Friendly reminder on manual upgrades

Builders,

A while back we asked anyone who wished to upgrade to the new manual to send in their address. We sent out a notice of the reduced price of manual for upgrades, and then sent out a large number of manuals, to all the addresses we received.

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We understand when things fall through the cracks every now and then, but it has caught my attention that nearly 50% of the builders we sent the manual to did not get around to returning the registration page nor the payment. If you are one of the builders who didn’t have a chance to take care of this, I thank you in advance for doing so now. -ww,

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If you have any questions, you can send a direct email to me at: WilliamTCA@aol.com

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Blast from the Past, Oshkosh 2003:

Gentleman aviator Marv Hoppenworth with William Wynne.

“One happy meeting that sums up the whole experience was recognizing and meeting Jay’s Hoppenworth’s father, Marv . At Brodhead, Jay had shared pictures and stories of his parents, who had met and gone flying in an L-4 on one of their first dates. A few days after Brodhead, we met the man himself at Oshkosh. Marv is truly old school EAA, and it was an honor and pleasure to meet the father who was so obviously his son’s hero.”

 

Notes on Punctuation and Grammar

Update: The builder who sent the note that sparked this story sent along another that better explained his thoughts, and I admire him for doing so. It is just below. I want builders reading the story to understand that it isn’t about spelling, the central point is that we all have things that cause us to loose focus on available learning. In Dave’s case he pointed out my spelling and grammar is a distraction; It is no different than myself not learning from Chandler Titus because he didn’t acknowledge me. The point I want everyone to know is that aviation doesn’t afford the luxury of allowing any distraction, big, small, personal or public, from getting between you and what you need to know.-ww.

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  William: I meant to compliment you on a daily offering that was not only insightful, but grammatically clean—positive reinforcement works better than criticism. I appreciate your quest for mechanical perfection, which results in excellence and progress. Keep writing. I learned something. Dave N475dg

Builders,

The letter below showed up in the comments section of my story about making 2015 your year in aviation. It was not a private email, the sender was  saying it to all readers:

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Dave G.

Congratulations! No grammatical errors, misspellings, or misuse of apostrophes. Seriously, this makes it easier for some of us to take seriously. Dave

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To Dave and all the other people who don’t take what I write seriously because it has spelling and punctuation errors:

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I began to read and write very young, before I was four. I started school more than a year early, and was always very bright. When I was a 10 years old and we were living in Thailand, it was a very safe place and I was out riding my bicycle many miles from home. On an empty country road I was hit by a driver in a car who left me for dead. Several people saw this, but there were strong spiritual, cultural and legal reasons why they did not offer any assistance.

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I awoke in the ditch after something like an hour. I found my way home, under the illusion that several years had past. I was in the 5th field hospital on Sukumvit road for a week, beside soldiers fresh out of Vietnam. There was a long year of tests and nightmares, not a lot of fun for a kid.

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The end result is that I have a particular type of brain injury, and I have never been able to spell nor see grammatical errors since, and I can only read at the same pace I can speak. In written text, even common words like ‘went’ look correctly spelled to me as booth ‘went’ and whent’ before spell check, my only ability to differentiate them was by pronouncing them at a snails pace. Looking at something I wrote at 4 am, I have no ability to tell if the spell check was on or off, and it doesn’t work well for me.

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In conversation with me you would never suspect anything like this, but that is because conversation is 100% phonetic, and this is the pathway in my brain that gets all the work. In the last 42 years, the phonetic elements have been worked to the point that I have a phenomenal memory for spoken conversation, and I can retrieve quotes from books I read a decade ago, because when I read them, I did so slowly, pronouncing everything to make it phonetic instead of visual.  None of the last 3 trucks I have owned have had a radio. I don’t need it. driving down the road late at night, I can remember note for note any song I have ever heard a few times.

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Being practical, I have a lot of things to share about airplane building, and the choices are to burden my wife with doing this for all the material I share, or not writing it.  If you like the direct honesty of the tone, I will tell you that it comes out at 4am, and if it is fed through the editing process, I am given a few hours to consider how some people will take it wrong, and invariably, it gets diluted or deleted, because when I think about our national obsession with criticizing the work of others or taking offense at things, I often never send things because when you are speaking of subjects like people you loved who’s life ended at 23, it is unpleasant have to consider people who critique it for bad grammar.

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A bigger point, that directly relates to me sharing what I know about the serious subject of building your plane. I have pointed out many times, that a builder has a moral obligation to his passengers to gather proven information on how to build the best plane he can, from All sources, not just ones he finds pleasant. The very honest story about Chandler Titus below is directly written on this subject. If it has grammatical errors, I don’t want to hear about it.

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 Although I have a lot to share, Some people are not going to take it seriously because it doesn’t meet his grammatical standards. This is nothing new to me. Last year, I directly told a guy, in person, not to do something, and 50 minutes later he tried it, and wrecked the plane. His friend offered the observation “If you had short hair, he would have listened, but he wanted to prove that he didn’t listen to people he perceived as hippies.”

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Many people think that my contribution to what they might know about planes is somehow limited to how to bolt a particular engine together. In reality, I could teach any 12 year old how to torque rod bolts. Learning concepts like how it is your moral obligation to learn from people, even ones who are unpleasant, have long hair and don’t spell correctly, does far more to reduce your risk and that of your passengers than anything I am going to show you about manipulating wrenches.

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Chandler Titus, 25 missions in a B-17 Ball turret, Pilot in the Berlin Airlift, worked at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for more than 50 years. Read the story to understand that very limited amounts of your potential knowledge will come in ‘nice’ packages.

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ERAU – models of integrity #2

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“Maybe half the stuff I know about planes comes from people I would never have chosen as a friend. I am fully aware there are many good reasons to dislike me. Do not set your goal on being friends with me, set it on learning everything I can teach you. That exchange in itself is a better basis for friendship than initially ‘liking’ someone. Trust me, on my worst day, I could run the White House protocol and etiquette department compared to Mr. Titus. I don’t know what he knew, but I am 50 times the people person he was. If I am not your kind of person, don’t let it stop you from learning what I have to share.”

Two Letters on Christmas eve.

Builders,

I write this from my sister’s house in Charleston SC, where my family is gathering for Christmas this year. After driving to NJ for my Father’s 88th birthday, My brother-in-law, John and I drove Mom and Dad here to get them to a warmer setting for the holidays.  It is a long drive, but it is easier on them than airline travel, and they still like to get out and change horizons. On Memorial day I often tell people I have the ‘ultimate luxury’ of being able to speak with my Father by just picking up the phone any day. I am well aware of how few people my age still have both their parents, and this I am most thankful for on this Christmas eve.

