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Ebneter's E-1 Sets Another Record

 

Arnold Ebneter's E-1
Arnold Ebneter's E-1 airplane, which he flew to an unofficial world record for airplane efficiency on October 5 (Photo by Jay Tolbert)

Arnold Ebneter and his creation, E-1
Arnold Ebneter and his creation, E-1. (Photo by Michael O'Leary/Everett Daily Herald)

October 11, 2012 - Arnold Ebneter, 84, of Woodinville, Washington, appears to have set another world aviation record for airplane fuel efficiency in his incredible E-1 airplane.

Ebneter, EAA 450548, unofficially set the record on October 5 during a nonstop flight from Harvey Field in Snohomish to Spokane; Pendleton, Oregon; and back to Snohomish, using 62 pounds of fuel achieving 55 mpg. That shattered the old mark of 67 pounds in the less than 1,100 pounds aircraft category.

The record will require verification by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) before becoming official. In July 2010, he flew his E-1 nonstop from Paine Field, Everett, Washington, to Fredericksburg, Virginia - an 18-hour, 27-minute flight covering 2,327 miles - to set a new world mark for the longest nonstop flight in an experimental aircraft weighing less than 1,100 pounds. He shattered that by 8 percent, well over the 1 percent required by FAI rules.

Ebneter's E-1, an all-metal stressed skin, tapered low-wing aircraft powered by a Jabiru 2200 engine, is the product of a 52-year design, build, and test phase that started in 1958 as the subject of his senior engineering thesis at Texas A&M University. It flew for the first time in July 2005. (Read more about Ebneter and his E-1 in the January 2011 edition of Sport Aviation.) It has a 74-gallon fuel capacity and a maximum speed of 175 mph.

He spent 22 years in the Air Force, 15 as a fighter pilot flying F-86 Sabres and F-100 Super Sabres, and retired as a lieutenant colonel after flying 325 missions. Ebneter also was an engineer with Boeing. After the military, Ebneter designed and tested balloons and once - as a test balloon pilot for General Mills - flew 325 miles overnight. In honor of that flight, Arnold gave E-1 the same registration number as that balloon: N7927A.

He's also an FAA DPI at Harvey Field and is chief instructor for the helicopter flight training program. All told he has logged more than 20,200 hours of flight time.

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