P.F. Beck; An extraordinary life closes – 8/28/19

Builders:

Don Harper called with the word that P.F. Beck had passed this afternoon. It was a short call. There was nothing either of us could say that would begin to express the loss of a human being like P. F.  Don, who has been close to P.F. for decades simply said “They broke the mold when they made him.” I agreed. In 30 years in aviation, I have never met another aviator with the spirit and qualities of character of P.F., and it doesn’t seem likely I ever will. If you never had a chance to meet him, it will be very hard to appreciate the loss, but trust me, it can’t be overstated.

.

.

Above, P.F. Beck in the black shirt and part of his loyal crew at Barnwell. I shot this the last hour of Corvair College #43 last november. These people brought you Nine Corvair Colleges.  – think about that; not just 20% of the Colleges held, but because of their size, 35% of the people who attended a College did so at Barnwell.  There were very detailed events, and the typical budget was over $7,000, but not a dime went to these people, they did it all as a show of South Carolina hospitality, their belief in the Corvair as an excellent way of getting more active builders in experimental aviation, and a particularly strong pride in their home airport, a facility they devoted a large part of their lives to.

.

.

Above, P.F holds The Cherry Grove Trophy in front of his Pietenpol.  This was taken at Corvair College #21.  Left to right are Joe Horton,  Dan Weseman, P.F. Beck, and Mark Langford, They were the first four of the eventual eight trophy winners.

.

.

Above, 2011, the fourth recipient of the trophy was PF Beck. We made the official presentation to P.F. at the dinner at CC#21. He eventually had hundreds of flight hours on his Corvair powered Pietenpol. Not only did he host 9 Corvair Colleges he attended a number of others He was a first class gentleman, incredibly modest, and a skilled aviator with decades of experience. For these reasons, everyone felt that he was the outstanding candidate for the Trophy in 2011.

.

For a look at the EAA film about the 2013 Barnwell College, Which has P.F. in it,  click here: New EAA video on Corvair College#27, Barnwell 2013.

.

c68788

.

Above, Brodhead 2013. P.F, was the head of forums that year. P.F.’s positive influence on homebuilding went well beyond South Carolina.  P.F. was a source of encouragement and factual information to countless builders. He made homebuilding a welcoming and friendly setting.

.

.

Above,  P F Beck, seen above in his Pietenpol, This was at CC#19, the first College we held at Barnwell. P.F. eventually flew more than 300 people in his plane.

.

.

A simple photo from Corvair College #19, with a detail that says a lot about P.F.’s personal style; If you look closely, the catering trays are almost empty. This is because at P.F.’s events, he always made certain of two things; he was always the last person in the chow line, and he lead everyone in a prayer of thanks before sitting down to eat.

.

.

Col. John Nerges, above left, thanks P.F. Beck for his flight in P.F.’s Pietenpol. These types of smiles were what being an aviator was all about to P.F.

.

Blue Skies and tailwinds P.F., you will always be missed.

.

ww.

.

 

New Corvair News Sources.

Builders,

With the help of Phil Maxson, I have started a new Face Book page just for builders who are working with our Corvair flight engines to share stories pictures and videos. It is titled “WW Flycorvair”.  You don’t have to be on Face Book to read it, you can just directly get there with this link:

.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1117842541937300/

.

For the last several years we have used a Face Book Page “Corvair College” to post things on, and it’s still there for the time being, But I wanted to switch to a Face Book page with the same name as our Youtube channel. We first tried renaming the page, but this was repeatedly blocked by Face Book with a zeal appropriate for preventing nuclear war.  Youtube has it’s own Channel rules which only make sense to the PC warriors at their HQ in California, I follow them, but I protect my sanity by not trying to make sense of them. This is the YouTube channel:

.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtg0vELIaWV7NoSEHNzpHwQ?view_as=subscriber

.

………………………………….

.

Anyone can read the new Face Book page, but to comment on it, you need to join the group. This isn’t a big deal, just click on the link, if you choose.

.

Now, the bigger picture: I have posted about 10 stories on the Face Book page, and in their description or in the comments, I have included links to applicable technical stories on my blog: http://flycorvair.net or from our Youtube channel.  This is a partial demonstration of where we are going with with information this fall.

