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Just now bought varieze from Ebay


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I don't have a Vari-Eze, but I bet the wings come off by just unbolting.  Canard fasteners can probably be removed by opening the nose cover and reaching back for the fasteners to be removed.  I transported a Long EZ from California to Colorado on a single axle trailer.  Here's a couple of examples of Long EZ transport...image.png.aaf24038a8e3aaa9a846798d21991237.png

image.png.99897102aae89169daff053aeba6b54f.png

Edited by jridge
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OK guys,

I made it home with the Varieze # N41EZ. It Fit on a U-Haul 6X12 trailer. Had to take the wheel pants off. I have a big box of log books and photos, but just now realized that the logs are all for the Glassair that was also for sale. We will now delicately Remove it from the trailer. The wings have big aluminum joints with locking taper Rings and through bolts. Very Easy to remove and install. I plan to weigh it today. How much should it weigh? Looks to have at least 5 gallons of old fuel in it.

The Guys at the museum thought that with a days work I could have flown it home.

I was told that 2 years ago it was flown to Gillespie field in El Cajon CA  And has since set neglected outside in the sun and rain.

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On 3/15/2024 at 7:50 AM, Coffman Automatics said:

... I plan to weigh it today. How much should it weigh? Looks to have at least 5 gallons of old fuel in it.

A review of the POH and the documentation for the plane would have been one of the first items on my Pre-Buy checklist prior to purchasing an aircraft. But to each their own, I suppose. Planes are weighed with no fuel aboard.

The VE POH sample W&B indicates an expected empty weight of 535 lb. No VE on the planet has ever weighed less than 600 lb., to my knowledge.  The lightest one I've ever heard of is Joe Person's plane, at 610 lb. (Day VFR, no starter). Now,  most of the VEs I inspect and work on weight between 680 lb. and 750 lb. A 750 lb. VE is a total pig. Anything over 700 lb. is pretty heavy. If you're near 650 lb., be VERY happy.

With a POH MGW of 1050 lb. (1110 lb. under certain conditions) you can see that anything over a 700 lb. VE isn't going to be able to carry much more than the pilot and full fuel.

Also be sure that you know whether you've got the long or short canard and which CG range that implies.

To the extent possible (which isn't much, for such a safety critical component), inspect the wing attach fittings for corrosion. Ensure you're familiar with the wing attach fitting corrosion issues that are well known and documented on Variezes. Have (and review) all the CP's, mandatory changes, and wing fitting corrosion warning documentation. Be aware of the concomitant "G" loading restrictions. mandated by RAF, as indicated in the wing fitting corrosion documentation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry guys I haven't got it weighed yet, but I did fire the engine up. It sounds great, I ran it for 5 minutes and it got warm enough to to Idle smoothly and had throttle response like it should. I would like to know more about the fuel injection system and can't seem to find any info on that. I seem to have a fuel valve just behind the stick. The strake tanks are plumbed together and the Passenger headrest/ firewall tank seems to be the RES tank looks to hold about 4 gallons. is this normal? Damn thing floods the throttle body with fuel that runs out the air cleaner when I try to start it now.

My next task is to get the engine monitoring system working It has a vision VM-1000 display. doesn't seem to power up. I did find some info on that. Looks like a cheep walmart watch when it is working correctly. Wiring behind the gauge panel looks like a birds nest.

Oh yeh this is cool I found the last flight of my N41EZ on radarbox .com.  Looks like it was St. Paddy/s day 2021 when it was flown from Borrego Springs CA to El Cajon CA. Then I bought it just before St. Paddy's day 2024 and trailered it to Pleasanton KS from El Cajon.

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Hey Marc,

I have a canard that is right at 12 foot long. I was not aware that there were different lengths. The engine is an IO-235-EXP that is what it says on the tag. The engine alone will make it 50 LBS heavy. I have a scale just like the one Burt used on the video, but it is in a storage building and need to find time to go and get it. I want to learn all I can about these planes, and read all I can about them.

Back in 1997 I believe, I went to an all canard fly-in at Butler MO I was fascinated.

Thanks,

Doug Coffman

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8 hours ago, Coffman Automatics said:

... I want to learn all I can about these planes, and read all I can about them...

I'm not sure whether there was a question in there somewhere, but all I can say is that I would have recommended doing that prior to purchasing one.

Get a copy of the the plans and the POH, as well as copies of ALL the Canard Pusher newsletters and the Central States Newsletter (Now the COBA magazine). Get the RAF documentation of the wing attach fitting corrosion issue and the recommended solution (I don't use the word "fix", since they didn't specify a "fix"). Then read the parts of all of all those documents that apply to VariEzes 3 - 4 times. Then read them again. Everything is available online.

