Mark Borden takes the output record and sets down a wicked CMP.

Builders,

The last 48 hours were a blur of fun and productivity at my hangar, as Zenith 750 builder Mark Borden of MT, came to town, finished and ran his 3.3L engine in a box kit from SPA.  This morning it cranked for less than 2 seconds from dead cold to put down a very smooth break in run.

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Above, Mark’s  engine running. After a 30 minute run, I took the engine to full power for 10 seconds to check its output. It turned my test prop 3,440 rpm, a record, even factoring in the 45F OAT.  The 3.3 is one serious power producer. All 3.3L engines are based on the SPA Billet stroker, Made in the USA crankshaft. It’s 10% edge in displacement isn’t the whole story as 2016 professional computer dyno tests showed it actually has a slight volumetric efficiency edge and the output is 12% higher than a 3.0L Corvair. For Comparison my personal 3.0L Corvair turned the same test prop 3,340 rom just before Mark’s engine. 100 static RPM doesn’t sound like much if you are not familiar with tests, but it is a seat of your pants flying difference you can feel in your plane.

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Above, a quick look at a future story: It is 45F in the photo, the engine is at 1,500 rpm and the humidity is near 70%. This is prime icing conditions, yet there is no frost on the manifold nor carb; This is simple, I have the test stand’s rudimentary carb heat on, and it is not an issue at all. Carb heat works best if you actually use it. It is like giving to charities, seriously thinking of doing it counts exactly the same as not doing it at all. Carb heat is always to be used as anti-ice, not de-ice.

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All visitors at my place are welcome to use my range. Serious fans of shooting bring their own tools. In between build sessions Mark and I tried his Ruger New Frontier in .45LC. It was great. I used it to deal with an insolent, cheap multi meter which would not read ohms. The remains of the meter are red and hanging from the backstop.

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Mark was here for two days and blended right in to our community, meeting neighbors and sampling cultural highlights like ‘Ronnies’ the local bar and grill.  Mark is a really good guy, an airline pilot with a lot of interesting experiences like entering Cold War Albania just for a bit of adventure. He is a family man who chooses to live both physically and mentally far from the consumer world. Building his own engine fits with this.

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Above, a fun picture: Mark sets his “Captain Morgan Pose” with his running engine. complete with torque wrench sword and actual product (which neither he nor I drink) but it was all part of a very good time. Captain Morgan probably would find the ‘product placement’ humorous, but I’m guessing that Flight Safety would rather not have their jacket in there. Too bad for them, we were having a day Pappy Boyington would have found fun.

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Read this related story about meeting Mark 18 years ago: 2018 Zenith Open House -The long run.

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2019 is already 1/12th gone. What are you going to accomplish this flying season? It’s all up to you, man a plan today, don’t let this year escape. For more info on the ‘engine in a box’ program call SPA at 904-626-7777 and ask for Rachel, for more information about scheduling a build or run session at my hangar call my cell 904-806-8143.

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Read :“Captain Morgan” Contest at #39

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Wewjr.

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Tests – vs – Talk

Builders,

You can go on any internet or social media site, attend any EAA meeting or hang around any small airport, and without fail, people will present “Information” as if it was the data from a scientific test they were qualified to, and personally ran themselves.

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Some of these people, perhaps the majority, are just repeating things they honestly believe to be ‘true’.  This is the idea I was speaking of here: Thought for the Day: Opinions based solely on Opinions. This is considered ‘harmless’, but three decades of working in aviation trying to share actual data with builders has taught me that disinformation, even from well meaning people isn’t harmless.

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You can’t do anything about this, it is now cooked into our national character. The country has been indoctrinated into an entitlement mentality, where the majority believe they are not obligated to read data or listen to logic which they emotionally don’t want to hear.

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You can’t fix this, it was done by consumer forces of great power and insidious method. It works on the eternally effective principal of telling people what they want to hear. The only thing you can do is decide for yourself that you will not give in to it. As far as your aviation hours are concerned, It is my strongest suggestion that you seek out real information and the company of people who prefer it. At the same time, give a wide berth to the dispensers of old wives tales and situational truths. Aviation is too expensive, to risky and too important to engage in it, only armed with the observations of the blind and the logic of the clueless. Your life is worth more than that.

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Remember this phrase of mine:

 “Talk is cheap, testing costs money, and being ignorant costs a fortune.-ww.”

