Parts Production improvements- #4201 Motor Mounts

Builders,

Below is a snapshot taken today at SPA/Pather’s shipping department: Notice that there are 17 Powder coated Corvair motor mounts ready to be shipped. This is only part of the total, there are more still in the powder coating process.

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From L to R, the first eight mounts are #4201-B Zenith 750 mounts. The next ones are #4201-A Zenith 601/650 mounts. The ones on top of the boxes are Cleanex mounts that Dan and Rachel sell. The others on the floor are Zenith 650 mounts. You can get a look at the mounts I sell at this link:  http://shop.flycorvair.com/product-category/airframe-accessory-parts/

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Here is another advantage of working with the Wesemans: Although I have spent the last few weeks in Texas and California, progress with our parts still happens, and things are being shipped all the time.  Last year when I was wearing too many hats and trying to meet family commitments, I got slow on making motor mounts.  In addition to having Dan and Rachel handle  the sales and distribution of our parts, I can also tap into their talent resources as well. Travis is the 30 year old head of their welding department, a very talented young man. When I needed to get caught up, Dan suggested I contract with them to have Travis weld out the CNC tubing kits, and bring my fixture over to their shop. Sounded great. I returned from California to find I have no more back orders, and we now have both styles of Zenith mounts in stock ready for immediate shipment. Synergy at it’s finest.

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If you need a mount for your Zenith, you can order one directly off the catalog link above. Even though I will be back in California in 48 hours finishing the western College tour, The Weseman’s will make sure your mount arrives shortly. If you have any specific questions on ordering not covered on the site, please call 904-626-7777 and speak with Rachel.

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I have been welding since 1978 or so, and I have welded parts that are flying all over the globe. I am pretty sure I have done 400+ Corvair mounts in the last 20 years. I can’t sing, nor dance, but I can weld, and I have some pride in that…..and that is what makes the next part hard: Dan and Rachel’s chief welder Travis, has been at welding for less than five years…..and he is better than I am.  I know I am supposed to be a self actualized adult, and that competitive instincts are a sign of something, but damn, it fries me just how good Travis is. When I have welded 200 Zenith mounts, and they are damn good, but Travis’s third one looks better than any one of the ones I have ever welded, it just makes me feel old. What makes it worse is that Travis is super polite and very humble.  When he is laying down the 100th foot of perfect bead for the day, I resort to childish things like saying Travis, please explain the significance of the National Labor Relations act of 1934″ Without stopping the bead he politely says “I am not familiar with that Mr. Wynne” to which I respond “Well young Travis, you see there are more important things in life than just being a better welder than me, there is great stuff to learn like arcane trivia of American political history I know so well, so you see I still am a critical part of society, even if you can perform mundane tasks like welding slightly better than I care to.”  I am reasonably sure I am the weirdest person Travis has ever met, and that is saying something because he is from Kentucky.

-ww.

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3,000 cc engines and parts going out the door.

Builders.

In the weeks before heading our on the Western College tour, we were productively making engines and parts so that SPA could ship them directly to builders who ordered them, even long after I was out at the Colleges. Many of these parts were also sold by SPA at their booth at Sun n Fun last week. This keeps the parts getting to builders even when I am very far away. If you missed the story about having the Weseman’s distribute our parts, read this: Outlook 2016, New order page and distribution method.

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Here are a few pictures from the weeks before I departed on the current trip. I assembled and test ram three 3,000 cc engines, and made large quantizes Of HV-2000 oil cases (  http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/2000-rear-oil-case-group/  ) 1100 cam kits ( http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/1100-cam-shaft-kit/) and E/P-X distributors (http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/3301-epx-distributor/) If you have a specific question on availability, you can send a message to the contact info on the order page, or you can call the Wesemans direct at 904-626-7777.

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Above, a 3,000 cc Corvair destined for Fred Thomas’s Zenith 750, during it’s break in run in my front yard. Like the other two 3,000 cc engines, this one features a Weseman Gen II crank and 5th bearing, and their piston/rod/cylinder kit, as well as heads the make.  In 2016, we have a new engine ordering system and pricing, for a look, read this: Outlook 2016, Ordering a Completed Engine.

