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Burt Rutan VariEze & Quickie at National Air & Space Museum

Did you know that you can currently see two Burt Rutan projects at the National Air and Space Museum known as the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center? On display are the Rutan VariEze and the Rutan Quickie (The Rutan Voyager is typically on display but at the time of this writing is on loan/or in storage).

This museum is a must see for aviation and space flight enthusiasts (actually, even if you are neither, the collection and history are astounding and shouldn't be missed if visiting the Washington DC and surrounding area).

The Rutan VariEze

Learn More on The National Air and Space Museum Website

Burt Rutan invigorated the homebuilt aircraft movement when he began selling the plans to build his VariEze ('very easy') during summer 1976. Compared to nearly all other homebuilt designs, the VariEze was easier to build, yet it performed better, and cost much less, than the airplanes produced by Cessna, Beechcraft, or Piper. Propelled by a 100-horsepower engine, a VariEze, built to Rutan's specifications, could carry two adults for about 1,127 km (700 miles) at approximately 290 kph (180 mph). Loaded light without a passenger and only an hour of fuel on board, most VariEzes could climb at 608 m (2,000 ft) per minute and reach altitudes near 7,600 m (25,000 ft).

Read More on The National Air and Space Museum Website

The Rutan Quickie

In 1974, Tom Jewett and Gene Sheehan decided to begin designing an airplane that would provide "more flying enjoyment for less money" than other homebuilt aircraft designs popular at that time. Burt Rutan (Rutan VariEze and Voyager, see NASM collection) assisted Jewett and Sheehan in the design work and the first Quickie was finished, tested in flight, and ready for a public introduction by April 1978. In June, the two men formed the Quickie Aircraft Corporation to produce and sell complete kits to build the aircraft. They flew the airplane to the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual gathering at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in June where the Quickie drew intense public interest and won the Outstanding New Design award. By 1980, the firm had sold 350 kits.

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