November 17, 2005
For those of you who didn't have a chance to meet him at the College, in the center above is
Phil Maxson. His 601 is going to live in our hangar until it flies away. Phil put a lot of very nice craftsmanship into the
airframe, and we're going to finish up a lot of firewall forward stuff for him, including instrumentation. Phil's
installation will be a textbook example of how to do an Ellison carbureted Corvair/601. If you are one of the 601
builders patiently awaiting intake and exhaust systems, we mailed out the first batches of them this week, and we're
shooting to produce a few more sets each week. They'll look just like the sets on Phil's plane. We'll have more
We flew the first 12 months and 200 hours on the 601 on a 2,700cc engine. This engine was removed to be replaced with
the 3,100cc engine that's been in the 601 the past 75 hours. I briefly gave thought to selling the 2,700, but the engine
has sentimental value. It's built from a core motor that I drove all over America in my 1967 Monza Coupe. Instead, it
will be the basis of a super heavy duty turbo engine, which we'll install in the Skycoupe for the 2006 season. The Turbo
Skycoupe works nicely now, but we want to outfit it with a nitrided crank, plasma rings,
and stainless exhaust valves. This photo shows the inside of the engine after 200 hard hours in service. Notice
how clean everything looks. There was no detectable wear whatsoever on anything inside. The engine did 10 hours on
mineral oil, but most of the time was flown on Amsoil
synthetic 10W30. We changed this on 75 hour intervals. The only fuel we used was 100ll. There was no lead buildup in
the oil system at all. The connecting rods shown here are from Jeff Ballard at SC Performance. They're reworked Corvair
rods, but obviously they're very nice pieces with polished beams. Note the 12-point ARP rod nuts. The heat mark on the
top of the rod is a leftover from the original installation of the wrist pins. You can still see the numbers written on
rods with a Sharpie. I have no doubt that this engine could easily go 1,500 hours.
Above is one of the heads and the Rear Accessory Case from the 2700cc 601 engine. The yellow
dust in the combustion chambers is lead. This particular color shows that the engine is running exactly as it should.
If you're not an A&P and you've never been around aircraft engines, you may think this looks terrible. But mechanics
with actual field experience recognize that this is what's inside every Lycoming, including the one you took your flight
training in. To show you that stories of lead fouling automotive engines are overblown, consider this: we flew the 200 hours
without ever removing the plugs once, and the R44Fs never missed a beat. If you don't want lead to accumulate in your
engine, you could run the additive TCP in your fuel. Notably, the head gasket area in this engine was in perfect shape.
Any time we see a head gasket area that is imprinted or sunk in, it is a sure sign that the engine has been allowed to
detonate. We saw this on a couple of customer engines in 2005, and you see it on a lot of cores that were driven after
they threw the fanbelt. No matter what your CHT reads, if your engine is pinging, the localized temperatures in the
cylinder are astronomically high. This is why I'm so adamant about engines not being allowed to detonate.
Here's a photo of an AutoMeter mechanical oil temperature gauge. This gauge came from Summit racing, and cost about
$45. It threads right in the Transdapt 1045 oil filter housing. It requires no electricity, and will read with perfect
accuracy no matter what the voltage of your electrical system. Its full sweep gives accurate visual readings. It's
available in a number of faces. This gauge will even read when your engine's not turned on. It's the perfect
complement to the AutoMeter mechanical oil pressure gauge. Although I've brought this up many times, here's another
example of why I don't like the Grand Rapids EIS: A customer whom we built an engine for last year called to
say that his engine produced only 18 pounds of oil pressure. Since I knew this wasn't true, I asked him what instrumentation
he used. Of course, he has a $1,000+ Grand Rapids EIS (and a $400 carburetor). After going to the auto parts store and
buying a $20 mechanical oil pressure gauge, he discovered the engine actually made 45 pounds of oil pressure, cold.
You've gotta admit there's something ironic about using an automotive store gauge to diagnose what's wrong with a unit
that cost 50 times as much. If you're at home thinking about instruments, think about AutoMeter.
Above is the 601's wing. A lot of people notice its hingeless ailerons. Included in the plans is the option of
using MS hinge. Last week, Gus switched our aircraft from the hingeless style it flew on for 275 hours to the optional
MS hinge typical of many homebuilt aircraft. I've heard an enormous amount of speculation on how this would change the
roll characteristics of the aircraft, etc. Ready for a surprise? It doesn't make much difference at all. Our 601 was
equipped with the prototype of the dual stick setup. It has heavier ailerons than it does elevator and rudder. I'm
not picky, it never concerned me. Gus is a precision pilot and was curious what changes the hinges would bring about.
