This section is intended to both inform the co-pilot and non-flying passengers about the unique features of the Stagger EZ and to prepare both for travel in the Stagger EZ.
First, per the FAA, I’m to inform you that this airplane is not a certified factory built airplane. This airplane is hand built, took 10 years to complete and is rated and certified to fly as “experimental”. Just because an airplane is rated experimental, does not mean that it is necessarily a bad or unsafe airplane. In fact I and many others consider my type of airplane to be more safe than some other “certified” airplanes. I include my specific airplane as safely built and I will continue to fly it in a safe manner. As you may have seen in the specifications, it took six thousand five hundred man hours to build. Plus, in recent years, the Stagger EZ has been inspected, upgraded, refurbished and restored. It will continue to have annual condition (certified) inspections. All that being said, flying has some inherent risk, as does most modes of travel.
So you can board the Stagger EZ with confidence. As you get ready to board note it has easy access from both sides. The nose bows down so you can easily step inside. You will face forward to step in. Feel free to put your hands on the canard wing. Not the elevator! The Stagger EZ features the elevator on the front of the airplane. (The elevator is the flying surface that is responsible for controlling the up and down of the airplane.) Placing a hand or two on the canard wing helps you steady yourself as you step into the cabin. Watch the canopy. Don’t bonk your head! If you are to sit in the back seat you have a choice to make. Either step through and then turn around to sit or face forward and step backwards allowing your backside to just sit into the back seat. The back seat has no shoulder harness but the right seat does. These are called hooker harnesses, often used in race cars. They are on the heavy side and will make you feel very secure once buckled in.
I will be talking with you about the fact that the airplane is equipped with duel stick flying controls. That means the “right seater” has a control stick that needs a lot of attention to not touch as I am flying the airplane. If the right seater should accidently bump his control stick while flying, the change in flying attitude will be most surprising! Although you can control the flying once in the air, the airplane is not fully a “duel control” airplane. The right seat does not have rudder controls or throttle control. Note: the seats are not very wide so be prepared to wedge yourself into the seats.
What becomes very apparent once inside is the very large bubble canopy! The improved visibility is to some amazing. The canopy is electrically operated. Once lowered completely down, there are locks on both sides that are rotated to lock the canopy down in place for flight. I will show you how to use those and where the emergency release nut is that separates the actuator arm from the canopy, allowing one to simply rase the canopy without the electric arm. (That is only needed in case of electric failure of the canopy.)
The last important issue to mention is, there are “sounds in aviation”. Like the sounds of air traffic control, (ATC) that need to be heard. There will be times that I will need to listen to the radio for instructions. So during taxi, take off and entering into the landing sequence, talking and idle “chit chat” are not welcome.
I will ask you to tell me what the “last important issue” is as a test, to ensure you have read and understood this preflight briefing.
Take-off is about 87 knots. Climb out is around 110 knots. Cruise speed is about 160 to 170 knots. Decent is 500 feet per minute. In the pattern for landing, speeds vary but generally are 110 to 100 knots including the downwind. Base is 100 knots. Final is 90 knots with 80 knots over the fence to the numbers. Finally touch down is in the low to mid seventies. Sometimes less. All these numbers vary according to the winds and weight in the right seat – which affects the canard wing. A lot of what affects how the EZ flys is weight on the canard wing. That’s why pilots that fly canard planes call themselves “canard drivers”!
Thank you for your trust and enjoy your flight in the Stagger EZ.