2,850cc Corvair for Zenith 650, James Siebenaler.

Builders,

The fourth engine to run at our joint FlyCorvair/SPA Panther workshop/Open house was built by Jim Siebenaler for his Zenith 650. He had just relocated from Ohio to the Florida panhandle a few weeks before, including buying a new home and moving the project, in addition to family stuff, but Jim made the choice to take advantage of the event, and not put off a chance for progress and good times. The reward for this decision is evident in the photos.

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Above, Jim’s 2,850cc Corvair running on the stand. It started instantly and layed down a perfect break in run, the only adjustment we made was to tighten one oil line fitting 1/16 of a turn. Not bad for a motor which was built in its entirety in 2 modest days work at the event. This was possible because Jim did his homework before arriving, he coordinated with SPA to make sure he had every part, he followed the new SPA Assembly Manual step by step, and he wrenched in a relaxed but steady pace over the two days.

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Above, Dan and Jim check out the motor as it runs. This is typical of the more relaxed setting we have at events like the Workshop and the Finishing Schools we have run at the SPA/Panther factory. We will always have Corvair Colleges, and I love them, but some people like a slower pace and a smaller setting, and the workshop served this. It is the middle ground between a full on Corvair College and scheduling a personal build and run at my hangar.

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Jim worked with us for nearly a decade, yet this was the first event he was able to attend. There is good reason for this, He spent more than three decades in service to our country, and has only recently retired. He has logged more than 3,400 hours in rotary wing aircraft, including flying the latest models of CH-47 Chinook in war torn parts of the world. It was service and family first, but he carefully planned and made progress where he could. The test run was a tribute to his strategy of persistence. To understand how this vital element is embedded in every aspect of our work, look at this story:  The Vindication of Persistence.

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If you look at the photo, you will notice the motor has the most up to date 2400L starter on it. It also has a SPA billet crank in it and many other options which came along in the last decade. Jim didn’t restrict himself to building a 2008 motor because that ways the year he got started with a manual and a core. He wisely chose to take advantage of all the things we have learned and updated. There is noting wrong with motors as we assembled them in 2008, and there are plenty of them in service flying every week, but Jim made the chose to have a fully up to date motor, and take advantage of all the information we can share with him.

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Above, Jim gives his take on the “Captain Morgan Pose”. That smile is provided by having the accomplishment and satisfaction of a perfect break in run of a motor built with his own hands, an engine he now understands very well. A day will arrive when this plane takes to the air later in the year. It will arrive because Jim didn’t blow off opportunities to learn, make progress, and have a good time. When you read about upcoming events, keep in mind they are all opportunities to advance your own project, to make sure that you also will have a day where your own aircraft takes to the sky. The only thing this requires is your personal decision you will not keep putting off your own goals for a ‘some day’ which will never come.

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Wewjr.

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Corvair Core engine needed in St. Louis area.

Builders,

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I have been speaking with Dan Noble for the last few weeks as he had been looking for a core to rebuild for he upcoming Zenith project.  He is really Gung-ho on this, but somehow the ironic sense of humor in the universe keeps showing him guys who live 6 hours away who want $500 for seized motors missing heads. I told him if something better didn’t turn up, I would put the word out here, and I predicted positive results, so lets see if a builder out there can get Dan a lead on a core in his area and prevent me from looking bad.

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Dan Noble  314-398-8110

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If you know anyone who has a spare core within a few hours of St. Louis which meets the standard of 1964-69, 95 or 110, and rotates 360 degrees, please do me a favor and give Dan a quick call or text. He is a good guy, someone we want in our builder community. I really like his attitude, because he told me that he is going to build either a 650 or a Cruiser, which ever appealed to his wife, all he specified is that it is going to be Corvair powered.

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PS, if the guy who provides the intel which get Dan a core shows up at my Oshkosh display, I will buy that builder dinner as a thank you for showing community support on this. -ww.

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Judging a book by it’s cover story: When engine shopping, I don’t care if the engine is clean, only if it rotates. Counterintuitive Grease Monkey Experience: an engine that is covered in goo on the outside constantly leaked oil, and thus had a continuous oil change going on. This motor invariably looks better inside than one which drove the last 3 or 4 years without an oil change. Besides, an oil leak core motor began the “self cocooning” anti-exterior corrosion process before hibernating a few decades waiting for you to need a flight engine core.