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Above: Actual Testing. When I write about Corvair ignitions, it is from personal testing. This is a picture taken a month ago in my workshop. This is a pile of ignition components I have tested in the last six months. These are the systems which didn’t work as well as we need them to. You are looking at $1,000 in parts and maybe 200 hours of work. When anyone tells you their ‘fact’ about homebuilding, understand the difference between an opinion and a real fact, is testing. 

The next time someone tells you an aviation ‘fact’ as if they know it to be true, as them when they personally conducted this test, or which printed manual, about the specific subject they retrieved the data from. 95% of them will have no personal first hand experience with what they are speaking of, at best they will offer you something they saw years ago with a different brand of airframe and power plant. If you want to accomplish something in aviation, particularly find out how much you can learn not how little, avoid such people, it only delays you from discovering people who know what they are speaking of.

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ww.

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Thought for the Day: What an AR-15 could teach you about homebuilt aircraft.

Builders,

Even if you are not disposed to appreciate firearms, please follow the perspective I’m trying to share, it’s important.

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The AR series of weapons is now 60 years old, but it remains incredibly popular because it is a very versatile modular design, adaptable to be the best answer to a wide range of tasks. It was originally the product of two brilliant Americans, Eugene Stoner and James Sullivan.

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“AR-15” is now a generic design term, and there are literally 100’s of companies that make them. One can be assembled from $400 of parts, or you can easily spend $5,000 on a custom rifle. This leads to endless internet and magazine discussions about what is “The best AR-15” at any price point, typically $3,000. Once the argument is introduced, fan’s of different brands will argue this endlessly, because we live in a society of consumers, people who mistake ownership for understanding and skill.

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Eventually,  A thinking person will point out the valid answer: The worlds best $3,000 AR-15 is a good $1,000 rifle, $1,000 worth of professional instruction, and $1,000 of practice ammunition. If the discussion is using it as a defensive tool in the 1/10 of one percent lifetime chance of needing to protect one’s family, this is the only valid answer to the $3,000 question. No one sane thinks ownership of an expensive device is a substitue for really knowing how to use a modest one.

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Above: Yes, I do own a suit, and it is fashion coordinated with my ‘hardware’.   Took this photo in the yard after I was called as a witness at a local land use civil trial. It was meant to be funny, I originally published it with the caption “Send Lawyers, Guns and Money”, a nod to Warren Zevon.

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YOUR AVIATION CONNECTION:

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If you follow aviation posts on websites and social media, it is easy to see people wowed by interiors, paint jobs and avionics. It’s a mostly free world, and people can focus on whatever they like, but these items are consumer accessories to flight. They should come way after a builder has covered a good airframe, a good engine, understanding and mastery of both , and has budgeted for serious transition training and has a significant budget for continuous improvement of his/her personal flight skills. This should be your “$3,000” answer in homebuilding, but few people look at it that way.

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If there is a .1% lifetime chance of needing a defensive tool to protect your family, Consider this: If your plane has a passenger seat, it’s roughly one thousand times more likely that you will have to use your flying skills and understanding of your airframe and engine to protect the safety of a member of your family. Does that make a better case for professional training and serious study?

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Consider the simple case of a Corvair powered Zenith aircraft. My wife and I put the first one together in 2003. In spite of being an A&P and experienced builder, I went to the factory to see how Zenith puts their design together. I knew the engine, but still did extensive ground testing of it; The day it was ready to fly, it had no interior, no paint, and no radios, those resources were used elsewhere; We had the most skilled pilot on hand, Gus Warren do the test flights, and later we paid a very skilled CFI for transition training. Only much later were ‘accessories’ added. The plane was flown hundreds of hours and gave 125 demo flights without incident. Priorities in the right order.

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Both Zenith aircraft and myself offer a number of essentially free training opportunities for builders every year. As I type this, Zenith is down at the Sebring airshow, and anyone can see how their planes are correctly built. I hold several Corvair Colleges per year, including one at the Zenith factory. We are across from each other at Oshkosh, yet very few builders take much advantage of these chances to learn. Many of the people at Oshkosh spend days shopping for avionics, but never ask Roger Dubbert a single 3 minute question about flying. There is specific professional transition training available for these planes and Zenith encourages people to use it, but only a small percentage take this seriously. These people are subconsciously buying into a $3,000 rifle accessories ‘solution’ instead of seeking the $1,000 X 3 solution of training and mastery. 

