2,000 mile Zenith 601-XL adventure

Builders,

If you are building, and you are finding it a little hard to picture exactly what your plane will be capable of when it is done, he is a story that you will find enlightening and motivating at the same time.  It is a very well written and illustrated travel log of  Ken Pavlou’s recent trip from Connecticut to Florida and back in his Zenith 601XL

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There is an enduring misconception that you must have a $100K aircraft powered by a 180HP or more Lycoming to travel around the country. The people who expended the funds to buy such aircraft are heavily invested in perpetuating such myths, mostly because when a builder with <$40% of that in his plane has a great adventure traveling,  it makes the expenditure people feel less special.  The truth be told, simple, affordable aircraft like a Corvair powered Zenith 601/650 , when operated by a prepared pilot with respect for weather, are more than capable of consistently making long trips and having great adventures around our country.

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There will always be people who myopically look at aircraft speed, but for reasonable people, consider this: Ken’s outbound flight from Central Connecticut to north Florida was less than 8 hours flying time. To shave 90 minutes off this, to make it 6.5 hours, he would have to find, and then feed, an aircraft capable of cruising 35-40 mph faster.  If someone’s sole focus of building is to have a faster airplane so they can spend less time in it, perhaps they should honestly ask themselves how much they like the fundamental act of flying itself.

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Above Ken’s view as he was about to cross the Delaware Bay on the return flight.

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Read Ken’s complete story here:

https://kenpavlou.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/2002-mile-round-trip-to-florida/?fbclid=IwAR0XOOQNRPfSNc_tq0Av7rTT1edoGZdK-I291FKV8aYVOhEXN0BFQ4ZQqwQ

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To look at a previous adventure of Ken’s in 2014, look at this story:

1,500 mile Corvair College flight in a 601XL

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If you have not yet met Ken, get a very entertain read here:

Ken “Adonis” Pavlou advises aviators: “Life is short, Live Large”

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Distributor Clamp #3302 – video

Builders:

Today’s Video: https://youtu.be/JTLxBBtYQu0

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Thanks for watching – If you don’t want to miss videos, please subscribe.

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ww.

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A decade in the making; Zenith 750 / Corvair, Gerry Scampoli

Builders

Below are pictures of Gerry Scampoli’s new Zenith 750 powered by a 2,700cc /100 HP Corvair, it is now flying off Gerry’s home airport on Cape Cod. I have long said the golden rule of home building is just two words: “Persistence Pays.”

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Its no secret the majority of homebuilt projects started are never finished. You need to get three major factors right to keep you out of that category, particularly if you are a first time builder. They are:

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You must pick an aircraft design or a kit that is long proven, fully developed, and supported by a company which is here for the long run. By any standard, All Zenith aircraft meet this definition. They are among the oldest and most reputable companies in experimental aviation,  a field which has seen countless weaker outfits fail and swallow peoples dreams with them.

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You must pick a power plant which is long proven to work on your particular airframe. The person who sells it to you must stay in business, and be willing to serve you. 2019 is my 30th year in the Corvair business. I have been working with Zenith builders this long: 15 Years of Corvair Powered Zeniths. You can’t get support from a company which no longer exists, and in experimental aviation, the life span of your average alternative engine company is roughly 2 years.

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You must be persistent in your building. It helps to do a little something every day, but persistence is more than a build schedule, it is an attitude.  A guy can have a very neat computerized spread sheet of scheduled build sessions, but I can make a much more accurate prediction of his completion based on his reaction to screwing up a part on his plane. If he gets on line looking for anyone to tell him “It will be alright”, my experience says he is going to have his project on barnstormers in a year or so, (and of course he will not mention the part he messed up) …. On the total other end of the spectrum is the builder who studies the mistake, understands the issue, and gets started making a replacement part. My bet is the persistent builder will finish his plane and have the kind of season Gerry is now having.

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Gerry’s 750 outside his hangar.

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Rear quarter view. Gerry focused his time and budget on mechanical stuff. You can always do an elaborate paint job later.  Unpainted planes are often 30-40 pounds lighter

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Flashback to 2010, Corvair College #17, Gerry savors the moment. His 2,700 cc Corvair lights up. Even if it takes you a decade to finish your plane, I will still be here.

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2010: Morbid humor at its finest: Gerry and I compare right arms above, both covered in skin grafts. He is the kind of guy you know you like the minute you meet him.

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Another view of the plane.

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Gerry’s plane has all our installation components. The only tweaking he is doing is a prop pitch adjustment on his ground adjustable Warp Drive.

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Good front view.

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Hats off to Gerry Scampoli on his completed and flying Zenith.

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Happy Flying,

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WW

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New 2400L starter Video, (covers the ground link)

Builders,

Here is our latest video, it covers the adjustment of the 2400L starter, and the update, the ground link:

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https://youtu.be/gB8KetTBkkE.

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The above video was shot yesterday by Kitty Politi, and edited and uploaded today by Ken Pavlou, (aka – Kamal Mustafa )

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I’m reminding builders to subscribe to “WW Flycorvair” my  youTube channel so they do not miss any of the information we are uploading.