.

Flycorvair.com is best understood as my store of products and my historical library;

Flycorvair.net is my collection of 1,200 technical stories written in the last 8 years.

WW Flycorvair, the Face Book page will function as your 24 hour news channel

and WW Flycorvair the Youtube channel with be the video arm to support the mission.

.

The last link of the project you can directly help with: I have to reach 1,000 subscribers on the Youtube channel before they will allow us to direct put hyperlinks  into the descriptions of the videos. If you have not yet done so, please subscribe. When we reach the threshold, I will then be able to directly link all the applicable stories on Flycorvair.net to each of the new youtube videos as we upload them. This will make it far easier to any builder to access the in depth technical background of each subject he has just seen in a video. It is a goal I’d like to reach in the next 60 days. As I write this, we already have 760 subscribers, but we still need you.

.

Thank You, WW.

.

.

Above, the introductory video for my Youtube Channel. Builders love the videos, but a fair number of people have said the background music wasn’t soothing. When Ken Pavlou and I set the channel up, we were at a bit of a loss on what to use, because the   fascist copywrite police at Youtube will close your channel if you use even a snippet of any known song. The solution was at out fingertips: I had a 2004 CD of a band named Hercoma, and we chose the first song. I knew it would be ok, as it is the work of Ron the Drummer. 

 

JAG – 2, Corvair powered twin, now painted, shown in video.

Builders,

One of the best known Corvair powered planes in the world is now in finish paint, and it looks great. This plane is a many year project of a very interesting husband and wife team from Long Island, Jim and Ginger Tomaszewski. The plane has about 20 hours of flight testing on it now, Jim is going to start the second half of Phase one testing this week.

.

Below the video link are links to a number of the stories I have written about the project over the years. In retrospect one of the humorous things about this plane is  this question: Were there more internet ‘experts’ who said it could never fly, or were their more RV conformists who compulsively needed to say “That isn’t an RV” even though Jim never said it was? I don’t know the answer, I’m an aircraft mechanic, I don’t keep mental illness statistics. In the end it is a stunning achievement, and the fact it is an excellent tool for exposing compulsively negative conformists is just a small side benefit.

.

.

Click on the picture to see the video. Read more about the plane here: JAG-2, Corvair Twin, Photos, Videos and Drawing.

.

Other Videos:

.

Videos of taxi testing…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ktkfWR_xdsE

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K7uT0BvTKrE

.

Video of first flight…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gb4xl_XDJcQ&feature=youtu.be

.

IMG_1729

 Above, a Corvair College #31 photo of Jim and Ginger with their engines twin 3,000 cc Corvairs, first class motors with Weseman billet cranks and 5th bearings. The engines use all of our parts, including 2400-L ultra lightweight starters.
.

Here is a link to a story about the engines:

12 Cylinders / 6.0L of Corvair Power for JAG-2 run at CC#31

.

Here is a link to a story with many details about the design and construction of the airframe:

JAG-2, Corvair Powered Twin, Jim Tomaszewski, N.Y.

.

-ww.

 

Corvair College #45, Nov. 14-16 Deland Florida.

Builders,

This is the first official announcement of the details of Corvair College #45, which will be held this November 14-16th in Deland Florida. We are doing this by special arrangement at the Deland Sport Aviation Showcase. (https://www.sportaviationshowcase.com)  I have working most of the year with Jana Filip, the director of the Showcase, and this will be a productive College in really motivating setting. 

.

For the last decade, our November flagship Corvair Colleges have been held in Barnwell SC.  These were spectacular events, for a look check out this video made by a professional EAA film crew dispatched to cover #27: New EAA video on Corvair College. All great things do pass, and the Barnwell crew has more than earned their place in Corvair history, and a well deserved stand down. This year, we are holding our flagship College in Deland, about 75 miles south of us.

.

I’m getting this notice out now, because we are just 83 days away, and if you are heading to the College, today is the day to get a plan in gear. If you want to build a motor or advance your project, you will need parts, and now is the time to check in with SPA so they can make sure you take delivery of all the stuff you will need. Calling in or ordering on line is actually more important than the sign up, which we will have next week.

