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Gene Sheehan, Tom Jewett, and Burt Rutan cooperatively designed and built the Quickie. In April 1977, Gene and Tom began ground testing a direct-drive, rugged, four-cycle engine in the 15 to 25 hp range. Armed with a powerplant that proved quite reliable, they approached Burt for an aircraft design that would be light and efficient enough to provide good performance with their engine.

Burt and Tom did the detail design during May and June of 1977 while Gene continued the engine testing. The Quickie design drew heavily on VariEze Technology, which provided the necessary low empty weight and still resulted in a rugged airframe with durable surfaces. Construction on the new airplane began in August of 1977.

The Quickie featured an all-composite structure, and efficient aerodynamic design. The structure was a sandwich of high strength fiberglass, using low density, rigid foam as the core material. The structure was fabricated directly over the shaped core so expensive tools and equipment were not necessary. The cockpit was large enough to accommodate a six and a half foot tall person weighing up to 215 pounds.

The canard wing with full-span elevator/flap doubled as a landing gear and resulted in a very distinct ground effect. Pitch, roll, and yaw stability and general flying qualities were all quite good. The wide gear stance made taxi turns as much fun as driving a sports car.

Tom and Gene flew the Quickie to the convention in Oshkosh in 1978, where their design won the Outstanding New Design award. The Quickie was the center of attention at that fly-in. Every TV station in the area featured it in their film coverage, inevitably with Star Wars theme music in the background. By the time Tom and Gene returned home, they had a long list of orders for the Quickie plans and kits.

Leighton “Lee” Herron constructed the first “plans built” Quickie in 1979. The airplane was inspected and signed off in the summer of 1980. However, Lee already owned a Cardinal 177 RG and a Cessna 150 and had plans to build a Super VariEze in cooperation with Burt Rutan, so he decided to donate the Quickie. With only 45 hours of flying time on the airplane, Lee donated the Quickie to EAA in 1979.

Rutan-Herron Quickie Rutan-Herron Quickie

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