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Above, a different 3,000 cc engine after it break in run. This engine is now on the front of Jan Riddenour’s Tailwind in Idaho. I was able to build and test run all three engines, and make the other parts in 5 weeks because of two factors: Having the Weseman’s running the distribution of parts takes a large task off my plate, and secondly, Between our catalog of parts and theirs, we had every part needed on the shelf to build the engines, which eliminated contacting a lot of different sources or waiting for heads from the former supplier. Dan and Rachel carefully QA/QC all of their parts not just to make sure they meet spec. but also to insure that they are compatible on the finest detail with all other engine parts we offer, to eliminate any snags which crop up from suppliers who may make a good part, but don’t care if it is truly compatible with the other parts you are using.

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Above a glance at the shipping room at SPA/Panther. All of the 6x6x18 boxes in the foreground are either an 1100 cam kit, a set of valve covers, or an E/P distributor. The stacks of parts in bins or on the left are all stuff that was shipped to builders for Colleges on the western tour.  The Weseman’s have excellent ordering systems, integrated records inventory tracking, and shipping records.  While Grace and I always kept good records, it never operated anywhere near the level built into the SPA/Panther system. Distributing our parts is actually a small organizational task in comparison to organizing the 100’s of individual parts that go into perfectly complete kit like a Panther.  When I saw how well they handeled the Panther parts, it made sense to ask them to take care of our parts with the same system.

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Above,  3,000 cc engine crated and ready to be shipped from SPA/Panther’s shop.  Because of the volume of airframe parts they ship around the world, Rachel has access to the lowest rates on shipping, and can also have her crew rapidly crate up things for safe shipping. For a look at the full catalog of our parts available through the Weseman’s  get a look at this:

http://shop.flycorvair.com/shop/

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-ww.

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Group 2400-L Starter installation instructions.

Builders:

Our ‘ultimate’ evolution of starter systems is the 2400-L  series. It was flight tested on the SPA/Panther early in 2015, and has since become the benchmark for simple, ultra-light, efficient and powerful starters for Corvairs. We have produced several hundred, and they are now our standard starter we recommend to every builder.

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The great majority of flying Corvair powered planes utilize one of the Nippon Denso based starters we sold between 2002 and 2015. These are good systems, and they use the same basic starter design as most of the high performance aftermarket starters for Lycomings.  To justify a new generation of starters, the New 2400-L series would have to be significantly lighter, simpler to install, and be even more efficient. After a lot of R&D and testing, we met all these goals. The new starter is 3 pounds lighter, it has a very simple set up that takes only minutes, and surprisingly, it cranks the Corvair faster, while using less amps, and having a much lower voltage drop.  It meets these goals at a modest price increase over earlier systems.

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We sell the system as a complete kit which includes all the items in the 2400 starter group. This is explained in detail in the conversion manual. The included items are the Starter itself, the mounting brackets, the Gold top cover, and the ring gear.  The direct link to see the kit for sale is here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/2400-l-light-start-group-kit/

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Above, The 2400-L system atop my own personal Corvair engine. The starter is powerful enough to crank any Corvair (Dan Weseman has one on his high compression 3.3 Liter Corvair: SPA / Weseman 3.3 Liter Corvair now running) on a very light weight battery.  The view shows how compact the unit is, the starter motor itself is smaller than a 12 ounce soda can. The starter above sports black powder coating that we put on some 2400-L starters for aesthetic reasons. The 2400-L kits are specifically made to mate with Weseman Group 3000 5th bearings.

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Top view of a Corvair built in our shop, showing 2400-L starter arrangement. The black part is the starter motor, the silver part is the integral solenoid. The Top Cover, brackets, main starter plate, and the starter nose are all made on high end CNC machines here in the US, and for this reason they are very accurate and easy to set up.

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Rear view of 2400- L starter on the dipstick side (Cylinders 1-3-5) of the engine. Because this starter has a very stiff 3/8″ think billet main plate, it does not need a tail bracket like our previous designs.  The mounting bracket on this side has a 7/16″ bolt fixed in it. This is the pivot bolt for the adjustment. On installation this bolt is snugged up just enough to still allow the starter to pivots for adjustment. After it is set, the nut is tightened to 45 foot pounds.

