Two 601 Wings Built In Two Days
In the photo above, Gus is with Kit Planes contributing editor Rick Lindstrom.
Rick has one of the first 601XL quick build kits. He's building this airplane in our hangar while
simultaneously documenting the process for a serialized story in Kit Planes. Although it's only
90 days away, we're going to fly this plane to Oshkosh. While this may seem like a tall order, the Zenith
quick build kit not only makes this possible, it actually makes it fairly easy.
Rick is from California and makes it to our shop only a few days a month. He's very serious about
legitimately doing the work himself. When he's at our place, Gus functions as his direct assistant.
To give you an idea of how much work Zenith has put into the quick build option, consider this:
Both the wings for Rick's airplane were built in our shop in one-and-a-half days. This is not a joke or a trick.
The wings are complete including the fuel tanks, wiring, plumbing and rigging. Only Rick and Gus worked
on them, and a lot of time went into filming and documentation. They worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the
first day (and took an hour and a half for lunch), and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second day. Again, the quick
build wings have every hole pre-drilled and they're about 90% de-burred. Gus noted that when they're
assembled with clecos, he checked them with digital smart levels and found that they go back into
the correctly jigged position without any tooling or fixtures. Our previous experience building our standard
kit in 90 days was helpful, but anyone could build these wings in a few days.
Meanwhile At The Hangar
The building of regular production parts, engines, and
R&D testing goes on. A note to builders on the Web: Generally, backorders are
filled in one batch. An example is the last round of Oil Pans. A few days before
Sun 'N Fun, we finished welding, packaging and shipping 14 Oil Pans that were on backorder, bringing us
up to date on paid orders. All of these were shipped by U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail. The first person
who received one innocently chimed in on a Discussion Group that his Oil Pan had arrived from us and he
was very happy. This spurred two other people to immediately respond on Discussion Groups that they had
an Oil Pan on back order and hadn't received it. They received theirs the following day because
they live farther away from us, but of course, this was not mentioned on the same Discussion Groups. Anyone
casually reading these groups could jump to the conclusion that only one Pan, not all 14 backorders, were
delivered. When this happens once a year, it's no big deal. But it's a frequent enough occurrence that it's
The photos above and below are from the break in of Dr. Ray's 601XL powerplant. He sent it to us for a
nitrided crank upgrade. While it was in the shop, he also opted to have us
install a set of Falcon cylinder heads. I worked with Mark at Falcon to come up with a specific cylinder
head configuration that we refer to as "the 93/100 Dual Fuel Cylinder Head." Its chamber shape and clearance
is set up for an extremely fast burn. This specifically allows these heads to use 93 octane fuel when
the engine's properly configured with respect to carburetion and ignition advance.
In the above photo you can see the volt meter on the Dynomometer with Dr. Ray's
engine running at full power. Notice that it only reads 9.5 volts. This is because we generally run engines
without charging systems on the dyno. After dozens of starts and hours of running, the voltage drops in the
small battery. Because our Dual Ignition System is based on points, it is not
troubled by voltage this low. Measurement of the torque output of the engine shows no effect. Diametrically
opposed to this is electronic ignition and fuel injection. I get questions about this every week, and
few people understand that these electronic systems would not function at all at the above voltage.
I have extensively tested available electronic ignitions for the Corvair, and they simply will not run
the engine far below 11 volts. While you may not be planning on ever losing an alternator, belt or voltage
regulator, our system would run your engine for hours without any input charge. Electronic systems are not
only voltage sensitive, but they're big power consumers also. There are documented cases on other makes
of engine conversions of the engine running less than 20 minutes with the charging system offline.
Above is a Stromberg NAS-3 on Dr. Ray's running engine. If you look closely, you'll see water all over
the carburetor and intake. This engine's running at 2,300 rpm. Although on a J-3 you'd never need carb
heat at 2,300 rpm, the Corvair is a different story. Any engine set up to run in the 2,800 to 3,200 rpm
range will be pulling a very small fraction of its power output with a fixed pitch prop at 2,300 rpm.
