Rutan VariViggen

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Rutan VariViggen
Role Homebuilt light aircraft
Manufacturer Rutan Aircraft Factory
Designer Burt Rutan
First flight April, 1972
Status < 5 flying
Primary user private owners
Number built ~20
Variants VariEze

The Rutan VariViggen is a homebuilt aircraft designed by Burt Rutan. The aircraft is a tandem two-seater of composite construction with a delta wing and a canard foreplane. The VariViggen is powered by a 150 hp Lycoming O-320 aero engine in pusher configuration. The prototype was designated Model 27, and the production version was Model 32.

Design and development[edit]

The VariViggen was named after the Swedish fighter plane, the Saab 37 Viggen, which had partially inspired his design. Rutan became interested in aircraft which resisted stalls and spins, and the VariViggen was his first full scale design. He began working with the design as a student at Cal Poly in the early 1960s, and started building the prototype in his garage in 1968. After four years of work, the aircraft made its first flight in April, 1972. In order to increase efficiency, the Model 32 (also known as the VariViggen SP) had a slightly longer fuselage, a larger wingspan and winglets.

The Rutan Aircraft Factory sold over 60 plan sets for the VariViggen to homebuilders, and eventually about 20 of the aircraft were built. Following the crash of one in New Brunswick, Canada in September 2006 due to wing tank fuel contamination,[1] fewer than five are currently still flying. The prototype aircraft, N27VV, was donated to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 1988.

Rutan also began work on an all-aluminum variant, the MiniViggen, but later abandoned the project and focused his efforts on the VariEze.

A Rutan VariViggen was used in the 1975 film Death Race 2000.


General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 16 ft 10 in (5.12 m)
  • Wingspan: 19 ft 0 in (5.79 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
  • Wing area: 123 ft² (11.4 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1020 lb (463.6 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1700 lb (772.7 kg)


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Aviation Investigation Report, CA: Transportation Safety Board, 2006, A06A0092