Anyone with experience with Azalea Aviation corvair engine conversions?Seems to have a lot of info on his site. Prices seem to be about the same as W Wynn engines so wandering if anyone has had any dealings with them. Lawrence Anderson.

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I would recommend you not purchase from Azalea. I know firsthand someone who received a non-airworthy engine and was unable to recover the money invested.

I have no experience with Azalea but I would not recommend that you buy a complete "ready to fly" Corvair engine from anyone. This is no fault of WW or Azalea or anyone else selling them, but if you are going to fly an engine conversion you need to know it inside and out, and you can certainly do that to a high degree of certainty with a Corvair -- there is a lot of solid information available from Bernie Pietenpol forward that you can read and compare to see what's really right. For a type certificated engine, or even an ASTM consensus-standards engine, there is a long trail of documented tests where you can confirm that materials and dimensions were checked. You don't have that with a conversion engine unless you do it. And you should do it, because you still have to do the balance of the system that does not come in the engine crate.

I’m going to weigh in on the other side of this debate – and hopefully avoid the blistering rants that have erupted through a couple of other forums.

 

David is correct, at least in the abstract there is considerable merit in building your own engine and knowing exactly what is inside it, especially if you don’t trust the parts vendor in the first place – there are at least four purveyors out there to the Corvair and, notwithstanding the antipathy of at least one Corvair purveyor for another, all (IMO) have more than proven they know how to turn a wrench and/or run an aviation grade machining service…  Where I will differ is in the logic – would you buy a Rotax, Jab or UL in a kit (let alone, order a basket of parts…) if they were available that way… I’ve rebuilt a few car engines and bike engines “back in the day” so I originally set out on this course – call me a coward, but I eventually figured my skills were too rusty, my shop too ill-equipped and the ordinary price of Corvairs too modest for me to pursue that again – I really don’t think you’ll save much or any money (the days of the $2K aviation Corvair are gone, if they ever existed… Unless you really do build a Pientenpol-esque powerplant...)

 

In the case of Azalea (Spyder) engine, about the most basic you should do for a home construction is to get Bill to sell you a short-block.  The integrated front bearing (IFB) he uses really needs to be assembled by Bill because he mates the front-bearing/prop-hub to the block, align boring so they are all as good as can be – it’s a fairly substantial housing and doesn’t lend itself to the usual homebuilder skills/equipment – you cannot just rent a drilling jig and mate the IFB housing and bearing to the front of the block like you can with some 5th-bearings…

As for dealing with Azalea, my experience with Bill was totally positive, and I find that he answers the phone with refreshing promptness – your mileage may vary of course… My project is not yet flying, but my engine was delivered on time (actually it was done and awaiting my pickup for some months – Bill probably should have charged me storage…).  I picked mine up at his former Valdosta facility… he had mine on the stand when I got there after driving all night – the engine was cold, but fired within two blades (I was impressed) and he ran it up and down through the mid-RPMs once it was up to temps…  in any case, mine came in a bit below the price he’d quoted to me and after-market he sold the tray for the engine mount and talked us through the weldment even though he probably could have insisted on selling the entire mount… has the usual dual ignition distributor, headwork, cam, crank etc., the garden variety Corvairs all seem to follow this pattern; mine just has the IFB...

 

You’ll like the smoothness of a Corvair, I found that impressive – if you lay your hand on a valve cover you can tell it isn’t an electric motor, but only barely so…  So, I’d suggest that based on my personal experience and that of a friend who knows Bill far longer than me, that Azalea is a very good option if one is looking toward Corvair power – but not the only option of course.  Further, unless you are an experienced engine builder in current practice with the necessary tools, I’d suggest the build-it-yourself option may not be the best (at least from a time-economy, value-added stand-point).  Like I said, I’d started down that route, but the project morphed into a complete Spyder engine as I kept asking Bill to take on more and more – to his credit, he didn’t shoot me, but simply worked with my whim of the moment…

Thanks Lawrence for your comment. I sure do think I should at least buy the short block with IFB but I have at least some experience with assembling an older engine like a corvair. I would feel much more comfortable with that than welding my own engine mount. Corvair engines are as scarce as hens teeth around here so not sure if I can even find a rebuildable core or if it would save any money. Then there's the problem of getting the right engine too. Lawrence Anderson. 

Hello to all. I am Bill. Owner of Azalea Aviation. Been very busy with new facility and responsibilities as of late but will try to get back in the loop here. We have several Zenith ,Odell flying with our conversion around the world. We have a flying 601xl and 750 at our location as well as doing a Fwf installation into a 750 Cruzer at this time. We operate an FBO at Cook county airport in Adel Ga. We employ 6 people, have full maintenance for piston singles, twins and small turboprops as well as work on many experimentals. One of our focuses is our Corvair installations into Zenith Airframes. We teach people how to build, maintain, instal, operate and fly Corvair powered aircraft. I have personally done first flights in about 15 Zenith aircraft as well as transition train owners/pilots. We have huge capabilities available for you. Please feel free to contact us or as questions here. I will do my best to respond

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