Sunday morning I launched out of Covington TN in the RAFE David Brown LongEZ headed for a new milestone for the Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience. The RAFE David Brown LongEZ will be the first aircraft to call the Houston-Ellington Spaceport Canard base.. Home.
After spending a few days in Covington hanging out with the Jetguys and working on the CozyJet, the flight to Houston was one of those perfect days, clear, cool and a big tailwind. I realized I had time to make the Houston Wing monthly meeting so I plugged in a destination change to West Houston Airport. What better way to show off The RAFE-David Brown LongEZ... little did I know!
Arriving at the CAF Houston Wing hangar at KIWS the LongEZ lived up to its reputation as a “people-magnet” and was immediately surrounded by pilots that typically fly cool old WWII airplanes, but thought the LongEZ was cool too. After the meeting fellow CAF Pilot Scott Rozzell was taking his beautifully restored North American SNJ back to Ellington and we grasped the opportunity. Launching as a flight of two, the RAFE-David Brown LongEZ made its arrival at Ellington Spaceport in grand style, on the wing of an SNJ roaring it at full throttle. We broke overhead and taxied in as a flight. Scott went on to his hangar and David Brown taxied up to its new home base.
Once again, true to its reputation, within 5 minutes the “people-magnet” started drawing in the crown. First to arrive was our hangar neighbor, Cozy III owner and RAFE Aircraft Owner Sponsor Richard Sessions. He’d seen our arrival but caught 10 feet from his phone missed the chance to get a pic. Next a local Bonanza owner came by to admire the David Brown LongEZ and learn about its purpose for being based at Ellington Spaceport. The best visitor though was Ken Cameron, Cozy III owner and former Space Shuttle Astronaut. Ken has been around a long time but his work since leaving NASA has kept him so busy he’s not had time to fly his Cozy. He’s been so busy that though he’d heard about RAFE he hadn’t really grasped what we’d been up to. He got the full story and what happened next really validates the mission of RAFE as Ken stated before he left “Now that you guys are here I’m really motivated to get my Cozy back in the air!”
The David Brown LongEZ will be joined by a Varieze project and eventually, once back flying, Kerosene Dreams. We invite anyone interested in getting involved with RAFE, especially those interested in Sponsoring and Flying an RAFE aircraft to get in touch with us. Check out the David Brown LongEZ story and our Sponsorship program on the Resources pages of the RAFE website. Hurry… the people magnets are at work and I have no doubt we’ll have interest soon! Ryszard Zadow, Founder and President, Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience.org