Builder: Michael B. Bowden
Type: experimental twin-engined variant of Long-EZ canard pusher
Powerplant: 2 x 80 hp Jabiru engines
Significant date: 2000
One of a few attempts to build a twin-engined EZ, the Michael B. Bowden's unique twin-Jabiru-powered Two EZ MS1 was started in 1996 and took its first airworthiness flights in 2000 in Smyrna, Tennessee. "The beautifully finished twin engine Long EZ powered by two 80 HP Jabiru engines made its first flight this afternoon. All went well. The sight (looks like a small Star Ship) and the sound (sounds like a small Star Ship) kept the entire Smyrna, Tn (near Nashville) airport spell bound for an hour today. Congratulations to Mike Bowden for a job well done."
The Two EZ was a real crowd pleaser at fly-ins. In all of the excitement over the twin-engine installation, it was still hard to miss the fact that the quality of the rest of the work is also excellent on this airplane. The interior was very well finished, and the modified canopy added to "a decidedly snarky appearance". The downwards fin was certainly a most unusual feature, even for a Rutan derivative.
Several years on, the aircraft is nowhere to be found. In fact, N102ML has been reverted to the regular single pusher engine configuration circa 2005. EZs are said not to fly well when configured with side-by-side engines. Twins raise all sorts of issues of their own. With the exception of centerline thrust twins like the push-pull Ganzer Gemini, and strange one-offs like the couter-rotating Twin Cozy Mark IV, piston twins have real handling and performance problems when one engine goes out. In certain circumstances (low, slow and heavy) a twin can be more dangerous than a single when an engine quits. Doubling the number of engines does not halve the chance of having a mechanical problem...it doubles it. There are twice as many points of failure. What the extra engine does for you is make that scenario more survivable most of the time (night, over water, mountainous terrain, etc.). Then there's the engineering involved. Light twins are more complex structurally and aerodynamically than are singles.
As in other one-of-a-kind attempts to improve on a Rutan design, therefore, Bowden has prefered the flying characteristics and safety of the proven Long-EZ design. However, Velocity has a six-seat, twin-engined and pressurized Velocity in the works, and they've put model of this project on display at every airshow they participated in, so as to calibrate the true interest level. "Supposedly a twin is the one thing that get asked for more than anything. There are folks that just won't fly with one motor" says Velocity XL/FG owner Brett Ferrell. "It's a lot like the Korean test version of the Velocity." Hopefully this twin-engined EZ derivative will handle better than its unfortunate Two EZ and Twin-EZ predecessors.
Population: 1 (c/n 001) [N102ML]