On my mind are two letters that came in from people who are not so lucky, and I would like to share them with you because I found them very moving. The first one came from Randy Cary. It was written in response to my story about my Fathers 88th birthday last week, a story you can read at this link: William E. Wynne Sr. turns 88 today. Note that Randy’s Dad graduated from West Point on D-Day. It made me think about all the commencement speakers who have told graduates that they will ‘make a difference in the world.’  Randy’s Father and others of the Greatest Generation certainly did, in some cases at a terrible personal cost.

“William,
Have a great time with your Dad. There is no better way to spend the holidays than to be with family. My dad graduated from West Point on June 6, 1944 and went into the lines at Bastogne on Christmas Eve of 44 in the Battle of the Bulge. Like your dad, he didn’t want special treatment and always felt that there was someone who was worse off than he was. I lost him in 2000 and miss him every day. And to think that he was 23 when he went to war and when I compare him to a lot of similarly aged young people today, it just baffles me.
Count every day as a blessing for you, as I know you do. I have read you blog for three years now.  Merry Christmas to you, Grace and your families.

Randy Cary”

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Above, Charles Poland Jr., 1947-2013.

The second letter came Aaron Poland. He wrote it about his father who sacrificed his own life to save other people’s children on January 29th 2013. If you read a single story I wrote this year, I would like it to be this one: Charles Poland Jr., An American of whom you could be proud. It is not possible to express how much the actions of Charles Poland moved me. Our world is sadly filled with people who make inaccurate judgements on the character of others based on surface issues like race, politics, appearance, professed faith or material wealth. I knew none of these things about Charles Poland when I read about the events of January 29th, and it shows you how none of these things reveal human character, only a man’s actions do. Everything you need to know about Charles Poland could be understood by considering how he chose to spend his last 60 seconds on Earth. The note I received from his son Aaron was very brief, just affirming the code that his Father lived and died by:

“I hope you where able to stop by in Newton, AL. Dad is buried in the local cemetery there. Dad was a helicopter crew chief in the US Army. Dad always believed to do the right thing at all cost and he proved it.”

This will be the first Christmas that the Poland family will have without their father. He was 66 years old, and they surely thought they would have him for many more years. As I type this, my own father sits in the next room sipping a cup of coffee with my mother by his side. Thankfulness for this drives me to acknowledge the losses of others less fortunate.

Later tonight, I am going to send a short E-mail To Aaron Poland simply saying that I think his Father was a real hero, and I was thinking of his family on this day.  If you would like to join me in this, Aaron’s E-mail address is: acpoland@gmail.com . I have never met him, don’t know anything about him except who his father was. I don’t know what ‘right’ thing to say is, but I will say something. I read an essay last year that said we don’t often face a choice between good and evil, but we continuously face choosing between doing something and doing nothing. To remember a father who instinctively chose to do something, at the cost of his life, writing a short note at Christmas seems like a small but important action.-ww

Oil Change interval, meeting the challenge

(If the picture does not come through, try hitting F5 at the top of the keyboard.)

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Builders,

I am a lucky guy. When I bring up a serious topic, I can always count on some close friends to send some supporting words of encouragement. Quite often, one of these letters will come from the illustrious mind of 601XL builder Ken Pavlou. (He is the guy who also takes care of the on line college registrations and the parking row at Oshkosh.) Because he was born in Greece, “Adonis” is one of his nicknames. “TTBL” is a reference to the film “Ted.”

” William, Hope you had a great Christmas with your family. I want to share with you that I
mounted both wings on my 601 today. It’s pretty exciting.
Being that I won’t win any awards or break records for quality or performance, I
 decided to try and break the record for longest oil change interval by going
86.5 hours. I just wish I knew of these records before I changed my oil at 0.5,
1, 5, and 10 hours. Oh well.

I wish you a happy and healthy new year. Below is photographic evidence of my progress.

TTBL, “Adonis.”

I hate to tell Ken that 86 hours is just the record for Break in oil, and he has already blown his shot at that. For all I know the longest time between regular changes may be even higher. Ken is a pretty competitive kind of guy, I am sure the will meet the challenge no matter what it is.

Shop Class as Soulcraft – a book to read

Builders,

Every year I have the same new years resolution: Read 50 books. Most years I get pretty close. The time comes from watching almost no tv during the year. It is odd that I can tell you who won the World Series and Super bowl every year in the 1970s, but I can’t tell you who won, or even played, last year. The up side of the trade off is having read several hundred books in the last 20 years. I was just finishing 2014 book #1, Seth Rosenfeld’s ‘Subversives‘, when my neighbor Buzz dropped off a book with two simple commands: “You must read this, and you must give it back” He explained the second one by saying he intended to re-read it again because it is a very rich text.

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The title jogged my memory, someone had mentioned this in a letter. In a break after dinner I sat down to read the introduction and ended up fascinated, reading the first 40 pages. I probably would have read the whole thing, but this is a very powerful essay, filled with contemplative thought, and it deserves a very engaged read.

I purposely select a number of books each year which I am inclined to not agree with the authors perspective. It is an exercise in absorbing the presented case without making up your mind about it until it is concluded, just as we are supposed to do on a jury. But in this case, I am going to jump the gun and tell you this is one of the best books I have read in 20 years.

Some writers captivate me quickly. I think is has to do with how the subject relates to periods in your life; Tim O’Brien writing ‘The things they carried,’  taking you on a guided tour of the ugliest acts and making you see the simple humanity that still lives there, spoke to things in my 20s. Junot Diaz laying bare personal mistakes too easy to relate to in ‘This is how you lose her’ brought up things from my 30s I had deceived myself into believing were forgotten.

Crawford’s  work catches me the same way, but this book is an essay on the personal value of being able to do something tangible and useful. It is not light reading, but neither is it a psychology textbook. This is something of a master atlas for a lot of the mental landscape I have been traveling in for the last 10 years.

If you would like to read an excerpt, here is a link to the original essay that was expanded into the book:

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/shop-class-as-soulcraft

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I wanted to find the letter I read about this book. I wanted to know how I almost missed having this on my reading list. I searched our mail, and tucked away in a ‘Mail Sack” set of notes was this letter from builder  Brian Manlove:

“William –Hope you had a good time at Brodhead & Oshkosh. Just finished a good book:  Shop Class as SoulCraft, by Matthew B. Crawford.  Pretty relevant for today’s world and the loss of craftsmanship and pride in “work of the hands.”Looking forward to more of your words of wisdom…Brian”

I am glad that Buzz drove over and dropped off a copy of SoulCraft, but this is a lesson to follow the endorsements of friends on books. I would be poorer in perspective without reading this book.

