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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [IAC-L:1359] EZ


Thread: [IAC-L:1359] EZ

Message: [IAC-L:1359] EZ

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)


Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 06:49:11 UTC


 Since I own and fly a Vari-Eze (the Long-EZ is a larger Vari-Eze), it wasn't 
long before people were asking me, "what happen to John Denver's airplane."  
As you might suspect, I do not know.  I am saddened by his death and how he 
died.  He was a favorite of mine, especially during the days when we heard him 
frequently on the radio and "records" and tapes.  His lyrics were crystal 
clear and ever so meaningful, especially those he wrote dealing with flying.  
He really loved flying and is reported to have said, "take my driver's 
license, but don't take my pilot's license.

I have had my EZ a year now and find it to be a wonderful and fun airplane to 
fly.  It is probably the best kept secret in sport aviation.  180 mph on 5-6 
gph and the most comfortable airplane I have ever flown, except those where I 
could get up and walk around.  The front seat is a lazy boy seat with side 
stick control.  Mine has a panel mounted GPS with moving map and is interfaced 
to an A/P.  All this for less than $20K.  I use it to take my wife and I to 
TPA to visit our grandchildren.  Of all the airplanes I have owned, this is 
the only airplane my wife has referred to as "ours".  As I tell friends and 
others, it is not difficult to fly, but is different.  For example, the side 
stick is very comfortable, but is very short, with little leverage making it 
pitch sensitive during the initial hours of familiarization.  Some years ago, 
I performed an inverted ribbon cut at airshows in my Super D and thought pitch 
control had new meaning then.  Early on in my EZ, I can remember rotating, 
breaking ground, relaxing on the stick and skipping off the runway.  I hadn't 
done that since primary training days.  Anyway, I soon learned to put the 
canard on the horizon, hold that attitude and let her get going before doing 
much with the stick.  For those of you who haven't flown EZs, you will be 
surprised to hear that there are two rudders, one on each winglet and they are 
totally independent of each other, rudder pedals included, of course.  This 
means that you can deploy both of them if you want to....  Some pilots use 
them as speed brakes.  Since the accident, people have asked me about gliding 
the EZ........ It has one of the best ratios for airplanes of it's size and 
weight.  Because of the canard, full stall landings are a; for if you 
try this, you will be a long time touching down and probably then, not on the 
runway. I have heard the figure ... add 1000' of runway for every extra 10mph. 
 Here again, we put the canard on the horizon and roll it on.  The airplane is 
so clean that I can  touch down on the end of a 7000' runway doing about 65mph 
and without touching brakes I will be doing 20 mph at the other end!

I feel certain that, unless he hit the stick accidentally real close to the 
ground, they will come up with a catastrophic failure of some kind.  Everytime 
you need to work on the back of the instrument panel, you have to remove the 
canard.  This is not difficult, but it means disconnecting and connecting the 
elevators and trim control springs.  Murphy's law loves this operation.  The 
canard itself is very, very strong and would seem to me that it is "bird 
proof".   If a gas cap comes off and is not secure, it will go through the 
prop and most of them are wood.  If this happens, we all know what happens 
when part of the prop leaves and the rest stays. These airplanes are tail 
heavy and that is why you see them sitting on there "nose".  I haven't checked 
the cg change that would occur if the engine left the airframe, but it 
probably wouldn't be good.  

One last thing.  There is a rumor that Denver bought this aircraft from Dick 
Rutan, the brother of Burt Rutan, the EZ designer.  If so, this is the bird 
that Dick just flew around the world.  He was accompanied by another Long-EZE, 
flown by Dick M.......

Well like I said, not difficult, but very different and a joy to fly.  

Paul Logue


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
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