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Scott Carterís Xtra-EZ

A tribute to Burt Rutan

By Patrick Panzera, EAA 555743, ppanzera@eaa.org

 

Xtra-EZ
Scott Carter’s Xtra-EZ on display at AirVenture 2009

Thirteen must be Scott Carter’s lucky number. It took that many years to complete his first flying project, a Long-EZ, and it took the same number of years to complete his current one-off aircraft, the Xtra-EZ. And he and his wife (and copilot) Lynn Canatella had been together for 13 years when they made the first EAA AirVenture Oshkosh trip in the Xtra-EZ. Lynn has a little over 600 hours as pilot in command, single-engine land, whereas Scott has over 2,500, almost all of which were logged in his Rutan EZ. Lynn has been flying since 1993, but Scott started taking lessons in 1968. Scott’s military time was spent outside the cockpit turning wrenches, which was preceded by a rich childhood building model airplanes. By high school, Scott was an EAA member making annual treks to Rockford, and then Oshkosh. Lynn’s fire was lit by way of the back seat of a P-51 and has since been fed by the sense of camaraderie and the adventure—and the noise.

When not flying, Lynn works in commercial real estate sales whereas Scott babysits a Gulfstream G4, a G450, and a couple of Citations for a private individual, but in a very corporate-like environment. Scott has been an A&P since 1978, and his occupational title is director of maintenance. But before you think that Scott had the advantage of access to a shop full of aviation equipment, tools, and working space and was allowed to work on his plane at work during slow periods, let me assure you that Scott built his plane in his overcrowded 1-1/2 car garage, after work hours. When the plane became too large for that space, a hole was cut in the wall and garage door to accommodate a wingtip or two. Once the plane was just too large, period, the back patio became fair game.

What’s in a Name?
So if it started out as a Cozy Mark IV, why is it called an EZ? Scott gives credit back to his roots, his real roots. He has a fanatical respect for Burt Rutan and all that he’s done for aviation, especially experimental aviation. Nat Puffer did a great job designing the Cozy, and his evolution of the Long-EZ into the three-place and then four-place Cozy aircraft completed Burt’s family of canard aircraft. (See issue 10 of CONTACT! Magazine for the full Cozy story.)

The biggest difference between Scott’s Xtra-EZ and a Cozy Mark IV is the staggered seating up front and the fuselage stretch that allows for it, while retaining seating for two in the rear. Scott and Lynn wanted more shoulder room while preserving the intimacy of sitting side-by-side, and they didn’t want to widen the fuselage. The result has the added benefit of additional leg room for each front seat occupant, both in length and width.

Xtra-EZ
Scott’s Long-EZ parked on the ramp at Burt’s 60th birthday bash. In the background: Scaled Composite’s Triumph, a pressurized eight-seat corporate aircraft.

It Began With an EZ
It was 1978, and Burt Rutan was beginning to make a name for himself. Over 1,000 people before him had already purchased their Long-EZ plans by the time Scott bought his. Intrigued with this “new” construction process, coupled with the inexpensive nature of the plans themselves and being able to build as he could afford (as opposed to shelling out big bucks all at once for any of the available kits on the market back then), Scott was hooked. “My Long-EZ has defined my life since 1980.” Thirteen years later, N24SK was hatched and began accumulating 2,500 hours in the air.

One notable trip logged by Scott in N24SK included a pilgrimage from Dallas, Texas, to Mojave, California (June 28, 2003), along with well over 100 other EZs and other variations on the theme, to help celebrate Burt Rutan’s 60th birthday and Dick Rutan’s 65th.

The EZ did a great job for Scott, being pushed along by a Lycoming O-320, but Scott is a builder and as such he needed another project. More than satisfied with the construction methods used to build his EZ, the strength and durability of which never let him down, it was a no-brainer that his next project would be similar.

Since the EZ and the Cozy are plans-built and are amenable to builder-designed changes, the designs have evolved but not necessarily in just one direction – there are branches. Some of the changes work really well, others work so-so, some only work for the builder who installed them, and others are miserable failures.

When Scott set out to build his new plane, he knew that he wasn’t going to build a stock Cozy, but he also knew than no single “branch” would work for him. So his creation is 100 percent unique, but he can’t take credit for any single element. He took all the ideas that he thought were good, or that he thought would work for him or his wife Lynn, and incorporated them into what he calls Xtra-EZ. Most aircraft designers aren’t pleased when people make modifications to their work, especially when the changes can be considered extreme.

