Corvair College #14 Part 4
Back To School
Nothing attracts a crowd like the sound of a Corvair. Above, everyone gathers outside to hear Pramod's engine run on his own test stand. In addition to offering crankshaft nitriding
and aluminum cylinders, Pramod is working toward having a number of resources available for area builders, such as his run stand.
Above, Roger Pritchard has the honor of running Pramod's engine. Note the baffle box supplying a lot of fresh air to the new engine. From a safety standpoint, it was a good College,
and a lot of attention was paid toward good engine run practice, with fire extinguishers, crowd control and safety chains.
Once the engine run was over, builders moved in for a close look. For everyone with a test stand, I highly recommend putting a large knife switch from a boating supply store on
the negative battery terminal. On our own dyno, I open that switch every time I stop the engine. This disables the Corvair's
ignition system and starter. Most people do not appreciate that simply being struck by a propeller just being cranked by the starter is potentially fatal. Working near live
aircraft engines demands the same presence of mind and precaution you would utilize when handling firearms.
Grace shipped a very large quantity of our Conversion and Installation Components and Educational Materials to the event (we have learned that a Safety Shaft in your checked luggage
is a guaranteed visit with the TSA). Even though the vast majority of builders attending had never been to a College before, there was little hesitation about
jumping in and making progress. Pramod sold most of his cores, and we sold almost all the parts we had on hand. From buying a Conversion Manual or
DVD straight on through purchasing a core and all the Gold Components, most builders chose to advance their engine projects by
quantum measurements that made sense for their own plans and budgets. Almost all other engine choices are an all-or-nothing consumer purchase. The Corvair and VW remain
available to traditional homebuilders and those working on a budget.
The father-son team of David and Dan Yager dive into their core disassembly, above. Their project aircraft is a Q2. We got a chance to
discuss some installation points, including motor mount layout.
One of the best things about having a College in New England is spending time with people of true New England character. Above, Mike McManus with the engine and test stand he
brought to the College. He is simultaneously rebuilding a 180 hp turbo engine for his car restoration, and a 100 hp aircraft powerplant for his flying adventures. A colorful
storyteller, Mike shared his entry into the mechanical world, which blossomed when he quit his job as a dishwasher at age 14 to be apprenticed into a motorcycle shop. He did a lot
of work on both lower ends at the College while adding a lot of color to the event with his perspective.
Jim Waters gets a friendly headlock from his friend Paul Reppert. Both of these guys are from the Philadelphia area. Jim is well known to guys who were at Corvair
College #9 as the fun-loving, gravelly-voiced guy who rode his Harley all the way down to the November 2005 event in our old Edgewater hangar. In the foreground of the photo
is his completed engine, sporting Falcon cylinder heads and all of our Conversion parts. It was a magnificently clean piece of craftsmanship, soon to
be installed in Jim's Fisher Horizon project. Jim and Paul have been friends for many years. Separately, each will tell you that the other one is from an entirely different
part of Philadelphia, quietly emphasizing their own neighborhood is the real Philly. What's funny about this is that the two of them are so close in voice, expression and
sense of humor that you'd think they were twins.
Myron Pickard, above left, with Archie Frangoudis. Both of these men are well known New England motorsports guys. We met Archie at Oshkosh a few years ago. An engine builder of
considerable experience, Archie's reputation preceded him, as a number of other New Englanders I respect had referenced him as a resource in their engine education. We met Myron at
Sun 'N Fun
four years ago. He is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame, and one of the owners of the New England Dragway. Every motorsport has a Golden Era in which the serious players
suddenly got access to frighteningly powerful new equipment before sanctioning bodies and safety could catch up. For top fuel drag racing, this was the 1960s, and Myron was a
nationally known competitor running front engine top fuel rails with blown Chryslers. Running 6.6's at over 200 mph with a 2,500 hp Hemi sitting right in your lap is not for the
timid. This era predated national sponsorships, and Myron, like most of his competitors, wrenched on the car and drove it. Today he's working toward a more subtle experience in
Side view of the Corvair powerplant in the Pritchard's 601 XL. This installation uses a lot of our components, which they picked up
individually. The engine is fully overhauled, but is very similar to the economical engine we displayed at Sun 'N Fun this year. Sharp eyes noticed
a slight blister atop the Nosebowl to accommodate an unmodified Subaru starter, and a stock GM oil filter housing and 12-plate cooler. An
engine like this can be built for well under $4,000. The Corvair movement has many paths available for people of all budgets.
Ben, above left, and his father, Roger Pritchard, stand proudly with their ZenVair 601 XL. The aircraft is newly completed and about to undergo its airworthiness inspection. In going
over the engine installation, I found only a few small details I would adjust.
My father, William Wynne Sr., speaks with the father-son team of Dan and David Yager. We had three father-son teams at the event.
The striking photo above gives a look inside Pramod's nitriding chamber at work. The ionized gas gives off a mesmerizing purple light. Pramod is the best known nitrider of
Corvair crankshafts, having treated those of some of the best known pilots in the movement. I picked up three crankshafts at the College that I'd sent to Pramod for our
own engine building back in Florida.
With me above is Thomas Siminski, a highly skilled machinist of the Old School variety. He had some very helpful suggestions about prepping threaded holes that he shared with
builders. When I got a chance to speak with him one-on-one later, he impressed me with his broad personal experience from a candid perspective.
One more look at the gang, upstairs on Sunday afternoon, above.
Joe Horton in his KR-2S on climbout, headed home after another fun and successful College. Make your plans now and we'll see you at the next one.
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