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  • Jeff Goodrich, RAFE Aircraft Sponsor

Just In Time for Oshkosh 2023 - RAFE Fleet Grows Again!

When Engineering and Art Converge: The Jack Hickman VariEze – N101SH

A few weeks ago, the RAFE Lubbock Canard Base volunteers traveled from Lubbock, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico to retrieve the VariEze donated to RAFE, by master Engineer and craftsman Jack Hickman.



The Hickman VariEze is a 40+ year old masterpiece of fabrication. The design, of course, is one most of us are familiar with, but the build is something else. The Hickman VariEze would have been a contender for a Lindy Oshkosh Award for best build had it been there in its day. The quality is amazing as is the precision of the components.



Even if you had never met Jack (or his lovely wife Glenna), just walking into his hangar you would have guessed that a true craftsman occupied the place. Pristine spaces that were immaculate with specially designed and hand-built tools. Many things that you could not order from even the highest end tooling supplier. Not just tool benches, but tables and benches built at the right height and dimensions to accommodate not only the builder but the fabrication of the plane and parts as well.


An interesting fact of the Hickman VariEze is its such an early one to get started building that the first edition plans did not have ailerons on the wings (a concept I still cannot grasp), and that part of the plane had to be rebuilt to the new specs.


Jack has not only supplied RAFE with a great airplane to fly into the future, but a written historical journal of the building of the Hickman VariEze, all the plans and a book of stories to go with this masterpiece. This fits perfectly with RAFE's mission and preserves the story of the builder as well as the airplane. It's those stories that inspire future generations!













What is next for Jack? After all, he is a retired engineer in his late 80’s. He is in the middle of building a Sonex airplane. It is all laid out and well on its way to a first flight.

As for the VariEze, it is tucked safely inside a Lubbock Canard Base Hanger at LBB awaiting its next adventure.



Thank you Jack and Glenna for putting up with us in the 105-degree weather, and thanks to Mike Delano and Ronnie Bruton for your hard work and expertise on moving airplanes.



If you are headed to Oshkosh, travel safe and stop by EZ STREET in HBP and check out the Rutan designs. See you all next week!

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