Xtra-EZ

Center of Gravity
As previously stated, the biggest change from the Cozy drawings is the fuselage stretch. It would seem reasonable that when the two lifting surfaces (wing and canard) are moved farther apart, there will be a change in the center of gravity (CG) range. Scott appropriately refers to the CG loading of his Xtra-EZ as a “balancing act.” Some of the effects of the stretch were canceled out by the heavier six-cylinder IO-540 (Cozy calls for a four-cylinder O-360) located aft, but placing the copilot closer to the CG means that this person can weigh quite a bit more (an easy 50 to 60 pounds more) than if they were moved forward. To visualize the changes to the fuselage, consider that the copilot is pretty much in the “stock” location and the left-seat pilot is moved forward with the stretch.

The envelope is “huge” as Scott describes it, not too different from his Long-EZ but certainly in a different place since there is a relationship change between the wing and the canard. Scott was diligent in exploring the full envelope during his initial flight testing.

In the state it was in when these photos were shot, the rear seat isn’t very welcoming with its lack of upholstery, but it was a work in progress; it’s just been a matter of time constraints. Scott and Lynn have every hope of happily flying occupants in the rear seats, which is why they built a four-place airplane.

Another innovative idea that’s been built into the airframe and made part of the pilot’s operating handbook is the relocatable ballast that does double duty as a toolbox. There are specific stations, one in the nose and one in the rear compartment, where the little red toolbox can be located (installed), depending on whether the plane is flown solo or not. When in the nose, it resides just in front of the copilot’s feet. Up to a certain weight, the ballast can remain in the nose, depending on the weight of the copilot at the time. In the rear location it’s very close to the CG, so it’s almost as if it was removed. But it’s a very complete toolbox and nice to have along in the event of emergencies. So far it’s not been called upon and let’s just hope it continues that way.

Xtra-EZ
The details

Nose Section
The canard is stock for a Cozy (Roncz 1145 airfoil), but the fairing that covers it isn’t. The original Cozy fairing is no bigger than the chord of the canard itself and is permanently affixed to it. A smallish forward hatch gives access to the canard attach fittings, the rudder pedals, and battery. Once disconnected, the canard lifts out of its mount, fairing and all. Scott has taken things to the next level, making the fairing and front cover all one piece and large enough to allow for an intricate sealing system which keeps water from seeping and wicking in. And with the use of a concealed fastening system, all one sees when the cover is installed is a fine line hinting that the hatch may be removable but leaving the observer wondering how. When it’s removed, it gives full access to the canard center section, making for easy removal during its annual inspection and great access to the wheel brake hydraulics.

Oil Cooler
Scott installed an oil cooler in the nose section to act as a heat exchanger to keep his feet warm in colder months and at altitude where the plane really performs well. His Long-EZ used a conventional heat muff from the exhaust manifold, but by the time heat was ducted all the way forward, it lost most of its energy. Additionally it can bring carbon monoxide with it, so the new system, borrowed from other aircraft, is safe and effective by comparison. Oil flows through rigid ½-inch aluminum lines to reduce the potential for a rupture. Cabin air is circulated over the cooler when heat is needed, and when not, the same bilge blower (centrifugal fan), which circulates the cabin heat, dumps the heat overboard by means of a mechanical valve attached to a manual pull lever.

With the main oil cooler in the engine compartment, the engine oil system utilizes a vernatherm (oil cooler by-pass valve) so the engine oil can come up to temperature and maintain at least 180 degrees before any “excess” heat can be diverted to the forward oil cooler. Living in and operating from the Dallas area, Scott isn’t too worried that his system might leave his tootsies cold, but according to Scott, “I suspect if I lived in Minnesota it might be a problem. But not in Texas, and not at altitude so far – it does just fine.”

Xtra-EZ

Ventilation
When heat isn’t needed, cool cabin air is brought in through a small but very effective hole in the point of the nose – very glider-esque, especially having the pitot tube concentrically located. With a length of SCAT tubing connected to the inlet and snaking its way to the instrument panel, the pilot is kept cool. The copilot and rear passengers are ventilated by a similar inlet cut into the leading edge of the port-side strake, at the fuselage junction.

