Florida Hurricane Preparedness….

Friends from out of state have asked how Floridians prepare for hurricanes…..

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Please note, “liking” this story requires a permit in NY, NJ, CT and IL. California residents that accidently thought this was funny and laughed may avoid prosecution by fleeing to the sanctuary state of Arizona. Two stroke engines and thirty round magazines could have been shown to cause cancer in cock roaches in California, but a court injunction from PETECR (people for the ethical treatment of cock roaches) halted the tests before the data to support the conclusion could be manufactured.

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The comment above is a humor tolerance test. It is obviously a joke because everyone knows I don’t drink Bud light.

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I think California is a beautiful place filled with many great people. I am just yet to understand why they must live under a legislative system that is only tolerant when compared to Yemen or the Taliban.  Again, I am joking, but people should feel free to take it the wrong way and be offended, as being offended is a becoming more common than laughing.

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Seriously, NOAA weather is reporting a significant rise in wind speeds in the projections, and they are now predicting 20-25′ waves on North Florida beaches. If you are inclined to pray for people you have not met, now might be a good time, as the next days will bring tragedy to many people here, as it has in the Caribbean already.  Let us hope that no matter what they loose, these people don’t loose the ability to laugh at stupid humor.

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-ww.

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“Coming on like a Hurricane”

Builders,

As wind and rain picks up in front of hurricane Mathew, work goes on while we have power.  Yesterday this included final test run on the engine we assembled and ran for 40 minutes at the Zenith 25th open house.  This engine is a 3,000 cc 120hp engine featuring a Weseman billet made in the USA crank.  It was easy to completely build at the Open House because it was one of the Weseman’s “Engine in a Box” complete kits. If you are interested in purchasing this engine, you are too late, it is already sold, but Dan and Rachel have other “Engine in a Box”‘s  ready to go. Contact them at 904-626-7777 for more info.

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Above, the engine on the run stand in front of my hangar. It was raining lightly, but it doesn’t bother a Corvair. During the second run in Florida, the piston ring break in was completed, the oil filter was changed and the first one was cut open and inspected, compression was evaluated and the timing was set with a light, and the adjustable oil pressure regulator setting was fine tuned.   It ran like a champ, and then I took it to the SPA/Panther factory for crating and shipping.

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Above is a short clip of the engine running at 1,500 rpm or so.
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Eariler at Zenith, Dan briefs observers on what we are going to do. The assembly had about 25 guys who followed every step, and about three times that many they checked in to see how it was done. When we took it outside to run it on Saturday, about 75 people stood there to watch the first fire up. In the hour before, they had heard a Continental 0-200, that was on a flying plane,  that was poorly tuned take two minutes of cranking and stuttering to run. Other engines put on a few less than stellar starts. Many of the 75 people, most of who thought that a brand new engine, made of parts that had not yet ‘met each other’,  would be difficult to start. I’m sure they thought is was full of it when I said it would start and come to power in 3 seconds. These people were slightly stunned when the motor started, instantly, as in less than one second. Much of this is the ignition system I build being vastly better than a magneto, but it is also knowing the engine, as we teach builders to make and operate it. It is a very different mentality that the person in another cockpit, relentlessly grinding on a starter hoping it will light off. Hope isn’t a mechanical strategy, understanding and performance is.

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Above, 30 minutes into the test run at Zenith.

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Above, after the show, the EAA’s Charlie Becker speaks with Dan Weseman as we packed up late night on Saturday night.  The Conversation was a bit about what had taken place, but much of it is always aimed at the next event, the future, and things that can be put in action. On this night, much of that revolved around the November 3-5th Aviation Showcase in Deland Florida. Dan and I got up at 6am Sunday morning and drove the 1,100 miles back to Jacksonville.

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If you are of a certain age, you will recognize the title of the post as lyrics from the opening song on the seminal 1980 AC/DC album “Back in Black“. Although the band is from Australia, the album was recorded in the Bahamas, where the production was besieged by tropical storms, which created the tone for the song “Hells Bells.”

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In the summer of 1980, I was 17 years old and living in New Jersey. Although we were less than 15 miles from Manhattan, the world wide center of fashion, we all thought there was nothing more stupid than people who were slaves to caring about what others thought of their appearance. We were the total opposite, individuals expressing ourselves, which we chose to do by each and every one of us having long hair,  dressing in black tee shirts, Levis 512’s and Timberland boots, while all driving Chevys with cassette decks that all had a copy of “Back in Black” permanently stuck in them. We honestly were oblivious to the idea this was also conformity, but the music endures better than 1980s NYC fashion.

