En route to Oshkosh Lady Vi lost oil pressure and made an emergency landing at a small northeast Arkansas airport. The area was not conducive to an off-field landing and due to the distance needed to make the airport the decision was made to not extend the gear until landing on the runway was assured. The runway was barely made leaving little time, subsequently, only the nose gear was fully extended. The aircraft landed on its rear rollers and the nose gear but in the landing rollout, the nose strut failed getting embedded in the bottom skin aft of the nose wheel well. Oil covered the whole back end of the aircraft verifying the loss of oil pressure was from a leak. After removing the cowlings there was nothing obviously disconnected or failed. The engine did not seize and was rotating all the way to touchdown. RAFE Volunteers Robert Harris and Bob Stevens drove out the next day and Lady Vi is safely secured at the RAFE hangar in Covington, Tn.
After Oshkosh, more time will be dedicated to researching what happened. In the meantime, we are staying positive. The aircraft can be fixed. No one was hurt.
Lady Vi was the product of volunteerism and donations. The project proved that Rutan enthusiasts can pull together for a common cause and can accomplish great things. As the only known flying example of a Rutan VariViggen and the newest built VariViggen we consider it a national treasure. As the small non-profit that we are, we will need to pull together once again and repair Lady Vi. We are hopeful that the engine is not destroyed but at the very least will need disassembly, inspection and repair.
Unfortunately, in the past 8 months, RAFE has spent almost all its funds on the repairs and upgrades to our Speed Canard so the Canard Flight Academy can get back in operation and continue to train new Canard Pilots. That has exhausted our bank account so to help with the repairs to Lady Vi we have initiated a GoFundMe campaign. Please consider Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience and support our mission to:
Preserve and Promote Burt Rutans aircraft designs. The “Homebuilts that led to Space!”
Let's get Lady Vi back in the air!
President and Founder
Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience