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Shaw Twin-Ez




Built by Ivan Shaw, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England. G-IVAN began in 1980 as a VariEze and completed in 1981, was later converted to a Long-EZ, and then to a twin engined pusher (first flight 29 June 1989). The main undercarriage gear retracts into the fuselage where the O-200 used to fit.

The Twin-EZ was developed and built by Mr. Ivan Shaw, a British science school teacher. The Twin-EZ started life as a homebuilt Rutan VariEze certified in 1978. When Shaw considered transforming his aircraft into a twin-pusher (initially referred to as the Twin Speed) in 1981, he planned to use two 50 hp Lotus rotary engines. According to him, twin pusher engines and a retractable undercarriage should boost the Long-EZ's cruise speed to 200 m.p.h. and increase range to 2,000 n.m., offering 50 m.p.g. fuel economy. Shaw, a self-confessed "eyeball engineer" who aimed to fly his home-built late in 1985 when a pair of Lotus microlight engines would become available.

Shaw claimed a pair of 50 h.p. Lotus engines weighed 701 lb. less than either of the other units and burned 20 per cent less fuel. He built a bracket which allowed the pair to be attached to the standard engine mount on the rear fuselage, each engine sitting just 31 in. from the fuselage centre line. Electrical systems could be run from either engine, offering "complete redundancy".

Shaw's other modification was to fit a fully retractable undercarriage. This carried a 301 lb. weight penalty over the fixed undercarriage, but reduced drag and so offered the prospect of the major speed increase Shaw was predicting. Empty weight was predicted to be 800 lb. and the first flight was to be made within six weeks of engine delivery.

However, development of the Lotus engine type was stopped, and therefore none was ever installed on the Twin-EZ. For Shaw, who had worked with Lotus and Rutan on the Microlight aircraft, Colin Chapman's untimely death also signified the end of all aviation activity for Lotus, engines included. As a result Shaw decided to modify the aircraft with larger Long-EZ wings to accommodate two 77 hp Hewland HAE75 three-cylinder two-stroke reciprocating engines, installed in a pusher configuration. In this form, the Twin-EZ was first flown on June 29, 1989, and was demonstrated days later at the UK Popular Flying Association's annual rally at Cranfield Airport.

The Twin-EZ was soon used as test-bed for the Norton-Wankle NR642 rotary engines, each unit being mounted pusher-style at the wing trailing edge. The Norton rotary engine had already been tested in 1987 in an Aviation Composites Mercury, a local derivative of the Microlight developed at Scaled Composites. The advantages of the rotary Norton over the Hewland engine were said to be a lengthy overhaul interval and increased power. The Norton engine developed 90 h.p. compared with the Hewland's 75 h.p., and was claimed to be extremely light for its power output owing to constructional simplicity.

At Gamston in the 1980's Ivan Shaw was air testing the twin conversion and it was damaged whilst stored there.

Ownership later changed to Anthony Malcolm Aldridge of Crostwight, North Walsham, and the aircraft was stored.




Type: twin-pusher two-seat sportsplane
Engines: 2 x Hewland HAE75, 77 hp
2 x 90 hp Norton rotary
MTOW: 499kg
Cruise speed: 280 mph
Vmca: 57 kt
Serial No: c/n 39; s/n PFA 074-10502
Crew/passengers: 2


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