The US Army's first canard types were modified Long-EZ types, which are still shrouded with mystery...


Customer:  U.S. Army's 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis
Builder:  Department of the Army at Fort Lewis, Washington

Type:  experimental covert operations/threat simulation versions of Long-EZ

Program:  Monkey Green

Powerplant: 1 x 115 hp 4-cylinder Lycoming O-235 engine

Significant date: 1983

Back in the early 1980s, two Army officers at the U.S. Army's 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis got the idea that the Rutan Long-EZ would make a good covert ops aircraft. Two Long EZs were built in 1982 by the Department of the Army at Fort Lewis, Washington, under the code name "Monkey Green". Both Long-EZs were involved in an evaluation program. The initial test program with the first aircraft (c/n 1240) to determine the feasibility of using the latest civilian technology (notably the all-composite construction) in a military environment, for possible application to future Army aircraft, started in May of 1983 and lasted approximately 6 months, for a total of 34 flights. The airworthiness test was conducted on July 8, 1983.

The first aircraft (c/n 1240) completed a comprehensive static load, ground vibration test and flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base. Test pilots Major Don Underwood and Major Robert Ward both agreed that the handling characteristics of the Long-EZ were very good. The second aircraft was also extensively flight tested at the US Army flight test center at Edwards AFB. The report that resulted from the test phase was entitled "Preliminary Airworthiness Evaluation of the Rutan Aircraft Factory (RAF), Inc. Long-EZ Aircraft" (USAAEFA Project No. 82-18).

Burt Rutan once said that these aircraft had received a designation, but he could never remember it. Contrary to previous rumors, it seems they never received military registrations, but stuck with their civil ones. The aircraft are said to have received serial numbers 84-1240 and -1241; however, not only this was already allocated to an F-16C, but the Army serials have five digits after the dash and are sequential from one year to the next, ruling out these serials for good. Most probably it was simply the aircraft's manufacturing number that was mistaken for a proper military serial.

Rutan Aircraft Factory was involved in some work on an Army Long-EZ in 1983, installing a Texas Instruments T.I.9100 Loran C, a King HSI and some special-mission sensors in a large external pod. They also converted the standard rudders to the then-new high performance rudders. This large rudder installation was very thoroughly tested not only by RAF, but by two Army test pilots, and all agreed that they were an enormous improvement and no sign of any tendency to depart was observed by any of the three test pilots. RAF also made other changes and installations that were proprietary. "It was a most interesting project to work on" said Rutan. In 1984, RAF was busy modifying the second Army Long-EZ, presumably incorporating avionics and pods as in the first one.

It is not clear what became of the "Monkey Green" project, but it seems that Jim Kreutz and Milo Burroughs, the two Army officers behind "Monkey Green", eventually got in trouble for exceeding their authority and resigned, forming an organization named "Sky Blue", which has subsquently faded from sight. They also had a hand in getting the idea for the Scaled/Rutan ARES ground-attack aircraft going. Some rumors have placed the "Monkey Green'" aircraft overflying Nicaragua, and other special operations. The first aircraft's civil registration (N1253) has been reallocated in 2003, the second aircraft is apparently inactive since April 12, 1991. However, at least one of these (N1241) has apparently found new Army use under the OPFOR's threat simulation programs as the Vz-10.

Another, distinct Long-EZ development for the military was Scaled's Model 144 or California Microwave CM-44.

Population: 2 (c/n 1240 and 1241) [N1253 and N1241]

Specifications: unknown

Crew/passengers: 2

Main source:
- Preliminary Airworthiness Evaluation of the RAF Inc. Long-EZ Airplane
- Skunk Works Digest