Airplane beats Prius MPG

Over 50 MPG at 200 MPH!
Over 50 MPG at 200 MPH!

 

 At speeds close to 200 miles per hour this Aircraft gets over 50 miles per gallon. When Klaus Savier throttles back to extended range, he gets about 100 mpg. Not bad.

Economy like this could be easily achieved throughout our entire general aviation fleet.  But it will never happen.  FAA regulations governing the fleet, combined with the difficulty and cost involved in getting a pilot’s license, keep the total number of aircraft quite small.  Without a large volume of consumers or government assistance there just isn’t any money in it. 

And without profit, private industry won’t touch it.  Therefore, it is quite surprising to find a guy like Klaus Savier, owner of Light Speed Engineering.  

Through a labor of love, this aeronautical innovator, based out of Santa Paula Airport in Southern California, has been setting speed and efficiency records for over 20 years in his experimental airplane. The plane demonstrates technology products that could improve the reliability and efficiency of the entire GA fleet.

Although his airplane only carries 30 gallons of fuel, Savier has flown it nonstop from Southern California to Oshkosh, Wis. (1,751 miles) and nonstop from Southern California to Panama City, Fla. (1,956 miles).   

Beats the pants off a Prius!

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2 Responses to “Airplane beats Prius MPG”

  1. wiifitbuynow Says:

    Amazing story. Where do you get the plans to build this plane? Anyone know?

    Suzanne
    Stay up-to-date on FAA Regulations

    • johnceberhardt Says:

      Thanks for the comment Suzanne. Here is what I know…

      The plane in this article, Klaus Savier’s airplane, is a modified VariEze. The VariEze is a very old but extraordinarily designed aircraft. The famous aerospace engineer, Burt Rutan, designed the first VariEze in 1975. After about four months of construction time, he created the prototype (the Model 31), registered it with the FAA (number N7EZ) and made its first flight on May 21, 1975 using an old converted Volkswagen engine. Three months later the plane would break a new world record for distance flown in a light aircraft (1638 miles). The pilot of this record breaking flight was Dick Rutan, Burt’s brother, who would later go on to fly another more spectacular world record breaking flight in the Voyager (another Burt Rutan design). In December 1986, the Voyager became the first plane to fly around the world without stopping or refueling.

      An improved version of the aircraft, the Rutan Model 61 Long-EZ was created in 1979. Plans for both of the planes were sold from 1976 to 1985. Plans can still be found on E-bay but there are a quite a few “knock-off” designs out there like the Velocity and Cozy that carry on Burt’s design legacy of the original VariEze. Hundreds (if not thousands) of these planes are flying today and many can be bought used or as kits (or partially assembled kits).

      More about Burt…
      In 2004, Burt went on to design the sub-orbital space-plane SpaceShipOne. SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004. To win the prize, the design had to be the first privately funded spacecraft to enter the realm of space and return back to Earth twice within a two week period.

      I was lucky enough to meet Burt once at the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) convention at Oshkosh, Wisconsin many years ago. It was a moment in time that I’ll never forget.

      John

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