We have slightly more than two months until Airventure 2017 (July 24 – July 30). As always, our space will be #616, in the North Aircraft display area, across from the Zenith Aircraft display, right next to SPA/Panther.
In the next 60 days, I have a number of stories of newly flying planes, parts, skills and events to share. I have taken the last month off from writing, but not from working. We have a number of smaller evolutionary changes and developments, and some great success stories, but the lack of published stuff was caused by my focus on physical parts and work. Sorry, I don’t have a great dramatic story, it just got to be really nice weather in Florida, and every time I thought about sitting at the keyboard for a few hours to bang out a story, I just went out to the runway and did a few laps around the pattern instead.
Over the last five or six years, I have averaged 2 or 3 stories a week on this blog. Much of it is just opinions of Florida a grease monkey, but at least half of it has some really valid technical point, either as the main subject or a supporting element, and 20% are purely about minimum understanding of the building and operation of Corvairs to have a reasonable expectation of success. Since the first of the year, I have quietly interviewed a great number of builders and have come to the honest conclusion that the great majority of builders, good people with good intentions, are still missing many elements of critical information, all available here, they just didn’t read or remember them.
There is an explanation for this: Our society encourages and admires people who skim subjects rather than mastering them. I know this, but often underestimate how pervasive this is. Ever since my first week at Embry Riddle three decades ago, I have been a voracious reader, studier, and note taker on the parts of aviation that I participate in. Many of the people I know, like Dan Weseman are the same way, and I have always gravitated toward any chance to learn from any aviator who approached the subject the same way. It doesn’t seem real to me that anyone seriously thinking about building and flying a plane would gather material on the subject in any lesser way, but I have plenty of evidence I am wrong.
A few weeks ago, a second owner of a Corvair powered plane took off on his first flight, and the weather conditions were 50F and raining. His intention was to fly across the continent, but in a few minutes he was turned back. On approach to the airport, his engine quit and the plane was heavily damaged. Although he had previously been given all of the manuals, he told the FAA that he didn’t use carb heat. 60 days earlier I wrote this: Critical Understanding #10 – Carb Ice, but evidently he missed that also.
There is a temptation to think that the above story is an aberration, but it isn’t. I just had a 20 year friend, who came to Corvair colleges, works in aerospace and is a sharp guy come down to my house to run his Corvair. His engine ran great, but he had never heard about the switch in recommended plugs, nor had he heard of the “Critical Understanding” series, nor had he ever joined our private discussion group for his model of aircraft. He just has a lot on his plate in life, and he isn’t staying up with the information. He isn’t alone, I am going to say that he is actually in the majority, and this does cause me concern.
Someone is going to say “WW writes to much” well great, I just took a whole month off from typing a word, and I am willing to bet the person leveling that charge didn’t use an hour of that month to catch up on reading. I am kicking around a lot of different thoughts, but in the end, I come back to the fact that too few people are really making a priority of mastering the engine they hope to fly behind. It isn’t a comforting thought.
I don’t regard people who miss information as bad people nor the enemy, I just think they are not effectively preparing for flight. Here is a simple example: When the discussion came up about why I wasn’t writing last month, I guy chimed in to say perhaps I was in NJ caring for my Father. He evidently missed this story: William E. Wynne Sr. 1925-2017, and the half dozen others I wrote about memories of my father. We are not speaking of a guy who has never met me, I am speaking of a thoughtful guy I am known for 10 years, who I actually saw and ate dinner with at Sun n Fun since my father’s passing. He isn’t a bad guy, but he isn’t reading this blog often enough to stay ahead of detailed information.
By Oshkosh, I will come up with an approach to address the disconnects in information, but in the end, it is the builders’ total responsibility to learn what he must know. I want to increase his success rate, and I am willing to adjust, but it isn’t within my power to force anyone to do their homework. I just present what I have learned, and it is up to the builder to use it.
25 Replies to “63 Days until Oshkosh 2017.”
Glad to see that you are back!
Very well said William!!
I’m glad you were able to get some work done and some flying in. I look forward to reading the blog everyday as I’ve learned a lot. I have been reading the Sky Ranch Engine manual during the down time to get a better understanding of aircraft engines in general and how they operate and what makes them fail. Thanks for everything you do. Your work has made a difference for good for a lot of us in Experimental Aviation.
Thank God your back and writing. I was afraid someone died or some other tragedy. Rachel at SPL has been quiet lately as well.
I look forward to reading your stories and tech info.
If I’m interested in something I want to know everything I can about it. Building an airplane is like planning a vacation, at least half the fun is in the learning all about where your going and how to most enjoy it. The anticipation of something new or a better way of doing something. Other people stories of success and failure make me better. This is what keeps me motivated and dreaming about what I can do.
I think that 80% of the fun is in the building only 20 in the flying. If I spend 1000 hours building, how long will it take me fly 1000 hours in my project? And I will be working on the next one too.
I wish I had the magic way to instill passion in all the builders out there. The ones who have it are the ones having the most fun and doing the most amazing things.
Looking forward to Brodhead and OSH. Lots to cover building, flying.
Harold and Edi
I tried something new that shocked some people at CC#39, I actually showed up a day and a half early, and well rested. I don’t want to worry people that I have been replaced by an imposter, but I am actually planning on doing the same thing at Oshkosh. Having short hair and being early shouldn’t cause alarm, but if I quit writing and Coffee, I hope someone will alert the national security council about reality becoming pliable. ww.
Great Scott! There was a change in the time space continuum! Not a word to anyone about this, Marty.
Wish we had been able to make cc39 but at least Brodhead/OSH are on the horizon. We’ll be looking for the short hair, well rested version of WW.
