Corvair Mission 2019, Part #5, Finishing Schools and assembly/run instruction.

Builders:

Keeping in mind the central focus of the mission is to share what we know with builders by effective, rewarding paths, this story focuses on something that has proven to work very well for a number of people: Close person instruction at our shops here in North East Florida.

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In the last 3 years, we have held a number of “Finishing Schools” at the SPA factory here in Florida. The best look at the process chan be seen here: Corvair Finishing School #1, Video report. These are small events, highly focused on getting every engine on hand running, with the builders learning a lot. With just 3-4 engines going together, and both Dan Weseman and myself present, it is a more intense learning session than a typical large college. But they are also fun events, where we hit the local bar and grill for dinner and share the social side of building also. .

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We currently are studying dates for the next finishing school, which will be held in the next 90 days. We already have several Engine in a Box builders on board, and we are just looking for one more person who is willing to complete their engine or even purchase a EIB kit motor to fill out the schedule. If you think this sounds like you, Please call Rachel at SPA, 904-626-7777. She has all the information on EIB kits, and if you are a builder with most of your parts, she will be able to set you up with what it takes to complete and run your engine at the upcoming Finishing School.  With the start of the season, this will likely be our last finishing school before Oshkosh, so if it sounds good, act. 

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The second part of this story is about One on One instruction in my hangar.  For the last two years I have scheduled individual builders to come to my hangar to build and test run their engine.  Because I live and work at a private residential community airpark, and have respect for my neighbors, I traditional don’t have an open door policy at my shop. I did for many years in the Daytona Beach area, but that was when we were located at commercial airports. However, I do have serious builders schedule time at my hangar to learn and work directly on their engines. We can also use the time to build one off parts like unique motor mounts, or even tune up you welding skills. As long as a builder is serious about learning, I’m interested. The best example story of the potential of this is here: Justin Peters Starlet progress in one hangar visit. If this sounds like something for you, call or text my cell, 904-806-8143. (please include you name if you are texting)

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Above,  Finishing School Results: Jim and Patty Raab with their engine on the run stand. This is now flying on their Zenith 650. in the photo they they are priming the oil system for 15 minutes before the first start. The red drip pans on the heads allow the visual confirmation that oil is reaching every single location in the engine. All Corvairs have hydraulic lifters and high strength head studs, neither of which ever need adjustment during the life span of the motor.

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Above, Another Finishing School photo: Look at the smile, Jimmy Mathis is a fortunate man to enjoy full support on the home front. Get a good look at the motor, it is built straight from our manuals, parts and guidance. Jimmy’s engine will offer many, many years of reliable service because he chose to follow the path that Dan Weseman and myself have long proven. He didn’t look to the net and people with mystery online names for advice, he just went with two people who know what they are speaking of. Jimmy’s engine is built to power his Bearhawk LSA

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Another Finishing School Picture: Get a good look at David Koshinski’s smiling mug. This is the face of a very happy man. What produces this expression? The satisfaction of having an engine that you built with your own hands, an engine you really understand,  lay down a perfect break in run. This is what the very core of traditional homebuilding is all about. The fact that David had this accomplishment in the company of other like minded builders, and with the direct support of the two companies that guided him through the process makes it all that much sweeter…..David’s engine is on his Zenith 750

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Above, A Finishing School Picture:  Jim Siebenaler gives his take on the “Captain Morgan Pose”. That smile is provided by having the accomplishment and satisfaction of a perfect break in run of a motor built with his own hands, an engine he now understands very well. A day will arrive when this plane takes to the air later in the year. It will arrive because Jim didn’t blow off opportunities to learn, make progress, and have a good time. When you read about upcoming events, keep in mind they are all opportunities to advance your own project, to make sure that you also will have a day where your own aircraft takes to the sky. The only thing this requires is your personal decision you will not keep putting off your own goals for a ‘some day’ which will never come. Jim’s engine is for his Zenith 650

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Another Finishing School Photo: David Swan and son, in very proud moment after the run of their 3.0L Corvair, built to power a Bearhawk LSA.  David is a good example of committed builder, because he has also spent several days at my hangar learning welding hands on. Any training that improves your skills and makes you a better builder or pilot is money and time well spent.