Xtra-EZ
Located in the leading edge of the copilot’s strake is the one of two discreetly located fresh air inlets.

Toe Brakes
The toe brakes aren’t original to the Cozy or the EZ but are adapted from a retrofit that Scott installed in his EZ, for which he credits Bruce Tifft, more known for his pusher propellers. “When I originally built my Long-EZ, the master cylinders were mounted in the back and were very ineffective because of the cable stretch. Bruce sent me a simple little drawing, I converted them, and they worked wonderfully, so that’s what I’ve installed here. That’s Bruce Tifft’s idea.”

Xtra-EZ
Access panel with no external fasteners; offset nose gear; fresh air inlet with concentric pitot tube.

Nose Gear
The nose gear on the Xtra-EZ is raised and lowered by way of an electric linear actuator (as opposed to the traditional Cozy hand-crank, made from a Craftsman ratchet wrench) so the plane can be occupied before getting the nose off the ground from its familiar “grazing” position. The gear is also offset toward the passenger’s side, leaving plenty of foot room for the pilot, comparable to that of the Long-EZ. The Cozy foot well is shared by both front seat occupants and isn’t twice as wide as the EZ, but unlike the EZ, the pilot doesn’t have to straddle the nose gear. On the copilot side, foot room is off the charts with virtually no restrictions or compromises since the seat is moved 12 inches aft. The castering nose gear fork was manufactured by the late Ken Brock, built for the Cozy Mark IV. One other modification was extending the nose gear pivot point forward 3 inches, allowing for a longer nose strut. This provides a positive three-point angle of 2.5 degrees, improving rotation on takeoff.

Xtra-EZ

Retractable Main Gear
Following the theme of borrowing ideas and technology from other successful Rutan variants, Scott used the main landing gear legs manufactured for the Velocity RG. “I bought the gear legs, but I had to reinforce them and shorten the over-center mechanism, involving some welding. So I got to use my lesser-used skills that I gained from being an airplane mechanic.” Scott said.

Xtra-EZ
The stub ends of the landing gear legs extend to the inside of the aircraft and reside just behind the rear seat and in front of the firewall. The hydraulic pump and fluid reservoir reside on a deck just behind the gear leg station and share space with the battery and other accessory items.

Xtra-EZ
The wheels and brakes are from Grove Aircraft Company, www.GroveAircraft.com. The axles are from Aircraft Spruce.

The hydraulic ram is powered by a pump from the boating industry, designated to actuate the lower end units of inboard/outboard boats. The system overall is very simple. “It’s just an electric motor and a hydraulic pump and it runs the gear – pulls the gear up and down via a really long cylinder that does nothing more than pull two cables and break the over-center system,” Scott said. “The gear is held up by hydraulic pressure, and if there’s a problem with that hydraulic pressure, gravity will put the gear back down. Really simple, wonderful system, magical; well within the spirit of this airplane, which again, Burt is a master of simplicity and efficiency.” The best part of it is that, according to Scott, the gear weighs little more than a fixed landing gear (with wheel pants and the various fairings) for a Cozy Mark IV, according to Scott, and there’s less drag than with fixed gear. The wheels and brakes are from Grove Aircraft Company; the axles are from Aircraft Spruce.

Electrical System
With the leading edge of the closed canopy coming right up to the aft split line of the aforementioned hatch, the rear of the instrument panel is accessed by removing a few screws from a dust cover that’s otherwise hidden by the closed canopy glare shield. Once the cover is removed, the electrical system and the fuse blocks are exposed. Utilizing off-the-shelf aftermarket automotive fuse blocks and very few circuit breakers, Scott has followed Robert (Bob) Nuckolls’ AeroElectric Connection instruction manual when he wired his planes. “I picked a system and I stuck with it.” Scott claims.

Xtra-EZ

Bob Nuckolls is the master of keeping things simple and affordable, not a fan of spending hundreds of dollars on aviation circuit breakers when $20 worth of fuses mounted in a simple fuse block will do the same job. But Scott states, “I am an airplane guy, so there are a few things that I ran circuit breakers to, very few.” Subscribing further to Bob’s philosophies, Scott has installed a “normal” battery buss as well as an “endurance” or “essential” buss in the event of an alternator failure or need for it to be taken offline. Since the plane is plastic, there’s no easy way to chassis ground a lot of the equipment and accessories. So nested in the nose is what Scott calls his “forest of grounds,” which might be considered a departure from Nuckolls’ convention.