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Wewjr.

 

3,000cc Corvair for 750 STOL, David Koshinski.

Builders,

Here is a look at the 3rd engine that ran at the joint Flycorvair/SPA Panther workshop open house. It belongs to David Koshinski, and he is installing this on his Zenith 750 STOL.

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Ok, get a good look at his smiling mug. This is the face of a very happy man. What produces this expression? The satisfaction of having an engine that you built with your own hands, an engine you really understand,  lay down a perfect break in run. This is what the very core of traditional homebuilding is all about. The fact that David had this accomplishment in the company of other like minded builders, and with the direct support of the two companies that guided him through the process makes it all that much sweeter…..

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Contrast the image above with this story: A week before this event, I received an email from a guy up north, someone who has met me in person, which basically said he had looked on Google earth and seen the address of the Panther factory was in an industrial park, not directly on an airport, and from this, he come to the conclusion that the event wasn’t real, and he canceled his plans to attend.

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I sent him a few replies, pointing out that this was the same location where we held several events like this: Corvair Finishing School #1, Video report.. I pointed out that SPA/Panther sells kits, not finished planes, so they are located in an industrial park with 3 phase power in the down town area of our town, not at our residential, non commercial airport out in the woods. When nothing I said could dissuade him from thinking he stumbled on to some sort of devious plot, I finally sent him a message ‘confessing’ that he got it right, there was no college, neither of our companies had ever existed, all the pictures and stories were fake, That were were all actually Russians and located in Kiev………

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When the same individual now looks at all the finished engines and happy builders, he has to wonder how we get southern Russia to look so much like Florida in the pictures, and how we get the KGB agent above to pose for the pictures with that faked look on his face. Insidious really, but in the words of General Jack Ripper, “Thats how your hard core commies work*”

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* If you don’t recognize the quote above, go to Youtube and search  “Dr. Strangelove – Precious Bodily Fluids” for a glance at one of the greatest Aviation movies ever made.

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Wewjr.

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3,000cc Corvair for a Panther; Chris Michaelis.

Builders,

The second engine to run at the joint Flycorvair/SPA panther workshop belongs to Chris Michaelis, a Panther builder from Maryland. He started the assembly at a previous Barnwell SC Corvair College, but he got in the car and drove down I-95 to take advantage of this past weekends event. It was a good choice, because his engine put down a perfect break in run on my test stand.

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Above, Chris’s 3.0L Corvair, a virtual clone of the one Dan Weseman selected for his prototype Panther in 2012, ( read: Why Not the Panther engine?.) It put in a perfect run. It started in 2 seconds of cranking, and we proceeded to run it for 35 minutes. It required no adjustments nor corrections. This engine will not need a valve adjustment nor having the heads retorqued for it’s entire lifespan. If that doesn’t sound like an important indication of good engineering, you are not yet aware that engines like the Jaibru 3300 require these things to be done every 25 hours of the engines life. I don’t change the oil on Corvairs that often, far less break out a torque wrench.

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The ironic element of the above paragraph is this: Because we run an education and training based program, many new people falsely assume this means that Corvairs need constant fiddling. I have actually had a person shopping for a motor for his Zenith look at my conversion manual and say “I don’t want an engine I will always be working on, I’m going to get a Jaibru. ” I actually tried to explain what he was missing, but he already made up his mind contrary to all evidence. The engine promoted by the grease monkey from Florida must be a lot more work because he wrote a book about it. Fortunately most people possess slightly better critical thinking skills.

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Above, Dan, holding an infrared temperature gun explains a concept to Chis and Jimmy Mathis. (That is Rachel off to the side) The smaller size of this workshop allowed many more moments of direct instruction like this. It was very rewarding for both instructors and builders. You are looking directly at the transfer of experience and understanding which is at the very core of homebuilding.

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Chris really is a rocket scientist Phd engineer who works for our national space program. In person he is a relaxed fun guy. Here is how casual he was about supervising his test run outside the front door of the SPA/Panther factory.

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Later on I was kidding him about expecting to see a lot of equations in his notebook and instead finding doodles of Will E. Coyote opening making crates from ACME marked ‘handle bars’ and ‘Rocket motor’.

