Initial licensee: Air Sport, Inc., Stow, Massachusetts
Type: overpowered, simplified version of VariEze
Powerplant: 1 x 108 hp Lycoming O-235
Significant date: 1977
Soon after the VariEze plans started selling on the homebuilt market, one builder suggested a stripped version powered by a Lycoming O-235 engine. Rutan gave his approval to this project, which was not conducted at RAF. Air Sport, Inc. of Stow, Massachusetts, did all the installation development and flight testing, and provided all homebuilder support concerning the Lycoming engine and the new version.
Cooling, induction, controls, fuel system, exhaust, mounting and cowling were debugged within months, and RAF offered to sell that version's plans starting in late November 1977, the profits of which were to benefit Air Sport. The Air Sport EZ flew with a Jiran prototype Lycoming cowling instead of the Continental one, and for the same pricetag.
Several modifications were to be taken into consideration by builders: for instance, ring gear, alternator, starter and vacuum pump must be removed, but the biggest change was due to the fact that the Lycoming engine was mounted closer to the firewall than the Continental, thus the balance of the airplane is the same as with an O-200 with alternator. Performance with the O-235 was essentially the same as with the O-200, with a 13% increase in rate of climb, while cruise was about four to five mph more.
Air Sport ceased to exist a long time ago but the O-235 installation continued to attract some homebuilders for a while. O-235-powered VariEzes still registered in the US are N2280K (c/n 1566), N45VE (c/n 1485) and N7AH (c/n 257), among others. N49LK (c/n 376) was lost in 2001 in an in-flight collision and N711QB's status (c/n 1006) is unknown.