Tammy Duckworth, above center, and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey, left, with the Corvair All Stars at our booth at AirVenture 2009. From the right, Mark
Petniunas from Falcon Machine, Dan Weseman from Fly5thBearing.com, my wife Grace Ellen, myself, and Roy Szarafinski from Roy's Garage. Tammy and Bryan are
old friends. Tammy has recently accepted a post as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.
Here's a photo from the thick of the action at our very own booth at Oshkosh 2009. For the years 2004 through 2008, we enjoyed the hospitality of the
Zenith Aircraft booth at both Sun 'N Fun and Oshkosh. This year, we expanded to have a full booth on our own, just down the row from Zenith. In the
interest of providing the maximum educational benefits to Corvair builders, we invited a number of other well-known and respected Corvair engine parts
suppliers to join us in our tent. Some people used to the heavy-duty salesmanship tactics at Oshkosh were thrown a little by having three guys in the same
booth who all offer flight tested and proven fifth bearings. In reality, we are all friends, and we're only here to make sure that Corvair builders
choose whatever part is appropriate for their project, budget and taste. The long-term interest of the Corvair movement is best served by individual
builders receiving quality parts and assistance from good guys.
Get a good look at the people in these photos. They're enjoying themselves on a year that set a record turnout at Oshkosh and Brodhead. It was something
of a record for Corvair engines as well. I believe it was the highest number of Corvair powered airplanes at one location. It exceeds the previous
record set at Corvair College #9. Many of the new people heeded our call to learn, build and fly in the educational, positive
world of the Corvair movement. Enjoy.
Gary Boothe, above left, and Patrick Hoyt, right, point to their hometowns while visiting the Brodhead Pietenpol Association Newsletter display at
the Brodhead Pietenpol Reunion. The reunion celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Pietenpol design. Several hundred people and more than 20 Pietenpols
were on hand. Four of the Piets there were Corvair powered. They belong to Gary and Shad Bell, Randy Bush, Kurt Shipman and Bill Knight.
Above, the Pietenpol built by Shad and Gary Bell of Ohio. This was its second appearance at Brodhead. Gary is an old friend of ours, and a veteran
of Corvair College #7. His engine features all of our Engine Components, including
Randy Bush flew in his Pietenpol to Brodhead all the way from Tennessee. His first flight was in December 2007, but this was his first appearance
at Brodhead. His aircraft is named Miss Le'Bec, coined by his wife to reflect the names of their three daughters.
Gary Bell lounges like a King, above. When your Pietenpol flys to Brodhead, you're on top of the world. The wings provided shade during some
very nice, bright, sunny weather.
Above is a close-up of Shad Bell with the plane. The plane sports a Tennessee Prop.
Kurt Shipman of Poplar Grove, Illinois, made the short hop over to Brodhead in his Pietenpol. He completed the test flights just before Brodhead 2008.
His super clean installation features one of our Electric Start setups, Falcon heads and a standard rebuild straight out of
our Conversion Manual. Kurt is a 35-year-old ATP who flys jets for the airlines.
Karl Henning brought his magnificently converted 1/3 Corvair running on a test stand. It is destined for service in his Team Airbike. He was working from
the 1/3 Conversion Manual that we market for Fletcher Burns.
Brodhead is a very relaxed place, and a great spot to hang out with old friends. From left above, Patrick Hoyt and John Schmidt of Minnesota, Grace Ellen, and Mark
from Falcon enjoying the evening.
On To Oshkosh
Dan Weseman, above left, and Corvair-powered VP-2 pilot Dale Jorgensen of Minnesota hang out at our CH750 Firewall Forward Display in front of our booth
at AirVenture Oshkosh.
At my first of four Oshkosh forums this year, I started by bringing forward six of the pilots who flew in their Corvair-powered planes so they could explain the experience in
their own words. The workshop seats about 60 people. We ended up having about 130 throughout the full 1 1/4 hour forum. In the photo, from left at front, myself, 601 XL pilot Andy
Elliott from Arizona, 601 XL pilot Dave Harms of Iowa, PC Cruiser pilot Scott Vanderveen of Illinois, KR-2S pilot Mark Jones of Wisconsin, 601 XL pilot Louis
Kantor of Pennsylvania and KR-2S pilot Joe Horton of Pennsylvania.
