Zenith/Corvair – Year round in Newfoundland.


Jeff Moores of Newfoundland is our most remote builder/Corvair pilot. His plane is a Zenith 750 cruiser powered by a 3,000cc/120 HP Corvair engine, built straight from my manuals and our parts catalogs. The really unique element of Jeff’s approach is to fly the plane all year. This is made possible by two factors: He flies it with Full Lotus floats, and second, he is one hearty guy, even by Canadian standards.




Above, Jeff demonstrates what it takes to just get into the man door on his hangar in the winter. Going flying in the winter can involve serious snow mining.  In his hand, Jeff in holding “Stick and Rudder”, the greatest book on flying ever written. It is a classic you should own and study also.


Jeff’s hangar is by the side of a lake. In the summer, he rolls the plane out on a special cart to the water. In the winter, the inflated rubber cells of the Full Lotus floats work equally well off snow or glare ice. The installation keeps his his Zenith operational all year in a climate which can be very harsh. While Newfoundland is ‘just’ 50 degrees north latitude, it is known for very windy conditions. Jeff reported that his record short take off on a very cold day, directly into a very strong wind was just twenty feet.


Jeff’s 750 Cruiser now has 200 hours on it. He specifically built it as an upgrade from his previous plane, a Merlin GT that he also flew on floats, logging more than 300 hours of Corvair powered flight time on that airframe. Jeff said the GT was an honest plane, but the Cruiser is a serious, across the board improvement for his operations.  He pointed out the speed of the combination is important in a location where high prevailing winds can really reduce ground speeds to windward.


Jeff is an instructor of mechanical arts in the Canadian educational system He really knows machines. While he can appreciate high-tech in some settings, the simplicity of the Corvair makes the most sense to him in the harsh conditions of Newfoundland. Direct drive, carb, gravity feed, air cooled, etc, when you think about inspections and preflights, the simpler the better is his perspective.


I happened to spend 1/2 hour on the phone with Jeff this morning.  It was a good chance to catch up, discuss things in the future. Some people will ask why I didn’t put up a picture of his plane, or some detailed list of performance specifications, but the picture above reflects the focus of this story; A very individual builder, who carefully considered both his airframe and the power plant, a guy who expanded his skills and talents, who is now out savoring the fruit of his endeavors. Just like Jeff, you deserve the same story.









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.

One Response to Zenith/Corvair – Year round in Newfoundland.

  1. aselliott says:

    Love that photo! That is one hardy aviator! 🙂 Sure, it’s too hot here in AZ in the summer, but “You don’t have to shovel sunshine!”

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