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Yesterday, August 11, at around 3:30 pm, I saw an unusual-looking plane flying over Ithaca, NY. It seemed fairly small -- approximately business jet sized. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get a picture, but I remember several distinctive aspects of its appearance:

  • Canard and seemingly no conventional tailplane
  • Single pusher propellor
  • Low, swept wing with winglets. Pretty sure it was tapered.

I only saw the plane from below, so I don't know anything about design aspects on the top side of the plane. I checked on FlightAware and FlightRadar24, and didn't see any obviously-matching flights, but I may have missed something. Based on some googling, what I saw seems pretty close in appearance to the AASI Jetcruzer (picture below), but apparently only five of these were ever registered, all in California. According to that same page, only one remains registered, most recently in Washington. The most recent flight recorded with its tail number (N200JC) by FlightAware is from 2014.

AASI Jetcruzer, in flight
AASI Jetcruzer

Additionally, the wing profile doesn't look quite right to me. Another somewhat similar-looking plane that has a more correct-looking wing is the Beechcraft Starship (picture below). However, I'm quite sure that what I saw only had a single propellor. According to the same website, only one specimen of this aircraft remains registered, and similarly its last flight recorded by FlightAware was in 2011.

Beechcraft Starship
Beechcraft Starship

Are there any more likely possibilities for the aircraft I saw than one of these rare and seemingly seldom-flown planes?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you certain it was biz-jet sized? Because the Long EZ (and possibly others...) fits the description. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Aug 12 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ Not 100% sure, but I am pretty sure it didn't have the prominent fixed landing gear pods of the Long-EZ. $\endgroup$ – pbfy0 Aug 12 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ What did it sound like? High pitched hum like a turbo prop, or a brakkabrakkabrakka piston engine sound? Based on relative numbers, it's almost certainly a Long Eze or one of its derivatives like the Cozy. $\endgroup$ – John K Aug 12 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ More of a piston engine sound, I think. I still think the plane was low-winged, but I may have overwritten my mental image with the image of the two planes in my post. $\endgroup$ – pbfy0 Aug 12 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ There ya go. Probably an 80% probability it's a Long EZ. $\endgroup$ – John K Aug 12 at 23:30
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There are a number of near-copies of the Long EZ, with nearly identical wing and canard shape; they differ in number of seats, performance, range, and, yes, several of them have retractable gear. I think there's at least one that's pressurized.

Without a high quality photo (possibly even with one, if shot from the ground), it may be impossible to determine what you actually saw -- but a single pusher propeller, low mounted cranked/swept wing with tip fins, and swept canard originated with the Long EZ (before that, there was the Vari-EZ with unswept canard, and the Vari-Viggen with a different wing sweep profile).

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The Adam A500 would be the right size. Wikipedia has more info. It is a twin but it has a pusher prop and a canard. There were only five made and two flying: N510AX and N510AX have recent flights in Pennsylvania, so it’s possible you saw them in New York.

Adam A500: Source Wikipedia

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting answer, especially with the dual tractor and pusher props. Pretty sure it didn't have that looped tail though. $\endgroup$ – pbfy0 Aug 13 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Unless it's invisible against the fuselage due to the angle, that aircraft does not have a canard. It's a conventional layout with twin boom to clear the pusher propeller (like a low-wing Skymaster). $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Aug 13 at 11:13
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon You are right. My thought these had a canard, but I guess not. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Aug 13 at 14:16

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