William Wynne

"The Corvair Authority"
5000-18 HWY 17 #247
Orange Park, FL 32003 USA

Corvair College #16 Photo Album

Another Corvair College is complete. The event itself has passed, but the experience is very much alive in the minds of all who attended. Here is a look inside what many old hands thought was the best College ever. Every element lined up just right: Perfect weather, lots of planes, a setting right on the runway, a very motivated and positive group, a number of technical guys, a good dinner and great hosts, Ed and Val Fisher.

Son of Cleanex builder/pilot Chris Smith shot this photo of Dan Weseman off his wing as they flew up to the College from Florida in loose formation.

Pulling up chairs during the introductions. Pilots Louis Kantor, Scott Thatcher, Mark Langford and Chris Smith are in this picture. The checkerboard piece is a miniature replica of a Goodyear (Formula 1) air race pylon. Ed competed on the national race circut in the 1970s in #77 Blueberry.

Above, Saturday morning we introduced everyone and laid out the plan of attack for the weekend.

Above, 601 XL pilot Louis Kantor arives after a 4.5 hour direct flight fron Pittsburgh. Notice how his custom "luggage" matches the paint job on his aircraft. This is the kind of touch that marks the professionalism of an airline pilot. He finished the plane in July, flew to Oshkosh, the Zenith Open House, and now his first College. A trifecta for a ZenVair builder.

Above, our Dyno sits in front of Ed's new workshop hangar. Although Ed bought it as a bare hangar only a few months ago, it is completely organized and detailed with tools and memorabilia from all of Ed's years in aviation. Many of the builders commented that this was the cleanest hangar they had ever set foot in.

Joe Horton flew down from Coopersburg, Penn. This was his second College at Ed's and the fifth one he has flown to. His 3,100 cc Corvair now has 450 hours on it. Joe wrote a chapter in our 2009 Flight Operations Manual reflecting on his first 400 flight hours. It candidly describes the challenges and rewards of the adventure. Joe has long been in love with flying. His early background includes a tremendous amount of hang-glider experience. He and Mark Langford had set the same arrival time, and made contact with each other on the radio when they were still 175 miles out.

Above, Mark Langford arrives. His KR-2S now has more than 800 flight hours. This is also his second appearance at a College at Ed's, as well as the 5th College to which he has flown. At the dinner on Saturday, I noted that he was also at CC#1, #2 and #3 as a builder. The amount of Colleges that sucessful builders attend is a good indication that the events are far more than technical seminars. They also are social events where builders can spend time in the company of others who truly understand their need to think, create and fly. The Corvair movement is unique in that such a high percentage of sucessful builders are willing to "give back" to those still working on their projects.

Above, "CC #16" written in frost on Mark's wing on Saturday morning. The weather was the best we have ever had for any College I can remember. It was very cool at night, but Ed's hangar has heat. During the day, perfect blue skies and moderate temperatures were the rule. It is interesting to see that the 1/4" of ice on the wing built up at a different rate over the spar in Mark's wing.

Standing in the green jacket is P.F. Beck, very well known Corvair powered Pietenpol pilot. He was the first pilot to arrive. He lives in Barnwell, S.C. You can see some good pictures of P. F.'s plane by looking at the CC #12 photos from the event we held last year at Ed's. His plane was built for less than $7,000, including the engine. He has been flying several years and has taken more than 150 people aloft.

The total number of planes flown in under Corvair power was eight: 1 Piet, 2 KRs, 2 Cleanexes and 3 601 XLs. Seated in the photo is 601 builder Billy Stewart of Georgia, who had a productive College, and a lot of fun also. #16 was Billy's first College.

The illustrious Ed Fisher, our host. Ed is a homebuilder's hombuilder, and a true experimenter in every sense of the word. Many people lament that hardcore homebuilding is not the main focus of an expanding EAA. This reality is just a fact of growth for the organization. However, people who attended CC #12 and CC #16 learned that you can come and spend time in the company of Ed, in his shop, rub elbows with him, and get a dose of 100% pure old school homebuilding. He has built 19 homebuilts, and parts of countless others; 13 of these were planes that Ed designed, built and flew himself. Two of these designs went to Oshkosh and were Grand Champions, a feat that no other man has done. With this track record, Ed is still gregarious, friendly, acessible. I have a lot of respect for great designers like Rutan, but it has been a number of decades since the 4-year window where you could stop by Burt's shop and see his next homebuilt while having a conversation over lunch with him. Ed's father is a well known homebuilder from the early years of the EAA. Ed and his Dad flew their Skycoupe to Rockford in the mid 1960s, and Ed has been a hardcore homebuilder ever since. You can see his work at his www.RaceAirDesigns.com Web site.