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For my purist builders down under, know that I am actually a bigger fan of Bon Scott, the 1974-79 AC/DC singer. Someone pointed out that is Scott had lived past 1980, he would be the same age as Trump and Clinton today. Without the slightest hesitation, I will say that Bon Scott’s singing on “Highway to Hell” was a greater contribution to the betterment of humanity that anything Donald or Hilary will ever accomplish:

Bon Scott, Paris 1979 ;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_KzeQ639b0

It is one of the few elements of teenage years I hold any nostalgia for.

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-ww.

 

 

Zenith’s Roger Dubbert, man who has flown 10,000 demo flights.

Builders:

Grace and I have known Zenith’s demo pilot, Roger Dubbert, for as long as we have been working with the Heintz family. ( See: https://flycorvair.net/2015/04/01/12-years-of-zeniths-powered-by-flycorvair-conversions/ ) but Roger has been at it a lot longer, having worked at the factory for more than 23 years.

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In casual conversation in a slow hour at Oshkosh 2016, I asked Roger how many demo flights he thought he had done in the 23 years he has worked in Mexico MO. He thought for a while and came back and said it “Might be as high as 11,000, but it was certainly every bit of 10,000.”  He later added that he has more than 40,000 take offs and landings in Zeniths.

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If you work outside experimental aviation those numbers might sound impressive, but if you work in experimental aviation for a living, they are nothing short of stunning. I later asked a handful of old school industry guys, and they all came to the conclusion that it very well might be the record, and that only one other pilot was even arguably even in the same arena. Keep in mind, Roger wasn’t blowing his own horn, he was just responding to my question. The conversation moved on, but Grace and I decided that we were going to do something to mark Roger’s milestone.

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When we were back in Florida we searched out a real USAF  CWU-45 Nomex flight jacket and had it embroidered to commemorate the achievement. On Friday night, at the Zenith Open House dinner, I presented it to Roger, who graciously accepted to a strong ovation from the standing room only crowd.  It was a great moment for one of the most admired men in our industry.

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Above Roger and I stand at the bar after the dinner was over. Besides being an outstanding aviator, Roger is an accomplished outdoorsman, family man, and father. He may look 24, but he is actually in his 40s.  In my dinner remarks I pointed out that very, very few experimental aircraft companies last 25 years, far less 43 like Zenith. (they have been in Mexico MO for 25 years )  The industry lifespan for new start ups is about 36 months, while some of that is economics, much of it is nefarious plans to lift peoples money without ever having to offer service on a poor product. Zenith is the polar opposite of that. The greatest single example of Zenith’s stability in the industry is the longevity of their workforce, exemplified by Roger Dubbert.

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If you are looking for a flight jacket, a word of warning: An actual CWO-45 jacket offers at tremendous amount of fire protection in an accident, because it is made for the USAF out of Nomex, but be aware there are many fakes on the internet that are Nylon, which will only melt to the wearer when exposed to heat. There are plenty of ads for jackets that are called “mil-spec” and “CWO-45 style” but they are dangerous fakes. For a look at a company that makes real ones, check this out:

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http://www.uswings.com/product/nomex-cwu-45p-flight-jacket/

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Notice the real thing is $650, five to ten times higher in cost than the fakes. If you would like the actual protection at an affordable price, most surplus ones are under $100, but look at it very closely and make sure it has the actual US military identification tag on the inside, below the collar. There is a picture of the tag on the website above. Note that all the real jackets are made in the United States. In my personal opinion, Nomex clothing and flying go together like helmets and motorcycles.

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-ww.

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Nine days to Zenith’s 25th Open House, Mexico MO.

Builders:

We are now just nine days away from a very important event, the Zenith Open house. I have been on hand for the last 10 open houses at the Zenith factory, we have held Corvair Colleges just before 4 of them, but this year, Zenith will mark their 25th year in Mexico. They are the very definition of a solid enduring company in an industry known for short lived business ventures.

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I have detailed information on what we are doing with Corvairs at the event at this link:  Zenith 25th open house, Mexico MO, Sept. 23-24.  It also includes links to Zenith’s website with information about attending the event. All homebuilders are welcome, there will be a large number engine and component companies on hand, and there is a lot to see at these events.

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  People often ask me how I had a number of great days in aviation, like this: From The Past: With Steve Wittman 20 years ago today. Here is the magic answer: I got in the car, drove there and showed up. It didn’t always generate a perfect day, but staying home reduces the chances of an exceptional day to near zero. Decide now that you will show up for the open house. It’s your life, make it count.

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Above, Zenith 601XL  builder and 500 hour pilot Ken Pavlou.  If you read a single story I have written this year, make it this one:Ken “Adonis” Pavlou advises aviators: “Life is short, Live Large”  If you spend a lot of hours wondering if aviation really is for you, read this story, it will introduce you to one of the all time great character in experimental aviation. If you are a Corvair builder, you can take a special measure of pride that our team has an exalted place for this man.

