Over the years, suppliers is the Corvair world have offered aluminum pushrod tubes. I have owned sets before, but they had issues, predominantly being too thick walled at the top and impeding cold oil drain back because the thick wall was too close to the guide plates.
I wrote an article a number of years ago on how to modify the tops, but it required having a lathe, and in the end it was a lot of work for an individual builder.
Over the last several months I have designed a new set of aluminum billet tubes, had them made on very accurate CNC equipment and included details like o-ring grooves which are a few thousands larger in diameter to tighten the fit on the installed o-rings. As the picture shows, they Ave a smooth bell mouth at the top so cold oil will drain back. I include a set of Viton O-rings with each set of tubes.
To be clear, these are a ‘luxury’ item. No one has to buy these to build and fly a corvair engine. They are just an available option, a choice for builders. Guys working of a budget can always clean and paint, or powder coat stock tubes, I did it for the last 34 years.
I’m going to include these with every kit motor I sell from here forward. They look good and are a bit lighter than stock ones, but the other factor for me is it takes time for me to prep stock tubes for kit engines, and I never have enough hours in the day. These tubes, coming right out a box, saves me about 2 man hours on an engine. I offer them so builders have the same choice.
My 2022 conversion manual is 300 pages in length, but this really isn’t a good measure of its content. Here is a small example of what it takes to develop the content to fill several hundred pages with useful information.
The picture is four Whirlwind “Razor” blades. These were designed to fit in a warp drive hub. I contacted Whirlwind and spoke to their engineering team. There was good reason to think these blades would be a very good option or upgrade for Corvairs. in order to accelerate testing, I bought two pairs of blades and began flight tests on friends Zeniths. The blades were $410 each.
While I am known as ‘The Corvair Guy’, I additionally have a very strong background in propellers for light aircraft. I was mentored by two men, now past, who are recognized as masters of propulsion. I have worked as a manager and a consultant for brands, I’ve been a dealer for Warp Drive and Sensenich for almost 30 years each, and I have worked with a number of propeller artisans. I mention this so you can understand there was very good reason, not marketing, that made these blades seem promising.
Aerodynamically, they are good, however, a serious problem emerged in testing. Simultaneously the blades showed their best performance above 3,000 rpm, and the engineering team said they were uncomfortable with that kind of sustained rpm. ( neither Warp Drive nor Sensenich props have this limitation). Out of caution, I ceased the flight tests, as it was not possible, no matter the pitch used, to keep the rpm limit, particularly in a decent.
After a year pause, I contacted Whirlwind again to see if any data or testing had developed which would make them revise their red line rpm higher. They cam back and said they were now moving it lower to 2800 rpm continuous. I now had some very expensive wall decorations.
I could not sell them in aviation, so I listed them on a Florida airboat site. They sold for $600. Besides the time and effort, this is a straight $1,000 loss. Sounds like a lot, but in the last 34 years I have spent more than 100x that on tests which ended like this.
So when I have the next printing of conversion manuals done, the 300 pages will get a single paragraph added in the propeller section, explaining that where blades look good, but the rpm limit is way too low. It’s essentially a thousand dollar paragraph. Give that some thought when looking at the other 1,500 paragraphs in the manual.
Many of my friends know that my mother passed last month, and a great number of people shared their condolences on social media. My family deeply appreciated each of these thoughts.
If in the course of working with me, you are ever witness to, or the recipient of a thought or an act which strikes you as really considerate or kind beyond the norm, you are actually directly observing my mothers presence and ethics in my life.
My mother made it quite clear to us children that we had very ‘rich’ lives of love and acceptance, and better friends than most people, and fail to offer the same to others, particularly the lonely or the isolated, was the height of ingratitude and arrogance. She understood that there really isn’t a valid excuse for that behavior.
My mother’s life had as profound effect on my life as my father’s. I shared more stories from my father over the years, but isn’t indicative of the proportion of or scale of the influence. My mother valued kindness, generosity and empathy, and she demonstrated her unwavering allegiance to these values by living them. Her quiet example was strong enough that I will confess to being truly embarrassed when I think of the times in my life where I had a short fuse and a sharp tongue. It was ingratitude for all my mother taught me.
Elizabeth and drove to NJ and arrived in time to spend a few remaining hours by her bedside. We stayed up north for the services and for the gathering of my family. In May my mother will be interred beside my father in Arlington National Cemetery. They were together from 1946-2017. I can not begin to express how fortunate I was to be one of their children.
My mother waves from the left seat of my friends DC-3, here in Florida 20 years ago. As a 12 year old in 1939, her class was given a tour of the then new DC-3 at Newark airport. Girls were not allowed in the cockpit. 64 years later, this injustice was corrected. Mom loved it.
Thanks to all the builders who were patient about orders while I was up north. I’m back in the hangar and office now, and will have all the orders out in a few days. Feel free to call anytime.
