Baffling on 3.3 Liter CorvairĀ 

Builders:

Below is a look at Dan Weseman’s 3.3 liter Corvair being prepared for installation on the Panther prototype. This engine was dynamometer tested with impressive results.  The prototype ‘s  original 3.0 liter engine is migrating to Paul Salter’s new Panther, which is just coming back from the paint shop, and will be completed and at Oshkosh. Paul’s  airframe will be the 8th Panther to fly.

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Above, the Wesemans make perfect baffling kits for many different Corvair powered airframes. Their most popular sets are for zeniths, Panthers and Cleanexs , but they have also made them for planes like the Bearhawk LSA. Every part it perfectly shaped, formed and comes with all the holes drilled. They are matched hole tooled, and fit the nosebowls perfectly, no trimming required. The parts shown above can be put on the engine in 30 minutes, it takes about an hour to install the silicone rubber seal strips. The kit not only provides a clean quick installation. It has excellent cooling. 

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This type of cooling is on 95% of successful air cooled planes like RV’s and Cessna’s because it works. Look up the concept of a ‘plenum chamber’ and it says a large volume of pressurized air in a container designed to allow the air to slow down and have the pressure equalize. The system above does this task better than a set of ducts because it has much greater volume,  and that means the airflow will slow down and minimize currents and inertia that can cause the air to flow unequally through different parts of the cooling fins. Picture a white water river and a broad slow moving river that are flowing the same gallon per hour rate.  The fast moving white water will have eddies and currents and pockets behind obstructions vs the slow moving flow bathes each obstruction equally, flowing smoothly and completely around it. That is the very idea of a ‘plenum chamber’ and a low volume ‘plenum’ without the chamber doesn’t do the same job.

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This is a good angle to see that this system doesn’t have a ‘choke point’ above the front cylinders. It has a very large crossectional area there to slow the flow down and not form a restriction.

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Look at how easy getting at the spark plugs is, and nothing has to be removed to perform a compression test to inspect the top of the engine or head gasket area.

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Above, having the starter on the front allows the oil filter to ride back on the engine instead of remotely mounted on the firewall. 17 years ago I pioneered mounting the filter on the firewall and using rear starters, but was open minded enough to revert to improved front starter systems and gold oil filter housings because they work better for builders. More than 90% of Corvair powered planes are configured this way for a reason: it works.

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For the same reason a large volume plenum works for the engine , the oil cooler works vastly better directly fed by the air in the plenum addressing the whole face of the cooler rather than being fed a current down a hose. Pictured above is a 9 row cooler. This is the same size and installation I built for Andy Elliot’s zenith that flew more than 600 hours without issue in the Arizona desert. It works. Having the cooler on the engine keeps the hoses shorter and they move together with the engine and cooler as a unit, not flexing in operation.

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The rear view shows how high the rear baffle is on a panther. This is a good thing, it adds to the volume in the ‘plenum chamber’ of air above the motor. Some humans may like the look of ducts, but the air flowing through the motor doesn’t care that the inside of the cowling is forming the top of the ‘plenum chamber’ it is using.  Air doesn’t have an ego, and it isn’t attached to defending something it thought up nor does air have feelings that got hurt because someone was ‘rude’ to it. Air just works to cool things in proven systems. It’s just physics.

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