Above, I introduce Roy Szarafinski of RoysGarage.com. Roy is becoming well known to Corvair builders as the provider of a very nice 5th bearing, and as a valuable resource to builders. We first met him at Dr. Gary Ray's, a stop on our 2005 Midwest Tour. Recognizing his talents, we have been very pleased to have him as a technical guest at CC#12, #13, #14, our 2009 Oshkosh booth, and now CC#16.

Above, I introduce Dan Weseman, "Mr. Cleanex." Dan flew up from Florida in a flight of two with Chris Smith. Dan and his family provide a number of parts for Corvair builders, most notably his very popular 5th bearing, which can be seen at Fly5thbearing.com. His contribution to the 2009 Operations Manual is a standard of flight inspection that I would like every builder in the movement to adopt.

Above, I introduce our friend Steve Glover of NVAero. Steve has been a friend and a Corvair builder for a long time. He is based in Southern California. How hard core of a homebuilder is he? How about completing a Teenie Two in his barracks while he was a rifleman in the U.S. Marines. Although he has done a lot of work with LongEZs, he is best known for building a truly outstanding KR-2 that won a number of awards, and flew all over the country. With NVAero, Steve capitalizes on this firsthand experience, and makes the KR design more accessible to builders. It should be clearly understood that Steve is working with Jeanette Rand and her family, who have always owned the KR design series. He is close friends with her, and continuing the legacy of Ken Rand and the KR, while being an accepted part of the KR community, is central to his goals. Steve is an intense high energy guy who has been at Colleges all the way back to CC#8. We look forward to seeing his new Corvair powered demonstarator in 2010. You can follow Steve's progress at his www.nvaero.com Web site.

Above, I introduce Larry Hudson, "The King of Corvair Cores." Larry is from Indianapolis, and has been at Corvair events with his family going all the way back to our days at Spruce Creek. He has a nearly complete Fokker D-8 powered by a Corvair at home. He brought his Wagabond project down to the College on a trailer, along with four core engines for builders. Lest anyone think that he only works with greasy things, Larry brought samples of his interior work. His family has owned the same interior shop for 54 years. They do stunning work. We visited the place on a Midwest tour, and it was filled with 1930s Packards, Chevys and Hudsons getting complete interior restorations. He also does custom aircraft interiors. The work is not cheap, but it is the finest quality, and it comes from a builder who knows all about the FAA TSO specs for fireproof material certs, etc. His phone number is (317) 474-5179.

Above, on my Dyno, runs a 3,000 cc Corvair built by Ron Milan. Roy Szarafinski, in the blue shirt above, installed one of his fifth bearings on it at his shop in Michigan. Ron finished the build and prepped the engine for a test run at the College. When a family commitment prevented Ron from driving down from Roanoake, Va., with the engine, other builders stepped in to help. Thomas DeBusk stopped by Ron's house and drove the engine down. Several builders worked to put it on the Dyno. Others ran out for gas. Ron was flown in for a few hours by a friend in a Cessna, and was there for the run. After he left, builders took the engine off the dyno and packed it up for its trip home in Thomas' truck. An outstanding group effort on the part of builders at the College.

Above, Scott Thatcher's beautiful 601 XL. This was the first College to which Scott flew. He normally is from Florida, but also spends much of the year in North Carolina, and flew in from there. Scott built his engine at CC #9 at our Edgewater, Fla., hangar. You can get a look at his plane on our all Zenith Web site, www.ZenVair.com.

From left to right, Jack and Sandy Cooper and Mike Hyers. Jack and Mike have been coming to Corvair events for years. They are both veterans, Jack U.S. Army, Mike U.S. Air Force, and they have attended a lot of the events we have traditionally held around November 11th. Last year at CC #12, Mike came by himself, and was one of the gang that camped out by Ed's hangar. Jack has a lot of friends in aviation, but late at night, Mike told the builders in the hangar, in very moving words, what a real blessing in life it is to have Jack and Sandy as true friends. I thought about Mike's words on the long ride home and wondered why it is so easy to be distracted from what is really important and valuable in life.

