LongEZ - N961EZ on the tarmac in Alamogordo, New Mexico
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Long-EZ N961EZ In Flight over Mission Peak, San Jose, Calif.


Designed in the mid 1980's by aircraft design legend Burt Rutan, The Long-EZ has become the most popular "Plans Built" aircraft in existence. The LongEZ is a refinement of Burt's two earlier designs, the VariViggen and the Vari-EZ. These refinements make the Long EZ a comfortable long distance, high altitude, cross country flying machine.


The number of aviation records held by Long EZs is a tribute to its design. One of the most impressive records held by a LongEZ is the altitude record for its weight class (C-1b = approx 1,100 lbs). In 1996, Jim Price was able to climb to, and maintain, an altitude of 35,027 feet. Long-EZ Cross Country FlightThis feat was performed in Jim's normally aspirated, plans built LongEZ. This record still stands today

LongEZs are also noted for their long distance and endurance capabilities. A spectator at a recent flyin was heard saying; "It seems like everywhere you go, you always see an EZ, and they're always a 1,000 miles away from home." While living in California, I routinely flew my LongEZ non-stop from San Jose, Calif to Toledo, Ohio in less than 10 hours.


The term "Plans Build" means exactly that. The builder purchased a set of plans from Rutan Aircraft Factory, and built the aircraft from scratch. Unfortunately, in 1987, Rutan Aircraft Factory stopped selling the plans to build the LongEZ. Long-EZ Building Plans

However, If you have your heart set on building one of these dream machines, there are a couple options that could be followed;

a) If you keep your eyes open, original plans can ocationally be found in such places as E-Bay, Barnstormers, or several of the EZ forum organizations.

b) In recent years, a project known as "OpenEZ" has been gaining momentum. The Builder purchases a "Terf CD" that contains a legal copyrighted copy of the original LongEZ plans. Then download and print a copy of the OpenEZ drawings and the CPs. You now have a complete set of plans (Terf CD and OpenEZ), with the latest updates (The CPs). This should be everything you need to start the building process.

Shortly after Rutan Aircraft Factory stopped selling plans, they commisioned Dragon Aero to create a CD. The Terf CD contains the plans for the LongEZ (minus templates), plus, the plans for several other Rutan designs. Although Rutan Aircraft Factory no longer sells the original aircraft building plans, they do continue to sell accessory plans and materials.

The nature and beauty of the LongEZ also gave birth to several variations of the unique canard design. These included; The Cozy III, Cozy MKIV, E-Racer, AeroCanard, Velocity, and the Berkut to name just a few. Several of these spin-off designs have matured into full fledged commercial business that offer plans, kits, and complete builder support.


Several years ago, AeroCad scanned the plans to their AeroCanard aircraft into a PDF format and posted them on their website for distribution. The "Shareware" version of the plans were never ment to build from, but provided an excellent opportunity for a prospective builder to download and review the plans prior to making a purchase decision.

Although the "Shareware" plans were removed from the AeroCad web site, they may still be available from other sources. Review the "Shareware" plans, then if you decide to build one of these fabulous birds, Visit the AeroCanard website or call them on the phone.


Central States Association

Today, a LongEZ builder can receive support from any one of the "User Groups" that have developed and grown over the years. One of the oldest and most popular, "Central States Association" puts out a quarterly newsletter that outlines many of changes and enhancements that have been developed over the years by the builders. Although not an "Official" source, CSA has kind of picked up where the CPs left off, Gathering news, articles, and comments from builders and flyers, plus disseminating safety information regarding the EZ family of aircraft.

ALSO, with the growing popularity of the Internet, many Canard User Forums and Canard Builder web sites have developed into an excellent source of building information; Several of these include EZ ORG, Cozy Builders, Canard Aviation Forum, Plus many, many more.


Many component parts like landing gear bows, canopies, and many of the small metal piece parts can be purchased from several manufactures. For instance, Brock Manufacturing used to make and sell almost all of the metal parts that are called out for in the LongEZ plans. Brock went out of business several years ago leaving a large vacancy for suppliers of these parts. Thankfully, the Cozy Girrrls filled the void and are now manufacturing and selling almost all of these components, plus many, many more.


