Rutan Catbird

Discussion in 'Aircraft Design / Aerodynamics / New Technology' started by Rik-, Sep 21, 2019.

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  1. Sep 21, 2019 #1

    Rik-

    Rik-

    Rik-

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    For some reason, I’ve always loved the Rutan Catbird.

    Did Rutan ever release plans for this plane? Wonder what happened to the molds that were used to build it? With 180 hp engine it can cruise well over 200 mph, and if the cockpit configuration is changed to a more realistic 4 place it could be a great plane, certainly faster than a Cirrus and many other’s out there
     
  2. Sep 21, 2019 #2

    bmcj

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    I’m not aware of plans ever being released.
     
  3. Sep 21, 2019 #3

    Topaz

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    As far as I know, it remained a prototype only. It may well have been moldless construction. It was built about the time Scaled started transitioning to molded composites, IIRC, so could've gone either way. Last I heard, it was hanging from the ceiling in one of the Scaled Composites work hangars.

    Rutan went on to do Boomerang as his high-speed travel airplane, and used it quite extensively, I hear.
     
  4. Sep 21, 2019 #4

    Hephaestus

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    Was built for beechcraft wasn't it?

    We can wish it was released... But seriously doubt it would ever escape scaled's IP department for production or homebuilders.

    It's definitely worthy of some attention - still better performance than most of the current offerings... Wonder if there wasn't a glitch in flight characteristics.
     
  5. Sep 21, 2019 #5

    Topaz

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    Considering they flew it to Oshkosh more than once, I doubt it. I suspect it was just too small for what he decided that he really wanted in a personal transportation aircraft at the time. Boomerang has more seats.
     
  6. Sep 21, 2019 #6

    Hephaestus

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    They're both 5 seaters aren't they?

    Not sure the long storage of a good design that got a lot of press, and cafe awards... You'd think they could have flipped the design rights a few times over the years unless there was a reason...
     
  7. Sep 21, 2019 #7

    Topaz

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    Hmmmm... You may be right. Then again, even if they are, Catbird has the smaller cabin. Dunno.

    After his experience with Rutan Aircraft Factory, Rutan pretty much wanted nothing to do with commercial sales of aircraft, even through a third party. Scaled exists only for prototyping.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2019 #8

    Rik-

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    It’s alive.

    N187RR
     
  9. Sep 21, 2019 #9

    tspear

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    There was an article a year or two ago in one of the many plane magazines I get about someone who helped build the Catbird was resurrecting the plane.
    I suspect it has happened by now.

    Tim
     
  10. Sep 21, 2019 #10

    BJC

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  11. Sep 21, 2019 #11

    Topaz

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    Sweet! It's flying again!
     
  12. Sep 21, 2019 #12

    Rik-

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    Apparently it’s owned by someone named Rutan.

    It flies really well, looking at its speeds and altitudes
     
  13. Sep 21, 2019 #13

    BJC

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    A head to head evaluation of Catbird and a similarly equipped White Lightning would be interesting.


    BJC
     
  14. Sep 21, 2019 #14

    wsimpso1

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    Catbird has been going to fly-ins all over, including the last several AirVentures.

    Before Burt retired from Scaled, he recruited one of the Scaled engineers to fly and caretake the airplane, then wrote a big check to buy an engine for it - the engine it originally flew on had been pulled and is one of Boomerang's engines. The caretaker had it brought down from the ceiling, installed the new engine, has been fixing little things, trailing edges one wing, put a full canard back on it, reducing friction in the controls... and flying it. I asked him how it feels to fly a legendary airplane, "It kick serious ass!" with a huge smile.

    No plans, wings, tail, and canard were all moldless. Don't know about the fuselage, but it looks like it came out of a mold.

    Billski
     
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  15. Sep 22, 2019 #15

    Rik-

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    They could always pull a mold off the thing and we could each build one. Other than the cockpit layout, it’s a great plane in so many ways. 200 knots on 180 hp at even below 10k is strong.
     
  16. Sep 22, 2019 #16

    plncraze

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    The airfoils are Roncz. Look up the history of the canard. It flew the same with one side missing. Garrison's M2 looks a lot like it. There is a comparison of the the two planes in Lennon's book on designing rc planes.
     
  17. Sep 22, 2019 #17

    Voidhawk9

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    I met it at Airventure 2011. It's been airworthy again at least that long!
     
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  18. Sep 22, 2019 #18

    Topaz

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    That's awesome! I had no idea. Last I saw and heard (obviously a while ago!) it was still hanging from the ceiling at Scaled. Glad this went down the way it did!
     
  19. Sep 22, 2019 #19

    bmcj

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    Even more impressive is it set several weight class records as high as 257 mph over a 2,000 km course.
     
  20. Sep 22, 2019 #20

    Rik-

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