College Tech


Here are some technical notes from the building at CC #22.


Above, Craig Anderson of South Dakota with his Weseman bearing equipped 2,850 cc Corvair in process. Greg’s engine is built around a Moldex nitrided crankshaft and a pair of Falcon heads. The engine will feature all of our Gold Systems. He installed the Weseman bearing at the College.

Old school EAA builder Byron Engle, at left above, and David Cain take apart a core engine on one of the 2′ x  4’ tables. About eight of the builders brought a core motor for disassembly or further inspection.

On the right is Gary Boothe, who was attending his fifth Corvair College. He is a Pietenpol builder from California. At left is Buddy Linder, Pietenpol builder from Texas.

Corvair Colleges are an unprecedented opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts with other builders. This type of conversation is not really possible online. There is a whole social side to aviation that can only be served by in person events.

Above is another one of the Corvair cores that showed up being torn down. Although it was completely filled with leaves in the cooling shroud, it turned out to be a pretty good engine internally.

Eric Overton is in the gray sweatshirt. In the photo above we are going over the studs in his case to verify that they’re in good shape. Eric is a highly skilled Ivy League trained electrical engineer who is comfortable developing very high-end electronic systems. At the College he gave a very funny dissertation on America’s addiction to consumer electronics, and his role as a facilitator. He went on to humorously point out that he drives a 1963 Ford and is building a World War I replica aircraft because everyone knows successful pushers do not use their own addictive products, thus he steers clear of technology in his own life.

Above, I speak with Roger Grable, who came to the College with his wife Sarah. They’re building a Zenith 750 and making great progress on the airframe. Roger elected to purchase a complete 2,850cc engine equipped with a Weseman bearing and all the installation components from us. They came to the College to become much more educated about the engine they will be installing and operating on their aircraft. We personally produce about 15 engines in a busy year. Because they are a good value, we have never had any trouble selling every one we can make. This reality, and the fact that pre-built engines are not our primary mission, has allowed me to be selective in who we choose to build for. Believe it or not, I frequently get calls from people who will readily confess to not being interested in learning anything about engines, to the extent of being unwilling to read our Flight Ops Manual. From long experience, I know to politely decline to build engines for such people. Roger represents the polar opposite of this, a builder whose schedule puts a high premium on his time, but yet he is still willing to come to a College and take the time to learn many of the techniques that we have painstakingly developed which allow Corvair pilots to enjoy the engine’s excellent reputation. I am always glad to work with builders who possess Roger’s perspective and values.

Above, Norm Beauchamp’s 2,700cc Corvair engine destined for installation on his Kitfox Model V. A close look shows that the engine is equipped with Clark’s full fin heavy duty cylinders. The engine also sports a Weseman bearing. This is one of the Weseman’s earlier cast housings. The current series of production are all billet machined housings. The switch to billet housings has allowed Dan to mass-produce the bearing and have them available and on the shelf.

Sonny Webster of Texas with his core engine ready for disassembly. He is building a Zenith 650.

Ken Schmetter, at left above, watches Becky Shipman’s 2,700 cc engine coming off the stand. Becky’s engine is equipped with one of our Welded Aluminum Pans. Also visible is one of our new high-volume oil pumps. The black rubber hose shown in the view is a bypass for the high-volume oil cooler that is not installed yet. On the test stand I want the oil in the engine to come up to temperature fairly quickly. This is done by keeping the oil cooler outside the cooling baffle, or in the case of heavy duty oil coolers just running a hose as a replacement until after the engine is broken in. Corvair engines take a long time to develop high oil temperature on the test stand with cool air washing over all parts of the engine. During the initial break-in, there are a number of good reasons to have the oil temperature come up quickly.


Above, Brian Manlove, Zenith 650 builder from Texas, gives me a hand warming up connecting rods to be installed on 2,850 cc pistons. The gas we are using is map gas which burns a little bit hotter than propane. Visible on the right is my plastic jawed jig for holding 2850 pistons while the rods are installed. The small upright holds an adjustable stop that keeps the wristpin from traveling too far over during the installation. When the small end of the rod is heated to 400 Fahrenheit, you have about 2 seconds to install the wristpin before it becomes held fast in the connecting rod.