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Above from our Oshkosh 2013 coverage, a photo of our neighbor Buzz, who loaned me his copy of the book: “One of the unusual experiences of Oshkosh is running into people from your local airports. On the left, Florida pilot Buzz Glade brought two USAF aviators to the Corvair cookout. It was the first time these men got a good look at grassroots homebuilding and they were impressed, which is no mean feat when you consider that these guys fly F-22 Raptors as a day job.”

Mail Sack: Builder Questions, #1 RV-9?

Builders,

Here is the first of a new series, where I take actual letters from builders and answer the questions here, where the answers can serve many builders. Because the writers sent in the questions as private email, I have trimmed their name off the email to respect their privacy. Their questions are in blue, I put the answer in black. You can click on the colored links in the answers to read stories with longer explanations.

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William,

Would you please answer some questions for me?

1. I have a Corvair conversion manual, #7856 that I purchased when I met you at the Arlington Washington airshow probably 6 years or more ago. It is a 2006 version. Is that still the most current version of the manual?

The manual has had many small updates since then, but if you read this site and keep up with the comments here, you do not need a new manual. Since 2006 we have written a very popular flight ops manual that you should consider.

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2. I have found 2 engines – an RB and a YN. From your manual it appears that I could use everything minus the heads from the RB engine and the heads from the YN – if I bought both of them. Is this true or would you recommend waiting for a better engine?

The RB is a 140 HP manual transmission engine. If the crank does not need to be reground, you can magnaflux it and use it as it with a Dan Gen I bearing. Read this story: Getting Started in 2013, Part #5, ‘Allan Able’ short block. If the YN engine is a 1964 (it could be an un-useable 61-63) The heads will bolt on and work.

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3. Would I have to re-nitride the crank from the RB engine or just do a magnaflux inspection?

See above.

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4. In your manual and web pages you say that an engine should cost no more than $150 to $200. Is that still what most used engines are going for?

$250 to $300 is more common these days but plenty of guys who run adds on craigslist looking for engines pay less.

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5. Has anyone used a Corvair engine in an RV-9 or -9A?

The only model RV that has flown on a Corvair was a -3. The guy had it on there and flew it for several years, but had issues. He had a turbo, injected 3,100, not really what I would call simple nor representative of how we suggest people do things. For all this work, it was not significantly faster than Dan’s 3,000 cc Panther prototype, which is totally reliable. You can’t really blame the engine for not being what some people wanted.

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6. If not – why not? I think a 120 hp Corvair engine with the Weseman billet crank is a perfect fit for the RV-9. Even with all of the successful CH650/Corvair installations, I think the RV-9 is a better airplane than the Zenith, even though the Corvair engine would have to be moved ~7″ forward in the RV-9 to stay away from the aft CG limit.

Some people like Van’s products, others like Zeniths. You should build the one you like. I am sure the combination would work, but just about every RV-9 I have seen, including the one that belongs to my next door neighbor, has 150 or more HP.  RV-9 would probably be faster, but the Zenith would get off faster and might have a better climb rate.  It will take 1/2 the time to build a Zenith 650.  I have spent a fair chunk of time in person with both Chris Heintz and Richard Vangrunsven, and I will say that Heintz’s personal philosophy on individual choice appeals to me more. I have many friends with RV’s but I occasionally get tired of the element of the RV-fan club that attacks anyone who proposes something different, like putting a Corvair in a -9. Those people seem to forget that the RV-1 was a modified Ray Stitts design, and if Stitts had the same attitude, there would be no such thing as an RV-anything.  The guy who runs the Van’s Airforce website has made some very negative comments about freedom of choice in flying and turning people into the FAA. In 11 years of working with the Heintz family, I have never found an element like that. I don’t need everyone to love nor understand what I am doing, but it is tiring if the official attitude toward ‘experimental’ is negative.

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7. Could you design and fabricate an engine mount for a Corvair/RV9 installation?

Yes. It would be easier to start with a an existing RV-9 mount to get the gear leg sockets already done. If you would like to see the geometry, it would be nearly identical to this one we built for the Wittman Buttercup:( http://www.flycorvair.com/hangar1209.html )  there are several photos at that website. See picture below.

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8. When will you hold the next Corvair College on the West Coast?

We are giving a lot of thought to having one in Chino, but I hope to have a California tour before the end of the year, even if we can’t organize a full blown college until 2015. -ww.

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From 2009 “ Above, a motor mount for our Wittman Buttercup project. It is an intensely complicated Mount because it incorporates Wittman’s tapered rod landing gear sockets (the Buttercup actually uses RV-6 landing gear legs). I spoke on the phone with Earl Luce, the plans provider. He gave me all the operational data and weight and balance info for his O-200 powered plane, which I mathematically worked out to our own installation. The Mount resembles the O-300 mount for a Tailwind.  After completely welding it, I took it to our local powdercoater, and had it done in U.S. Navy gray. It is the 40th different Corvair Motor Mount Design that I have built.”

 

Mail Sack, Various topics, 9/27/13, Part one.

Builders,

Here is a sample of the mail on a number of different stories. To refresh your memory, you can click on the link to read the original story the letter is referring to. To cover mail like this takes a few hours, but I like it because the things builders write make me stop, consider, really think. At 50, I am less sure of many things than I was when I was 25. Today there are more facets to issues, less hard lines on many topics. I am never convinced that I am absolutely right on any issue, I only am willing to say what I believe to be true because I have experienced it under these circumstances, and took the measure of what we are speaking of. I go out of my way to resist using that position as a spring board to jump to conclusions that come in sentences with words like “always”, “never” and “everyone.” Invariably, such sweeping statements are proven wrong with a single exception, but their real trap is they are the easy way out, the simple answer to the hard question, something I have learned never to trust.

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On the topic of:  Sunday,  a long day at the airport.

Elaine Culver writes:

You are one heck of a theologian.  “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi set”  (sounds even better in Duruflé’s setting.)

Gyro builder and CC#9 grad Brent Brown writes:

I hope to see you and Grace at a fly in someday.

Brent, it has been too long, if you are in the country, stop by and see us at CC#27.-ww.

builder Phil Carley writes:

William, Thank you for sharing the Tom C. story.  Just another reminder for me to be thankful for the loved ones in my life. My wife always tells me (and I need reminding of this). We do not know what events or sorrows happen to other people.  Therefore, patience and kindness speaks volumes.

