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  • Ryszard Zadow

2024 Rutan Reunion Flight: Meet Jim Price and his LongEZ

Updated: Jul 5

Of all the unique and successful designs of Burt Rutan, the LongEZ is probably the most popular and most prolific. On display at AirVenture 2024 will be one that's hard to miss, quite literally because it has a paint scheme that’s hard to miss. The plane has the right to be a little flamboyant because it’s very special, which is why it was picked to be on display. LongEZ N57JP, holds the FAI’s C1.a World Altitude and Altitude in Horizontal Flight Records; 35,027 feet, unbeaten now for 28 years!

It's Builder and World Record holding Pilot should be more flamboyant, but truth is as long as I’ve known Jim Price he’s always been a very humble and quiet man and unless you can get him talking you’d never know about his incredible resume and accomplishments. Jim and his LongEZ will be on display at AirVenture on Monday, July 22nd. Come by Boeing Plaza and meet Jim Price and his LongEZ:

 Jim Price Bio:

LongEZ - N57JP, Holder of FAI’s C1.a World Altitude and Altitude in Horizontal Flight Records 


My “Magic Carpet” took me 11 years and over 4,000 hours to construct. It’s first flight was in 1994. One year and two months from it’s first flight, I’d flown it to every state in the  Continental United States, every Provence of Canada, except one, and even into Mexico. 


After seeing another LongEZ set a World Altitude Record, I decided to see if I might best that record. I spent six months in development and my test flights were exceeding the current World Record. I decided to go further and made a proposal to the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering asking that they review my program. They were so impressed by my project, I had 5 Professors and 35 students working on the development with me. The key Professor was Professor Bill Ribbens and he suggested vortex generators to improve the L/D numbers. The students and I made up wings that could be modified and run in the wind tunnel. By doing a design of experiments procedure we tested and evaluated the results which had made significant improvements. 


I had many tasks to accomplish to pull this all together, to include, working with Col. Sam Holvack (US. Air Force’s High Altitude Expert) who trained me how to survive this harsh psychological and physical environment.


LongEZ N57JP and I still hold these two World Altitude Records, that I set 28 years ago, in 1996. The person that I took the records away from is Bruce Bohannon in his “Pushy Galore”, which was sponsored by Shell Oil Company and is now displayed in the EAA’s Museum. 


I’m a retired automotive engineer/manager and travel is my main focus currently. Vietnam is my favorite destination, as I am working with four major universities there, have over 800 Vietnamese F/B friends as well as many very close friends.  


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