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Central States Association, Rough River Canard Fly-In

A nice trip with Xtra-EZ

Story and photos by By Lynn Canatella

Rough River
Left base for runway zero-two, Rough River

I’ve just returned from what was probably the best grassroots fly-in I’ve ever attended. It took place in Falls of Rough, Kentucky. A state park, airport (2I3), lodge, and restaurant are all situated within walking distance of each other on the banks of the Rough River Lake. The setting is very pretty, quaint, and peaceful.

Rough River
Rough RiverLake

One of Central States Association’s most successful ventures is its sponsorship of the Rough River Canard Fly-In at Falls of Rough State Park in Kentucky each fall. Central States Association is an organization of builders and flyers of Rutan-type aircraft. Their membership includes approximately 1,000 canard enthusiasts, and the Rough River Canard Fly-In has been an annual event since 1986. The planning, organization, and hosting are handled by Sam and Phila Chambers and Dave and Betsy Russell, and they’ve done a truly wonderful job of creating a well-orchestrated, entertaining, and laid-back fly-in with a fabulous atmosphere. Next year, the fly-in will be celebrating its 25th anniversary and is scheduled for September 30 to October 2, 2011. You should try to include this on your fall calendar if you can!

Xtra-EZ
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 Reserve Grand Champion Plans Built – Silver Lindy Award winner Xtra-EZ

My husband, Scott Carter, and I planned on taking the Xtra-EZ to the 2010 fly-in. We had put 181 hours on the airplane since its first flight in May of 2009. The airplane exceeds our expectations in terms of performance and comfort and is particularly well suited for longer trips. One of the performance characteristics on the airplane Scott wanted to improve was pitch sensitivity. With James Redmon’s help, he installed a new set of elevators, paying close attention to the accuracy of the profile. There was a positive result from this effort. Scott and James determined that even further improvement could be achieved with a change of the relationship between the elevators and the canard. This was accomplished by moving the hinge points. The aircraft now handles as Scott had hoped, which is very similar to that of his Long-EZ. This trip was the first long flight with these enhancements in place, and it flew superbly.

Our friends James and Sandy Redmon were also planning on taking their airplane, Berkut “Race 13,” so we traveled as a flight of two. James spent over 11 years building his Berkut. He’s involved as a test pilot and engineer in the development of Mobius, an optionally manned/unmanned aircraft based on the Berkut airframe design, which arose from modifications of the Long-EZ. Scott and James have been flying together a long time, and since the Xtra-EZ was completed we’ve all been doing some cross-country trips together, which is a ton of fun. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, take photos of, and just generally hang out with. And James can almost keep up with us! (We do have to throttle back just a tad, as James keeps reminding me, due to his lack of the two Xtra cylinders we have!) James clearly has the speed bug; Race 13’s modifications include an optimized race propeller, which is a Catto two-blade; ram air induction and ram air referenced injectors; winglet intersection fairings; sheared low-drag winglet tips; conscious overall weight reduction; and a harmonic engine balancer.

Rough River
James and Sandy Redmon’s “Race 13” Berkut, though not as fast as Xtra-EZ, can be found on Scott’s wing quite often.

Rough River

Several of our friends came to see us and experience this fly-in Scott has been telling them about for years. Three friends flew their two Bonanzas from Michigan, and another rented a car and drove from the same state. It was nice to see people we usually only get to see once a year at Oshkosh! Our Michigan friends were the only “V-tails” parked amid the sea of winglets, and they were among the hardier people that camped on the airport. In addition, there were 65 airplanes in attendance and over 165 visitors including several from other countries.

Rough River

Some of the more unusual visitors included many canine flying companions. A few of them travel in highly customized accommodations. This is BulyAliev’s Cozy. One of his airplane’s unique features is this flying kennel!

Buly Aliev’s Cozy MK IV
Buly Aliev’s Cozy MK IV

The infamous Yair Gil was vacationing in the States with his wife Dora, and they came to the fly-in. In 2008 Yair flew his Cozy MK IV 4X-OYG from Tel Aviv to Oshkosh, a trip covering over 5,700 miles and 47 flying hours! http://YairGil.gassner.co.il

Night Ramp Flying
Night Ramp Flying

After dinner Saturday, we visited the airport in the dark, chatting with friends who were still hanging out at their airplanes. There’s just something special about walking around a ramp crowded with airplanes, lit only by the rotating beacon and runway lights.

Harry Manvel’s Defiant and Scott Carter’s Xtra-EZ
Harry Manvel’s Defiant and Scott Carter’s Xtra-EZ. Fourteen cylinders in one photo!

Cozy Mark IV

Jerry and Debbi Schneider’s Cozy Mark IV “Web-Slinger”arrived with just 48 hours on it. The Cozy is powered by a 160-hp IO-320 Lycoming with a constant-speed propeller. , A unique approach to cooling was to utilize a NACA style inlet to feed a downdraft plenum, as opposed to the plans-specified updraft system.

Another cool feature Jerry included is a forward-hinged, electrically operated “Texas Cozy” oversized canopy made by Todd’s Canopies. Jerry chose the “Web-Slinger” name and design because he thought it would appeal to Young Eagles participants.

Cozy Mark IV
Jerry also wins the award for one of the most unique shop structures in which an airplane was built. It was a tent!

Mitch Goodrich’s Long-EZ
Mitch Goodrich’s Long-EZ (built by Joe Person). It includes Berkut-type split canopies and a Berkut nose. It also features a very unique, highly detailed eagle paint scheme. Photo courtesy James Redmon.

Cozy Mark IV

Also present was Bill James’ VariEze, N95BJ. After a five-year build, Bill has put over 1,000 hours on the airplane, and it includes so many of his ideas and designs that it’s impossible to quantify them here. Bill says they’re over 30 (but that was yesterday – he’s probably added three more by now). When asked what he likes best on the airplane, Bill’s answer is “bug guts”!

Chris Esselstyn’s Cozy RG
Chris Esselstyn’s Cozy RG. Photo courtesy James Redmon.

Chris Esselstyn’s screaming-fast Cozy RG “Race 54” was present. Each time he flew by, the crowd stopped talking to watch and listen (and drool). Chris has been the leader in innovations to the Cozy-type aircraft – one of the first with a Lycoming IO-540, blended winglets, and retractable main gear to name but a few.
 
All in all, it was very nice to get a closer look at these airplanes rather than trying to do so during the time a larger event generally allows. It made me remember that these people whom on most days I think of as just pilots flying around for the fun of it are more than that. This is a group of people who have the imagination and confidence to not only say “what if” but to actually take that thought to another level altogether and execute what they imagined.


Video credit: Yair Gil

 
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