The Cozy Mark IV construction Project.

The primary of this web site is to document a Cozy Mark IV airplane project, share composite fiberglass techniques and home built airplane techniques with others, and grow the site into a logbook of my building process. A secondary purpose of this web site is to encourage others interested in experimental aviation to jump right in, ask questions, and get to know other builders. Pleae feel welcome to contact me.

Please note: the author of this site has no training in web design. Constructive comments, criticism, and suggestions are welcome.


Getting started on building an airplane:
Building an airplane is something that I wanted to do this since I was in college, and over the years I had read everything about the process that I could get my hands from online information to textbooks on composites and a short-course on comnposite construction for aerospace applications. For years, I considered it a project that I could not get started on until I had a large workshop area. I wish someone would have told me that I could buy the plans, get started on the smaller pieces, and eventually make the big pieces when I had a larger workshop. You need a 2-car garage sized space to finish building an airplane of this size, but you do not need that much space to get started. So, if you are interested in composites and building an airplane, set up a table in the corner of your work area and get started on making some pieces.

Why make a web site?
I wanted to keep a builders log as I go about construction of the airplane. Not only did I want to keep a log, but it is practically a requirement in case issues come up during the eventual FAA airworthiness inspection. My hand-written construction log would require a thousand words for every picture that I can put on a computer screen. So, my builder's log is partially digital and online. Since it is available to other builders, hopefully others will decide to build a Cozy when they see how easy it is, and possibly other builders can make suggestions that I may find helpful.

Choosing the right airplane:
Some of the aircraft that really appealed to me in the past were the Rutan Long EZ (see Wikipedia entry), the VariEze, the Berkut (see Wikipedia entry), the Lancair, the Velocity RG, and a few others. At one point I even had an interest in a small kit plane called a KR2. When I saw how tiny they were in person, I decided I needed something reasonably larger.

Each had their advantages and disadvantages. I own a set of construction plans for the Long EZ already, but it is only two seats, and I would enjoy travels with my wife a lot more if she is up front rather than in the back. The Cozy Mark IV (see Wikipedia entry) offers two seats and room for two small people or a large amount of luggage! The Berkut is one hot plane, but the kit manufacturer went out of business. (For a Berkut, I would happily deal with the tandem seating for only two people given the high performance.) The Lancair and Velocity are also kit planes, but I discovered that kits are very expensive and there no guarantee that the manufacturer will stay in business long enough for a builder to finish the aircraft..

Not a Kit Aircraft, no reliance on a company:
Plans-built... That was the clear choice for my personal tastes. And led to the obvious choice- the Cozy Mark IV, a 4-seat derivative of its cousin, the two-seat Rutan Long EZ. There is no kit to buy, and you can get stared with by simply buying the plans (two very large books, and a pile of drawings and diagrams.) No need to put thousands of dollars onto that credit card- read the plans, and buy the materials when you have the time and money. "That's it, no kit, no manufacturer, no complications, no giant prefabricated expense.... this is for me!" Once you have the plans, you can buy the raw materials (foam, glass cloth, epoxy resin, wood, wheels, tires, etc) from whomever supplies it and on a timeline that meets your budget. The Cozy Mark IV sounded perfect... it is made of composites, so I could build in my quiet residential area without disturbing anyone with air-tools and rivets. There is no kit manufacturer to rely on. The safety record is excellent. The group of other builders are very friendly, helpful, and incredibly supportive of one another. There may not be a manufacturer to get support from, but there are many experienced builders always willing to answer questions. Most of all... for a 4-seat airplane, these are really cool, fast, and fun flying machines.

No more reading about it. I want to see a real Cozy Mark IV:
Canard Fly-in at Bracket Field in California
I had to see one of these Cozy Mark IV airplanes up close. In January of 2005, I checked out the New Years Day Canard Pilot Fly-in and Breakfast-in at Corona, CA. I didn't know anyone at all and felt a little bit like I dropped in at someone else's party until a builder, Doug Pitzer, introduced himself. Later that day, I sat in a "Cozy" and discovered that it really is. It is more like trying on a coat than getting in an airplane because it is definitely Cozy. Two days later, I purchased my copy of the Cozy Mark IV plans after years of wanting to build and became the owner of Cozy Plans #1353.

My first flight in a Cozy Mark IV At another fly-in about a year later, Doug Pitzer took me up for a very short ride in the Cozy he built with his wife Patti. It took a week for the grin to go away. He took a photo of me sitting in his plane before the ride, and that photo sits in my shop as motivation to keep building.

Is there a lot of paperwork?  Is this all legal?
No, there is not a lot of paperwork. Yes it is all legal and pretty much like any other aircraft in the sky. Yes, the FAA recognizes amateur-built or home built aircraft within its rules and will issue an airworthiness certificate to an airplane that passes inspection by an authorized person. An experimental aircraft will have a tail number (commonly called an N-number in the US) just like certified aircraft. Other than that, as long as you have a pilot license, you take your creation into the air. Getting the N-number was easy. Ask me about the airworthiness certificate in a few years.

Building the airplane
As far as building this aircraft is concerned, It took me a long time to get started with even organizing and arranging a workspace, tooling up with a table, cloth box, and epoxy hot-box to house my epoxy pump. Like many other builders, I had some idea in my head that I needed some fancy table to get started. I got over it, moved on, started building and finally, completed the first section- aircraft bulkheads. Later, I lost my enthusiasm for weekends with the airplane project as far more important things like work, business travel, and the most important thing- family occupied my time.

What is a Cozy Mark IV and where can I get plans?
The Cozy Mark IV is a rear-engine, composite-construction, four-passenger, high speed sport-cruiser that can fly at speeds over 200 miles/hour with good fuel economy. It has a nonstop flight range of over 1000 miles, if you fly at an economical speed and altitude.

It looks a little different than the typical light aircraft you might see. The engine is in the back and a funny little wing (called a canard) is up front. The first canard-type aircraft ever flown was the one made famous by the Wright brothers. The Cozy, designed by Nat Puffer in Arizona, is a derivative of the Burt Rutan, Long EZ. Nat wrote up the modified plans and went to market selling them in two big books just like Burt Rutan did with the Long EZ. Later, Nat Puffer went into semi-retirement from involvement in the Cozy Mark IV and sold the rights to the plans to Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Corporation, a retailer of aviation goods.

When you get started on a project like this, all you get are two big books and the important drawings. There is no kit.  There are no parts that you bolt together. Every part is fabricated from raw materials. In this case, the raw materials are sheets of foam, rolls of glass cloth, and gallons of epoxy resin. Want to buy plans? You can order your own set of plans online via Aircraft Spruce.