Marc Cook, you have it right [“Around the Patch,” August 2011]. Engines must have qualified technology and sufficient development, with a long gestation to work out the kinks. Aircraft and auto engines. Everyone must agree that the auto industry spends considerable time, talent and money developing and operationally testing their engines under certainly the worst conditions. The late Fred Geschwender, who produced many auto conversions over the years, professed that modifying a production engine simply creates problems.
At Quiet Aviation, we have started processing our FAA Issue Paper that has the basis to install the GM LS3 430-horsepower Corvette engine in the C-172 for an STC. Here we take Fred’s attitude even further by holding the engine operation below our driving habits, and we don’t risk overhauls. We have accepted a weight penalty for this engine so that its operation is never in excess of 42% power. We take a catalog crate engine, specially built by the GM Performance Build Group, and install it in the aircraft with an Airflow Performance mechanical fuel-injection system, a gearbox that has proven its worth over more than 25 years of airboat use and a cooling system over-designed with redundancy.
Give us a half year to introduce this conversion and let our General Aviation critics assess its merits. We have 400 hours of V-8 time with some 80 hours on the LS engine without incident. Keep it simple, don’t try anything new, use it conventionally, and enjoy the security of an automotive engine.
Back to School
An excellent option for arc welding training not mentioned by Ken Scott [“Learning to Weld,” September to December 2011], is the Lincoln Electric Welding School in Cleveland. I discovered it when exploring options for creating a fuel tank for my project and found that none of the local colleges or high schools run courses anymore. Forget the negative economic trade-off of saving a bit by doing it yourself versus cost of tuition, travel expense, and getting excited and buying a welding rig and materials. And despite the fact that I became a passable TIG welder in a variety of materials excluding thin aluminum (the one material I’d hoped to master), I found the five-day course a quality experience well worth the expense. Besides its comprehensive offering of certificate programs for tradesmen, the school offers a variety of high-quality, one-week courses. The price represents a good value for an intensive learning experience. And when you’re done, you can take advantage of discounts offered to students for their products, which can be hazardous to your $ health.
A Real Gem
I just read Paul Dye’s essay on clouds [September 2011]. Move over Ernie Gann and Richard Bach. There is a new honest-to-God aviation writer in town. Since the shuttle program is taking its place in history, maybe Paul can settle down to explore what is obviously his greatest God-given talent, inspiring aviators and ground-bound souls with artistic and inspiring prose. What a treasure.
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