3,000cc Cleanex at Oshkosh 2017

Above, Randy Bush of TN stands beside his 3,000cc Cleanex at Oshkosh 2017. It was parked in the Corvair power row directly behind my booth in the North Aircraft display area.

This is Randy's second Corvair powered plane. His Pietenpol now has 725 hours on it, and his Cleanex, new this year, has about 60. It is a reflection of the long proven installation that the plane had no issues in phase one testing, and is a fully reliable aircraft for cross country work with 60 hours on the Hobbs. The term 'alternative engine' doesn't historically have that kind of reputation, because too many people promoting them were selling untested imported junk and half baked ideas without merit.

Conversely, I was educated at the finest aeronautical university, and my goal has always been to emulate the success of Lycoming and Continental in a more affordable and accessible format. In the 28 years since starting this I have seen countless companies offering "New and exciting " come and go, but I have never wavered from my faith in "old and proven" . If it is your desire to understand and master a power plant that will reliably take your plane to destinations far and wide over hundreds of hours, we have an engine program for you.

Wewjr

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3,300cc Corvair 601XL, Oshkosh 2017

Above, Ken Pavlov, of CT, flew to Oshkosh 2017 in his 3.3L Corvair powered Zenith 601XL. The plane now has 578 hours on it. The first 502 were on his 2,700 cc Corvair.

When he mentioned opting to add 600cc in displacement by reassembling the engine around a Weseman 3.3L billet Crankshaft, many people asked "What was wrong with the 2,700?" Answer: Nothing. The engine served him for 502 hours, and no one flies that kind of time on a home built in 3 years if the installation is problematic.

In reality, Ken used and enjoyed the engine he started with his plane project in 2007. However, a decade later, his career and life have advanced to the point that he can afford any engine he desires. His choice to upgrade to a maximum output, finest quality, state of the art engine is just an extension of his satisfaction with the Corvair, reflects the option all Corvair builders have to increase power and take advantage of advancements without 'starting over' and is a direct reflection of Ken's good judgement to invest in the aircraft he flies his family in.

It is ironic that a builder who puts a $5k paint job on his plane, an expenditure which does nothing to increase the aircrafts performance nor reliability is greeted with near universal praise, but a guy who opts for a dramatic performance increase via new, American made parts, must explain to many of the same people the logic of his choice.

Although Ken was not born in America, this country has been the recipient of his complete allegiance since he was child. His choice to spend his dollars on American engineering and manufacturing, and thus directly support employment in this country is a reflection of his gratitude for becoming a citizen of this country, a great fortune all to frequently taken for granted by those born here.

Wewjr.

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Oshkosh 2017

Above, Joe Sarciones 3,000 cc Corvair 750 STOL behind my booth at Airventure.  The plane now has 60 hours on it, flew in from Massachusetts. Very nice piece of craftsmanship. Come see it at booth 616 in the north aircraft display area,

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July 27

Above, a very bad ass piece of American Cold War hardware at Airventure: B-1B. Flew in today. Joined a B-52H and the worlds last 2 B-29s at the main square of the show. Well known Corvair builder Dan Glaze worked on the production line that built most of the B-1s , and is a wealth of information on their history.

Chevrolet has an add which pictures the back of a red 1963 Corvette split window coupe, with the phrase “they don’t write songs about Volvos.” If you want to spend your time in aviation with people of experience and quality, consider the caliber of people in the Corvair movement; because there probably isn’t anyone in the Rotax camp that actually worked on the B-1 production line

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Jon Coxwell passes from Earth, 4 July 2017.

Builders:

Very sad news came from Mark, the son of Pietenpol builder Jon Coxwell, that his father had perished in a Luscombe crash on the 4th of July. Yesterday morning I was stopping by the SPA/Panther shop to go over orders, parts and Oshkosh prep. Mark’s letter had arrived in our joint communications E-mail system, and Rachel had seen it and brought it to Dan’s attention. When I walked in, Dan took me aside and spoke of the accident. It was thoughtful; Jon Coxwell was the kind of guy who stuck in your mind, even if you had only spent a bit of time with him in person. Dan understood that there are some things better said by a friend than read in an email.

