Alternative Corvair Cooling, 1993.

Builders,

When I got started building flying Corvair Engines in 1989, one of the most persistent old wives tales about the Corvair said that the engine cold never be operated without the cars blower fan, it just simply couldn’t cool itself in a plane. I knew that was a myth, and later I had a chance to show that even a car didn’t need one.

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Above, my 1967 Corvair Monza, the only car I own through most of my years at Embry Riddle and the first years of my work in aviation. The picture above was taken at the Spruce Creek fly-in outside of Daytona Beach. I worked there for many years, and was eventually the EAA-288 chapter president. Parked next to a P-51 is appropriate; GM owned 51% of North American Aviation when Mustangs were built. That is why the first engine in A models was a Allison V-1710. GM owned 100% of Allison into the 1990s.

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Driving back from NJ to Florida after Christmas, the blower bearing on my Corvair let go in South Carolina, and the magnesium fan broke itself to bits on the shroud. I pulled into a Walmart to assess the damage; It was MacGyver time.  The cardboard box is a forward facing scoop, it is braced with ropes. The round waste paper basket funneled the air into the cars cooling shroud. Note the throttle linkage going through the bucket (kind of draggy) engine cover fit in the back seat by 1/4″.

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Ok, so the prototype wasn’t very pretty, but what do you expect from a guy that looked like that?  The system worked great, and drove the 400 miles back to Daytona without a hitch. No generator, but it didn’t need one to operate the ignition for hours. I could put my hand in front of the heater outlet and the air poured through, even with the ventilation fan turned off. The air wasn’t nearly as hot at the defroster. The only issue that it had was driving the 2 miles from I-95 exit 262, past the Speedway to our house, 1235 International speedway Blvd. , pictured above. The car didn’t like sitting at the 6 stop lights. Even with such experience, I had 10 more years of people telling me that the engine would never cool itself in a plane without a blower fan.

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-ww.

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Pietenpol first flight; Honolulu International.

Builders,

In the previous stories, I mentioned that my old Pietenpol, N-1777W was built in the Hickam AFB hobby shop in the mid 1960s. Below is a look at the first page of the log book #1. Plenty of things have changed in the last 38 years of aviation, and I trust that making test flights in a Pietenpol out of Honolulu International is not likely to be repeated today.

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Above, a look at the logs.  The plane flew it’s first 3.5 hours on a Ford model B, and then this was removed and replaced with a Corvair. The plane flew nearly 100 hours in the fist months of 1970, area flights between Honolulu and Dillingham. In the spring of that year, it was packed up and shipped to Torrance CA, and from there flown to the first Oshkosh.

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-ww.

 

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