The Wicked Cleanex and our FlyCorvair trailer parked in front of Ed's new hangar. Ed's neighbors did an outstanding job of welcoming us, and let us hog up all the ramp space in front of their hangars.

Chris Smith's "Son of Cleanex" front and center at the College. The fine laminations on his prop are a hallmark of a Tennesssne Prop. Chris made his own nosebowl for his bird that differs from Dan's in the shape of the inlets. #16 was the first College that he flew into with the "S.O.C."

From left to right above, Mark Langford, Emory Luth and Steve Glover in front of Mark's KR-2S. The green single seater behind the plane supplemented the restroom facilities.

Gary Thomas, formerly of Florida and now from North Carolina, made his first flying appearance in his 601 XL. Gary came to Corvair Colleges #8 and #9 in Florida to build his engine. Flying back to #16 is a very nice success story.

Tom Gebeau, at left above, speaks with Joe Horton in front of Joe's KR-2s. Tom is building a Flybaby in Indiana. We have enjoyed both their company at a number of airshows and events in the past few years.

Above, a shot of the engine compartment of Mark Langford's KR-2S. His 3,100 cc engine utilizes the 5th bearing I designed. The rest of his installation is his creative technical work. Mark has done all the pioneering work and years of data collection on cooling plenums for the Corvair.

Above, 601 XL pilot Gary Thomas, native of Bath, England. It is a very special day when you can fly back to a College in a plane of your own creation. Builders in attendance recognize this and offer a great degree of congratulations to pilots flying to their first College. The entire atmosphere of the College is one of support for the achievements of fellow builders. A man closing his case after careful assembly receives the praise of his tablemates who supported and assisted him. A first engine run is attended by a dozen supporters who march down to the run area and applaud the fire-up. And the arrival of a pilot for his first event is cause for handshakes, photos and congratulations.

Above, Joe Horton conducts a test of the efficiency of baffling versus plenums with accurate scientific equipment. Note that his front deck is easily removable in minutes, facilitating quick inspections. Joe's engine is a 3,100 with a Dan Weseman 5th bearing and a Langford style rear starter. The rest of the installation, including the mount, was fabricated by Joe. Note that he has a header tank,in the fuselage, which allows him to use an Aerocarb in a gravity feed condition. This is the only way that I would consider using the Aerocarb on a Corvair.

Above, John and Jean Kearney take a moment to relax. Their first Corvair College, #5, was hosted by Pat Panzera in Hanford, Calif. The Kearneys were both U.S. Air Force crew chiefs, John on the F-105 Thunderchief and Jean on the F-4 Phantom. They're currently simultaneously working on a Zenith 601 and a highly modified Protech PT-2 with an all new wing designed by Ed Fisher. Of course, both are to be Corvair powered. Their new little dog Snoopy came straight from the shelter to the College. He is the spitting image of Toto, the hero in The Wizard of Oz. He was pretty well behaved for a little guy returned to the shelter by several foster families before he hit the jackpot in the Kearney family.

First and foremost, the College is an exchange of technical information. The Weseman's 5th bearing is designed to be installed on engines by builders at their own locations. Dan has a very detailed installation manual and several traveling, loaner tool kits to accomplish this. He did not want to miss the opportunity to demonstrate the techniques in person on several engines of builders at the College who have chosen his bearing. The unspoken ethic and intent of the College is a simple premise: When our invited technical experts come to show you proven techniques, and the pilots flying in share their direct, firsthand experience, builders can take this information home with them as they fan back out across the country, not just for their own use, but to directly share the facts with other builders in their home circles and through private and group e-mails. By this technique, the College has a much larger effect than just the days spent with the people present. While it sounds ambitious, this concept has done a tremendous amount of work to keep the Corvair movement relatively free of old wives' tales, b.s. stories and dangerous ideas.

Above, Roy Szarafinski and Scott Thatcher, facing camera, inspect the crank bores on a builder's case. Roy performed this task on more than a dozen cases over the weekend. He caught one or two that were above desirable limits for roundness of the bearing bore. It is not a difficult check, but it does require accurate machinery and technique. Over the years, we've done this on all the engines we've built. However, it is a good indication of the margins of safety we have with the Corvair that very few of the people rebuilding engines in the field for Corvair cars or planes have performed this check. I don't know of any engines that have spun a bearing because of an out of limits crank bore. This check is an additional plus of attending the College, and a good example of how "state of the art" is a continually advancing standard in the world of Corvair powered flight.

