Merry Christmas To The World From Grace
Grace Ellen and her Dad, Bob, enjoy the spirit of the season, above.
It's Christmas, the time of year we honor the birthday of Jesus or whatever higher power you thank each and every day for all the gifts life brings.
It's the time of year we all try extra hard to be the best person we all know we can be. It's the time we're all a little nicer, kinder, more generous, thankful and forgiving.
The greatest gift would be if we all were the kind of person we always wanted to be all year round to others and ourselves. That is my Christmas wish for all of you.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Season's Greetings to Amy, above, and Her Family. Thank you also to Amy for the Belgian beer and the help with the Gingerbread house. Here's an aerial view of the
destruction (notice the sugar candy debris field):
Another thank you to Pfeiffer Pilot Darrel Jones of California for the very nice wine. Mom and I enjoyed the white at Thanksgiving, and I like the cabernet as well.
William in his newly acquired 1986 Chevrolet pickup, above. I wanted a blue Escalade EXT with a moon roof and seat heat, but will be grateful for a Safe and Happy Holiday
for everyone. William's happy with another '86 pickup; he likes those.
All our best wishes for the New Year to All, and to all a Goodnight.
A Very Special KR
Dave Goodman's KRVair N191PZ now sports a Navy Adversary paint job.
Time for another update, perhaps our last one before the holidays. We're hard at work, having a strong finish at the end of a very busy year.
As we write this, it's 10:30 on a warm, Florida, Saturday night. We are under a Tornado warning with Olga raining down on us. Grace battens down the
hatches and edits while I put a set of pistons on rods.
The first photo shows Dave's USN KR-2S. A few updates ago, we included a first flight photo of his bird.
He is a career Naval aviator with global experience flying to places that most of us have only seen on CNN. Although he doesn't talk about it, his current address of
Fallon, Nevada, hints at a very interesting day job. The plane is the culmination of many years of work, extended by deployments. Although I've spoken to him by phone and
e-mail many, many times, I've met him in person just once. Dave and I spent a day in July 2001 making the Motor Mount flying on his airplane in
our old hangar at the Spruce Creek airport. It was the day before my accident, and it seems like a long time ago.
Besides the Motor Mount, Dave's plane has our KR Cowling that utilizes a 13" spinner. The family resemblance to our Corvair Nosebowl is more
than just appearance - it's a close enough clone that this engine installation can use the same Baffle Kits we developed for 601 builders.
Of course, this cowling fits our Front Starter Kit, which Dave also utilizes. An axiom states that a sharp-looking cowl makes any airplane look
good. There's a corollary to this, and we'll cover it a bit later in this update.
Our 701/Corvair prototype is now signed off by the FAA. Flying should start in a week or so. The plane is registered in the E-LSA category, which allows extensive
The plane is the cumulative handiwork of Gus, Kevin and myself. Gus built the airframe himself, as the premier project of his spinoff stand-alone airframe and engine
company, FlyWith Gus.com.
Kevin did the basic engine assembly and did most of the detail engine installation. As we have said before, Kevin is going to start his own stand-alone engine building
company. We've long planned this division of expertise to allow builders to contact each of us for whatever they need to advance their project. Builders looking for
the maximum level of support certainly know that after 10 years of working on Corvairs together, we have a unified and complementary approach based on our years of
testing and flying. While everybody has friends who want to offer a little input on their project, I'd sincerely have to question the judgement of someone who would
seek support or advice elsewhere for any important aspect of the Corvair part of their project. The overwhelming majority of Corvair builders recognize that we are
a goldmine of proven information and experience. I still find a tiny minority of builders will listen to people who do not own and in some cases have never flown a
Corvair powered airplane.
Above is a good look at the detail quality of the 701 engine installation. Over the years, our installations have gotten cleaner and cleaner through
Manuals, Colleges, Forums, and this Web site as well as www.ZenVair.com. We've shared this information
with builders everywhere. It not only looks clean, it's technically correct and flight proven in every way. The 701's installation differs from a 601 in only minor
details. The oil filler is welded into the Top Cover, the Intake Manifold is segmented for installation. But by and large,
it utilizes nearly all our flight proven parts, which will yield smooth flight testing and easy replication by builders everywhere. This installation
has a 2002 Niagara cooler, the Gold Oil System and our standard Baffle Kit. The large sending unit is for oil pressure
instrumentation in the glass panel, below.
N9569S has a completely stock 701 airframe which will allow apples to apples performance comparison. We have the airframe set up for a 66" 2-blade
Warp Drive prop with nickel leading edges. The thrust testing section of our Web site compares this prop's performance against a Rotax 912S
with an in-flight adjustable prop. It is hard core, direct comparison testing like this that gives me great confidence in this combination.
Sitting on the firewall above is the black box for the Stratomaster Enigma glass cockpit in the 701. This view shows how tight we have the Corvair to the firewall.
