College Attendees Send In Your Photos Now
Builder Fred Roser is putting together a Power Point presentation for the College and is looking for Corvair project photos from
people who are coming to the College. If you're coming to the College, please send your photos to Fred via this Web site:
http://fjr.servehttp.com/cc10/cc10photos.html. Thank you.
Engine Needs Ride To Texas:
Happy Ending To A Precautionary Tale
In addition to the prep work for the College and regular orders, I'm finishing up assembling six engines for customers. One of these belongs to
601 builder and pilot Randy Stout of San Antonio, Texas. Randy is a very nice guy. He's unable to attend the College, and I'm looking for any Texas
builder attending the College to deliver Randy's engine. I'd prefer to send it in care of a friend. As we write this, the last pieces of Randy's
engine are coming together. It now has a nitrided crank and Falcon heads. It's a little different from our standard engines, but it's a first
This is a far cry from the Corvair that Randy first flew in his plane. Any builder who has considered buying an engine from another builder
would be well advised to pay close attention to Randy's story.
Randy flys a 601HD. It was originally powered with a VW engine and a belt reduction.
While the engine had its merits, it also had some drawbacks, mostly heat issues that Randy did not like. He opted to replace it with a direct
drive Corvair engine. He read about a modestly priced engine available for sale from a Corvair builder in the Northeast. He purchased the engine
and installed it on his airframe. The engine was originally built for a KR project. Its external systems were different than the way we build engines.
Randy was actively installing the engine when we were first developing most of the parts that now make up our 601 installation system. He got the
airplane flying with his own installation ingenuity, and became the first person ever to fly a Corvair powered HD.
Over the next two years, Randy logged a little less than 150 hours. In May of this year, on a cross country flight with his wife, Randy's engine
fractured the crankshaft. Displaying cool-headed skill, he landed it in a beanfield, with the damage confined to the nosegear wheelpant.
After talking to Randy about it, I offered to build him a first class replacement which would incorporate all of the required items without
forcing him to reconfigure all of his unique systems to one of our standard engines.
In the process of building Randy's engine, I sorted through the remaining components from his original engine. The engine had been built before
nitrided cranks were mandatory and had not been equipped with one. Many of the pieces were perfectly fine, such as the TRW pistons. But there
were many disturbingly wrong things in the engine. The rods in the motor had been rebuilt, but the stock rod bolts were re-used. I've been teaching
people since 1996 that ARP rod bolts were a minimum in our engines. The builder of Randy's engine had assembled it in 2000, and had opted not
to use ARP rod bolts. A look at the heads revealed a severely blown head gasket as seen in the photo below. I've seen this a handful of times
in Corvair engines. Two major factors cause this: a poorly made intake manifold with a leak on one side and/or an improperly torqued head.
Randy's first engine probably had both.
Although the head gasket's blown on the center cylinder, the outer ones are severely depressed into the
head. If you've seen enough Corvair engines, you can look at barbecued heads like this and evaluate the clamping pressure on the head by how deep and
where the head gasket impressions are. The aluminum in the combustion chamber on these heads was run over 650F to do this. It takes a lean out
leading to severe detonation to do this. As a testament to the toughness of the Corvair, look at that blown gasket and realize that it didn't blow in the last
few seconds of flight. It was probably blown for a while, yet in a six-cylinder engine, it will not cause a forced landing. The piston from this
cylinder was completely undamaged and even the rings are servicable. There were also a number of small details in the engine that made it unairworthy.
I know the builder of the original engine. He did not build the engine with the intention of reselling it. It just ended up that way. The identity
of the original builder is not the issue. I take issue with buying some other builder's engine. Over the years, I've seen a dozen engines for sale, with
perhaps one or two worth buying. It's worth noting that no engine we've ever built ourselves has ever come up for sale. Almost without exception,
people who purchased other engines that came up for sale regretted doing so. One of these engines has changed hands twice. Despite me telling each
owner that it was unairworthy and should be rebuilt or scrapped, each of them found a way to morally accommodate selling it to another builder
for more than $5,000. Hardly renews your faith in people.
