Stories on Deck / Reading List – Rev. 1 / 10 / 17

Builders,

My favorite color combination for my own planes is Insignia blue fuselage and Nevada silver wings. Both my Pietenpol and Wagabond were finished like this. These are Stits colors in ‘Poly Tone’, which intentionally has a matte, not shiny finish.

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While the Piet was at Oshkosh 2000, a guy who didn’t understand finishes actually asked, in front of people,  if I was going to repaint it, because he would be “embarrassed” if his plane looked that way.  I asked him if he was a pilot, which he was, an owner of an RV-6A. I asked him what the empty weight was, but he wasn’t sure, as he didn’t built it; I asked him what the maneuvering speed of his plane was, and said he didn’t know; I asked him what the Vx and Vy speeds of the plane were and he said something about it climbed good at 120 mph. I told him I actually liked matte finishes, but I would be really embarrassed if  I was stupid enough to fly a plane I didn’t know anything about.

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If you need to know how to have a short Christmas card list, I have plenty of tips for you, but that isn’t what I am here to share.  I have spent a lot of years learning  a lot about intelligent operation of aircraft, a subject that gets a lot less attention than say, shiny paint and electronic instruments. The subject matters, because it is the great source of accidents in experimental aircraft. The Corvair movement has a good record, but we are not immune, and in recent years, the overwhelming majority, if not 100% of the accidents in Corvair powered planes can be directly traced to poor decision making or ignorance of how to operate an aircraft at lower risk.

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Right now, about 25% of the fleet of Corvair powered planes owners are doing something, like flying without setting the timing with a light, that will inevitably lead to an engine failure, a forced landing or a crash. That may sound terrible, but I’d place the percentage of home builders as a whole nearer 60%. Most of our 25% will damage their engine, scare the shit out of themselves, or have a forced landing without major injury. They will, almost without fail, blame the engine or me, and never accepting any responsibility, tell many people on the net they are moving on to another brand or engine and perhaps aircraft. Doubt this? Consider how many times you have seen a post that says “I tried it, but I’m moving on to a good engine” vs ever seeing a story that says “My plane is broken, I could have been hurt or killed someone, and as PIC and a Man, I am going to accept responsibility for this and share what my mistake was.” The ratio is about 100 to 1.

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Here is the Good News for you: You picked a Corvair as your engine, and by doing so, I am your advisor, and I not only know the subject of intelligent operation well, but between Colleges and writing, I devote perhaps 1,000 hours a year to making what I have learned on these matters available….for free.

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Here is your part: You actually have to devote the time and effort to read, consider, and understand these issues. You must develop your own POH, write in in some detail, and practice it with loyalty. A builder who reads this stuff, asks questions and wants to learn, puts effort into his POH will be well rewarded, and probably very impressed with can, and am willing to share for free.

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 Conversely, a builder who comes to a college just looking for a ‘free engine assembly’, who has no nodding acquaintance with the articles below, refuses to develop a POH for his plane and really just wanted a ‘cheap engine’ is going to rapidly discover that it isn’t in my interest to get him flying behind a Corvair and to the scene of his eventual accident. the 1,000 hours a year I have to invest are mine, and I am going to find better builders to give them to.  If that makes a guy who hates learning quit Corvairs and complain about me on the net, that will actually do far less damage to my work and the good name of Corvairs than his inevitable accident will, where he or his beneficiaries will of course blame everyone except the PIC who refused to learn anything.

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Print the page, and check off the stories as you read them, study and enter them in your POH. There is a lot of reading here, but it is critical to safe operation of your plane. Pick 3 nights a week, get a coffee and read 3 articles each night. If that sounds like a lot, consider that most people watch more TV than that, and plenty of people read worthless internet discussion groups. Take your pick, it is your life.

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In the next weeks, I am going to expand the “Critical Understanding” series, to as many as 20-25 articles. If they were not important, I wouldn’t write them.

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Critical Understanding Reference Page

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Critical Understanding #1, Take off distance.

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Critical Understanding #2, Absolute Minimum Static RPM.

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Critical Understanding #3, Rate of Climb, the critical prop evaluation.

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Critical Understanding #4, ANY loss of RPM is Detonation.

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Critical Understanding #5, Knowing “+ROC/5” Rate of Climb on Five cylinders

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Critical Understanding #6, The “Two Minute Test”

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Critical Understanding #7, The Most Qualified Pilot, ALONE.

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 Critical Understanding #8, Required Engine Warm Up.

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In 2014 I wrote the series below. If you have not read it, please do, including the links and the comments, I suggest printing them and putting them in a binder, as part of your POH (Pilots Operating Handbook) for your aircraft.

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #1, Intro.

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #2, Hardest working engine

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #3, My way or the highway?

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #4, Blueprint for success or?

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #5, Two Minute Test

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #6, 98% DNA not enough.

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #7, Nothing to Learn

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Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #8, Learning from other’s mistakes.

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The third section of the reading list is the Risk Management series. There are 10 stories under the first link, plus the two listed below it. These also should be read, printed, and part of your POH.

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Risk Management reference page

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Instrumentation: Perspective on Risk Management

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Thought for the Day: Two paths in managing risk

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-ww.

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IMG_8756

Ken holds The Cherry Grove Trophy, 2014 at CC#31 Barnwell.  His aircraft now has 500+ hours without incident. Read: Ken Pavlou’s Zenith 601XL hits 500 hours. Would you like your own version of this picture, rather than an accident report with your name on it? Read, consider and understand all of the stories above. In aviation, understanding and good judgement are your only protection.

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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 www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to Stories on Deck / Reading List – Rev. 1 / 10 / 17

  1. Harold Bickford says:

    Simplest comment I can make: the referenced articles are downloaded for inclusion in the POH of the Corvair powered Zenith, Pietenpol and Project X in the HB hangar. Read, heed and practice are the watchwords.

    Harold

  2. guess, i’m going to be “embarrassed” by my Piet too since I’m planning on a flat finish as well!

  3. Dale Sleep says:

    Excellent – this is exactly what I need to prepare me for practical applications for aviation. I have read many of your articles and appreciate your depth and conviction for aviation, especially with the Corvair, for my benefit. I’ll take you up on your direction for study – Thanks!

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