Brodhead and Oshkosh 2003
Tom Brown, Unity, Wisc., delights the crowd with a flyby in his Corvair powered Pietenpol
during the July 2003 Brodhead Pietenpol Fly In in Wisconsin. Click on the photo above to view a movie of
Bill Knight flying Bernie Pietenpol's Corvair Powered Last Original at dusk during the Fly In.
We write this as we're traveling home after a whirlwind two-week trip during which we saw dozens and dozens of friends. As we told
everybody in the issue of The Corvair Flyer we mailed before hitting the road, we headed to the annual Pietenpol Gathering in Brodhead,
Wisc., and went on to a solid week at Oshkosh. Besides having a great time with friends as we always do, the trip was quite a success for
promoting Corvair engines and meeting new builders.
The Corvair forum at Brodhead drew a standing room only crowd. If you were there, you know this is one of the
better forums I've done. I was able to share a few humorous anecdotes, as we were among many friends.
Our first stop, Brodhead, is the laid back Pietenpol gathering where hundreds of fans and builders of this 75-year-old
classic come together for a great weekend of camaraderie. We refer to Brodhead as the calm before the storm of the hectic nature of
Oshkosh. We enjoyed the show along with a lot of old friends, including Ralph and June Carlson, Bud Smith, Doc Mosher, Skip Gadd,
Harry Hooper, Jay Hoppenworth, Bill Knight, Dick Hartwig, Dennis Engelkenjohn, Mark Deacon, Del Magsam, Gene Beenenga and Martin Cirkl.
Son Cody, William Wynne, and dad Larry Hudson. The whole story of the Hudsons' completely overhauled Corvair is
in the latest issue of The Corvair Flyer newsletter.
We spent some time with longtime Corvair pilot Jim Ballew, whose planes are featured at The Flying Corvair
Planes Page. Jim has about 700 hours of flying Corvair time divided among his Piet and Davis DA-2. Tom Brown flew in his Corvair
powered Piet and Bill Knight brought out Bernie's final Corvair Pietenpol, The Last Original, for everyone to carefully inspect.
He flew it around to everyone's enjoyment on Saturday. Larry Hudson, the Featured Builder in the Summer 2003 issue of The Corvair Flyer,
brought his completed motor to display at the Corvair forum I gave. It generated a lot of interest and served to answer many questions.
We extend a big thank you to Gar Williams for organizing the forums at this classic event.
On to Oshkosh
Two hours north put us at Oshkosh. A number of old friends go out of their way each year to make Oshkosh much more comfortable and
productive for us. The quick five that come to mind are Mary Jones, Doc and Dee Mosher, Charlie Becker and Pat Panzera. These people
make everything happen smoothly for us at Oshkosh. If you enjoyed any of the five forums I gave, or any of the displays I had on site,
a lot of the credit goes to these friends of ours. We can't thank them enough.
From left, Corvair/KR builder Mark Langford, Huntsville, Ala., William Wynne, and Brazilian Corvair builder
Oswaldo Silva Filho outside the Contact! magazine booth at Oshkosh.
I had Corvair engines on display in both the Contact! magazine booth and the Pulsar Aircraft tent. Both generated a lot of
interest and Conversion Manual sales.
Our Corvair engine in the Pulsar booth at Oshkosh.
It looks like everyone who can is joining the Corvair builders camp, bringing more fun to the
big club. Neil Hulin, our lead Corvair/601XL builder, was present all week and picked up the very first
601/Corvair motor mount that came out of the newest engine mount jig in my shop.
While standing at the Zenair booth, I was approached by a very familiar looking guy. He was checking out both sides of our
Corvair powered T-shirt, emblazoned with the phrase "My ex wanted me to quit flying" on the back. In a quick anecdote he hinted that
he'd faced the same decision point once. After feigning to know nothing about sheet metal construction, and flashing a smile, Burt
Rutan went on his way.