Above, Norm Beauchamp works on his engine with Ken Schmetter. In the photo, Norm is carefully going over the installation of a Clark’s high-volume oil pump. High-volume oil pumps are recommended on all engines that utilize Weseman bearings. The Clark’s pump comes complete with instructions on how to assemble it but it does take some trial and error to get it to set up smoothly.

The above photo is of a Weseman bearing coming out of its packaging. This is one of the new billet housings. Dan and his family have produced approximately 250 bearings, of which the last 50 or so have been billet units. The majority of these bearings are now on completed and running engines and dozens of them are out flying and logging lots of hours. The high time unit has now exceeded 400 hours. The bearing is retrofittable to a completely assembled engine, and it is affordably priced at $1050. The unit is completely compatible with all of our Gold System Parts. Going to a billet housing allowed Dan to shorten the manufacturing process from several facilities to one with a follow-on quality control check. This has gone a long way to allowing Dan to keep these bearings in stock and on the shelf available whenever builders need them.

Above, I carefully go over crankshafts with Jon Sanders. Jon had two different crankshafts on hand, both with new gears. Careful inspection revealed that one of the crankshafts was standard and was factory nitrided. This crankshaft can go directly into an engine after it has been threaded for a Safety Shaft. It does not need to be re-nitrided unless it is ground undersize. Jon’s plan is to build a 2,700 cc engine with a Weseman bearing and install it on his KR-2S.

Here is a movie:

From left above, Kendall Darder ready with a wrist pin, Gary Boothe, Brian Manlove on torch, Craig Anderson of the Documentation Department and myself installing pistons on rods. I did three sets while we were at the College and gave a number of people a firsthand look at the process.

The College is all about builders working together. Above, Jon Sanders lends some exacting assistance to Craig Anderson on the installation of the Weseman bearing on Craig’s 2850. Weseman bearings have a complementary installation kit that is available from Dan’s family. The price of the kit is refunded upon its return to the Wesemans.

Above, the dial indicator shows that the steel crankshaft hub that the Weseman bearing rides on is correctly installed. Barely visible are the three small Allen screws that are centered around the crank nub. By adjusting these screws and the tapered shims underneath them carefully, the steel crank hub can be zeroed to exact alignment with the crankshaft. The engine in the picture is Craig Anderson’s. The camshaft gear is a billet failsafe model from Clark’s.

This core looked absolutely terrible on the outside, but inside was hiding a viable engine. At first glance it does not look ready to actually be considered for rehabilitation into an aircraft powerplant, but first glances can be deceiving. Look closely and see that all the head studs are in excellent condition. Although I’m not a big fan of engines that have had water down in the bores like this one has, my major objection is based on the idea that they are more difficult to take apart than a core that rotates. An engine like this must have the valve seats carefully inspected because engines that had water in the combustion chamber for any length of time may have serious dissimilar metal corrosion between the seats and the aluminum cylinder heads. If you have a cylinder head that has had water in it, I would be very reluctant to utilize it on an airplane unless I sent it to Mark at Falcon and allowed him to completely reconditioned the head. If you’re planning on using the heads from your core motor with just a basic valve job, you need to have excellent condition heads to work with, not ones from a core like this. It seems counterintuitive but the most budget-minded engine build often starts with the most expensive core motor available. Conversely, expensive rebuilds can be done from any core because every single part including the valve seats themselves will be replaced in process.


More Running Engines coming in next posts.

More news shortly


Having AT&T cable Internet problem.

Will be back online shortly with CC #22 and SNF updates

As well as AT&T assessment.

Thank you.

