New Video: 2020 ‘A’ and ‘B’ building plans.

Builders,

Here is a link to our latest release, it addresses making a two phase building plan to keep your homebuilt project on track:

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If you have not yet done so, please take a moment to subscribe to our YouTube Chanel, and turn the notification bell on. We will have many more videos coming.

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Aviation house calls in a time of ‘Social Distancing’

Builders,

I am well known as Experimental Aviation’s most prolific provider of house calls. In 31 years of business, I have made hundreds of house calls to builders. Today the list got one call longer, as I went to see Tom Kodey and his newly flying 3.3L Corvair powered SPA Panther. 

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Above, Tom and I follow national guidelines and stay six feet apart during my 2 hour visit. It was a good time, his aircraft is magnificent. I had not seen Tom since we ran his engine at one of our finishing schools last year. It is a 3.3 Liter (3,300cc) 125+ hp Corvair built from an ‘Engine in a Box’ kit. It took just 2 days to build start to finish.  Tom’s plane has about 2 hours of flight time, and everything is going great. His previous plane was an RV-12 with a Rotax. Tom is a very successful guy and could afford any of the optional engines for his Panther. He selected the Corvair, and a little bit of flying has affirmed his choice. 

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The centerpiece of Tom’s power plant is the SPA, Billet, made is the USA from a Timken Billet, stroker crank. The strength of these cranks is long proven, they have been doing Aerobatics in Panthers since 2012, without a single flaw failure of any kind. If anyone suggests you can import a comparable crank, be polite, it’s the best way to deal with mental ill people.  Read more here: SPA Billet Corvair Cranks.

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The Panther has many features, and one of them is being very quick to build. Tom’s plane was in the works a little over a year. It took just 1,200 hours to completely finish, including building the engine. That is not the record, Brent Mayo’s Flying 3,000 cc Panther, was built, including the engine in just 830 hours. It isn’t a competition nor a race, but the success of these two men illustrate both Dan and I have worked very hard to make out products buildable. Keep in mind, these are not ‘just buzz around’ planes, they are very capable aerobatic planes with great utility, and a perfect safety record.

If you are out there practicing social distancing, make sure you are making progress on your project. It is an excellent self investment. 

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‘Fairway to Heaven’, A simple day in Florida

Builders; 

I live on a little grass airstrip in rural Florida. 102 other people also live here, we all contribute to the upkeep and operation of our little home. This year, I’m serving another tour as airport manager. I like the job, it is all done outside in the sunshine. Running our place is a whole community effort, ongoing for decades. If being here didn’t  restore someones optimism about people, not much else would. 

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On a day were many millions of people in America succumbed to media and corporate pressure to feel fear and react emotionally, I chose to turn all that stuff off and go spend some time outside.  I am deeply bothered that the America of my ideals, the “Home of the Brave”, is not easily seen in our national behavior on this day.  Rather than dwell on something I can not effect, I went outside to do something productive on the runway. 

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This turtle, about the size of a tennis ball, was taking a little stroll down the road to my house. There was little danger he would get hurt, often many hours pass between vehicles on my road.  You may have passed a wild turtle today, but were not walking in a peaceful setting, and you didn’t get to see them. There are many rewards and obligations people feel that keep them very busy. I understand this. I personally am not well equipped to digest stress of the daily sort, and if I could, I might never have found the setting I live in. My only point to share is that given the choice, perhaps any shift toward the simpler options in life would serve your sanity as well. My work involves showing people the simplest method to go flying, and how to be the master of this, not merely its owner. Your life, your choice, but for me, simplicity is sanity.

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Little guy with a long way to go. Didn’t seem to bother him, it was nice out and as an animal, he has no other option than to live in the moment. I watched him for a while and thought about how I wasted a lot of my life as a self-made exercise in stress and conflict.  Why was it important? I like to know, and then I might have some reason that I spent a lot of my life doing things that brought me little happiness.  I was sent links today, to a heated internet debate about alternative engines. There was a time I would have felt a very strong compulsion to express something there, but I read the comments, and it was very obvious that no one was learning anything or changing their opinions. I watched another engine provider I know personally, get very frustrated explaining a point he was correct on. I watched and couldn’t quite remember why I once would have typed an effectively identical essay to an equally closed minded people. I shut the laptop and went back out to the tractor.

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Barnwell Corvair College, 2020

Builders,

Here is the first announcement of Corvair College #48, at Barnwell this November:

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More information to follow, but start planning now, this is a very special event, our 10th College at barn well, a tribute to the late P. F. Beck, the man who made the previous colleges possible and set the standard on what a grat Corvair College is.

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Video: Aviation wasn’t meant to be Disneyland.

