New Zenith Cruiser with 2,850 Corvair.

Builders

Peter Eiberger has just recently started flying his Zenith 750 cruiser. I spoke with him today, and he shared these photos and a link to his you tube channel. The project was 21 months taking the workshop class at the factory to having it signed off for flight. Keep in mind Peter has never built a plane before, is in his 30’s, married, and works full time, and yes he built the engine himself in that time span also.

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His plane is powered with a 2,850cc Corvair, 112hp, with a Rotec 34mm MK II carb. The fuel system is a simple gravity feed. It is fitted with a Sensenich 64 x 35 prop, with is a standard prop on a Stop, and a very strong climb prop on a cruiser. Instrumentation is by Grand Rapids, with an auto pilot.

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I’m glad to have all types of builders, but I have to say that Peter’s easy going manner made working with him a pleasure. He had setbacks like anyone else, but he never go discouraged, he just wanted to know the best way to get back on track and keep going. My golden rule of Homebuilding is “Persistence Pays”, and this combined with a very positive attitude adds up to a really good build.

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A good side view of Peter’s plane. It has the option for large tires, 21′ on the mains. As of today, the plane has 6 hours on it. The flight testing has been completely uneventful , and Peter is going to keep it that way by using a combination of the flight test program in my MOP manual and the one published by the EAA. More info to come as phase one continues.

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Head on view, showing the Corvair is only 28″ wide, The cowl I sell was specifically designed for Zenith airframes.

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A clean, simple installation.

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The sweet sound of a smooth Corvair, Even people who are not fans of auto conversions have to admit the love the sound of this engine.

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Enjoy this for a few minutes, and head back to your shop and make some progress on your own bird. Let this top off your motivation tank.

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Rob Schaum’s Corvair / Rebel

Builders;

The achievement of building and flying the first Corvair powered Murphy Rebel goes to Rob Schaum of Connecticut.  He put the plane through a flawless one hour first flight this afternoon.

Above, Rob’s plane. It was a 120hp Corvair and a warp drive prop. 

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Rob is on the left. On the right 800 hour Corvair/601XL pilot Ken Pavlou, who acted as Rob’s immediate support on verifying that his engine was in tip top shape.

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Do you occasionally get discouraged because your project isn’t advancing as fast as others claim theirs is? Focus in on this thought: The only competition you are in is with the forces which discourage you. They only win if you quit. 

Get a look at the picture above. The guy the arrow is pointing to is Rob Schaum. This picture was taken at a Corvair Night School I held in the shop of Dr. Gary Ray in Michigan……..It was February 14th, 2005.  Yes, Rob was working on his plane nearly 18 years ago.

This tells you two important facts: Rob Schaum does not quit easily, he understands my saying: “In Homebuilding, Persistence Pays”, and it also tell you that I’m here for the long run, and will be there to support you when you take your plane for its first flight. 

Ken reported that Rob was really elated today. It was well deserved. Over the years I had many people tell me they were going to build a Rebel with a Corvair, but to this date, just one man refused to quit, and now he owns the sky. A just reward for his persistence. 

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Corvair powered Planes at Zenith’s 30th annual Homecoming

Builders ;

Here is a quick look at thje seven Corvair powered planes which flew into Zenith Aircraft’s event in Mexico MO.

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Above, Cliff Mattson, from WI, with his 800 hr 601XL, the rare tailwheel potion.

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Above, Mark Baenen’s 750 STOL, flew in from WI

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Above, Bob Clarke with his Cruiser, flew in from MO.

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Above, Billy Stewart, from GA, flew in with his 601XL (with a 650 canopy).

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Above, John McIntire flew in with his VA based 601XL. The plane’s first trip to the home coming was 13 years ago,

Above, Fred Thomas from IL, flew in with his 750 STOL

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Dan Glaze, in the brown shirt, veteran of 23 Corvair Colleges, came in with his 750 STOL from OH.

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Zenith Homecoming 2022 – This Weekend.

Builders,

This Friday and Saturday, the 16th and 17th, Zenith Aircraft will be holding their 30th Homecoming at the Factory in Mexico MO, about 100 miles west of St. Louis. It will be a great event, and all homebuilders are welcome, not just Zenith builders. You do not need reservations, but I suggest getting a pair of dinner tickets early.

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I will be there for the 19th consecutive year. It is a great event where a few hundred builders can meet component manufacturers, tour the factory, take in workshops and demonstrations, sit in on panel discussions, all in a very friendly atmosphere. There is free on site camping, and a lot of builder camaraderie last into the evenings.