The only two sure paths to a good engine are to build it yourself according to our guidelines or to get it from us. Buying an engine from someone
other than us is literally entrusting your life to someone who wouldn't trust his to the same engine. If you're tempted to buy someone's engine,
read that last sentence again until it sinks in.
In a few days, there will be a hundred builders at our hangar learning the techniques of building their own engine. Even if you can't attend,
follow the proven format of success. We're expecting a dozen Corvair powered airplanes, and the engine on every one of them was built by the
person who's flying it here. If an advertised engine seems like a shortcut, view it for what it is: A waste of time, money and potentially
Randy is an exceptional gentleman for whom I have a lot of respect. It's hard for me to imagine circumstances in the future where I'd be
as willing to help out someone stuck with a bad engine from somebody else. Any builder from Texas willing to transport Randy's engine will be
much appreciated and would certainly be counted as a friend by both Randy and I.
Schedule For Corvair College #10
Corvair Cruiser Gets Off The Ground
Last Chance For Current Price on Pucks and Hubs
Notes On The Puck Drawing
Here's an outline of the events at Corvair College #10 November 10-12, 2006.
Friday from 2 to 9 p.m. is check in, parts inspection and orientation. If you're bringing parts to the College to have us inspect them, this
is the time to get it done. Saturday will be very busy, and I do not anticipate having time to break for parts inspection. If you plan to
pick up parts, a Manual or DVDs from us at the College, Friday is the best day to do it.
The atmosphere will be relaxed, and there will be plenty of time to take an informal tour and check out the early fly in arrivals. There are plenty
of good places to grab dinner in town, but we'll be at the hangar straight through. We're going to cut out at 9 p.m. to give
The Hangar Gang a good night's sleep to prepare for Saturday.
Get breakfast before coming in. Most people show up around 8:30 a.m. Please try to park on Air Park Road. Watch for "No Parking" signs among the
hangar rows. Our neighbors are fairly understanding, but make sure you park courteously. At 9 a.m., we'll have the kickoff. Everybody who's here to
seriously study engine building will be assigned to one of two groups: the "Scott" or "Fred" group. If you've never seen a case closed before, you'll be
in the Scott Group, which follows Engine Assembly DVD 1. If you've already gotten up to the level of our
Engine Assembly DVD 2, then you'd be a member of the Fred Group. If you've not already studied the DVDs, we'll have
Manuals and DVDs available. Even a quick viewing will be of benefit. If you're coming to learn how to build your engine, you should have
a notebook with questions already written down in it. When you get to the College, there will be a lot going on and you'll likely not remember
everything you wanted to check out off the top of your head. Notebooks and cameras are the hallmarks of guys who will get the most out of the College.
On Saturday, Grace will handle everything to do with late check ins, ordering parts or picking up orders. Gus will function as the air boss for
the event. If it has to do with air ops or demo flights, he's the guy. If you're flying in with a Corvair powered airplane, please taxi it to the
front of our hangar. If you're flying in with any other aircraft, please park it in the field south of the gas pumps. All pilots should check in
with Gus upon arrival.
I will alternate each group through one-hour build sessions. At 9:30, I'll start with Scott and continue to 10:30 a.m.
After a half hour break, we'll pick up with the Fred Group at 11 a.m. When not building engines, the groups will rotate through one-hour tech seminars.
Arnold Holmes will give seminars on dynamic prop balancing. He'll be using the Cleanex and Mark Langford's KR-2S as demos. Mark from Falcon Automotive
will give seminars on cylinder heads and valve train setup. We will use the engine on the test stand to demonstrate break in procedures and
ground runs. Gus will give a ground school on proper engine management. We're looking forward to the possibility of also having Pramod from Nitron
on hand to cover the nitriding procedure.
The technical work will continue to 5:30 p.m. We'll have a little flying before sunset. The cookout begins at sundown at the hangar. After dinner,
the official College ceremony will congratulate the pilots who flew in, introduce some of the special guests, show highlights from ongoing projects,
and present the Steve Jones Memorial Trophy. After the ceremony, we'll hang out and have a good time with friends till midnight or so.