Rather than debate it, we had the optional system on in a few hours. The only significant difference is low speed,
precision aileron work, something nice in a taildragger at an airport subjected to continuous crosswinds. At cruise speed
he reported no difference. In short, 601 builders should build it either way they like and not worry about it.
A complete view of Dave the Bear's airplane returning from a taxi test. It is only awaiting the visit of the DAR now.
The final weight and balance of the airplane came out at 804 pounds with oil, but no fuel. Dave opted for 10 pounds of
vacuum instruments that I could not talk him out of. Still, this is a very respectable number. It's 200 pounds lighter
than most PA-22 colts, and 150 pounds lighter than most late model Kitfoxes.
Above is the Turbo Skycoupe with its original cowling from a Lycoming powered Pacer. Not a bad cowling if you have
an engine 36" wide. It had been on the Skycoupe since before we switched it to Corvair power years ago.
Here's what the Skycoupe looks like on the ramp in front of our hangar today. It has a modified version of our
Nosebowl, a Van's FP-13 13" spinner. The rest of the cowling is made from flat wraps of
aluminum. It does not take much imagination to guess that the airplane will be significantly faster. Notice how much
more of the prop will be working. It's the same 66" Warp Drive in both photos. Tests indicate
it even cools better now. Statistics aside, it looks like a missile, compared to a tugboat. If you're building a Corvair
powered airplane, do not handicap it functionally or aesthetically with an ugly cowling.
November 1, 2005
Ten days to go to the College, and things are getting into high gear. Here's a quick update to keep everyone
briefed. We're receiving phone calls and e-mails from dozens of people who are making their final prep to attend.
If you're sitting on the fence, certainly choose to attend. You'll be glad you did. A quick phone
call confirmed that Mark Langford is flying in his KR-2, and Chuck Ufkes is flying his Dragonfly.
A number of friends
will be driving in with their projects. Fred Roser, a 601 builder from the other side of Florida, already brought over
all the components for his engine assembly so we could pre-inspect them. Now that's doing your homework. Whatever you're
here to accomplish, the Hangar Gang is here to make it happen. We'll see you
Above is a photo of me and my lovely mother-in-law Liz in the hangar Saturday night. It was Liz's birthday, and
like a good son-in-law, I gave her a guided tour of the prep work underway in the hangar. Although I look toasted,
it's just that I blinked when the flash went off. The beer we're drinking was provided by 601 builder Bill Howerton of
Colorado. When we first got to work on Bill's engine, he sent the parts in crates which also contained beer from fine
Colorado microbreweries. He politely called later to ask if we enjoyed it. I told him that the Hangar Gang drinks
cheap swill, and his fine stuff was lingering in the back of the fridge keeping some old hot dog buns company.
After we completed his engine, Bill looked up our local liquor store on the Internet and had 10 cases of their
cheapest beer delivered. Dave and Steve were working when the delivery came in and were in the process of politely
accepting what they thought was a misdelivery. I told them it was probably from Bill Howerton. Bill called a few days later
to say it was all a joke and he didn't mean to offend anyone by implying we liked cheap beer. I assured Bill that no
offense was taken, and he even picked some hangar favorites.
We're receiving boxes of parts every day from builders who are flying in commercially for the College.
Here's the first part of the story for one engine. By the time the College is over, we'll make this a positive
story and provide this builder with a running engine. We'll turn this story from a false start into a flight engine
because I have a lot of respect for any builder who shows the initiative to get a core and make the sacrifices to
come to a College. As you read these comments, know now that this will have a happy ending.
Halloween evening, UPS shows up at the hangar with a large box leaking red fluid. There are some jokes about what's
inside. UPS had tumbled this box over and over. Years of shipping has taught me that UPS is the roughest shipping outfit
by a longshot. And here was a piece of their work. Opening the box revealed that the core engine inside had broken loose,
and one of the things it had squashed was a can of red spray paint. The drips told the story of how many different
positions the box had assumed. In disbelief, I stood on one side of the box with Steve on the other.
I looked at this side of the case and said "Well, at least it's a late model case in pretty good shape." Steve,
standing on the other side of the box, responded "What are you, blind? It's an early case."