Battery
Scott built Xtra-EZ with the full intention of installing an “aircraft” battery. After all, he’s an A&P, and that’s what an A&P does. So he built and installed his battery box accordingly. But as he put it, he was brought into this century by caring friends who introduced him to modern technology. Dwarfed in the place where the “airplane” battery was to reside is a “high-tech” lead-acid battery of the same ampere-hour rating as its antique counterpart, but substantially smaller and lighter. “It does the same job as that aircraft battery but with half the weight,” Scott told us, as he also tried to recall its origin, concluding that it came from the electric wheelchair industry.

Battery
The tiny but powerful battery seems lost in the battery box Scott made for a full-size battery.

Battery
A view similar to that above, but with the “airplane” battery installed

Ergonomics
The center armrest is convertible and is used by the pilot when flown solo. “I actually have the room to unfold a map! I couldn’t do that in the Long-EZ,” Scott said. “The armrest fits me perfectly, but when I put another person in there, especially a big person with thick legs or whatever, they are not gonna fit. So you just flip it up out of the way. I lose my armrest – the copilot loses nothing.” Scott went on to explain that since his wife Lynn is the boss, her comfort is paramount. Her side was designed expressly for her, meeting her wants and needs. “She has extremely comfortable seating, has her own throttle, her own pitch trim, her own stick, her own rudder pedals.

Carbon fiber armrest and the hinge
In this construction photo, we can see the carbon fiber armrest and the hinge that allows it to be flipped up, out of the way.

Carbon fiber armrest and the hinge

“We’re not like we were with the Long-EZ where the person in the back cannot participate in the fun of flying – she’s right up here, she can participate, she can access anything, and she’s still really close. Touchy-feely but not jammed in there, not pinched.”

Instrumentation
A sharp eye will notice Grand Rapids Technologies (GRT) Engine Information System (EIS) digital display located in the back, underneath where the rear seat would cover it if it were installed. In other words, there’s an expensive engine monitoring digital display instrument located where no one will ever see it. I found this very puzzling, so I had to ask.

GRT EIS
The GRT EIS mounted where no one will ever see it

The answer became one of those Duh! moments for me, and I ended up feeling quite foolish for asking. The evolution of the system began with GRT making the EIS to be mounted in the panel, operated and observed by the pilot(s). As liquid crystal displays became available in color and became more affordable, and now with glass panels all the rage, GRT came out with its AHRS (attitude and heading reference systems) and EFIS (electronic flight instrument system)  “The unit in the back seat, although it has its own display, integrates to these displays by one 22-gauge wire per RS232 data line,” Scott said.

Grand Rapids EFIS and AHRS
The Grand Rapids EFIS and AHRS make up the majority of the panel.

So it only makes sense to mount the unit in the rear, as close to the engine as possible, in order to reduce the length of the wire bundle that runs from the engine to the EIS. If it were located up front, the bundle would have to be 10 feet longer. As it is, one small cable runs from the EIS to the EFIS. This setup saves weight as well as money.

Here’s some info I found on the GRT website, reinforcing Scott’s good decision: “Engine monitoring requires numerous connections to the engine and its sensors. Each of these connections is exposed to high levels of electrical noise, and has the potential of electrical faults introducing unexpected voltages to them. Bringing signals of this type into the EFIS has the potential for adversely affecting the EFIS, and thus reducing its integrity.

The landing brake (belly board)
The landing brake (belly board) is extended via an electric linear actuator.

Controls
Pitch and roll trim for the stock Cozy is designed to be simple, mechanical, practical, and cost effective, just as it is for the landing brake (belly board) and the nose strut retract mechanism. But as progress marches on, sometimes something that seems expensive or complicated (and maybe at one time it was) can become simple and affordable, relatively speaking. Enter electric trim servos, linear actuators, and the circuitry to operate them. What was once a system of levers, cables, turnbuckles, pulleys, springs and phenolic bearings (many of which needed attention and periodic adjustments) is now micro switches, wires, and servomotors. These systems can be installed in a fraction of the time and take up less of the available valuable real estate, and most of the systems can be operated without the pilot removing his hand from the stick. Scott chose to go this route.

