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  • Ryszard Zadow

Canard Flight Academy Tranistions Pilots into their EZ's!

The RAFE Canard Flight Academy has been busy! In the last couple of weeks Pilots, future canard owner and builders about to finish their project came to Covington to get training in the Speed Canard. Bill Welter is about to do the first flight on his Mazda powered LongEZ he’s been building. He spent a day with Rick Finney flying the Speed Canard and discussing first flight testing.

Len Shockley bought a LongEZ and came to fly the Speed Canard in preparation for his transition to it.

Mike Satchell is building a Cozy IV and nearing completion so he came up to get a head start on Canard Flying. Mike hung around for a few days and on one day the weather wasn’t conducive to flying he really helped us out by making a run to southern Missouri to pick up some LongEZ wings, Cozy Canopy and other parts donated to RAFE. Thank you Mike!

We train in the Speed Canard because it’s about 95% just like a LongEZ or Varieze. Though it’s a fun airplane to fly the Speed Canard is not what everyone aspires to pilot, it’s just a tool we use to get future EZ Pilots there. The ultimate goal, which we hope to have very soon, is a LongEZ on site for transition training. Pilots who attain proficiency in the Speed Canard will be able to fly a RAFE LongEZ on site, that day instead of waiting until their project is completed or go home to fly their airplane. This facilitates the fundamental of learning called “recency of experience”.

Despite not having that transition LongEZ yet RAFE Canard Academy has accomplished the recency of experience goal with two new EZ owners! James Bailey bought a nice Varieze that was painted up like an Air Force Thunderbird. He hired Jet guys to get it airworthy and fix a few things. While in the Jetguys shop James airplane acquired the nickname “Thunderbird”.

I got to test fly Thunderbird and really enjoyed flying it. James future son-in-law, Jonathon Lundberg, is also a Pilot. He just got hired by a regional airline but is still very enthusiastic about flying all kinds of airplanes. Jonathan also owns a Heli-Cycle. James came out the Covington about a month ago before Thunderbird was out of the Jetguys shop. I flew with him in the Speed Canard to get his transition training started.

He wanted Jonathon to also fly Thunderbird and fly it back to Smyrna, TN. This weekend they both came out and Rick Finney flew with Jonathan, who picked up Canard flying quickly. The rest of the afternoon was transitioning Jonathon into the Varieze he will share with his future Father-in-Law.

That’s a milestone for RAFE Canard Flight Academy. We finally were able to make the transition from Speed Canard to an actual EZ! Today, another new Varieze owner, Gary Lightfoot got checked out to fly the refurbished Varieze he purchased from Jetguys and he did it in ONE DAY! Way to go Gary!

We’re really excited about the progress the Canard Flight Academy is making and the contribution it’s making to Pilots seeking to fly a Rutan design. Image the anxiety of all those Pilots who spent years building an EZ and then took it on its first flight having never done that before. To be able to get some training in the Speed Canard before your first flight, whether it be the airplane you built or bought is a huge stress reducer!

Congrats to all our recent Speed Canard and EZ Pilots!


Ryszard Zadow

President, RAFE.

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