June 12, 2014 - Catbird. Ol’ Blue. Wasabi Siren. Tango2. If those aircraft nicknames sound familiar, they probably should; they’re among a group of homebuilts that have emerged from the fertile experimental hotbed of Mojave, California, and they are among a group of aircraft that are assembling to fly to Oshkosh together for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014.
EAA received word this week that six airplanes are confirmed to arrive together on Monday, July 28, and several other well known airplanes might be added.
Here are the airplanes slated to participate thus far:
- Burt Rutan's Catbird, flown by Zach Reeder, EAA 777411
From Zach: “That cat has stock 74 gallons we added 4 x 34 gallon tanks to bring it up to around 200 gallons useable.
“The Catbird was designed by Burt Rutan in the early 1980s to compete in the CAFE 400 race which it subsequently won. Mike Melvill and Dick Rutan both set 2000 kilometer closed course world speed records in the airplane before it was gutted down to a fiberglass shell and was hung from the rafters at Scaled Composites in 1994.
“There it waited like Excalibur until Burt’s retirement in April 2011. Burt gave Zach Reeder and Jim Reed the liberty to use the airplane if first they could rebuild it and fly it to AirVenture for that year’s “Tribute to Burt Rutan”. The rebuild and flight test was completed in about two and a half months and Zach and Jim have been flying the airplane ever since.
“In April of this year they completed the long range fuel tanks that allowed Zach to set a new 5,000 kilometer closed course speed record at 211mph. The catbird will do the nonstop Mo-Venture flight with only one of the four auxiliary fuel tanks but has made the nonstop trip to Oshkosh several times with only the stock fuel capacity.”
- Aircraft: Glasair II-S FT, N6940P
- Engine: Lycoming IO-3690-B1E, 180 HP, Dual LSE Plasma III ignition
- Prop: 72-inch Hartzell constant speed
- Fuel Capacity: 69 gallons (as built) plus 15-gallon temporary transfer tank in baggage area
- Range (no reserve): 1460nm at 165 KTAS (7.8 gph, 10,500 feet MSL); 1844 nm at 155 KTAS (5.8 gph, 15,500 feet MSL)
- Estimate for MHV to OSH: under 10 hours no wind. The transfer tank provides comfortable 2-hour reserve.
- First flight: January 2011
- Aircraft time: 600 hours as of July 2014
- MGTW: 2,200 pounds
“My wife Gail and I made a four-week trip throughout the Caribbean in the Glasair with several other EAA members in their E-AB aircraft in April 2013, culminating in a visit to the Amazon River just south of the equator in Brazil. We travel extensively in the Glasair for business and recreation. The airplane is a great sport plane but was built for travel!”
- Tango 2, fast experimental flown by Justin Gillen, EAA Lifetime 1017487
From Justin: “I'll be taking the Tango 2, N131RG, 160hp Lycoming, constant speed WhirlWind prop. Standard fuel is 58 gallons (I didn’t opt for the extra-long range tank option), but I'll be running an extra 15 gallons in a cabin auxiliary tank for a 73-gallon total. Longest endurance performed is seven hours, so MoVenture will expand that by three. Proposed specs for the trip are 160 ktas at 15,500 feet and ~5.8 gph.
I just think flight test is the most interesting part of aviation, and building the Tango Time Machine has allowed me to personally enter the field, and helped inspire ideas for future test programs.”
- Wasabi Siren, a one-of-a-kind Formula One Racer flown by Elliot Seguin.
From Elliot: “The Wasabi Siren was designed, built, and tested in Mojave for racing and record setting by Jenn Whaley and me. We race the airplane in the formula class at Reno, which requires a relatively stock 0-200, 66 square feet of wing area, and a minimum empty weight of 500 lbs. This will be the airplane’s Oshkosh debut.
“It’s hard to imagine something cooler than taking the airplane you built to the home of homebuilding, but doing it non-stop, on the old route from RAF to Fisk, with such a cool group of experimenters as these...oh, be still my heart! We really look forward to the adventure!”
- Ol’ Blue, flown by Dustin Riggs - the Long EZ Dick Rutan flew around the world in 1997 (along with Mike Melvill in his Long-EZ).
- Glasair II-S FT (fixed trike), flown by Doug Dodson, EAA 392878.
- Long-EZ, flown by Ben Harvey
Stay tuned for more information, including some well known potential additions to this exclusive group of aircraft.