Corvair Finishing School #1, Video report.


This past weekend we had the first “Corvair Finishing School.” This was a Joint project between Dan and Rachel Weseman at SPA/Panther and myself. The Concept was to have a small numbers of builders come for weekend, and all finish and run their Corvair engines. We held the event at the SPA Panther factory in Green Cove Springs FL. It worked very well, and as you can see in the film link below, all the engines ran on the test stand.


Because this was the first of a new kind of event, we didn’t put out advanced notice, we just wanted to run though the event and learn the logistics differences between a regular Corvair College and a smaller, more focused event.


The Four Builder engines we hosted had a number of things in common that simplified the process: They were all 3,000 cc engines with nearly identical layouts; Every part in the engines came from either SPA/Panther or FlyCorvair, so everything could be pre-coordinated; All of the builders had previously attended at least one regular Corvair College, and had made substantial progress on their engines, and done their homework.


The four engines were built by: Brent Mayo, a Panther builder; Brian Sanford a Zenith builder; Andrew Shorter, Panther Builder; and the father/son team of Bill and Jack Reynolds, who are building a Pietenpol. Both Dan and I said these were powerful, clean running,  first class engines. They are all equipped with Weseman Gen II 5th bearings, all of them had Cylinder Heads that were built by SPA, and the engines featured our Gold system parts, EPX ignitions and 2400-L starters. Andrew’s engine has a Billet SPA crank, all the others have GM 8409 forged cranks processed by SPA.


The engines, all started and ran perfectly. The small number of builders gave us time to have long break in runs, fine tune the engines and answer a lot of operational questions and details,. We did tests like differential Compression, (which reveal that Andrew’s engine was at 78/80 or better on every cylinder after it’s initial 30 minute break in run, near perfect). But just like regular colleges, it is the builders themselves getting their hands dirty and doing the work. After a little more feedback and reflection, we will give some thought as to how further Finishing Schools would benefit Corvair Builders.


Rachel Weseman did a great job editing a short film of the engines running at the Finishing School. You can see it here:


You Can read her note on it here, including the fact they now have 70 Panther builders:


You can get a look at all of the products and services SPA/Panther have for the Corvair here:


In the end, it was a short break from regular work to spend a weekend advancing four outstanding engines and their builders over the finish line, in a manner who would make them all more informed accomplished operators.  A worthwile goal, achieved.




About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at and in more than 50 magazine articles.

2 Responses to Corvair Finishing School #1, Video report.

  1. Jeff Moores says:

    Excellent video. I really enjoy watching aircraft engine startups on U tube. You cannot beat the sound of a flat 6 engine…I never tire of that sound.
    I flew yesterday off the ice on our lake for about 1.5 hrs. over cold frozen snow covered uninhabited northern wilderness. The engine did not miss a beat; not that I worried it would.


  2. Brian Sanford says:

    Finishing school was a great success. Its all the little details and one on one instruction that instills the confidence we need as first time builders to complete our projects. I brought my engine to Green Cove Springs with excitement and a little trepidation as to whether I did it right – or not. With you, Dan, Rachel, and the gang at Fly with Spa, I’m ready to get my 650 completed!
    Thanks again for all your help.
    Brian Sanford

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