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The Long EZ
LONG EZ BACKGROUND
Home
LONG EZ BACKGROUND
FUSELAGE
THE PANEL
CANOPY
STRAKES
LANDING GEAR
THE CENTER SECTION SPAR
WINGS
CANARD
ENGINE
LINKS
SWAG SECTION

There are those who build, and those who fly, few do both.

In the late seventies, Burt Rutan was designing  new types of homebuilt aircraft.  The aircraft were new in both design and construction techniques.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The canard is the smaller wing located on the front portion of the aircraft.  The canard was an early part of powered flight. The Wright brothers put a canard on their first aircraft , and used it to control pitch.  Canards fell out of favor because unless you have an extremely smooth aircraft, drag will cause the canard to yaw and want to move towards the back, away from the direction of flight.  Burt Rutan solved this problem by designing a very clean airframe, such as the  Varieze.  One of the more favorable aspects of  the canard design is very benign stall characteristics.  There is not enough pitch authority in the canard to stall the main wing.  The canard will stall first, causing the nose to drop and the airflow to reattach with minimal loss of altitude and no real wing drop as in many conventional designs.
 
 
 
 
 
Also new was the construction  technique.  Conventional aircraft are typically built from aluminum.  An aluminum framework is rivited together to support the airloads, and then an aluminum skin is rivited to the outside to complete the airframe.  Works well but you are limited in the shapes you can utilize, aluminum only bends so far.  Burt Rutan took foam composite construction techniques that had been used in model airplanes and sailplanes for years.  Urethane and other types of foam are sanded and cut into the airframe shape, then fiberglass cloth is laid on top of the foam in varying thickness, epozy is added, and when cured, leaves a strong, light, easily shaped structure.  The aircraft has no internal skeleton.  The fiberglass supports the airloads, the foam gives the fiberglass its shape.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Up until 1985, Burt Rutan sold plans to build the aircraft.  No "kit" exists, so when visitors to my garage comment, "Oh, you are building a kitplane".  I correct them and say " No, I am building a "plans built" aircraft."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In July 0f 2002,  the family vacation brought us near enough to Oshkosh for a visit to the EAA museum.  After paying the cover charge even though I am an EAA member, I realized my EAA dues exist only to pay for an average quality magazine and nothing else.  I understand the EAA has since changed this rule.   However, the high point was being close to the original Varieze.  This picture is as she hangs from the ceiling.  She was powered by a VW engine, and had no ailerons.
 

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The Wright Flyer
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The Varieze
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The Long EZ
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The Rutans have attached an alcohol rocket engine to an EZ to compete for the X-prize.  See http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/launches/xcor_flight_010724.html

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