I picked these up at the printer this afternoon, and they are in my inventory system now, ready for immediate shipment.
The picture on my shopping page shows a 2014 manual, but I have been sending out 2022 manuals since July of 2022.
If you have a 2014 manual AND a MOP manual, you do not need to upgrade to a 2022 manual. The primary updates to the 2014 manual were making it agree with the 2019 MOP manual. New builders should also get a MOP manual, I just didn’t like having discrepancies between the 2014 manual and the MOP manual.
This is advanced notice to the Corvair Community of the availability of this Zenith.
It was built and flown my my close friend Woody Harris. He passed away at the end of last summer. The plane has 500 hours on it. It has flown to 25 states, including 3 corners of the US, and to Oshkosh and Kitty Hawk. It is powered by a 2,850 cc Corvair, and the installation is 100% by my book. Woodys life work was in international auto racing, driving and fabricating, and the plane reflects his mechanical experience.
The plane has a fresh annual, and is currently being flown. Videos of the plane are available to potential buyers, the aircraft is located at the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville CA, near Sacramento.
His family is putting the plane on Barnstormers for $42,000 in 10 days. Before then, they are offering it to people who already have an interest in Corvair powered planes, as it will be less questions. Before going to Barnstormers, the price is Reduced to $40,000.
If you have a technical question on the plane, text me, 904-806-8143.
If you would like to arrange to see the plane, you should text Woodys daughter Amy Choi, 707-430-7092. She is an ATP who knows flying and machines, and will handle all aspects of the sale.
Personal note: Woody was a very important person in my life, and I am close with his family. Let me forewarn compulsive bargain hunters who view another family’s tragedy as an opportunity for them to make a low ball offer and try to cash in flipping the plane, I have the memory of an elephant, I’m well known in the Zenith community, and I will make sure anyone trying this becomes a pariah, just for trying it. I’m not reluctant to publish their picture and home address on the internet. Woody was a great friend, and someone who wouldn’t protect the interests of the family of a deceased friend is worthless, and never deserved the man’s trust in the first place.
Peter Eiberger has just recently started flying his Zenith 750 cruiser. I spoke with him today, and he shared these photos and a link to his you tube channel. The project was 21 months taking the workshop class at the factory to having it signed off for flight. Keep in mind Peter has never built a plane before, is in his 30’s, married, and works full time, and yes he built the engine himself in that time span also.
His plane is powered with a 2,850cc Corvair, 112hp, with a Rotec 34mm MK II carb. The fuel system is a simple gravity feed. It is fitted with a Sensenich 64 x 35 prop, with is a standard prop on a Stop, and a very strong climb prop on a cruiser. Instrumentation is by Grand Rapids, with an auto pilot.
I’m glad to have all types of builders, but I have to say that Peter’s easy going manner made working with him a pleasure. He had setbacks like anyone else, but he never go discouraged, he just wanted to know the best way to get back on track and keep going. My golden rule of Homebuilding is “Persistence Pays”, and this combined with a very positive attitude adds up to a really good build.
A good side view of Peter’s plane. It has the option for large tires, 21′ on the mains. As of today, the plane has 6 hours on it. The flight testing has been completely uneventful , and Peter is going to keep it that way by using a combination of the flight test program in my MOP manual and the one published by the EAA. More info to come as phase one continues.
Head on view, showing the Corvair is only 28″ wide, The cowl I sell was specifically designed for Zenith airframes.
A clean, simple installation.
The sweet sound of a smooth Corvair, Even people who are not fans of auto conversions have to admit the love the sound of this engine.
Enjoy this for a few minutes, and head back to your shop and make some progress on your own bird. Let this top off your motivation tank.
The achievement of building and flying the first Corvair powered Murphy Rebel goes to Rob Schaum of Connecticut. He put the plane through a flawless one hour first flight this afternoon.
Above, Rob’s plane. It was a 120hp Corvair and a warp drive prop.
Rob is on the left. On the right 800 hour Corvair/601XL pilot Ken Pavlou, who acted as Rob’s immediate support on verifying that his engine was in tip top shape.
Do you occasionally get discouraged because your project isn’t advancing as fast as others claim theirs is? Focus in on this thought: The only competition you are in is with the forces which discourage you. They only win if you quit.
Get a look at the picture above. The guy the arrow is pointing to is Rob Schaum. This picture was taken at a Corvair Night School I held in the shop of Dr. Gary Ray in Michigan……..It was February 14th, 2005. Yes, Rob was working on his plane nearly 18 years ago.
This tells you two important facts: Rob Schaum does not quit easily, he understands my saying: “In Homebuilding, Persistence Pays”, and it also tell you that I’m here for the long run, and will be there to support you when you take your plane for its first flight.
Ken reported that Rob was really elated today. It was well deserved. Over the years I had many people tell me they were going to build a Rebel with a Corvair, but to this date, just one man refused to quit, and now he owns the sky. A just reward for his persistence.