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Above, the non-dipstick side (Cylinders 2-4-6) of the engine. This mounting bracket has a 3/8″-24 stud fixed in it. The main plate, seen in natural aluminum here, is actually sloted where the stud goes through it. This provides the adjustment for the mesh between the ring gear and the starter. Once the adjustment is set, the NAS locknut is torqued to 25 foot pounds and the unit will hold this adjustment for good.

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Instillation sequence:

1) The ring gear is mounted on the Gold prop hub using the hardware that comes with the Gold hub. Most people paint the ring gear before installing it, other wise it will rust. Powder coating is not recommended, as it tends to fill in the valleys between the teeth and affect the mesh.

2) The gold top cover is mounted on the case with the twelve 5/16″ fasteners, each with a lock washer under the head. These need a light coat of anti-seize  (like ARP lube)  on the threads. The heads of the two fasteners which go under the starter must be the “button head” style provided, for clearance. The four starter bracket mounting bolts clamp the top cover, making the total fastener count sixteen, matching the number of holes in the top cover. The top cover gasket should have a thin film of Permatex ultra grey RTV sealer applied to each side. Before putting the sealer on, match the bolt pattern on the cover and gasket to the case, it is not symmetrical.

2) Each mounting bracket is held down by two 5/16″ bolts with lock washers under the heads. These bolts should have a light coating of anti-seize (like ARP lube) on the threads where they go into the case. They are torqued to 15 foot pounds. Bolt down the dip stick side, but leave the other side off for now.

3) The starter is mounted on the 7/16″ pivot bolt, and the nut is just snugged up to take out the slack, but still allow the starter to pivot. Using a pair of pliers gripping the starter gear teeth, pull the teeth forward to their extended position. Sick a small screwdriver behind the clutch ( the round part behind the teeth) to keep the clutch/gear teeth  extended forward.

4) Install  the non-dipstick side bracket on the main plate by putting the 3/8″ stud through the slotted hole in the plate. put the nut on lightly.

5) Pivot the starter down to meet the ring gear, and when it is close, install the two 5/16″ mounting bolts in  the non-dipstick side bracket.

6) Put a 1/16″ drill bit or welding rod in the valley between the two ring gear teeth where the lowest starter gear tooth meshes. snug up both the 7/16″ pivot bolt nut and the nut on the 3/8″ stud. Push the starter down hard enough to pinch the 1/16″ drill between the ring gear teeth and the starter gear tooth, so it cant be pulled out with bare fingers. Tighten up the nuts fully, pull the small screwdriver from behind the starter clutch. Rotating the ring gear slightly should cause the 1/16″ drill to come out, and the starter gear will automatically retract. The starter is now set.

7) The small 1/4 spade terminal on the solenoid is connected to the starter switch; the outboard stud is where the 12V battery cable connects.

8) You can judge a good gear mesh by the sound. It will sound just like your car cranking if it is right. If it is too loose it will make excessive metallic grinding sounds, it it is too tight, the starter gear will hit the back of the ring gear instead of engaging it. If you want to test it, make sure you do so with the spark plugs in to provide a full cranking load. Without them, even a very loose mesh will sound good. BE VERY CAREFULL WHEN THE STARER IS HOOKED UP – EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN IGNITION OR CARB INSTALLED.  A cranking starter, even if the engine doesn’t start, will turn a prop 350 rpm, this is plenty of power to inflict a fatal blow. Even if you have no prop on, be careful, having your hand or shirt sleeve near the gear, could draw your fingers into the meshing gears. Anytime you have a battery near the system, use your brain, pay attention.

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Rear quarter view of the 2400-L starter system. It is an efficient, elegantly simple system.

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-ww.

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Eyeball Exhaust Evaluations

Builders,

For as long as I have been working with Corvairs, I have had a segment of ‘experts’ tell me their opinions about the  Corvair exhaust such as ” It would make 30% more power with headers” All of these people were basing their misguided theories on ‘eyeball evaluations’ and the were just sure they were right. I knew they were wrong because I have testing on my side.

