Corvair College #8 Page 6 November 12-14, 2004
www.FlyCorvair.com Hangar, Massey Air Ranch, Edgewater, Fla.
Dan Weseman poses as the Statue of Liberty. As you may have guessed, this was after midnight on Saturday.
Since he was already wearing a crown, a sheet for a robe and a distributor for a torch brought the whole
ensemble together quickly. Instead of "Give me your tired, poor, ... yearning to be free," Dan was saying something about "Give
me your cores on tires, preferably for free."
Lynn came with 601 builders Louis and Vince. But she didn't come along just to watch. She jumped right in and
worked side by side with them to prep the parts for their engine assembly. No stranger to aviation, she's a
flight attendant for a regional airline. Here, she's cleaning parts in the Black Beauty cabinet well after midnight.
Dan's engine makes it to the dynamometer. On the extreme left is Dave Poirier. Dave took a number of the photos
seen on these pages.
As it gets closer, all available hands turn to prepping Dan's engine. When we primed his engine with the
drill, I could not get oil pressure to show on the gauge, which measured pressure after the filter. A moment
later, we discovered the problem: I was tired and had rigged the two lines backwards. The rubber flap check valve
in the filter was blocking oil flow. A quick reversal of the lines solved the problem and progress marched on.
Here's a photo of the same action taken from the deck in the back of the hangar. This photo was taken well
after dark on Sunday. Dan had been very polite, and had yielded the dynamometer to people who were leaving
earlier. His was fated to be the last engine of the weekend.
One of the funnier quotes from the College was when Steve Upson said, "On the first day of the College, none
of the visitors knew where any of the shop's tools were. By the second day, none of the hangar gang knew
where any of the tools were." I don't view the top of this table as a mess, I view it as the byproduct of
Here is Derek Hulbig's closed case, with one of our new Oil System Accessory Case Covers. We ran Derek's entire
oil system on the test rig before he installed it in his case. It could then be installed permanently on his case
with the confidence that it will perform flawlessly on his running engine, as it did on our test rig.
This is Ivan Carlson's Super Pulsar Corvair engine. It is a very nicely built engine. It features 90.5mm VW
cylinders, ARP case studs, and welded intakes done in our shop the first night of the College. Although the
engine was not completed at the College, the high end nature of this engine allowed many people to observe and
learn up close as Kevin and Ivan worked together on the engine. Ivan has plans to return and complete the engine,
then run it on our dynamometer.
Derek Hulbig and Grace Ellen photographed with his case closed engine. Derek's enthusiasm and humor was a
highlight of the College. On Saturday night, Kevin cut his hand on a piece of glass. Derek, who works as an EMT
in Toronto, and is a big hockey fan, jokingly scoffed at Kevin's injury and said, "I give it a 4 on a 1 to 10
scale. No arterial damage."
Lynn, Vince and Louis with their case closed future 601 engine. The alternating cylinder colors are an
eye catcher. The trend toward colorful Corvair engines is another fun aspect of building your own engine.
Whereas every Jabaru engine looks identical, each Corvair engine reflects the craftsmanship and taste of the
Kevin and Dan actually worked all day Saturday, stayed up almost the whole night, and then worked all day
Sunday. Kevin fell asleep just as we were wheeling Dan's engine outside for its test run. He woke up a
few moments later when the engine fired on the second blade.
I took this photo by holding the camera out in front of Dan and I while we stood in the prop blast of his
engine that had come to life less than a minute before. In spite of not sleeping the night before, Dan's smile
says it all.
Dan ran his engine about half an hour. We tried getting a reading with the optical tach, but it would not
read in the dark. We settled for a smooth break in instead of knowing the exact power output. Seen in the photo
is Dan's handmade 1 3/8" stainless steel exhaust. Dan lives about 90 miles north of us. He said he'd be glad to
bring the engine back any time for full dyno runs and tuning. We let his engine cool down slightly, then loaded
it up for his trip home. In spite of the long 48-hour day followed by the drive home, Dan typed a message
to his friends on the Internet right when he got home, telling them what a great time he had.
By Monday morning, all but a few hardcore builders were on their way home. Whobiscat napped on this canopy much of Monday.
With most of the builders home or on their way, and another College in the record books, we took half a day
to assemble part of the Tri-Motor project and begin work on the outboard engine mounts. It looks like a
big project, but like all projects, it will get done one piece at a time with steady work.
I'm very excited about the upcoming year for Corvairs. It's a very bright future, and if Corvair College
#8's graduates are any indication, this year will bring new high points in creativity, adventure and friendship
in the land of flying Corvairs. From all of us in the hangar gang, I want to extend a personal thanks to all
who attended the event, and encourage each and every one of you who are reading this to see yourself in any
of these pictures, and take positive action now to become a Corvair builder and see your aviation dreams
through to reality.
The first person to arrive for the College was Robin Bellach, a 601 builder from Jasper, Arkansas. He
drove down and arrived 24 hours early. The first thing he did was help another builder disassemble his core
engine outside our hangar, before we even arrived in the morning. That's initiative. Robin stayed through the
whole College, and did some prep work on his parts. His engine is a 2,882cc, 90.5mm, VW-cylindered Corvair.
The specialty machine work for this was done by Wheelerizing in California. This was only ready after the
College was over, but the Wheelers sent it out next day air, and in light of Robin being a very nice guy, the
hangar gang opted to help Robin finish his engine even though the College had concluded. The work was done
at a relaxed pace, and we finished the engine about a week after the College was over.
In the photo above, Steve Upson is safety wiring the Allen screws on one of our Deep Sump Oil Pans. This is
the last job before the engine's mounted on the dynamometer. Visible in the photo are the welded on intake
pipes we did, the aluminum prop hub stand, and Robin's very high degree of finish work in preparation for
assembly. The valve cover logo was Robin's idea as a tribute to our work with developing the Corvair engine
conversion. He had them powdercoated before he arrived.
Here's Robin's engine running on the dyno. It cranked less than 3 seconds, and fired right up and ran
smoothly. As far as I know, this is the first 2,900cc engine to ever turn a prop. Robin was very
enthusiastic about it, and being a guy of high initiative, it may very well be the first 2,900 to fly a plane.
We ran the engine for half an hour the first afternoon, and about an hour the following morning on a diet of
pure 100 low lead to check its peak torque output. This well built, carefully assembled engine was a real
powerhouse. Gus carefully checked the prop pitch setting on our test prop, and used the digital tach to
verify that Robin's engine turned the exact same prop set to the same prop setting 50rpm more than the O-200
we extensively tested to baseline the dynamometer.
Here's a very appropriate last photo of the last engine at Corvair College #8. Grace came out and personally
congratulated Robin on his perseverance and achievement. Take a good look at the expression on Robin's face,
and realize that this could certainly be you. Grace and I and the hangar crew, and all the builders who have
come before you, stand ready to assist. But the real measure of what you'll achieve is determined by your
own initiative more than any other factor. It's my firm belief that by helping hundreds of builders like Robin
over the years, anyone who's reading this can have their own moment like this.
After the photo, we let the engine cool off. Dave The Bear built a little wooden stand for it, and we carefully
packed it into the back of Robin's pickup truck. Robin personally thanked each member of the gang for the extra
effort before he left the hangar. He took the additional step of setting up a huge tab at our local Irish
restaurant. It was a very generous gesture that closed Corvair College #8 on a very positive high note. We do
not yet have firm plans for where or when #9 will be, but we'll keep everybody posted through the Web site.
We hope to see you there.