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Above, An example of one on one building at my hangar. It’s a fun picture: Mark Borden 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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Above, Another example of one on one building at my hangar. This is the satisfaction of progress, of having a plan come together. We did this Super Bowl weekend. 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. It’s your year, spend it wisely.

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Above, one on one building at my hangar. Larry Elrod, a justifiably proud man.  Larry’s 2,700cc 100HP Corvair is straight from my Conversion manual, and it is built exclusively from my conversion parts and those from SPA/ Panther.  Although this engine is going on a KR-2, it follows the logic of this approach: Why Not the Panther engine?.  Read the whole story: Larry Elrod’s 2,700cc Test Run

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Its your year, make it count. 

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William

About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to Corvair Mission 2019, Part #5, Finishing Schools and assembly/run instruction.

  1. Dennis McGuire says:

    Love this post today with all the builders.
    I was wondering is the 5th Bearing really needed in a low & slow non-aerobatic aeroplane like the Pietenpol or VP2 ? You have done a remarkable job of converting the Corvair engine. I just can’t get it out of my mind that the Corvair engine was suppose to be an alternate engine that was not so expensive as 65hp & 85hp Cont (not so much as the Lyc). KISS was the theme and knowing you engine like no other was a great idea. I am probably wrong here Sir but are we asking to much of this engine to put out so much power?
    You are a doer and I am nothing.
    Dennis

    • Dennis, On this one subject I am a doer, but on countless others I am a procrastinator and a dabbler, so I always have that in mind on answers.

      Your question is valid. And a Corvair, even a high end one is less expensive than an airworthy 65 or 85 in the same condition. If a totally overhauled 5th bering Corvair is 10K, the real truth is that a completely overhauled 85 cost at least that much, and the core for it cost a whole lot more than the core for the Corvair did.

      the 85s being sold anonymously in the fly mart of Oshkosh are not airworthy. Grace’s Taylorcraft has an 85 on it that got a $12K overhaul 400 hours ago. it’s airworthy. I could have bought a $3,000 fly mart 85, but they are junk. and if they were not, no one would ever spend 10-12K overhauling an 85. But just like me, if it is going to power things which will be flown by people you care about, it must be right, not junk.

      If you type “Yes, Pietenpol’s do need 5th bearings” into the search window, it will spit out the story I wrote on the subject. The reason why it appears that Bernard Pietenpol got away without using 5th bearings has a several part explanation. one, no one ever ground a crank back then, and essentially every crank needs to be ground today; two, they didn’t get away with it, I have evidence that people did break cranks without them in the 1970s, just no one ever found out about it. and three, no one really wants a 70 hp Corvair today. So if you use my ignition advance and cam design, and a Warp Drive prop, and a ground crank, you already have more power and crank load and a serious stress factor Bernard never did. Its a package deal, you can’t take the improvements in power and propulsion without building it a bit better.

      Come back to this: I have less disposable income that 95% of my customers. That’s not a joke, look at what I drive, ask anyone who has been to my home. I really did spend my life savings defending myself against a frivolous ambulance chasing lawsuit. I’m not starving, but honestly I have $100K in house payments until I get the title, I drive a 33 year old truck and a 53 year old car. Yet the Corvair engine I have in my plane has $10K in parts in it. I don’t cut corners on planes. It’s priorities. If you are driving a car that Cost $15-25K but are thinking of flying a $3,000 airplane engine, I say rethink your priorities.

      • Dennis McGuire says:

        Thank you so much for your fast reply.
        The only experience I have with the Corvair aeroplane engine is with Pat Green’s Pietenpol. I have been friends with Pat for about 45 years. He was kinda my mentor in building my VP1 back in the 70’s. I love him and his aeroplane. My experience comes from flying his Pietenpol over the years. You know him and his aeroplane. That is the only experience I have with the Corvair. I know he has had some problems with the engine over the years. So my knowledge is very limited. I guess he has been lucky in not having any crank problems. Thank you for your time and for putting things into prospective. I am not building anymore due to health problems, which is a crying shame. But I am following another friend, Jeff Allen building a VP2 with the Corvair. You are in contact with him and understand you are doing his welding etc.
        Thanks again for your reply and will be following Jeff’s progress.
        God Bless.
        Dennis

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