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If you are a Zenith builder headed to the open house. and you want to pick up a mount or an exhaust, check out the two stories below and Contact Rachel Weseman at 904-626-7777 about ordering them in advance.- Thanks.

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Part #3901-A Zenith/Bearhawk Stainless Exhausts, now on shelf.

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#4201-C Pietenpol Motor mounts, now on the shelf, ready for shipping.

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West Coast Event: Contact! Magazine alternative engine meet: September 24th French Valley California.

Builders:

For west coast builders, September 24th is an opportunity to head to French Valley California, for the alternative engine round up, organized by Contact! Magazines’ Pat Panzera. You can read all about it at this link:

http://www.contactmagazine.com/roundup.html

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Corvair Quickie Q-2

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Above, a Corvair powered Dragonfly at the 2014 event.

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Zenith 601/Corvair builder Larry Nelson, from Yuma AZ will be on hand to cover Corvair Questions. Larry Was a big help to Dan Weseman and I at Corvair College #34 in Mexico MO., and is up to date on developments on our engines. Additionally, Steve Glover, from NV aero, who hosted Corvair College #37 in Chino in the spring will be at French Valley for the event. Steve has a flying 601XL with a 2700cc Corvair of his own.

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This is the 13th event Pat Panzera has hosted, and they offer a wealth of technical information for highly experienced industry people and homebuilders…..And one more thing: the event is free, part of Pat’s long standing commitment to support homebuilding.

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-ww.

 

Deland FL, “Sport Aviation Showcase” November 3-5

Builders,

Deland Florida is about 20 miles west of Daytona Beach. It has a very active airport, well known as a center of skydiving. In central Florida, the airport is known for having a very productive and supportive relationship with the city, and for this reason it has become a very active light industrial center, while retaining it’s small town airport feel. After several years of planning, they are going to hold the first “Sport Aviation Showcase” there this November 3-5th. If you like sport planes, and particularly if you are a homebuilder, this is a new opportunity not to be missed.

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kitplanes24

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Above, Dan Weseman flying the Corvair powered Panther. Dan and Rachel were one of the first companies to sign on to be at the Sport Aviation Showcase. Their booth is #8 at the event. They will be there with a number of flying Panthers, and they will have all of our Corvair parts, and their own line of Corvair stuff on display. You can read more about it at this link to their site:

http://flywithspa.com/new-deland-showcase-november-3-5-2016-welcomes-homebuilders-join-us/

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What is different about this event? First and foremost, it isn’t an “Airshow.” By its very definition, an airshow is at it’s core a show, which means a spectator event, aimed at entertaining.  The Deland Showcase has a different name, to accurately reflect that it is being held to get more people personally involved in aviation, not as spectators, but as participants, people actually in the Arena of flight.  I have written at great length in stories like this: 2015 Your year in aviation? about making the decision that you will be a participant in aviation, not a spectator. This event is built to directly serve people who’s goal is to be a participant.

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The “Showcase” element of the event is getting manufactures to directly interface with builders and pilots. While you can go to an “airshow” and speak with companies, it is very rare that you would be able to see their Sport aircraft fly up close, and the odds of being able to get a demo flight are non-existent, because the airspace at an airshow is monopolized by performers for spectators.  The Deland Showcase corrects this by focusing the event on direct contact between the aviator and the manufacturer. There is no ‘airshow’ so manufacturers will be able to demonstrate their aircraft all day, and supply demos. This isn’t an add on to the event, it’s built in to the DNA, all the way do to having 40′ aisle spacing between manufacturers rows so that their aircraft can quickly be moved to the flight line for demos.

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The long term goal is to make Deland the Sport aviation center of the South East.  The city of Deland has set aside a very large tract of land on the airport grounds to build new permanent infrastructure to attract manufactures to move to the airport or operate their regional dealerships from. A number of kit manufactures I know are already speaking of this.  Most airshows are run for profit by companies which have the city as a paid host.  Conversely, the city of Deland is not just the location, but they are the organizer of the event, and their goal isn’t maximum profit, it is to highlight their long term plans to become a very important center of sport aviation.

