Ignition timing at Zenith 2018

Builders,

Below is a snap shot of setting the ignition timing on a running 2700 cc Corvair on my run stand at the 2018 Zenith open house.

.

.

Above, the 2700cc Corvair of Mark Miller, getting its timing set with a $50 strobe light at the Zenith open house. Although the procedure is something we demonstrate at every college and I have written about extensively, we still have people who fail to do this.  In the case of Mark’s engine, it took me less than 30 seconds. I showed about 20 people watching how easy this is.  Just as you should never get in a Lycoming or Continental powered plane if the owner didn’t set the magneto timing, you should never fly a Corvair were the timing was not set. No A&P does an inspection on a certified plane without checking the timing. Because the plane is experimental and the engine started life in a car is no reason to cut a corner.

.

For the last 29 years, I have made a business of sharing what real builders need to know. I have left the goal of showing what some people get away with to others, not all of whom are still here.

.

Wewjr.

.

Further reading : YOU MUST SET THE TIMING ON YOUR ENGINE

.

2018 Zenith Open House -The long run.

Builders,

The Zenith Aircraft open house marked their 25th year in Mexico MO, but in reality they have been around a lot longer, dating to their origins in Canada in the early 1970s. This year was my 12th consecutive open house, but we bought our 601XL kit there 15 years ago this month, it was an important milestone, but I had already been working with Corvairs 14 years at that point. While the aviation media tends to myopically focus on “new and exciting” Companies who are old and proven have a much better track record of assisting real builders. 

.

.

 Seventeen years ago, I was the guest speaker at a small EAA chapter meeting in Titusville Florida. It stuck out in my mind because the chapter president lead the pledge of allegiance before the meeting. It was a strong reminder of my years in Boy Scouts. I have been the speaker at dozens of EAA chapters around the country in the last 29 years. It is part of my ‘Plant seeds often, perhaps you will have a harvest in the future’ business model. That night I just wanted to meet builders and perhaps sell one manual to pay for the gas on the trip home. I always met the first goal, and got the second one about 50% of the time. It was ok, I wasn’t looking to turn a profit that day. I was in it for the long run.

.

Fast forward to 2018, and we get the picture above, It is Mark and Shane Borden, outside the Zenith hangar. Mark was present at the EAA meeting 17 years before.  He flies as an ATP for an airline, but life is just now allowing him to pursue his Corvair powered aircraft building. If your plans are to start building today or in 2035, my track record says I’ll still be here. Ideas, products and companies that don’t last, don’t serve builders, period.

.

Wewjr.

.

Post script:  A new salesman for an engine company showed up at Zenith, and announced he expected all of us other engine gurus to “treat him as a colleague”. An interesting demand from a guy who:

a) Was representing and engine that has never flown on a Zenith, was made in China, with less than 25 flying examples in the world.

b) The salesman has never owned, flown behind or even seen run, the engine he was trying to sell to Zenith builders.

c) The salesman has no significant aviation experience nor training, yet wanted to be  seen as if he did.

It all would have been a great joke, but there have been a lot of people hurt in aviation by salesmen who just wanted to make money, and had no experience nor wisdom to share, and no ethics about the safety of others.

.

Thought for the Day: Risk and Reptile Recycling.

Builders,

Now it is Halloween month, a little picture below,

.

.

Above is the bone structure of a 36″ water moccasin, with a Corvair Gold prop hub for size comparison. The Hub is about 6″ across the face. I have written a number of snake stories like this: Rain, Snakes, and Power Testing, over the years. People who live in a similar setting understand the primary consumer of snakes are large birds. At our airport, we keep the grass on the runway and in the yards short, which allows seeing the snakes, but also makes it easy for birds to keep snakes in check. The snake above was hit by a tractor, but within 30 minutes as recycled to the condition above by large birds. Moccasins are common here, but in reality, they are not a significant risk if you understand something about them, exercise some precautions, and remain alert.

.

Your Aviation Connection: 

The general public perceives both snakes and flying as frightening, because they know little or nothing about the topics, and they have no idea that both are just risk management issues. Armed with understanding and awareness, the thinking person can operate with either subject.  Minimizing your risk starts with knowing the subject at hand, and this is why education is the cornerstone of all my work in aviation.

.

Wewjr

.