Look closely at the engine stand. The gray part is Roy's new, fully articulated, engine assembly stand. A very clever piece of machinery. Check his Web site at RoysGarage.com for more details.

Above left, Brandon Gerard, a 750 builder from Mississippi, works with Taylor Hudson to disassemble a core. Larry Hudson has brought his older son Cody to Corvair events for several years. Now that Taylor is a teenager, he's matured into quite a skillful mechanic, like his older brother. We've known the Hudson family for almost 10 years, and I tease back and forth with Larry all the time. His son kept up this tradition by pointing out how dark my hair was in their old photo albums.

Corvair College brings a new and continuous string of interesting people. In the foreground above is Glenn "Bick with a B" Bickerstaff of Kannapolis, N.C. Bick has had a long and very interesting career in extremely technical electronics applications. He hand assembled the video camera that went to the surface of the Moon with the Apollo astronauts. To my perspective, there is a continuous connection from the Wright Brothers to Apollo 11. Most of the better qualities of Americans - adventurousness, daring and a class free society - afforded them leadership positions in the advancement of aviation. To be able to spend the weekend in the company of a man who played even a small role in the crowning achievement of flight makes a difference to me.

Above, Louis Kantor demonstrates that the professional pilot is always relaxed and comfortable.

Above left, Jeff Cochran of Alabama and Chris Smith of Florida spontaneously burst into John Belushi impersonations. If only the video camera were immediately at hand.

Bill Luke, 650 builder from Georgia, above, gets greasy with a core. A lot of people noted that Bill spent the entire weekend smiling and having a good time.

Above, Scott Thatcher with his creation. For several years, Scott was Web master of our www.ZenVair.com Web site. Now that he is out and flying, the job has been handed off to 650 builder Dean Goldsmith. Over the years, we have been assisted by countless builders in ways large and small that would be difficult to count. Much of our success can be attributed to providing a structure for builders to exercise their natural inclination to participate, assist each other, and share the camaraderie of airplane building. It is with considerable satisfaction that we look back on the path of Scott's hard work and achievements and see our model of aircraft building successfully displayed.

Scott Thatcher and Gary Thomas with Gary's airplane. Even though their aircraft were built less than a year apart, their engine installations are a good example of our refinement of the 601/650/750 package. Scott's engine is based on our traditional Black Systems, and is a clone of our own personal Zenith 601 installation. Built slightly later, Gary's aircraft is based on Gold System technology. The Gold Systems are the final refinement and produce an engine installation that is lighter and more compact with fewer external hoses. While not evident at first glance, we have made hard fought advancements in Cowling Kits, Baffling, CNC production of Motor Mounts, and numerous other technical details that have allowed us to make Zenith installations easier, lighter, and more widely available through streamlined production. The single greatest advancement was the writing of our 126-page Installation Manual. These advancements ensure that Zenith builders choosing a Corvair engine today will have an even easier time getting to the finish line and also that we will see an ever-growing number of Zeniths flying our components.

Corvair Colleges are not just about engines. In the photo above, Thomas DeBusk, center, shows his Kitfox Model IV fuselage to Ed Fisher, left, so Ed could sketch out a motor mount design, taking into consideration the weight and balance as well as systems installations. As with the Zenith 701, the Corvair is at the upper limit for the firewall forward weight for the Kitfox IV. However, I know that it will work for two reasons: the aircraft has successfully flown numerous times on other engine installations that exceed the weight and moment of a Corvair. Additionally, our work with Gold Systems allows the engine to be moved all the way back to the firewall. Thomas picked up one of our new Reverse Gold Oil Housings. Intended for Cleanex applications, this part is the last word in getting your engine extremely close to the firewall. Gold Filter Housings are especially important on aircraft with small firewalls that do not have the room for the filter housing and lines of a remote setup.

Additionally, we had a number of Kitfox Model V builders on hand. The Models V, VI and VII are built on an entirely different scale than the IV and earlier models. The later aircraft can easily handle a Corvair, as they're designed for engines as large as a 235 Lycoming. As Kitfox enthusiasts know, the company had years of financial difficulty resulting in the termination of business. Several years ago, the assets were picked up by some very good people who made the wise decision to solely proceed with the construction of Model VIIs. The previous owners had sold a lot of Model Vs, but not supported their construction. We have one customer flying a Model V, and I believe if done correctly it is an excellent combination for the Corvair. The quantity of unfinished V kits indicates there's some excellent bargains out there to be snapped up by fans of this type of aircraft.

