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Why I decided to build a Cozy - by the builders

Prospective builder Jeffrey Osier-Mixon's posted a question in the unofficial Cozy Mail list:
Here is an esoteric set of questions for the group... How did you decide to build a Cozy? What about it appealed to you, what else did you consider, did you take a ride in one first? How often have you woken up in the middle of the night mid-project and realized you should have built a Lancair/Stallion/whatever? I'm only asking because it's a hell of a lot of time, energy, and money to spend if you're not certain, so how did you get certain enough to commit?

The replies from Cozy builders were as follows:
I thought about it for months. Ultimately it boiled down to a Canard or an RV-6 because I wanted speed and performance. I didn't have a chance to fly in either. In the end, four places vs two, lower cockpit noise levels, toughness, speed and of course, the look, decided it for me. I'm almost three years into the project, and I don't regret the choice. A big factor in staying motivated has been this newsgroup and the on-line logs of people like John Slade, Wayne Hicks and Marc Zeitlin. One other reason to decide rather than just think about it. In 1982, I decided I'd like to build a plane. I researched it a lot and ended up choosing a Varieze, which was Rutan's offering in that era. Different time, different experiences, different desires, but I still picked the canard over all other options. Anyway for one reason or another, I decided it would be too much work and abandoned the idea. If I had just done it, I'd have probably been flying for 10 years now.

Regards, Peter Militch Cozy Mark IV #740
Working on the nose, spar's done, wings next.

Jeffrey, how did you get certain enough to commit?
To me, this is the key phrase in your question. One of the benefits of building per plans is the ability to delay large expenditure while you get your feet wet. (Also you're hands, arms and face - in epoxy :). Most of the kits require a fairly big expenditure up front. With a Cozy you can get fairly deep into the process for as little as three or four grand. I discuss my reasoning in http://kgarden.com/cozy/intro.htm In short - I'd followed the velocity for some years, but never really thought about building one. When it did finally occur to me that I wanted to build a plane, I considered a seaplane but, like Simon, I looked at the mission and went for speed, economy, efficiency, utility, coolness factor and the Rutan legacy. I wanted composite rather than tin. It had to be a 4 seater with side by side seating for the GIB. I didn't like the velocity center stick and I learned that the Cozy is MUCH less expensive, faster and more economical. The large builder / flyer base, this maillist and the builder web sites were a big plus. I too flew with Jeff in his beautiful Aerocanard. Jeff didn't have plans then, so I bought Cozy plans knowing I could turn to Jeff for prefab wings, winglets, fuselage tub, strakes, turtleback, canard, nose, etc. etc. if I got fed up with building and came into some cash. As it happens, I found I loved the building process :) and I didn't come into money :( I digress- the point is that, like any pilot, I always like to have a contingency plan. Rather than research the problem to death, as many do, and spend years of time and effort making the RIGHT decision, I made the decision in a matter of weeks. I had no idea what I was getting into. I ordered plans and the first 4 chapters of materials. 6 weeks later I made the decision (a no brainer) to go the next step and buy the materials for four more chapters. After that there was no stopping me. Two and a half years later I have an airplane. No prop or electronics yet, but it's definitely an airplane. But, you see... I didn't commit to very much up front - I decided it was worth a few grand to give it a go then, based on experience gained, I got a little deeper, and a little deeper...... >you woken up in the middle of the night mid-project and realized you >should have built a Lancair/Stallion/whatever? Are you kidding? I've been sanding through the middle of the night for so long I don't have time to have bad dreams. Seriously - no. never regretted it for a second. On the contrary - I never realized how much personal satisfaction you can get from a project like this. One of the other benefits that I hadn't expected is that you meet some great people with similar interests. Like I said to another prospective builder yesterday - "Stop planning and start doing"

