A Zenith Cruiser Engine is Born

Builders; 

Pictured below is the first start of a brand new, no expense spared, 3.0L Corvair engine destined to power a Zenith Cruiser in Texas. 

.

 

.Here is the video: https://youtu.be/0Q_PvskZdLI

Above, Greg Crouchley, the engine builder, in my front yard at the airport this morning. He is in the white shirt. Next to him is Ken Pavlou, 800 hour Corvair/Zenith 601XL pilot. Greg and Ken are old friends, if you have been around my Oshkosh tent after hours, you have likely seen their version of tough love friendship, which involves Italian vs Greek pride jokes, immodest drinking and great story telling. Corvairs are not new to Greg, eight years ago he built a 3.0L engine for his Waiex.  Today he is a Zenith guy, in the home stretch of his Cruiser.  He has built a number of planes, previous ones were powered with  Jaibaru and Continental engines.  He can tell you the merits of each, but for the last decade, he has been a Corvair guy.

.

The new engine came to life in 2 seconds of cranking. It put down a perfect break in run, and after just 30 minutes on my run stand, the cam was broken in, and it had excellent compression on all cylinders. He had one tiny oil leak, that turned out to be an oil fitting that needed another 1/2 turn.  The engine is a clone of his Waiex engine, a first class power plant built around an SPA billet crank.  Nearly every single part in this engine, including the crank, is the product of American craftsmen.  This is not an imported engine. Every person should be proud of the work of the skilled craftsmen of his homeland, and the Americans who buy products from me can be assured they are supporting good manufacturing jobs here. 

.

We will have a video on the break in run shortly. 

.

William

 

Corvair Motor Mounts available

Builders;

Two days of savage Tig welding by guest welder Bryce Gilbert and myself, and we have six more motor mounts going into the available inventory. 

.

.

Above, it may be hard to visualize, but in this 36″ x 10″ x 10″ cardboard box are seven Corvair motor mounts. They are precision CNC machined in Canada to my design by the industry leading tubing firm VR-3. I am one on Don Vanraay’s older aviation customers. His skills and quality are unmatched. All the tubing here is made in the USA. 

.

.

.

Above, after two long days, six mounts on their way to powder coating on Monday morning.  In the picture are two Zenith 601/650 mounts, two Zenith 750/Cruiser mounts, and two Pietenpol high thrust line mounts. In a week they will be back and ready to be boxed and shipped to builders. 

.

On Monday afternoon, Im going to call up Don and order another box of tubing, and increase the depth of inventory even further. 

.

William.

.

.

 

AGM Battery Charger – a missing tool.

Builders, 

The majority of experimental aircraft use Absorbed Glass Mat, (AGM) batteries, the most common brand for the last 20 years has been the Odyssey, recognizable by it’s orange top.  For as common as these are, the majority of people using them miss the important detail that they should never be trickle charged, and the have vastly better performance and lifespan if you use an AGM specific charger. 

.

.

Pictured above is a BatteryMINDer 128CEC1. This is a good choice for an Odyssey battery. This particular one keeps the Odyssey 680 battery in Phil Maxson’s 601XL topped off at my place.  They are not cheap, but they are the correct tool for the job. 

.

The moment I share this, someone will comment that it isn’t required, that they have never used one, etc. That is their opinion. In experimental aviation, you will face 100’s of occasions where the path boils down to “Do I follow the specific recommendation of the engineers who designed the part, or do I follow the advice of a guy on the net who I have never met in person, who is telling me I can save some money?”  I have worked in Experimental aviation for three decades, and I can tell you where each of these paths lead in the long term. Even if this is your first month in homebuilding, you can probably guess the destinations of each mindset. 

.

Full Disclosure: I don’t sell batteries nor charges, I have no sponsorships nor hidden dealerships, I have no friends who do these things either. My website shows that I’m obviously a dealer for some aviation products like Rotec carbs and Warp Drive props, but unlike many people offering ‘friendly advice’,  I pay regular price for all the stuff I comment about.  My comments here are solely based on using AGM batteries for 25 years……..Oh and reading the instructions written by the engineers that made them. 

.

William Wynne

“WW FlyCorvair” Face Book Group

Builders, 

If you are looking for a lot of builder generated discussion, pictures and some video, updated every day on our breed of Corvairs, there is a lot of this happening on my FaceBook group, “WW FlyCorvair”. 

.

OK, I dislike the very premise of Facebook also, and I recognize that J. Edgar Hoover never in his wildest authoritarian dreams imagined people participating in such a data collecting project, and let me add that I grew up with Neil Armstrong as a national hero, and I feel sorry for people who think of Mark Zuckerburg in the same way.  This said, our Corvair page there does see a lot of activity from 700 members, and there is useful inspiration to be found there. It is much more conducive to builders sharing their own content there, which is the biggest argument for tolerating FB for our greater purpose. I’m pretty sure you do not need a FB account to see and read the page, you can use this direct link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1117842541937300/

.