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This is a very rare opertunity to be a part of someing new, to directly serve homebuilders and pilots. When I heard about the concept of the showcase, I immediately understood that this would be a very different event. I went down and met Jana Filip and the team working on the event, and was impressed enough to immediately offer my support as a volunteer. I have been guest speaking to Florida EAA chapters to encourage them to participate in November. I expected the message to be well received, but the response from chapter members has been incredibly positive, with upwards of 90% of the members on hand stating they are planning on being at the Showcase. To me this is a very good indication of the appeal of an aviation event focused on participation. It takes very little explanation to old school aviators before they say “It will be just like the legendary Rockford gatherings in the 1960s.”  or  “This is what was great about Sun n Fun 30 years ago.” If you are a relatively new arrival to sport aviation, The Deland Showcase is your chance to get in on a new event that will certainly be considered among the best events, because it is designed to return to the roots of what made all the previous ‘classic’ events special: Participation.

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To directly learn more about the event, read this link to their website:

http://sportaviationvillage.com/

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-ww.

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Zenith 25th open house, Mexico MO, Sept. 23-24.

Builders,

Zenith Aircraft is holding their 25th annual open house September 23 and 24th, in Mexico MO, to celebrate 25 years of kit production at that location. (the company’s origins date all the way back to the early 1970s in Canada.)  This is a landmark event in an industry noted for short lived businesses.  The event will be well attended by builders, but many industry people associated with Zenith will be on hand to celebrate and make a contribution to the success of the event.

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I have been working directly with Zenith and the Heintz family since Grace and I bought our 601XL kit in 2003. You can read the story at this link: 12 years of Zenith’s powered by FlyCorvair Conversions.  We are writing new chapters in this story all the time, such as this one: A tale of three Zenith builders. But for the 25th, We are planning on something new.

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At the open house, Dan Weseman and I will be on hand, and We are going to start to finish, assemble and test run a large bore Corvair on Friday the 23rd. We will demo run the engine on Saturday also.  We will be on hand for the whole event to answer any builder question and inspect builders core parts. While we have previously held four Corvair Colleges at The Zenith factory, this demonstration assembly is a different event, it is open to all interested builders, and unlike colleges it does not require signing up in advance. Want to learn a lot more about Corvairs? Just show up.

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To learn more about the Zenith open house, follow this link provided by the EAA: http://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/eaa-news-and-aviation-news/news/07-07-2016-zenith-aircrafts-25th-annual-open-hangar-days–flyin.

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Here is Zenith’s own page with a detailed description of the event, including directions and area information: http://www.zenith.aero/profiles/blogs/planning-open-hangar-day-25

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Above, Dan Weseman and I in 2012 at the test run of his 3,000 cc Panther engine. We have been friends for 15 years, neighbors for 10, and for the last year, He and Rachel’s company, SPA/Panther has marketed and distributed our line of Corvair products and components alongside with their own Corvair stuff. This collaborative effort serves builders as a one-stop resource for everything they will need in building and mastering the Corvair.

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Important points:

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Everyone interested in homebuilding is welcome; you do not need to be a Zenith builder to be welcome at their open house. The Heintz family has a 40 year history of supporting homebuilders of all kinds, not just their current builders.

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Dan and I will be demonstrating all of our assembly techniques; we welcome builders taking pictures, notes and video. While I will have plenty of Conversion manuals on hand, anyone seriously interested in getting the most out of following every detail of the build and test run should read the manual through in advance. If you don’t have one, you can order one here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/shop/ and it will be shipped out right away.

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We will have a limited selection of Corvair parts and installation components with us, but if there is something specific from either the Flycorvair or the SPA/Panther catalog you would like to pick up at the event, the only way to insure that we have it there is to order and pay for it in advance. The single most popular items to pick up at events are motor mounts, because you can save nearly $100 on shipping by doing so. If there is a specific item on your shopping list, contact Rachel Weseman at 904-626-7777, about making sure it is ordered and in the trailer before we leave Florida.

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We will be conducting “Parking lot Inspections” which means any part you have for your Corvair that you would like us to look at, bring it, and we will.  If you have a case, crank, heads or any other part that you would like inspected, bring them, and we will be glad to give them a look. This is also an opportunity to get in the game and save the shipping on sending these parts in for overhaul or modification. We will load them in the trailer and bring them back with us to Florida. This saves packing and shipping, and gets you started and ready for the coming Corvair Colleges.

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If you have never met Dan or myself in person, and you are still in the decision process of which engine will power your homebuilt, the Zenith Open House is an outstanding opportunity to come, look and make a much more informed decision. I have always said that Corvairs are not for everyone, but for the traditional learn build and fly homebuilders with the goal of mastering their engine, not just owning it, the Corvair is an excellent option. I welcome the chance to meet new potential builders in the relaxed setting where they can get a very good look at how much Dan Weseman and myself have to directly share with builders.  The very best relationship between a builder and his engine provider is one based on mutual respect. Come meet me in person and get a much better understanding of why I have been continuously working with homebuilders for 27 years.

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-ww.

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