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If you are a Corvair builder, bring any part with you, I will be taking parking lot inspection tours both days. We have several builders flying in, with both low wing and high wing Zeniths. I will be there both days, all day, and I’m looking forward to meeting many of you. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

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Above, Dr. Gary Ray’s Corvair Powered Zenith 601XL-B, flying for 15 years on our favorite power plant. Gary has frown to the Homecoming several times, and has plans to do so this year given good weather.

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Oshkosh and Brodhead 2022

Builders;

I’m headed to both Oshkosh and Brodhead. People commonly ask about this, but I have missed just one (2001) out of the last 27 years.

My display booth is 614 in the “North Aircraft Display “ which is the area where Zenith, Rans and Sonex are. This is the same location as it was in 2019 and 2021 (Oshkosh was canceled in 2020)

Parts for sale: I bring manuals to distribute, but I do not have parts to deliver to your hand. Wisconsin has very aggressive Tax laws and enforcement, and it is almost always less expensive to pay the shipping on a part than it is to pay the required sales tax to Wisconsin.

Builders come to the booth, learn about the parts ( I have display examples of nearly every catalog part) , and if they like, order it on line, right from my tent. Your part will be shipped directly from Florida, and in many cases it will beat you back home. We did this last year and it was a big success. I liked it because I didn’t have to be concerned about damaging anything while transporting it, It kept us in compliance with state regulations. The builders liked it when they understood it was financially to their advantage, and they didn’t have to be concerned about getting anything home if they had flown in.

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Above, Brian Walstrom and John Schmidt outside by booth last year. If you are looking for the booth, just look for the big sign above the trailer.

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Arrow points to the North Aircraft Display, the yellow part. This is the central location for all the experimental aircraft manufacturers. My booth number is 614

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Red circle in my display booth. The red line at the top is the location of the runway.

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Brodhead, the Pietenpol gathering:

I will be at Brodhead on Saturday. I am giving a forum at 3PM.

I have several topics to cover. The discussion will be about factors that effect all Pietenpol builders, not just our Corvair guys.

Here is an example: The “Primary Quality” concept, is it being reinforced or squandered in a particular plane? The Primary quality of a Lycoming is reliability . If a builder puts an O-235 in his plane because it is reliable, does he reinforce this choice by following all of the service bulletins or does squander the he shrug off these things because he believes that he has reliability to squander?

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I would like to have the discussion recorded. If there is a builder who has that capability, and is willing to tackle this, It will be much appreciated.

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If you have a core engine you would like inspected, bring it with you, I will be conducting parking lot inspection tours at both Oshkosh and Brodhead. If you have parts you are planning on buying later in the year, like a 2,850 kit, these shows are a good place to drop of core parts like cylinders and rods which I will take back to Florida. This saves on shipping. If you have spare 1965-69 cylinders with perfect fins, I can use them also, be glad to buy them or credit them to your next purchase.

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Hope to see as many of you as possible over the week.

William

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One of a kind, Corvair powered, STOL plane.

Builders,

This project is the work of a man who has been a close friend of mine for nearly 25 years. It is a one of a kind STOL plane. Vern and I went to my friend’s private air ranch in central Florida today, to drop off the engine for it. When we were there, my friend was busy with many things, but before we were back home 125 miles north, the builder had painted the mount and put the engine on it.

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Who is this man? What are his goals? What is the expected performance? Will it be used in STOL competitions? ” These are the questions of a spectator’s perspective, people have become too complacent, who are watching too much and doing too little.

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When I get a call, and the person on the line tells me of some of some video he saw about what mike paytie is doing, before he tells me about the last part he built, I try to politely remind him that aviation isn’t a spectator sport, particularly not homebuilding. I myself watch videos, but they are specific to a task I’m about to do, with tools and skills that are accessible to me. I don’t watch videos about what the uber-wealthy are doing with their staff and turbine engined projects. If your plane is done, and you flew 200 hours in it last year, fine, watch what ever you want, but if you are not making real progress fast enough, stop wasting time on entertainment for spectators.

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I present these images as a simple lesson and pure motivation. The lesson is don’t be a spectator. My friend, in all the years I have known him, has never been content to be a spectator at any part of life, and part of this is never wasting a day and never being concerned with the opinions nor actions of others. My friend has impeccable manners, is very thoughtful and considerate, but I will assure you that he is more interested in getting his own plane flying than reading about yours. If you have gotten this backwards lately, change your priorities.

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If you didn’t work on your plane today, a genuinely hope that looking at these images makes you close your computer, and go out to your shop and invest at least as much time on your own project as you do reading through these notes.

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Your life, your choice.

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William.

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Above, STOL aircraft fitted with mock up Corvair. The air/oil struts have 16″ of travel. Prop is a 64×35 Sensenich from me, well proven as an outstanding Corvair STOL prop.