Regards, John Slade
Cozy MKIV #757,West Palm Beach, FL

Jeff, I owned a 1962 Mooney for eight years. I liked the Mooney because burning 10gph I could cruise 150mph. Solo and half fuel I could climb 1000 fpm. For a 4 place complex aircraft, it was inexpensive to maintain. Some of the reasons I'm building a Cozy Mk IV: Burning 10gph I will be able to cruise 40 to 50 mph faster. It outclimbs the Mooney. It is less expensive to maintain. I used to pay about $400 a year just to have my logbook looked at. If the airplane needed anything (which it always did) the price went up from there. To appreciate having a fixed prop that will push you along at 200mph, I think you will have to pay to have a constant speed prop overhauled. I sold my Mooney out of annual for parts. Corrosion was discovered between the aft spar and top skin. It is not possible to discover anything like that in a Cozy. Every time the prop swang around in my old Mooney, it would send a shock pulse through the windshield and hit me. Flying up to two hours non stop, this would be tolerable. If I flew over three hours the vibration and noise would start to drive me crazy. I would stop thinking that flying was a blessed event and want to just land and get out of the airplane. A Cozy is pushed through clean air. That has got to be more comfortable. Several years ago my mission at Sun-n-fun was to decide what airplane to build. (I wanted to build) One of the kits I was considering arrived at Sun-n-fun on a trailer. The Cozy was flown from Arizona by the designer and his wife. When I called to ask about the plans, the designer picked up the phone. I was convinced there would be excellent builders support. As you build your Cozy you may choose to keep in contact by the cozy list with other builders from all over the world. You will probably find yourself winning friends and influencing people. I started building bulkheads before I had a shop. I started by ordering $400 worth of supplies. If you want to spend more money and take less time building there are companies that make parts for the Cozy. Cozy Mk IV = a lot of bang for the buck Todd
John Slade writes: "Stop planning and start doing" Well said!

Michael Pollock
Flying Velocity N173DT Building Cozy MKIV #643

So true, for a minimal investment you can get your feet wet and decide if this is really for you, buy plans and chapter 4 materials, read the plans alot, if you did not understand something, read the plans again... trust me its in there clearly in black and white, and finally if you need clarification we are all here to answer questions. Just go for it. ...

Chrissi Chrissi & Randi
Cozy MK IV # 957 Chapter Seven ... We have a canoe!


All, Below is a reprint from Cozy Newsletter #71. This should be of great interest to all Cozy Builders, and potential builders. Cozy Newsletter #71 SPEED The theme for Airventure 2000 was "SPEED" (even though the Concorde couldn't make it), so in preparation for our forum, we compared the Cozy Mark IV with some of the current, factory built, 4-place airplanes (per the AOPA Pilot, March 2000)

Lancair Columbia....190+.....300.....189,000
Cozy Mark IV........189......180......35,000*
Mooney Ovation......187......280.....500,000
Mooney Eagle........175......244.....319,000
Socata Trinidad.....163......250.....347,000
Commander 14B.......160......260.....370,000
Cirrus SR20.........160......200.....171,000
Grumman Tiger.......143......180.....219,500
Cessna Skyland......140......200.....223,700

*Of course, all of the above factory-builts come equipped with new engines. But even if you had to spend an extra $10,000 or so for a remanufactured Lycoming, a Cozy Mark IV would still be a better investment by far. Unlike a Cozy, none of the above factory builts have a resale value 2 to 3 times what they cost. Even if we compared the Cozy Mark IV to 4-place kit-built airplanes, it would still be both the fastest and least expensive, and that is only the beginning, because we have state-of-the-art construction and technology, our maintenance and insurance costs are less, and we have a safety record twice as good as Cessna!! The reason we decided back in 1990 to sell plans to the Mark IV was that all the other 4-place designs (Prescott Pusher, Wheeler Express, White Lightning, Velocity) were having problems. We thought we had a better design, and we haven't seen anything since then to make us change our opinions. -

C Co-Z Development Corp. Blue Skies,
Larry A. Capps COZY MKIV #829 Chapter 9 Naperville, IL


Well, here's how it worked for me... I started with a definition of my mission. Long cross country trips were high on my priority list. Usually I will be travelling alone, but when I'm with others, having two passengers is actually more likely than having only one, so a 4 seater was desirable. Then I looked at finances. The speed and financial concerns led me to the Cozy or the RV. The RV is a fantastic airplane (am I allowed to say that on this list?), but I think that I need the extra seats a lot more than the short-field and acrobatic capability. Also, the economics of plans building are a lot less painful. The clincher was that there are quite a few others where I work that are building, or considering, the Cozy. That will be a big help along the way.