Here's what Steve is looking at. Notice that the case is completely flat in a line between the upper and lower
head studs. This half of the case is from an early model. The half I was looking at was from a late model. You
cannot do this and expect the engine to run. A longstroke crank will not fit in this combination, and the bearings
would wear out in minutes if it were possible to turn over the engine. Once the confusion was over, we tossed out
the case and went over to the core pile to find another one for this builder. We'll reward his initiative with our
best efforts to get him a good engine in spite of not checking his core carefully enough. If you're out there
shopping for an engine, always look for one that hasn't been disassembled, and always ensure the numbers are
the same as we recommend in the Conversion Manual.
It's raining this evening in Florida, but the prep work is continuing late into the night. Our friend Bob stopped by
to drop off a car trailer full of late model engine cores. They were not in particularly good shape, but the price
was right and there were many parts that will find their way into 2006 flying motors. In the photo above, Kevin is
inspecting one of the engines before offloading it from the trailer. This is further proof that Corvairs are
everywhere in quantity. Despite the fact that we've pulled hundreds of engines out of Central Florida over
the past 10 years, our friend Bob is still able to find trailer loads within a 60 mile radius of our hangar.
Work underway on the main shop table, above. The nine cranks in the photo are just back from the nitrider. They
need to be cleaned and polished. Many of these cranks will be going into engines at the College. The valves in the
Priority mail box are from 601 builder Neil Hulin's cylinder heads. He sent the heads in early to have the pipes welded
on. We disassemble the heads for this operation, do the machine work and welding, thoroughly clean them and then
reassemble. Under that box are 20 freshly machined Ring Gears. The red case belongs to
Above is a view of the bottom of Dave's Wagabond. It is right next to the door, getting closer to the runway. In
this photo, the J-3 style airbox is visible in a sheetmetal cove Steve built. He calls it the Chunnel. Dave put a
venturi on the bottom of the plane to run vacuum instruments. Take a moment to look at the exhaust tips that
Steve crafted which are protruding from the bottom of the cowl. He made these with a metal rod, a bench vise, and
a ball peen hammer in about two hours. I don't know what effect they'll have, but in Stevespeak, they're wicked cool.
Here's a quick itinerary for the College: We'll be here Thursday night, but we're asking people to show up
at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11. We intend to work all day Friday until 7:30 p.m., at which time we'll close the
doors for dinner. There's a number of good restaurants in the New Smyrna Beach area. Unlike previous years, when
we worked side by side with builders till midnight, just the the Hangar Gang will be returning after dinner. The two
things we'll be working on after hours are machining cylinder heads builders have brought and
running the cleaning equipment, which is extremely noisy. For the sake of better communication and atmosphere, we're
not running any noisy equipment in the hangar during the regular build sessions. The work will kick into gear again
with the return of builders 8 a.m. Saturday. This should prove to be the biggest day of the College. About noon,
I'd like to line up all of the planes and people for a group photo. We'll have more building straight through 8 p.m.
On Saturday night, I'd like everybody to put the tools down at 8 o'clock so we can all enjoy a chance to socialize. In
previous years, some of the Hangar Gang worked four consecutive 18 hour days. This year, I'd like to ensure that
everyone gets a chance to put down the tools, pick up a drink and enjoy a chance to socialize. Everyone is invited to
stay as long as they like Saturday night. We'll start again 9 a.m. Sunday and we'll be working the whole day. Last year,
the final engine to run was Dan Weseman's Cleanex powerplant. It fired up and
ran at 10:30 p.m. Sunday. This year, he'll be coming back with the same engine. Of course, he'll be flying in with
it bolted on the front end of the airplane. Let us tell the same story about you next year.
Some serious words about hangar etiquette. I have one absolute Golden Rule in the hangar that is never broken:
No one talks politics in my hangar. Although people have heard me joke about it in magazine articles, I'll assure
everyone that I expect 100% compliance on this no matter who baits you. Our guest of honor this year is my father,
Capt. William Wynne Sr. Anything good about my character you can credit to my father. Amongst many
things, I'm personally grateful that my father taught me never to speak about politics in public. Many people who
knew my father during his 35-year naval career, spanning World War II to Vietnam, said they'd never heard him
utter a single word about politics. Proof you can be a respective person of character with entirely private political
beliefs. This is a small request for me to ask of anyone who is here to have fun for three days. I want people only
to take home memories of the best time they had all year in aviation.
Now At The Hangar
June 2011 At The Hangar
May 2011 At The Hangar
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December 2010 At The Hangar
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Christmas 2007 At The Hangar
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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 1
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 2
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 April 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 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