Corvair Thermal Image Testing

Builders

Here is a quick look at a tool that Corvair/Panther builder Paul Salter, Dan Weseman and myself employ to collect data. It is a HD thermal imaging video camera which Paul has linked to store the images and video for analysis. The tests shown below on Paul’s  3,000 cc Panther engine were just to calibrate the equipment and evaluate using the scissors lift as a stable platform for an overhead view of the running engine. This is just a quick look to demonstrate another tool we use here. The long term plan is to integrate the camera into my run stand, so we can look at sustained high power runs, and Paul as a cable set up he can feed through his oil door in the cowl to connect the 1″ camera to a tablet in his cockpit.

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Above, when you want something stable that will not blow around, the scissors lift in Paul’s hangar does the trick, it has racks of batteries in the bottom and weighs thousands of pounds. Paul is using a ratchet strap to secure the tripod.

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Above, this is what the arrangement looked like from the lift. We had just finished a short run, and the video camera was still looking at the engine. KEEP IN MIND: this isn’t a new engine, it has 200 hours on it. A new engine should never be run without a cowl or airbox even for 1 minute. I tried to upload a 1 minute film to demonstrate how fast the engine, even a broken in one, heats up without a cowl, but the data file is excessively large. Take my word for it, without a cowl, the temp comes up much faster than you would think, and the thermal camera confirmed that without a cowl top or airbox, very little air flows through the engine. In the image it is very easy to see how cool the welded on intake pipes stay on the heads (because they have cool air and evaporating gas flowing through them) The camera can pick up temp differences down to 1 degree.

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Above, we live and work in the total aviation immersion environment. I looked up for a moment to shoot our neighbors Piper taking off. Paul’s hangar is at mid-field, Mine is 600′ south, and Dan and Rachel’s place is another 1,200′ south on the overrun. Our little grass airstrip has about 50 hangars and 100 aircraft. All the work on the airstrip, from mowing the grass, fixing the tractor, keeping the irrigation and drainage up, filing the paperwork, maintaining the lights, etc,  is  100% done by neighborhood volunteers. We all contribute $25 a month to the airport fund, and believe it or not, we run a large budget surplus in a typical year. As you can tell by the tractors and trucks in yards, and the stories of shooting .50BMG rifles, it is not your typical rule burdened airport. Dirt bikes are more common than golf carts here. For a look at the flying environment here, get a look at this story: 5 years ago today.

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Above, a slightly closer look at the camera. The image is a lot better than this photo captures. We were later blowing it up to look at individual cylinder fins. Even in this picture you can see the cooler plug wires and the bolt heads on the top cover. Notice the dip stick can be seen as a cool spot. The scale on the color range is on the bottom of the screen.

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You can look at Paul’s plane at this link: Paul’s Panther. He is an aerospace engineer for the US Navy, a 15 year specialist on the EA-6B program. Paul’s education is a Masters degree from Americas oldest aviation university, Parks. If you would like some insight into Dan Weseman’s background look at this: Panther Roll out. Mesh those two with my grease monkey story: Who is William Wynne? and you get an overview of how we stay ahead of technical topics here. One of our strengths is that we like to argue. We don’t think the same, and none of our approaches nor backgrounds overlap a lot. This is a big asset, even if it doesn’t always sound that way to spectators. The one thing we have in common is a trust of testing over discussion, and a respect for letting the facts have the last word.  I have long found that “guru’s” who work alone, never have their pet theories challenged, but it took me 20 years of working in aviation to fully understand that many of these same people specifically chose to work alone, because they don’t like listening to others, nor even conceding that others may be right.

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Conversely,  since day one, I have lived by the motto “I reserve the right to get smarter”, and this is done by listening to others and getting past the idea that you have all the right answers. Next time you are reading a website, look for the part where they guy tells you what he learned from others. I’m not speaking of a guy citing sources from ‘experts’ to prove how right he was all along, I am speaking about actual mechanical humility. It isn’t common enough,  If it is missing, you have an important insight into the person’s handicap: They have a learning disability, specifically  the inability to learn from others. -ww.

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Ken Pavlou’s Zenith 601XL hits 500 hours.

Builders:

Ken Pavlou of Connecticut called this evening to say that his Corvair powered Zenith 601XL, now had 502 flight hours on it. It has been operational for 29 months, that is a little over 200 hours a year. Not a record, but a pretty good pace for a guy who works full time, is married and the father of two, who traditionally puts his family ahead of his hobby.

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The plane has been to Oshkosh twice, as far north as Maine, and far south as South Carolina. It has made a number of over water legs on the east coast, all without issue. It has been flown at gross weight above 12,000′ and has a significant amount of night flight time on it.  All this has been done on the base model 2,700cc/100HP Corvair.

