In years past rows and rows of Rutan LongEZ’s and Varieze’s seemed to dominate the flight line at the annual EAA Airshow, now called AirVenture. Legend has it the record was over 120 EZs parked on show center. Visitors of the flight line saw winglets almost as far as they could see. It earned the nickname “EZ Street”.
Over time and for numerous reasons, the number of Canards attending Oshkosh diminished. EZ Street gave way to smaller groups bunched together as they arrived and found parking amongst all the other types of aircraft on the flight line. Many still attend but are scattered across the airport in camping and other area.
In fact the inspiration for the Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience was 5 years ago when RAFE Founder Ryszard Zadow walked down the flight line during AirVenture 2014, and where he recalled once seeing all those EZs, he counted twelve.
Attendance is always good during years when Burt Rutan is present at Airventure and this year was no different. This year something happened that really helped establish the presence of Rutan designs at Airventure 2019. The EAA touched base with RAFE about helping gather Rutan designs for display on Burt Rutan day which was going to be that Thursday, July 25th. Ryszard did one better and started gathering up one flying example of each of Burt’s Homebuilt designs, and a few more. In addition, RAFE posted a “Calling all EZ’s” on all the Rutan focused forums and email lists. RAFE was hoping for a flashback to the old days of seeing rows upon rows of winglets. With parking being on a first come first served basis, the question was could all the EZs and other Rutan designs commandeer an area that would allow them to flock together? With the help of great EAA people like Bill Foraker, Charlie Becker and Rick Larsen EZ Street got reestablished on a major thoroughfare (Blue box) between the Homebuilt Hangar and the Warbird Plaza.
Everyone that transited between the flight line and the warbird area got to walk past a one of a kind line up of Rutan designs. There was so much activity with people stopping by to visit that many of the RAFE Pilots standing next to their planes were losing their voice by midweek.
AirVenture attendees got to see the entire family of Rutan Homebuilt designs plus a few of his one of a kind aircraft surrounded by numerous LongEZs and Variezes. On display were a Quickie, Solitaire. VariViggen, Varieze, LongEZ, Defiant and Catbird! That was probably the first time ever at Oshkosh and hopefully not the last!