Planning Corvair Colleges for 2018


With Corvair Colleges #39, #40 and #41 in the books, we have completed the 2017 College season. We use the period of time between thanksgiving and Christmas to consider, evaluate and plan for the next years season. It is a refining process, and we also decide what areas of the country to serve in a season.



Above, learning how to install ignition systems and time them at Corvair College #41, Barnwell South Carolina , November 2017. The picture contains builders of all experience levels. At Colleges, we rapidly break builders into sub groups of similar experience, and teach each group to its own level. At first glance, Colleges do not appear to have a set format, but in reality, I have a highly refined process which is very flexible, which allows for great variations in experience and rate of learning. This process adjusts to builders, we don’t make individuals conform to a program.


Many factors go into College planning. Scheduling of the season means that we can’t hold them in the North in cooler months. In the summer, we must place them around events we always attend like Oshkosh and The Zenith Open house. In recent years I have preferred small private airports to public ones, and I have to have the full compliance of the airport manager.


We also know from experience what the requirements are to successfully host a College. This include previously attending a College, Having your own Corvair project, and being an outstanding organizer.  Merely being part of a local EAA chapter that thinks hosting a college would be neat is not nearly enough.


Additionally, the venue has to have space for a minimum of 35 builders (this is a 50 x 50 hangar) and it must have good lighting, air, basic tools , restrooms and available camping.  Colleges are free to builders, but the time ways from the shop, travel and expenses, make them very costly to myself and the Weseman’s at SPA, who cover nearly all the events with me. Don’t get me wrong, they are well worth giving our time to, but it must be done wisely.


When you look at all all the factors, we are effectively constricted to running 3 – 4 Colleges a year, and they are mostly going to be in southern locations. I have held Colleges in Oregon, Ohio, Michigan and Massachusetts, and they were good events, but had to be summer events, the busiest time of the year. I have held colleges that were hosted by EAA chapters, but unless we have an individual you is an active builder in that chapter, it’s not a good idea. I have had offers to host from Arizona and North Dakota, but due to low density of builders in those states, I just encourage those builders to plan on going to a California or a Zenith based college respectively. I have traveled many long miles to colleges , I expect motivated builders will meet me half way on travel.


Please use the Comments section to cast a vote for a location, share a Corvair College memory, or suggest an idea for the 2018 season. If you are planning on making this comping flying season count for you, let your ideas be heard.





29 Replies to “Planning Corvair Colleges for 2018”

  1. Having been privileged to not only finish my 3.0L motor at CC#41 but to run it on the test stand first thing that Sunday morning (this having been my third College in the last year and a half), I’m looking forward to the next College where I can hopefully re-run my motor. Though I would dearly love to see a College hosted nearer to my home in Cleveland, OH, it’s probably more realistic to expect 2018’s Colleges to be held at locations where they’ve been held in recent years. Therefore, Mexico, MO gets my vote. 20 miles closer to me than Barnwell, the drive to Mexico, MO would be across flat terrain with far fewer (if any) toll roads. MapQuest plots 669 miles (through the mountains) from my house to Barnwell Airport, but 649 flat Interstate miles from my house to Mexico, MO. So how about Mexico, MO?

    1. Mr. Blunt, I am in Litchfield, OH and would love to see your project! I have manual #866 and have been running costs for a Corvair powered CH 650 for a couple years. It’s time to “put up or shut up”. I will be in Missouri in early June and plan to swing by Zenith on that trip.

      1. David,
        If you’re really interested in Corvair, I urge you to visit EAA Chapter 846’s monthly meeting tomorrow night, Jan. 11, at Skypark airport on Greenwich Rd. in Wadsworth. Just pull into the little parking lot between 6 and 7 p.m.and make your way into the main building. It so happens that I and three other guys are doing a presentation at the meeting on auto engine conversions, wherein Bob Taylor and myself will be presenting our 3.0L Corvair projects to the group. Bob plans to actually have his motor on display. Bob and I are both Flycorvair guys who finished our motors and test ran them at Barnwell back in November. Chapter 846 is a very good group of builders.

