American Aerolights Double Eagle

This is the first known ultralight aircraft employed by a police force. The Monterey Park, California, Police Department first flew this airplane on September 2, 1982, and it quickly became a valuable asset to police work. However, the powerplant proved fragile and Lt. Joe Santoro, project manager, grounded the Eagle after seven engine failures in six months. Santoro continued to believe in the basic concept and experimented with several other types of ultralight aircraft. "Our hilly terrain and lack of appropriate forced landing sites do not allow a viable program in this community," Santoro said after grounding the Eagle, "but the concept is good." The National Air and Space Museum also displays another ultralight flown by Monterey Park police officers, an improved and more reliable twin-engine Ultraflight Lazair SS EC.

Gift of the Monterey Park City Council.

Physical Description:
Side-by-side two-seat single-engined high-wing monoplane with conventional three-axis control. Aluminum-tube airframe propelled by a two-cycle, two-cylinder, in-line pusher engine mounted below and behind wing. Wing has swept back leading and trailing edges, and tapering chord; no tail and a canard wing with elevator for pitch control. Yaw control via wingtip rudders, roll control via one-third span spoilers. Control stick moves elevator and spoilers, foot pedals control tip rudders. Cable-braced wing with kingpost; double-surface wing covered with synthetic fabric. Tricycle undercarriage with bungee suspension on main gear, brake is fitted to nosewheel but no suspension.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
American Aerolights Inc.

Date
1982-1983

Location
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
Hangar
Boeing Aviation Hangar

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Wingspan: 10.7 m (35 ft)
Length: 4.6 m (15 ft)
Height: 3.1 m (10 ft)
Weight: Empty, 141 kg (310 lb)
Gross, 299 kg (660 lb)
Engine: Cuyuna 430RR air-cooled two-cylinder inline, 35 horsepower

Larry Newman founded American Aerolights in 1979, a year after he, Ben Abruzzo, and Maxie Anderson crewed the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean (see Double Eagle II, also in the NASM collection). Newman built and flew the first Eagle ultralight in 1980. A simple, low-powered beginner's machine was his primary design goal and he aimed squarely at the market for trainers that permitted experienced hang glider pilots to transition safely and economically to powered ultralights. He designed a flight control system that combined techniques found in both hang gliders and some motorized ultralights. The pilot sat in a swing-seat for weight-shift pitch control (the standard hang glider control arrangement) and he or she moved a tiller bar to control yaw.

Newman equipped the first Eagles that he sold with Soarmaster power packs, a device that propelled a number of motorized hang gliders but the Soarmaster did not provide enough power an ultralight such as the Eagle. Eventually a variety of other engines drove Eagles but one type originally built to power industrial-strength, timber-felling chainsaws, the Cuyuna 430RR, powered the modified Double Eagle bought by the Monterey Park, California, Police Dept. To handle the rigors of law enforcement aviation, American Aerolights installed a single seat on the production Double Eagle airframe and they used a stronger airframe and more powerful engine than those that equipped the standard single-seat Eagle.

This modified Double Eagle became the first known ultralight aircraft operated by a police force. Officers flew the airplane first on September 2, 1982, and it quickly became a valuable asset to police work. However, the engine proved fragile and Lt. Joe Santoro, project manager, grounded the Eagle after seven engine failures in six months. Santoro continued to believe in the basic concept and experimented with several other types of ultralight aircraft. "Our hilly terrain and lack of appropriate forced landing sites do not allow a viable program in this community," Santoro said after grounding the Eagle, "but the concept is good." The National Air and Space Museum also displays the second type of ultralight operated by Monterey Park police officers, an improved and more reliable twin-engine, Ultraflight Lazair SS EC. The Monterey Park City Council generously donated the Double Eagle to NASM on March 22, 1985.

This is the first known ultralight aircraft employed by a police force. The Monterey Park, California, Police Department first flew this airplane on September 2, 1982, and it quickly became a valuable asset to police work. However, the powerplant proved fragile and Lt. Joe Santoro, project manager, grounded the Eagle after seven engine failures in six months. Santoro continued to believe in the basic concept and experimented with several other types of ultralight aircraft. "Our hilly terrain and lack of appropriate forced landing sites do not allow a viable program in this community," Santoro said after grounding the Eagle, "but the concept is good." The National Air and Space Museum also displays another ultralight flown by Monterey Park police officers, an improved and more reliable twin-engine Ultraflight Lazair SS EC.

Gift of the Monterey Park City Council.

Physical Description:
Side-by-side two-seat single-engined high-wing monoplane with conventional three-axis control. Aluminum-tube airframe propelled by a two-cycle, two-cylinder, in-line pusher engine mounted below and behind wing. Wing has swept back leading and trailing edges, and tapering chord; no tail and a canard wing with elevator for pitch control. Yaw control via wingtip rudders, roll control via one-third span spoilers. Control stick moves elevator and spoilers, foot pedals control tip rudders. Cable-braced wing with kingpost; double-surface wing covered with synthetic fabric. Tricycle undercarriage with bungee suspension on main gear, brake is fitted to nosewheel but no suspension.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Manufacturer
American Aerolights Inc.

Date
1982-1983

Location
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
Hangar
Boeing Aviation Hangar

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Dimensions
Wingspan: 10.7 m (35 ft)
Length: 4.6 m (15 ft)
Height: 3.1 m (10 ft)
Weight: Empty, 141 kg (310 lb)
Gross, 299 kg (660 lb)
Engine: Cuyuna 430RR air-cooled two-cylinder inline, 35 horsepower

Larry Newman founded American Aerolights in 1979, a year after he, Ben Abruzzo, and Maxie Anderson crewed the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean (see Double Eagle II, also in the NASM collection). Newman built and flew the first Eagle ultralight in 1980. A simple, low-powered beginner's machine was his primary design goal and he aimed squarely at the market for trainers that permitted experienced hang glider pilots to transition safely and economically to powered ultralights. He designed a flight control system that combined techniques found in both hang gliders and some motorized ultralights. The pilot sat in a swing-seat for weight-shift pitch control (the standard hang glider control arrangement) and he or she moved a tiller bar to control yaw.

Newman equipped the first Eagles that he sold with Soarmaster power packs, a device that propelled a number of motorized hang gliders but the Soarmaster did not provide enough power an ultralight such as the Eagle. Eventually a variety of other engines drove Eagles but one type originally built to power industrial-strength, timber-felling chainsaws, the Cuyuna 430RR, powered the modified Double Eagle bought by the Monterey Park, California, Police Dept. To handle the rigors of law enforcement aviation, American Aerolights installed a single seat on the production Double Eagle airframe and they used a stronger airframe and more powerful engine than those that equipped the standard single-seat Eagle.

This modified Double Eagle became the first known ultralight aircraft operated by a police force. Officers flew the airplane first on September 2, 1982, and it quickly became a valuable asset to police work. However, the engine proved fragile and Lt. Joe Santoro, project manager, grounded the Eagle after seven engine failures in six months. Santoro continued to believe in the basic concept and experimented with several other types of ultralight aircraft. "Our hilly terrain and lack of appropriate forced landing sites do not allow a viable program in this community," Santoro said after grounding the Eagle, "but the concept is good." The National Air and Space Museum also displays the second type of ultralight operated by Monterey Park police officers, an improved and more reliable twin-engine, Ultraflight Lazair SS EC. The Monterey Park City Council generously donated the Double Eagle to NASM on March 22, 1985.

ID: A19850407000