My interest in the Long EZ dates back to the mid 80's when I first saw one at an air show in Watsonville, CA. In 1987 I contacted Rutan Aircraft Factory and wanted to buy a set of LongEZ plans. Unfortunately, I was about 4 weeks to late and was informed that Rutan Aircraft Factory no longer sold plans. HOWEVER, As luck would have it, one of the members of our local EAA chapter indicated he had a set of plans and decided that he wasn't going to build one. A little wheeling and dealing and I was now the proud owner of an official set of LongEZ plans.

LongEZ Trip to Hollister I started building in the fall of 1987 and continued for a period of 9 years. Raising a family, extensive job related travel, and living in a foreign country (Japan) for a couple years reduced the actual build time to a meager 5 years. From start to finish, the complete build took just over 3,000 man-hours.

NOTE: Photos of the building process can be found under the "CONSTRUCTION" link.


In early October 1996, The FAA performed their final inspection of my Long-EZ, and it was issued its official Airworthiness Certificate, N961EZ. With the help from a couple friends, the plane was disassembled and loaded onto a trailer. The 60 mile trip south to the test airport would be the first leg in an adventure that hopefully will last a lifetime.

After a week of preparation and ground testing, N961EZ logged its first hour of flight over the skys of HollisterAirport, CA. Like the first flight of so many other EZ's, this one was rather boring and uneventful. A true testament to the designer, the quality of the plans, and building process.

Since that October day, LongEZ N961EZ has logged over 2,600 flight hours and has visited almost every state in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.


In Aviations finest tradition, My wife and I were bestowed with "nicknames", I was given the honorary name of "Waiter" because of my willingness to pour someone a cup of coffee. My wife was given the name "Goldfish", as in; "I have a bowl of goldfish in the plane so I must fly very smoothly". My Goldfish is very intolerant of rough air, turbulence, and of course, absolutely NO acrobatics. :-(

Gus in Formation over Punta Pescadero     LongEZ N961EZ at NASAs Vehiicle Assembly Building     Refueling LongEZ N961EZ in South Dakota      LongEZ N961EZ at Pierce Ferry, AZ

Needless to say, Waiter and Goldfish have flown their LongEZ to places they otherwise would have never seen; (from left to right) as far south as Cabo San Lucas (BAJA), A pass down the Space Shuttle runway and past the Vehicle Assembly Building at The Kennedy Space Center in Florida, The cold, cold winters of North Dakota, and the great expanse of The Grand Canyon in Arizona.

We know we'll have many more trips like these, and its our hope that you'll be able to join us in your EZ


As every EZ owner will testify, there seems to be a certain set of questions that are most popular whenever someone unfamiliar with the design first see's a LongEZ parked on the ramp.

Which way does it Fly?

This question is usually prompted because the propellor seems like its on the wrong place, plus the unusual way the plane is normally parked. Well, the first rule in aerodynamics prevails, "the pointy end is forward". Most people are accustomed to seeing the propellor in the front, this is known as a "tractor". The LongEZ has the propellor in the back, this is known as a "pusher". The "Pusher" configuration offers a couple advantages over a tractor. Mainly, better streamlining of the nose. Plus, because all the engine noise is behind you, the pilot and passanger compartments are much quieter.

Why is it sitting on its nose?

The first impression is that there was an accident, and something happened to the nose. Well, this just isn't so. Because of the position of the main landing gear wheels, when the pilot is no longer sitting in the plane, the Center of Gravity shifts toward the rear of the plane. (Kind of like your friend getting off their end of the tetter-totter). To keep the plane from falling over backwards, the nose gear is retracted, and the plane is then set down on a little rubber bumper. The nose gear is always extended for takeoff, landing, and taxiing.

Why doesn't this plane have a tail?

This question usually refers to the absence of a horizontal stabalizer, or "Elevator" in the back of the plane. Well, this is partially correct! The LongEZ does have a "tail", its in the front, and in this case is called a "canard". The pilot controlled elevators are mounted on the canard. On a conventional plane, the elevators are mounted on the tail. One of the design features of the canard aircraft is the ability to resist an inadvertent main wing stall. This is a tremendous safety feature as "stall" accidents are a major factor in GA accidents.

Maps courtesy of www.theodora.com/maps used with permission.

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