Author Topic: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?  (Read 11472 times)

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Offline flyingwarbanana

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Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« on: July 05, 2010, 07:55:44 AM »
Hi,

I am a student pilot and hope to have my PPL completed shortly. The plan/goal is to purchase a Varieze shortly after completing my license. (possibly before, though I would not fly it until obtaining PPL).

Just wondering if there are any "heads up" things I should know about.

First and foremost, flight characteristics. Basically, is the Varieze a plane that a newer pilot could safely learn to fly in a reasonable amount of time, perhaps 3-5 hours with a current EZ pilot. I will have about 70-80 flight hours when I complete my license, more than most because life interrupted previous flight training.

Second, costs. Relative to other planes of this use category (i.e. Vans RV3,4, etc.) Anything unusual about Variezes regarding costs of ownership. I know I won't be able to get insurance until I have more hours, but once I do, are they more to insure, less, etc? Stuff like that.

Finally, my local airport currently has a long waiting list for hangar space. Part of the appeal to the Varieze is I could trailer it home and store it in the garage if I need to. The idea being to leave the plane on tie down for the week I plan to fly a lot, and then bringing it home if I won't be flying again for a week or more, or if the weather looks bad. Just wondering how big of a deal removing the wings is on a Varieze. Since they are all set up differently, is there something in particular I should look for that makes this process simpler?

Thanks to anyone for input on any of these questions.

Eric

Offline The Jack

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 01:08:43 AM »
Eric,

You should be fine, but I recommend approaching the EZ in a smart manner.  I've just finished up my VFR certificate and purchased an EZ a few months prior to finishing up.  I had my instructor put on my insurance and had him take me out in the plane (he was already checked out on canards) several times before I finished my license.  Since the EZes only have a stick in the rear, I'd navigate the pattern and he'd take over just as we'd cross the numbers. 

The seller should offer check out on the airplane.  If you want, you might consider having your instructor checked out on the Varieze and take you out in the plane so you can get a good feel for it on your own schedule.  It'll also help with your insurance, because they'll probably want you to have 10 hours with an instructor checked out on the plane.  The insurance company may also consider the EZ as complex aircraft because of the the retractable front gear.  (My insruance agency does consider the plane complex.)   

EZes are *fast* planes for us new guys.  I trained in a plane that cruised at about 112kts (An old Beech Sundownder).  Flying The Beech in our pattern at KFYV was pretty leisurely, making it easy to stay ahead of the aircraft.  On the other hand, my EZ gets to pattern altitude almost before I turn to crosswind and there's no time to accidentally let my mind wander.  You must fly the airplane.

I spent a lot of time reading up on the characteristics of canards and talking with folks who have EZes.  I lucked out and got to spend some time with EZ pilots in California who have been flying for years.

I don't know about trailering the plane back and forth.  The connecting structure is different on the Varieze from the Long EZ, so I can't comment on it directly.  However, I do think you would get really tired of attaching and dismantling the wings from the strakes on the field.  That's a lot of cumbersome parts to be careful with and no set place for your tools and such.  You would need two people to get a wing on, and where would you place a wing after removal and before loading?  I can guarantee that you won't fly the plane half as much as you would with some hangar space.  Maybe try splitting hangar fees with another person.

Hope this helps,

--Josh




 
KFYV - Drake Field

Offline Reb Wallace

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 07:51:01 AM »
my 1st owned AC is a varieze I had a total of 40 hrs in cessna and a lot of ultralight flying prior to flying my eze with one flight in a long in the back seat. As for as removing the wing and canard it is very simple but difficult by yourself, I made a set of high horses out of wood at just the right height and angle with the wing so I could do it by myself. That gets old real quick. so I had a local upholstery shop make a cover,now I can leave it set up, which makes it easier to go fly, I now have aprox 150 hrs. in the eze, by the way my eze is for sale. If you would like info on it let me know. pics are on www.ultralightdreamcatchers.com. Rebel

Offline Joe Person

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2010, 08:42:20 AM »
My first owned airplane was a VariEze, and I only had 170 hours on a PPL.  The VariEze's wings can be removed & installed by one person.  A little more investigation will show that Jerry Gardner of Sheridan, WY, has been trailering his Eze for decades, in the manner described in this thread.  If you opt to try and purchase a completed & flying airplane, BE SMART - GET EXPERIENCED HELP WITH THE EVALUATION OF THE AIRPLANE before you talk $$$$ with a seller!  Don't assume the airplane is a "plug & play & fly" scenario.  EZs and Ezes are plans-built airplanes, with a wide bandwidth of quality & build.  Seemingly "pretty" airplanes can have built in flaws & errors in construction that may not be evident.

