, (and any application we promote will fly and climb on 5 cylinders); The retard on the back up is enough to greatly suppress detonation if a flyer found himself with a detonating engine; The DFI fits and operated with all our other parts and systems, including the recommended ignition coils.

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As a side note, the testing also showed that it is a complete fallacy that a Corvair will make it’s full power potential with only 25 degrees of advance. I already knew this from years of Dyno testing and flying planes, but we captured this test on film. At Oshkosh 2015, an “expert” who has never owned a flying Corvair told people that 25 degrees was all the engine needed, and claimed he learned this on a dyno, which seems unlikely, as I just tested this and showed the engine to loose more than 100 rpm just going from 30 degrees of advance to 25.  It is a fee world, and people can listen to whomever they like, but if you want to be successful at building and flying planes, perhaps it is best to restrict one’s sources of information to people who are aircraft mechanics, pilots and have own flying planes and tested them.

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Following a flight testing, we will have more information on our products page.

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-ww.

Corvair College #35 Barnwell builders video

Builders:

Rachel Weseman, aka: “Ms. Panther”, has put together an great video of builders who were making progress and running engines at Corvair College #35 at Barnwell South Carolina:

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https://youtu.be/xDfX78pa6ug

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Rachel, Dan and two of their boys were on hand for the College, along with Panther team member and Corvair builder Paul Salter. We had no formal plan to film at the college, but Rachel took the initiative to capture a lot of the event.  Due to the background noise in the hangar and an indirect microphone, some sound is suppressed, but there is a lot of information in the short film. If you look closely, these is a cross section of engines, 2700, 2775, 2850 and 3000 cc. Dan’s 3.3L is also visible next to Andy Shorter’s 3000. The film is also a good chance to see builders you may have only previously read about, like Woody Harris from California.

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There is the accomplishment of Lane Seidel and Chris Pryce’s engines running, but also the humor of Bill Reynolds explaining how he met Albert Reinhardt, Dave McBride and Katie Fox showing off their ‘stealth Pietenpol’ engine, Tim Hansen and his ‘no unicorns’ sign, and ‘Dan-o’ Glaze speaking of bringing a shovel to a College……All good stuff that gives a glimpse of the fun setting of a Corvair College, and how these events are not typical tech seminars.

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For a look at many of the other videos edited by Rachel, search ‘Rachel Weseman’ on youtube, and you can see a great number of professional looking films she has made. Two ones that capture the eye are:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX_HN–ZQVI

and:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJaTHxXrrZA

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If you would like to drop Rachel a note of thanks for putting this together, you can contact her at this email:

Rachel@FlywithSPA.com

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Above, The Weseman Panther on the flight line at Barnwell.  It has been to the Barnwell college for the last 3 Colleges in a row. FYI: Dan and Rachel are very relaxed about it, but their last name is actually pronounced “Ways-man” and the name of their company is pronounced as the letters “S-P-A” instead of the word “spa” I have never seen either of them ever correct anyone, but I share it as a general courtesy. -ww.

 

2,850cc Corvair Engine Run – Don Murphy

Builders,

Below are a few photos from Don Murphy’s 2,850cc Corvair run done at our house today. The engine is a 110 HP model destined for Don’s Zenith 650.  Don is a highly experienced aviator; he flew medevac helicopters in both Korea and Vietnam. I take it as a compliment to our work when an aviator of Don’s experience and understanding chooses the Corvair as the powerplant option that makes the most sense to him.

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Above, Don’s engine running in our front yard. It started in 2 seconds of cranking, and put down a perfect 45 minute run. The engine features all of our most up to date systems, including a 2400-L ultra light in weight starter system. The engine is a 2,850 cc 110 HP engine set up with 95 heads. This motor will run on 91 octane car gas, or 100LL without issue. It is built around a Weseman Gen II 5th bearing, which all feature a billet CNC bearing housing. The crankshaft was processed as a pair by Dan and Rachel at SPA/Panther.

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Above, engine on the run stand, priming taking place. The plugs are out because it makes the prop easier to turn while priming. We do this for at least 15 minutes. Fram 6607 filters are only used on break-in runs.

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Above, oil drips off the rockers into the catch bins. It is stained red by the sticky engine assembly lube we used. We check the oil flow and prime every engine run this way, including all the engines run at Corvair Colleges.

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Above, Lucas ZDDP, found at most chain auto parts stores. It is $20, and it supplements the ZDDP in the Shell Rotella T for the break-in run. When adding oil before the valve covers are on, you pour it down the distributor hole.

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Grace taking a minute to film the movie linked below. In support of freedom and human rights she elected to wear her red, white and blue bikini. This is only a joke on the surface, as Grace is making a point that the most repressive regimes in the world always start by treating women as possessions and dictating what they can wear, often under pain of imprisonment or death.  Grace does not care how modestly any woman chooses to dress, she is just opposed to women being forced to dress in ways dictated by men.  In a world where 80% of the 3 billion women on the planet live in places where the government can dictate their dress, how many children they have, and even if they can learn to read, it is startling how few people care about this.

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Above, the first 25 minutes of any run should be done between 1,700 and 2,000 rpm.

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Above, the engine running at 2,500 rpm for the second half of the break-in run.

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Above In the middle of the run, one of our neighbors came home to pick something up in the “company vehicle.” Landed in his front yard for five minutes and took back off with a very smart looking maneuver. Seemed very fitting background for the first run of Don’s engine. Below is a link to a movie of the run:

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Above, gratuitous dog photo. Scoob E gnaws the head off his stuffed red squid, but gently naps one minute later with his stuffed dog.

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-ww.

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