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(This issue we take a look at Theo Martin, a QAC distributor from Hobbs, New Mexico. Theo had been an electrician since 1969 and began building a Varieze around 1978. He became impressed with composite construction and said he "jumped at the opportunity" to be a Quickie representative after the Q2 became available.)

I flew out of Mojave in February in 1981 and signed the dealership agreement then. My inventory arrived around May or June. The first thing I needed to do was to put a Q2 together myself. The Q2 plans were not as detailed as the EZ plans I worked with. Perhaps in trying to make the plans look easy, several steps were left out or neglected. In terms of receiving materials, it was really a horror story. At one point I was even borrowing materials from a local builder!

I did find the Q2 to be easier to build than the EZ. There was less time involved and the parts were easier to make. Naturally, I picked up a lot of ideas from building the EZ and this was definitely an advantage that I had. Generally, it was just my wife and myself for the larger layups. I did do a few things differently. I installed the fuel tank before putting the fuselage shells together. There didn't seem to be any good way of mounting the tank after the shells were together. The only extra instruments I've added are the CHT, Vertical Speed Indicator, and a NAV-COM. I also wired the plane for lights in case I wanted to install them later.

My first flight was in early December. I had missed my completion date by several months, but I guess this is normal. I probably could have been flying before this, but had trouble receiving an engine. I kept a pretty accurate account of my project and logged 700 man-hours toward my project. My empty weight was 520 lbs. The FAA representatives were very friendly and helpful although not very familiar with composite construction. I spent five hours on the ground getting used to the airplane. I didn't have any taildragger time and wanted to thoroughly orient myself. I only have 500 hours total time and checked myself out...but not without incident.

My first landing was more of a crash, probably due to my own unfamiliarity with the craft. I hit hard and broke the prop and skinned up the wheel pants. Perhaps I expected it to land like my EZ, and it doesn't. The plane itself handles well in flight. It was level and in rig. One thing did bother me was the tendency of the plane to fly right wing heavy when a passenger was with me. So, I went back and added an aileron trim system.

One mistake I made was mixing micro with the Featherfill. (Ed Note: See Q-Tips, Ron Thornton) with the canard being the landing gear, I've seen some stress cracks develop on my finish. It seems to work fine on the EZ, but not with the bouncing that the Q2 canard takes. One partial factor is also the thickness of the Featherfill. I don't think mine was too thick, but I did use microballoons (about 50%). I'll probably refinish it sometime in the future but it's not very noticeable now.

I have 66 hours on the plane and have determined a true airspeed of 160 mph. I'm seeing a 800-1000 fpm climb rate with a passenger. I just went to Houston in March and burned 15 gallons of fuel in 4 hours. That trip is 530 miles and I even had a headwind. I have the standard climb prop which is 45" x 56".

Finally, I encourage everyone to work with the dealer closest to them. After all, the dealer is a person to seek for service, as well as sales.

You can order a PDF or printed copy of QuickTalk #3 by using the Q-talk Back Issue Order Page.