Long-EZ N3R

I have been interested in homebuilt aircraft for the past 20 years, particularly the composite canard type of airplanes such as the Vari-EZ, Long-EZ, Cozy, Velocity, etc. I have had a fascination with these airplanes for many years, as well as all types of homebuilts. Ever since Burt Rutan designed the Long-EZ I have been fascinated with it. I remember reading the article in the February 1980 issue of Sport Aviation that described Dick Rutan's record setting closed-course distance record and thinking about building and flying my own Long-EZ.

Ed sitting in N79RA (prototype Long-EZ) circa 1981 Ed with N3R Long-EZ Research Aircraft circa 1996

The picture on the left shows me sitting in the cockpit of the original prototype Long-EZ, N79RA at the Tullahoma, TN airshow in 1981. My Dad and I had just seen Dick Rutan perform his airshow routine and followed him over to see the plane after he landed. He saw us and invited me to sit in the cockpit. Needless to say, I was hooked at a young age!

Fast forward about 14 years and here I am, in the picture to the right, in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska with Long-EZ N3R. This picture was made in 1995 while we were in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska for NOAA research.

Tim Crawford with N3R Long-EZ Research Aircraft circa 1996 Long-EZ N3R Research Aircraft circa 1998

This page is dedicated to Tim Crawford and the airplanes he loved to build and fly. Tim was a remarkable man who was a consummate scientist, manager, motivator, and great friend. Tim was also an avid homebuilt aircraft enthusiast, having built a total of five aircraft in his life.

N3R was Tim's third aircraft and his second Long-EZ. This amazing airplane was built from scratch in nine months, while Tim worked a full-time job! Unfortunately, Tim died of a stroke while flying N3R in August, 2002. I had the fortunate pleasure of working for him and flying N3R for NOAA research from 1993 until 2002. I logged more than 900 hours pilot-in-command time in N3R and consider it a highlight of my life. This page is an attempt to preserve and share some of the knowlege gained regarding the aircraft, its modifications, and its operation as both a sport aircraft and a research tool. Click here to read more about Tim's life. (233 kB download, 5 page .PDF file).

I built about 50% of a Long-EZ between 1993 and 2001 and sold it when we moved to a smaller house. In the process, though, I learned a lot about homebuilding from Tim who was my mentor during the construction process. Tim taught me a lot of things that I will attempt to relate here.

In all honesty, I found the construction process for a Long-EZ to be long and difficult, despite the attempts of the designer to say otherwise. It requires a huge commitment of time, money, and a lifestyle change to see the project through. I started with every intention of finishing, but ended up being forced to give it up in exchange for a decent place to live.

The Long-EZ is a plans-built aircraft. No kits exist for the major parts of the airplane, except for a raw materials kit available from either Wicks or Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. A few specialty parts are available from suppliers such as Ken Brock and FeatherLite, but for the most part the builder is left with probably 99% of the work.

The Long-EZ I started was to be an identical copy of Tim's airplane, which was designated a Crawford Wide-Body Long-EZ because of the extensive modifications that were made to the airframe. Below, I have listed the construction changes and chronological modifications to N3R.

Modifications - Fuselage

Modifications - Wings & Strakes

Modifications - Engine

Rutan-approved modifications

Research Modifications (Standard)

Research Modifications (Custom)

Change history of N3R


N3R Instrument Panel

Below are two views of the panel in N3R. The first view (on the left) is from around 1995. The second (on the right) was made in 2001... The major modifications in 2001 included adding all electric gyros with HSI, an intercom, additional switches and controls for the dual electronic ignition systems, and controls for the slaved HSI.

N3R Instrument Panel (circa 1995) N3R Instrument Panel (circa 2001)

More to come....

Long-EZ Paper Template

In the mood to build your own airplane, but don't want to spend a lot of time doing it? Left-click on the picture to the left to get the full-size version. Next, right click on the picture and select "Save As..." to save the full size version as a separate file. The download is an 845 kB .jpg file. Print it on heavy card paper, cut it out and assemble per the directions on the page, and give it a try. It has been tested and works well. This template was given to folks who visited Long-EZ N3R at the Federal Pavilion at Oshkosh AirVenture in 2002.

Visit Ed's Homebuilt Aircraft links page.