Zenith newsletter editor Jon Croke shoots a video interview with Vince Oslon, center, and Louis Kantor, left, co-builders of N601LV, displayed in front of our
booth all week at AirVenture. This is the same aircraft that was completed in our hangar in Florida. It now has more than 60 hours on it. Louis flew it up from Florida. His
first leg was non-stop from North Florida to Pittsburgh, Penn. This 5 hour and 58 minute non-stop flight burned 38 gallons of fuel. The engine has required zero
maintenance beyond oil changes.
Our booth was a meeting point for serious Corvair builders all week long. Many members of the Corvair community were happy to chip in, doing favors large and
small, to make our booth the center of the show for Corvair builders. 601 XL builder Larry Webber of Rhode Island, leaning on the engine above with a big smile on his face, did an outstanding
job of explaining the Corvair concept to hundreds of people the first few days of the show. You can ask anybody who was there: Our booth was packed during the
busiest times of the show. Having Mark Petniunas, Roy Szarafinski and Dan Weseman with us greatly increased the amount of questions answered on the spot. We had four fully built engines,
including Mark's 2007 EFI project. Our recent inventory increase meant that builders got hands on contact with all of our Gold System parts, including the
new Short Gold Hub, specifically designed to work with fifth bearing applications. Other engine representatives brought salesmen; we brought you the experts.
Three of the Pietenpol pilots from Brodhead participated in a mass Piet fly-up from Brodhead to Oshkosh. Above, Randy Bush realizes a homebuilder's dream,
many years in the making. He stands beside his bird at Oshkosh, where Pietenpols were given Center Stage in the Homebuilt Area.
Above, the Pietenpol11:21 PM 8/2/2009s of Duane Duea of Apple Valley, Minn., at right, and Kurt Shipman's at left. Duane's aircraft was completed in 1972 and is so true
to Bernie's plans that I initially mistook his aircraft for Bernie's first Corvair-powered ship, which resides at Oshkosh in the Pioneer Airport. This aircraft
has approximately 1,000 hours on the clock. We spent some time with Duane at our booth, where he reflected on the privilege of knowing Bernie Pietenpol in person.
This aircraft is nicely complemented by Kurt's, which was completed in 2008, 36 years later. Although Kurt's aircraft retains a very classy, pure look, it
takes advantage of all of our research and development.
The very nice shot above was taken by Grace Ellen. Kurt Shipman, at right, throughout the build process was an outstanding model of positive Perseverance.
Moving into The Arena of being a flyer, he was an excellent ambassador for Corvairs, Pietenpols and homebuilding in general at AirVenture. Kurt, Randy, Gary and Shad
are the kind of successful builders that every engine guru dreams of.
Dr. Andy Elliott, above, flew in from Mesa, Ariz., in his 601 XL TD. This aircraft features a 3,100cc engine and firewall forward installation that I built for
him. Andy used his PhD in aeronautical engineering and his experimental background to test a number of subtle speed mods on the aircraft. It also features subtle
modifications to the control system to change the feel to his taste. Andy has stated to me that he would like to fly the aircraft 100 or 200 hours in its
current configuration before offering any commentary on his changes. For now, builders can share some of his wisdom, as he wrote a very lengthy piece on flight
testing for our 2009 Corvair Flight Operations Manual. Builders should also note that Andy certified his airplane at 1,450 pounds gross weight, and feels comfortable
operating it there, but is extremely respectful of the design's maneuvering speeds and G limitations.