We had many encouraging conversations with Sebastien Heinz of Zenair. They were very busy, but Nick Heinz made the time to come by
and inspect the Corvair engine and parts in the Contact! magazine booth. While the engine is not on their approved list,
the Heinz family is being very helpful in our efforts to develop the 601 installation.
Arnold Holmes was at Oshkosh all week, and told us of recent progress he's made on his Dragonfly/Vair. He stands a pretty good
chance of being the first person to ever fly this combination.
The trio from Contact! magazine, clockwise from left in foreground, writer John Moyle, Publisher Pat Panzera, and volunteer
George Willenbrock, enjoy the Homebuilders Dinner with noted aircraft designer Ed Fisher and Corvair Authority William
Wynne, at right.
Pat Panzera, Hanford, Calif., had a lot of help in the Contact! booth from John Moyle of California and George Willenbrock of Kentucky. All of these guys
were very helpful to us and brought a lot of minute to minute humor to the event. If you dropped by the booth and didn't get a chance to
subscribe to the magazine of altnerative auto engines and experimentals, here's a link to
We went to the Homebuilders Dinner with noted aircraft designer Ed Fisher of Ohio. Ed showed us photographs of his two-place Zippy Sport.
He feels the Corvair is the perfect match for it, not just for power and size, but philosophically also. One day, Ed stopped by the
Contact! booth with his friend Tom Jones when Ray Parker also happened to be visiting. We had quite a jam session.
Fletcher Burns' 1/3 Corvair powered Minimax generated a lot of discussion in the ultralight area all week. For a prototype
installation, it demonstrated exceptionally clean workmanship. This is a very promising adaptation of our favorite motor.
The KR contingent was well represented at Oshkosh. Mark Langford, Huntsville, Ala., and Mark Jones, Wales, Wisc., were there for several days. Jim Faughn, who flies
on VW power, did an excellent job of hosting a very nice KR forum. I applaud his efforts to bring examples of affordable aviaiton
to the venue where it's needed most, Oshkosh. Bob Vermeulen, famous producer of the KR Gathering videos, also was on hand. Oshkosh was
our first chance to meet KR/Corvair builder Glenda McElwee, Orlando, Fla. It is not every day you get to meet women in aviation building their
own aircraft and engine.
Introducing new front starter parts at Oshkosh engine forum. Also standing are Paul Pressler in welding
hat and Neil Hulin in Kangaroo hat.
We spent a lot of time with Sonex people at Oshkosh. Del Magsam, New Richmond, Wisc., the first Corvair/Sonex builder to take flight, spent a few days
there, as did Dan Weseman and his Uncle Bob, Green Cove Springs, Fla., and a number of others.
Del and others interested in this combination tend to be in the extremely mechanically clever set, but they still have experienced
a great number of mechanical challenges while working on the installation. This illustrates again why I do not promote the combination,
but accept the fact that some people will want to do it anyway. Grace Ellen and I enjoy a good relationship with the Monnett family,
and were invited to their Sonex builders party. We had a great time as always, and thank them for their hospitality.
Corvair College #5 host Pat Panzera, left, with Grace Ellen in his
Contact! magazine booth at Oshkosh 2003.
As contributors to Kit Planes magazine, we were invited to their Writers Dinner. We spent a very enjoyable
evening with the well known people who have produced the bulk of Kit Planes' articles during the past 20 years. It was also
something of a change of command ceremony, as new Editor Brian E. Clark will be taking over from Dave Martin. Our hostess was publisher
Cindy Pedersen. She's extremely knowledgeable about planes, people and trends in recreational aviation. I was duly
Gentleman aviator Marv Hoppenworth with William Wynne.
One happy meeting that sums up the whole experience was recognizing and meeting Jay's father, Marv Hoppenworth. At Brodhead, Jay had
shared pictures and stories of his parents, who had met and gone flying in an L-4 on one of their first dates. A few days after Brodhead,
we met the man himself at Oshkosh. Marv is truly old school EAA, and it was an honor and pleasure to meet the father who was so obviously
his son's hero.
Oshkosh 2013 With FlyCorvair.com
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