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Chris is a quality human being. 14 months ago we held Corvair College #39 in SC, and Chris was there. On the last hour of the college a builder there had a terrible medical emergency, and we took him to the regional medical center in Aiken. You should take a few minutes to read the story here: Builder Medical Emergency Update. The man was 700 miles from home, had no family and limited resources. after 12 hours in the hospital, he took a hard turn for the worse. Two dozen Corvair builders offered to assist and made contributions to the effort that eventually got the man home, but I can single out one person, Chris Michaelis, as the hero of the story. He dropped everything he was doing and stayed for a number of days in Aiken, and we spent most of each day by the man’s bedside. While I tried to remain upbeat, it was very hard to watch a man struggle to retain some small facet of his health and identity. A number of times I had to walk out in the hall and stare out the window to collect myself. Through several days of this, Chris never once had the smile leave his face nor fail to comfort the man in the bed. It was an outstanding display of personal strength and generosity of spirit that moved me beyond words.

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Wewjr.

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3,000cc Corvair for Bearhawk LSA: Jimmy Mathis.

Builders

Friday was the first day of our Flycorvair/SPA Panther joint open house – workshop. The first engine to hit to test stand was Jimmy Mathis’s 3,000 cc Corvair which will power his Bearhawk LSA.

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Jimmy and his lovely wife drove in from Texas, about 900 miles for the event, this was the furthest distance traveled of any of the builders who attended. His engine put down a flawless break in run. Look at the photos; This is the best of homebuilding, high achievement as the result of hard work and exercising newly acquired skills, all done among like minded friends.

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Above, Jimmy and his lovely better half. His engine is a 3,000cc Corvair which well be installed in the Bearhawk LSA he is building. There is a real satisfaction to building your own power plant, and really understanding it inside and out. The builders who get the most out of what we offer are the ones who take advantage of all the skills knowledge and understanding we share.

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Above, Dan Weseman and Jimmy go over timing light operation. 13 years ago I developed the modern Corvair E/P (electronic/Points) ignition, and over the years have made several hundred of these units. They have a near flawless record of service, there has not been a single forced landing attributable to the design. In a given year, perhaps 90% of the flight hours logged on Corvair powered planes in the world are accomplished with an ignition system I built. For all these years, we have also offered free direct hands on training at more than 40 Corvair Colleges and countless forums, workshops and finishing schools. The system is far easier for an amateur builder to understand and utilize than traditional magnetos, and it costs perhaps 1/3 what a pair of mags for an O-200 does. Unlike other alternative engines, the system is designed from inexpensive off the shelf automotive components. It contains no proprietary subcomponents.

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Above, a great family photo. Look at the smile, Jimmy is a fortunate man to enjoy full support on the home front. Get a good look at the motor, it is built straight from our manuals, parts and guidance. Jimmy’s engine will offer many, many years of reliable service because he chose to follow the path that Dan Weseman and myself have long proven. He didn’t look to the net and people with mystery online names for advice, he just went with two people who know what they are speaking of.

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What sets Corvair builders apart from most people in homebuilding? Read this an understand what motivates many builders like Jimmy: Thought for the Day: Mastery or?.

 

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-ww.

Larry Elrod’s 2,700cc Test Run

Builders;

KR-2 Builder Larry Elrod and his lovely wife scheduled a visit to my hangar for a full day test session and a bit of one on one training this past Friday. They dropped the engine off at dinner time Thursday, and rested up at our local Holiday Inn.

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We started at 9 am on Friday, and had a smooth, productive day were I answered every question Larry had. His engine arrived fully assembled, I just checked a number of adjustments, and for the most part found them spot on.We cover these same things at Corvair Colleges, but some builders prefer a more relaxed and personal day. We took a short break for lunch in my dinning room, and went back to prime the oil system for 30 minutes. At 4 pm rolled the engine out to my ramp for a break in run.

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The engine cranked for 1 or maybe 1.5 seconds, about 2 revolutions, and it lit right off and ran smooth. It was a great moment of personal achievement to Larry. Although he spent 20 years in the USAF, he worked on missiles, not internal combustion engines. At age 66, he now joined the ranks of real ‘motor heads’ by fully rebuilding an engine with his own hands, and having it run perfectly.