Above, Louis Kantor standing beside his aircraft in our booth. Louis made the same mistake that all builders make right after the successful completion of their
first flight: He uttered the magic phrase to me, "If there's ever anything I can ever do for you, just let me know." I'm not shy about calling friends on this, and
in Louis' case, he drew double duty. First, I got him to write an extensive article on transition training into Light Sport Aircraft for the 2009 Corvair Flight
Operations Manual. Then, I requested he fly N601LV to Oshkosh and talk about it all week in our booth. All kidding aside, successful Corvair builders have almost
always been willing to respond to my call that they remember how much they appreciated such gestures when pilots before them gave of their time. In Louis' case, he
had a great time with family and friends at the show. He flew in from Pittsburgh in a flight of two, with his father piloting a Grumman Lynx. This was certainly
a proud moment shared between father and son. At the booth, Louis, who is 32, is a mixture of humor and aviation professionalism. Both Grace and I take it as a
compliment that a 6,500 hour ATP selects our engine based on its R&D, and is impressed enough with its performance to volunteer at our booth all week.
If you're a Corvair builder, you should know that there are many behind-the-scenes players who have made contributions to the movement. On the right is
our friend Dave Henning of Spruce Creek, Fla. His brother Karl, seen in a previous photo with the 1/3 Corvair, is on the left. In 2003, when we needed a radical
upgrade in the size and quality of the hangar we used, I appealed to Dave to purchase the 5,000 square foot Edgewater hangar that was newly constructed to hurricane
standards. The price of the hangar was close to $300,000. I met with him and gave him my word that we would make the brutally high lease payments that allowed him
to contemplae such a heavy investment. My main selling point to him was that our work there would constitute a major service to rank and file homebuilders.
Although Dave is a senior 767 captain with UPS, and a former U.S. Navy P-3 pilot, he worked his way up from a very humble position on small airports in Illinois. He
has never lost his love for light airplanes.
In the years 2003 through 2007, the Edgewater hangar, made possible by Dave, hosted Corvair Colleges #6, 6.5, 8 and 9,
thousands of visitors and perhaps 150 people going on their first flight in a Corvair powered airplane. Our 601, Phil Maxson's and Rick Lindstrom's were finished
there. The dynamometer and Turbo Skycoupe were also built in this period. Dave The Bear's Wagabond, Gordon Alexander's Pegzair and our 701 project, to mention a
few more planes, all came out of the Edgewater hangar. In the beginning it was a gamble, but our hard work made it pay off. The results constituted a great
leap forward for the Corvair movement. At the root of this achievement was Dave Henning's belief in the importance of affordable aviation. Although Grace and I
now operate by bringing the Corvair movement to builders in the form of four Colleges a year and numerous airshow appearances, we have not forgotten the
contribution of our friend Dave.
Above, Doc Mosher. Some of the best friends we've ever made in our years in aviation are Doc and Dee Mosher. To many people today, they are best known as
the editors of the Brodhead Pietenpol Association Newsletter (available at pietenpols.org), but Doc's involvement in aviation goes back well over 60 years. I first met Doc when he was one of the
handful of people who came to Corvair College #1. A sly and humble gentleman, he mentioned nothing about his background.
When I was an A&P student at Embry Riddle, I learned that the FAA was instituting a new award for the best aircraft mechanic in America. The new award was named after
the Wright brothers' engine builder, Charles Taylor. I was kind of excited about the possibility
of perhaps 20 or 30 years in the future being the recipient of such an award. My hopes were quickly quenched as I read that candidates had to have 50 solid years
as an A&P to be eligible to apply for the award. I would be 79 years old before I was eligible. A few weeks later, I scanned through a press release that said Donald
Moser or Mouser or something had won the award, and I didn't give it another thought.
Many, many years later, standing in Doc's office, I was stunned to see the very first Charles Taylor award sitting on the shelf, embossed with the name
Donald A. (DOC) Mosher. Suddenly realizing I'd spoken to Doc on more than one occasion as if I were the more knowledgeable mechanic, when I brought it up Doc just
laughed it all off. When I said to him I'd seriously consider exchanging a body part for such an award, he merely said that the quest for external validation rarely
leads to happiness, and went back to reading the newspaper.