Above, John Kearney runs his 601 installation on his test stand.

This is John and Jean Kearney's license plate on their pickup truck.

Oh the places you'll go and the diverse characters you'll meet. Joyce Loyet and her husband Dale came to the College from Illinois. She brought a very interesting piece of technology and Americana: a spinning wheel. It gave a glimpse of a time in American history when everyone had to be mechanically inclined or you would be naked while you starved to death. In many ways, the Corvair movement promotes a 21st century version of this type of mechanical integrity and self reliance. Mike Hyers, center, takes a look as Debbie Scott gives it a go at right.

I shot this group photo from the rafters of Ed's hangar. The new technique of pre-registering guests and limiting the College to a manageable size proved its worth at this College. Builders who did not have the opportunity to attend #16 can look forward to a full slate of Colleges in 2010 which we will announce here on FlyCorvair.com.

One minute after the group photo, builders were back at work at a diverse number of tasks. Although our photo record highlights a number of humorous, non-technical points, there is a tremendous amount of technical work and information exchanged.

At 6 p.m. on Saturday we all headed a thousand feet up the taxiway to Ed's residential hangar which had been prepared as the site of our dinner banquet. The inside of the hangar is filled with memorabilia from Ed's air racing days, including the famous Reno Air Racing Cassutt Mother Holiday. Our decision to go with a meal plan allowed everyone to stay on site and enjoy the company. A number of Ed's neighbors put several days of assistance into the event. They came to the dinner and had some very nice things to say about us as guests. The night after the College, there was a board meeting at which our invitation to this private airpark was universally extended for next year. Resident Don Cook's videos are posted on the http://whiteplainscommunity.blogspot.com/ Web site.

The ceremony pictured above took place after the dinner. In my hand is the Cherry Grove Trophy, which we award annually to the person who has made Corvair powered flight more accessible, safer, available or understood to his fellow aviators. Cherry Grove, Minnesota, was Bernie Pietenpol's home town, and in 1960 was the location of the first Corvair powered flight ever. The way that aviators understand that Kitty Hawk is a special place, the tiny hamlet of Cherry Grove will always be the point of origin for Corvair powered flight. At Grace's suggestion, we made a pilgrimage there after Oshkosh 2002. This visit did a lot to restore my love and focus for aviation after a particularly tough preceding year. On that day, I took a coffee can of soil from Bernard's runway, a small sample of which resides inside the trophy. The top of the trophy is made from the first Propeller Hub we produced. This flew for a number of years on our Pietenpol.

The trophy has an octagon base, with a panel for each year from 2008 to 2015. It will only be awarded eight times and then retired. Mark Langford, the 2008 award winner, accepted a stirring round of applause from his peers before we presented the 2009 award to Dan Weseman. I told each builder present that even if they just broke down their core that day, they have the opportunity to demonstrate their personal persistence and commitment to the Corvair movement to earn their own spot on the trophy.

After dinner, the majority of builders returned to the hangar to continue the day's work. With the sun down, the flying over and all the engines shut off, a number of Corvair pilots and builders kicked back with a beer or two to reflect on the day. It was almost 2 a.m. before the group broke up for the evening. A College tradition is having the pilots stay in one location, usually the host's house. This year, the number of pilots led to overflow sleeping on any available surface. The camaraderie of this group made up for the lack of comfort. Builders might be surprised to learn that late night conversation had little to do with Corvairs.

After dinner, Dan Weseman, left above, assisted Billy Stewart with installation of one of his 5th bearings on the case Billy had assembled that afternoon. Dan is showing exactly how far you have to stick out your tounge when doing really precision work in the shop.

Sunday morning I shot the above photo of Ron Milan's engine after it was removed from our Dynomometer. This engine has been carefully weighed on certified scales, and complete as shown, weighs only 206 pounds. Ron took three years to build it, and no detail, however small, was spared from saving weight. It is a three liter engine built around aluminum cylinders with very thin steel liners that were made in the 1970s by the long defunct Sahli company. The bore on this engine is 92 mm. Ron's efforts on weight reduction included grinding off material from the connecting rods and cutting the thickness of the oil pump cover in half. The engine has a Featherweight Oil Pan that I made for him that weighs less than two pounds. Many of the non-critical fasteners are aluminum. The starter was carefully disassembled and all excess material ground off. These are just a few examples from a very long and detailed list that Ron produced where most of the weights of individual parts are examined in grams. This process of removing 20 pounds of weight from the Corvair was pursued by Ron as an unrequired but technically challenging process. I honestly believe this is the lightest Corvair engine that has ever been test run. I've seen Web sites where b.s. artists claim to have iron-cylinder Corvair engines with 8 pound cast aluminum oil pans that are somehow magically below 200 pounds; no such claim can hold up to the technical documentation of Ron's engine. Over the years, we have worked very hard to keep the Corvair movement an intellectually honest place with reliable information people can count on. A tiny fragment of people for their own reasons have stood outside this and we have always countered with facts.