Canopy
The canopy continues the total ergonomics and aids in the enjoyment of all on board. The stock Cozy canopy is sized to extend from the designed forward station to just behind the headrests. If a stock Cozy canopy were used, the center frame section would destroy the copilot’s peripheral view. So, along with the fuselage stretch, it was only natural to stretch the canopy as well: 14 inches to be exact. This would have been a custom item, and working with an expert in his field (Todd’s Canopies), Scott provided the info they needed to make the canopy right the first time. “I sent Todd what I thought I wanted. And he made me a canopy, and it worked out very well – it fit very well. The longer, taller, and wider canopy allows room for our heads and headsets, with room to spare for at least a 6-foot, 5-inch person. There’s enough room that I could touch the panel with my head if I needed to!” Scott said.

The canopy frame is made from carbon fiber, another departure from the plans and a bit of a dilemma for Scott. “I tried to keep it lightweight,” he said. “I didn’t use much carbon throughout the airframe as I really should have, but I really wanted to keep the airplane in the spirit of the Rutan-style construction. Burt is a master in selecting materials for aircraft, especially considering how ‘exotic’ they were considered to be back then. These are the same materials that I used in my Long-EZ, and the system served me well and I trust it greatly – I just wanted to retain all that history.”

Canopy under construction
Above: Canopy under construction. Below: Finished product.
Finished product.

The rear windows are a little bigger than what the plans called for. Since the main bubble grew, it made aesthetic sense to enlarge the other windows (portholes if you will), but more importantly, the rear passengers get a better outside view.

Fuel System
The fuel system is stock Long-EZ, so basically it’s like two fuel systems in one: a left and a right coupled by an Andair fuel valve that leads to a gascolator on the firewall and then onto a boost pump for the mechanical fuel injection. And it still has a Rutan spearhead: direct-reading fuel gauges that never lie. “It’s really good neck exercise to look around backwards,” said Scott. “I’m a little tall, so I use a mirror to look at the fuel gauge.”

The fuel tanks are sealed with Jeffco like so many other composite aircraft, but Scott refuses to use mogas for several reasons, one being the concern for ethanol attacking his fiberglass fuel tanks.

The fuel vent system is designed as such that there’s no way fuel can leak out of the tanks should the plane find itself on its back. And while upright, there’s no way it can develop or maintain a siphon, but it will always allow for the proper draining of fuel.

Strakes
Scott prefers the triple angles that are present in the leading edge of the EZ but not the Cozy, so he opted to purchase precast EZ strakes from Featherlite. In addition to an aggressive look, they offer more storage inside the cockpit. Since they are hollow and aren’t load carrying, it’s normal for builders to cut through the side of the fuselage to gain access to the hollow space provided by the strake installation. And since the EZ strakes (as installed on the Cozy) extend a bit farther forward than the stock Cozy strakes, more interior room is available. “It’s a place for Lynn to put her daily purse – and girls kind of carry more stuff than guys,” he said. “Gives me room for quick access to oil and rags which was a problem in a Long EZ.”

Lycoming IO-540 from the underside
Viewing the Lycoming IO-540 from the underside.
The photo below shows the exhaust fabrication.
Lycoming IO-540 from the underside

The Engine and Prop
The stock, normally aspirated Lycoming IO-540 core engine was purchased from an aircraft salvage yard. Scott stripped it down, cleaned it up, and sent off various parts to be serviced. He then reassembled it with Lycoming high-compression pistons and added a mostly stock Bendix fuel injection system (customized by Airflow Performance). Scott tossed out the mags in favor of a set of Light Speed Engineering electronic ignition modules. “The Light Speed dual unit really helps on the high-altitude operation and really reduces my fuel burn – makes it easy to start and it runs very well,” Scott said. Another engine modification is the installation of a remote, spin-on oil filter.

The air/oil separator, also used for crankcase ventilation, has its discharge completely outside the cowl. Scott was rather enthusiastic about this change from his EZ, as he used to fight with oil mist building up inside the cowl. The oil would never get out of the cowling and would run down the inside, turn black, and ooze out of all the seams. “Now it all exits the cowl and I can wipe it off, but you can still tell you were out flying.” Scott said. For him, wiping oil off the outside is a zen thing, like having bugs in your teeth after a great motorcycle ride.