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If you think I’m being overly critical, consider this. At Oshkosh 2011, I asked 6 pilots who flew in with their Zenith 601XL’s “What is the maneuvering speed (Va) of your plane?” The four with nice paint jobs and interiors didn’t know it. It isn’t a coincidence that the two who said “105 MPH” instantly had modestly finished planes. If you have been the passenger in a plane where the PIC didn’t know the Va, you have taken a serious risk, no matter how nice the paint job was. If you have ever sat in the left seat of a plane and contemplated leaving the ground in a plane without knowing the Va, it’s time to rethink priorities.

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A plan for your 2019 season: It doesn’t matter what the herd is going to do. You didn’t get into homebuilding to follow the crowd in seeing how little one can get away with. You are an individual, you can set your own standards, and live up to them. Make the decision that this year, you will devote more time to learning than shopping, you will spend some portion of your travel, time and money focused on learning from professionals, not shopping from salesmen.

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Start here, buy and read this book: Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written, (Is your life worth $16?)

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Wewjr.

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Deal of the Day, 1/25/19

Sorry it’s SOLD! Tune in Monday evening for more Deal of the Day.

Builders,

This is round five,  This is the last round of Deal of the Day until Monday. I have plenty more stuff, and I will be posting stories over the weekend, but I want builders in their workshops, not hanging around the keyboard waiting to see what comes out of my hangar clean up.

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“Because  everything, including warfare, has ‘rules’, here we go:

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A) If you want to buy something, you have to have a Conversion manual of mine. If you don’t have one yet, I suggest you go to my products page and order one. (Just paying for one is good enough, you don’t have to have it in your hands to claim one of these items.) To get one:

Shop – Products | FlyCorvair.com

shop.flycorvair.com/shop/

( Or call SPA at 904-626-7777 during regular business hours. )

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B) If you see it and you want it, all you have to do is be the first builder to say “I’ll buy that” in the comments section. Please put your first and last name in there and the city you are from. After that you can text me your cell number at 904-806-8143 or Email it to me at WilliamTCA@Flycorvair.com.  If you are the second builder in the comments, do the same in case the first guy forgets to contact me for more than 24 hours. 

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C) I’ll cover the shipping on this stuff, as long as you are in the US.Outside of uncle Sam’s turf, my friends from abroad will have to cover shipping, tags, permits, VAT (whatever that is) and bribes to postal workers. I’ll deal with my broken government, you guys deal with your own taxmen and bureaucrats. Fair enough?

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OK, with that all covered, on to the second of this evenings “Deal of the Day”

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Above, this part is a #2601-R REVERSE Gold oil filter housing. (http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/2601-r-reverse-gold-oil-filter-housing-sonex-applications/ The primary user of this part is a Corvair going into a Sonex airframe. I have also used them on anyplace with a very tight packaging issue, like a 701.

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This one was mounted on an engine, and the builder switched from building a Sonex to a Zenith 650.  It has not been flow, but it has a cosmetic tool mark near the 1/2NPT port, and the threading has some of the anodizing worn off. There is a washer mark on top. This is a perfectly serviceable part, I just can’t sell it as new, nor put it on a new motor. The price for a new 2601R is $265. I am selling this one for $165 as tonights Deal of the Day. 

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William.

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STOL bowl, production part #1

Builders,

Below are some pictures of the first STOL bowl part from the final mold. I took them in the back years today. By Wednesday we will have price information published here. I’m sharing these to give builders a quick look ahead.

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Above, the head on view. Takes the exact same spinner, sheetmetal cowl and baffling as our standard nose bowl. It just has much larger inlets with molded in inlet rings.

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Inlets are over 5.5″ ID.

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A look at the bottom.

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Have a good weekend of building, summer flying season will be 48 hours closer on Monday. Make your time in the shop count.

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WW

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Outstanding Deal on New 3.0L Corvair.

Builders;

I have a new, 3,000cc Corvair in my shop. It has 2 hours of break in time on it only, done on my test stand. It is built directly under my supervision from a complete parts kit from myself and SPA. The engine is set up for a group 2800 heavy duty oil system. They are not in the picture, but the engine comes with an E/P-X distributor and a front alternator system.

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The engine belongs to a very close friend, but I will back it as I would any engine built in my shop. I am going to do further break in runs on it this weekend, and write a full set of test logs for it. If the buyer chooses, they can come for a free day in the shop with me and run their engine, and get a day of familiarization trainning. I can crate and ship this if the buyer isn’t picking it up in person, but the new owner needs to cover the costs.