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Below is a very interesting video showing how eyeball evaluations of exhaust systems are worthless. It shows a very potent 6,000 rpm V-8 on a dyno, in back to back tests where they flatten header tubes horribly, and it has next to no effect on the output. And that is on an engine making one and a half HP / cubic inch. The effect is even lower on engines like your Corvair flight engine.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azPKIjxmmdU

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Engine exhaust requirements depend on cylinder head design and camshaft design. Typically, low rpm engines like your flight motor, have modest cam profiles with short duration, to build torque. These engines are not punished for having the backpressure of a muffler, nor are they rewarded for having perfect free flowing balanced tubes. In our application, the systems we use are the correct balance of reasonable flow, matched to the cam profile, with the two critical factors: Low surface area and stainless construction to prevent it from heating the inside of the cowl, and having low weight and a stiff design that will not resonate and crack. The systems we offer are made of the best materials, with the best welding, to long proven designs. Sorry if reality offends the ‘eyeball evaluation experts’, but that is reality.

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Get a look at some of our exhausts here: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/3901-a-zenith-exhaust/

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Read about our designs here: Stainless Steel Exhaust Systems

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Above, An exhaust evaluation as part of an Electronic Fuel injection test on a 2,700cc Corvair in 2007. It is shown running at power on my dyno. The urethane wheel directly reads foot pounds of torque off the digital scale. Note the engine has headers on it, that could be swapped in minutes for other exhaust. The EFI allowed the air/fuel ration to be corrected to optimize the exhaust instantly at the twist of a knob, giving the fairest scientific evaluation of exhausts. The air / fuel ratio was read on a laboratory grade digital O2 system. The data conclusively showed that headers make very little difference on a Corvair, and EFI was not impressive either. Read more here: Testing and Data Collection reference page

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-ww.

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Outlook 2016, New order page and distribution method.

Builders,

On February 1st, I activated an entirely new catalog page on our Flycorvair.com website. You can see it with this direct link:

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http://shop.flycorvair.com/.

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The second sentence there also contains this link to a visual catalog of the same parts:

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http://shop.flycorvair.com/shop/.

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Above a 2013 model 3,000 cc engine, built from FlyCorvair.com and SPA/Panther parts. This engine now has 130 flight hours on it. It is a solid performer, based on 27 years of development.

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Several things have been accomplished here:

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The catalog page has been fully updated with better photos, linked stories and pricing, including new items like the Group 1100 cam kit and the 2400-L Starter kits.

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We have an agreement with Dan and Rachel Weseman of SPA/Panther, where they will handle the sales and shipping of our catalog of parts. They are well known for their prompt, professional service and excellent communications. This agreement will allow me to focus on making parts and teaching builders, the two elements I do best.

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Above, a front quarter view of a 2015 engine: Notice how much more compact the 2400-L starter is on this engine than the our traditional lightweight stater in the top photo. The modern starter is 3 pounds lighter and uses less power. The engine at the top has since been upgraded with it’s own 2400-L starter. 

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Questions:

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What motivated the change? Both Grace and I both are very fortunate to still have both our parents, and we regard it as our duty to care for them. In my family we have many kids, and we all contribute to my parents care. In Grace’s case, she is the only child, so she is the first line of support, and there are no ‘reserves.’ While we have been very grateful for the patience our builders have shown in the last 24 months, the situation required a realistic permanent solution to provide consistent service.  Having Dan and Rachel take care of the sales and distribution of our parts is the solution that provides builder service while allowing us to meet our family commitments.

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Is this a merger of the Companies? No, FlyCorvair and SPA are still entirely separate companies, it is just a distribution agreement between trusted friends. We have long worked on complimentary parts and products, supported builders with common events like the Corvair Finishing School, and had adjoining booths at Oshkosh, but we are still, and will remain two different companies.

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How does this affect orders and shipping?  Our inventory of parts has been moved to the SPA warehouse, and when items are ordered from our new page, they will be shipped from SPA.  Rachel is known for her IT skills, and orders will receive automatic email confirmations, inventory control and sales support far beyond what I was capable of. We will jointly handle technical support with Dan’s assistance. SPA is a mid sized aircraft factory in it’s own right, with all the commiserate business hours and practices.  Comparatively, I have always accurately told builders that my work was a regular ‘mom and pop’ operation.  The new arrangement will allow full project support for builders because it combines the best of each of our assets with coordination of the parts flowing to builders as they need them.

