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Ultralight Lazair SS EC

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This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Ultralight Lazair SS EC

Collection Item Summary:

In Canada in 1978, Dale Kramer designed the Lazair and he and Peter Corley built the first prototype. This was one of the first twin-engine ultralights and the configuration marked an important step to increase the reliability of these simple and inexpensive aircraft. He and Corley built the aircraft from aluminum sheets and tubing, and then covered the wings with transparent mylar. The SS EC model is one of several that the Ultraflight factory produced. All Lazairs shared the same basic airframe, but each model was equipped with different engines, a different cockpit enclosure, and structural modifications to support increases in engine power.

The Lazair was among the first ultralights to attract serious attention from police officers interested in using these airplanes to aid law-enforcement. The twin tractor engines promised increased reliability and the factory could install electric starting as an option to ease operations on the ground and in the air. Police surveillance pilots also preferred the airplane-style, stick-and-rudder flight controls. Many other ultralights still used some form of weight-shift controls at this time.

This particular aircraft was the second ultralight tested by officers of the Monterey Park Police Department in California. This group was the first unit in the nation to experiment with an ultralight aircraft used in a surveillance role. Monterey Park city and police department officials also generously donated that first airplane, an American Aerolights Double Eagle, to the NASM collection.

Collection Item Long Description:

In Canada in 1978, Dale Kramer designed the Lazair and he and Peter Corley built the first prototype. This was one of the first twin-engine ultralights and the configuration marked an important step to increase the reliability of these simple and inexpensive aircraft. Kramer equipped the Lazair with a single seat, an inverted vee-tail, and a high wing that tapered gracefully toward the wingtips. He and Corley built the aircraft from aluminum sheets and tubing, and then covered the wings with transparent mylar. The SS EC model is one of several that the Ultraflight factory produced. All Lazairs shared the same basic airframe, but each model was equipped with different engines, a different cockpit enclosure, and structural modifications to support increases in engine power.

The Lazair was also among the first ultralights to attract serious attention from police officers interested in using these airplanes to aid law-enforcement. It seemed to possess the performance and reliability to meet the demanding requirements for a surveillance aircraft. The twin tractor engines promised increased reliability and the factory could install electric starting as an option to ease operations on the ground and in the air. Police surveillance pilots also preferred the airplane-style, stick-and-rudder flight controls. Many other ultralights still used some form of weight-shift controls at this time.

This particular aircraft was the second ultralight tested by officers of the Monterey Park Police Department in California. This group was the first unit in the nation to experiment with an ultralight aircraft used in a surveillance role and the Monterey Park City Council generously donated that airplane, an American Aerolights Double Eagle, to the NASM collection. Monterey Park police officers began flying the Lazair in summer 1984. They used the airplane to conduct "neighborhood watch patrols in outlying areas," according to "Industry Pulse" published in the October 1984 issue of "AOPA Ultralight Pilot."

Police pilots also conducted surveillance during Olympic international field hockey competition held in the Monterey Park stadium, watched the stadium gates and assisted in crowd control. "During 14 days of competition, there were no reported incidents of auto burglary, theft or malicious mischief while we were in the air," said Bruce Logan. "We go to family disturbances and practice finding houses," Logan reported. "There are no numbers on roofs, so we need the practice. And we patrol retail shopping centers to act as a crime deterrent. We also do some traffic monitoring-[but] we don't do any speed traps." Publicity about Monterey Park generated inquires from Tasmania, Japan, Jordan, the Alabama Department of Corrections, and Australia. The city stopped flying the Lazair in about 85-86 after losing insurance coverage following several accidents. They gave the Lazair SS EC (Surveillance-Special Enclosed-Cockpit), registered N911MP, to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1989.

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Manufacturer

Ultraflight Sales Limited

Credit Line

Gift of Monterey Park City Council.

Materials

Aluminum structure covered with mylar.

Dimensions

  • Wingspan: 11.1 m (36 ft 4 in)
  • Length: 4.3 m (14 ft)
  • Height: 1.9 m (6 ft 4 in)
  • Weights: Empty, 159 kg (350 lb)
  • Gross (estimated), 279 (620 lb)
  • Engines: (2) KFM 107E two-cycle, two-cylinder, 25 horsepower

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America

Physical Description

High-wing, tractor twin-engine w/ inverted vee-tail.

Type

CRAFT-Aircraft

Inventory Number

A19890179000