Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Puffer Cozy(s) of New Zealand

Our next homebuilt type to be registered was the Puffer Cozy - another of the several composite aircraft types of the time.

The Puffer Cozy was developed by Vari-Eze builder Nat Puffer in the early 1980s as an evolution of the Rutan Long Eze, with Burt Rutans approval.  The three seater Cozy III came first and was followed by the four seater Cozy IV.  Like the Long Eze, it was built of foam and fibreglass sandwich construction and it was only available to be built from plans.

The Cozy III was first built with a 118 HP O-235 engine which provided a cruise speed of around 180 mph.  The Cozy IV was first built with a 180 HP O-360 engine which gave a cruise speed of 220 mph which is pretty fast!

The Cozy III had a length of 16 feet 8 inches (5.08 metres) and a wingspan of 26 feet 1 inch (7.95 metres).  The Cozy IV looked similar but had a bigger wingspan.  The empty weight of the Cozy III is around 906 pounds (411 Kg) and MAUW is 1,500 pounds (680 Kg).

Our only Puffer Cozy is ZK-COZ (c/n E749.AACA/2085), is a Cozy III which has had a long and convoluted gestation.  It was started by Fred Libeau of North Shore and it was first registered to FL and J Libeau on 12/11/92 but its registration was cancelled on 24/11/98. However it was re-registered to Fred Libeau, now of Rotorua, on 20/9/07.  It has a 160 HP O-320 engine.

On 1/9/08 it was purchased by Russell and Fionna Borman of Tauranga and they completed the aircraft over the next few years according to the old homebuilt aircraft law of "90% done but 90% to go"!  It is photo'd above at the 2010 SAANZ flyin at Tauranga (although it was not outside for most of the flyin).  It was finally complete by December 2011 and test flew one circuit on 23/12/11.  But on its second flight later in the day the side-opening canopy partly opened which resulted in a forced landing on the remaining runway with quite a bit of damage.  I recently talked to Russell and he told me that he has completed the repairs and is ready to begin repainting the aircraft, so we will see this nice aircraft in the air again in the future.

I don't think we will see any more Puffer Cozys in New Zealand unless one is imported.

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