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Hats off to Ken “Adonis” Pavlou, upon reaching the 500hr milestone.

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-ww.

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Ken holds The Cherry Grove Trophy, 2014 at CC#31 Barnwell. His aircraft is named “The Blue Speedo.”  The humorous origin of the name is best left unprinted and only related verbally between adults with Ken’s sense of humor.

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Get a look at these stories:

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Ken “Adonis” Pavlou advises aviators: “Life is short, Live Large”

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New 601XL, 2,700 Corvair, Ken Pavlou CT.

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1,500 mile Corvair College flight in a 601XL

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Outlook 2016 – The Corvair ‘Information Network’ now in gear.

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Joe Sarcione Zenith 750, 3,000cc Corvair

Update, Letter from Joe:

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“William, Thank you for your post!  It probably doesn’t matter much for the post but I want to clarify a few things.  The empty weight is actually 847 lbs and that includes a radio, transponder and ADS-B system and associated components.  It’s also an Edition 2 kit with many Edition 3 upgrades which includes a lot of doublers  It also has the dual stick option and the front bracket for future float attachment.  After doing my weight and balance on digital racing scales it seems absurd to do these measurements on a bathroom scale.  The best part is that I ended up back calculating the actual arm locations for fuel, pilot seat, passenger seat, and baggage area for much more accurate CG numbers by adding the weight and subtracting the difference from the empty moment calculations.

I’m extremely happy with how it came out, and it would never have happened without you, Grace, Dan, or Rachel for your time, patience, and friendship. I can’t wait to get it in the air. Joe”

 

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Builders

Joe Sarcione sent in a few pictures of his completed Zenith 750. It has every installation part from our catalog, along with all the Gold System parts we offer to make an outstanding Corvair engine. The plane is done, awaiting it’s test flights.

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Aircraft securely tied to a truck during test run. The first airframe component that builders often choose is the motor mount, in this case: Zenith 750/Cruiser Mounts. P/N 4201(B)

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Joe’s aircraft on the scales, it came it at exactly 850 pounds. Keep in mind, the least reliable piece of ‘information’ shared between pilots is the empty weight of their plane. I long ago established that in the world of Corvairs, we were going to only state factual data not “marketing numbers.”  For a look at how long we have been working with Zenith, get a look at this: 12 years of Zenith’s powered by FlyCorvair Conversions.

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Above, Joe Sarcione (in red), The EAA’s Charlie Becker, Grace and hanging out at our Oshkosh tent for the night airshow in 2015.

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Joe with his 3,000 engine at Corvair College #25. He attended several colleges and became the master of his engine.

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Above, a look at Joe’s 3,000 cc engine installation. To understand where all the parts come from, read: Sources Reference Page

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-ww.
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2,850cc Corvair Bearhawk LSA – now flying.

Builders,

I spoke with Craig Owen the other day, and he said he now has 33 hours on his Corvair/ Bearhawk LSA.  I built the engine for Craig a few years ago ( see New 2850cc / 110hp Corvair in photos. ) and I saw the finished plane in person while traveling around the country. ( see: House Call Bearhawk LSA; range: 6,250 miles. ) He reports that the combination is great, and he really has been enjoying it, in spite of some pretty darn cold weather in Iowa.

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Above, the plane on the ramp at Criag’s airport in Iowa. I saw it in June, he had just finished it, but was working his way through a squawk sheet of details.

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Above, a look at how the cowl quickly opens to reveal the full engine.  The mount: Bearhawk LSA Engine Mount, P/N #4201-E is an item we specifically make for the Bearhawk LSA. The nose bowl is a part that fits many Corvair powered planes. The baffle kit and cowl kit are from the Wesemans.

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Above, a side view showing : Part #3901-A Zenith/Bearhawk Stainless Exhausts, now on shelf. The heat muff shown is craigs design, the ones we provide are more compact and made of thinner material.  Craigs plane utilizes a MA3-SPA carb.

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Above, right side view. The hoses on the oil cooler are industrial units, the ones we offer are braided stainless steel. The intake manifold is our standard model. Craig has a funnel below the engine to drain the oil. The engine has a Weseman rear alternator on it.

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The aircraft isn’t perfect, but it is an outstanding effort for a first time builder. Craig views it as a work in progress, and he fine tunes the construction of parts as he understands how to make improvents on the items he has fabricated.  He is not competing with anyone, he is in this for himself, a life long dream that waited decades for the opportunity to build materialize.  It came, and for 30 months he built, and today he enjoys the fruits of his labor and determination.