Corvair Colleges #22, #23 and #24


We are a few days away from Corvair College #22 in Austin, Texas. The registration is now closed. The turn out will be fairly good for our first Texas event in many years. We are looking at a mid-sized College with 50 builders. Kevin Purtee and Shelley Tumino have done an outstanding job with the prep work, and we will have a very productive event. Shelley has one or two slots reserved for hardship cases for people who didn’t make the registration cut off. We usually keep these open in the case of someone returning from a deployment or a builder without access to the Web who only found out by word of mouth at the last-minute. Either way, Shelley wanted builders with an extenuating circumstance not to miss out on the College. We will have a full report upon our return, which should be Monday after the event.

Our next public event will be Sun ‘N Fun in Lakeland, Florida, two weeks after CC#22. We will have a separate story about this shortly. For now, know that we will be there all week in our own booth, right in front of building “C”. Our booth directions will be in the official program under “” We will have a full complement of parts available for sale at the show.

We are in the planning stages of a Florida Corvair College. This event will be held in northeast Florida. We have not had a Florida College since #17.  Right now we are looking at two different airports. One has the outstanding facilities of a Florida aviation community college, and the other has a much more people-friendly environment like CC #17 had. We will have the final choice and date information posted here so people will be able to make plans. We are shooting to have a very large event with 100 builders on hand, and we will probably make it a 4 day event to see if we can get 25 or 30 engines running. More news shortly.

Earlier in the year we had discussed having a May College at Chino, Calif., at Steve Glover’s place. I still like the idea, but Steve and I both have very busy schedules that we are having a hard time lining up that month. At this time, I want to encourage West Coast builders to attend #23 or #24, as we may not be able to put together a full college on the west coast in 2012. I understand that this may not be the news some guys wanted to hear, but the reality is that we also have to do SNF, Brodhead and Oshkosh this year, and Colleges, and do all of our regular work.  We will have a full year, but with the support of a lot of builders chipping in to make events like the Colleges happen, we can accomplish these events and have them be first class.

Corvair College #24 is scheduled to return to Barnwell, S.C., for the third year in a row. We have had outstanding events there with P.F. Beck and crew going above and beyond. Just as  with CC#21 and #19, we are planning on having #24 on Armistice Day weekend in November.

I just wanted to get this posted to give builders an outline of this year’s events. It is a lot of opportunity for productive times with friends new and old. Decide tonight that you will be part of it. Make 2012 an aviation year that counts for you.

Thank you,






Corvair College #22 – Last Call


We got a note from 601 builder Ken Pavlou, the man who handles all the online registration for the Colleges from his secret aircraft building lair in cyberspace (actually his 95% done airplane with running 2700 engine and his registration software computer  are in the basement of his house in Connecticut), saying that he is planning on shutting down online registration at exactly

 23:59. on  3/1/12

 The Direct link is below:

If you have never been to a College, get a look at the letter and picture below, Dan Glaze wrote it to us after looking at the story of Blaine’s 750 and plans to attend CC#22:

“I’m envious, as a Corvair College junkie (17, 19, 20, 21) I’m already sick that I have to sit this one out. It’s not just about building your own engine, (mine running since CC #20), it’s about being with others who share an interest in aircraft. I haven’t felt this type of fellowship since I left the Airforce/Air National Guard in 1998. Have a safe trip William and I will see you at Sun ‘N Fun. – Dan-o”


Above, Zenith 750 builder Dan Glaze with his 2700cc/Dan bearing engine at power on the test stand at Corvair College #20 in MI, June 2011.

Zenith 750 Builder Blaine Schwartz


Below we have two photographs of builder progress from Blaine Schwartz of Texas. Blaine is a Zenith 750 builder, and he is headed to Corvair College #22 March 9-11 at KGTU in Austin, Texas, in less than 10 days. At the College, he is going to assemble and test run his Corvair powerplant. It features a set of 2850 cc pistons and cylinders from us, a set of Falcon heads, and a bottom end featuring a Roy bearing. Blaine has already purchased every Gold System option that we have for engine building. Additionally, he picked up a powdercoated 750 Mount from us and a number of the other required pieces for this 750 installation. Success doesn’t happen by accident, it is the end result of planning and action. If you have not yet signed up for Corvair College A#22, the registration is still open for a little while longer and we’ll be glad to have you. The Central Scrutinizer Ken Pavlou is planning on shutting down online registration  3/1/12 at 23:59 EST. Sign up today and set yourself on the same path that Blaine has followed, which put him in a position of success this year.