Joe Person
VariEze N79JN
Cozy #879 Under Construction
EAA Tech Counselor 4418
Bothell, WA (KPAE)

Offline Bill James

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2010, 09:35:26 PM »
flyingwarbanana
You mentioned flight characteristics. In the front seat of a VariEze, the first 30 seconds after liftoff is pretty critical, whatever your experience or flight time.
It was especially so in the early days, when a back seat checkout was not available. With no other similar sight picture, I understand that it was possible to over-react when the nose came up and push over too much, especially with the more sensitive short cord elevators, with the nose wheel hitting and then bouncing, and then the mains, and so on. Although I havenít heard of pilot-induced oscillations for a while, I bet even today not being deliberate enough about the first flight preparation, including plenty of back seat time, could pretty easily be a problem.
With respect to a stable and not overly exciting liftoff, the process includes setting the elevators an inch or so down and letting the plane fly off when it is ready. The mental part is to be prepared to set and hold the takeoff attitude for the thirty seconds or so until you get to altitude where you can start to maneuver the plane and get used to the small input and quick and responses. You can imprint the takeoff attitude by sitting in the plane with the canopy closed and the nose gear extended and on a paint can. That will also be close to the landing attitude.
I mention the above because it is the same as with any plane except that in my experience, once you get the feel of the plane, it is more easy and fun to fly than most planes. However you still have to do some of that pilot stuff; sometimes more than others. I flew out of a long runway for a long time, and now enjoy the challenge of being ďupĒ on every downwind and approach to a shorter, downhill runway.
You didnít mention probably the most significant issue, judgment. The VariEze is a highly specialized design. Most days you take off solo with a coupla hours fuel and all is good. The challenges are to be shrewd about weight especially on hot days. Or going into places like Oshkosh too soon, or Rough River with its fairly short sloping runway with lots of distractions. At Oshkosh a guy canít be thinking about stick and rudder when the Champ in front of him decides to impress everyone with his short field landing at the approach end.  I donít mention judgment as a negative, but actually as a positive, as a significant issue that we all face and re-decide anew every flight. Not as a disqualifier, but as something to work on too. I have enjoyed observing many including myself that are better because they chose the discipline and challenge of building and flying their own plane, which often means first being better at everything else in your life too.
My intent is to hit a few items you mentioned, in answer that they are all do-able, one bite at a time. Good idea to listen to these guys and gals.
Good flying-
Bill James, Fort Worth VariEze N95BJ
Downdraft Plenums, QuickCowls
There was supposed to be anhedral?
ATP, Society of Flight Test Engineers

Offline A. Bruce Hughes

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2010, 05:41:06 PM »
Hi Eric

It will help if you tell us where you live.   There are certain people who can evaluate a "for sale"
airplane (You pay them for expert judgment generally).   

Also you need to get some time in a Cozy; the sight in landing and takeoff is similar to
a Longeze.   I guess the Varieze is similar to a Cozy but I have flown a Varieze ONLY from
the back seat and then ONLY for a few minutes.   I know 2 people who can give you lessons
(you pay them) if you tell us where you are.

Bruce Hughes   :)

Offline flyingwarbanana

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2010, 02:44:22 PM »
Hi,

I live near Raleigh NC. I would very much like to find a CFI who could help me complete my PPC in my Varieze somewhere around here. Any contact info would be great.

Offline A. Bruce Hughes

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2010, 08:33:02 AM »
OK,  Here are 3 names of guys you need to check:  Ken Ashton (704-784-1874),
Alex Becker (248-396-7944), and Greg Fowler (919-562-1739).   All 3 have Cozys.
Greg's is a smaller Cozy, which would be better, I guess, for simulating the
Longeze.   I don't know how well it simulates the Varieze.

Alex Becker is the CSA "state representative" for NC.   All of the state reps are
very helpful guys.

I don't know who is a CFI AND owns a Cozy, other than Curt Smith in Illinois and
Burrall Sanders in Colorado.

BEFORE you buy anything you should check with the 3 guys in NC.   Maybe they
know someone who can inspect the varieze AND lives nearby.   If the varieze is
close to New York, you can contact Ken Miller.   If it is closer to Tennessee,
contact Valerie Harris.   Their phone numbers are in the CSA directory which you
should have by now.    You DID join, didn't you?   Best $30 you will spend on
airplanes.....

See the home page for more on CSA.

Bruce Hughes   :)

Offline cloudman

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Re: Varieze as 1st owned aircraft?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2010, 08:00:20 PM »
Eric,
I would like to offer a couple of comments about flying a Varieze. When I first flew mine in 1981 there were not many around to consult. I did get a back seat ride with Jerry Gardner a short while before I took mine to the airport. Corona was not really long enough to do actual runway flights, but it did allow me to do 'canard' flights and learn to hold the canard steady. I recall doing several runs over a two hour period and several days. I would suggest that you have a 5000 ft runway or so and that it would be good to first gradually gradually increase the speed eg starting at 50mph and try to lift the canard. But before lifting the canard, pull the power so you will not 'accidentaly' become airborne. After learning to fly the canard without power, start to hold partial power and do a canard runway flight. After managing the canard flights go to the next stage of accelerating to the speed of flying the canard .....plus another 5 mph and seeing if the mains will leave the ground. Repeat with 5mph increases, pulling the power and trying to lift off.
The next is to either attempt short runway flights or go to altitude. Which ever you do depends on you. I have always thought that getting off the ground and flying upstairs was the best, however it can be argued. My old hanger partner was one that did go to altitude, but had an difficult time landing, so runway flights may be better for some. He then went back to doing more runway work including runway flights.
The canard really is in my opinion the best 'flight instrument' on the plane..you can continue looking outside vs looking inside at the instrument panel. On the instrument panel one has to view the altimeter and other instruments, but to me the most needed one in many ways is the airspeed instrument. You have to fly the correct speeds to land the plane. Too fast and you will not get back down.
Wayne ...Varieze N725EZ