A respect for mechanical simplicity

Builders;

Below is a picture of my truck, It left the GM #2 Truck Plant in Flint Michigan 36 years and 400,000 miles ago. I changed the front brake pads on it yesterday. Most people reading this know the part in my had as a disc brake pad, but the subject of todays short story is the part of it that my index finger is pointing towards.

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How did I know it was time to change the brake pads? If the truck was 36 months old rather than 36 years, Perhaps the onboard computer would detect some signal from fragile sensors in the ABS system and light up an idiot light in the panel; maybe a really new truck might degrade the engine output to keep me ‘safe’ at the same time. Maybe communications link in the truck would tell GM to send me an email or text, or have my local Chevy dealer call me and tell me my warranty is expiring? There would certainly be some complex system involving IT people, lawyers and service mangers, the unholy trinity of vehicle maintenance, all claiming a right on behalf of the nanny state to protect you…and drain your bank account, while demanding you thank them for it.

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Could there possibly be a lower tech system that would alert me to change the pads? Unimaginable to the people who have an addiction to electronics and feel every single thing in their lives could be improved with an ‘app’, there is actually a system that was perfect, and cost about two cents per vehicle, and had zero electronics. Yes, the little tab riveted on, at the tip of my finger, touches the rotor when the pad is worn, it squeals, the driver hears this and knows it’s replacement time. The only real problem with the system is it counts on the driver having slightly more situational awareness than a tree sloth, and we we all know less and less of the public has that with each passing year.

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OK, How does this relate to the plane I want to build? All the people addicted to electronics, combined with all the people selling ‘high tech’, have a powerful influence on what your read, see and hear about experimental aircraft, and the possible things you can equip them with. Just as with the brake pad replacement question, there are traditional low tech, long proven, elegantly simple was of doing things, and there are incredibly complex ways of doing things, and you get to choose……or do you?

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Electronic, avionics, app and all that stuff can have mark up north of 1,000%, which makes them extremely profitable, and provides a war chest of money spent on advertising, paying “influencers” ( who are masquerading as friendly impartial fellow aviators. ), bribing aviation writers for reviews, running big booths at Oshkosh with ‘give a ways’ and ‘sponsoring’ things to make them all seem like they just have your best interests at heart.

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Old school low tech has no budget. Its stuff someone who is actually your friend teaches you, and their only reward is belatedly paying back the old school aviator who taught them. Analog instruments at the flymart have no vocal advocates, and no magazine writer is going to get a free EFIS for writing a glowing review about them. Old school has spokesmen like long haired grease monkeys from Florida with archaic perspectives on simplicity and situational awareness. In the end, the only thing old School has to ‘sell’ it is your choice to use it, for your creation to include elements of simplicity that make sense to you. Its your life and your choice. Take your pick, you don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone but yourself.

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WW

Stories of the design, construction and testing of the Tomaszewski JaG-2, Corvair Twin.

Builders;

With Jim and Ginger Tomaszewski’s JaG-2 twin on the cover of Sport Aviation, a number of people have asked questions about its development. The feature story in the magazine is long, but only enough to cover the highlights of a 9 year build.

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Over the years I shared a number of stories about the project, and for the benefit of the builders who like to see where things come from, I have collected the stories here. Included are video links and images that will give a lot of insight to this ambitious project that has become a proven aircraft.

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Above, Ginger and Jim at Corvair College #31 in Barnwell SC, 2014. Between them, their matching 3,000cc Corvairs. The engines were finished and test run at the College.

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January 2013

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May 2013

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November 2014

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September 2015

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August 2018

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September 2018

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August 2019

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July 2021.

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Jim and Ginger really are the super nice people you see in the video. If you want to understand Jims line of thinking and Craftsmanship, get a coffee and sit down and go through the links above. You may not be planning a Twin, but if you are a traditional homebuilder at heart, Jims determination and positive attitude are all qualities you can directly relate to.

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WW – FlyCorvair.

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JaG-2 Corvair Twin, on cover of Sport Aviation.

Builders;

Jim and Ginger Tomaszewski’s much celebrated Corvair powered twin JaG-2 has made it to the cover of the March Sport Aviation, along with a feature story inside.

