Retrieving the Kennedy Long-EZ
In September 2017, Mrs. Kennedy, the widow of Dr. Martin Kennedy decided to donate his Long-EZ to Ryszard Zadow of Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience (RAFE). After consultation with a number of her advisors, she felt RAFE was the best solution for preserving the memory of Dr. Kennedy and the beautiful aircraft he had built. She said that getting the aircraft back in the air was a fitting tribute to the Long-EZ he loved so much.
This started the next big step of retrieving the aircraft, transporting it back to the Jet Guys facility and starting the process of getting it airworthy after years of storage. Jet Guys owner Robert Harris and Lance Hooley brought their custom retrieval trailer to Southern Indiana home of Mrs. Kennedy. What followed was a careful removal of the disassembled aircraft from the barn it was stored in, a quick inventory of the aircraft records and loading it on the trailer. Robert has a very specific method of securing a Long-EZ for transport ensuring no damage can occur including that from rain.
A major part of accepting a donation into the Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience is the emotional impact to the family. We had the opportunity to spend time with Mrs. Kennedy that day and have her show us the documentation Dr. Kennedy had produced during the build of this outstanding aircraft. Mrs. Kennedy talked us through the history and helped make the Long-EZ come alive with the retrieval crew. For this reason, RAFE has developed the philosophy of naming the aircraft after the builder, referring to it that way in daily use and keeping it as close as possible to the way the builder created it.
After a busy and emotional day, the Kennedy Long-EZ arrived at the Jet Guys facility in Covington, Tennessee and is undergoing extensive inspections and replacement of deteriorated components. This will get it safely back in the air. Volunteers, Sponsors and Jet Guys personnel will soon have this Long-EZ where it belongs, flying as part of RAFE.