.

.Above, I give a hands on demonstration of setting the valve adjustment on a Corvair. We have now been holding Corvair Colleges for 20 years. They are outstanding opportunities to learn.

.

.

Above is a really good video which Rachel shot and edited at a previous Barnwell Corvair College. It is an excellent look at builders having a fun, productive time.

.


.

Colleges are a lot of fun. Bill “Snow suit” Beauvais, does his best “Captain Morgan” pose with his minutes old Pietenpol engine.To get a look at this tradition, read: “Captain Morgan” Contest at #39

.

.

 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 will be available at #45 for builders who decide to act and advance their project this year.

.

……………………..

.

Is there an on line sign up for this College?

Yes, I will have a link to it posted here within a week.

.

Is there a fee for this College? 

Yes, Signing up on line for College #45 is required, The on line link will have the pricing, which will include a three day all access pass to the DeLand Showcase. Many previous Colleges have had catered food, but for #45, we are encouraging all people attending the College to patronize the food vendors who will be right on site at the Showcase. The technical support we offer at the College is provided without cost to builders, the costs of the College on line just represent the entry fee and costs of the very large commercial tent which the Showcase management are providing for us. We only have 45 slots available for the College, make sure you sign up early.

.

 Will there be a chance to build an ‘Engine in a Box’ at this College?

Yes,  builders who would like to buy, assemble and test run a 3.3L “engine in a box kit” at this event can. For an overview of the 3.3 engine read this story: Build a 3.3L Corvair at the May 18-20 Workshop/Open house. You can also select one of the smaller kit engines. If you are interested in one of these motors, do not delay, please Contact Rachel at SPA/Panther at 904-626-7777, so yours can be ready.

.

OK, my project needs progress, what do I do? 

First, call SPA at 904-626-7777, or call my number 904-806-8143. We will be glad to speak with you about making sure you are prepared for the event. Making plans early is the key to making progress at the event. At the last hour of a College, prepared builders often say some version of ‘I can’t believe how much I learned and accomplished.’ No one has ever followed that statement by saying ‘I regret being smarter and advancing my goals.’

.

Keep in mind:

 We will also be glad to transport for parts like cases cranks and heads back to our shops.  Even if you are just planning on having these worked on a few months later, sending them back with us gets them in the system and gets the ball rolling.

.

Will you be test running the motors?

Yes. We will have my test stand with us, and perhaps run as many as 15 of the engines being worked on.  The goal is positive exposure and progress, but above all else, learning.

.

Will there be flying Corvair Powered planes there?

Yes, we have already heard from 7 Corvair powered planes planning on attending. The Showcase arrangement allows for easy demo rides and demonstrations, something virtually impossible at Sun n Fun or Oshkosh.

.

Is there on site Camping? are their Motels? 

Yes. The airport has good camping for people who fly in, but we are looking at designating a local campground off the airport where Corvair College people can gather.  The town is a mile from the airport, and it has a number of hotels and motels. Do not wait too long to plan, they fill up, the Showcase website has maps and lists of places.

.

 For more general information and Corvair College Links:

Corvair College reference page

Corvair College History….in photos

College engine build options for closing the case

Basic Corvair College Skills, examples of learning

College Tech

Running an Engine at a College, required items. #2

Running an Engine at a College, required items. #1

 

Corvair College #44, The “Operations College” at The Zenith Homecoming

Builders;

We are rapidly approaching Corvair College #44, which will be held at the Zenith Aircraft Factory In Mexico MO, September 20-21st. This will not be a ‘usual’ College. This will be an “Operations College.” 

.

Instead of building and testing engines, I am going to very intensely focus on the operations of the engine in the airframe. Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith has long upheld his homecoming / open house events as much more of a learning opportunity than sales events. As such he has organized forums and training sessions of many kinds, and our educational work with Corvairs has fit right into this. This year, by covering Operations, we can focus on installations, props, testing, evaluation and decision making. These are subjects I want our builders to know well, just as they know the insides of their engines. It is also information that should appeal to many builders.

.