Jim and Ginger brought the plane to Oshkosh 2021, and the EAA gave the aircraft a great parking spot and arranged to have an immediate air to air photo shoot. The assigned to written story to their senior aviation writer, Budd Davisson.

The plane is outstanding in pictures, but in person, it is nothing short of stunning. Jims 9 year build raises the stock of all Corvair builders, and puts traditional homebuilding values of individual creation back where it belongs with the EAA, front and center.

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Above, the JaG-2 on the cover.

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Last summer, before Oshkosh, Corvair builder and pilot Ken Pavlou made the trip to Jim and Ginger’s airpark home in the mountainous Northeastern Georgia. They gave him a great interview on video, with a lot of insight on Jims goals and design of the plane. You can see the full 26 minute story at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIMVkTk26fw

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WW.

Copper State Fly-in FlyCorvair information

Builders,

Today and tomorrow in Arizona, Corvair builder, pilot and oil analysis expert Larry Nelson will be on hand. He will have his Corvair Powered Zenith 601HDS-TD on hand, the same aircraft that won the longest distance flight to the Zenith homecoming award.

Larry is a very friendly and knowledgeable guy. His day job is working as an engineer for the DoD at the Yuma Proving grounds, but he is also runs our oil analysis program for out entire fleet of Corvair flight engines for all our builders. His understanding of lubricants cuts through all the marketing hype and old wives tales.

Larry has copies of my manuals on hand, both the main Conversion Manual, Zenith Manual, the MOP manual and Pietenpol Weight and Balance manual. These are for sale, so new builders can pick one up from him directly at Copperstate. I appreciate Larry acting as my representative at this event, he is doing this as a volunteer, its the kind of effort that has always been a part of our Corvair community.

Larry has forums today at 10 am and tomorrow at 2pm. If you are there, please stop in and see him.

Thanks, William

Barnwell Corvair College #48 Cancelled

Barnwell Corvair College #48 Cancelled:

Don Harper, head of the hosting team in Barnwell, Ken Pavlou, our online organizer and medical authority and myself, came to a very tough, but unanimous decision today, that Corvair College scheduled for November in Barnwell is cancelled.

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Cal, PF, and Tim 2018

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The decision was driven by Covid, and our commitment to running an event with an acceptable level of risk to the people attending the College, Don’s volunteer staff, and people we would interact with from the host community.

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This is an informed, rational decision. Don is a county councilman, and briefed on the status of infection in Barnwell county. They are currently fighting through a very high rate of Covid-D that has their hospitals at 100% capacity. Public buildings in the county are now closed to non-essential business. The hangar we use is a county owned asset, and we can not make an honest argument that the College is an ‘essential’ function. We considered utilizing all precautions, but the very close proximity of hands on instruction, and the 24 hour a day nature of the Barnwell events would negate these steps.

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The city of Barnwell has previously welcomed us with open arms for nine previous Colleges. Asking them for an exemption in the middle of their battle would risk us bringing in a further burden to their health care system, and equally important, it would be the definition of selfish ingratitude, for all times they had previously welcomed us. While Don did not say this, it is important that builders understand that Don, Tim and Cal, the core crew in Barnwell are each in their 70’s, and have conditions that put them in a high risk category. Both Ken and I believe putting them at elevated risk is unacceptable. As a final word on the matter, Don simply said “I knew PF Beck as well as any man, and I know if he were still alive, he would make the same decision to protect everyone”.

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Cancelled or Postponed?

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We are canceling the event, and all people who registered will receive full refunds over the next few days. The primary intent of the event was to hold a tenth Barnwell College, and have the event also serve as a special remembrance of P.F. Beck, the driving force behind the Barnwell Colleges, and an aviator and human being of the first order. We have decided that the latter purpose is the most important one, and this would be best served by having a Corvair Fly-in and weekend social gathering at Barnwell in P.F.’s honor at a later date when safer conditions prevail.

