Rutan Model 81 Catbird


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Rutan Model 81 Catbird

The Model 81 was a project of an all-composite five-seat piston-engined lightplane designed for Beechcraft's research and development department , making use of Rutan's favoured three-surface layout (that of canard, wing and tail flying surfaces).

In 1988 Scaled Composites was sold back to Rutan in partnership with the Wyman-Gordon Company of Worcester, Massachusetts. The sale agreement permitted Rutan the rights to several of the designs he had produced for Beech, and this arrangement saw the Model 81 come to life as the Rutan Model 81 Catbird. The sole prototype aircraft won the 1988 California CAFE 400 race, a competition measuring overall airframe efficiency and performance on the grounds of fuel consumption, speed and payload.

 ENGINE1 x Continental, 155kW

skeatesy, e-mail, 18.09.2012 08:00

I dont know why Rutan built this aircraft or the specs for the cannard incidence and tail incidence or area and how come it is not flying but this is the most advanced formulae for aircraft because with high streess modulus materials it does not violate the 130 nose,swivel,spar angle rule upto know only used in hangliders but now is absolutely neccesary in advanced engineering of all kinds ..and allows the lift centroid to advance beyond the c /g so flutter is not an issue nor is the plane divervent ..which most aircraft now have become no longer useing older materials which absorb the oscilation from the wing tips ..the only otheer aircraft to do this is stagger wing biplanes ..if your aircraft developes flutter or cracks behind the c /g it is divergent hence the Rapture and all usa military air craft end up grounded trying to get something for nothing by violateing the rule ..skeatesy


Robin Friedrich, e-mail, 24.08.2010 22:05

This aircraft holds two world FAI records. Cat C-1b (Landplanes: take off weight 500 to 1000 kg)
Group 1 : internal combustion engine
Speed over a closed circuit of 2 000 km without payload : 401.46 km /h and C-1c (Landplanes: take off weight 1000 to 1750 kg)
Group 1 : internal combustion engine
Speed over a closed circuit of 2 000 km without payload : 413.78 km /h in 1994. (223 kts folks!) The different weights probably indicate that more fuel was loaded on the second run to support faster speeds. First was flown by Dick Rutan and the 2nd flight by Mike Melvill.


Alejandro Irausquin, e-mail, 16.11.2009 21:01

Ken, no, there are no plans at all for this plane (too bad, no?) It was build by Burt as his personal plane, replacing his Defiant I. It was later replaced by Boomerang. Of this ones, only Defiant was offered in plans.

Jeff, from Aerofiles:
Catbird (Model 81) 1987 = 5pClwM rg; 210hp Avco Lycoming; v: x /276 /x. Proof-of-concept aircraft aimed at replacing Beech Bonanza. POP: 1 [N187RA]; no production.
For more references on speed, read: /wiki /Scaled_Composites_Catbird


Ken Seib, e-mail, 16.04.2009 07:28

Are therre plans to build this plane


Jeff Roberts, e-mail, 03.07.2007 23:59

The specs do not indicate the horsepower, nor the top speed of the Catbird. I would be very interested to know these numbers! Thanks.


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