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Mon, Feb 06, 2023

Rutan's Long EZ Donated to Oshkosh Museum

Dick Rutan and Mike Mellvill Donate Pieces of Aviation History

One of Dick Rutan's babies made its way to be immortalized in the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Rutan's aircraft, a Long EZ, joins his longtime friend Mike Melvill's own record-setting Long EZ in the museum's collection. The aircraft were built simultaneously at the Mojave airport by both men before embarking on their maiden voyages together. Rutan felt it was only appropriate to bring the old friends back together.

Dick Rutan said, “Since both planes, Mike’s and my Long EZ ‘Ole Blue’ were both built together and flown together, it’s only fitting that Ole Blue join Mike’s EZ for enshrinement in the EAA Museum at OSH. We are in the process of making that happen.” In an email Dick said, “Ole Blue first flight was April 3, 1981.”

The pair set out on a world journey in 1997, when Melvill expressed interest in taking his aircraft home to Johannesburg, South Africa. Not wanting to make the journey alone, he inquired of his long-time wingman, who soon figured they'd just as well turn the almost-around-the-world flight into a true world tour. After some modifications to add some fuel capacity, the pair set out on the EAA Friendship Tour in their Long EZs, visiting EAA chapters around the world. 

Of note to pilots is that the initial addition of an external 25-gallon fuel tank later proved useful in other ways.  “The external tanks were supposed to be temporary," said Rutan. "But after the EAA flight, I turned the starboard tank into a High Maintenance Support Pod. You can get a bunch of stuff in a 25-gallon tank."

During the journey, the pair flew more than 33,685 nautical miles during 232 flight hours as they visited 14 countries.

FMI: www.eaa.org

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