Builder Daniel Mears writes:

Your reflections on Tom C. remind me of my father-in-law who was somewhat like the Clint Eastwood character in Gran Torino.  Rough on the exterior, a World War II Vet who was an avid gun collector, he drank a little, and wasn’t easy to warm up to.  Once you got below that crusty exterior there was an absolute treasure trove of historical data locked into a mind with an IQ off the chart.  So easily we dismiss people because of their bluntness or lack of finesse but I find that folks shouldn’t be so quickly judged.  I too am an Army veteran and my son just returned from Afghanistan a couple of months ago.  You never know what dragons are in the closets or the atrocities a person may have repeating in their mind… Thanks for your insights, it is uplifting to see what you’re thinking about in the wee hours.

Builder Allen Oliver writes:

“J’aurais dû être plus gentille—I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, Ah, I wish I was not good to that person. You will never think that.” ― Khaled Hosseini, “And the Mountains Echoed” William, you appear to have done better than most with Tom in this regard.

Builder Sonny Webster writes:

William, while I fully appreciate all you have done and continue to do for the Corvair “movement” I think you should consider writing as a second career or hobby.  You have great insight on the human condition and a way with words that conveys the true depth of every story you write.  I too   am thankful for having a loving family upbringing and feel very sad for people like Tom.  Building airplanes and motors is more than just going through some mechanical motions; it is really more about the characters of the people who take this path to finding satisfaction in life.  While I have chosen the path of a professional life for the sake of providing a “nice” lifestyle for my family I truly long for a simpler, more gratifying lifestyle – even if that means making much less than my current 6-figure income.  Were it just me I would gladly step back however, I have a wife and two teenage daughters who have become accustomed to the material and social standards that have become normal so I will have to stay committed to a very stressful, unrewarding existence in my current automotive career until such time that I can justify finally living a little more for me and my dreams.  I sometimes feel guilty for such a seemingly selfish agenda but I always go back to the analogy of cockpit decompression:  I must put on my oxygen mask first because if I pass out I can be of no help to those around me.  Thanks again for your work and words.-Sonny

Pietenpol builder Terry Hand, USMC/ATP writes:

William, You wake up every morning with the perfect reminder of how we should live our lives. You wake up and say, “Good morning, Grace.” Grace is defined in Christianity as God’s free and unmerited favor toward us. People may not be Christian in their religious beliefs, but it is hard, if not impossible, to argue with the concept. Free and unmerited favor. It is how we should live and treat those around us. Thank you for telling us Tom C.’s story and reminding us a little of how we should be as humans, and not just builders. Semper Fi, Terry.

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On the topic of : Brodhead, Oshkosh and Beyond 2013

Merlin on floats Corvair builder and flyer Jeff Moores writes:

Hi William, I know you guys were very busy but it was great to talk to you and Grace at Oshkosh this year. I also had the opportunity to meet and chat with Vern, Roy and Mark at your booth, as well as the Johnson brothers. My wife and I  also met fellow builder/flyer Pat Hoyt and his wife. To be able to talk to another successful builder and see his installation was an excellent experience. When we were at Oshkosh four years ago I was only considering using the Corvair and this year being there as a successful builder and flyer was very special indeed !!-Jeff

Pietenpol builder Mark Chouinard writes:

Took several photos at Brodhead and around the booth at OSH with the intention of sending you some, which I obviously never got around to… glad to see that you got a bunch of good ones.  Getting a lot of compliments on my engine and mount.  Looking forward to getting both installed.  Enjoyed the write up… by the way, my tape measure is fine, I’m 77″.  It was good to see you guys… see you next year in San Marcos, TX.

Builder Brian Manlove writes:

William –Hope you had a good time at Brodhead & Oshkosh. Just finished a good book:  Shop Class as SoulCraft, by Matthew B. Crawford.  Pretty relevant for today’s world and the loss of craftsmanship and pride in “work of the hands.”Looking forward to more of your words of wisdom…Brian

Zenith 601XL builder and flyer Pat Hoyt writes:

Brodhead and Oshkosh are the high points of the year.  Reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and seeing all the amazing examples of craftsmanship on display.  A week or two just isn’t enough…Flying ones own homebuilt airplane into Oshkosh for the first time is one of those big milestones of life for people like us.  The experience of flying there and “being there” – in an airplane that I built – was unlike anything I could have imagined.  Patrick Hoyt N63PZ

PS:  here’s a nice picture of your dog along with a couple of characters at the fire circle at Brodhead:  https://plus.google.com/photos/104939905154766012049/albums/5774020932215628737/5911667591985435314?banner=pwa&pid=5911667591985435314&oid=104939905154766012049

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On the topic of Back from the road, notes on Communications

Builder Dan Branstrom writes:

William, I suggest that you repeat this every month, especially before you go to OSH, SNF, or a CC. You might also might put it on your website, as well as close to the order form.  Yes I know, people don’t read, but it sure stops complaints cold when you say, “As I wrote on my website…” (or manual or blog). As it’s written in your manual, people expect someone with white lab coat and lots of assistants, while the reality is far different.  By running a lean operation, you’re able not only to stay in business, but provide excellent, safe products at a reasonable price.-Dan

Pietenpol builder Terry Hand writes:

What a great post! Now I know EXACTLY how to reach you! It is now in my important notes binder. I have heard people at times say, “I can’t get hold of that William Wynne guy”. What is his issue? The issue is that you are focused on the task at hand and the person at hand. Simple as that. I would much rather have you focused when you are building my die spring gear, than to have you trying to talk, eat, hold your phone between you ear and your shoulder while trying to safely and accurately weld on my landing gear, thanks for what you do. Terry.

Zenith 650 builder Paul Normandin writes:

William, I don’t have any issue with your philosophy; when it comes time for you to weld a mount for me I would rather know that 100% of your attention is on the task at hand! Too many folks today want/require instant gratification, thank you Electronic Age. I more or less expected that you would take some much deserved time off after your 20 state trip, any normal person would. Why don’t the allegedly normal people who call you and complain understand that?
I enjoyed reading about Brodhead and Oshkosh, thanks for the wonderful update and photos. I hope your trip to visit your Dad and family, and Grace’s visit as well, were both pleasant and restful. I will be swinging by my brother’s place in N.C. before heading to Corvair Collage 27. I haven’t seen that one in years and am looking forward to a long talk (or fight) like you can only have with family… and I won’t have a cell phone to my ear while driving either!
BTW, I have done some small amount of retail and customer facing jobs and I can say without fear of INTELLIGENT contradiction, that the customer is not ALWAYS right… I have found that the customer is occasionally an idiot.