This means the engine will have low manifold pressure and it will need carb heat. The amount of water
condensing on the outside of the intake system stuns many pilots who've never seen an engine run
without a cowling. All engines have specific rpm at which they'll produce this exact same effect.
Utilizing carburetor heat is a simple part of the routine of flying a plane.
This paragraph explains why an inherently complicated system like EFI is a poor defense against a
simple fact of physics shown in the photo above. The failsafe and perfect defense is the simple routine
use of carb heat at any reduced power setting. Having a basic understanding of the effect in a simple
system of carb heat was all that was required for countless pilots to fly light aircraft in America
more than 100 million hours in the past 50 years. Your plane will be no different, and you'll have the
same success operating by the same systems.
Even after hundreds of engine runs over a decade, there's still time for a little fun in the day.
Sooner or later, everyone gives in to the temptation to use the prop blast to experience flight as
Superman knows it.
Corvair Flyers at Sun 'N Fun 2006
If you have a cable modem, you can click this photo to download a 2 minute movie about Phil Maxson's 601XL,
including lots of flying. We spent the past week with "The Big Tahuna's" Yellowfin aircraft in the Zenith booth at Sun 'N Fun
Above is one of the more fun moments of Sun 'N Fun. This shot was taken during Dave and Fran
Stroud's annual International Corvair barbecue. Enjoying the Friday night festivities, from left, are: Our Test Pilot,
Gus Warren and his girlfriend Tammy, Cleanex builder/pilot
Dan Weseman of Florida, myself and my wife Grace Ellen, KR-2S builder/pilot Mark Langford of Alabama,
barbecue host Dave Stroud of Canada, BBQ Mixmaster Jourkin of Sweden, Corvair builder Chris Smith of Florida
and our video producer Merrill "Skymanta" Isaacson in front.
We barbecued till late into the night, and a good time was had by everyone who attended. We also had a
spectacular view of the dazzling night air show.
Mark Langford of Alabama flashes a big smile the day of his arrival at Sun 'N Fun. This was the first
major airshow that Mark's flown his airplane to. Among Corvair pilots, he is accumulating time on his
airplane faster than anyone else, logging about 40 hours a month. The airplane attracted a lot of attention,
and was well received. Mark's 2,700cc engine spins a 54x54 Sensenich prop. Our 601
is in the background.
I gave four forums at the show. They were very well attended, and builders asked many questions.
More than 50% of the people had never heard me speak about Corvairs before. A good indication that we're
bringing new people into the fold.
Dave The Bear's Wagabond occupied the Number 1 slot in the Auto Engine Homebuilt row. The volunteer
staff who park airplanes selected it for this spot.
You can click on the silver plane in the photo above to see an in flight photo of
Dan Weseman's Cleanex. Dan finished
his engine at Corvair College #8. His
3,100cc engine turns a Sensenich 54x58 prop. It was a very popular attraction among fans of the
"We had a great time at Sun 'N Fun and hope you did too!," Dan wrote. "The flight home went great; it
was 152 miles and the total engine run time was 1 hour 4 minutes; it burned 6.2 gallons at 7600 feet; the
true airspeed was 168 mph at 3,250rpm (3,460 was WOT). But the ground speed was 198, and on the descent we
had 190 IA and 230GS.
"I will foward some in flight photos from the flight down.
Thanks for all the help and you and William's frendship."
Grace photographed me in front of our 601. Our airplane got a new polish and paint job before the show.
While there, Nick and Roger from the Zenith factory both got a chance to fly it. Both were very pleased.
Our 3,100cc is the highest time big bore in the fleet at 110 hours. The Sensenich prop is a 64x43 they made for us
just before Sun 'N Fun.
What personally made this the best Sun 'N Fun ever for us was having my mother and father as
well as Grace's mother and Gus' parents on hand for the first half of the week. Here my father and I are in front of a
Grumman F8F Bearcat, a serious piece of hardware from my father's era of Naval aviation. My father entered
the U.S. Navy in 1943 and is USNA Class of 1949.
Corvair/Pietenpol pilot Pat Green of Jacksonville, Fla., stops by the Zenith booth, above. Phil's airplane was an
easy and popular meeting point for all fans of the Corvair engine.