Despite its proximity, there are no complex assembly or maintenance tasks like there would be trying to pull a mag off the back of an O-200 in this airframe. Having
the aircraft within the forward CG limit is very important to achieving maximum performance from the 701 airframe.
A look at the carburetor installation on the 701. The 35mm AeroCarb is spaced off the Intake Manifold by a 1" fabricated spacer which has flow straightening vanes in it.
Gus worked out very clean and simple throttle and mixture cable installations. Whobiscat sleeps under the plane.
John Locke's Pulsar engine and installation components are the oldest projects in the Edgewater hangar. John is an extremely nice builder who is completing a Super Pulsar
airframe at home in Arkansas. His engine is a high performance Corvair fitted with 90.5mm VW cylinders, yielding 2,882ccs. The original engine kit was produced by a
California Corvair shop that knew little about airplanes or their precision requirements. John brought his engine to us and stayed for a few days to get a close look at
the modifications to bring his engine up to speed. John's installation uses almost all our Conversion and Installation components, and he
commissioned a custom Motor Mount from us. Note the small tube bracing required on this design. Very sharp eyes will notice that John's 110 heads are fitted with 140hp
exhaust stacks. This was a modification that the California company claimed to have done many times before, and it was even popular fodder for Internet discussion groups years
ago. It looked like a great idea when the bare heads arrived with the kit. Upon assembly, Kevin discovered that the pushrod tubes actually touched the exhaust stacks.
This would certainly cause trouble, if not a gigantic mess and possibly a fire. Careful study of the casting shows that there's not sufficient material in a 110's head
to simply machine them to fit the 140 stacks. Evidently, the people who sold the modification had never assembled one. Resourcefully, Kevin machined an entire set of
mandrels, which allowed the pushrod tubes nearest the exhaust stacks to be smoothly reformed to allow adequate clearance between the two. This type of attention to
detail is what the Hangar Gang's expertise is all about. We weren't born smart. This type of ability comes from pure, relentless experience taking projects all the way
through completion. John's result is a very powerful and sure to be smooth powerplant for his slick Super Pulsar. I am pretty sure it will be in the 190 mph category.
It will be reliable because from its Gold Hub to its Gold Oil System, it is based on our proven parts, and assembled with our experience. BTW, it is also a reverse rotation engine.
It was in the position shown here so Kevin could fabricate a collector style exhaust system. While showpieces like this installation are good testamonials to our capability, 2007 saw
a big shift in our work to more production and less custom work.
This 601 XL belongs to Vince and Louis, airline pilots based in St. Louis. They built their engine at Corvair College #8, and they
hosted a stop on our Midwest 2005 Night School Tour. They decided to put a major push in to finish the aircraft soon. They brought it to
Gus, who is working with them on a very sophisticated aircraft. It's being set up with a Dynon glass cockpit and an auto-pilot. Both these guys are in their 30s, and are
from the generation of airline pilots who are extremely comfortable with high technology. Additionally, Gus is assisting a number of Florida 601 builders in the
final stages of their aircraft. Gus can be contacted through www.FlyWithGus. com.
Gary Coppen of Turbo Skycoupe fame called to tell me he'd found a KR-2 airframe for sale at a very modest price in Central Florida, and
he was planning on buying it. As I listened, I had one thought: This is all Mark Langford's fault. At the KR Gathering, Mark graciously
treated Gary to his first flight in a KR. Gary, who's had three Corvair powered projects, always liked KR-2s. But his flight with Mark sealed the deal, and Gary talked
about finding one during most of the 850 mile drive home. In a vain attempt to disuade him from buying something special, I took a few hours out Saturday to tag along.
Above is a good look at Gary's fourth Corvair powered project.
Here's the Corollary to the Cowling Axiom: Any aircraft can be made less attractive with a truly horrendous cowling. The airframe was complete, and was said to
have been taxi tested at one time. This project holds insight that many first-time builders should read and carefully understand: This is one of the most extensively
modified KRs I've ever seen. It was set up with full IFR instrumentation. It has retractable tricycle gear. It has a complex, multi-tank, high capacity fuel system.
It sports inboard spoilers for glide path, and outboard spoilers for roll control. It also has full span flaps and no ailerons. It's got a steel-tube turnover structure,
and a canopy that opens like an F-5. Stunningly, it's actually not all that heavy. Here's an airplane that incorporates most of the modifications that first-time builders
often talk about for their projects. It's all very clever and interesting, except the hard reality is that the guy who put 4,000 or 5,000 hours of his life
into this plane never flew it. No one ever did. Perhaps all the modifications that seemed like such great ideas took years of extra work and thousands of extra dollars, and
maybe the aircraft they produced seemed like an intimidating test flight.
Whobiscat gives Gary's KR the sniff test, above.