Paul, one of the core qualities of our work is the recognition that if you gather people who want to learn and create things, you will have a much better group of people to work with than a guy only gathering customers who want to buy something. Many of the people who work in our industry relentlessly complain about their  customers behind the scenes. I will often interject that you get the people you attract, and we are a lot happier because our efforts attract builders, not consumers.-ww 

Builder Vic Delgado writes:

I don’t know about that truck being basic William, I see some luxury as that looks like a pretty fancy armrest you have there. -Vic

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Parting Shot on Sunday,  a long day at the airport.

by Zenith 750 builder Charlie Redditt:

Reminds me of when I worked as a field assistant for a Geologist in Death Valley, from Oct of 1990 through May of 1991.  Dr. Jay Kent Snow (aka Zeke) was mapping the strata of the Panamint Mountains that form the NW wall of the  valley.  In addition to helping  him with fieldwork, I also did the cooking and other chores.  Every two weeks we’d change camp, which meant I also got to do the laundry, take out the trash, and get the mail.  All of which  meant I got to  hike an extra 5 to 10 miles back to our support vehicle and drive about 15 miles back to the Park Service concession at Stovepipe Wells, which is what passed for civilization out there,  Our vehicle happened to be a 4wd Chevy suburban  probably not too different from your recent purchase, although Zeke and his boss, Brian Wernicke, had special ordered it with a three speed manual transmission.  It also came with a 55 gallon barrel of water,  a week or two of food, two spares, shovels, and chains.  Once inside the Panamints, the road was a canyon floor and breakdowns could be lethal if you weren’t prepared.  The canyons could get rather narrow in places as well, and I remember having to roll the rear window down, from the outside of the vehicle,  just in case we got wedged in a tight spot and  wouldn’t be able to open the doors.

Well,  the point of all this is that I can relate to your desire for simplicity due to one experience in particular.  One day that December I found myself driving back into the Panamints when the suburban just died.  No warning, no running rough, it just quit.  I tried cranking it a few times, and it turned over just fine, but did not start.  I  looked under the hood and nothing obvious seemed amiss.  Since that was the limit of my mechanical ability, I was faced with two choices: either hike back ten miles (through a sandstorm) down to Stovepipe Wells to get help, or hike 5 miles up the canyon to explain the situation to Zeke (who by now was wondering what was taking me so long)  spend the night at our campsite with minimal supplies, and make the trek back to Stovepipe Wells the next day.   Not life threatening, but not pleasant choices either.

“God takes care of fools and drunks,”  and so at this point I benefit from what I can only explain as divine intervention.   Note that by this time I had spent over two months in Death Valley, and during that whole time I had never seen another soul up in the mountains except for Zeke, the guy I worked for.  For some reason Death Valley just isn’t that popular a hiking spot.  If you want peace and quiet, it’s hard to beat.   So, of course it is at this very moment that some random guy comes by, riding his mountain bike.

When I first saw him I realized that I passed his truck about 5 miles back at the entrance into the Panamints from the valley floor, and so I flagged him down and asked him if he could give me a ride back into Stovepipe Wells, or at least carry word back that we needed a tow.  Before I could finish telling him all the particulars of my plight, however, he stopped me and says, “I’m a mechanic, do you mind if I take a look?”

Once I recovered from my faint, I eagerly helped him pop the hood and poke around. Took him about a minute to find the problem, which was a blown fuse to the ignition system.  He  swapped the radio fuse in for the blown one, and I’m good as new.   Most of my driving  experience till that point was in a ‘73 VW superbeetle, with which I had traversed the country.  Although it had its issues it was not susceptible to sudden death by fuse.

The guy’s  name was Gordan Yasman, and he ran the “Yaztek” garage in Sebastapol, California. Refusing payment, he gave me his card and continued on his way, cycling up the canyon.  BTW in my remaining six months in Death Valley,  I never saw another hiker, cyclist, ranger or any other person in the Panamints except for Zeke and my girlfriend Susan.  After Gordon took care of me I was literally looking over my shoulder for Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold.

Mail Sack, Easter 2013.

A sample of the mail:

From Anthony Liberatore:

“Fantastic posting William. In a blessing of spending Easter with some friends in their home, the Dad Ted and I discussed are girls, their pursuits, and their futures. He mentioned their activities they engage in now and in the future especially if they are broad with give them perspective. This meeting with this humble gent and this article adds to my perspective and blessings. Well done Sir, My best to you and Grace on this Easter Day. Anthony”

From Sprint builder Joe Goldman:

“William have you read the book of editorials called “For two cents plain” This is about, and I forget the gentleman’s name, his writings in the Carolina Israelite. I think it was in the early sixties. You would find a kinship in the writings. Musings like why I never send back dinner when the waitress brings peas instead of the ordered string beans. See you on the 12th. Joe”

From builder Jackson Ordean:

No one ever flew higher than those on the wings of Love. You got it! Happy Easter, and Thanks! {;^)”

From builder Dan Branstrom:

“Thanks for your powerful words”

From Zenith 750 builder Blaine Schwartz:

“William, Your message is right on the point, as usual. We all have so many things to be thankful for. The very fact we can think about building and flying airplanes is evidence our daily lives have been blessed to the point that our cups runneth over. You mention those who can’t seem to find happiness; we should all view the cup as half full instead of half empty. Thank you for you thought-provoking expression.”

From Builder Bruce Culver:

“You see, William, this is why I make it a point to read everything you write, whether it’s strictly about airplanes and engines or not. This is the sort of deeply meaningful philosophy we don’t get in most places in popular culture, but this kind but poor man exemplifies the best of the human condition. And you’re in good company: Rabbi Harold Kushner, perhaps best known for his book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, is quoted, “I used to admire people who are intelligent; now I admire people who are kind.” Intelligence is a gift; kindness is a virtue. The gift is nice, but the virtue is priceless. And for the record, that watchman may not have much in material things, but he is far richer than most in spirit. He does indeed have much to be thankful for…..”

Mail Sack 6/25/13, Cell Phones and Upcoming Events.

Builders,

Here is a sample of the mail:

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on the subject of  Turtles and Cell Phones, 6/24/13.

