The most disappointing thing about the VariEze experience has been the general lack of adequate weight control by most builders. It is necessary to use diligence in controlling and eliminating each gram in order to avoid an undetected growth of many pounds. It is a reliable prediction that many Long-EZs will be built over-weight and be limited to short range or single-place operation. An equally reliable prediction is that many Long-EZs will be built with little equipment, careful weight control, and will considerably lighter than those now flying. They will enjoy a high useful load, great takeoff and climb performance and unexcelled range.
The following information is a complete analysis of the actual weight of Mike and Sallys Long, N26MS. If you are building a Long, it is very important that you study all this information before you plan your equipment installation and that you be aware of the weight impact of any additional equipment. N26MS has excellent structural workmanship, thus, most airplanes with less attention to good lay-ups will probably be heavier than the data shown below. Study the table below. Note particularly the magnitude of the additional equipment.
N26MS was built with two conflicting requirements that added considerably to its empty weight:
(a) full electric start with large alternator, and
(b) pilot weight of only 108 lb. using no temporary ballast.
While the heavy electric (number 4, below) and ballast provisions (number 7) had the major impact on their heavy final empty weight of 883 lb. their utility has not suffered as much as one might think. The reason is the total weight of Mike and Sally is only 263 lb. Thus, using the 1426 gross (owners manual page 30) their allowable fuel load is 46.5 gallons giving 1000 mile range at 75% or 1550 miles at 40% power, with reserves.
Their allowable fuel load at normal gross is 29.8 gallons. Consider this same airplane with two 190-lb adults as crew and without the then-unrequired number 7 ballast provisions. That situation leaves only 207 lb. (34.5 gallons) fuel for a range at 75% of only 700 miles, with reserves, or 350 miles with a 1325 lb. take off weight. Obviously, with that 360 lb. crew weight, strong consideration should be given to using the electrical, system in number 2 and eliminating as many items as possible in number 6, and 8, to provide the high utility and long range available with the Long-EZ.
We encourage everyone to use the light electrical system as in number 2. This is the one installed in the RAF prototype N79RA. Then, add only the equipment you absolutely need and diligently refrain from seemingly "small" additions. Note that it is possible and advisable to have the Nav, Com and transponder with the small alternator and have an empty weight of less than 720 lb. However, if your front-seat pilot weight is less than 170 lb. you should use the 25 AH battery in the nose and accept the 19 lb. increase. This will be needed anyway to balance the aircraft.
Also, if you are a very light pilot (less than 150 lb.), be prepared to suffer a large penalty in empty weight if you want to install a electric starter. The starter, ring gear, alternator, brackets etc. mount way back at station 150+ and will require nose ballast for light pilots. If you are successful in obtaining an empty weight of less than 730 lb. you can fly two 180 lb. people with the full 52 gallons of fuel and attain over 1800 nautical miles (2070 sin) range at economy cruise a feat considerably in excess of any other light aircraft.
1. BASIC EMPTY WEIGHT (BEW) - VFR instruments plus g meter and turn/bank gyro. No starter and alternator, graphite cowling. All equipment and components per plans. Conical engine mount and ram inlet. No avionics, cabin heat or lights. Small motorcycle battery warning system and fuel pump. 693.4 lb.
2. BEW plus the small alternator. (see Cp 26), including wiring and regulator (4.9 lb.) 698.3 lb.
3. Number 2 plus Com, Nav, Transponder and all installation misc. (15.4 lb) 713.7 lb.
4. BEW plus standard 60-amp alternator starter, ring gear, belt, brackets, mounting hardware, regulator, wiring, relays and 25 AH battery (68.5 lb) 761.9 lb.
5. Number 4 plus Com, Nay, Transponder and all installation misc. (15.4 lb.) 777.3 16.
6. Number 5 plus additional equipment on N26MS including: 500 x 5 tires, dynafocal mount, NACA inlet, landing light, Nav lights, strobe lights, cabin heat, relief tubes, primer, intercom and stereo tape player. (38.1 lb.) 815.4 lb.
7. Number 6 plus provisions to allow Sally (108 lb. pilot) to fly at cg 102.2 (1.8" fwd of aft limit). Includes a second 25 AH battery, wiring and switches to use the second battery, and 15 lb. of lead permanently installed in front of NG 31 bulkhead. (44.8 lb) 860.2 lb.
8. Number 7 plus same extras added because they were nice and "didnt hardly weigh anything. Misc. ranging from small covers and aluminum knobs, to heavier upholstery and different fuel caps ( 12 small items 22.8 lb.) 883 lb.