Louis Kantor a minute before his return flight to Pittsburgh. Corvair builders would do well to heed Louis' words in his article in the 2009 Flight Operations Manual. As a professional pilot, a real CFI, and holder of an ATP rating with 7,000 hours logged, Louis is a good source of technical information on the human aspects of flying. He takes his CFI rating very seriously, and makes his expertise available to Zenith builders. His direct e-mail address is LouisCFI@aol.com.

The Cochrans, above, drove in from Alabama. They're part of an ever-increasing number of Zenith 750 builders selecting the Corvair engine as their powerplant. I'd previously spent time with them at the Zenith Open House in September. A brief look at our technical expertise with the Corvair is often all it takes to make builders comfortable with selecting the engine.

Left to right above are Michael Quinn, Q-200 builder from North Carolina, Jim Waters, Fisher Horizon builder from Philadelphia, and Eric Klee, Buttercup builder from Tampa. They teamed up to prep Jim's engine for a test run on the dyno. The building continued throughout Sunday with a gradually tapering number of people on hand towards sundown. You can always tell a great event when people are reluctant to leave even with many hours to drive home. They'll pack up but end up spending another two hours in conversations with newfound friends. Ed was very impressed with many of the builders who spontaneously dug out Ed's clean up equipment and did their best to make the shop look like it did when we arrived. It's small details like this that indicate how different a Corvair College is from other technical seminars.

Two returning faces from CC #12, Francis O'Shea and local Paul Carter, both a strong bet to return next year.

Above, Jim Waters in front and Mike Quinn take Jim's engine for a test flight. Want to know what riding a motorcycle at 130mph is like? Try your engine on the Dyno at 3,300 rpm. These two characters had not met before the College, but formed a quick bond as people who see a lot of potential fun in any moment. Jim's engine ran like a banshee. It is destined for his 80% complete Fisher Horizon II.

Above, Mike studies the engine while it gets a long test run to break in the cam. We do 20-25 minutes between 1,600 and 2,200 rpm. Notice that every engine run draws a crowd of supporters.

Last men standing photo for CC #16: Left to right above are Mike Quinn, Jim Waters and Brandon Gerard. Mike made this photo for CC #12 last year as he stayed late to help Anthony Hanson finish his engine. Today, Anthony is in Afghanistan, and I hope he reads this and knows we are thinking of him. Several people noted that Mike comes to Colleges, but spends all his time working on other people's stuff, instead of his Q-2 powerplant. He gets my vote as the builder with the best understanding of the movement.

We have known Jim for several years. There is a very funny photo of him at CC #14. We are roughly the same age and grew up 100 miles apart. On Sunday we spent some time reflecting on how our "colorful" childhoods evolved into aviation and made our paths cross. Although Jim got a lot out of the College, he brought a lot also. A simple example is that he brought a big cooler full of hoagies from Philly. When people really needed it, Jim opened his cooler and gave away all he had.

Brandon spent some time telling me that his first College was almost exactly what he expected from reading about past events. He spoke of feeling more at home than at any other setting he had passed through in his search to find his "Seat At The Table."

To understand what kind of an artistic guy Ed is, look at the photo above. This seasonal charm was his idea, placed just outside his hangar door. Scoob E does his mountian goat imitation. Ed had the same details outside his residential hangar where we had the dinner. Aviation related? Not if you think of aviation as transportation. In Ed's eye, all of aviation is well engineered artistic detail.

Above, the blue mount is a CH-750 mount I made and brought as a display. On the right is an unpainted Cleanex mount that Dan Weseman made. I wanted to have three mounts in the photo, but the KR mount that I brought left with Dan Heath before I had the chance to snap a picture. We will get a photo of it at the next College when it flys back on the front of Dan's plane.