Zenith 750 builder/flyer (O-200) Jimmy Young wrote:

William, I grew up as a little turd hunting anything that moved with my BB gun. I don’t know why I wanted to kill every bird I saw, probably because I was just young, stupid, & dealing with something the wrong way. I was that “self-absorbed child” you spoke of. The prettier the bird the harder I tried. Cardinals, Blue Jays, they seemed more “valuable” than a common sparrow. Somehow, I gradually over the years grew into a more respectable game law-abiding young man by the time I was in my late teens. Today at 58, I haven’t pulled a trigger on anything other than an occasional rat with my Benjamin pellet gun in my suburban back yard in probably 30 years. Not because I am an Anti-Hunter or tree hugger, but because I simply don’t care to kill animals anymore unless it is necessary.

As I reflect back on my life & fast forward to the last 7 years, my best years to date & the only years of aviation and plane building, I fly around in my Zenith 750 just like those birds do. There is irony in this, now I’m the little bird. I had good flight training, do a good preflight, and respect the laws of the 3 referees you frequently refer to. Yet on Sunday, I was about to take off with a buddy for a little local flying. I had just added some fuel to both tanks, did my preflight, and was taxiing out on our grass strip when I heard some banging on the side of my fuselage. It was my buddy who had jumped out of his Taylorcraft & run up to my plane to warn me I had fuel pouring out of my left wing. I shut the engine down and found I had left the fuel cap off that tank during refueling. Not that this particular mistake would have necessarily turned into a disaster, but it woke me up to the fact that I missed something that should have been obvious because it wasn’t on my checklist and I had not been thorough. It is now.

The importance of your posts on safety cannot be stressed enough. Thanks for teaching me a lot about engines over the last few years and for sharing what you know with us, it is much appreciated. I read your column every time I see there is a new post. Jimmy Houston, TX

Zenith 601XLB builder/flyer Dr. Gary Ray writes:

Disrespect for life, disrespect for the lives sacrificed in order to build this country, disrespect for a person standing right in front of them, all the while expecting you to do more for them than they are willing to do for themselves.   The moral, never turn your back to one of these people since this disrespect flows outward in all directions.  They will not be good friends, customers or citizens.  There can not be any mutually beneficial relationship with somebody that displays this trait.

Builder Doug Wright writes:

William, Back in the early 1980’s I served two and a half years at the garden spot of the army, Ft. Polk, Louisiana.  Now don’t get me wrong, Ft. Polk really is a pretty place and because I have always tried to find the good in anywhere I have lived I could never understand why so many people had such a negative opinion of the post.  Maybe it was because just a few years earlier Ft. Polk was the last stateside stop many guys had before heading to Vietnam.  Tigerland!

One of the negative aspects of Ft. Polk and the surrounding area was the number of turtles that would migrate across the road and get squashed by the traffic. Here I was a rough and tough combat engineer and on more than one occasion I would pull over and save some poor turtle from imminent destruction.  I am sure there are some who witnessed this and thought I was a big softy, but I really did not care.  We were training to meet the Soviets in the Fulda Gap and I gladly would have killed as many of those folks as the situation called for but it always bothered me to see those turtles run over in the middle of the road. Doug, Stillwater, OK

Zenith 750 builder Dan Glaze wrote:

William, in all my years spent at various Air Force Bases around the world, when Old Glory was run up the mast at the start of day, every body on that base snapped to attention,if you could not see the flag from where you were, you needed to know where she was and be facing that way,at night, when tapps played we gave her the same respect, and if you didnt have a big lump in your throat thinking about all the men and women that gave their life for her then you needed more training, and teachers were not hard to find. I am a pretty laid back guy but will not tolerate disrespect for Country or Flag,  Dan-o

Zenith 650 builder Paul Normandin wrote:

Zenith 650 Builder William, at about the time you were driving past that poor turtle to get your mail yesterday I was driving into work. I live in New Hampshire, work in Massachusetts and have to drive 3 badly congested highways in the process. In the course of this drive I was cut off three times (coincidentally, all three drivers were driving Acuras). In each instance the offending driver had a cell phone glued to their ear, two of whom were also gesticulating with their other hand. Apparently they were using their prehensile knees to drive. I have had a mobile phone since 1987, my original was a Motorola Bag phone, and I have had the same mobile number all that time. At no point in 26 years have I used my phone in any way that would endanger myself (bad enough) or others (worse). Maybe being a life long motorcycle rider has made me more aware of the stupidity of not having 100% of my attention on the task at hand. I can’t even in good conscience state, “These damn kids and their cell phones!” as I have seen just as many idiots our age engaged in the same bad behavior. As far as your shutting off the ignorant man who took a call while in the middle of talking to you, I would have done the same thing. There are a number of businesses locally, coffee shops, sandwich shops and other service related establishments, that have signs stating in no uncertain terms that they will not wait on anyone who is using a cell phone. Bully for them and for you. At some point we will meet at a College and you will periodically see me checking my phone. The major difference between the folks you were referencing and myself is this; more than anything else, my cell phone is a time piece and not a communication device (I haven’t owned a watch in almost 20 years)! Paul P.S. And everyone should SHUT UP during the National Anthem!

International Aviator of adventure Tom Graziano wrote:

William, The ignorance, stupidity and rudeness of the spoiled sheeple in Amerika nowadays amazes me every time I return stateside. It also makes me wonder if the hardships and sacrifices our men and women overseas have been enduring are worth it. Then….I think of the people who think and act as you and I do, and I conclude that it is – because of them.

Went to a breakfast fly-in at one of the local airfields, recently. Untowered airport, left traffic – both patterns, and a favorite of guys flying antiques and ultralights. Lots of planes flew in. So, I’m getting ready to take off when I hear some knucklehead calling that he’s entering the downwind for a right base. WHAT!?! I inform him that both patterns are LEFT traffic and look up in time to see him  blasting along at pattern altitude going in the OPPOSITE direction of normal traffic. He smugly tells me that, since he didn’t hear anyone in the pattern, he decided to just come straight in and do right traffic. Apparently, it never occurred to Mr. Einstein that some aircraft don’t have radios, that radios don’t always work, and that there actually have been cases of pilots not being on the correct on frequency or not making calls. He was enlightened when he landed, but he was an arrogant sort, so it probably didn’t do any good. Just proves that we can’t regulate stupid….