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This is an excellent running start at the 2019 building and flying season. The typical cost for this engine at this stage, with a day of running and trying in my shop is close to $14K .  This is a one time deal, and it will be sold for $11,500 this week. To be the new owner, it just needs to be paid for, I’m willing to store it until spring if the new owner can’t pick it up right away.

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Above, the engine in my hangar. It is built around a forged 8409 crank, billet rods, SPA gen II 5th bearing, and all our components. It has all the latest detail upgrades and would be a fine Powerplant for any Corvair powered homebuilt.

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Call or text me, 904-806-8143 or email WilliamTCA@flycorvair.com if you need more information or would like to be the new owner.

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William

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PS, Anyone who thinks this motor is too expensive and somehow proves I don’t care about rank and file builders, please read the comment section and reply there. 

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Deal of the Day, 1/24/19, pt. #2

SORRY, THIS has SOLD!  Stay tuned for more bargains…

Builders,

This is round four,  I will have more stuff later. Stay tuned.

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I am working my way through a once a decade total hangar clean up, and I have come across a great number of slightly used items that I’m going to sell here. I have enough items that I can put up one or two a night for two weeks.

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Because  everything, including warfare, has ‘rules’, here we go:

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A) If you want to buy something, you have to have a Conversion manual of mine. If you don’t have one yet, I suggest you go to my products page and order one. (Just paying for one is good enough, you don’t have to have it in your hands to claim one of these items.) To get one:

Shop – Products | FlyCorvair.com

shop.flycorvair.com/shop/

( Or call SPA at 904-626-7777 during regular business hours. )

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B) If you see it and you want it, all you have to do is be the first builder to say “I’ll buy that” in the comments section. Please put your first and last name in there and the city you are from. After that you can text me your cell number at 904-806-8143 or Email it to me at WilliamTCA@Flycorvair.com.  If you are the second builder in the comments, do the same in case the first guy forgets to contact me for more than 24 hours. 

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C) I’ll cover the shipping on this stuff, as long as you are in the US.Outside of uncle Sam’s turf, my friends from abroad will have to cover shipping, tags, permits, VAT (whatever that is) and bribes to postal workers. I’ll deal with my broken government, you guys deal with your own taxmen and bureaucrats. Fair enough?

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OK, with that all covered, on to the second of this evenings “Deal of the Day”

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Above, a stainless exhaust system. It fits all models of Zenith 601/650 series, All Zenith 750 aircraft, and also fits Bearhawk LSA aircraft. This particular set has never been flown, but was run several hours in ground tests. The variation in color is just because I got started cleaning them to polish them 304 stainless can be turned into a chrome like finish with some effort, but these can just be cleaned a bit by hand. It has been drilled for 6 EGT probes, but I can weld these shut in minutes if the new owner desires. New sets go for $659 plus shipping. Deal of the Day on this slightly used set: $459, shipping included.

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Wewjr.

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Deal Of the Day, 1/24/19, pt #1

SORRY, Its SOLD! stay tuned for more deals,

Builders, 

This is round three, I will have more stuff later tonight. Stay tuned.

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I am working my way through a once a decade total hangar clean up, and I have come across a great number of slightly used items that I’m going to sell here. I have enough items that I can put up one or two a night for two weeks.

.

Because  everything, including warfare, has ‘rules’, here we go:

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A) If you want to buy something, you have to have a Conversion manual of mine. If you don’t have one yet, I suggest you go to my products page and order one. (Just paying for one is good enough, you don’t have to have it in your hands to claim one of these items.) To get one:

Shop – Products | FlyCorvair.com

shop.flycorvair.com/shop/

( Or call SPA at 904-626-7777 during regular business hours. )

.

B) If you see it and you want it, all you have to do is be the first builder to say “I’ll buy that” in the comments section. Please put your first and last name in there and the city you are from. After that you can text me your cell number at 904-806-8143 or Email it to me at WilliamTCA@Flycorvair.com.  If you are the second builder in the comments, do the same in case the first guy forgets to contact me for more than 24 hours. 

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C) I’ll cover the shipping on this stuff, as long as you are in the US.Outside of uncle Sam’s turf, my friends from abroad will have to cover shipping, tags, permits, VAT (whatever that is) and bribes to postal workers. I’ll deal with my broken government, you guys deal with your own taxmen and bureaucrats. Fair enough?