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What about existing orders for FlyCorvair parts? These are my responsibility. Anyone looking at the new site will see a 10% price increase, which is part of how SPA is compensated for all the time and effort they will invest in this, but all existing orders will be filled at the previous cost.  We have not had a price increase on most catalog items in more than 10 years.  For this modest increase builders will get the very tangible improvement of greatly improved service.  If you have an existing order, feel free to send us a note on the new website’s contact page, but be respectful of the idea that I am obligated to fill the existing orders that pre-date our agreement, Dan and Rachel are glad to assist these builders just as a courtesy.

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Does this change anything about the College schedule? No, it does not. We are now less than 60 days from the first College of 2016 and the start of the 50 day Western tour. The new arrangement allows us to do an excellent job of coordinating all of each builders need for every college from here forward. Between FlyCorvair and SPA, we have every single part any builder needs to convert, run and install his Corvair. We fine tuned and tested this support with our Corvair Finishing School #1, Video report. It worked great, every person attending had everything they needed in advance and all the engines were completed and test run.

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Above, a 3,000 cc Corvair at power, on our test stand. In the last quarter century, I have assisted hundreds of builders to understand build, run and fly their Corvair engine. It sounds like a large number, but it was done over many years, one builder at a time. While other companies came and went, I have stayed in it for the long haul. If you are new to Corvairs and question why I have a strong loyalty from our old builders, it was because I treated them as fellow individual homebuilders, not as a ‘customer base.’

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The Corvair engine isn’t for everyone, but if you get a good look at it’s qualities, and our system of information, parts and support with 27 unbroken years of work, and find it to match your goals in aviation, I will be glad to work with you.

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 -ww.

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Zen Vair discussion group update, notes on joining

Builders:

24 months ago, We started the ‘Zenvair’ information board, a place where we could collect and share a large database of information on Zenith aircraft powered by our Corvair Conversions. Initially, we restricted the participants to those with flying Corvair powered Zeniths, and Zenith builders who had reached the point where their engine had been run. The logic was to build up the data base with people with first hand experience, and those who had already been though our engine build process. This phase is now complete, and we have made the decision to open the membership to all Corvair- Zenith builders. The only requirement is they must have a Zenith kit or set of plans, and they must have a Conversion manual from us.

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Above, Phil Maxson with his Corvair powered 601 XL at Corvair College #24 in Barnwell SC. He has worked tirelessly as the moderator of our ‘Zenvair’ discussion group. Like our ‘PietVair’ group, the content is not secret, but it is private, available to group members only. Inside, the discussions are technical, but friendly. This is driven by the fact that there are no anonymous people, every single member has a profile and uses their real name. Many of the members already know each other from Corvair Colleges, and the groups reflect the positive attitudes of the Colleges. 

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If you are a Zenith Builder, you have one of our Conversion manuals and would like to be part of the discussion group,  please contact Phil or myself by email.  Signing up is simple and it is absolutely free. There are no costs nor ‘donations.’  Please be advised that if anyone contacts Phil with an email that says “Sign me up, I’m Flyboy26@gmail” they are not getting access, because all real builders are going to send an email that looks like “My name is Mike Smith, I am building a Zenith 650, Kit number 6524, and my corvair conversion manual is #9923, thanks.”

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Phil’s email is:    zenvairforum@gmail.com,

Mine is: WilliamTCA@aol.com

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Before anyone asks, The group is specifically for supporting our Corvair conversions, and therefore we don’t extend memberships to people who chose other engines or are stuck with engines from now defunct LLC’s.  This is nothing new, although I have been in business 26 years and know a lot about flight engines, builders understand  that I have a strict personal code of never offering advice on an engine or installation which I have not personally worked on.  The internet is full of “engine guru’s” who claim to be able to offer valid advice on any engine, not just ones they have worked on. In my book, that is not a morally nor logically defensible position. My work is just to share what I know from first hand proven experience. The subject of building and flying planes can have serious consequences, select those that would advise you carefully.