.

Above is a screen shot of the page. Between all the Corvair car and alternative applications for the engine, there are more than 50 Face book Pages on Corvairs. If you are unfamiliar with FB, spend a moment making sure you have arrived at the correct page, the cover looks just like the picture above. 

.

I write to, and monitor the FB page to make sure it is civil, stays on track, and stays unpolitical.  It is a useful tool. However, if that isn’t for you, don’t be concerned, Im back writing here on an everyday basis, and we will be cranking out many more videos shortly on our YouTube channel. 

.

Thank You, 

William 

.

Call between the hours of Larry and Larry

Builders,

When builders call outside the 9-5,  M-F time window, many of them will say some variation on “hope I’m not bothering you after hours”. One of the ways I assure them its no bother at all

.

Quite frequently the first call of the day is Larry Wade, who is building a 3,000cc Corvair powered Q-200.  He likes getting the day started early, and a lot of his calls come in at 7-7:30am. This is not an issue, I’m almost always ready for a second cup of coffee by then. Larry is doing detail work on his engine installation, and calling early means I can always get the part he needs in the mail the same day.  It isn’t all about parts, Larry is a 7,000hr pilot from a family of Southern crop dusters and he has first hand experience with rare planes like N3-N’s. A few moments of that stuff is a good way to start any working day.

.

On the other end of the working day, invariably, the last call of the day comes from Larry Nelson, 601HDS 2,700cc Corvair pilot in Yuma AZ.  We are tight friends, and Larry is our oil analysis guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybTF6ntVpV0&t=28s. Larry is three hours behind me, and if I post something on the new at 12pm or 1am , its only 9-10pm Yuma time, and Larry will frequently call for a few minutes to catch up. The subject and be a builders oil test, or a video Larry is working on, or some part he might need. Its a good way to end the work day.

.

.

Above, Larry Nelson stands beside his 601HDS. Larry was the first pilot to fly my new STOL nose bowl (pictured) in 2019. 

.

In summary, you will have to get up very early, or stay up very late, to expand the daily calling window beyond what the two Larry’s already have covered.  Have no concern about sending a text or calling anytime between the hours of Larry and Larry. During the day, I can get pretty busy, and I don’t talk on the phone while driving, but I can usual return all calls in an hour or two. If you have a longer series of questions, try calling after dinner in the evenings, it gives more time to cover plans or ideas in depth. Call me old, but I would much rather speak with any builder on the phone than try to cover questions by email, but if it suits you better, we can do email also.

Thanks

William

.

Corvair College #48 getting full

Builders,

Corvair College #48, in November at Barnwell SC, sounds far away, but we are just 114 days from it. We opened the registration 30 days ago with the link in this story: Corvair College 48 Barnwell, SC

.

If you are thinking about going, it is time to act. As of this morning 65 of the 90 available seats are already taken. Part of the reason why I had a record sales month in June was many of the 65 builders buying parts well in advance of the College, getting a plan of action together to build their engine at Corvair College #48

.

This will be the tenth Corvair College at Barnwell. P.F. Beck was the leader of the Barnwell crew, and out of respect for his passing in 2019, we did not have a Barnwell College last year. This year, Don Harper, P.F.’s compadre and fellow Barnwell aviator, made the command decision that we would hold one more College.

.

In previous years, we didn’t always have a full house, and when I asked individual builders why they had not yet signed up, I frequently got some variation on “I’ll go next year” , as the long running series of colleges at Barnwell had made some builders think they were some sort of guaranteed part of homebuilding. I have never counseled anyone to put off homebuilding, and I always reminded builders that Barnwell might not always be there….and last year it came to pass.  This year may be the start of a new grand run, or it might just be a great event, a tribute to P.F.’s contributions to homebuilding, and a rounding out to an even 10. If it has been something on your bucket list, do not blow off this chance. 

.

IMG_8756

.

Above, Ken Pavlou poses at Barnwell Corvair College #31, with his plane and The Cherry Grove Trophy, He will be one of many Corvair Builders flying his plane into Barnwell College #48.  This plane now has 800 hours on it. 

.

William

.

Outstanding Month for Corvairs

Builders, 

This is my return to daily blogging after a very busy month. On June 1st, we launched the new website and returned to my long standing model of direct distribution of my manuals, parts and engines.  If you missed the news, you can find out about it here: Return to direct Support and Distribution.

.

