What is a Canard? In aeronautical terms, “canard” refers to a fixed-wing aircraft with a horizontal tail ahead of the main wing rather than behind it as in a conventional design.  The canard (forward wing) is much smaller than the main wing but creates lift instead of a downforce like a conventional tail.  The first airplane to fly, the Wright Flyer, was a canard aircraft. One benefit of a properly designed canard is that the aircraft is highly resistant to stall and spin accidents.  This is because the canard is designed to stall prior to the main wing.  When a canard stalls, the aircraft nose bobs downward and the angle of attack is reduced, thereby preventing a main wing stall and rapid loss of lift. Disadvantages of canard aircraft are fully explored in the Aerodynamics section under “Canard Myths”.  But even the Wright brothers (designers of the first canard) came to realize they could reduce aircraft weight by placing the horizontal tail on the vertical tail structure already located behind the airplane.  And that approach has dominated aircraft design for the past 100 years! Conventional wisdom was challenged when Burt Rutan designed the Vari-Viggen, the Vari-EZ and the Long-EZ.  The later two became very popular plans-built canard aircraft in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  Known for their efficiency, several derivative designs are still marketed today - although they tend to appeal to pilots that want a unique aircraft experience.  Examples of modern canard aircraft are shown below.  Rutan Long-EZ    Cozy Canard     Velocity RG Site Map Email the Designer Copyright © 2012 Apollo Canard