This year, the FAA awarded Doc its lifetime achievement award in aviation for flying. Grace took the above photo at the Homebuilders Dinner at AirVenture Oshkosh, where the
presentation was made. As always, Doc was completely relaxed and genuinely modest. I've said it many times, but it is rarely more true than on this night: The people
we've met through our work with Corvairs are the real reward of the effort.
Above, Dave Harms of Waterloo, Iowa, about to pre-flight his 601 XL before departing from Oshkosh for home. Dave was one of the early builders to use all of our
information and get his ZenVair in the air. You can see more photos and information by checking out our newly updated www.ZenVair.com Web site. Dave was on hand
most of the week at AirVenture. He came to my first forum, spent some time in the booth, and attended the Zenith Builders Dinner. Dave has been flying the airplane for
three summers and having a very good time with it. It's a good looking plane and a solid performer. He did mention to me that he is listing the plane on
Barnstormers.com because he needs to make some room for his next project. He's a prolific builder, and we're all interested to see what he'll work on next.
Scott Vanderveen was in the prestigious position of being invited by the EAA to have his Corvair Personal Cruiser on display in the Affordable Aircraft Center at
AirVenture 2009. Scott also attended my first forum, and shared his flight experience with new builders. He tirelessly answered questions all week on the performance of the
aircraft and the nature of its construction. His business, Pro Composites, (Web address pro-composites.com), is based near Waukegan, Illinois. The aircraft was sporting a brand new Sensenich 64x47 prop,
which Scott hopes to thoroughly test in the coming week or two. Scott stirred a lot of interest in the design by making a thousand mile flight to Sun 'N Fun this
year, and participating in an EAA air-to-air photo shoot of the aircraft. Check our Sun 'N Fun coverage for better photos of this composite
Three aircraft missing from these photos are the Corvair-powered KR-2Ss of Mark Langford, Mark Jones and Joe Horton. They traditionally come very early in the show
and stay as long as they can before heading out, often, only a few days. I had a chance to speak to Joe and Mark Jones for only a few minutes each, in addition
to having them present at my first forum. This is a reflection of just how busy the event was, especially with our own booth this year. I stole away from the booth
to catch a bit of the KR Forum, which is run by Mark Langford and is traditionally a highly regarded, well-attended forum on the design. While it is a very
popular airframe for Corvair power, Mark is very respected for his contributions to the whole KR community, and counts among his friends KR builders of every engine
Both Mark Langford and Joe Horton contributed great articles to our new 2009 Corvair Flight Ops Manual. Mark's article covers fuels, efficiency and high altitude
leaning - pages of practical insights from 800 hours of operation. Joe Horton offered his reflections on 400 hours of flying behind a Corvair, sharing his experiences
that any serious builder would find invaluable.
The vast number of homebuilts and other aircraft at Oshkosh this year (reportedly in excess of 10,000 aircraft) overflowed traditional parking areas, leaving some
builders' aircraft hard to find in the decentralized locations. While on the surface this meant a lot of walking, it is also an excellent sign for general aviation.
Although the American economy is yet to rebound, our love of aviation remains undiminished, and our dreams undampened by financial pressure. I traveled to Brodhead and
Oshkosh this year by solo, driving our old pickup truck with our new enclosed trailer 30 hours up from Florida. I'm used to long drives without benefit of radio or
cell phones; it gives you time to think. Looking back on my 20 years of working with Corvairs, 10 of them with Grace's support and continuous efforts, I can honestly
say we've made a significant contribution to affordable aviation and giving people real access to powering their dreams.
A few evenings before I left, I watched the programs commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. I was little, but I clearly remember the excitement.
It seems a long time ago, but oddly, my work with Corvairs goes back 50% of it. While my work in aviation is obviously incedental compared to that of my heroes like
Buzz Aldrin, I'm still very proud of the advancements made, and I certainly feel that my work has always put me in The Arena of aviation's adventure.
Oshkosh 2013 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2010 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2008 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2007 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2006 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2005 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2004 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2003 With FlyCorvair.com
Oshkosh 2000 With FlyCorvair.com