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If you were at Corvair College #27 in Barnwell or even if you are a regular reader of the comments on this blog, Jon stood out as a man with a positive attitude and something thoughtful to say. He had a very interesting personal story. His own father was a USAAF bomber pilot before US involvement in WWII. His father was stationed a number of places in the Caribbean as the US geared up their defenses of the Panama Canal. He was already married to Jon’s mother, and contrary to the wishes of the military, she followed her husband to these bases.

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After Pearl Harbor, His expecting mother retuned to the mainland US and Jon’s father became a Major and a highly respected B-24 squadron leader in Hawaii. In 1943, his plane crashed shortly after a takeoff, taking the lives of the whole crew. This event, and it’s effect on the squadron, was spoken of in the bestselling book Unbroken, the Louis Zamperini biography. This left infant Jon Coxwell with a heroic father he would never meet.

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From such a harsh start, Jon Coxwell had a very full life. He spoke many times of his great fortune of having an outstanding stepfather,  a man who supported his full adolescence, but was gracious about preserving room in Jon’s life for the memories of his birth father. For a look into this childhood, I have included a note that Jon wrote at the bottom.

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At the end of yesterday, I took a lawn chair and a beer out to the edge of our freshly mowed airstrip, and sat down to watch the day end while contemplating the very moving things Mark wrote in the letter about how much his father appreciated flying, and the experimental aircraft builders he met along his journey.  My thoughts kept returning to the question of the risk vs reward.

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Jon was a very cognizant and logical man who understood such considerations. He wasn’t the kind of guy who stands around an airport saying “It will be alright” and blunders on. He might best be described as deliberate. Considering the origins of his life, it would be hard to imagine otherwise. I am quite sure that he never went to the airport without considering what an improbable event would cost his family.

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The chance to ask him directly about this has come to a close, but seated by the runway as the sun set, I came to the belief  Jon had already answered the question with his actions.  He was aware of the risks, but chose to accept them and be in the arena of flight, as an actor, not a spectator.  He did this for the reasons his son spoke of in the letter. Perhaps just as his own father has balanced risk vs duty, Jon had made his own balance in turn.

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On the 4th, the improbable happened, and presented a bill for all the hours of joy flight had brought him in life. It is a terrible cost, but a possibility a deliberate man like Jon understands as a real possibility. As the last trace of light left the evening sky, I concluded that the most moving thing about Jon was that his childhood didn’t steal anything from him, it conversely gave him a deep understanding about things some fathers feel they must do.

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For the times we shared I remain grateful. People outside of aviation will be fixated on his accident, but I find this a predictable reaction of someone who is a hapless passenger in their own life.  Jon Coxwell was the antithesis of this, a cognizant man in command of his life. He offers the testimony that most accurate way to measure men and their fathers is simple to consider how they choose to live.

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In response to the story about balsa planes and childhood: Fixing America is going to cost each of us $1.69

Jon Coxwell wrote:

“I just could not pass up commenting on the balsa wood planes.  I grew up in two worlds simultaneously literally 120 miles apart.  The first was in the largest city in Montana (Billings, about 60,000 when I was a kid, bigger now) and the second on a small cattle ranch nestled against the Little Belt Mountains in central Montana.  It was in my first world where I lived with a grandmother during the school year.  The house was at the intersection of two very quiet tree lined residential streets.  My airplane of choice was rubber band powered with jaunty long wire landing gear.  The only place my friends and I could have a successful takeoff was in the intersection of the two streets.  Other wise the plane would soon be in the trees.  Flying that rubber band powered ship was the impetus for learning to climb trees so I could retrieve it.  More than once, cars would stop and wait for us to complete our flight.  I think the adults got just as much fun out of it as we kids did.  (Those were the days when mothers and grandmothers knew of us playing in the street but just admonished us to watch for cars.  It was learning to take responsibility for our own actions.)  We would grease up the prop bearing with Vaseline and wind the rubber band to 16 knots to get an extra 20 feet of altitude.  What a life!

My second world was where I learned about motors.  I do not remember any flat head lawn mowers but I did build an electric reel mower from plans in Popular Mechanics.  My step dad was always overhauling a tractor, truck, or the little jeep in less than ideal conditions.  A family friend gave me an old Wizzer bike motor and I proceeded to build a go kart.  It didn’t work well as all the roads were dirt and rutted but my dad saw my interest and proceeded to help me scrounge Model T parts from all the old homesteads.  He knew where all of the old Fords had been pushed into the brush when the homesteaders starved out in the thirties.  Before I was out of high school I had a running Model T to chug around the hills in.  The only thing I had to buy was 2 tires.  When the GN-1 flies it will be dedicated to my natural father (a WWII B-24 squad commander) who gave me the genetic interest in flying and my step dad who taught me the manual skills and patience I needed to build an airplane.”

