Corvair Powered Dominator

okikuma

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The following video is around 7 years old. What's the status of the Corvair powered Dominator?

Wayne

Corvair-engined Dominator Gyroplane on Alvord dry lakebed in SE Oregon
 
Yup, that's me, that trip to the Alvord playa was a big fiasco for my cousin and me, record temps. close to 110* was too much to deal with, got to the playa in the afternoon, set up camp, and got the Dom. unloaded and prepared for the next day. The next morn. was when I was taxing around to get a feel for controls. As the morning progressed it got hotter and hotter, it was going to be a brutal day, by mid-day I decided I was not going to install my rotor, I had made my mind up to get the hell off the Alvord in the morning, nowhere to hide from the heat, left the next morning after being there only one full day. I was 74 years old and had 26 total duel with Ron Menzie and Michael Burton when I was at the Alvord, since then I have not pursued getting my S.L. but have done some modifications on the engine, went back to modified single barrel carbs on the heads, new starter system, and duel electronic hybrid ignition system, also a fifth bearing to take up the propeller load. I keep saying to myself, this summer, too much else to do this summer, next summer, boat to rebuild, next summer, and so on, and here I am today, waiting for next summer, I'm 80 going on 81 this summer, who knows? I sure the hell don't!!!
 
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Since that video, have you ever flown the Dominator with the Corvair and if so, how successful has the engine been for you?

Wayne
 
Since that video, have you ever flown the Dominator with the Corvair and if so, how successful has the engine been for you?

Wayne
Wayne, I replied and edited my post.
 

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Is there an aftermarket source for parts and assemblies? I don't think Chevy has built a Corvair engine since the 1960s.

I wonder if this is akin to the V-twin companies that started out building Harley-compatible parts (e.g., S&S). Anybody know?
 
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Is there an aftermarket source for parts and assemblies? I don't think Chevy has built a Corvair engine since the 1960s.

I wonder if this is akin to the V-twin companies that started out building Harley-compatible parts (e.g., S&S). Anybody know?

smiles,
Charles
 
Auto engine flying in hundreds of experimental airplanes, 1000 hours easily. https://flycorvair.net.
Jay,

You are correct. There are many successful examples in EAB airplanes, but very few have been used in gyroplanes. My question is how well does the crank shaft and "fifth bearing" hold up in the pusher configuration?

Corvair Powered Dominator


Is there an aftermarket source for parts and assemblies? I don't think Chevy has built a Corvair engine since the 1960s.

I wonder if this is akin to the V-twin companies that started out building Harley-compatible parts (e.g., S&S). Anybody know?
JR,

Yes there are but the market seems to be flooded with substandard parts from PRC. William Wynne of Fly Corvair can help you find reputable USA made aftermarket parts for the Corvair engine.


Wayne
 
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Guys, please remember that VW's and Corvairs have rather small cooling fins. They were designed to be cooled by fan-forced air (not free air in a pusher). Whether this situation can be remedied by using a tennis-court-sized oil cooler alone is open to debate. But watch your temps.
 
Guys, please remember that VW's and Corvairs have rather small cooling fins. They were designed to be cooled by fan-forced air (not free air in a pusher). Whether this situation can be remedied by using a tennis-court-sized oil cooler alone is open to debate. But watch your temps.
Absolutely, no cooling issues. She runs like a sewing machine, purrs like a kitten.

,
 
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Guys, please remember that VW's and Corvairs have rather small cooling fins. They were designed to be cooled by fan-forced air (not free air in a pusher). Whether this situation can be remedied by using a tennis-court-sized oil cooler alone is open to debate. But watch your temps.
From William Wynn's Flycorvair.net website:

"Cooling: The Corvair has a factory cylinder head temp limit of 575F. This is the highest limit on any mass-produced air-cooled engine ever built. The engine as also the first mass-produced turbocharged car. GM engineered the motor to have excellent heat tolerance and heat dissipation. In aircraft the engine typically runs at 325 to 350 CHT."


That being said in the pusher configuration on a low speed gyroplane, I agree with you Doug that cooling can be a problem.

In the tractor configuration, the Corvair engines mounted on a venerable Pietenpol seem to operate just fine.

Wayne
 
I have a 1965 Turbo Corsa Corvair that I was planning to completely restore and stalled on after finishing the engine.
This is what I absolutely know about Corvair engines:
They are very similar to a 6 cylinder version of a Volkswagon engine, but the execution of the original build was definitely not done by Germans!
I believe they were loosely based on the pancake tank engines from the 30's. but wouldn't bet anything on it.....
They have all the earmarks of Chevy's penny pinching philosophy starting with saving $0.10 on the O-ring seals on the push rod tubes.
This decision to use Buna instead of Viton saved $2.40 on each engine, but resulted in a puddle of oil under a 2 year old car which was hard explain due to the cars somewhat high price at the time.
The heads are not cleaned up after casting, there are webs of casting debris (flashing) between the fins and getting in there with a flexible shaft and carbide bit to clean up the fins will result in 50F cooler running temps under load. This will take about 1 to 2 hours to do well.
It is a tough engine, a friend of mine put one in his Porsche for 1/2 the cost of rebuilding the engine he smoked and the one he had built was churning out almost 300HP and could be increased ridiculously with a 6 carb assembly that looked nightmarish.....
The overall engineering of the motor is good, just a sloppy build and there are many things that can be easily improved during a rebuild.
They are notorious for dropping valve seats, so I sent my heads out to Fumiyo Fukaya in Riverside (Don't know if he is still alive).
His shop did racing heads mostly for 2 stroke, but also for anything high performance.
He used very over sized chromium valve seats that were cut 0.020 too large for the pocket in the head.
The were pressed in while the head was at about 400F and the seats were pulled from liquid nitrogen, the resulting fit was
not going to let go unless the head melted.
As far as running temps, the Corvair crowd generally says 350F should be max. 400+ will cause damage, but that is with stock seats which
drop when you stare at the tail pipe too long....
Larger Corvair engines were built using aftermarket VW cylinders and pistons.
There are a lot of known mods for putting stronger theaded inserts in the case to handle high HP applications.
For an aircraft application, I think a bit of shrouding to guide air to the rear cylinders would be prudent.
I think it is a good candidate for a higher powered engine, but a bit heavy for any application under 120HP
They handle turbos fine, mine was dialed in at 15PSI.
The turbo version use the side flow carbs that the early Corvettes use (YS I believe).
I don't know anything about prop hubs, but I like belt drives......
 
Very nice!!!
How do they handle the prop hub?
 
It doesn't need any additional thrust bearings?
The Corvair engine has four main bearings one of them being a thrust bearing, also the Corvair aviation engine has a fifth bearing incorporated on the crankshaft, this bearing is a main bearing from a chevy small block V8.
 
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