Then consider whether purchasing an unknown provenance VariEze was a reasonable thing to do and consider how you're going to ensure that it's a safe aircraft from the standpoint of wing attach fittings and engine. The engine is the easy part.

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For a questionable structure, you can always proof load to over 3.8g, up to 6g. If it fails below the intended load factor, then you just saved yourself a bailout, or worse!

The test load distribution will require some whiteboard artwork to apply the classic Schrenk approximation, see NACA-TM-948.

Keep in mind, the Canard and Wing each carry different loads, depending on actual gross weight and the CG position. The main wing is likely to be most heavily loaded at the rearmost CG. Finding the distance from this aft CG position to the Aerodynamic Center of a swept wing with strakes will take some math, but this problem is well documented in textbooks, as many airline planforms match this description. The canard is easier; being straight and constant chord. The distances are simply lever (moment) arms and can be used to determine what percentage of the weight is carried by Canard and Wing. (It is actually much more complicated for the exact solution, but this method may be able to get within a few percent. And it's better than test flying it to find out!).

This might take as many hours to calculate the ideal load distribution as the actual load test will require, unless You find someone who has already done this homework for You. You're simply looking for what percentage of the maximum intended gross weight, multiplied by load factor (G's), is to be applied to the rear wing, and how that mass should be distributed along the span using the Schrenk distribution. There are probably EAAers near you who have performed load tests and can help, or qualified engineers, so seek them out.

If you just want to know the condition of the concealed metal wing attachments: xRay NDT is ridiculously effective for this sort of thing. If you cant find a company in the phone book, try locating a welded pipeline or steel structure project. Find a pickup truck there with a fiberglass doghouse on the back and bring that guy pizza and a 6 pack. (YMMV). ~ JJ

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4 hours ago, Justin Jones said:

For a questionable structure, you can always proof load to over 3.8g, up to 6g. If it fails below the intended load factor, then you just saved yourself a bailout, or worse!

Eh. This is a questionable (at best) recommendation. First of all, the VariEze was specified as a +5G airplane (limit load - top of the V/N diagram) at 1050 lb. No one knows what safety factor Burt used to design it, so we have no idea what the ultimate design load was. 2X is relatively standard in the industry, but many suppose that Burt used 3X to account for builder/MFG variability. So we can GUESS that the ultimate load (where failure would occur) would be somewhere between 10G and 15G. However, numerous folks have performed load tests on various parts of VE and LE aircraft, and they've failed anywhere from 3.5G to 14G (the VE _I_ tested failed the main wing attach fittings at around 7.5G - 8G. All of these, of course, assume intact and non-corroded wing attach fittings.

Of course, it's completely contraindicated to test any airplane to a load higher than the limit load, so your recommendation to test to 6G is a poor one - any load over the limit load, even if it does not cause failure, is allowed to cause damage. 5G (at 1050 lb.) would be the absolute maximum that anyone should test to in a static load test, unless the object is to determine the failure level.

And then what does one learn if one gets to 5G? Only that if one gets to 5G (limit load) the plane doesn't break. What happens at 5.1G? No idea. What's the safety factor over 5G? No idea. So the only reason to test to 5G is if one DOES intent to limit (per the mandatory requirements of RAF for VariEze's, due to the corrosion issue) the plane to 2.5G @ 1050 lb. THEN, assuming one got to the original 5G limit load level, one would have a safety factor of 2X when limiting to 2.5G.

4 hours ago, Justin Jones said:

...The distances are simply lever (moment) arms and can be used to determine what percentage of the weight is carried by Canard and Wing. (It is actually much more complicated for the exact solution, but this method may be able to get within a few percent. And it's better than test flying it to find out!).

Actually, this method does not get one to within a few percent, as the canard loading changes tremendously with not only CG position and GW, but also with IAS. The moment coefficient of the main wing is substantial, so as speed increases, the moment increases, and the load on the canard increases. So maximum canard loading would be at fwd CG, MGW, Vne at Sea Level. And can get to > 1/3 of the total lift. Canard load varies tremendously in different configurations.

4 hours ago, Justin Jones said:

f you just want to know the condition of the concealed metal wing attachments: xRay NDT is ridiculously effective for this sort of thing.

Now THIS may be a reasonable approach, if one was going to attempt the evaluate the structure by other than visual inspection (or static test). Back in the day, NDT was difficult and required a perfect sample of what was being x-rayed in order to be able to compare the subject to it, and then required a lot of interpretation. I'm not familiar with what's available today - it may very well be the case that a good analysis of the state of the wing attach fittings can be made without a perfect sample - only with the sample to be evaluated. If this is the case, then this type of evaluation could be extremely useful in understanding the state of the wing attach fittings.

