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Rutan Defiant

From PlaneSpottingWorld, for aviation fans everywhere

The Rutan Model 40 Defiant is a four-seat, twin-engine aircraft with the engines in a push-pull configuration. It was designed by well-known aerospace engineer Burt Rutan for the Rutan Aircraft Factory


The prototype Defiant, N78RA, first flew June 30, 1978. It was intended as a proof-of-concept of a very safe light twin design, requiring little trim change and no pilot action in case of engine failure and with good single engine performance. A comparison of the Defiant single engine climb rate with a Grumman Cougar showed about 390 vs 280 ft/min at low altitude with both aircraft cleaned up. The prototype is now owned by the Hiller Aviation Museum.

In 1979 the Rutan Aircraft Factory announced they would proceed with certification of a Defiant-based light twin. Adequate financing was not secured for this project, and the design was modified for homebuilt construction as the Model 74, with the second aircraft (built by Fred Keller) appearing at Oshkosh 1983. Plans were offered in mid 1984. Nine examples were known to be flying as of mid 1987. Nineteen are registered with the FAA as of 2005.

Specifications (Defiant)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 22.8 ft
  • Wingspan: 30.75 f
  • Wing area: 139.4 sq ft
  • Empty: 1701 lb
  • Loaded: 2997 lb
  • Maximum takeoff: 2997 lb
  • Powerplant: 2x Lycoming O-320, 160 hp (119 kW) each or up to a maximum of 2 x Lycoming O-360, 180 hp each


  • Maximum speed: 216 mph (342 km/h) (188kts)
  • Range: 1,130 miles (1,808 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 ft
  • Rate of climb: 1600 ft/min max wt 2 180 hp engines, 350 ft/min 1 engine.
  • Wing loading: lb/ft² ( kg/m²)
  • Power/Mass:


External links