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Your Thoughts on Varieze's


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Hi All,


I know the Varieze's aren't able to be registered under RAA rules, however I am wondering whether anyone could give some opinions in relation to these aircraft. I have become aware of one for sale which has quite low hours (400 odd) and will cruise at 130 to 150 knots on about 15 to 20 litres of fuel an hour. All this for around $40k sounds too good to be true, but apparently this is what they are capable of.


If anyone has had any experience with these aircraft that they could share it would be much appreciated.





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G'day Ckaine,


I have owned a Vari-eze for the last 8 years and have accumulated around 800 hours on it in that time. Here are my thoughts, and yes they are somewhat biased, but the information I am giving is accurate.


Firstly I have heard on 2 occasions that when RAAus were approached they would accept the type on their register, this was not always the case, but appears to have changed based on recognition of the fact they do not as such have a stalling speed, previously they, as I understand were excluded due to high stalling speed. Check this out yourself though.


There can be a wide range of top speeds dependent on build accuracy, as much as 20 kts. Mine has a top cruise speed of 153 kts TAS when one up and mid fuel and 148 TAS when 2 up and full fuel, 96 litres. This is attained at a density height of 8500' which at full throttle and leaned to best power of 120 rich of peak equates to 75% power. Mine is a mid range example in speed. The fastest one in the world belongs (belonged) to Karl Zavier (USA) of Light Speed Engineering and had a top speed around 200 kts TAS, was also capable of 160 kts TAS at 14 L/hr. Check out the FAI world records, it was modified.


The original prototype built by Burt Rutan set a world record in 1978 (?) of a


climb (non turbo) standard airframe and engine to over over 25000'.


BEW should not exceed 330 Kg (mine 315) some weigh only 280 Kg and this makes a big difference. MTOW = 505 Kg MLW 476Kg


ROC light 1500 ft/min, heavy 800 ft/min under ISA conditions.


Fuel Burn: 20 L/hr full throttle @ 8500' = 75% pwr.


approx. 16 L/hr @ 135 kts TAS @ 8500' Days away from flying it with a fuel flow meter so will soon have more accurate data for the lower power settings.


Flying qualities:


NO adverse aileron yaw due to inboard ailerons yet they have a very quick rate of roll, almost neutral stability due to anhedral, so much like a little fighter in that regard. Pitch IS sensitive but you quickly get used to it, (or die as some have) and it is stable in pitch. Outboard deflecting rudders only and both can be used together as a mild speed brake. In cruise flight, they are barely deflect-able due to air loads, but then in cruise they are not required. Forward visibility is poor particularly on approach, no flaps but does have a large belly speed brake.


With the std 3 way trim they will fly practically hands of in smooth air.


In short a VARI nice aircraft to fly with seating comfort that is unsurpassed, except for the back seat which is terrible, but then you get from A to B quick so not so bad.


Great owner support through the Webb, ez org.com, canard flyer, etc.


The aircraft is really a brilliantly thought out design and is a testimony to the worlds greatest aircraft designer, Burt Rutan (that might be a bit over the top, but then he did build a working spaceship).




Take off uses runway like they were giving it away, ISA conditions to 50', light 650m heavy 1000m. on a 40 degree day 2 up full fuel maybe 1200m.


Landing: 700m give or take, I always use full length and save the breaks and tyres.


They don't like rain, wood prop and laminar flow canard.


Narrow but long front cockpit, narrow and short rear seat.


Bitumen runway ONLY, this is actually a plus for me as I don't insure it and knowing that I am going from long bitumen rwy to long bitumen rwy removes a hell of a lot of the potential accident risk. You may think this a handicap but I have learned to live with it and it has never really inconvenienced me and has given me a degree of self insurance.


That's about it for vises. The Long ez is a better aircraft, not as pretty (IMO) and a smidge slower, but better forward viz, less rwy required, more room, 32,000' ceiling, 200 L FOB for a 1100 nm range, somewhat dirt strip capable, but then generally more expensive to buy.


Annual maintenance cost for the VE $500 to a $1000 and this includes LAME inspection.


There are 11 Vari-eze's (easy) and 20 something Long-ez's (ease) in Oz and over a thousand in the US. Until the RV's came along the VE and LE were the most popular homebuilt.


In terms of speed/hp vari few aircraft will beat them and if you look at the market price comparison probably nothing will.


The VE is the 4th aircraft that I have owned and I love it to bits and would not consider selling it in the near future. Single best acquisition I have ever made.


If you want an aircraft to go places cheaply and relatively fast it is a winner.


I would strongly recommend you get a independent VE owner to assist with the purchase. I would be happy to offer any assistance you require if you decide to go ahead, including pre-purchase inspection. There are a few things that should be looked at before you buy one. Also you will need a hangar.


Happy Hunting







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Great report Mick, a real classic design. I have never flown one, but I came quite close to buying one earlier this year at Jandakot, you may know the aircraft. I can't remember the registration, but it was being sold by the son in law of the recently deceased owner. It had an O-235 and 24 volt electrics, and the year before had survived a forced landing due I think to fuel pump failure, with only very slight damage. It was a very impressive piece of kit without a doubt. I didn't buy it solely because of it needing tarmac, and me operating from gravel at Bindoon, so I ended up with the Jodel instead. One thing I found odd was that it had a rear stick and throttle, but no rear rudder pedals.


EDIT - ckain, when I was considering the aircraft mentioned above, I was told of a very useful forum on Canard aviation, with everything you ever wanted to know about Mr Rutan's babies. I hesitate to post a link to another forum here as it may be against the rules (Ian?), pm me if you would like it.





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A great plane, goes like a scalded cat, but i have seen some very rough glasswork on the wings, so bad that blind freddy couldn't miss it. I was told it still went well and wasn't for sale.



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G'day Bigpete,


The odd parking position with the nose wheel retracted (called grazing) is due to the fact that without the weight of the pilot on-board they are dead on the point of balance on the mains when at the horizontal position.


This odd parking position is actually quite smart as it makes it nearly impossible to blow over with all but a hurricane force wind. Face on wind drives it harder onto the ground and winds from behind flow back-wards over a wing that is at an angle greater than the stalled angle so not much lift can be generated.


Also as the design evolved the engine size (weight) grew. With the O-200 Continental fitted the alternator had to be swapped for a light weight 12 amp stator, and the stater motor had to be removed. So hand starting is the go and being parked nose down on the rubber bumper underneath they are somewhat self chocking.


Ckaine, if your reading this you may well be wondering about this hand starting business, don't worry it's generally dead eze, 2nd flick and they start, no heavy battery to worry about, no starter motor to maintain. The LE had starter motor.


If a crowd gathers or someone decides to video the start, give up and go to the pub, the only time they are a prick to start is when this scenario happens.


Browng, The aircraft you are referring to is a Long ez, it sold to a chap in Gladstone who owns a Vari-eze, also has a second half built one under his house I believe.


The forced landing you mentioned was due to a blocked crankcase breather which did give sporadic high fuel pressure readings due to the high crankcase pressure. The high crankcase pressure eventually relieved it self by blowing out the prop seal and it bled to death finally seizing and snapping a conrod. A mate who had a half share in it at the time and was the pilot, put it down in what must be the only piece of clear real estate 20 nm east of Forrest.







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A mate who had a half share in it at the time and was the pilot, put it down in what must be the only piece of clear real estate 20 nm east of Forrest.Regards



He did well, very well. I flew the Jodel back from Melbourne over the same area just a few weeks ago, and he was very lucky indeed to find any clear real estate at all, it's just trees, surrounded by trees, interspersed with more trees.



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