We'll get started again at 9 a.m. Sunday. We'll continue with the Fred and Scott groups alternating with tech seminars until the engines run.
After the engines run, we'll have an informal afternoon and wrap up the College at sundown. More details follow.
Where Is It:
Our hangar, 735A-3 Airpark Road, Massey Air Ranch, X50, Edgewater, FL 32132, 3,845' paved Runway, 18/36, about 12 miles south of Daytona Beach.
From I-95, Exit 245, east on State
Route 442 about 2 miles, watch for airport sign (white jet on green background), make left on Airpark Road.
1.5 miles to northern entrance through chain link fence after dirt road returns to
pavement. Hangar phone: (386) 478-0396. Speed limits in Edgewater, South Daytona and Port Orange are strictly enforced. It's a major form of
revenue for these towns.
What Does It Cost:
It is free, as always. If you come down and you're one of the rare people who can't learn and don't want to
have fun, we offer a refund on double your money back.
Where Do I Stay:
Edgewater has motels which will give you the real Jeff Foxworthy experience.
Edgewater All Suites Motel is closest to the hangar at 335 North Ridgewood Avenue (also known as on U.S. 1 and Dixie Freeway), (386) 427-0400.
A bit further north is the Blue Heron, a 1950s motor court recently redone, still no frills, at 1204 North Dixie Freeway,
New Smyrna Beach, (386) 428-4491.
A bit down south is Carter's Motel & Mobile Village, 2450 South Ridgewood Ave., Edgewater, (386) 428-8916.
We recommend the nicest hotel in Edgewater, which is also the newest. They're offering a "Corvair College Room Rate":
Best Western, (386) 427-7101, on U.S. 1 just north of State Road 442.
The most civilized place is on A1A (also called Atlantic Avenue) oceanside in New Smyrna:
Holiday Inn, 1401 South Atlantic Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, (386) 426-0020.
Camp sites and limited individual cabins are also available nearby the hangar:
New Smyrna Beach Campground is about a mile from the hangar at 1300 Mission Road, NSB, (386) 427-3581.
Sugar Mill Ruins Campground is down the street at 1050 Mission Road, NSB. The phone number is (386) 427-2284.
More lodging possibilites are at Yahoo.com
Hotels and Motels.
What Do I Bring:
Bring all the parts you'd like inspected. Most importantly bring a good attitude. You'll meet lots of new friends here,
and you'll go home with more enthusiasm for your project than you dreamed possible.
My major reason for holding the College every year is to share what we have learned with the nucleus of Corvair engine
builders who have the opportunity to attend. We share this information with builders for free under the expectation that
in the coming months and years, when somebody in your local EAA chapter says that they're just getting started with
their own Corvair, you will freely share the correct methods that you learned from us on a voluntary basis with
the next generation of builders. The main reason why Lycomings have a tremendous track record of reliability is that
there are known techniques for rebuilding and operating them, and legions of mechanics in the field who know this
information. The College copies this format. We have the information and are willing to share it with you, the builders.
Keeping this in mind, work at the College will focus on proven techniques and parts that have worked for us.
Who Is Invited:
Anyone who has an interest in building and flying their own Corvair engine is invited. You need not be a Manual owner when you
arrive, but you probably will be when you leave. Bring a friend or two if you like. We'll make converts out of
them as well. This is not a male only event, and a number of female aviators and builders will be here. Events at our
hangar tend to be social gatherings also, and if your better half is reluctant to come because she doesn't want to
sit in the hangar and talk about airplanes all day, assure her that she'll probably have a good time and if not,
the beaches are lovely.
Note About Invitations:
Every now and then, we get someone who is interested in attending so that they can learn how we build Corvair
motors, go home, then try and build them for others for profit. These are the only people who are not welcome at my
events. The focal point of our work has always been to directly help people who will be building their own engines.
