The Rutan Model 61 Long-EZ is a homebuilt aircraft with a canard layout designed by Burt Rutan's Rutan Aircraft Factory. It is derived from the VariEze, which was first offered to homebuilders in 1976. The prototype (N79RA) of the Long-EZ first flew on June 12, 1979.
Changes from the VariEze include a larger main wing with modified Eppler 1230 airfoil and less sweep (The canard uses the same GU25-5(11)8 airfoil as the VariEze), larger strakes containing more fuel and baggage storage, slightly wider cabin, and the ability to use a Lycoming 108 hp engine with no nose ballast. Plans were offered from 1980-85. As of late 2005, approximately 700 Long EZ's are FAA registered in the USA.
The aircraft is designed for fuel-efficient long-range flight and can fly for over ten hours and up to 1,600 miles (2,500 kilometers) on 52 gallons (200 liters) of fuel. Equipped with a rear-seat fuel tank, a Long-EZ has flown for 4,800 miles (7,700 kilometers).
The pilot sits in a semi-reclined seat and controls the Long-EZ by means of a side-stick controller situated on the right-hand console. In addition to having an airbrake on the underside, the twin tail's wing-tip rudders can be deflected outwards to act as auxiliary airbrakes. The aircraft will not stall in the manner of a conventional aircraft since, if the Long-EZ reaches too low a speed, the front (canard) wing will stall and lower the aircraft nose until speed is regained.
XCOR Aerospace modified a Long-EZ and replaced the engine with twin liquid fueled rocket engines to form a flight test vehicle called the EZ-rocket, which was used as a proof-of-concept demonstrator. Initially, a follow-on version called the "Mark-1 X- Racer, was going to be developed for the Rocket Racing League, but XCOR subsequently decided on the Velocity SE as the basis for the Rocket Racer, rather than the Long-EZ.
John Denver Accident
Singer-songwriter John Denver perished while flying a Long-EZ on October 12, 1997. The NTSB believes that he inadvertently pushed on his right rudder pedal while twisting to the left in his seat as he struggled to operate the fuel selector valve. Contributing factors in the crash were other pilot errors, a design that led to an overly optimistic pre-flight fuel-check estimate, a known defective (very hard to turn) fuel valve, and non-standard placement of the fuel selector valve by the kit plane's builder, at variance with Burt Rutan's specs. Denver was aware of the faulty valve prior to take off and had previously flown the aircraft only for approximately one half-hour in an orientation flight the day before the accident, although he was an experienced pilot. The NTSB cited Denver's unfamiliarity with the aircraft and his failure to have the aircraft refueled as causal factors in the accident.
- Fuel capacity: 50 U.S. gal (200 L).
- Typical empty weight: 760 lb (345 kg).
- Cruise speed: 160 kt (184 mph, 291 km/h) at 5.1 U.S. gal/h (19.3 L/h).
- Range (at cruise speed): 1200 nautical miles (2222 km).
- Max. Speed (level flight): 185 kt (210 mph, 340 km/h).
- Wing Span/Area: 26.1 ft (7.9m) / 81.99 ft2 (7.62m2)
- Canard Span/Area: 11.8 ft (3.6m) / 12.8 ft2 (1.19m2)
- Total Wing Area: 94.8 ft2 (8.81m2)
- Length: 201.4 in (5.12m)
- Height: 94.5 in (2.4m)
- Cockpit Width: 23 in (0.58m)
- Homepage of Rutan Aircraft Factory, Inc.
- Canard aircraft site (ez.org) dedicated to Rutan aircraft
- Bruce Tognazzini's article on the Denver crash
- Wayne Blacklers Long-EZ
- Building and flying a LongEZ
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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rutan LongEZ".