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Should I buy a Varieze


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I am a student pilot with 80 hours logged, I have decided to purchase a Canard style as my first airplane. I found an old 1985 Varieze with IO-235 for sale. I have a very limited budget and time, so I don't intend to start a project to build an airplane; I would like to repair what is needed and start flying as soon as possible. I found the following opportunity for sale. I live in Georgia, and the airplane is in California; I will have to haul the airplane to Georgia and find someone to help me bring it back to airworthy status.

Engine: Lycoming  IO-235 installed at TTAF of  2736.6, November 3, 2014 (according to both log books), originally it was carburetor O-200.


No weight and balance sheet

Last service done at TTAF 3099.1 

ADSB on left wing nav light

Records back to June, 6th 1985, when it was new.

Paint is in bad condition: Cracked wheel paint, wings and nose

Body is in OK condition, all major pieces in place and working. Small repairs needed (Wheel pants are cracked, tip of nose crushed in a little).

Engine was last ran in 2022 and then put into a storage.

All the gauges are older, analogue gauges ( no glass cockpit or fancy up to date electronics).

So, I am asking this community if this is a good buy or if I should continue looking for an opportunity.

I appreciate your comments.

Happy New Year!

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The VE is a really fun machine. Find someone who has experience in mold-less aircraft structures and pick his brains regarding the structure and finishing process if you want to renovate it. It is easy to destroy this kind of structure with “ham handed” workmanship, as the load bearing structures are very thin and can easily be compromised by too much vigorous sanding.

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On 1/11/2024 at 12:55 PM, Gilson said:

I am a student pilot with 80 hours logged,

I gather you have not read all the comments on this site about Variezes.  Use the search and start reading.  You likely don't know enough to form an educated opinion about them or the one you're looking at.  I like the canard airplanes and have owned a Long-ez, Cozy III and Cozy IV.   It can be a multi-year process to rehabilitate a tired old airplane and engine and you could put more money into it than you would ever get back--and that would be time you would not be building any hours.

Edited by Kent Ashton
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Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

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9 hours ago, Kent Ashton said:

...You likely don't know enough to form an educated opinion about them or the one you're looking at...

That is guaranteed, because the information presented about the plane is not even enough to start evaluating the condition of the plane as a whole, much less the engine, IP or wing attach fittings.

The default answer on VEs is "no - stay away" unless the provenance and history of the plane is completely understood.

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I have a VE and love it, but I would be very careful about buying one.  In addition to all the usual things that can compromise safety, and/or add time and expense, and must be checked carefully (i.e. pre-buy inspection by an expert), there is no comprehensive way to inspect the wing attach fittings.  They can be hiding corrosion, and replacement, while theoretically possible, is so involved that it's not worth the effort.

Also, the only safe way to put a 235 Lycoming on a VE is to remove the starter and flywheel and hand-prop the airplane.  Otherwise the CG will be too far aft, requiring an unacceptable amount of weight in the nose.  Since IO-235 (fuel injected) engines can't be hand-propped, AFAIK, I would expect that the VE in question is overweight.

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