Gary bought the airplane for less than 5 cents on a dollar. He took it home to remove most of the modifications and rediscover the good basic airplane the KR was intended
to be, hiding within this plane. In a few months, it will emerge from his workshop. It probably won't ever be a super clean airplane, but it will be a good, solid flying
aircraft. Maybe without ever realizing it, the original builder made choices that robbed him of the experience of flying his own plane. It's ironic that it's just
these things that Gary will remove from the plane to convert it into a trusty workhorse. Just like everyone else, I myself am tempted to modify airplanes. After nearly two
decades in this business, I have the experience, tools and capability to do a lot of changes, but most of the stuff is a better dream than reality. If you're at home
getting started on your first plane, take the simplicity lesson to heart. The majority of homebuilts started never see daylight under the tires. Stack the deck in your
favor and opt for simplicity at every turn. If you don't, chances are that years down the road, someone like Gary who understands the value of simplicity will come along and
finish your project for you.
World's First Corvair Powered Pegzair Flys
Gordon Alexander's 3,100cc Pegzair N129LZ (same N-number as the Hindenburg). The plane has one of our Nosebowls, a 72"
Warp Drive propeller, a Gold Hub and Gold Oil System with a Niagara Cooler.
The plane sports a very quiet 6-2-1 Exhaust System with a stainless Supertrap muffler. Test flights were done by noted air racer Jason Newburg. A good
indication of the quality of the plane is that it flew five hours in its first two days.
Gordon Alexander's Corvair powered Pegzair flew its first five hours over the weekend. It's the first time the Corvair/Pegzair combination has flown.
For starters, congratulations and mighty praise are in order for Gordon. While every new plane deserves its due praise, the first of a type, especially
a challenging build, has earned a pause for appreciation from Corvair builders. Over the years, I've had at least 15 ambitious builders tell me that they
would be the first person to build and fly this combination. It's a good match, and I understand the appeal, but completed airplanes are not made solely from
ambition. There's a larger portion of persistence. Gordon notably never thought he'd be first. He was wholly unconcerned about anyone else's project. His focus
remained on his own plane. Anyone who's completed an airplane will tell you that it's the slow burning fire of persistence that gets the job done. Hats off
to Gordon Alexander. This week belongs to him.
The positive conclusion of Gordon's build offers insight to successful homebuilding. Having known him for many years, let me offer the following food for
thought: Gordon's desire to build was rooted in creativity and the pursuit of learning. He actually paused in the middle of the project to attend an A&P school
and obtain his ratings, not because he wanted to work as a mechanic, but because he really wanted to know the subject, not just what it took to get by. Second,
Gordon was very sparing with his time on the Internet. Although he knows the Net well, he's very pragmatic about what you could possibly get out of it. You can
search the archives of discussion groups and find only a handful of posts from him. When he needed advice on a particular aspect, rather than throwing the
question out on the Net, he was more inclined to seek out people with practical experience on the specific topic. Gordon is good company and a guy who lives by
being "In The Arena." Early in his build, he opted to have an extended stay at the airplane designer's shop. (He has humorous stories about the French-Canadian
work force listening to Madonna on the stereo all day.) In the middle, he came down to our shop to work on his 3,100cc engine. He attended
Corvair College #7 in Ohio. To cross the finish line, Gordon trailered the plane from Minnesota to our main hangar in Florida last year. He showed up
to give us support and assistance by covering the telephone at a period when we were super busy. His intention was to work on his own airplane in the off hours.
He readily proved himself a savage builder by working nearly 100 back-to-back 10 hour days.
The experience and expertise of the Hangar Gang helped. Gus got Gordon started with the fabric covering on the fuselage. I welded his Motor Mount, and Kevin
worked alongside him on an extremely clean engine installation. But all of this was truly support work for Gordon, who is one of the most persistent builders I've
ever met. While a thousand man hours to cross the finish line may seem like an exaggeration, it's not. This is a good but very challenging airplane. In the 20 years
they've been around, only a handful have been finished, and each one is certainly a tribute to its builder. These elements of Gordon's success warrant careful
consideration and evaluation by Corvair builders everywhere.
Gordon's airplane was largely done six months ago, but has not been front and center on his attention. Ever the man in the arena, Gordon has been volunteering
his time at the headquarters of the Presidential candidate of his choice. As the time is flown off, Corvair builders in other places will get the chance to see
Gordon's handiwork in perosn. For a recap on his project, you can search his name at the bottom of our Home page, and come up with
numerous photos of and references to his project. When you have a chance to say hello to Gordon in person, congratulate him. Remember the Golden Rule: Persistence Pays.
Scott Laughlin's 601 XL N5SL Airborne
Scott Laughlin's plans built ZenVair 601 XL points to the distant horizon, over which adventure awaits.