We also spent some time with Dragonfly/Corvair pilot Chuck Ufkes from Ocala, Fla. Chuck flew in and
parked his very pretty Dfly N88CU in Row 5.
The above photo shows Phil Maxson of New Jersey proudly standing by his airplane along with our test pilot
Gus. Phil's 601 also was featured on AvWeb.com.
These two photos from the 2006 Sun 'N Fun air regatta illustrate what it's all about: Sharing good
times with friends and family who love aviation. Above from left are Mike Whaley from Steen Aero Labs who
took the superb in flight photo of Dan Weseman's Cleanex;
our test pilot Gus Warren; and our Pietenpol demo pilot
for the 2000 Season, Arnold Holmes of Florida, know by the moniker "The Repair" in the industry.
Below, Capt. Bill and Mrs. Mickey Wynne Sr. enjoy good times with Stu Hall (USA Ret.) of Lakeland, Fla. Each year,
Stu purchases bottles and bottles of water and freely passes them out to those in need. He's always a
bright spot at Sun 'N Fun. He gave my parents and us an extensive flightline tour on a Gator. Stu and
my father reminisced about their days at Cam Rahn Bay and Da Nang in 1967.
We're right back at work building parts and engines in the shop, and all backordered
Manuals, T-shirts, and videos
are now on their way via USPS Priority Mail. We apologize again for the delays the computer crash caused.
Remembering Larry Koutz
Glen Bankston arrived at Sun 'N Fun with the terrible news that Larry Koutz had been severely injured
in an accident at home in Valdosta, Ga. Almost all of the Corvair people on hand were moved by this somber
news because they'd had a chance to meet Larry in person at one of the three Corvair Colleges he attended.
He's pictured at right at College #8 in the photo above.
The following day, Glen told us that despite all efforts, Larry had passed away in the hospital at
Savannah. He was 56 years old.
Being killed in a simple accident seemed a very ironic end to the life of a very vibrant guy. Larry
was a former Air Force F-4 Phantom driver, and had made friends from coast to coast in the world of tandem
wing pilots while flying his Q-200 N39LK. He was the kind of guy who stuck out in your memory after you'd
just met 60 new people.
When we got back to the hangar last night, I told Kevin the sad news. He was quite moved. We all looked
back on all the times Larry had been in the hangar. Years ago when I first met him I was a little surprised because
he overtly told me what he didn't like about our Web site and business model, and he had some strong
thoughts on the Corvair movement in general. By his second or third visit, we readily learned that this was
pure Larry. He wasn't being rude or malicious, he always felt comfortable to speak his mind and he was not
the kind of guy to waste time blowing smoke or trying to be charming. Quickly his directness and positive
energy won you over.
I urge you to go back and read the few paragraphs about Larry on our Corvair College
remember Larry as fun loving, full of life and willing to extend a helping hand before helping himself.
He'll always bring smiles to our faces, as his broken piston ring hangs in tribute in our shop.
We extend our deepest sympathy to his family. A kind and generous soul, he will be sorely missed. All who
knew him are certainly the better for it.
One thing Grace felt she shared in common with Larry is the lust for life. Who cares how goofy you get
as long as you're having a good time. Your doing yourself a favor, as well as for those around you. With
optimism in action at every turn, you make your community the better for it. Life goes on, for how long
we do not know. When it's over, you'll feel better if you made the most of every moment.
Now At The Hangar
June 2011 At The Hangar
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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 1
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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 3
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 4
November 2006 At The Hangar
October 2006 At The Hangar
September 2006 At The Hangar
August 2006 At The Hangar
At The Hangar In July 2006
June 2006 At The Hangar
At The Hangar In May 2006
At The Hangar In March 2006
At The Hangar In February 2006
At The Hangar In January 2006
At The Hangar In December 2005
At The Hangar In November 2005
At The Hangar In October 2005
At The Hangar In September 2005
At The Hangar In July 2005
OSH, Illinois and SAA June 13, 2005
At The Hangar June 13, 2005 Part II
At The Hangar In May 2005
At The Hangar In April 2005