In a few hours I’ll be taking off from Ellington Airport in Houston Texas, home of the Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience Houston Canard Base. I’ll be in the latest addition to RAFE’s small fleet of donated aircraft, the Esteb-Tolchin LongEZ, “ET”. This flights the first leg in the journey to AirVenture 2021!
2019 was landmark year for RAFE. We flew in the airshow displaying in flight one of each of Burt Rutans homebuilt designs. Unbelievably, spectators had never seen all of Burts homebuilt designs fly together like that ever before.
A lot has transpired in the last two year. RAFE has grown not just in airframes but with people. Our presence at Airventure 2019 did not go unnoticed. This year we’re doing our best to pick up where we left off. We won’t be flying in the show as this year is not a “Burt Rutan” year, however I personally believe every year at AirVenture should be a “Burt Rutan” year.
With so many contributions to aviation, Rutan designs should be featured in some way, shape or form every year. This year being the grand return of AirVenture from the Covid interruption, it was tough to get a word in for us with everyone wanting to be part of the act. No worries, RAFE is ready and waiting to do it again!
We’ve been busy. The Canard Flight Academy was been steadily training new Canard Pilots while progress on the RAFE VarViggen gets it closer to flying. Look forward to news about some of our successes as we publish reports from Oshkosh.
We’ll be busy during AirVenture week also, here’s the schedule so far:
Monday, July 26, RAFE morning formation flight. 5:30 am brief.
Tuesday July 27, RAFE Forum and Annual Meeting. 8:30am -9:45 Forum Stage 3
FFI General Membership Meeting, 1200, B2OSH tent
Cozygirls Jambalaya Jam. 5 pm.
Wednesday July 28, Listen to RAFE on EAA RADIO, 9:30 am. Live Stream Info
Thursday, July 29, RAFE morning formation flight. 5:30 am brief.
Friday, July 30, Annual Canard Dinner at the Roxy. 6:00 pm.
Saturday July 31. Future of Rutan Designs Symposium, 8:30 am- 9:45, Forum Stage 5
In between all that we’ll be hanging around the RAFE aircraft on EZ Street! Come visit!
Once again we'll be hosting the "Future of Rutan Designs Symposium” and once again, I don’t know exactly who will be on the stage but like the first one in 2019, it will be a very interesting experience.
The first Symposium included real Rock-Stars of the Homebuilt world : Van’s Aircraft Dick VanGrunsven, Velocity Owner Duane Swing, Jetguy Robert Harris, legal Eagle’s Leanord Millholland, and AOPA’s Paul Harop. They have all been invited back.
It was an “Open Mike” event that allowed attendees to start a dialogue with the panel. Several inspiring topics arose. This year it will be slightly different because of the issue brought to the surface when the RAFE “ET” LongEZ was donated. Pilots are being grounded by not being found insurable due to age. This years Symposium will feature Tracy Martin of Aviation Insurance Resources and hopefully a few others from the aviation insurance industry. This is a chance to hear how we might be able to help mitigate this issue and prepare for our futures as we are all headed in that direction. If you’ve not had a chance to see what this symposium is about check it out at Youtube: 2019 Future or Rutan Designs Symposium
RAFE was founded at Oshkosh in 2015. At that time I had many people tell me they liked the idea but warned me it was going to be hard work. Some said I was crazy. It has been hard work and I must be crazy for doing this but look where we are today! At AirVenture 2020 we’d hoped to celebrate our 5th anniversary, with our five aircraft. Instead we’re going to celebrate SIX YEARS of success, six flying aircraft in our fleet, and as our schedule shows, six busy days to do it in.
“Success is being able to spend your life in your own way with the kind of people that you want to spend it with and doing the kind of things that you want to be doing with life.”
A week from now I’ll be sitting under the wing of a Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience LongEZ hanging out with people I want to be around at the greatest aviation event in the world.
I'd say RAFE has become a success! See you at OSH!