Pietenpol builder and ATP Dave Aldrich wrote:

Hi William I once had an Airbus engineer ask the hypothetical question “Suppose the chances of your cell phone interfering with the aircraft are one in a million.  Pretty good odds.  There are roughly 5,000 commercial flights a day.  How do you like your odds now?”  The part B of all this is, well let’s just suppose that one cell phone doesn’t cause any interference (there’s probably some empirical data to support this) but has anyone done any kind of test with multiple cell phones, wi-fi enabled computers and idiot pads?  The electro-magnetic spectrum cringes…

I’ve done a load analysis on the Pietenpol I’m building and can’t figure out how to get more than a 12 amp load, even considering the 80% requirement.  That’s with position lights/strobes, radio, transponder, ignition, and electric gauges.  If you wanted to go all electronic, the Dynon simple EFIS displays draw about 1 amp each.  Yes, a landing light, heated pitot, a fancy autopilot and the gee whiz almost real life displays will get you above the 20 amp threshold but how many folks really need all those toys?  If you did a lot of long cross-country flying, an autopilot could be considered almost essential but you could still stay within the 1 alternator power budget with careful selection of components.  Experimental aviation is supposed to be fun, not an extension of your kid’s X-Box.  You want to fly hard IFR at night?  Get a Baron or a Caravan.  You want to fly hard IFR at night in an experimental?  Get your head examined.  I’m not saying it can’t be done but the experimental pilot who doesn’t do night approaches to minimums for a living is going to end up as an unfortunate statistic when he/she tries it.  It’s a waste of time and money to build to that capability.  Simple and, as William preaches — proven– is the way to go.  Stepping down off the soap-box now…

Zenith builder Spenser Rice  wrote:

I can’t agree with you more William. Especially the kids talking through our beloved country’s anthem.  Being 15 I’m ashamed that my generation has no respect and make the few good kids look bad as well. Spencer Rice

Spenser, you have nothing to apologize for. Here you are regarded as an individual, and you are not responsible for the behavior of other people just because they are your age. Sad but true, people with little respect or consideration come in all ages these days. To all of the rest of you out there, I want to introduce you to Spenser, who at 15 is our youngest builder. Many of his aviation mentors have sent me glowing reports on how serious he is, and how hard he works to earn his way in aviation. I would like to get a more detailed profile on him soon, so a number of you successful aviators can offer guidance on his progress. Spenser, write me back and let me know if you have found a workable core engine yet.

Zenith 650 builder Becky Shipman wrote:

I used to bicycle regularly. I was a lot less wealthy then. I remember seeing a turtle in the middle of the road, and stopping on the side to pick him up and carry him to the other side so he would be safe. While I was waiting to go get him, one of the cars hit him. I don’t know if it was intentional, I also don’t know if I created a distraction that made it less likely the driver would see the turtle. He was still alive, and I eventually got him to safety, but I don’t know if he survived.

Mostly I just try to be an observer of nature, but sometimes I’ll try and help if I can. And sometimes I won’t. I had a neighbor call me over to help save a toad from a snake. I looked at it and figured sometimes toads are eaten by snakes, and that’s not much fun for the toad but necessary for the snake to live. I don’t know if I got her to understand why I wouldn’t interfere. Just some thoughts. Becky Shipman

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on the subject of Upcoming events, Airshows and Colleges #26-28.

Zenith builder Vic Delgado  wrote:

William! Many Thanks go to you, Kevin and Shelley for planning on hosting Corvair College #28 in Texas. I am so looking forward to being there! The last one they hosted CC #22 was an absolutely awesome experience. I am planning on hopefully making this the one I can graduate with a running engine from!  Don’t forget to bring your Tee shirt and shorts, You know Texas weather is beautiful in March!

Builder Bruce Culver wrote:

Eureka! I will announce my intention to attend the 2014 CC#28 in Texas…..:-)  This will work out beautifully as far as getting a core and being able to do a lot of the prep work. Outstanding!

Zenith 650 builder Paul Normandin wrote:

While I would dearly love to attend the Zenith Corvair College I know I will never be ready. I must set my sights on November and the lovely state of South Carolina instead. That depends on my getting the bloody heads off my core so I can get them out to Falcon as they are being exceedingly stubborn!

Parting shot, from builder Dan Branstrom:

I was doing some substitute teaching in a class that was English as a Second Language when it came time for the Pledge of Allegiance.  There were kids from a number of different countries.  The great majority of students stood.  Some of those didn’t recite the Pledge.  I didn’t have a problem with that, because I understood that they might not be citizens. When it was over, I was angry, but I decided to make a lesson out of it.  Realizing that some of them would have a problem understanding me, I spoke slowly so that their friends could tell them what I’d said.

I explained that my father was an immigrant, who arrived in this country not speaking the language, so I somewhat understood the situation they were in. What I told them was that I understood that they might not be citizens, and I didn’t expect them to recite the pledge, because they weren’t.   I then told them that in not standing respectfully, they were giving ammunition to all the people who wanted to deport all foreigners, because it showed disrespect to the country they were in. I had the feeling that they understood what I told them. I expect the same respect from citizens.

Mail Sack, 6/27/13, Oil, Spars and JRB

Builders

Here is a sample of the mail:

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On the subject of Pietenpol Box Spar Construction, 6/27/13

Tailwind builder and host of CC#17 and #25 Arnold Holmes wrote:

William is exactly correct on this.  Both spars in a two spar wing DO NOT CARRY THE SAME LOADS!  I do not have my copy of “Design of Light Aircraft” by Richard Hiscocks with me at the house but I know that author has written almost an entire chapter on exactly this issue.  As a side note, think of a cantilevered wing (one with no struts)  if both spars carried the same load then you would expect them to have similar construction and sizing.  You can clearly see that they do not.  The rear spar is normally designed to pick up the torsional loading of the wing and react it inside the fuselage.  It also provides a place to hang flaps and ailerons.  The torsional load is much smaller than the bending load of the main beam.  Do not follow the engineering example of this spar design.  I will follow up after I get to the shop and research the issue. Arnold Holmes

Builder Steve McDaniel wrote:

You are so right in this, it screams !     I am a licensed structural engineer of 40 years in private practice, and wince when folks work outside of their knowledge base, then publish it like they know what they are doing.  I used to wonder why us design engineers are not allowed by Codes to use the full strength of materials, usually two-thirds or less.  Call them load factors, safety factors, or strength reduction factors – I’m glad we have them !!

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On the subject of Spencer Rice’s ‘new’ engine and CC scolarship account

Builder Bruce Culver wrote:

William, I sent Spenser $100 as I know he will use it wisely. This truly is a great group of people banging these engines together. I also am thinking seriously of building the Panther engine, as I love the billet crank, and 120 HP would provide some maneuvering power and reserve. I am going ahead with the Fokker D.XXI as my choice, and have found some help in beefing up the airframe VERY carefully to allow an LSA cruise of about 125-135 MPH. I’d start from scratch, but an engineer I am not, and your three “friends” would be waiting for me if I bleeped up the math…..:-) So I’ll start with the Loehle P-40. I am much more comfortable with their wood airframe, but I will get assistance to make the structure as strong as possible. The theory turned out to be easier than I thought – now I must become a craftsman….. I am looking forward to CC#28 in Tejas next year.

