# Rutan Quickie / Q200, Q1, Q2

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Little Scrapper, Aug 22, 2018.

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1. Aug 22, 2018

### Little Scrapper

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What's the safety record like on these? Why isn't this being built in more numbers than it is? This airplane uas really gotten a bad rap. Why is that?

Let's talk airplanes.

2. Aug 22, 2018

### Topaz

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I watched the Quickie saga develop in real-time, back in the day. Others with personal experience (Hot wings? BMCJ?) may chime in with actual pireps, but the from the outside, the story went like this.

The guys forming Quickie Aircraft Corporation approached Burt Rutan to design them an "fast-build and inexpensive" airplane around the Onan 22hp industrial motor (much like you see people talking about the industrial V-twins today). Rutan did his thing and came up with the original single-seat Quickie design. As is often the case with Rutan, the design had flashes of brilliance and little niggling problems. The original rudder, for example, was mounted on the steerable tailwheel, completely separate from the vertical stablizer. That didn't work out so well, and was quickly replaced with a conventional rudder.

The original Quickie, with the original Onan 22hp engine, had a pretty high span-loading as a result of its tandem-wing configuration, and doesn't climb well in even mildly high density-altitude days. It'd go like a scalded cat once it got up to cruise, clocking better than 120 mph on 22hp, but the climb rate just wasn't there for anyone who either lived somewhere that didn't have ISO standard conditions all the time, or was of a size we'd now call "normal American." The Quickie was designed for the FAA standard 175 lb, 5' 10" guy. If you're bigger than that, you'll find it hard to put on this airplane. And the Quickie is definitely an airplane you "put on", rather than "get into". It's tiny.

Another set of issues was a result of one of the defining characteristics of the airplane: mounting the main gear on the canard tips. You don't "rotate" a Quickie for takeoff. You can't. The elevator is on the canard, right above the main gear. So you flew it off in ground attitude. A lot of guys didn't like that. A bigger gear-related issue was on landing. The canard had to be stiff to be a good flying surface, but flexible to be a good spring for the main gear. Flying surface stiffness takes precedent over flexibility, so it's got a main gear that, if you put it down hard, wants to spring the airplane back into the air pretty hard. The fact that the elevators are on the canard means that the pilot loses pitch control the moment the mains touch the ground, so PIO's were almost inevitable if you didn't put her down very gently. Lastly, the mains on the tips of the canard are many feet apart. Hit anything with one wheel and not the other and you get instant ground-loop. It was worst when guys tried to use the airplane (or the Q2) off dirt or gravel runways. I've heard stories of rocks jamming between the tire and wheel-pant, and the ensuing instant turn flipped more than one of these birds on its back spanwise. For the larger, heavier, Q2/Q200 (and very similar Viking Dragonfly), there was a big push to move the mains inboard to correct the ground-loop tendency and help the landing-PIO issue as well.

The Q2 also suffered the high span-loading issue as the original Quickie, and had a higher wing loading to boot. Climb rate on the original VW, near gross weight, was less than stellar. With two big guys (which pushed the airplane over design gross, IIRC), climb could be downright marginal. But again, once up to cruise, the thing was fast for the power. The Q200 mounted an O-200 to give even faster cruise and, more importantly, help the climb rate. It was arguably the best of the genuine Quickie Corpration designs. The Viking Dragonfly has more area and slightly more span, and was overall the better-flying airplane, although not quite as fast or as sexy-looking.

Why don't you see more of these today? Usual homebuilt attrition in the 30+ years since it was in vogue, combined with the fact that the Quickie's Onan motor went out of production, leaving it to builders to find an alternative. The Q2/Q200 were kit-only designs. You can't build them from scratch. Quickie Aircraft Corporation was on the losing end of a lawsuit brought by a grieving family in the bad-old-days before tort reform, and closed their doors, killing off the kit availability. Viking Aircraft didn't last much longer, although I believe the reason was simply lower sales, as it was always a scratch-built design. The rights to the Dragonfly were sold and resold a number of times, but nobody has really brought the airplane back. A group in South Africa was the last owner I know of, and actually had a web page up for a while. Last I recall, however, they've faded away as well.

And that's what I know.

EDIT: BMCJ (below) is right - the "bad rap" these airplanes may have really isn't as bad as is made out, and I don't want to give a bad impression with the above. Yes, there are issues. But if you respect the limits of the designs - fly them on a smooth concrete runway, watch the gross weight and density altitude, and fly them carefully (especially on landing) - they're little hot rods for the weight, power, and cost. I've always liked them, personally, especially on their looks.

Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
3. Aug 22, 2018

### bmcj

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TOPAZ AND I WERE TYPING AT THE SAME TIME. SEE HIS REPLY ABOVE FOR A MORE EXACT AND ON POINT EXPLANATION.

I’m not sure about a bad rap. The early Q2 had issues with reduced lift on the canard while flying in the rain, but that was fixed with one of Roncz’ airfoils. The Q1 was basically a fair weather putt-about, so they didn’t really face the rain problem.

They are all diminutive in size so they don’t make for a really comfortable cross country ship. The wingtip wheels called for a smooth wide runway and close attention on rollout, and the higher landing speeds of the 2-seaters called for a longer runway. Some builders designed other types of landing gear for them, but they looked kind of funky.

Many of the engine options were non-standard or getting a bit scarce. Props were a little more prone to chipping or breakage being so close to the ground.

The Q2 had competition from the Dragonfly, which was basically a Q2 with bigger surfaces for slower more docile flight.

I think one of the biggest reasons for the decline was a shifting market. Many builders are faddish, wanting the latest designs. There has also been a shift away from scratch-built and toward prefab kits. Look at how popular the LongEze was and is, yet they have also declined. Add to that the fact that Burt stopped selling be plans due to liability concerns and when Scaled Composites started demanding more of his time. Granted, the Quickies were marketed by someone else, but I can’t speak to their rise and fall.

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4. Aug 22, 2018

### Topaz

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I was hoping you'd chime in. IIRC, you've flown one of the original Quickies, have you not? What was it like, first-hand?

5. Aug 22, 2018

### Tiger Tim

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All I’m really hearing here is “a 110% Quickie with a 40hp V-twin might be sweet.”

6. Aug 22, 2018

### Topaz

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And a lot of people have tried stuffing different engines into the nose, with widely varying measures of success. Part of the issue with "adding power" is that you're also going to add fuel consumption, the Quickie's fuel tank isn't exactly voluminous to begin with, and there isn't really any other place to put more go-juice.

I think what the Quickie really needs is span, not power. As sexy as the original design looks, this is a case where a conventional wing-tail design with a little bit of aspect ratio would've been the better design choice, IMHO. Oh wait...

Maybe not so extreme as that for you non-soaring guys, but yeah, the Quickie needs a longer wing.

Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
7. Aug 23, 2018

### Little Scrapper

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I'm getting the impression that most of the versions of this airplane are less than stellar?

What can this design do that others can not? What was the selling point of the original? Efficiency?

8. Aug 23, 2018

### Topaz

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You're under 200 lbs, right? You're a careful pilot that greases it on most of the time, right? And you're flying from a smooth concrete runway to a smooth concrete runway on a reasonably cool CAVU day, right? You want to go as fast as a minimum amount of cash can take you, right?

They're nice little airplanes in that context. If you want a big-time cross-country airplane you can get into practically any "real" airport you want, paved or not, buy an RV-x. I think a big part of the "reputation" for the Quickie series is what BMCJ pointed out - these are good-weather, short-trip, fun-flying airplanes, and people tried to use them like an RV. They were never designed for that. Whether you consider that a mistake on the part of the pilot/customer or on the part of the designer is perfectly arguable.

The Quickies bought you cruise speed for your buck. The extra cash you'd spend on an RV buys you a bunch of utility to go with it.

Looks. Speed. Quick-build. Low-cost.

Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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9. Aug 23, 2018

### plncraze

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Gene Sheehan's Q200 won the CAFE race a few times and was dubbed "...the world's most efficient airplane." It had a souped up 0200.

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10. Aug 23, 2018

### don january

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I believe the Quickie was spin proof also. I built a 1/4 scale Quickie RC kit once and it flew great tho it lost a wheel after take off and things ended poorly for that little craft.:gig:

