Glen Morgan is from New Zealand
I've been following your very useful and helpful website for quite a while. I have an Aircamper which I did not build, though I've done a bit of work on it from time to time. I'm the third owner, though technically it has had four owners as there have been two builders. The bulk of the project was finished by Don Palmer with a fair bit of input from the father and son team of Alan and Evan Belworthy. The Belworthies are the go-to people here if you need practical advice when you have a project under way. They have also produced and built successful designs of their own and one of the earliest Aircamper builds in New Zealand came out of their stable. Evan is also a pretty prolific test pilot and mentor of homebuilt projects
My Aircamper got pretty badly lacerated recently in a weather event that carried away our hanger, so it was Alan and Evan, In particular, to the rescue with parts and help. I should also acknowledge Evan's wife, Penny, too. She mucks in and helps and knows her way around homebuilt aircraft. (And my wife, Carol, who supports my various engine development projects and flies in JQN with me.) It was a good opportunity for me to expand my skills too. Anyhow, the Aircamper (ZK JQN) is back in the air and flying very well.
My main reason for contacting you is the endless debate on websites about automotive conversions. JQN has a Toyota light truck motor in it and flies and climbs pretty well. No reduction drive is needed as light truck motors and equivalent fork truck motors have healthy torque in the 2800 to 3000 rpm range. Hard to get here, Gasoline four cylinder GM fork truck motors are cheap and available to you guys. It surprises me that no one seems to be getting into using these motors in Aircampers. I'd love to get my grubby little hands on one of those GM motors!
There are two other Aircampers with light truck motors here in the South Island of New Zealand, both flying reliably and well and I am aware of one using a Mitsubishi four cylinder motor in the States. Without a starter motor and with a light weight Kubota small tractor alternator this type of motor comes in at a very similar weight to a Model A motor.
They hand prop easily, plugs last forever and they don't need Avgas. The Japanese motors that we have experience with actually don't like Avgas and premium grade fuel isn't necessary either. Having said that, your fuel grades in the States are, I understand, graded a little differently from what we have here. Stick with the engine manufacturer's recommendation is probably the best approach.
Cooling is always a bone of contention too. I have flown in a modern four cylinder powered Aircamper with the traditional, small high-mounted radiator and it works great and look authentic. JQN has a much bigger radiator mounted behind the engine. It too works well.
As part of JQN's return to service, I made a biggish spinner for her.
It's tidied up the front end and improved her looks. I have some skills in the alloy forming area of endeavor and intend to replace the cowling with something a little more in the style of the early Avro Avian aircraft, which I admire greatly.
Hopefully, some pics of JQN will come through with this email. PS I'm the older pilot in the silver helmet. Evan is wearing a traditional leather flying helmet.