Mark Langford's CC#16 Photo Album

Mark e-mailed Grace a long chain of photos he took at the College, offering them as additions to any coverage we had in mind. Mark is well known as an excellent photographer of sunsets, landscapes and technical subjects. Looking at the photos, I will add that he is very good with candid photos of people as well. As I looked at the series of shots, it became obvious to me that you could tell something about what caught Mark's eye at the event. Mark and I are friends, but we often approach the same point from different angles; this perspective difference makes his input, whether spoken, written or photographic, interesting to me. The following photos are all his. If you haven't met the man yet, here is a glance at the College through his lens. I'll put short captions on to let people know what's cooking. ...

Late night above. Thomas DeBusk, left, and Tom Gebeau converse. The ribs on the table are from Ed's Protech PT-2 replacement wing design.

Emory Luth and I discussing the aerodynamics of wing fillets.

Joe Horton and Louis Kantor look at an Oshkosh aerial photo to see their parked planes.

Grace, Louis and Steve Sims.

Joe Horton.

Ed speaks with Jim Waters about covering a rudder.

A funny story told late at night.

Big day for Grace and Scoob E.

Roy gives his dead pan delivery on something humorous.

Roy's articulated case jig.

From the loft.

Roy Szarafinski.

P.F. Beck arrives.

Dan Weseman.

Chris Smith.

Everybody loves a Pietenpol.


Gary Thomas, the moment of arrival, flying to his first College.

P.F. Beck departing.

Speaking with Dan Heath.

Scott Thatcher's panel.

Something interesting in the corner.

Louis Kantor.

Chris Smith and Dan Weseman.

Dyno license plate holder, part number 8409.

Greatest book ever written on the human element of flight.

Cliff Rose.

Learning amid the carnage of the core table.

Four birds at sunset.

Journey to a thousand hours starts with the single step of putting the crank in the case.

Emory's screen test for late night TV Corvair infomercial.

Weseman 5th bearing installed with inboard part of Front Alternator Bracket.

Window seat on the flight home.

This closes another year of Colleges. Do you have a good reason why you did not attend one of them? A few years from now, many of the people taking apart cores in 2009 photos will be pictured flying in to future Colleges. Some will be there in two years, some in ten, and a third group will work for it, but not make it.

If you are stopped before you start by the third possibility, you need to go back to the front of your Conversion Manual and read the Teddy Roosevelt quote again; even a man in the third category will be far ahead of anyone who never gets Into The Arena and takes his shot. Not sure you can do it? Not sure it is worth the effort to turn off the TV and challenge yourself? Afraid of finding that you're not as persistent as you were at 18? These are all doubts insidiously placed into your mind by conformist consumer forces. These forces stand to lose a lot of revenue if you learn to live as a self reliant individual. The discretionary income of 300 millon people isn't pocket change, and they will employ every marketing trick known to keep you financially and philosophically enslaved to them.

Homebuilding, at its very core, is a personal challenge. It is a trip of self discovery. It offers you a long process to improve your skills and persistence, your ability to stand your own company, and to rediscover a sense of pride in making things with your own hands. The commitment of time and money is considerable. The stakes in building things that fly are very real. But we are talking about your life; not a small wager. Realize it or not, we are all in the game of life. Many people think that they get to stop the clock by sitting on the sidelines waiting for something. In reality, the earnings are spent and the time always passes. I am only suggesting that homebuilding is the best way I know of to get a hold of who you wanted to be before you saw a lifetime of commercials, listened to years of negative people at work, and were subjected to several decades of a national slide toward learned helplessness.

Every person reading this was born perfect, a child full of curiosity and wonder. What has happened since then has passed, what you will do from here on is up to you. Right now is a very good time to go out to your shop and pick up a tool and get to work on your real project, your life, and make it count.

"Real freedom is the sustained act of being an individual." WW - 2009

Corvair College #16: November 6-8, 2009

White Plains Airport, Gilbert, S.C.

CC#16 will be held at White Plains Airport in Gilbert, S.C., Nov. 6-8, 2009. Our hosts will be Ed and Val Fisher, above. These are the same hosts and location as CC#12. You can learn more about Ed's work in aviation by looking at his Web site, RaceAirDesigns.com.