There are many ways to clean the case but pressure washing is a good start. Notice that Blaine has his cases sitting on wooden blocks to prevent them from having their mating surfaces touch anything that could scar them or affect their fit. Pressure washing Corvair cases with all their nooks and crannies will leave you just as wet as the cases.

Above, Blaine’s 750 fuselage on the gear. His engine mount is powdercoated gray, our standard color. We are bringing several of them to the College, along with many other installation components, and many boxes of Gold System components. If you are headed to the College, we highly encourage you to order the things you would like in advance for pickup at the event. Although we are bringing a lot of stuff, we almost always sell out of many of the popular items.

Blaine’s field of expertise is the management of very high end aviation systems procurement. The man seriously understands how to plan an aircraft project. Getting organized is second only to getting started. Corvair College #22 in Austin is a great place to get your aviation plans in gear and going.

Be there, Aloha.

Corvair College #22, One Month Away


We are now just one month away from the opening event of the 2012 season, Corvair College #22 in Austin, Texas, hosted by Shelley Tumino & Kevin Purtee. It is time to sign up and make plans. Do not let this event pass you by. 

I spoke with Shelley last night, and she has this event so well-organized that I am thinking of having her write a briefing book for future College hosts. Kevin did want to have it pointed out that he did a lot of muscle work, including building many all new work benches for builders. For storage purposes, Kevin told me that he is leaving the final bench assembly until the day before the event. Shelley chimed in with the detail that it takes exactly 16 screws to finish each one. Now that’s having the details down cold.

On the serious side, Shelley did say that the motel reservation discounts that she lined up at the selected locations expire in 10 days. If you’re heading to the College, time to get the plan in gear. We have a great airport facility for the event, but there is no on site camping nor anything near by, so you want to get the motel lined up quick, as there are other events in Austin at the same time, and you don’t want to get stuck with a long drive to the airport.

“Brother Roy” of is headed to the event also. He is bringing a limited number of parts and tools because he is driving down in a solo banzai run from Michigan and in the interest of  fuel mileage and a respectable cruise velocity, he’s planning on driving his Caddy down without his enclosed trailer. If you need something from him, contact him in advance and he will squeeze it in the car.

Corvair/601 builder Ken Pavlou, aka The Central Scrutinizer, has set up the online registration for #22. Ken has covered this on 6 of the previous 8 Colleges from his workshop in Connecticut. Here is the direct link to the registration page:

Shelley had organized the food and has all the meals planned from dinner Friday through Sunday afternoon.  All of this is included in the registration cost.  This will be a hard-core working event, where we want you to get your hands dirty. Builders at any stage are welcome, from just looking, through ready for a test run. I am tuning up the run stand and bringing a truck and trailer load of parts and tools. Ken told me that we have about 60% of the capacity of the event signed up already, so don’t wait too long. The sooner you sign up, the more prep work you can do, and the more you can get out of the event.

Below, I have a series of photos to give some flavor of the hosts and the event for people who are yet to meet Shelley and Kevin.

Above, Kevin’s Pietenpol (2,700cc, Weseman bearing). It has flown from Texas to Brodhead, Wisc., twice.

Above is a photo of  Hans van der Voort’s Corvair powered Air Camper. Kevin said that he is hoping to have Hans at the College.