Now, I will say that even with perfect wing attach fittings, the VE _I_ tested failed at the aforementioned 7.5 - 8G level, due to the attach fittings failing the attach screws (they tore out of the lower composite spar caps). This is barely a safety factor of 1.5X (not the usual 2X - 3X for composite structures).

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On 3/28/2024 at 11:19 AM, Coffman Automatics said:

I would like to know more about the fuel injection system and can't seem to find any info on that. I seem to have a fuel valve just behind the stick. The strake tanks are plumbed together and the Passenger headrest/ firewall tank seems to be the RES tank looks to hold about 4 gallons. is this normal? Damn thing floods the throttle body with fuel that runs out the air cleaner when I try to start it now.

The airworthiness date on the records is 1985.  If it has been flying since then and it flew in 2021, the museum guys are probably right that it won't take much to get it flying again.  In addition to a good condition inspection, I would drain the old fuel and pay attention to the filters and screens.  Use new brake fluid, for sure.   Sport Aviation Jan 1991 has an article about "Arthur Gallant's Grand Champion Kit Built Lancair 320".  If this is the same fellow in the registration, he was probably a careful builder.  https://registry.faa.gov/AircraftInquiry/Search/NNumberResult?nNumberTxt=41EZ

What "fuel Injection" system are you talking about?  Maybe the primer system.  If it sprays fuel into the intake, it will drip out of the carb.  Better if the primer is plumbed to the ports on a couple of cylinders.

If this was a southern Cal. airplane all it's life, and hangared most of the time, you may not need to worry about the wing fittings.

Edited by Kent Ashton

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

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2 hours ago, Kent Ashton said:

...the museum guys are probably right that it won't take much to get it flying again...  If this is the same fellow in the registration, he was probably a careful builder...I f this was a southern Cal. airplane all it's life, and hangared most of the time, you may not need to worry about the wing fittings...

Bolding mine.

Kent, you know I respect your knowledge about these airplanes, and I know you're interested in safety. But two "probably"s and a "may not", while not technically wrong, is nowhere near enough to hang the safety of an airplane on. Your recommendations for a thorough CI are obviously warranted, as are the rest of your recommendations. But they don't go nearly far enough.

Particularly with VEs and the wing fitting issue, it's critical to understand the provenance of the aircraft - where was it built? How was it stored? Where was it stored? How much did it fly? What protection was put on the metal parts? How much did it fly in rain/moisture? Was it ever tied down outside for any length of time? Who were the intermediate owners after the builder? How did THEY treat and store the aircraft?

While San Diego is in SoCal, it's also right on the Pacific Coast; is humid, wet and foggy. The first picture certainly gives the impression that at least for the last 3 years, it's been stored outside. This would have been a huge "move on to the next airplane" warning sign for me. And if I'm scaring the new owner, well, good.

"Probably" doesn't cut it...

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3 hours ago, Marc Zeitlin said:

Bolding mine.

Kent, you know I respect your knowledge about these airplanes, and I know you're interested in safety. But two "probably"s and a "may not", while not technically wrong, is nowhere near enough to hang the safety of an airplane on. Your recommendations for a thorough CI are obviously warranted, as are the rest of your recommendations. But they don't go nearly far enough.

Particularly with VEs and the wing fitting issue, it's critical to understand the provenance of the aircraft - where was it built? How was it stored? Where was it stored? How much did it fly? What protection was put on the metal parts? How much did it fly in rain/moisture? Was it ever tied down outside for any length of time? Who were the intermediate owners after the builder? How did THEY treat and store the aircraft?

While San Diego is in SoCal, it's also right on the Pacific Coast; is humid, wet and foggy. The first picture certainly gives the impression that at least for the last 3 years, it's been stored outside. This would have been a huge "move on to the next airplane" warning sign for me. And if I'm scaring the new owner, well, good.

"Probably" doesn't cut it...

Marc, I don't disagree with what you've said but I was responding to comments that suggest some sort of full load test was needed.  If Justin can establish that the builder Arthur Gallant also built an award-winning Lancair, that would mean a lot.  Yeah, Justin should be aware that open storage in a maritime environment might promote corrosion in the wing fittings, and he should be aware of the Rutan cautions about wing-fitting corrosion.  For me, if the airplane looked well-built and seemed to be stored in a dry environment, I wouldn't sweat it too much (but I have never owned a Varieze). 

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

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OK guys,

First of all there is no corrosion. None. There may be some delamination between the right lower spar cap and the aluminum. Also on the top right side there are cracks in the fiberglass, but it seems stuck to the aluminum quite well. I'll get some pics for you. This thing will not fly until it is thoroughly inspected by qualified people that are canard friendly. I may need to remove the engine, canopy and build a rotisserie. The canopy hinges need to be replaced. The wings and canard are already off and in dry storage and the airplane is in the garage.