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Above, Bob Barrows, the designer of the Bearhawk series, Grace and myself in our tent at Oshkosh 2013. Bob holds the distinction of having flown a homebuilt to every single Oshkosh, all of them since 1970.

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-ww.

 

 

Short Run Video; Panther.

Builders;

Below is a short video of Paul Salter’s Panther running in front of his hangar.

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The first think that sharp eyes will notice is that the engine has it’s cooling baffles in place, but it doesn’t have a scoop to force the air through the engine.  I tell people to never, ever to run engines like this, and if you look at pictures from our colleges, every single engine has the green cooling shroud in place.

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Here is the critical difference: This isn’t a “New” engine. It is the same 3,000 cc/ 120 HP Corvair that flew in prototype Panther for about 200 hours. ( The prototype has been upgraded to a 3.3 liter Corvair.) Unlike a brand new engine, it is OK to run this engine for short 30-60 second runs at low power without the cooling baffle.  The reason why this is never done on a new engine is because lots of short start and stop runs are murder on a new cam. On a new engine, you ideally want to start it once, and run it without stopping at all for 20-25 minutes at 1800 – 2200 rpm. After that, the cam is set to go and the engine can be run for short runs without issue.

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The purpose of running the engine in the video was to verify wiring connections and system on the plane. Other people might not like this type of a video because it is a “bad example”, but I trust our builders to be intelligent people who understand differences between new and broken in engines when it is explained.  I don’t like being treated as a kindergarten student,  and I don’t treat people that way either.

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-ww.

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Paul’s Panther

Builders,

Below two pictures of Paul Salter’s Panther. Paul lives in Jacksonville, and is a Park’s University trained Aerospace Engineer for the US Navy, working on the EA-6B Prowler program. A number of years ago he built a large hangar at the same airpark where Dan and Rachel Weseman and Grace and I live. Working on weekends, Paul has built a very nice 3,000cc Corvair powered Panther, which is now in the very last stages of construction. Today, Paul was working on the weight and balance data.
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Paul’s plane was displayed this year in front of our booth at Oshkosh. Because Panthers have quick folding wings, it was very easy to transport to the airshow. While the plane was nearly complete then, Paul isn’t in a competition with anyone, he built the plane at his own pace to satisfy himself, and did not loose sight of his personal level of excellence nor his sense of fun. The plane is equipped with an Elison EFS-3A carb and a Sensenich prop. It had a number of details like a full glass cockpit and an autopilot. Yes, Paul is restoring an observatory. Some people take astronomy very seriously.

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Above is a shot of the Panther airbrushed on each side of the plane’s vertical fin.  If you look really closely, you can see clever planning on the artist’s part: Notice how the eyeball of the panther is actually a structural rivet head on the plane.

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-ww.

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Corvairs at the 25th Zenith open house.

Builders,

Below is a look at the four Corvair powered Zeniths which flew into the 25th open house in Mexico MO, last week. Let me say again, that I remain very thankful that we have builders who put out a great effort to return to events in their finished planes, and share their experience with fellow builders. Over the years we have had about 20 different builders fly their Zeniths back to the open house and to the Corvair Colleges we have held at the factory, and a number of these builders returned several times. This years collection has one plane making it’s debut, and three returning aircraft.  The high percentage of returning planes demonstrates that the events at the factory are excellent aviation events, not something builders do once so they can check off the “fly back to the factory” box.

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Above the Westedt’s, Craig and Val, stand in front of Val’s CH-650. Craig had hands on the motor, but the airframe is Val’s achievement.  This was the first year at the factory. They flew in from Oklahoma. This plane was awarded “Best low wing zenith” at the 25th Open House.

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Above, Dave Gardea’s  CH-650, which has been flying about 4 years. Dave has a 2,700cc engine and reports climb at 85 mph was 800-900 fpm. Level flight at 3500 ft full throttle yields 123 mph at 3050 rpm with the Warp drive prop at 9.5 degrees of pitch. He is from Indiana.

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Above the CH-601XL-B of Dr. Steve Mineart, from Iowa. The plane has been flying a little less than 10 years. Steve offered his home as one of our stops on the 2005 Midwest night school tour, and we have been friends ever since. The plane is flying on a 2700cc engine.

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Below, the Plans built 601XL-B of Ron Lendon, from Michigan. He now has 600 hours on the plane. It is powered with a 2850cc Corvair. Ron’s engine first ran at Corvair College #17.

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Above, a famous 2014 Zenith Open House photo of five Corvair Powered Zeniths. Note that Dave and Ron’s planes are in the picture, along with The McDaniel’s 650, the Hoyts 650, and Lynn Dingfelders 601XLB.

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-ww.

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