Waiex builder Greg Crouchley wrote:

Remember The Titans’ movie…. “Attitude reflect leadership”. Thank you to both you and Grace for leadership in humanity.

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On the subject of Notes on Corvair flight engine oils.

Builder Jim Schmidt wrote:

I wonder why aviation oils like  shell don’t have zddp? Aren’t  most  flat tappet engines? For what it’s worth I bought a 1966 Corvair with a 140 engine after buying  your conversion manual. Anecdotally I after switching from shell rotella to amsoil amo 10w40 my lifters don’t clatter at start up. Oil pressure down 5 psi at idle , no temp change.

Jim, Lycomings have steel cams and mushroom base lifters with different metallurgy. I also have a ’66 Corvair with a 140 engine. Lifter clatter on start up in older car engines is often a lifter without a full 3/4 turn of preload. It gets within operational range as the engine warms. In other cases slightly sticking lifters can be shut up with fresh thin oil. Neither of these happen in fully rebuilt engines. The lower idle pressure is expected, the thin synthetic can get around the pressure regulator piston a lot easier when the oil is cool.-ww

builder William Emidy wrote:

William I couldn’t agree more. When I was just a new A&P I worked for a guy in Utah whose favorite expression was “oil is cheaper than engines”. This was first told to me when I had asked why he had us change the oil in the company owned aircraft. That among lots of other bits of knowledge passed along to me by people who have “been there,done that,bought the t-shirt”. When someone you know has the knowledge,and is willing to pass it along. LISTEN

Merlin on floats builder/flyer Jeff Moores wrote:

Hi William, I’ve been running Shell Rotella T 15W-40 oil plus ZDDP from Clark’s as per your recommendations since the first start of my engine. Changed after the first hour break in run, then after 10 hrs., and after 5 flight hours as per the Flight Ops. Manual. Now it gets changed every 20 hrs. This oil is  available here out in the sticks from several auto parts stores. I by mine at NAPA who also stock the filters. Why anyone would want to use anything else is beyond me. The price is certainly not an issue.-Jeff Moores Corvair/Merlin 100+ hrs

Pietenpol builder Mark Chouinard wrote:

I too would like to say thanks in advance for CC#28.  Like Vic, I am looking forward to completing my engine at this event. As for wearing shorts in Texas in March… it is also quite possible to need a heavy coat that time of year (re: CC#22… brrr).

Also, thanks for the oil article.  As you know, oil is one of the biggest hot button debates on motorsport web sites (motorcycling, trucks, you name it), and most of the commentary, while mildly amusing, is a complete waste of time.  I’ve never used Rotella T products, but will make it my oil of choice in my Corvair based upon your research and reporting.  Thanks again for helping us to properly build and maintain these awesome little engines.

As for the points on people’s character, another good read.  I’ll be sharing that one with Tyler (my 9yo son).  He already demonstrates pretty good character and common sense, but it helps to hear these things from others as well.

Zenith 750 builder Blaine Schwartz wrote:

William, Thanks for your guidance regarding oil. While I still have the break-in oil in the engine, I will soon be changing it. As you know, I built my engine at CC#22 and it ran flawlessly. I keep a picture of the completed engine (with yellow sparkplug wire, braided stainless hoses and Niagra cooler) on my phone and show it off when I get in the company of any motorhead!

Zenith 650 builder Becky Shipman wrote:

Many hours of time have been spent on oil discussion, particularly in motorcycle forums. Many motorcycles have both a gearbox and a wet clutch bathed in the engine oil, so it is doing double duty.  My local A&P who does some work on Rotax engines, worries about lead buildup in the oil and in the gearbox (Rotax has a gear reducer). More frequent oil changes w/ 100LL than with high octane mogas. The manufacturer recommends not using 100LL with the Rotax, but if you must change the oil and clean the gearbox more often. Yet another reason I chose the Corvair over the Rotax – most airports I fly to have only 100LL available. Oil change is easy and cheap, there is a need to flush lead out of the system, so I really don’t see a downside to using an oil that is highly tolerant to lead and changing it often. I use a different oil in my Yamaha Virago (wet clutch and gearbox – Amsoil 20-50) and my BMW R1100RTP (Mobil 1 40 – dry clutch and separate gearbox) and different oil in each of my cars. The BMW oil is on the recommendation of a former Vietnam A&P who has been restoring BMW’s for 30 years. Sometimes I go with the manufacturer’s recommendation. Seems the manufacturer, based on data, is recommending Rotella. No problem for me. Jed’s a Millionaire – kind of dates you, eh?

builder ‘Jacksno’  wrote:

“Your engine is your personal masterpiece. You should be tempted to pull the cowl off and just marvel at it for no reason.  You should drag passers-by at the airport into your hangar and proudly say “LOOK! I built That!” With an arm gesture that magicians use as they say “TAA-DAA!”” – I love ‘Art’.  BTW, this article contains ‘high WW prose’ throughout.  AND cracks me up!  Dead (read Living) Serious + Humor = FlyCorvair.

I wrote the oil story at 4am after drinking too much coffee. They turn out more entertaining at that hour.-ww

Builder Bob Lee wrote:

William,  You are right on about not using synthetic oils in Corvair engines.  Synthetic oils were developed for jet aircraft engines so naturally everyone would think that it is good for a piston engine too, but that’s not the case.  One of the characteristics that makes synthetic oil so good for jet engines is that it rejects heat.  It does not pick up heat as well as regular oil does.  This is a great thing for jet engines, but not for a Corvair.   The Corvair is an air/oil cooled engine.  If you change to synthetic oil in your Corvair and see a reduction in oil temperature, that is because the heat is staying in the engine.  You have lower oil temp and higher internal engine temps.  Synthetic oil should never be used in Corvair engines.

Bob, My preference is for Rotella and frequent changes and good inspections. For fans of synthetic, it is important that they at least choose one that is compatible with 100LL.  I have heard some of the things you have said relating specifically with air-cooled engines and synthetic oil, but I have flown both, and didn’t have a major issue with either. Outside of Corvair flight engines, I have had some pretty good experience with synthetic lubricants in gear boxes and modern engines like the LS-6 in Graces’s Caddy. BTW, both Grace and I learned to fly a long time ago at a grass strip in central florida named Bob Lee Airport. It is still there. -ww

:)