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Over the last 29 years, and 42 Corvair Colleges I have been present for this same moment, in the lives of more than 400 builders. I can assure you, it has never become commonplace. Playing a positive role in another person’s personal achievement, one which will be a foundation of their ultimate goal of being master of the complete aircraft they build themselves has a satisfaction which does not fade. It is the root of what is rewarding about my work.

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Above, the moment of achievement: Larry strikes the obligatory “Captain Morgan pose.”  To read more about this integral part of Corvair building read: “Captain Morgan” Contest at #39

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Above, a short video of the engine running. In the film you can see than my front yard is literally adjacent to our 2,600′ grass runway. Over the years we have had perhaps 30 guests to our home and hangar for an engine run. These have to be scheduled in advance, and a friendly reminder new people: I wouldn’t stop by their residence uninvited, so they should not invite themselves to mine.  

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Above, Larry has a very important asset for his project, which not all builders enjoy: A highly supportive spouse. They have been married a long time, and are mutually supportive. After we spoke in the phone, they drove down from Michigan in a small pick up. The trip made sense to them because it allowed Larrys engine to be inspected an run here. The trip and the run seemed like a good personal risk management decision to them.

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Above, a justifiably proud man.  Larry’s 2,700cc 100HP Corvair is straight from my Conversion manual, and it is built exclusively from my conversion parts and those from SPA/ Panther.  Although this engine is going on a KR-2, it follows the logic of this approach: Why Not the Panther engine?.  Its also worth reviewing this story: Understanding Flying Corvairs Pt. #2, Hardest working engine.

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As you look at Larry’s engine above, notice that it is built around all of our standard systems. It has an ultra-light front starter, E/P-X ignition, welded on intakes, a Weseman 5th bearing, short gold hub and a Gold oil system. For these reasons, it will have the same successful track record of the Corvairs we build, and it will be able to use our proven, off the shelf items like baffle kits, Oil Coolers, and cowls, intakes etc.

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 Over the years, there was a general trend among KR builders influenced by the internet, to build ‘unique’ and one of a kind engine installations. While everyone has a right to build what they want, none of these installations had a track record of reliability that could match one of our standard installations. This should come as little surprise, I have been doing this a long time, and have always ‘reserved the right to get smarter’, and our installations have evolved. No builder on his first look at one engine could seriously match what I have learned with an outstanding education, a quarter century of specific experience, a number of smart professional friends, and the benefit of studying several hundred installations. This is why builders who understand the phrase ‘the second mouse gets the cheese’  choose to benefit from my work and research instead of being offended by it. For a look at some one of a kind KR installations and the results, look at this: Built by William Wynne? Built according to The Manual?.

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Installation Components:

We have a full range of bolt on Installation Components to mount a Corvair in a KR. Check out some of these linked stories:

MountS: A 2016 story about our mounts: Zero back ordered Motor Mounts.

Cowls: http://shop.flycorvair.com/product/complete-kr2kr2s-fiberglass-cowling/

Exhausts:  Stainless Steel Exhaust Systems

Intakes:  Intakes and Internet myths

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Contemplating a individual test run? Call me, 904-806-8143.

Thanks, William

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The Next Event on the Schedule:

FlyCorvair/SPA – Joint Workshop/Open house, May 18,19,20

Also get a look at:

Build a 3.3L Corvair at the May 18-20 Workshop/Open house.

Read the links now and make a plan today.

Bob Dewenter’s Pietenpol project

Builders,

Bob Dewenter, aka “Early Builder”, is one of the most illustrious characters in the land of Pietenpols. Bobs plane combines a standard wood fuselage with straight axle gear, aluminum wing spars and a modern Corvair installation. How did Bob get this far? One day he decided to buy a manual, and go get a core motor. If you will one day have a project this far in your hangar is dependent solely upon this: Will you make today the day you get started, or will you eternally put it off until tomorrow? Your life, your choice. Be happy with your decision, Bob is. -ww.

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From Bob: “Pietenpol Update”

Hello good Corvair people.  Greetings from Golden Valley North Dakota and Dayton Ohio.  William asked me to spend a few minutes and provide an update on my Corvair powered Pietenpol Project which I started by attending Corvair College 19 in Barnwell.