  2. Thank you all you do for us Corvair builders! I couldn’t make CC # 40 due to my surgery. So, if I were to request a location a California location or close by would be awesome. Thanks

  3. William,

    Thanks as always for the effort that you and the rest of the gang put into the colleges.

    Southern California please.

  4. Colorado is beautiful most times of the year. My problem with attending events is that I have summers off, but am on call 24/7 from 9/1-5/31 every year for snow removal. It is not that I can never leave, I just cannot plan ahead to leave. Thanks for all you do. Hope to see you soon.

  5. I had to the privilege of attending 2 colleges at Barnwell this year. In March I learned a ton; I returned for CC #41 to start building and was able to get my case closed. I’m so appreciative to William and the whole crew for these events. For builders interested in learning and grassroots aviation, this is as good as it gets. Anyone who is considering one in 2018, do yourself a favor and take William’s advice: don’t be on the sidelines – get involved!

    I’m based in PA, but happy to travel. Barnwell is great. Looking forward to 2018.

  6. William; “ID2” aka Canton Metyetal. check out chapter 113’s facility on the web, “Mikey” is their, you know him and of his project and I am not trying to make work for him, however I am sure their are volunteers that might be able to make it happen. From a logistical standpoint it might check of a lot of boxes. My best, Anthony

      1. OK, you guys are either having fun messing with me, or reading comprehension post-turkey is low. Anyone get the part of the story that said No northern Colleges and no events just hosted by EAA chapter without a real host who is an active builder?

        I’m looking for some real feedback here that fits in the workable parameters. If I made a six figure income off this stuff, we could afford to hold colleges nearly anywhere, and it wouldn’t really matter how effective they were at converting my time and money invested in the colleges into real builder learning and progress. But reality is that after 28 years at this, I make the same pay as the assistant manager of your local McDonalds, so it isn’t a good idea for me to travel 1,000 miles to MI and take two weeks out of the shop to hold an event at a local EAA chapter that has no active Corvair builders.

        Last College, I seriously had a guy who came from AZ to suggest that I drive 2,000 miles there to his EAA chapter and have a college there. No one in the chapter is building a Corvair, the guy liked them, but didn’t even own a manual of mine. Seriously, what other engine guy in EAA history has held 41 free events all over the country to educate builders? I’m very willing to do this, but the builders I’m trying to serve are the people who A) are actually interested in building a motor and B) understand that I’m not getting wildly rich doing this, so it is reasonable to meet me half way and make reasonable suggestions.

  7. William, you do have an active builder, aka (Mike) and the hangar is heated and amazing. If a Northern one is still nixed even with heat, that is fine. Other than Mike, don’t know how many active builders or interested builders you have in the area. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Grace. My best. Anthony

    1. Anthony, even if the hangar is heated, you still have to stand outside in the prop blast to learn some operational details. Cold weather means people can’t easily camp on site, if Mike is a guy building a VE for the last 15 years, it isn’t a current engine nor an airframe I promote as a good choice. We are looking for more mainstream builder on a much faster track, who’s project is more representative of our current work.

  8. I think you are on the right track sticking to locations where you have built up a base of support and are in striking distance of your Chevy C20. I have enjoyed the road trips to Mexico, Mo, Mineola, Tx and Chino, CA. It has been a great adventure fueled by my enthusiasm for the Corvair. Now that my engine is complete I’m willing to help others here in the west if needed. My dream trip is still to go to Barnwell someday.

    1. Stuart,
      I believe that your positive experience in building your engine has 3 elements that anyone can choose to use themselves: you have a positive outlook; your engine is ‘straight out of the manual’ and thus takes advantage of everything Dan and I have learned; your willingness to travel and meet us half way to tap into the positive energy and learning opportunity of Colleges. Your running engine, all the stuff you learned, and the friends you have made are rewards of deciding there was no time better than today to really get started with your personal goals in aviation.

  9. Looks like you folks had a good time. Sorry I couldn’t make it this year. Hopefully I can attend next year with my son at Barnwell.

    Lou Casella

  10. Thanks for all the information you provide. I missed Cloverdale last time around. but will be there if you come this way. It was on Dad’s 85th birthday. Went to their open house this year, have manual and working on taking apart 2 cores. Nor. Cal, Reno, So. Oregon works!