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If you would like to share some thoughts with Mark Coxwell directly, his email address is mtredtek@msn.com.  Feel free to share thoughts in the comment section here also.

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wewjr.

 

Safety Alert: Excessively Rich MA3-SPA Jetting.

Please Read the Comments section for further information. Scott Romey in the comments is a technician at D&G. His information can be directly followed on this matter. Applicability now contains list of individual carbs. 

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DATE and REVISION:  23 June 2017. – Original Safety Alert on this subject.

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SUBJECT:      Some MA3-SPA carburetors remanufactured for Corvair builders by D&G Supply in Niles MI, were jetted excessively rich. While done with good intention, testing and operation has conclusively shown that the stock, original jetting for a 10-4894 model works on all displacement Corvair engines from 2,700 – 3,300 cc.

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APPLICABILITY:      Recommendation for inspection, MA3-SPA carbs rebuilt by D&G Supply

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Below is a file, listing all the individual carbs believed to be affected by this safety alert. Any builder with a question should directly contact D&G rather than make an assumption

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From Scott at D&G: “I just got done making what I think is a complete list.  All we ask is to please call or email us before sending the carb in. so we can confirm it has a modified nozzle and not waste time and money on shipping”

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NP6szGNgx4C9cXVRAbWVo0usHuQgHA77HeJtg6aP-fg/pubhtml#

 

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EXCLUSION:     This does NOT apply to any MA3-SPA carb which is known to have original model 10-4894 jetting.  NOTE: We have never sold carbs. I have just recommended models and suggested jetting and suppliers. Thus, any comment that starts with “My Carb came from WW” is not a factual statement.

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COMMENTARY:         Over the last several months, I have gradually become aware that some Corvair builders utilizing MA3-SPA carbs rebuilt by D&G supply had excessively rich carbs. This prompted a survey of builders, revealing that a number of builders had excessively rich carbs, but had not spoken with either myself nor D&G. Without such contact, the scope of the issue was not previously known. Today, I believe we are speaking of 35-40 carbs.

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Dan Weseman and myself have always used MA3-SPA carbs with stock jetting on all of our Corvairs. My run stand, which has operated several hundred Corvair engines has a completely stock MA3-SPA on it. This exact carb was used for the extensive computerized dyno testing we did in 2015 at John’s Speed Shop in Jacksonville Florida. Dan’s 3.3L Corvair ran one test to 147HP, and the instrumentation and data logging showed that the stock jetting on the carb worked perfectly. Jetting requirements are not directly displacement nor output related. All displacement and output Corvairs with MA3-SPA carbs in my work and testing have been shown to run well with stock jetting.

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The erroneous rich jetting was generated by one builder in Michigan, and his mechanic, supplying ‘information’ to D&G, without speaking to me about our testing. D&G, mistaking the supplied ‘information’ as typical data, made other rebuilt carbs richer. This misunderstanding has now been corrected, D&G is absolutely willing to re-jet the carbs, and it is up to builders to do their part to make sure their carb is jetted correctly. 

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If  you are running your engine at a density altitude of 5,000′ or less, the engine should run without issue with the mixture set at full rich. If the engine only runs cleanly with the mixture pulled back significantly, this is an indication that the carb is probably excessively rich.

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This excessively rich condition is a safety issue for three reasons: 1) The engine will not make full power if it is excessively rich, 2) It will have a significantly higher fuel burn, it will have reduced range and duration. 3) in the event of a go-around, pilots are taught to instinctively push the throttle carb heat and mixture full forward. If the plane will not run correctly with the mixture full rich, it will be an issue just when the pilots full attention needs to be on flying.

