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21st of May 1975

On this day in aviation history the Rutan VariEze, a high-performance homebuilt aircraft, made its first flight.

Powered by a 100 horsepower engine the composite aircraft can carry 2 passengers on a 700 miles trip with a speed over 155 knots. At low take-off weights, the average VariEze could climb at 2000 ft/min to nearly 25.000ft!

Let's look at some more specifications of the VariEze:

Length: 14 ft 2 in (4.27 m)

Wingspan: 22 ft 2.5 in (6.77 m) Wing area: 53.6 sq ft (4.98 m2)

Empty weight: 580 lb (263 kg)

Max takeoff weight: 1,050 lb (476 kg)

Fuel capacity: 24 US Gal (91 L)

Powerplant: 1 × Continental O-200-B air-cooled flat-four engine, 100 hp (75 kW)

Maximum speed: 195 mph (314 km/h, 169 kn) (max cruise)

Cruise speed: 165 mph (266 km/h, 143 kn) (econ cruise)

Stall speed: 55.5 mph (89.3 km/h, 48.2 kn)

Range: 850 mi (1,370 km, 740 nmi) at econ cruise

Rate of climb: 1,600 ft/min (8.1 m/s) The VariEze (over 400 built) set the trend for the extraordinary designs that would come from the hand of Burt Rutan after previously designing the VariViggen and VariViggen SP. Other designs of his hand are the Boomerang, the Voyager (the first airplane to fly nonstop, without refuelling around the world. Piloted by Rutan's brother Dick and Jeana Yeager the airplane made the round the world flight over 9 days in December 1986), the Pond Racer and the spacecraft SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo.

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