I was out of the shop today making a housecall to a Florida Corvair builder's hangar. Excellent news awaited me upon my return: Scott Laughlin's Corvair powered
601 XL made a brief test hop today, Dec. 3, 2007. I laid in a quick phone call to Scott to congratulate him and get a briefing. Scott's N5SL is the 17th Corvair
powered 601 to fly. Scott completely scratch built his airplane. It took him four years, 10 months and two days. Scott is a very industrious builder. While the plane
has our Nosebowl on it, Scott's installation includes a lot of hadcrafted parts like his motor mount. The plane also features a BRS chute in
the baggage compartment. It has a Warp Drive prop and MA3 carburetor from D&G in Niles, Mich. The plane sports a highly polished finish job.
Scott is president of EAA Chapter 80 in Omaha, Neb. Scott is known far and wide as a super friendly guy who has a very positive attitude that people enjoy.
He's a frequent visitor to Sun 'N Fun. He told us he'd like to fly his airplane down for Sun 'N Fun 2008. Scott has a very active Web site at
I like Scott's story because it proves that the phrase "Nice guys finish last" is a myth. Scott has a very full life, with a marriage, home, kids and a career that
frequently has him traveling. Yet, his positive attitude often entices people to be part of his story. His test hop, for instance, was flown by his friend Harlan Hain,
an aviator whose credentials include piloting a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Although today's test was short, this is one plane I'm sure will be put to good use and flown often.
Hats off to Scott Laughlin, creator of the latest Corvair powered aircraft.
Ken's in the Air
601 Installation Manual Shipping For Christmas
Ken Smith of Los Angeles now has his Corvair powered N601KS 601 XL up and flying. This is the 16th ZenVair to take to the air. The first flight was Thursday, Nov.
29, 2007. The successful first flight of any aviator's creation is an event worth celebrating, and this day certainly belongs to Ken. In addition to this, the larger
perspective makes Ken's airplane a good example of some of the best things about the Corvair movement. I saw Ken only last month at Corvair
College #11 in Cloverdale, Calif. (He'd also attended our Cloverdale Corvair event in 2006.)
At this year's College, I got to sit down and compare notes
with Ken on his airplane, then just about ready to fly. The airplane made its maiden flight Thursday. The airplane was a flawless performer,
and met all of Ken's expectations. I kind of expected this because Ken's background is in machining and production. I had a chance to speak with Ken on the phone
Sunday night, and he told me the plane already has five hours on it, most of which he flew today. He said he was headed back to the airport to log a few more tomorrow.
"Thanks to you all for all your help to get to this
point," Ken said. "I flew the plane today for a couple of hours.
It was severe clear and 5 knots after a real crappy week
You could really hear in his voice that it was a proud achievement and the kind of week that really stands out in your life. One of the remarkable aspects
to me is that Ken's only been working on his airplane for 18 months. He bought the wing kit from Zenith but chose to scratch build the fuselage. Ken purchased
every Corvair installation component in our inventory, with the exception of the sheet metal cowl, only recently available.
His ZenVair is equipped with a 66" Warp Drive prop and an MA3 carburetor.
Corvair College #11 provided a fair amount of social time in addition to the learning. A big group of us headed out with Michael to a late dinner in Cloverdale
where Ken and fellow California ZenVair builder Woody Harris exchanged stories of Ken's native England. Ken patiently pointed out to us that Guiness is Irish beer, and he's
a bigger fan of English brews. It was a memorable good time shared among friends on the eve of Ken's success.
While there are many other good engines on the market, the camaraderie of the Corvair community is unique. This friendly group of builders and flyers is committed to supporting
each other and applauding achievements. Soon his 40 hours will be flown off, and Ken will be free to roam the country with the other Corvair aviators. Even with a
few new planes flying every month, the Corvair community remains a tight knit group of creative individuals willing to work for something a little different and ready
to enjoy the commensurate rewards. While the low cost of the Corvair may attract many for their first look, it's really the other advantages I believe get most builders
to their day in the sun. Hats off to Ken Smith, ZenVair #16, and the newest Corvair pilot.
Give A 601/Corvair Install Manual for Christmas
Our latest book, the Corvair/601 Installation Manual, makes a great Christmas present at $39. This includes U.S. Priority Mail shipping in time for pre-Christmas
delivery. We have them in quantity,
right now. If you're part of the growing group of 601 builders leaning toward the Corvair, this is a good place to start. You can purchase a book by sending a
$39 check or money order payable in U.S. dollars to William Wynne, 5000-18 HWY 17 #247, Orange Park, FL 32003, or by credit card via PayPal at the
ZenVair Installation Manual Page. Please add $15 for intnernational shipping, including Canada.
We have a few dozen Corvair Flyer DVDs and a limited number of Engine Assembly DVD sets. These area available at our Online Catalog.
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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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
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June 2006 At The Hangar
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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 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