11. Aug 23, 2018

### Hot Wings

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Topaz has it mostly right. But I doubt there ever was a true 22 hp Onan. The original was a claimed 16 hp and QAC modified them a little at a time up to the 22hp. It should also be considered a point design aircraft. The original goal was a cheap to fly plane back when gas was an outrageous $.78/gal. The best L/D is only about 20 mph below it's cruise speed. Also as with most things that are bought because they are considered cheap, and the original Quickie was such, they tended to suffer the same kind of neglect that other cheap things do. The original GU canard was a laminar flow airfoil that needed to be built with good precision. That didn't always happen. Vortex generators 'fixed' that problem for the Quickie and the LS-1 airfoil canard 'fixed' it for the Q-2/200. QAC did publish LS-1 instructions for the Quickie but it was so close to the end that very few have been built that way. To make them quick to build and keep them cheap there were a lot of shortcuts* taken that caused problems when it came time to maintain things or repair damage. They ended up being pretty much disposable aircraft. Lots of people try to restore or fix broken projects and this almost universally turns out bad. The amount of labor to repair, and remove previous builders modifications, often ends up taking more time than building new from scratch would have. Builders get frustrated and the brand gets tarnished some more. There have been higher Hp engines installed with varying results. Even full VWs have been stuffed in up front.............and 20 pounds of lead in the tail. :speechles The Brock/Jinx Rotax 503 "Super Quickie" seems to have worked pretty well - but IMHO it's UGLY. It will cruise at the original Vne. Fix the known problems and find a mas-produced - true - 22hp engine, that can be properly packaged, and it would be a great little plane for pilots under 200#. *Some of these shortcuts ended up causing operational and safety problems. The Q builders have developed proven fixes for the significant flaws. View attachment Quickie Sales Brochure.pdf Last edited: Aug 23, 2018 Vigilant1 and Topaz like this. 12. Aug 23, 2018 ### Topaz ### Topaz #### Super ModeratorStaff Member Joined: Jul 30, 2005 Messages: 13,963 Likes Received: 5,577 Location: Orange County, California Oh good, I'm glad you chimed in, too. You've probably got the most actual experience with the type of anyone on the forum. Means a lot. 13. Aug 23, 2018 ### max_burke ### max_burke #### Well-Known Member Joined: Sep 10, 2013 Messages: 110 Likes Received: 33 Location: Vancouver, Canada How much does the Onan weigh? I think the SD-1 has a variety of engines in the 25-50hp range as options, be they 2-stroke (ie: Hirth F-33) or 4. I wonder how they would work on a Q1? 14. Aug 23, 2018 ### Victor Bravo ### Victor Bravo #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jul 30, 2014 Messages: 6,454 Likes Received: 5,226 Location: KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA Well, over a dozen posts in this thread and nobody has rung the obvious bell yet, so everyone step out of the way and I will do it. The Quickie has been made pretty much obsolete and mostly irrelevant by the Luciole and the SD-1. With the same powerplant, fuel consumption, and engine cost, the Luciole meets or exceeds the Quickie's performance in all aspects, the SD-1 probably does too. Then, once we establish that these conventional aircraft designs meet/exceed the performance of the Q-1, then there's the good news. The Luciole and SD-1 have vastly superior takeoff, landing, and flight handling characteristics. They fold down or quick-disassemble into a smaller storage package than even the "split fuselage" versions of the Quickie. Rutan is to be commended for another one of his unique and clever designs, which was very efficient indeed, but Colomban, Spacek, and Leeon David before them all built better airplanes based on the same engine technology. MadRocketScientist likes this. 15. Aug 23, 2018 ### Vigilant1 ### Vigilant1 #### Well-Known MemberLifetime Supporter Joined: Jan 24, 2011 Messages: 4,255 Likes Received: 1,980 Location: US Well, neither the SD-1 nor the Luciole cruises as fast as the Quickie, despite using more powerful engines. Don't get me wrong, I'd much prefer to own either of them than a Quickie. Now, if these designs could be re-worked so that they/similar planes could be built from plans in a few hundred hours (hot-wired foam core wings? Fold-a-plane fuselage?), we might have another revolution on our hands. Last edited: Aug 23, 2018 Topaz likes this. 16. Aug 23, 2018 ### Victor Bravo ### Victor Bravo #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jul 30, 2014 Messages: 6,454 Likes Received: 5,226 Location: KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA The only way to scratch-build any "normal" airplane in a few hundred hours is if you make it out of sheet aluminum and pop rivets. The extra 100 hours of sanding, varnishing, filling, micro-ballooning, covering, and/or painting aircraft made out of wood, composite, or steel tube will put the aircraft well past that completion time goal. The Monnett Moni came close to being more or less what we are discussing. The airplane that cheapracer is working on in China may well achieve this goal. 17. Aug 23, 2018 ### Direct C51 ### Direct C51 #### Well-Known Member Joined: Aug 26, 2014 Messages: 124 Likes Received: 55 Location: Bakersfield, CA These airplanes had a pretty big following out here in California, especially the Dragonflys. There was a large contingent in the Livermore , CA area, and really the whole central Ca. They used to host annual "Tandem Wing" fly ins at Livermore. Search for pictures and you will see 20+ Quickie variations and Dragonflys that attended these events, plus the Vari and Long Ezes that showed up, a cousin to the Quickie/Dragonfly if you will. The place to go for anything remotely current is quickheads.com They sell the Quickie and Q2/Q200 plans for$99. That website also hosts scanned copies of all 128 issues of the Dragonfly Builders and Flyers Network newsletters. They are a great read for anyone interested in tandem wing aircraft.

