Justin Peters Starlet progress in one hangar visit.

Builders,

Here are a few pictures to wrap up Justin’s 2.5 day hangar visit. It is a story of good times and great progress.  As you read, make your own plan for progress this season.

.

.

Above, the finished motor mount.  It was a lot of calculation, measurement and work, but we charged him the same price as one of our production mounts. I have always regarded Individual enthusiastic builders with unique projects as an opportunity to demonstrate my support of homebuilders. There are plenty of businesses which either ignore them or regard them as a deep pocket to be picked, but I have a very long track record of treating them more than fairly.  The flip side of the coin is such builders must understand, and be patient for when we can do such work in our schedule. Justin is such a builder.

.

The intakes on the floor were test fit, the shiny one is a panther, the gray one is a Vagabond, a variant of a Zenith intake. Neither one fit, so we carefully measured for a custom one.

.

.

Above, Sunday morning was foggy, but Justin’s 3.0L Corvair put down a perfect test run. It had no issues at all, we just did a fine adjustment on the E/P-X ignition and it was good.  The engine is built exclusively from parts from SPA and myself.  Justin got started in the fall, and had the engine 95% ready by the end of the Barnwell Corvair College last November.  Knowing we were going to build a mount, I asked him to bring the engine also. The engine turned 3,370 rpm on the test prop. We took an oil sample to send to Larry Nelson at Lab One, and after it cooled we used the engine to check for cowling options, intakes and exhausts.

.

.

Above, Justin holds an MA3-SPA carb in place while we study the space between the engine and firewall for a carb installation on a custom intake. He is very skilled with tools, he works HVAC as a regular career.  That type of mechanical work makes for craftsmen who are good with hand tools, good at planning several steps ahead and good at diagnosing solutions, He is well suited to building a unique airframe. Most people new to homebuilding would be far better served by a more common airframe, but Justin’s skills and his willingness to enlist assistance, make his choice realistic.

.

.

Above, Justin samples my backyard range and 60 year old Remington 513T “Rangemaster”. He is an experienced hunter and skilled marksman. He nailed the yellow steel plate dead center, hit the remains of the Chinese multimeter barely visible in red, and went on the shoot the 1/4″ edge of a steel plate laying on top of the backstop, all off-hand.

.

.

Above, a smile while fitting a nose bowl and standard spinner. the mount looks low but it is taller than it appears, the crank is 45″ off the ground in wheel landing position. This will not be a clearance issue at all with a correct diameter prop. Notice how the gear and suspension angle was corrected since the first pictures 2 days ago.  This is the kind of thing we can rapidly correct in the hangar.

.

.

Above, the satisfaction of progress, of having a plan come together. Later in the year, when the outcome of the Super Bowl has long faded, Justin will take his airplane out to the flight line for its first time. This will happen because he made a plan and decided he would work on his plane this day and spend the balance of it driving the 855 miles back home. He chose to do this rather than be a spectator today.  Nothing wrong with having fun, but make sure it isn’t a poor substitute for what you really wanted to do this year.

.

Wewjr.

.

Traditional Homebuilding, Into the night.

Builders,

8:30 PM here in Florida, Saturday night and 65F out. We are closing in on completing Justin’s custom mount. Another hour at the weld bench and Vern will have it polished off. Over the years I figure we have made nearly 50 one of a kind mounts, this is the first Starlet mount, but not the last custom one. I have long said, if the only impediment to a builder using a Corvair is the mount for his plane of choice doesn’t yet exist, I will make it.

.

Earlier today Justin and I stopped by the SPA shop where Dan and Rachel were working on a Saturday afternoon, as many small business owners do. They also have plans for this years flying season. The offered to let Justin try a Panther cowl, exhaust and intake, to check their fit to see if making custom items was avoidable. It was the kind of things old school homebuilders always did for each other.

.

People have said some nice things about the work we do supporting builders. My actions here are not original ideas. they are patterned after how the best of homebuilders I met decades ago treated the ‘new to building’ me.

.

I was fortunate enough to know the EAA’s founder Paul Poberezney. I exchanged letters with him, wrote for his personal magazine, was the first guest speaker at his SAA flyin. He was human, not perfect, but he really did understand how to treat people and look for their better side. Even if aviation really wasn’t a ‘brotherhood’ he believed it could be, and went about proving this one day at a time. His reward was largely the same one I’m after: getting to spend your days in the company of better people.  You can’t pay the bills with it, but it goes a long way toward having a satisfying life.

.

.

Above, Vern putting the last of the Tig weld beads on the mount. This is where skill and experience come into play. We built the ‘tray’ in my fixture, welded some of the bottom elements complete, tacked all the tubes with it fixtured to the firewall, but all the finishing welds are done with the mount free on the bench. If you weld too much in one spot it will badly warp without a fixture. By considering the duration, sequence and angle of the beads, the welds can be done with almost no distortion.  Knowing just how much duration, which sequence and what angle comes from a few decades of mounts.

.

WW.

.