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OK, with that all covered, on to the first of this evenings “Deal of the Day”

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Above, one excellent condition Niagara 20002A Oil Cooler. This has been flown briefly on a test engine. It is in excellent condition, and has been flushed and inspected. Niagara is a spin off of Harrison, GM’s heat transfer people. They arguably make the finest oil coolers in the world. The price for this item new from Aircraft Spruce is $345 plus shipping. Tonights Deal of The Day $175, domestic shipping included. 

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Wewjr.

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In Aviation, Details Matter.

Builders,

Here is another item from my hangar clean up. It stopped for its photo op on the way to the trash can. Tomorrow is trash day, and by the end of it this part will be in residence at the Clay county landfill and recycling center, but don’t let the lesson it has go to the dump with it.

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This is what is inside a ‘John Deere” generator.  We have used these for more than 20 years, they are totally reliable…..the way we use them. Today you can mount one on the front or rear of your Corvair engine….or both if you like. Both positions intentionally have a ‘fuse’ to the engine incase it jams or has a bearing failure. The front has the belt, and in the back it has a shear point. It is beyond foolish to run a generator or alternator without such a consideration. Even small Continentals which appear to be straight gear drives actually have shear points in them so the motor will not be stopped. There are people who have put similar systems directly on the rear of Corvairs and combined it with starters, but it is an accident waiting to happen.

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From 2004-2007, Between flying our 601XL test aircraft and the arrival of the gold hub system, we only had front alternators, driven by Black Hub systems. To slow the alternator down we developed a method of using a slightly larger pulley on the JD alternator. I modified dozens of them and they had a perfect track record. We charged about $40 to do so. Later, when Gold Hubs arrived, I designed them with a smaller integral drive pulley so the issue disappeared 12 years ago.

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Above, the inside of the JD unit, This particular one was screwed up by a builder in 2006 trying to save $40 who didn’t think that details mattered. It flew a while, but easily could have broken in flight. When I saw it, I took it out of service. If you look where the screwdriver is pointing, the permeant magnet, which is bonded into the shell, is broken. This is because the builder directly welded the pulley on the other side of the shell. Welding near bonded magnets isn’t a good idea, ever.

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The correct modification I did was welding the pulley onto the old pulley half, seen at the right, when it was removed from the unit. This kept all the heat away from the generator, and it was concentric because I did it in a lathe.  On the very surface, if you don’t look at the details, these were both welded pulleys. Had this one broken, do you think that the local expert observing the failure would read about the modification on my old site and say ‘you should have followed Wynne’s method or paid him to do it” or do you think they would just say “stupid car engine, can’t believe that jerk in Florida told him to weld on an electrical component”  You have to be a real optimist about people to believe the latter. 

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Your Corvair engine will present 100 chances to say things like:

“These spark plugs are just as good as the ones WW says to use”

“I use this kind of gasket sealer on Yamahas, so It’s better than what WW says to use.”

“I know he says not to hang a lot of brass plumbing off an 1/8″ pipe thread in the oil system, but I got away with it on my Nissan.”

“I couldn’t find what WW said to use, so I got this, its just as good”

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I would be OK with people doing these things, as long as when it didn’t work, they stood up and said, “You know, William said not to do this, and I was to cheap and lazy to listen to him, and I let my ego get in the way. I was planning on flying my family in this, wow, I was wrong.” 

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Don’t be tempted to say this wouldn’t happen. I’ve actually seen it happen exactly twice in 30 years.

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Wewjr.

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You might be a Motorhead if…..

Builders,

You might be a Motorhead if you have a piston from a 28 cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-4360 ‘Wasp Major’ radial as a coffee table ornament in your home.  Doesn’t everyone recognize tasteful interior decorating when they see it?

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Above, a R-4360 piston. Forget the 5.75″ bore, this engine had a 6″ stroke to go with it, and that piston had 27 angry siblings working with it, all fed by a combination of supercharging and turbocharging.  Each piston is 156 cubic inches of displacement, the motor is seventy-one liters. This particular piston flew at Reno in the Unlimited Sea Fury “Dreadnaught”. It was a gift from a Corvair builder who was a member of the planes pit crew.  The little piston riding piggy back is a 2,850cc Corvair piston.

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Wewjr.

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