I am currently working on a 50 page Operations Handbook, a functional, bring in the plane guide to all aspects of Corvair Operations. I have reviewed and refined these ideas over time with Dan Weseman,  they are the procedures that have long proven to work for Corvair builders and pilots. This will be available at the College, but I will also have it available afterwards, as I want all people using our conversions to have this information in a neatly packaged form where they will have it with them as they need it, sort of a Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the Corvair engine.

.

We will be going over many things, working with a live running Corvair engine. I want people to fully understand setting the timing, setting prop pitch, how to lean the engine, and proper instrumentation installation. In addition to this, we will have instruction by discussion of the Handbook. I will be spending the majority of the time at the Homecoming covering these topics in a small group setting where individuals can have each of their questions answered in detail until they fully understand the topic. There are many things in life I’m not good at or don’t understand,  dancing, tofu, fashion, computers, flower arranging, Volvos, international finance, modern art, most cats, ‘reality’ tv, why some people prefer Unicorns vs Ponies., But, I am a very good instructor on the topics we will be covering. If you are available, make plans to attend the Homecoming.

.

.

Above, a Video link about the event which we shot last month at Oshkosh:

.

The Zenith open house is open to all experimental builders, not just people currently working on a Zenith ( The Heintz’s are here for the long run, they figure you will eventually be a Zenith builder. ) It draws several hundred serious builders every year, and it also is a major gathering point for component suppliers and industry people. Both of the last 2 EAA presidents have been guest speakers at the event. It is a very pro-homebuilding event in an excellent setting. Surprising things happen there like this: EAA Major Achievement Award.

.

Previous Corvair Colleges at Zenith were held just before the Open House, but in the case we are going to ‘imbed’ College #44 in the Open House so the maximum number of aircraft builders can get a good chance to study the information we are sharing.

.

.

Would you like a visual on how long we have been working with Zenith Aircraft and holding events at their location? This is a picture from a 2005 Corvair event at the factory…..notice neither Sebastien nor myself had any gray hair then. We have a long history of productive and cooperative relations with Zenith. Read: 14 Years of Corvair Powered Zeniths.

.

How do I find out more information about the Open House? 

You can look at their webpage http://www.zenithair.net and read all about it, including dates, location, maps, accommodations and the schedule for the event.

.

Is there an on line sign up for this College?

No, Just show up. If you want to discuss the event in advance or have a question, call or text my personal cell, 904-806-8143.

.

Is there a fee for this College? 

No. The Homecoming is free, Zenith only charges a modest fee for the banquet held on the first evening

.

I wanted to know if you guys can get a look at my core engine while you are at the College?

Yes, I will be glad to, (We generally refer to these as ‘parking lot tours’ )  I will also be glad to transport parts like cases cranks and heads back to Florida.  Even if you are just planning on having these worked on a few months later, sending them back with us gets them in the system and gets the ball rolling.

.

Will you be test running  motors?

I will have one motor with me as an operations demonstrator, If you have a motor which needs a break in run, we need to talk about it and plan in advance. Call me soon.

.

Will there be flying Corvair Powered planes there?

Yes, we have ad 3-5 every year for the last 10 years.

.

Is there on site Camping? are their Motels? 

Yes, the Mexico MO airport has good camping, but no hook ups. The town is a few miles from the airport, and it has a number of hotels and motels. Do not wait too long to plan, they fill up with several hundred people coming to town.

.

Do you have links to previous colleges there?

Get a look at this story: Photos from Corvair College #34 at Zenith A/C

and: Corvair College #30 Running Engines,

and: Corvair College #30 Good Times

and for more general information:

Corvair College Links:

Corvair College reference page

Corvair College History….in photos

College engine build options for closing the case

Basic Corvair College Skills, examples of learning

College Tech

.

WW.

.

 

Zenith 601HDS Performance, and why Vx and Vy are important.

Builders,

Larry Nelson sent in these rate of climb performance numbers for his Zenith 601HDS: 

.

Outside air temperature at 175′ MSL …100F

Density Altitude…..3,000′

Unbroken climb from 175′ MSL to 4,000′ MSL…800′ per min. 

Airspeed for climb…..75 kts.

Engine sustained temps……….Oil-235F (max is 265F) CHT-330F (max is 420F)

.