A while back, we received an odd order for one Conversion Manual and several Prop Hubs. When
I followed this up with a phone call, the person told me he had no interest in flying a Corvair himself, he was just
planning on opening some type of build center. He actually told me he was planning on attending a College if he had
a chance. At the hangar, we all had a good laugh over this. Clearly, someone who will not fly the engine has no
business building one for others. We would never agree to such an arrangement. Our work is always about teaching you
how to build your own engine, without unnecessary intervention or translation from people who have no background in
flying. If anyone needs an engine built, they should come to us directly because I honestly feel that our shop
is the only business that understands what's required and has the proper motivation and understanding of the issues
necessary to commercially build Corvair flight engines. As for the concept of a build center, who is bold enough to
argue that although they've never flown one, they're ready to teach others? Mr. Build Center never got off the ground, what
with us giving away information, techniques and help for free at Colleges, airshows and events across the country and beyond.
People with commercial ambitions in the land of Corvair engines should stay home and work on their own 15 years
worth of research. This event belongs to you, the person who will be flying your own plane, built with your own hands. We'll see you soon.
Corvair Personal Cruiser's First Flight
The Corvair powered airplane in these photos is the PC Cruiser. It is a single seat kit plane designed exclusively around the Corvair engine.
It has been several years in the making, and the prototype seen in these photos recently completed its first flight.
It is a very slick, all composite design. The airplane and business program is a joint effort by Embry-Riddle alum Morgan Hunter, seen in
the photos, who did the airframe work at Daytona Beach International Airport. His partner in the project is experienced composite builder
Scott VanderVeen, who hails from Chicago. The aircraft is an entirely clean sheet of paper design which can qualify for the LSA category.
I built the motor mount and the core engine for this aircraft a while back. Morgan and Scott adapted it to their airframe. Morgan did the
test flight and gave it a positive review.
Their intention is to fly off the 40 hours on the airframe, establish some solid, measured results, and introduce the aircraft to the market
as a kit. Hats off to Morgan and Scott for seeing the project through. Follow their progress at www.CorvairCruiser.com.
Last Chance for Pucks and Hubs at Current Prices
In anticipation of the College, we had a large order of Pucks and Hubs made up. I've
held the price constant on Pucks and Hubs since 1996 (they were actually higher when first introduced and I lowered them to the current
level to make them more affordable). After 10 years, I'm faced with raising the price due to rising cost. These Hubs and Pucks will
be available at the current price on a first come, first served basis while this batch lasts. While it's a large order, I expect them to
sell out at the College. Our next batch from the machine shop won't come until late December, and they will be at a different price level.
The next time someone asks you what's unique about the Corvair movement, point out that we held our prices constant for a decade while
hosting free events like the Colleges. This is a track record the imports certainly can't match.
Notes on The Puck
There was some Internet chatter lately about the drawing for the Puck. Every Conversion Manual I've ever sold has contained a drawing
to allow machinists among us to build their own prop hub. The Hub predates the Puck by about a year. When the original Pucks were made by my friend Judith,
she wrote the CNC code off data from the Hub. No paper drawing was ever made. I'd intended to make a paper drawing available, but decided not to
include it in Manuals after counterfeit pucks appeared for sale in 1999. We'd put a lot of effort, time and money into the part, only to see
that one of the Pucks we'd sold had been copied. We can look back and laugh now at the person who bought a Puck from us, and tried to return
a counterfeit for a refund. One of our legitimate customers made me a paper drawing of the Puck as a favor. On special request, when a
machinist or builder who wanted to make their own puck asked, we made this drawing available. It was drawn off the original configuration of
the Puck that mounted the Nissan Sentra ring gear. When we switched to the Taurus Ring Gear, one face on the
Puck received a 1/4" radius. This is a simple mod well within the capability of anyone who's personally machining a puck for themselves.
Our original goal has never changed: We're here to help homebuilders build and fly their own projects. While the vast majority of builders have
always been very appreciative of our efforts, a very small number of unethical people tried to make a buck off our work. Our most effective
defense against this type of cheap behavior has been the high degree of loyalty from Corvair builders coast to coast whom we've met and treated
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 4
October 2006 At The Hangar
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At The Hangar In April 2006
At The Hangar In March 2006
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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