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The Future, and the evolution of Corvair Colleges:

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While this Barnwell College #48 is canceled, I actually held 50 Corvair Colleges since 2000. The un numbered San Antonio College of 2003, the 2006 Canada College, and Colleges 6, 8, and 9 having “B sessions” brings the total up. They were held from Orlando to Portland, and from Boston to Los Angeles. More than 1,000 builders attended, and more than 200 engines were test run. Dozens of Corvair powered planes flew in to these events. Its a pretty good track record, considering the only thing anyone ever paid for was the direct cost of the catered food. The events are really a tribute to the friends who put in the hard work of hosting and volunteering.

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It was my original intent to have a spectacular College #48, and then announce that I would close the 22 year history of Colleges on the last night of #48. For several years I have considered evolving from Corvair Colleges to something new, but it was very difficult to close the chapter on events that brought a great deal to my life, but have also taken a great commitment in time and resources. I do not make this decision lightly, and typing these words brings back a flood of memories of good times with great people, and particularly powerful memories from the Colleges my Father came to.

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Hundreds of people who told me they were ” Going to attend a Corvair College someday”. Many of these people said this to me repeatedly over 10, 15 and even 20 years. It was mostly well intentioned, but if those people are disappointed to read this, perhaps they need to take away the critical lesson my now gone mentor in aviation Chuck Nelson would say: “Wake up, it’s tomorrow.” He was referring to the remorseless march of time though our lives, and your only way to fight it is to aggressively decide to act, today.

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New ways to support builders and have fun in the future, Supervised Builds and Corvair Air Tours.

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My original intent in 2000 for the colleges was to hold 6 or 8 of them to train people who would themselves act as Corvair Tech Counselors in their local areas. The Colleges were more fun and rewarding that I originally imagined, and adding more of them was not difficult. The entire program changed over it’s lifespan, and it is now changing again

Supervised Builds have been going on at my hangar since 2019. I had more than ten builders come in ones and twos for these intense training sessions at my hangar in Florida. I used these builds, and the direct frank feedback from the people who had just assembled and run their engines to refine and improve the program. In the next two weeks I will have more information about the builds, the schedule and opportunity, along with YouTube videos of the builders who already completed their engines here.

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Colleges evolved to combine builder training with a Corvair Fly-in and social gathering for our builders. These do blend, but I would rather separate the work from the play, and have the settings purely serve their individual theme. In May of this year, the Shelbyville IL, fly-in we held in Conjunction with the Corvair Car Convention was a test run for a pure Corvair Fly-in event. It was very well received, and I want to have many more events like this in 2020. I’m fielding ideas for more locations , and I will be glad to take in suggestions in the comments.

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Questions?

If any builder has questions about how their build will be supported and served going forward, please feel free to call me directly, 904-806-8143.

William

At the Zenith factory, all home builders welcome

I will be at this event at the Zenith Aircraft factory for the next two days. Our host Sebastien Heintz, President of Zenith, extends a welcome to all people interested in home built aircraft.

Hope to see many of you here.

Thank You, William .

Home from Oshkosh

Builders:

We Got back at 10pm tonight. It was the most relaxed and fun Oshkosh I can remember. I owe it it my friends, better humans than I deserve ❤️

This year we traveled in the luxurious Silverado of Phil Maxson.

WW.

Twin JaG main video premiere tonight

Builders,

Don’t miss the live premiere of the twin JAG video on my YouTube channel tonight at 7pm est.

Photo from 5am at Oshkosh. EAA put the Twin JAG in the #1 tie down spot for experimentals .

William

Now at Oshkosh 2021

Builders;

A few seconds from Oshkosh 2021 set up, we are in #614, between the home built headquarters and the forums buildings

Show starts Monday, but we are here to get set up early, have a day trip to Brodhead, WI the Pietenpol gathering on Saturday, and a chill out day here Sunday as the aviation faithful flock to air venture.

We have many new announcements this week; Friday is the video premiere 7pm est on the Twin Jag on my YouTube channel; 2850 and Barnwell college videos on Sunday. Stay tuned..

William

New video, Twin JAG

Jim and Ginger flew up to Oshkosh today, in advance of air venture for a photo shoot with the EAA. Here is a video about the plane.

Hope to see many of you at Oshkosh

William.