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To read the stories about the original formation of the Zenvair group, read these two links:

‘Zenvair’ Information board formed

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‘Zenvair’ information board, part #2

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Above, Phil and I in my front yard the night we finished his 3,000 cc engine as an upgrade for his 601XL, which had flown on a 2700 engine since 2006. Phil is a pretty smart guy, but truth be told, it is his son who has the PhD in physics from Cornell. Phil just has the shirt.

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Piet Vair discussion group update, notes on joining

Builders:

Three weeks ago, we launched a private discussion group to specifically serve as a central location where builders of the Pietenpol / Corvair combination could share building and operational information, in a friendly setting. For builders working on the combination, we have a link on signing up at the bottom of this story.

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Moderator Terry Hand and I are impressed with the start, as it now has 65 members, 136 active threads, and more than 410 posts have been written on a great number of topics specific to the airframe engine combination.

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That is a pretty good start for a specifically defined small group in homebuilding. I attribute it to a combination of the Corvair movement attracting serious ‘Learn, build and fly’ people, and also the appeal of a group where everyone uses their real name and the tone is friendly. Here is a link to the original launch story: Piet / Vair internet builders group, started 4/24/15 .

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Terry’s email is: pietvairforum@gmail.com,

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Bob Lester strikes the “Intrepid Aviator” pose with his Pietenpol.  He is good at this because he has seen every old aviation movie ever made. He built his 2,700/Weseman bearing engine at CC #17, and it has 290 hours in the plane now. Bob is now an active member of our ‘Pietvair’ group

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Who is the group for?   It is for builders who working on the Pietenpol Corvair combination, either one of our installations or one of the traditional Bernard Pietenpol arrangements. My definition of ‘working on’ means having a conversion manual from us and having a set of plans for the plane. This keeps the group focused on the specific topics, and means that 100% of the people are active builders, even if some of them are new or just in the planning stage. Having the plans identifies a person as a builder, different than all the people on the net who are “going to build something someday” There are countless websites for the latter people, Our Pietvair group is for the builders who are actively working on improving their aeronautical understanding and skill set.

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We have had a number of people to sign up who didn’t read the directions close enough:

1) You must be a Corvair guy, 2) You have to use your real actual name in the sign up, (Flyboy26@gmail isn’t OK)  3) you have to be focused on building a Pietenpol. If you are a Zenith builder, we have a different group for you:  ‘Zenvair’ Information board formed The sign up instructions are very detailed, but if you have any questions, you can directly contact the moderator Terry Hand, at Jarheadpilot82@gmail.com.

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What if I am putting a Continental A-65 or O-200 my Piet?  Continental Motors, Inc. has their own Piet/Continental discussion group their contact information is:- 2039 Broad Street Mobile, AL 36615 Phone: 251-438-3411 When calling ask to speak with Mr. Zhou Enlai, customer service director from the main office. He is a very helpful guy, his last name is pronounced “In -Lie”, but he goes by his first name pronounced “Cho”)

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How does this help me if I am not building that combination? Part of the greater purpose of the group, just like our Zenvair group, is to build a solid database of accessible proven information, and have builders available to share what they have learned. This greatly assists me by providing a river of good information to new builders, something which previously took a large amount of time for me to do individually. This allows more time for advanced support, R&D, production and testing. In this way, the groups directly support the builders of all Corvair powered airframes.

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A very detailed visual, step by step sign up instructions can be found here:

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https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-sW1jQ2-f5_MWRacWdnWWhUSEU/view

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(They are nearly computer-idiot proof, I tested them on myself. )

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Above,Randy Bush of TN. at Brodhead with Miss Le’Bec (it is a combination of his girls’ names). His aircraft was seven years in the making.  The most successful builders I know understand that hours spent in your own shop, creating things with your own hands, is a vital part of a worthwhile life. Learning to make things is a crucial investment in your own sanity. Does it surprise anyone that really happy people always have a way of being creative? The plane has more than 600 hours on it. Randy is one of the builders on our ‘Pietvair’ group sharing what he has learned from years of successful operation.