Lycoming IO-540 from the underside

Scott built his Dynafocal (link to new glossary word) engine mount but added a fifth mounting point to the firewall – another “plagiarized” idea. Scott felt that since the engine was substantially longer than the called-for O-360, the extra point mounted up high would help with added triangulation. And in the unlikely event of a rollover (unlikely since any off-field landing can be done with the gear retracted), the fifth point would provide double duty as a roll bar.

The firewall in Scott’s Xtra-EZ is stainless steel, not aluminum and Fiberfrax. “I suffer with the weight, but it is proven in certified airplanes and it works,” Scott said. His reasoning goes beyond wanting to mimic certified aircraft; in a pusher configuration, an exhaust leak or even a fire can go unnoticed for quite some time as compared to a tractor. By the time it’s noticed, there could already be a breach, and before you have time to get down and get out, fire could be in the cockpit, or worse yet, the spar or other structural members could be adversely affected.

The fixed-pitch propeller was made by Craig Catto and is constructed with a maple core encased in carbon fiber. The spinner was produced by Ken Miller ofOwl Eagle Aerial Composites.

Cowling
The cowl can only be described as a work of art, from design to execution. As with everything else, Scott  didn't come up with the concept, but he still made it his. The Cozy and EZ plans specify building a huge NACA inlet on the underside of the aft portion of the fuselage, bringing cooling air in from the underside of the plane to cool the engine in an updraft manner. The warmed air then exits the face of the propeller end of the cowl where a tractor engine would normally have inlets. Many builders (including Scott) have opted to plumb their exhaust outlets into this region of their cowl to augment the escape of spent cooling air.

Scott reasoned that the engine was never designed for updraft cooling, so he built and installed a pair of P-51 Mustang-style scoops on the upper half of his all-carbon fiber cowl. Each scoop feeds a well-designed plenum complete with expansion diffusers that tightly affix to the engine where traditional aluminum baffles would be attached. “I incorporated all the rules on how fast I could expand it, and I just found an easy way of doing it,” he said. “I used glass instead of aluminum and just came up with my own ideas, and then I covered it all with a cowling.” The cowling doesn’t have to carry the dynamic pressures that the engine compartment normally experiences, so there’s none of that “cowling pooch” at speed. The cowling can also be lighter as it doesn’t need to be as rigid.

Lycoming IO-540 from the underside

When asked if he nailed it the first time out, Scott replied, “No, but I was very close. The cylinders were fine, but I had oil temperature problems that I quickly solved by once again copying what worked. I installed a nice oil cooler, but I had to add a scoop to the bottom cowling. It’s well worth the drag penalty.”
 
Scott knew that the cowl and plenum would be difficult to pull off properly, so he gave himself six months to do it. A year-and-a-half later, he has what you see here.

Paint
It’s hard to miss that yellow and white paint scheme when parked amidst a sea of other “grazing” EZ-type aircraft. Up close you’d be hard-pressed to tell it apart from the myriad of “hired gun” paint jobs found at large fly-ins and costing more than most of our entire projects. But this paint job was not hired out. It was done in the same cramped 1½ car garage where the plane was built, and it was done by the owner/builder, from prep to primer, to cut and buff.

Cozy
Looking more like the space shuttle preparing for liftoff than a Cozy, Scott (with the help from a friend) manhandled the fuselage to the backyard, flipping it inverted so the underside could be prepped for paint.

Learning from his first project, Scott took extra care when building parts, ensuring the mitigation of work when it came time to prep for paint. “It gets a little overwhelming to fill and finish a composite airplane, even though this is my second one,” Scott said. “So I did a lot of the fill and finish as I constructed each part. I took it pretty far along, but I still was overwhelmed when it came time to do the final prep for paint. I didn’t pay to have anything done – I did everything myself.”

Cozy
It’s truly amazing that such a professional-looking paint job can come from such restricted working conditions. A total testament to Scott’s skills.

The leftover Jeffco that was used to seal the fuel tanks saw duty in an aesthetic manner: cleaning up the otherwise unexposed side of the landing gear doors and the well into which the gear is retracted. Although it did a great job of filling pinholes and the weave, after being exposed to ultraviolet light, it began to fade from the pleasing blue/grey color to shades of green. So in an attempt to keep things color coordinated, Scott recoated the exposed Jeffco with the same grey-tinted Zolatone splatter finish that he used in the cockpit.

Scott in his tiny garage, building the main spar
Scott in his tiny garage, building the main spar. Once the project got to the “boat stage,” the car in the background had to go.