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I built the engine delivered today. It was in storage at my hangar for several years. It took 3 seconds of cranking on the test stand to run perfectly. I gave it a brief ops check, to look at the timing. It did not need an air duct because the engine is fully broken in and was only run for a minute.

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Engine on aircraft. This as the mount Vern and I fitted and welded last week. This is a “Hanging Truss” design. I have used this on several planes with long mounts and/or low thrust lines. This plane as been under construction for less than 6 months.

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Engine on the floor in front of the airframe.

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Side view of the plane. The perspective makes it look very tall, but it isn’t quite as tall as the Stearman behind it. in the 3 point attitude, the center the prop hub is about 6′ off the ground.

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Go work on your plane, don’t let this day slip away from you.

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Hangar Capability Upgrade: Sioux 645 Valve face grinder.

Builders:

New addition to the hangar tool collection, an important upgrade in valve refacing. Old school equipment like this is capable of very good work, and you can buy parts like grinding wheels for them from a number of sources. This is an indication that shops that need accurate work, still get it from classic equipment.

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This refaced is older than I am. The fact it can grind valve faces to increments of 1/4 of a degree, and it is fully adjustable, allows the initial set up of the seat/face angles in a valve job to address factors like aircraft engines having to run at times of 100LL fuel, which leaves deposits, that are better dealt with by slight angular differences between the surfaces.

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I learned a lot about precision valve work when I was 19-21 years old, working under the instruction of Jack Puhack, at Speed World, 1400 Stuyvesant Ave, Irvington N.J. …….. I used a valve refacer identical to this one.

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Above, the Sioux 645 sitting next to my refurbished Sunen LBA-650. Both of these tools are part of my long term goal to have nearly all of the machine work in rebuilding Corvair engine components in house.

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William

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Friends In Aviation;

Builders,

There is a passion and intensity to the best part of aviation, which attract the truly devoted, and hold them for the duration. Now that Im almost 60, a lot of the times past are many years gone, but when I’m in the company of someone who I share many times with, both great adventures and tedious tasks, moments of real triumph and some hours of somber reflection, it all seems like it happened last week.

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20 years ago, my friend Arnold Holmes and I stand beside a Chevrolet based 420HP “Engine-Air” V-8, Mounted on the front of a Lancair IVP. We both did a lot of work on these planes. This is a 385mph homebuilt, that can cruise at 30,000′. In those days Arnold was a nationally known composites expert, known by the moniker “The Repair”. Today, 100% of my work is on Corvairs, because the rewards of teaching builders lasts, where the rewards of high end projects were financial and ego based, and faded quickly.

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Yesterday in my shop, Arnold and Myself. These days, Arnold is a very active DAR. He predominately works in Florida, but his FAA rating has no geographic restrictions. ( He certified the Jag-2 Twin when it was finished on Long Island.) If you have need of a DAR, look him up under “AV-MECH LLC” . If you are getting started in homebuilding, remember this: To find the quality people in aviation, all you have to do is be one, and be particular about the company you keep. When you are passionate enough about flight to build your own airframe and engine, you will be telling others by your choices and actions that you value the same learning and craftsmanship that made homebuilding a real endeavor, well worth the sacrifices to engage in the most creative part of aviation.

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William

Blast from the past – 30 years ago

Builders:

Two pictures from an old filing cabinet. This is one of my early engines being tested. This was the last engine without a starter…. It was a pain to hand prop, because everything inside was new, (a lot of ring drag on fresh cylinders) and the compression was very good. Shortly after these pictures we fitted it with a starter up by the prop hub.

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This picture was taken at the Spruce Creek Fly in. The Address was 207 Cessna blvd. In those years I worked out of the hangar of Willie Carter, the man pictured. It was an absolute guru of fabric covering, classic homebuilding, and one hell of a pilot. In the years he was my mechanical mentor, he always called me “Grasshopper” a nod to his favorite TV show.

The engine was a 2700, .030″ over. It was running an ‘Altimizer” carb, Heavily advertised back then, but in reality trash. The black hub on this engine is the one on the top of the Chevy Grove Trophy. It was made for me by my friend Judith Saber. The prop was made for me by Ed Sterba. My 1967 Corvair is in the background.

The date on the photo is erroneous, I lived in a different part of Florida in ’87.

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On the left is a 28 year old version of me. Willie mans the controls, and A&P extrodinare Steve Upson gets it to light off with perfect had prop technique. Both Willie and Steve could hand prop all kinds of things that no one would touch, 200HP angle valve Lycomings with high compression pistons and even a R-985 with a shower of sparks ignition on a DGA-15.

Steve was later a member of “the Hangar Gang” when we were in Edgewater Florida 2002-2007.

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William

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