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Builders should not assume their carb is jetted correctly without verification. I recently spoke with a builder who was selling the Corvair he had removed from his flying Zenith after about 15 hours.  He never called to discuss the issue, but he was convinced that he had been experiencing “Carb Ice” , and claimed that he knew this because when he had the throttle pulled back for some length of time, the engine ran rough. He never tried pulling the mixture, or calling, he just decided to remove the engine and replace it with a fuel injected one. I have spoke with the current owner of the engine, and can say the issue was simply an excessively rich mixture. The plane was not experiencing carb ice at all. It just needed the carb re-jetted. Instead, it got a completely different engine. Calling us when you have an issue can save a lot of time and money.

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SUGGESTED ACTION:     I highly recommend that all Corvair engines with MA3-SPA carbs verify they have stock jetting.  Carbs rebuilt by D&G came with paperwork which indicates the jetting. If the jetting can not be positively verified as stock, then the carb should be returned to D&G  for inspection. If the carb was jetted richer than stock, this will be corrected by D&G. I have spoken with the owner on this, and he is more than willing to rectify this issue for builders. There is no excuse why any builder would continue to operate an excessively rich carb. Already having 10, 20, or even 100 hours of operation with excessively rich jetting without does not justify their further use without correction.

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http://www.dgsupply.com/contact-us

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This is a “Safety Alert” and I am issuing a “Suggested Action” because Corvairs are experimental engines, and as such, do not have Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins in the same form as certified engines do. I cannot require any builder to take any action, I can only appeal to his better judgment by making a serious recommendation. Airworthiness Directives are only issued by the federal government, and Service Bulletins are issued by certified part manufacturers, thus the difference in the Safety Alert.

This said, I appeal to builders to follow this recommendation. The most frequent form of push back on suggestions of this kind is a builder who is myopically looking at his one plane and making a conclusion based on his impression of his own plane. Conversely I get to see all the data, understand the extenuating or aggravating conditions, I had world class training in statistical decision making at Embry-Riddle, and I always further consider what still works, not just looking at what broke.  I am not a genius, but for the above reasons, my recommendations on Corvair flight engines carry more weight than those of one guy with a flying plane, even a well intentioned one. We don’t have to speak of opinions of internet personalities that have no direct personal involvement nor experience with flying Corvairs.

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DISTRIBUTION:    I ask that this information be shared with others who personally involved in building a Corvair flight engine. This should be done just by people who have read and understood the information themselves, who also are Corvair builders.  For this safety message to have efficient, accurate and timely distribution, it should not be forwarded in part, nor by anonymous sources. I issue Safety Alerts very infrequently, and they need to be taken seriously. Any impediment to their accurate transmission to builders is an act contrary to the safety of builders.

 

William Wynne

WilliamTCA@flycorvair.com

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Fall Corvair Colleges: sign in now open

Builders:

Here are the sign up links for the next two Corvair Colleges, #40 in Texas, and #41 in South Carolina. The links are active, and you can sign up at any time, they will close automatically when the events are full. Special thanks to Shelley Tumino for handling all of the on-line work for these events, and also for Co-hosting #40 in Texas.

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Corvair College #40 Wisener-Mineola Airport, (Tyler) TX 29 September 31 October 2 2017: This college has Shelley Tumino and Kevin Purtee as hosts the same couple who brought you the four colleges in Austin TX, Read about them here:The Cherry Grove Trophy and here: Kevin Purtee and “The Hat of Power”

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CC #40 is a medium sized 40 person Corvair College, at a real grass roots airport, hosted by two very experienced hosts. Both Dan Weseman and Myself are going to be on hand for technical support, in addition to a number of returning builders to assist. The required sign up fee covers the catered food and drinks. I expect this to be a very productive college. We will have several Corvair powered planes on hand for demonstration and inspection. Unlike other aviation “technical seminars” Corvair College is a total immersion experience, we pack a great deal into a very short time window.

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Corvair College #41, Barnwell SC, 10-12 November 2017:  This is a return to our flagship College at it normal time of the year. For a look at the 2015 Barnwell College, check this out: Corvair College #35 Barnwell builders video.

For a look at the EAA film about the 2013 Barnwell College, click here: New EAA video on Corvair College#27, Barnwell 2013.

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Barnwell has been the home of eight previous Corvair College. P.F. Beck and crew have the logistics down so well that we have no difficulty having a productive event for 90 builders. If you are planning on going, do not delay in signing up, as I expect the event to be full by labor Day

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here is the link for CC41:

https://eventregistration2017.wufoo.com/forms/cc41/

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Thank you,
William Wynne