A Jabiru 2200-powered home-designed and built aircraft has set an unofficial distance record in the US.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) reports one of its members, Arnold Ebneter, recently flew his labour of love, dubbed ‘E-1’, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington, to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to set an unofficial record for the longest nonstop flight in an aircraft weighing less than 500 kilograms.
The flight covered 2327 miles without stopping over a time of 18 hours and 27 minutes. If confirmed by the National Aeronautic Association and reaffirmed by the world governing body of flight records, Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the E-1 would break the record of 1930 miles for the weight class set in 1984 by American Frank Hertzler in a Vari-Eze.
Ebneter, now 82, first imagined the E-1 while studying at Texas A&M University in the 50s, but didn’t complete building the aircraft until 2005 with the help of CAD and flight simulator programs.
E-1 is a strictly all metal, stressed skin, tapered low-wing aircraft powered by a Jabiru 2200, a four-cylinder four-stroke horizontally opposed air cooled engine. Th E-1 has a 74-gallon fuel capacity, but Ebneter said he used 58.5 gallons for the July 25-26 flight due to the weight limits for the record attempt.
“We put the airplane on a scale when fueling and stopped at 500kg,” said Ebneter, a former United States Air Force fighter pilot.
Top speed for Ebneter’s E-1 is 175kts, and when he landed in Virginia at the end of the flight he figured he could have flown another 100 miles as 2.5 gallons remained in the tank.
CAPTION: Arnold Ebneter stands before his E-1, a true scratch-built airplane. (Michael O’Leary/Everett Daily Herald)
“As much as anything else, building the E-1 was an engineering exercise,” Ebneter said.