Builders;

 

“The problem was simple: after 30 years of marketing the ‘Disneyland’ clean cut appearance of safety, we now had a generation of aviators who could no longer distinguish the appearance of safety from actually having safety, and these people’s conditioned taste for ‘Disneyland’ precluded coverage of actual grass roots events.”

 

Here is the latest video in the “Thought for the Day” video series.

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The story covers an aspect of the m’marketing’ of Experimental Aviation, where certain groups have tried to clean up aviation “Image” . Personal, I have been training people to be better aviators, not just look like AOPA’s idea of the approved image of pilots.

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A story about aviation image:Thought for the Day: “The only guy promoting alcohol, firearms and aviation”

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A funny story that is in the same idea: FMU – The greatest flying club never started.

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Zenith/Corvair – Year round in Newfoundland.

Builders,

Jeff Moores of Newfoundland is our most remote builder/Corvair pilot. His plane is a Zenith 750 cruiser powered by a 3,000cc/120 HP Corvair engine, built straight from my manuals and our parts catalogs. The really unique element of Jeff’s approach is to fly the plane all year. This is made possible by two factors: He flies it with Full Lotus floats, and second, he is one hearty guy, even by Canadian standards.

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Above, Jeff demonstrates what it takes to just get into the man door on his hangar in the winter. Going flying in the winter can involve serious snow mining.  In his hand, Jeff in holding “Stick and Rudder”, the greatest book on flying ever written. It is a classic you should own and study also.

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Jeff’s hangar is by the side of a lake. In the summer, he rolls the plane out on a special cart to the water. In the winter, the inflated rubber cells of the Full Lotus floats work equally well off snow or glare ice. The installation keeps his his Zenith operational all year in a climate which can be very harsh. While Newfoundland is ‘just’ 50 degrees north latitude, it is known for very windy conditions. Jeff reported that his record short take off on a very cold day, directly into a very strong wind was just twenty feet.

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Jeff’s 750 Cruiser now has 200 hours on it. He specifically built it as an upgrade from his previous plane, a Merlin GT that he also flew on floats, logging more than 300 hours of Corvair powered flight time on that airframe. Jeff said the GT was an honest plane, but the Cruiser is a serious, across the board improvement for his operations.  He pointed out the speed of the combination is important in a location where high prevailing winds can really reduce ground speeds to windward.

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Jeff is an instructor of mechanical arts in the Canadian educational system He really knows machines. While he can appreciate high-tech in some settings, the simplicity of the Corvair makes the most sense to him in the harsh conditions of Newfoundland. Direct drive, carb, gravity feed, air cooled, etc, when you think about inspections and preflights, the simpler the better is his perspective.

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I happened to spend 1/2 hour on the phone with Jeff this morning.  It was a good chance to catch up, discuss things in the future. Some people will ask why I didn’t put up a picture of his plane, or some detailed list of performance specifications, but the picture above reflects the focus of this story; A very individual builder, who carefully considered both his airframe and the power plant, a guy who expanded his skills and talents, who is now out savoring the fruit of his endeavors. Just like Jeff, you deserve the same story.

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Video on Shelbyville June Fly-in

Builders,

Here is the Video announcement of our June Shelbyville IL. fly-in:

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This goes with the previous written story.  Make your plans now, it will be fun.

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Corvair Fly-in, Shelbyville IL, June 19-21

Builders:

June 19-21 2020, we are having a gathering of Corvair powered planes at the Shelby County airport, (2HO) in central Illinois.  It is specifically timed to be a part of the Regional Corvair car convention which will be taking place in Springfield. This will not only be an excellent opportunity for builders and flyers to get together in a real grass roots setting, it will also be a great opportunity to get to meet a lot of Corvair car people. I am scheduled to be the guest speaker at their Saturday night banquet, where the theme is the technology and flight connections to Corvairs. The hosts are working to have the Corvairs of several famous Americans from Aviation and Space present at the show, and our fly-in is one of the satellite events that the cars will be driving out to.  This is an excellent opportunity to have a good time 5 weeks before Oshkosh, in a far more relaxed setting. 

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We will have many more updates on this event, and a video about it. It will be a regular FlyCorvair event, which means we will have fun, but also a good chance to learn. Im going to encourage people with core engines for sale to bring them, builders with cores to inspect to bring them also, and we will have instruction based on the New – M.O.P. Manual, a required technical document. Put in on your calendar now, it is the kind of classic aviation setting I love, and a fun and productive event.  Don’t miss it. 

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Sources of Information, a new video.

Builders,

Here is the latest video, “Sources of Information”. The content covered the main paths we use to share our experience with builders. The presentation of the video can be credited to Phil Maxson who set up my green screen studio here at my place in Florida, and Ken Pavlou who does all the editing from his place in Connecticut. Now if I can only find the right level of coffee which will allow me to speak smoothly  without the appearance of being intermittently electrocuted.

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Another post on information resources that builders should read, a bit dated but still useful:

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