Ken Friberg kenneth.friberg@gefanuc.com

Jeffrey; I have one suggestion, research! Personally I did months worth. There is a lot to like about the Cozy. It is visually very appealing. 4 place, OK, 2 adults and luggage or, 2 adults and a couple of kids but, there is still a nice bit of room. Good speed, range, climb, landing is a little quick but, that's typical for Canard designs. It is a very pilot friendly, read forgiving, design. The 350+ flying today flew initially with little or no need for significant changes and flew hands off flat, level, and straight. Many of these builders didn't, and don't, have significant building experience. Other than their Cozy project. This speaks volumes for the core design, Rutan's LongEZ, and the work that Nat did, and continues to do, to create the Cozy aircraft. The benefits of this builders group has to be part of your decision process. You're in the company of a wonderful group of folks that are not only willing to help but, will do what ever is in their power to help a fellow builder succeed. Yes, it is a hell of lot of time, energy, and money to spend if you're not certain but, IMHO the Cozy is head and shoulders above anything else I've looked at, before or after committing. And the only thing that wakes me up at night, is thinking about the day that she takes to the sky for the first time. I can not wait.

Hope this helps; Kerry


Hi Jeffrey I made the jump to a Cozy because I wanted a composite aircraft with good stats and good design backup, todate I have been pleased with the whole package, especially the support of Nat and other builders. Is it worth it? well every day you think it is and then you think it isn't, but thats life, no doubt when it's flying I will remember only the good things.

Keith Scull MK1v (building in the UK)


As long as everyone's getting into the act.... It doesn't hurt to actually try one on. I know there are a lot of folks that have responded to this chain that they've never seen, flown, etc. and forged ahead anyway. That advice is truely sound because when you start thinking things go a little (ok a lot) slower. The sage advice is to just start building...something that I have unfortunately ignored! I bought my MK IV plans a few years ago but was hesitant to actually start building until I could sit in one. My somewhat expanding girth lead me to believe that I may need to modify the basic design somewhat to be comfortable for the long trips I have planned. I didn't want to get started now and find that later I'd been much happier if only I'd.... The end result was that a Cozy is indeed Cozy. Fortunately while at Oshkosh this past year I ran into Steve Wright while he was demo-ing the Blue Mountain Software panel on Greg Richter's Cozy. Besides the truely incredible glass panel that blows eveyone away that see it, Steve also took the time to show me Greg's terrific mod done to his canopy. It's been described before but it makes the Cozy a lot easier to get into and out of (coupled with Steve's nose lift of course)! I'll post the pictures I've taken (with Greg's permission) as soon as I get a few kinks worked out on my web site. Greg has some pics up on his at his web site. The less gymnastics that I have to do to get in and out of the plane the more I can save for the enjoyment of flight! Ok I also have a bad back that isn't as flexible as I'd like it to be and this is turning out to be a big issue. The choices for me were always simple - canard. I loved the handling especially after taking a ride in Mike Pollocks Velocity. Ok, I really feel in love with the Velocity after that. (Mike is also building a Cozy). If you're in doubt hit an airshow - it doesn't even have to be Oshkosh. Strap on an oxygen mask and try on everything that you think you'd like and then try on everything you think you could afford. Don't forget to turn the oxygen bottle on...some of this stuff can leave you breathless (like the glass panel)! Have fun!

Bob Hassel plans 749 and holding... 8-)

In response, the path I took with my wife was interesting. I looked for Long - EZ plans and found uncut and unused Long plans. I took them home, showed her. She asked two questions, where did I sit and where did she sit? When I explained, she stated simply, uh-uh. Side by side seating, design was my choice. Velocity and Cozy came up in the search for canard and side by side seating. Velocity was a $30K kit, Cozy was pay as you go. Cozy won. Never regretted that decision.

Richard Crapse Textron LCM Team

I wanted to express my thanks to everyone for a very illuminating thread. I feel I have learned quite a lot just by lurking, and this thread is really helping me to feel that I am approaching this project with my eyes open.

Jeffrey Osier-Mixon

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