Historic Corvairs

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Don Taylor, Indiana, Tinker Toy

First Year Flown on Corvair Power: 1974
Total Amount of Hours on Corvair Power: 110+ until it was grounded after an incident May 17, 1978
N-number: N5DT
Builder of Aircraft: Don Taylor, 451 S. Kelsey Ave., Evansville, IN 47714
Builder of Engine: Don Taylor, with Lowell Volkman and Jim Hall
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Years Aircraft was Built: 1970-74
Type of Conversion: Self, with belt reduction, blower fan and electric start
The Tinker Toy is a unique airplane from the spirited mind of a very creative man. If you study the pictures carefully, you'll notice that the prop shaft is actually a structural member of the fuselage. The propeller is bolted to a free driven collar, driven by the belt on it. While this idea may have been tried by an engineering team somewhere else, you have to hand it to a guy who works in the Post Office and as an amateur builder decides he can certainly tackle a project like this armed with his craftsmanship and ingenuity.
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Engine Year: 1962 95hp, then 1965 140hp
Engine Displacement: 164cid
Propeller Diameter, Pitch and Make: Hegy 72x60
Cruise Speed: 100mph
Cruise RPM: 3,400-3,500rpm
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Don Taylor writes: "I feel the Corvair engine is a good engine. I think the biggest advantage to the Corvair is the price. I invested $500 for a complete overhaul and the engine has run real good. Tinker Toy has a sound that can be recognized over any other aircraft in this area, because of the 6 cylinders popping 4,000rpm and the prop biting at the air at only 2000rpm. P.S. The Corsa engine in Tinker Toy burns 4-1/2 gallons of gas per hour, 3,500rpm."
Wing Span: 28"3"
Wing Loading: 15lbs/square foot
Wing Area: 110 square feet
Wing Airfoil: 4412
Empty Weight: 1188 lbs.
Gross Weight: 1650 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 20 gallons
Stall Speed: 60mph
Range: 300 miles
"I am sure there has never been a homebuilt airplane that has had as much guesswork go into it," Taylor told Homebuilt Aircraft magazine in 1980. He designed the Tinker Toy as a pusher to reduce noise in the cockpit. "I am just a dumb postman, and what little I know about airplanes I picked up from building Pete Bowers' Fly Baby."

"The Fly Baby wing was selected for Tinker Toy because it was a high lift wing and I knew just where the CG was. I built a stee-tube framework so I could see what was happening to my CG as I was building."

Taylor's Tinker Toy received great acclaim after he flew it to the Oshkosh convention in 1976. Tinker Toy drew crowds at the fly-in, and later was seen worldwide on the cover of France's AviMag, in Germany's Flug Revue and in many American magazines, including Professional Pilot. Tinker Toy also was featured on the covers of Homebuilt Aircraft and Trade-A-Plane, and his daughter Lanette Taylor, at age 17, chronicled the creation of Tinker Toy for the EAA's Sport Aviation magazine. In every story, Taylor gives due credit to his daughter, and wife, father and mother for helping him through the building process. Truly a first class gentleman.


William Wynne, The Corvair Authority
5000-18 HWY 17 #247
Orange Park, FL 32003

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