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Oil Change video

Builders,

Kitti Politi and I shot a new video on oil change information today, and evidently I got the coffee/sleep ratio pretty close, because it looks pretty good, I hit it in one take, and I did it straight off the top of my head with no script.  Kitty, who is relatively new to the team, had not previously seen my idiot-savant capability to transform into the caffeine fueled ‘abominable showman’, a performance honed over thirty years working on Corvairs and giving more than 600 public forums on the topic.  She thought this was pretty cool. As long as the Coffee/air ratio stays right at 12:1, we will have many more videos to come.

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Kitty  emailed it to Ken Pavlou in Connecticut, and Volia! just like magic, Ken makes a professional video appear on my Youtube page an hour later. Use the link below, and look under the “Operations” playlist:

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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtg0vELIaWV7NoSEHNzpHwQ

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Above, my favorite Corvair Flight oil pictured in the middle. All of the supplies shown above are discussed in detail in this story: The correct supplies for engine building 

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For a printed story with detail on oil, read this:

Corvair Oil Change interval….. Lessons part #1

and get a look here….

Notes on Corvair flight engine oils.

and here also:

Oil Change interval, meeting the challenge

Below is a broad overview on oil temps in operations:

Thoughts on cold weather operation, minimum oil temps, etc.

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thanks, WW.

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Welding on Earl Brown’s gear.

Builders,

A week ago, Earl Brown was here, and we worked on the gear for his Pietenpol. This is the fifth or six set of Pietenpol gear I have welded. to learn more, please read: Pietenpol CG and gear welding. and Pietenpol Products, Motor mounts, Gear and Instalation Components.

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Above, the gear on Earl’s inverted fuselage back home in Pennsylvania. It fit like a glove, because Earl had made a very exact wooden fixture, and because I have been welding since 1979, and aircraft parts since 1989, I understand weld sequencing to hold shrinkage and distortion to absolute minimums.

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Above a shop photo from last week, Ken Pavlou, Kitty Politi, and Earl Brown, who Ken has re-named “Sig-Sauer Bratten” (even though he is a Walther .40 kind of guy)

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Above the joint between the axle and the front gear leg. This is quality Tig welding. I am 56, and part of being middle aged is having a bit of difficulty producing the weld beads above at the same rate as I did when I was 36. I drink too much coffee, and my hands are no longer perfectly stead for hours at a crack;  I wear progressive lenses to correct my vision, but weld beads like the ones above require depth perception to 1/16″ of an inch on the height the tungsten is above the puddle, and this requires a bit slower work than uncorrected vision.  Even so, this gear was made in three casual days in the shop.

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I have heard some really stupid things said about aircraft welds, but the dumbest was a guy who said “These are like a gorilla, ugly but strong”.  If a weld is ugly, it wasn’t done correctly, and if it wasn’t correct, it isn’t strong. If you hear anyone talking about “Gorilla welding” be polite, its the classy thing to do around mentally ill people.

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To get a look look at Earls gear in video, look at our new youtube channel under “Parts”

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtg0vELIaWV7NoSEHNzpHwQ

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The essential vs the accessory

Builders,

I wrote the commentary below five years ago. If you are new to Corvairs or homebuilding, they are worth a few minutes of your time to consider.

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“A conspicuous consumer only has the admiration of the envious spectator. A craftsman, an innovator and a champion have the admiration of real aviators. I have not devoted my working life to experimental aviation to chase pointless trends and distractions. I am in aviation to find my place in the timeless truths that any real aviator since 1903 would immediately understand. Charles Lindbergh passed from this earth in 1974 having never seen a glass cockpit. His understanding of the awe inspiring beauty of flight was not diminished by the lack of a screen to stare at. This is a good way to evaluate the essential from the accessory.” -ww.

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The above is not judgmental about people with glass cockpits. It is simply this: The mastery of the same basic skills Lindbergh had is the foundation of all the rewards of flying. Without them, all the accessories of a plane are just another consumer experience. If you want to have a glass cockpit in your plane, good, but possession the nicest panel ever, or an award winning paint job,  isn’t a substitute for being a fundamentally sound stick and rudder pilot, or really understanding your power plant either. Real reward comes from the improvement of self, one’s understanding and skills, not the possession of things.

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Everyone should build the plane they really want, not the one they are told to like, either by magazines or by opinionated jackasses from Florida. Decide for yourself. These paragraphs are meant to be ‘thought provoking’ not ‘thought providing’

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“Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved. There was science in each curve of an airfoil, in each angle between strut and wire, in the gap of a spark plug or the color of the exhaust flame. There was freedom in the unlimited horizon, on the open fields where one landed. A pilot was surrounded by beauty of earth and sky. He brushed treetops with the birds, leapt valleys and rivers, explored the cloud canyons he had gazed at as a child. Adventure lay in each puff of wind.

I began to feel that I lived on a higher plane than the skeptics of the ground; one that was richer because of its very association with the element of danger they dreaded, because it was freer of the earth to which they were bound. In flying, I tasted a wine of the gods of which they could know nothing. Who valued life more highly, the aviators who spent it on the art they loved, or these misers who doled it out like pennies through their antlike days? I decided that if I could fly for ten years before I was killed in a crash, it would be a worthwhile trade for an ordinary life time.”— Charles A. Lindbergh