How many mistakes can you see?

Builders,

The name of the person who bought and flew this engine will be held confidential, because he has since learned a lot about Corvairs and their safe operation, and purchased an engine to replace this one.  While this engine did fly for the original builder, it had an intermediate owner who knew little or nothing about it, but was willing to sell it to someone else. The new owner, following some very poor advice from a 5,000 hr pilot he mistakenly believed to have good judgement, flew a very long cross country home behind this engine, with nearly no understanding of it’s operation. I submit his survival as evidence of divine intervention of a God who’s sense of humor I am yet to understand.

.

Below are pictures of the engine, returned as a core to SPA. We specifically wanted it back to remove it from possibly finding it way in parts or as a whole back into the Corvair “gene pool.” By making sure it gets ‘retired’ we are preventing another person, who has not done his homework or is following poor advice, from using this as a tool to remove themselves from the human gene pool.

.


.

Above, eight plate oil cooler: this has never been acceptable. Read: Notes on Group 2800 Heavy Duty Gold Oil Systems.

.


.

Harmonic balancer held on with two hardware store washers, instead of the GM specifically designed washer. Read: Balancer Installation

.


.

Distributor has a straight thread, non locking nut on it, prone to slipping and having the timing change. Read: Distributor Detail. The distributor is not oriented correctly, and it is an older dual point model, but one of the sets of points inside are a model we specifically told people never to use.

.


.

This has never been an acceptable plug. Read: A Tale of Two Spark Plugs…… and The correct supplies for engine building 

.


.

Half way through the trip home, one head detonated to death. Instead of trucking it home, a local car mechanic was found, a “Corvair Expert” who installed a piece of shit head on the motor. I have no idea what authority the mechanic used to justify going on airport grounds and working on a flying plane, with absolutely no training, nor any idea of what is done to heads to make them flight worthy. In case you are wondering, It is NEVER acceptable to grind on a weld on a plane to make it look “Pretty”.

.


.

Above, notice there is no baffle between cylinder #2 and the oil cooler. Also note the pipes were welded on the heads without the correct lean in angle. Oil fill in the top cover is a bad idea, and a push in oil cap in that location is an invitation to it popping off from a clogged breather, which would result in oil being sprayed on the hottest parts of the engine.

.


.

Another look at the missing baffle. This results in very high oil temps from the cylinder directly radiating heat onto the cooler, and it is also a serious leak in the cooling air.

.


.

Above, the motor has no fifth bearing. The buyer of the plane really had no idea what one was, and the seller was in no hurry to explain that for the last 10 years I have been telling people to install one. Second, note that the engine has an old style FRA-235 ring gear which should have been replaced long ago. Read: Front and Rear alternators, their part in numbering system

.


.

The junk head, installed on airport grounds by a car person: Note that it has no locking nuts on the installation, nor does it have rotators on the exhausts. The “Repair” cost $600, so you know there is nothing good inside the head either. The cost to simply produce one first class flight head is more than the total price here. The heads are bolted on with grade 5 nuts.

.


.

Above, this is not a good location for a nylock nut, but the real issue is the number of exposed threads. When this many are showing, there is a very good chance the nut is bottomed on the shank of the bolt, not actually tight.

.


.

Every oil pan I have ever made has had a 1/2″-20 drain plug thread. For some reason this motor gas a pipe thread jammed in the oil pan. It leaked. notice the pan washers are not locking.

.


.

This has never been the vent location for the engine. Being that low, it will send a slug of oil into the vent line on climb. There are very specific reasons why we use the locations we do for vents and for filler necks. Read: Parts for Oshkosh .

.

On the trip home in this plane, the engine first turned 3,000 rpm on takeoff.  later in the flight the owner related that the take off rpm fell off several hundred rpm. He is a pilot of very modest experience, but his companion with 5,000 hours wrote this off to it being hotter later in the day. If you don’t know this, understand it wasn’t the heat, which might have been attributable to 50 rpm but not 500, it was the fact they were taking off with one dead cylinder. The flight continued. Near the end of the day, they took off from a paved airport thousands of feet long, but were turning less than 2500 rpm. (read: Critical Understanding #4, ANY loss of RPM is Detonation. ) At no point did the 5,000 hour pilot abort the take off. The plane staggered into the air. I asked how low they were when they flew the pattern, and the owner told me they didn’t return to the airport, they just ‘flew on to their destination, 130 miles away, because they had to get there.’

.

Had they crashed, who would have been blamed? I’m going to guess that the engine would be the first victim, and maybe the guy who built the plane. Do you think the family of the 5,000 hr pilot, when contacted by personal injury attorneys, would correctly blame the 5,000 hr pilot for having no judgement? Let us just go back to square number one: Who performed the required condition inspection on the airplane last? Where is the log book entry for this? If this was done, why was the plane flown with little or no understanding of the operational parameters?  Or how about this one: When a plane that should be airborne in 700′ is now passing the 3,000′ runway mark, why in gods name didn’t the 5,000 hr pilot pull the throttle back?

.


.

Above the engine sits in a box. Want to avoid getting in a box prematurely? don’t buy and fly any aircraft or engine understanding it fully. Don’t assume that things for sale are airworthy. Don’t assume that people with 5,000 hours in their logs have any judgement.

.

wewjr.

.

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.

6 Responses to How many mistakes can you see?

  1. pietbuilder says:

    Thank you for taking the time to post this William. I learnt a lot and it is good to have this stuff revised from time to time.

  2. Chuck Callahan says:

    Wow another missed opportunity to give GA a black eye. All because of careless stupidity. And we wonder why experimental aviation gets such a bad rap?

    You cannot force good decision making skills into the heads of individuals like these. Sad, lucky and stupid, the perfect trifecta.

  3. Lane Seidel says:

    Wow …just Wow! I have not flown my engine yet but after attending 8 Corvair colleges the first thing I learned was I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I know more now but not all by a long shot. I am glad the flight ended well. I am glad that William and Dan didn’t look the other way and kept this disaster from ruining a lot of lives. On a last note this is the outside! Who knows what lurks beneath?! Thanks for posting this William!

  4. Rob Pheiffer 270 WIN says:

    You wanted a core motor for testing and now you have one. A real urchin that one.

  5. Phil Spainhour says:

    In the photo of the rocker arms is the one on the left different from all the others?

  6. toomanyps says:

    I glad the guy didn’t get hurt. As we all know, there are varying levels of competence in every discipline…profession…endeavor…and so on. Knowledge of course, is a kin to safety. There is a vast amount of information and support available to us so that we can build and fly homebuilt aircraft according to accepted standards. Safety must always be number one.
    Just my humble opinion. Hope you’re all having a great day

    Lou

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: