Rutan Grizzly


Rutan Grizzly
Rutan Model 072 Grizzly N80RA -06002.jpg
Rutan Grizzly at the EAA AirVenture Museum, Oshkosh. Image courtesy by TDL.
Role tandem-wing STOL research aircraft
Manufacturer Rutan Aircraft Factory
Designer Burt Rutan
First flight 22 January 1982
Number built 1

The Rutan Model 72 Grizzly is a tandem-wing STOL research aircraft designed by Burt Rutan, now preserved at the EAA AirVenture Museum, Oshkosh. The aircraft exhibited excellent Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities, proving that this is also possible with a Rutan-typical canard design.

Design and development

This composite-construction aircraft features three lifting surfaces: A front wing with approximately half the span of the main wing and a classical cruciform empennage. Front and main wings are connected by a pair of struts with square cross-section which also serve as fuel tanks. Both wings carry Fowler flaps on part of their span for STOL. The fixed tail-wheel undercarriage has four low-pressure, small-diameter main-wheels, on two cantilever spring struts, with a spring mounted tail-wheel assembly. The four-seat cabin is completely enclosed with a combination of flat, squared and outward-bulged tear-drop shaped windows.

The Grizzly is intended for use as a bush plane with unique safety and comfort, the four-seater could be used by two persons as a camper for back-country activities with its seats folded to become a 6 ft (1.8 m) long bed. A planned amphibian version of the Grizzly was never realized. Use as a bush plane may conflict with the Grizzly's low wings and Fowler flaps which might interfere with vegetation or obstacles.

Operational history

The career of the Grizzly contains several “firsts”:

  • first use of computational methods at Rutan Aircraft Factory for airfoil and wing-system design
  • first use of a Fowler-type flap system on the canard surface of a tandem wing aircraft
  • first practical Three-surface aircraft that paved the way for the later Grumman X-29 or Piaggio Avanti
  • an exceptionally long first flight on 22 January 1982 (2.6 hours) exploring a vast area of operability
  • first experimental airplane to tow another experimental airplane (the Solitaire) on June 23, 1982

After completion of testing the Grizzly was donated to the EAA AirVenture Museum, Oshkosh in 1997.


Data from Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1984–85[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming O-360B 4-cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed piston engine, 180 hp (130 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Hartzell Q-tip constant speed propeller


  • Stall speed: 35 kn (40 mph, 65 km/h)


  1. ^ Taylor, John W. R., ed. (1984). Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1984–85 (75th ed.). London: Jane's Publishing Co. pp. 492–493. ISBN 0 7106 0801 2.

External links

  • website on the Grizzly
  • photo report
  • Aerofiles Grizzly information