Aircraft:

709 pounds, empty (HDS’s are the lightest of the 601 family, and this is an exceptionally light one, notice it has no paint nor interior) Test was flown at 1,100 pounds.

Powered by 2,700cc, 100HP Corvair, Warp Drive 2 blade prop, 66″ diameter, set at 8 degrees at tips, turning 3,000 rpm in climb.

.

……………

.

Note: Larry is an engineer who works for the Department of Defense at Yuma Proving Grounds, testing vehicles and weapons systems. When he provides data, it is real. He does not put ego ahead of the truth. Our industry is unfortunately dominated by “Brochure Performance.” All tests I have ever done, dyno runs, weight and balance measurements, performance numbers, have all been done in public, where people can watch. Larry is flying his plane to the September Zenith Homecoming, where anyone can verify the numbers above.

.

.

Above, Larry with his bird. This plane has my new nose bowl. Read this: STOL Bowl #4201-B, flying in video.  If his name sounds familiar, it is because he is also our selected oil analysis expert. Check out this story: Corvair Oil Analysis. This program will shortly be the subject of another video.  Larry is also remembered as the guy who paid for  the parts in his engine with ammunition: Acceptable methods of payment for Corvair parts. Quite a character.

.

………………

.

THE CRITICAL LESSON:

.

Two months ago, we had a builder who had a 601-HDS like Larry’s, with the exception of it having tricycle gear and a 3,000cc Corvair tuned for 115HP.  He reported to me that his plane “barely climbed.” He told me he decided to remove the engine from the plane, and sell it for whatever he could get for it.

.

After going over a lot of details, I finally asked him what airspeed he was using to climb, and he told me 95-100kts. I pointed out that this was way too high an airspeed to be climbing at on a plane with a top speed of perhaps 8-10 mph more. I pointed out that as a rule, all aircraft in level flight at their top speed have a rate of climb of exactly zero feet per minute. That light planes climb best at their L/D speed. (The only exception to this is aircraft with a very high power to weight ratio and fixed pitch props)

.

The builder adamantly refused to climb the plane slower, claiming that it would overheat. I suggested that he revise his cooling, because I had just flown in Ken Pavlou 601XL / 3.3 Corvair, and we were a lot heavier, and had still had plenty of cooling for a 125HP Corvair engine at a normal climb speed. I pointed out that the phase one testing of the airplane required him to test the plane to determine Vx and Vy, and he had to enter these in the logs. If his plane ran a bit hot, it could be corrected, as proven by Larry’s data showing the performance at 100F.  Last we spoke, builder was not interested.

.

These are not new concepts, I have written about them extensively, such as this story: Critical Understanding #3, Rate of Climb, the critical prop evaluation. If you had reasonably good flight instruction, or any kind of a rigorous biennial flight review, the instructor would cover these types of information. If you are new to flying, and you would like to understand more of these issues from the undisputed source, buy a copy of this book and read it: Greatest Book on Flying Ever Written,

.

wewjr.

.

 

 

 

Two very different Outcomes: Choose your own path.

Builders,

Here are two polar opposite stories, two builders of Corvair powered planes, who had radically different outcomes on their first flight this week. The difference in outcomes is solely attributable to decisions the builders made. If you disagree, and  think the difference is that some people are ‘lucky’, let me strongly urge you to get out of aviation, now while you are still ok.

.

Success: Andy Mechling’s 3.0L Corvair powered Zenith 750 Cruiser. 

Andy called Dan and gave him a run down on the first two flights, both went very well, and he was showing real performance numbers like 110+ mph as a cruise setting with no wheel pats, larger tires and a climb prop setting. Engine was cool with a STOL Bowl , and everything is going very well. Satisfied builder at the beginning of many fine adventures.

.


.

Above: Get a good look at Andy’s expression the minute his engine fired up on the run stand at a 2016 finishing School we held at SPA. Read the full story here: Zenith 750 engine; Andy Mechling’s 3,000cc/120HP Corvair

.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

.

Not Success: Pietenpol completed by a man who elected not to talk with me about his project crashes on its first ‘flight’:

https://www.nbc4i.com/news/local-news/plane-crash-reported-in-heath/

.

First, let me say I’m very thankful that the guy wasn’t seriously hurt or killed. The investigators today said he was doused in fuel, and it was something of a miracle he wasn’t killed. Much of the following info I share isn’t speculation, it is from the actual investigators. Additionally, the first flight was captured on video,a more reliable source than personal recollections.

.

On June 20th, I wrote the following story on my blog, and yes this is the same aircraft: Need Help Contacting the Builder of this Aircraft ASAP. I wrote it because I was interested in speaking with the builder before he went flying and something went wrong. He contacted me the next day, and said I have to take his airplanes picture off my site, and off FB, as it was ‘Copywritten’ I wasn’t into debating it, my goal was to get him to reconsider some things I saw, even though he was not a builder of mine, and he never bought anything from me. The guy who sold him the project told him it was a WW conversion, it wasn’t, I didn’t care, just wanted to start a conversation with the guy to get him to reconsider some stuff. He wasn’t belligerent, but he wasn’t interested in talking. I’m a very serious respecter of personal choice, and it was his absolute right to make that decision. In the last few days some people on the net, with an axe to grind, have implied that no one tried to assist this man. That is complete BS, I did.

.

The plane tried to take off from a 4,900′ paved runway. That is at least ten times longer than a Pietenpol would need to get airborne from. It never gaining tree top altitude, but the pilot apparently never pulled the power back.  The plane flew another 1/2 mile, was not going to clear a line of trees, and the pilot tried landing in a rough field. The planes wing was completely displaced on contact with the ground, the fuel tank ruptured, and the plane was destroyed.

.

I have no idea if he read this 2016 story, but there is a reason why I selected it as story topic number one in the series.Critical Understanding #1, Take off distance.. If a pilot didn’t want to have this accident, all he had to do was pull the throttle back when he passed say 800′ and was still on the ground. Anyone who has seen Corvair powered Pietenpols taking off at Brodhead can see they only need 300-500′ for a modest regular takeoff. Still holding the throttle in thousands of feet down the runway isn’t a mechanical problem, it is a judgement error.  Any pilot, in any plane, who pushes the throttle forward without knowing his exact abort point on the runway, is making a judgement error, even if he never has an issue. The error is starting a takeoff with no plan. If you have been around homebuilding for a number of years, it is stunning how often this becomes a ‘first flight’ accident.

.

If you have not seen the series, they are all listed right here: Critical Understanding Reference Page. My commitment to assisting builders starts with the things I write and teach. It extends all the way to trying to contact people who are not even customers of mine.

.

The investigators mentioned that the plane likely had a home made prop on it, and that it never made full static rpm. I addressed both of these issues in this story: Critical Understanding #2, Absolute Minimum Static RPM.,  spelling out that no Corvair powered plane should ever be flown with less than 2700 static rpm.  Let me be very clear, it obviously wasn’t making anywhere near the level of thrust that even a very modest running Corvair turning a factory made prop would have. Included in the story is this sentence:

“No offense to any builder who wants to make his own Piet prop, but you have to look at what you are getting over a Warp Drive prop besides looks”

.

I’m going to spell this out for new people: I could put a 66″ long 2 x 6 on the front of a Corvair and it would turn 2700 static rpm, but it would make Zero thrust, it would not even allow the plane to taxi at 2 mph. That is a ‘safe’ home made prop. I could put a 66″long Warp Drive prop on the same plane and it would 2700 rpm, and fly great, because it would make about 400 pounds of thrust. The trouble with many home made or small company props is they may make the required rpm, but that is no indication what so ever that they make enough thrust. They may make just enough to get the plane in trouble. I have written countless stories about this, like this one: Critical Understanding #3, Rate of Climb, the critical prop evaluation., and I genuinely hope the next guy flying a Corvair powered plane reads them, takes them to heart, and acts accordingly.

.

ww.

.

PS, if anyone is tempted to use the comments section here to say anything about the Piet pilot, Other than “I hope he fully recovers” , please don’t. The event has happened and nothing will change that now. The story here isn’t about one man’s mishap, its about making sure that your own personal first flight goes just like Andy Mechling’s. And that outcome solely depends on decisions you will make.