Above, the very first time I met Kevin in person was just after he landed his Piet at Brodhead, on one gear leg. Kevin  had the left main gear on his Piet give out on a touch and go on a muddy spot on the field. With incredible cool and skill, he made a well planned landing after selecting the runway that allowed landing right into the wind. It was about 10 a.m. He was assisted by many members of the local Brodhead Gang, and the plane was back flying by the end of the day. A lot of people were very impressed by the chain of events. Kevin told me that he was moved beyond words by people he had never met before working diligently on his plane with him for eight solid hours. The plane was back flying before sunset, the same day. He was impressively positive, as if nothing were out of the ordinary. It was just the kind of attitude you would expect from a guy whose day job is flying combat helicopters for the U.S. Army.

Kevin never brings it up, because he isn’t that kind of guy, but I think all Corvair builders should take a look at the link below to understand what kind of quality human being we have for a host at #22:

Above, in a photo from Corvair College #18 in California, Ryan Mueller, in the black shirt, attacks an unrepentant Stromberg. Ryan won the battle and fixed the carb we used to break in the engines that were built at #18.  He has signed up for CC#22 to assist in any way he can. I will be bringing my own MA3-SPA equipped run stand from Florida, so he will not have to demonstrate his field expedient carb repair techniques. But we will have plenty for him to do. I was thinking of challenging him to see who could lay down more productive hours of work at #22, but this isn’t a good idea because Ryan is half my age and I would have to resort to my world-class coffee drinking skills to even the odds. Ryan returning to Colleges as a volunteer to assist other builders with their own projects is a great example of the spirit of these events.

Above, Kevin airborne in his Piet. When it was first done he sent us the following note: 

“The bone-simple, black-smithed eyebrow cowls appear to be working pretty well. I’ve flown the Piet 98 hours in 8 months. Wanted more but the plane was 3 hours away for a good portion of that time. My circa 2005 per-the-plans WW motor ticks along with no drama I appreciate all that you and your crew do.
Take care, Kevin”

If you have not been to one of my previous Colleges, take the time to read about any of our Colleges from this section of our Web site:

We will be continuously sharing more information on the College in the coming weeks. If you have a specific question, feel free to e-mail it in or leave a comment at the bottom of this post and we will gladly cover it.

Thank you,

William Wynne

Corvair College #22, March 9-11, 2012 in Austin, Texas


We are 2 months away from the next Corvair College. CC #22 will be March 9, 10 and 11, 2012, at KGTU Georgetown Municipal Airport in Austin,Texas. This College will be hosted by Kevin Purtee and Shelley Tomino.

Both Kevin and Shelley are well known and respected in the Pietenpol community. Kevin finished his Corvair powered Pietenpol in 2009, and has flown it extensively, including two trips to the Pietenpol Reunion in Brodhead, Wisc. Get a look at this video of the aircraft’s first flight:

One of the things I look for in a College host is a person with a positive outlook and can-do attitude. Kevin worked on this aircraft for 16 years before it flew. His story is an outstanding example of positive persistence. The success of your own project largely depends on 3 factors: if you can afford it, from whom you get your advice and motivation, and whether you develop the personal persistence to see it through. Corvair College#22 will be an outstanding opportunity for you to address all three in one setting.

If you have not been to one of my previous Colleges, take the time to read about any of our Colleges from this section of our Web site:

College #22 will be run just like previous events where the primary focus is on the progress you will make on your own engine. After 12 years of Colleges with hundreds of builders in attendance you can find countless stories of the value of attending a college, told by builders just like you.

As you read the notes, picture yourself immersed in #22 in Austin. If you have not made the progress you planned in the past year, change your approach, sign up for this event, and take a positive step in starting this year off with a plan. Attending a College is the #1 cited milestone mentioned by people who are out flying their own Corvair powered planes today. Don’t wait to see if this year will be different: Make it different.

Corvair/601 builder Ken Pavlou, aka The Central Scrutinizer, has set up the online registration for #22. Ken has covered this on 6 of the previous 8 Colleges from his workshop in Connecticut. Here is the direct link to the registration page:

We will be continuously sharing more information on the College in the coming weeks. If you have a specific question, feel free to e-mail it in or leave a comment at the bottom of this post and we will gladly cover it.

Thank you,

William Wynne