Today in History – May 21, 1975 – 1st flight of the Rutan VariEze

21 May 1975 – “The Rutan VariEze is a composite, canard aircraft designed by Burt Rutan. It is a high-performance homebuilt aircraft, hundreds of which have been constructed. The design later evolved into the Long-EZ and other, larger cabin canard aircraft. The VariEze is notable for popularizing the canard configuration and moldless composite construction for homebuilt aircraft.

Work on the VariEze design, which grew out of Rutan’s experience designing and building the VariViggen, began in 1974. The first prototype, designated Model 31 and registered N7EZ, first flew on May 21, 1975 after four months of construction. This aircraft used a Volkswagen engine conversion. Three months later it was shown at Oshkosh where Dick Rutan piloted it to an under 500 kg class distance record of 1,638 miles (2,636 km). Rutan believed that by engaging in a program of breaking class records he could further fine-tune the design.

The aircraft was so popular at Oshkosh that Rutan redesigned the aircraft so that it could be sold as a set of plans.[2] A second prototype, the Model 33, N4EZ, built using a larger wing, a Continental O-200 engine, and many other detail changes, was shown at Oshkosh in July 1976 and plans were offered for sale. Approximately 2000 aircraft were under construction by 1980, with about 300 flying by late 1980. Ultimately more VariEzes and Long-EZs (a derivative, slightly larger design) were constructed than any other homebuilt type of the time. The sale of plans ceased in 1985.” (1)

Source: (1) Wikipedia

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