    John Miller

  11. I have wanted to attend a Corvair College since 2004, but have always had other projects to keep me from starting on an engine. A bunch of years later and a 16 year old Stepson in my life, whom wants to be an Mechanical Engineer; has finally told me it is the right time.

    Barnwell MO works well for us, preferable after school is out in late May. You can put us down for 2.

  12. Just read your manual and watched the disassembly video. Love it. Now looking for a core engine. I think the advantage of being able to visit the Zenith headquarters at Mexico, Missouri and attending the college is unbeatable. Two for the price of one!

  13. I would love to attend one at the Zenith factory in Mexico, MO.

    Robbie Culver

  14. William,

    Thanks for your dedication to seeing all of us have successful Corvair builds. I really appreciate your willingness to take builder questions and give timely responses.

    I attended CC #40 hosted by Shelly Tumino and Kevin Purtee. I had a geat time. While I didn’t get my engine finished I have been making progress since then and will easily be ready for final assembly and run-in test early in 2018. I live in the North San Antonio Texas area so my vote is for Austin or Tyler area, and early in the year.

    Dave West

  15. Are you planning to have a college at the shop of the Falcon cylinder heads fella? It’s close by me here in MI and I’d love to see the process of maching and building the best corvair heads out there!

    1. Josh,
      Two things; one, if I don’t know you, you need to use your last name here, it’s how it is done,
      Second; you need to do a little more homework on suppliers. Falcon Heads is in Wisconsin, a long way from MI; The only College we ever canceled was #15, which was to be held at Falcon, but at the last minute it turned out that he only leased be building and the owner didn’t want a college there. Falcon made good heads, but was eventually more than 18 months behind. For the last 4 years we have used heads from SPA, they are actually use a far better grade of valves, and they are on the shelf, ready to ship.

      1. My apologies with the name. I was aware that Falcon Heads are out of WI, its a neighboring state to Michigan and only a few hours drive for me, much closer than California or Florida. I am guilty of being behind on the current recommended vendors as I was basing this off of the series of articles on here from 2013, again my mistake. Where can we check to find out where colleges will be held for the year?

  16. Please add me tonyou mailing list. I have an engine and an extra set of heads. I am going to build this engine. I am interested in attending this summer.

    1. Ron, We don’t have a specific mailing list for the Colleges, Keep an eye on the blog, we will have a college 2018 update in the next two weeks

      1. Thanks! My first order of business is taking my engine apart. I have never built an engine, so I am placing an order for you DVD set today. I want make sure I take it apart without damaging parts. I will likely fly to the nearest college if possible. I am certainly hoping to make it to Air Venture this year. I live close enough to drive now, having moved from Utah to Minnesota. I do look forward to meeting all of you. I own a conversion manual. It may not be up to date. When I order the DVD set, I will make a note of the manual number, and if needed, the update can come with the DVDs and be added to the bill.

  17. William, I visited CC # 18 @ Rick Lindstrom’s FLAG Aviation where I had the pleasure of meeting you, Woody Harris, Larry Winger and Rich Vetterli. I had already known Rick for some time, and was very impressed with your well organized “Very hands on” CC.

    Having driven to see Doug Dugger, Steve Smith and Woody up in Cloverdale @ Quality Sport Planes, I decided to go all in and build a Zenith. Now that I have moved from the Livermore area to the Phoenix area, I am changing missions to fly a Zenith CH750 and stopping work on the Zenith CH650B.

    Please consider Arizona, there are plenty of folks that would host your college. So Cal could be a great alternative.

    Hoping to see you in 2019 and purchase a core to start the work!

    Merry Christmas!

  18. I would to attend FlyCorvair College and build a Corvair engine for and airplane TBD. I would very much like current information regarding your latest FlyCorvair College location and costs. I have core engines available including 1961 145 CID Lakewood and a 1964 164 CID coupe.

    I live in Pleasanton, CA, located in the east San Francisco Bay area. A great location for a FlyCorvair College might be nearby Livermore airport.

    Rodney Spooner
    7307 Lemonwood Way
    Pleasanton, CA 94588
    Mobile Phone: (951) 313-8774
    Home Phone: (925) 425-7139

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