On one hand, I expected it to be a fairly strong month of sales, because it coincided with the opening of our first Barnwell Corvair College in 2 years: Corvair College 48 Barnwell, SC. On the other hand Oshkosh was cancelled, we have a global heath crisis , the economy has taken a real hit, and it’s an election year, which has billions of advertising dollars spent to convince you the world is going to end shortly unless you blindly vote for their candidate.  Frankly, even after excessive coffee consumption, which usually brings on unbridled enthusiasm, I was a bit worried that I had selected the wrong month, and perhaps the wrong year, to make a major shift in business gears.

.

Turns out, I had nothing to be concerned about. June was the strongest individual month of sales in five years.  So far, July is tracking right along with it.  Turns out, that being directly connected to individual builders, the traditional way I operated,  is a really good system. I remain very grateful to SPA for providing an excellent and businesslike distribution of my parts in the last 4 years, it was timely to the events in my life. Moving forward, as a single person with no kids or other obligations, I can field builders calls and texts from 8am to 12pm seven days a week, and make more than one trip to the post office and/or UPS each day to get stuff out the door six days a week.

.

In preparation for June 1st, I invested another $40,000 in inventory to make sure I will nearly always have every part on hand. If it isn’t ready or nearly ready to ship, the new web store will tell you the item is back ordered and it will not take your money. The rate I have been making and shipping orders has made it difficult to work out the last kinks in the inventory chain on a few items, but overall the stockpiles of parts has kept availability outstanding.  If you have a question on any part, call or text me directly, 904-806-8143.

.

Don’t worry about success ruining my hard core homebuilding ways.  I still drive my 34 year old truck and still have my ‘Wardrobe of the homeless’ clothing style. I’m using the benefits of the sales to builders to fund more inventory, some really cool R&D that we will have on video soon, and to purchase some serious old school shop equipment……..oh yeah, I also bought a lot of coffee, because evidently I’m going to need it. 

.

.

Above, My compadre Vern Stevenson, old school craftsman and builder, brought his latest creation by. It is a single seat, 300 pound street legal trike, powered by a 250cc motorcycle engine. It has a steel tube fuselage inside a sheet metal body. All aircraft construction techniques.  I drove it, as much fun as you would expect. The goal is 100 mpg at 60 mph.  All part of the old school home building skills and positive attitude I include in every bit of my aviation work. 

.

Thank You,

William

.

Planning your build: Call for Heads, Cranks, and Cases.

Builders:

In 10 days I am going to open up the registration and sign up for our November Barnwell South Carolina Corvair College. read: Barnwell Corvair College, 2020, it has a video link about this very special event.

.

Although it is a number of months away, It is very important to plan and get started on prep work with Heads, Cranks and Cases, now. These critical items come from the Weseman’s at Sport Performance Aviation, the Panther people. For the sake of efficiency, they are done in batches. In speaking with them last week, we covered getting a large number of builders ready for fall building and the Barnwell College. Looking at the time lines, it is very important that builders who want to make progress or run their engine at Barnwell need to send in the three long lead time items above. This next batch will get into the process pipeline in the next 2-3 weeks. They will be done long before Barnwell, but projecting forward, the next batch will be mid-September, and that round isn’t guaranteed to get all done, and back in builders hands before Barnwell. Thus, it is critical that builders planning on running at Barnwell have their critical components in to SPA very shortly.

.

Heads are the longest lead time item, and the sooner your cores get to SPA the better. Occasionally, during the disassembly inspection phase, it turns out the builder needs 1 head or would be better off with nicer cores. We can track these down, it isn’t a big deal, but it is far easier if this is discovered earlier. Even if you are not planning on attending Barnwell, but are serious about advancing your engine sooner, get on the phone and speak with SPA about scheduling.

.

There are several options on processed cranks through SPA, but the most popular is using your 8409 GM forged core crank, after complete reprocessing, mated to a Weseman Gen II fifth bearing. Again, this has lead time on it, and it is important to get these in the works. If you are considering a 3.3L engine, they all have Billet cranks, and right now SPA has a limited supply on hand. The Billet crank is optional on other engines, and you can cover the pros and cons of this with them, great motors can be built based on either crank.

.

On the subject of Cases, if you are building an engine 3,000cc or more, the cases have to be machined. For this, they need to be sent to SPA. Again, this has a bit of lead time. For engines smaller than 3,000cc, you can just clean up your case at home, and await the return of your crank and heads.

.

Planning and action are critical for progress. To get your components into the progress pipeline, call SPA at 904-626-7777, and you can get pricing and core shipping information. The crucial element is that you can’t wait until mid summer to act on this, the train for Barnwell is leaving the station soon, make sure you are on it.

.

IMG_2196

.

Above, a close up look at the inside of the top Cover of Paul Salter’s 3.0L This engine originally flew on the the Panther Prototype. The handwriting is mine, this was the fist engine assembled with an SPA billet crank. Over 8 years of very rigorous service, they have a perfect track record. Read the whole story: SPA Billet Corvair Cranks

.

ww.

.