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My main focus this past building season has been the wings.  One is 95% complete sans aileron hardware, the second is about 20% assembled.  Anyone who has built a house knows the framing makes it look like a house but you have a long way to go before moving in!  My good friend and Zenith 750 STOL and Corvair builder Terry Lambert has offered me a huge table in his hangar for laying out the wings and having access to his tools is very much appreciated.  Having a Hangar pal keeps you really motivated to make progress!  Terry has also taught me a lot about working with aluminum – he’s retired now but worked on a lot of Air Force aircraft.  And speaking of motivation, I’m trying to keep one step ahead of my friend, Corvair Piet builder, Terry Hand (“Hello Mr. Hand” re: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”)

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Terry Hand, William and I discussed the merits of aluminum spars and I am really happy with this choice.  Being in the heart of Air Force country, My EAA Chapter is full of accomplished builders – mostly Zeniths and Vans and they all LOVE the wood ribs!

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The fuselage and the rest of the plane are in my garage at home so I can make some progress any day I am home which is normally 5 nights a week if I’m not traveling on business or getting distracted with life’s little nuances.  I have been “test fitting” the oil cooler and engine baffling.  I need to re-do the baffling around the oil cooler – my prototype was not right.  Dan’s baffling kit is beginning to look better!  But I have a great sheet metal coach in Terry Lambert and would like to give it another try before throwing in the towel.

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Where possible I have chosen to use all Williams’s parts (and soon Dan’s) because they are proven, they are reliable and it’s just “Plane” faster.  I have all of William Gold Parts – gold prop hub, gold oil system, gold oil pan and his non-gold parts such as safety shaft, hybrid studs, starter kit with ring gear, SS intake, SS exhaust, and a strong reliable engine mount welded by Vern.   I rely on professional like D&G for my carb and Moldex for crankshaft work.

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My motivation at this time is to complete both wings as this will complete the build of all the “large objects that attach to the plane” and then to get the motor ready to run again. So I will need to get the fuel tank cleaned, test it for leaks, mounted and plumbed to the beautiful D&G rebuilt MA-3SPA carb.  I have to plum the oil cooler to the gold sandwich adapter.  Oh and finish the baffling and make a temporary cowl like the test stand has.

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Things I took a LONG time to decide on are now moving forward.  I decided on a center section fuel tank.  I fabricated the tank last fall and had a retired (i.e. low cost) A&P IA weld it up for me.  It should hold a little over 13 gallons. Note the Don Harper fuel filler neck and cap, Thanks Don! See you in November in Barnwell! And I decided to order a Gold front alternator bracket mount from WW – was not sure where I wanted the alternator until I started looking hard at the firewall.

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I have not set any records for build speed but I don’t care.  I have TRULY enjoyed every bit of time spent so far and look forward to every hour I will continue to spend on the project.  It is in my heart.  One day I will be flying over the corn fields I drive through today.  I will get to pull up aside a locomotive engine pulling a long line of freight and wave to the conductor.  I will see and smell the earth from a new perspective.  And of course I can’t wait for the first Pietenpol flown weasel roundup!

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Everything I have done on this plane using my own two hands has been extremely rewarding.  Sometimes after a part is done I will just sit and stare at the creation I have made.  My son Tim is now about to turn 8 – roughly the same age as my project.  Tim coming into my life was the catalyst that actually got me started on this project at Corvair College 19 in Barnwell.  Introducing my son to Building an Airplane has been fantastic as well. I have a “MEME” of a beautiful J-3 flying at sunset with the phrase “Teach your kid to fly and they will never have money for drugs!”

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I’m fortunate and grateful to be able to spend my weekends on a boat on a lake with my family, to be able to work hard at my profession, and to have a wonderful family with Tim by my side working with me on my Pietenpol project.

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Above Gratuitous “Tim-e” Photo

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*ww note: Sharp eyes can tell that Bob has not yet installed his Gen I Weseman 5th bearing, but he is going to because: Yes, Pietenpols do need 5th Bearings..

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The Next Event on the Schedule:

FlyCorvair/SPA – Joint Workshop/Open house, May 18,19,20

Also get a look at:

Build a 3.3L Corvair at the May 18-20 Workshop/Open house.

Read the links now and make a plan today.

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