I am now trying to sort the wiring. I have an old Vision VM-1000 and most of the wires are white For grounds and power to the DPU. Most certainly the battery chip is out of date. I would like to find some instruction and pictures of repair on the areas where the wings attach to the strakes.

Thanks,

Doug Coffman

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There is a Varieze builders manual and most of the plans in this thread.    https://www.canardzone.com/forums/topic/50349-open-vari/    Chapter 6 shows the wing-fitting area.  Without seeing your cracks, it sounds like they might be cosmetic; I have seen similar cracks in pictures.  If they are just cracks in the filler, you can repair them with epoxy + micro or West System with micro or West Microlite filler.  I never worked on a Vari myself but I think the way the wings and centerspar were attached is fairly robust;  I have never heard of Vari wings falling off but the corrosion in the aluminum parts was something Burt was concerned about.

I see a VM-1000 manual here.  https://cdn.imagearchive.com/biplaneforum/data/attach/68/68702-VM1000-Manual-best.pdf

 

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

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48 minutes ago, Coffman Automatics said:

First of all there is no corrosion. None.

Since there is no way to know whether there is corrosion or not in places you cannot see, your claim that there "is no corrosion" is unverifiable. Here's a picture of a wing attach fitting with severe corrosion:image.thumb.jpeg.06052dd3c6db15a88e12a7c2a247a49f.jpeg

I've drawn the red line where the aluminum disappears under either glass or filler on many VariEzes - in any case, the opposite side of this plate is in contact with the top of the spar cap and is not visible. In THIS case, one can see a tiny bit of corrosion peeking out from under the glass/filler, above the red line. However, had the corrosion started just a bit lower - maybe 1/4" below the red line, one would only see pristine Aluminum and would have no idea that very bad corrosion was there. Here's a side view of this piece, with extreme exfoliation corrosion visible:

image.thumb.jpeg.29301090d6e47498d8500fc30b8de840.jpeg

As you can see, a substantial amount of the Aluminum is gone, cracked, or in the process of disappearing. Obviously any bonding strength to the underlying spar cap is essentially nil, and the strength of the screws holding the plate to the spar cap is also severely degraded.

Does your plane have this corrosion? Who knows? Without disassembling the fittings for examination, alodining/priming, and re-assembly, you'll never know. You seem to believe that an external visual inspection is adequate to determine the condition of the wing attach fittings - it is not, and RAF made very clear that it is not in its warning to VariEze owners.

1 hour ago, Coffman Automatics said:

There may be some delamination between the right lower spar cap and the aluminum.

Delaminations occur between layers of composite plies. What you're referring to is knows as a "disbond", where the bond between two dissimilar materials has lost it's adhesion. This is a common error in descriptions of failures.

And if you are correct that a disbond has occurred, this implies two things - first, that strength has been lost, and second, that a void is now extant into which moisture (rain, humidity - any water) can ingress and start a corrosion site.

Do not minimize the issues here, or think that just because you cannot see an obvious corrosion issue that there cannot be one.

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Im working on a varieze project that was built in the 80s and flew than sat for 40 years in a dry garage .  The fuel line material on mine was cracked and decomposing.  They didnt have access to that black fuel injection hose we have now .  Mine is not fuel injected but i use that black fuel line .  I would definitely look at changing that out if its original. 

Edited by Ratdog
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I now understand what you are saying Marc. There is no way to see the damage without surgery. I have experience with repair on corvettes, so I have an Idea of the amount of work needed, but still I would like to have your advice on the steps to take for the repair. It seems to me that the aluminum should go deeper into the wing and fuselage. Of course that would make everything heavier.

Oh, Got the VM-1000 working. Had bad ground  connection.

Thanks Guys

Doug

 

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23 minutes ago, Coffman Automatics said:

... I would like to have your advice on the steps to take for the repair...

Generally, corrosion will occur on the top wing fitting before the bottom one, just because rain falls down from the sky, not up from the ground. So even if the cracking in the fill/paint is on the bottom, I'd want to examine all eight fitting areas (both wings, top and bottom, strake and wing). So here's what I would do as a first step:

I would very carefully (and it might not be too hard, as the micro fill that most folks put over the AL plates doesn't stick particularly well, so it may just pop off with a bit of prying or gentle persuasion, being careful not to scratch the fittings) remove all the micro and fill on ALL of the aluminum wing attach plates. This will at least allow you to see the exposed portions to examine them. If there's corrosion there, you can guarantee that there's corrosion where you CAN'T see, but if there's no corrosion, that's not a guarantee of no corrosion anywhere, although it's a step in the right direction.

See:

For a previous discussion on this topic, and some images of what you should be able to see from the outside with all the fill removed.

Then you can start evaluating what might or might not be going on.

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