Glad to hear your voice again. One of the major things you as the keeper of the information could do for the rest of us with short attention spans is make the place I spoke about years ago, the clear and susinct area of your blog. This area should have detailed information for what is current i.e. timing, compression ratio, differential compression (good and bad), fuel consumption, leaning procedures, carb heat etc…
I did read a great deal and found many conflicts and had difficulty determining what was current best practice. Evolve your information from the massive writings you have done and keep an area just for current best practices.
Just my thoughts, I know I’m not alone on that.
Ron, as an obvious rule, the most recent story will have the current recommendations. All of the stories are dated.
William, I am so sorry for your Fathers passing. I miss very few of your written experiences about life and about what to do and not to do. Of all that I missed Your Fathers passing is the one I wish I did not miss.
Joe, you are a good cat, a real salt of the earth guy. Thanks.
A question if I may: Did the guy that crashed have carb heat and choose not to activate it after the engine starting running rough or was it not installed altogether? If it was not installed, how did he get a temporary airworthiness certificate issued for his first flight? Just curious.
Looking forward to Brodhead and Oshkosh.
Lou, the plane was built with an ma3-spa and carb heat It flew 80 hours without issue for the original builder, who followed my recommendation and used carb heat as anti-ice, not de-ice. The guy who crashed the plane didn’t use the carb heat.
With respect to normal operational procedures: Does use of Carb heat on a Corvair engine require more management than that of a Continental or Lycoming?
Way back when and in a previous life, the use of carb heat was a normal and required procedure when reducing power for landing. In 3000 hours or so of instructing, I can only remember one time that required use of carburetor heat at a high power setting.
Is that pretty much the case with a Corvair flight engine or is it’s use required any time atmospheric conditions a conducive for carburetor ice?
Here’s the preliminary report …
Thanks Dale. The report explains a lot.
I am pleased to read your latest. While fairly new to the Corvair engine, I have had to tear down and rebuild the one I bought as a project last May, three times since I bought the engine completed by the previous owner. It had never been flown, and a good thing too. It ate up two cam gears (a roller cam) in 7 hours each, then split an aluminum cylinder made by L&N Engineering ( a company you SPECIFICALLY caution against doing business with. It how has an OT-10 cam and VW cylinders, all of which has been running flawlessly for over 70 hours. Due to all the above I had to become an expert on the Corvair and have read every word you have published and attended CC39. Your counsel has been invaluable. I have 110 hours on my Cleanex since FAA approval August 28 last. My wife and I’s most recent trip this weekend to Atlanta in it is proof of the value of your information. Thank you.
Ed Lee, Sonex 1212, 3100cc Corvair
I am just an onlooker so far…but I can’t think of another Teacher of the builder way who has the scars to show re carb heat…I know the article Miss Grace wrote certainly seared into my mind. I understand people, myself, you even, under certain circumstances, can be like a kid in an old fashioned candy store with a shiny dime…Lord help us. But your writings ARE
…the evidence of your diligence to save people and their airplanes from the most egregious mistakes. THANKS.
William. You know I have missed your musings… personal, philosophical, and technical alike.
I admit, and am grateful that you ave instilled in me a bunch of respect, or maybe FEAR of flying behind an engine I have built. I do worry a lot about missing some detail of construction or operation and becoming the subject of one of your stories.
Even more important, you have exposed some personal weaknesses in the way I think about the work. I am constantly amazed and awed by the level of deep knowledge and detail of execution regularly practiced by you and so many other professional and amateur mechanics/ builders. I simply have a hard time seeing the things you see.
When the day comes to take flight, I hope and pray any mistakes will have been found by your or other’s discerning eyes and not hidden away in a dark corner; BUT don’t worry, the thing I understand abslutely is that it is MY plane and MY consequences. And that includes the responsibility for the safety of the best woman, kids, and grands on the planet.
Glad you are back. Like many others, I was concerned that something had happened to you. For those of us who do read your site everyday the sudden stoppage was alarming. BTW, I read more for the non-tech stuff.
I didn’t plan on stopping, I just put it off for a day, and then another….a while back I mentioned the feeling of events slowly coming to a halt after my father passed. I have written a lot about the values and ideals of this nation, but they really all belonged to our fathers generation, not mine, and with dad gone, I have a very ethereal connection that today largely exists in my head. I don’t feel better than others, just suddenly aware that I am largely out of place. That isn’t as depressing as it comes across, I just have to consider how small of a world I really inhabit. I used to think that if I could could describe the landscape and resources of the place, a great number of people would choose to spend the aviation part of their lives there, but now I am not so sure . In the end, it will all work out, nothing good in my life came from the easy days and the sure answers. Wewjr.
Shine on you crazy diamond and set your controls for the heart of the sun! Just saying, dan-o
Here is a link to a good discussion of carb icing and when carb heat is required. The temperature/humidity range that would indicate its need is far greater than most people would believe. Some engine/carburetor combinations are more susceptible than others (read the article) but the range of conditions that are conducive to carb icing is pretty large.
Hope that helps.
When I committed to building a Corvair, and sent my check for my first order, I committed to reading this entire Blog, from the first post. I didn’t want to miss anything. There is a lot of material to process as a new guy. I think I started about a month ago, and this is where I am now. I could read just the technical stuff, but I end up reading it all. I have considered printing the technical parts, but often I’m not in a place with a printer readily available, so I’ve been keeping a log of month/year for topics I need to revisit.
So maybe I just haven’t read to the point where you have come up with a solution to have all this important data in one place, or as a physical Conversion Manual addendum that could be purchased (I greatly prefer technical info in hardcopy) ,or some other solution. If that’s the case, don’t tell me, you’ll ruin the surprise, I’ll just keep reading to find out what happens…..