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Kyle Fowler

Airshow pilot in a Long-EZ

Canadian Kyle Fowler is an unusual airshow performer. Well, actually he’s not—his airplane is.
Kyle Fowler, photographed by David Tulis.
LongEZ aerobatic pilot Kyle Fowler performs night pyrotechnics and a daytime airshow routine in a single engine, canard, LongEZ during the AeroGatineau Airshow, in Quebec, Canada, September 15 through 17, 2023. Photo by David Tulis.

Canadian Kyle Fowler is an unusual airshow performer. Well, actually he’s not—his airplane is. Fowler performs aerobatics in a Burt Rutan-designed Long-EZ, a long-distance experimental airplane that looks like it flies backwards because small wings called a canard are at the nose of the airplane and the engine is in the back. Fowler performs a day show routine during which he loops and rolls the small aircraft (a “high-performance glider routine,” he terms it). But it is his night airshow routines that draw crowds. The routine is a theatrical performance during which he tells the story of a spaceship coming to Earth and employs pyrotechnics and an electroluminescent paint scheme to light up the sky.

How did you get started in aviation? I got started in aviation through my dad, Ken. My dad was 20 years in the military as a flight engineer and knew that when he got out that he wanted to fly airshows. He built his Harmon Rocket for the purpose of becoming an air show performer. When I was 12, I started announcing for my dad and remember that is when I saw a Long-EZ. I thought that it was the coolest airplane and thought one day I am going to buy one and start flying shows with that. I then got my private license at 21, and my commercial at 28 years old.

What were your biggest challenges? The biggest challenge for me as a young aviator was money. Many people start and never finish their license due to the financial burden. I believe that aviation is indeed affordable, but we really need to decide early on if it truly is our passion to see it through. I chose aviation and ended up cutting out all extra luxuries that I had at the time.

Favorite aircraft? I think that my favorite aircraft at the time is definitely the Twin Velocity. I love the Long-EZ and always will, but I do have a family and I really do want them to come to more shows with me. The Twin Velocity is the perfect airplane to replace the Long-EZ with and is absolutely beautiful.

Favorite aviation-related activity? I would say that any aviation event with friends is always a good one. There is something about aviation where everyone has the same passion and makes every event enjoyable.

Advice for students? Don’t give up. I never had much money when I got into flying and really had to struggle to get everything going, but if you stick it out, this industry will pay you back tenfold with the experiences that you will gain and the friends you will make along the way.

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Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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