There is a father/son duo in Shafter, CA KMIT that has a few Q2 variations. They have a flying Tri-Q and another flying Q-200 with the original gear on the canard and a FI O-200 on it. The thing is way out of balance and weighs a ton though. He's got something like 20 lbs of lead hanging on the tail strut. That one is for sale right now on barnstormers. They also have probably 2 more Q200 kits that are untouched. I've seen them fly, and they are pretty fast. They've got the wing area of a paper airplane, so the landing speeds are quite high. The wings and canard are just over 16 1/2' span. The tail and rudder are really small. That is what gave these airplanes a bad name, bad landing gear design, high landing speeds, and not enough tail/rudder.

The Dragonfly is a lot more docile, and a pretty decent XC machine. The wing/canard span is increased to 22'. The tail and rudder are a lot bigger. There are actually a good number flying, but I don't believe as many as the Q2/Q200s. The cabin is pretty big, with nice reclined seating. Actually pretty comfortable to sit in for anyone 200 lbs and under. The Dragonfly was originally designed with the 60HP 1835cc HAPI VW as the powerplant. This just wasn't enough HP for the bigger Dragonfly, especially with 2 people on board. Most were converted or built with bigger engines, especially since HAPI didn't last all that long. The Jabiru 2200/3300, 80HP VW, O-200, and Corvair have all flown well in Dragonflys. The original canard landing gear is very efficient, but not at all forgiving. Most have been modified to the MKII landing gear, which moves the gear to the root of the canard. The Dragonflys built with the MKII gear use a canard that is flat, instead of the anhedral of the MKI. There is a MKIIH hoop gear which affixes to the fuselage. This is nice because the wings are removable, unlike the Q2/Q200. Having the gear attached to the canard make wing removal difficult and require a dolly for the fuselage. The MKIII Dragonfly uses a nosewheel. There were very few of these built.

I really like the tandem wing airplanes, and think they are among the best looking airplanes ever made. I purchased a really nice Dragonfly project a couple years ago that I intended to finish once my Sonex was completed and I got all of the bugs worked out. Unfortunately my situation has changed, I moved to San Diego, and I don't have the hangar space anymore. I'm selling my Dragonfly project, but some day, I might still own a tandem wing airplane.

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18. Aug 23, 2018

### bmcj

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If it is a pirep you want...

I test flew the first customer-completed Quickie Q1. Cockpit access is extremely easy, just walk up between the fore and aft wings and easily step over the side which is below waist level. Seating was comfortably reclined and there was ample leg and shoulder room despite the overall small size of the plane (at that time, I was 5’9” and a slender 130 lbs). After being hand propped, the taxi was simple and the plane maneuvered well. Visibility was great because the tapered banana fuselage kept the cabin level.

Braking wasn’t great with the single handle pull cable that pressed a friction pad on both wheels at the same time, it it didn’t matter because the plane was light and the small cart wheels provided enough drag on their own. Higher speed taxi tests proved challenging on Flabob’s runway due to grass patches, rough pavement, and a narrow width with a high crown. Any of those irregular surface could grab at the small wheels and pull you off course due to the wheels’ long moment arm and very lightly loaded tail wheel (which could skip sideways). Sometimes, the easiest way to recover from a deviation was to let it ground loop because it could turn tight and stop without tipping. This sensitivity on rough surfaces didn’t manifest itself so much on takeoff, but did affect the landing roll.

Time for the first takeoff. Takeoff was straightforward with no need to do anything but apply light back ptdssure until it lifted (levitate) off. It was uneventful, except for losing my pitot static system right after breaking ground (picked up a bug in the pitot tube). The loss of airspeed indication didn’t matter because it flew well by visual attitude and stick free trim. I guestimated the climb rate to e between 300-400 rpm. Interestingly enough, I noticed that if I blocked the cockpit vent, the zeroed airspeed needle would twitch slightly, but also the altimeter, VSI, and (for some reason) the rpm gauge would all jump.

I played a bit with the (lack of) stalls and with the roll response before coming back to land. The first approach was flown fast and was never going to get down on the runway. The second approach was slower, but still a little fast, so I crossed the threshold at about 3’ and was still at 3’ halfway down the runway when I initiated a go around. The third approach was about right and I arrived to a nice touchdown and a mostly straight rollout.

Later flights showed me that if you approached too slow, it tended to sink in too fast and the ‘diving board’ lags (the canard) would flex and pop you back up into the air for a less than dignified landing. Test flying another Q1 at Hemet Airport showed me that the plane’s ground handling was docile on a large smooth runway.

19. Aug 23, 2018

### erkki67

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Sure it’s not a Quickie, but would be a fun low cost variant of it.

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20. Aug 23, 2018

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