You gotta love a builder who will sacrifice the structure of his home for his project.
You gotta love a builder who will sacrifice the structure of his home for his project.

Ramp Speed
Certain design elements are the way they are simply for “ramp speed,” Scott explained. It’s a very important thing. The shape and contour of the wingtips, the canard wingtips, and the tips of the rudders – that’s all ramp speed according to Scott.

Impressions of the Innovations
After 75 hours of flight time (at the time of this writing, August 2009), things are all positive. Scott reports that the six-cylinder engine is unbelievably smooth, and the power is breathtaking. His goal of a true cruise speed of 200 knots at altitude has been surpassed. Fuel flow is reported to be much less than expected, with credit given to the Light Speed dual electronic ignition and the Bendix mechanical fuel injection.

The downdraft cooling with the P-51 inlets and expansion runners into the pressure plenum works very well. All cylinders are within 25 degrees in cruise. Scott has since added turning vanes which now keep the forward cylinders cool in a long climb.

The oil stays cool; it never goes over 200 degrees even in the Texas heat. Craig Catto’s prop pushes/accelerates this heavy monster to flying speed in about the same time/distance as Scott’s Long-EZ. The rate of climb is thrilling even with two people and an abundance of luggage and fuel.

The 12-inch stretch between the wing and canard, combined with the 12-inch staggered seating, makes for a very comfortable cabin. The weight and balance with the big engine isn't a problem. Scott has to carry 35 pounds of lead in the nose for solo flight, or he can carry a passenger (copilot) of up to 300 pounds.

All in all, this is one of the finest examples of Rutan-style aircraft ever built. It incorporates advances in technology and comfort with tried-and-true concepts and construction methods. I’m thrilled to have been invited by Lynn to see the plane up close. I feel lucky to have met Scott and Lynn and look forward to renewing our friendship at the next fly-in.

Overall

 

Span

28.1 feet

 

Length

18.6 feet

 

Height (level)

7.4 feet

Fuselage

 

Seats

4

 

Frontal area

8.5 square feet

 

Cockpit width

42 inches

 

Cockpit height

40 inches

Performance

 

Vne

190 knots 219 mph

 

Vcr @ 75% power

205 knots true*

 

Stall

60-65 knots

 

ROC

2,800 fpm

 

Service ceiling

FL 21 and climbing

 

Takeoff – over a 50 foot obstical

Unknown

 

Landing – over a 50 foot obstical

Unknown

 

Fuel capacity

72 gallons

 

Range

1,500 nautical miles

Weights

 

Empty

1,400 pounds

 

Gross

2,400 pounds

 

Baggage limit

300 pounds

 

g-load +

3.8

 

g-load –

2

Wing

 

 

Span

28.1 feet

 

Area

119.3 square feet

 

Aspect ratio

6.7 : 1

 

Forward CG

95.5 inches

 

Aft CG

100 inches

 

Airfoil – root

Eppler 1230

 

Airfoil – tip

Eppler 1230

 

Dihedral

0 degree

 

Washout

2.7 degrees

 

Sweep

18.4 degrees

 

Incidence

0.5 degree

Ailerons

 

Span

65 inches

 

Area

2.2 square feet

 

Deflection – up

20 degrees

 

 Deflection – down 

20 degrees

 

Type

Plain

Canard

 

Span

12.5 feet

 

Stab area

10.2 square feet

 

Elevator area

2.9 square feet

Airfoil Roncz 1145

 

Deflection – up

15 degrees

 

Deflection – down

30 degrees

 

Incidence

3.5 degrees

Tail (vertical)

 

Span at rudder

3.4 feet

 

Stab area

4.8 square feet

 

Rudder area

1.9 square feet

 

Airfoil

Eppler 1230

 

Deflection

26 degrees

Powerplant

 

Make

Lycoming

 

   Model

IO-540 (was J3C5D)

 

Induction

Bendix

 

Horsepower

260

 

Max torque

487.68 pounds/feet

 

Redline

2,800 rpm

 

Fuel

100LL

 Propeller

 

Make

 Catto

 

Type

Fixed

 

Blades

3

 

Material

Wood/Carbon

 

Diameter

68 inches

 

Pitch

88 inches

* The engine is powerful enough that Vne can be exceeded at 75 percent power.

 
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