Over the years, Corvair Colleges have evolved to be a very high quality experience packaged in a single weekend format. I have always noticed that the second event held at any location is particularly good because it benefits from the experience gained in the first. CC#16 has a number of things going for it that indicate it will be a very rewarding experience for all who attend. Successful Corvair builders and pilots like Mark Langford, Dan Weseman, Joe Horton and P.F. Beck have already told me they are planning on attending. Additionally, our main core supplier, Larry Hudson, will be coming from Indianapolis with core engines. Roy Szarafinski will also be on hand to display his fifth bearing and provide technical assistance. It is a good opportunity to learn a lot and meet many of the luminaries of the Corvair movement in a relaxed social setting.

I have said it many times, but it bears repeating that many of the successfully flying Corvair pilots trace their first attendance of a Corvair College to the beginning of the most productive period in their build. Our long-term statistics prove that builders who attended a College are more than twice as likely to finish their project within 36 months.

In consumer society, we are constantly bombarded with the message that you should buy things instead of building them. To press this point, marketing agents do a good job of making anyone feel doubtful about their own abilities to accomplish anything. Corvair College is an outstanding opportunity to break free of this mentality in the company of like minded people. I have worked in experimental aviation for 20 years. The single most important thing a builder can do to increase the odds of being successful is adopt a mindset of a self reliant individual. The College is a place where builders can come and learn and have fun in an environment of fellow builders who all have chosen the path of using their own hands to create their destiny in aviation. A single weekend in the company of positive people will contrast very strongly with the people who sadly think that they can experience the spirit and rewards of homebuilding solely by opening their wallets.

CC#16 has two differences that builders need to be aware of: The Dining Plan and the attendance limit. First, the College is still free, like every one I have ever held. But, when using the online registration, builders can read about the dining plans that Ed and Val have put together. While Ed's new hangar is located 50 feet from the runway, there are no restaurants nearby. Ed and Val did a spectacular job last year providing food from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning, including a catered dinner on Saturday night. A number of people left Ed with generous donations, but he was substantially upsidedown on the event. Ed and Val put a lot of hard work into these events, and we are organizing the dining plan this year to ensure that they can plan logistics and cover costs. We used this system for Corvair Colleges #14 and #15, and builders enjoyed it as it allowed everybody to stay focused on work and fun. A speical thanks to Corvair builder Ken Pavlou, who donated his time to develop and run the online registration at the https://corvaircollege16.wufoo.com/forms/corvair-college-16-registration/ Web page. It should be noted when you sign up that Ed and Val will rapidly be sending the order into the caterers. You're not required to attend if you sign up, but we have no refund process.

We will limit the amount of builders to 48. This number does not include the hosts, staff or pilots flying in. I do expect the registration to close very quickly. By giving us a paragraph on the status of your project, it will allow us to better target the presentations and physical organization of the event. The event will have something for everybody, from the earliest beginner to the returning pilot. This will undoubtedly be the best organized College we've had to date.

Here is my standard College disclaimer:

This is a private event held at a private facility for the benefit of people who are there to learn and have fun. In the past nine years, literally hundreds of people have attended Colleges, and 99% of them had a great time. We don't allow any talk of politics or religion. I do not allow people to attend who are planning on commercially benefiting from doing so. We reserve the right to remove anyone who is detracting from the experience of rank and file builders. The above words should come as a comfort to anybody who is looking forward to an exceptionally friendly, positive experience.

Anyone who has an interest in building and flying their own Corvair engine is welcome. You need not be a Manual owner to register. However, to get the most out of the experience, the more homework you do before you arrive the more you will learn when you get to Corvair College. The people who make the most educational progress are people who have already read the Manual, and in many cases, watched the DVDs. After going through this material, you can arrive armed with a list of questions and procedures you'd like to see in person.

As the event grows closer, we will publish far more detailed lists of what to bring, where to park, etc. For now, we'd like to get registration under way. We look forward to seeing you at Corvair College.

Last Friday night, I drove 150 miles south to the Merrit Island Bird Sanctuary to be 10 miles from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center. At 11:59 p.m., the shuttle left right on time, as captured in the above photo. It was the last night launch ever in the 25 year history of the shuttle program. At 10 miles, it's bright enough on a moonless night to read fine print. The sound arrives after 30 seconds. There are large events in aviation like this launch, not to be missed. Corvair College #16 is a tiny event in the panorama of aviation, but potentially a very large one in your own personal story. In the final analysis, it is more important what you will personally do in aviation than the history you will read about or witness. If 2010 is to be your year in aviation, then Corvair College #16 is your milestone event.

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