Cory Bird’s Symmetry: An Airplane as Art

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SymmetryCory Bird’s Symmetry

One of the most beautiful light airplanes I have ever seen is Cory Bird’s one-of-a-kind homebuilt called Symmetry. Cory designed and built this aircraft over 14 years and 15,000 man-hours.

Powered by a 200hp, IO-360. It first flew in April 2003 and everywhere it goes, it draws a crowd.

Cory Bird is not your average amateur builder, he works as Scaled Composites, the Burt Rutan company that brought us Space Ship One, winner of the X-Prize.

Symmetry CockpitHis attention to detail is amazing. There are almost no external fasteners visible on the airplane. It was designed to be ultra-low drag. Cory used his aerodynamics experience from Scaled Composites along with studying sailplanes to come up with his design. But apart from his attention to detail and engineering savvy, he must be an artist. Symmetry is almost too pretty to fly according to his former boss, Burt Rutan.

Cory has anther design in the works, this one will be a sport-utility sort of airplane that will be designed to do everything that Symmetry can’t do.

By the numbers:

Speed is dependent on how much fuel you want to burn.

  • Flat out it will do 246 knots at 14 gph. Yes that was knots!
  • Economy cruise yields 185 knots burning 4.5 gph. That’s 41 mpg for those of you doing the math – incredible!

Handling qualities are great. It follows that old adage, “if it looks good, it flies good.”

Symmetry Front ViewOne drawback is the fixed pitch prop designed and built by Cory. While being über-efficient, to get these kinds of speeds the cruise prop makes takeoff distances a bit long and due to the super-low drag, the landing distances are equally sporty. Cory like 5000′ strips out West where he flies. Remember folks, everything in airplanes is a compromise – no free lunch.

Cory BirdSymmetry is actually a 1+1 with a seat in the back designed for his loving and supportive wife who helped make sure the dream became a reality.

The first time Symmetry left the Mojave area was its first trip to Oshkosh in 2004 where it won Homebuilt Grand Champion – no surprise to anyone that has seen it.

Congratulations to Cory on bringing an airplane to life from his imagination that is almost too pretty to fly. It truly is art!


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