Ultraflight Lazair

Ultraflight Lazair

Infobox Aircraft
name=Lazair series

caption= Ultraflight Lazair Series II
type=ultralight personal, trainer aircraft and police observation aircraft
national origin = Canada
manufacturer=Ultraflight Aircraft Sales
designer=Dale Kramer
first flight= 1978
primary user=private owners
more users=Monterey Park Police Department
produced=1979 -1984
number built=more than 2000
unit cost=USD$4600 (1983)
developed from=
variants with their own articles=

The Ultraflight Lazair is a family of Canadian designed and built twin-engine ultralight aircraft that were sold in kit form between 1979 and 1984.

With a total production of over 2000 aircraft delivered the Lazair series is the most produced Canadian-designed aircraft.Hunt, Adam & Ruth Merkis-Hunt: "Skeletal Remains", pages 64-70. Kitplanes Magazine, September 2000.]


The designer of the Lazair, Dale Kramer, was an aeronautical engineering student at the University of Toronto when he attended the Oshkosh EAA convention in 1977. He was very impressed with the potential of the ultralight aircraft designs that he saw there and returned with a Superfloater glider kit. Convinced that improvements to the design were possible, Kramer started with a blank sheet of paper and designed a completely new aircraft, even going so far as to design a custom airfoil for it.

The design features a constant taper wing with a progressive and constant washout from root to tip. Combined with an airfoil that is cambered with concave portions on both the top and bottom surfaces, this produced an aircraft with optimized low-speed handling and very gentle stall characteristics. The wing is constructed from an aluminum "D" cell leading edge, foam ribs and an aluminum tubular trailing edge. The aircraft also featured some of the first winglets used on light aircraft.Cliche, Andre: "Ultralight Aircraft Shopper's Guide" 8th Edition, page E-21. Cybair Limited Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-9680628-1-4]

The very long wing made the Lazair a good glider, giving it a 12:1 glide ratio and it could be soared in even light thermal conditions.cite web |url = http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/ulflyer/ |title = Lazair: A Classic Ultralight Twin |date = undated |author = UL Flyer |accessdate = 2007-10-31 ]

Kramer named the aircraft “Lazair” as a contraction of “Lazy-Air”, a comment on the slow cruise speed of the aircraft, which was about convert|40|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on.Hunt, Adam & Ruth Merkis-Hunt: "Test Flying Lazair No. 1", pages 98-106. Kitplanes Magazine, December 2000.]

The Lazair incorporated standard aircraft materials but had innovative design features in every component, including:cite web |url = https://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/ultraflight_lazair.htm |title = Ultraflight Sales Lazair SS EC |date = 1998 |author = National Air and Space Museum |accessdate = 2007-10-31 ]

*full three axis controls (unusual in ultralights in 1978)
*inverted V-tail with ruddervators
*transparent PET film covering for the wings and tail surfaces
*twin engines for safety

Initially Mylar was used as a covering on the wings and tail, attached to the airframe with two sided tape. After the Mylar proved to have a short service life due to UV damage, it was replaced by a more expensive product, Tedlar.

For control run simplicity the control stick pivot point was located above the pilot with the stick hanging downwards. The ailerons and ruddervators on the inverted V-tail were interconnected so that turns were made with connected rudder and aileron by moving the stick to the side. Pitch control was via conventional fore-and-aft stick movement moving the ruddervators together as elevators.

Because Kramer could not find a suitable engine for the design that provided the needed power with reliability, he opted for two engines instead, placed as close together as possible to reduce yaw when one failed. The entire concept was to produce an aircraft that would fly with minimum power and so the prototype had two chainsaw engines that produced a total of convert|11|hp|abbr=on.

The first Lazair prototype was constructed by Kramer and his friend and associate Peter Corley and first flew in 1978.cite web |url = http://www.lazair.com/ |title = Lazair.com |date = undated |author = Lazair.com |accessdate = 2007-10-31 ]

Kramer formed Ultraflight Aircraft to produce the design in his home town of Port Colborne, Ontario. Sales commenced in 1979 through the subsidiary "Ultraflight Aircraft Sales".


;Series IThe first Lazairs were originally marketed just under the model name "Lazair", but were later termed “Series I” after improved models had appeared.

The initial model Lazair was a single seater with a convert|36.3|ft|m|sing=on wingspan and was powered by two 5.5 hp 100 cc Pioneer chainsaw engines, directly driving plastic propellers in tractor configuration. The main landing gear used convert|16|in|mm|sing=on wheels with a track of just 26 inches, which combined with the long wing span, meant that taxiing in more than convert|7|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on of wind required a wing walker. Tail skids were fitted to the inverted V-tail.Hunt, Adam & Ruth Merkis-Hunt: "Poised to Fly", pages 76-83. Kitplanes Magazine, October 2000.]

;Series IIThere was customer demand for putting the Lazair on floats, but this required more power than the Pioneer powerplants could develop. The solution was to substitute convert|9.5|hp Rotax 185 engines. These single cylinder engines were used extensively in forest fire fighting water pumps and had proved reliable in that application.cite web |url = http://www.lazairforce.central5.com |title = An introduction to the Lazair |date = undated |author = Lazair Force |accessdate = 2007-10-31 ]

The propellers were the same plastic units used on the Series I with its convert|5.5|hp|abbr=on engines. To absorb the greater horsepower two propellers were stacked to form a “bi-plane propeller”. This was done because Ultraflight had ample supplies of the existing propellers and using them saved money over developing a new propeller.

During the production of the Series II the tail skids were replaced with tail wheels and later on, swiveling wheels. Skis were also available, although open cockpit flying in the winter could be a challenge. Rudder pedals were introduced which allowed side slipping of the aircraft as well as crosswind landings. The rudders could be coupled to the ailerons or de-coupled and controlled by the pedals in flight through a mixer gear.

;Series IIIThe third series of the single seat Lazair introduced customer requested upgrades, such as:
*landing gear widened to convert|46|in|mm
*jury struts for increased negative “g” tolerance
*conventional floor-mounted control stick
*toe brakes

Power on the Series III is still provided by two convert|9.5|hp Rotax 185 engines with the option of a pair of KFM convert|25|hp|abbr=on or JPX convert|26|hp|abbr=on engines.

;EliteThe Lazair Elite is a limited production aircraft that includes a beefed up airframe and an enclosed cockpit. It is suitable for heavier pilots.

;Lazair IIThe Lazair II is a two-seater trainer with the seats in side-by-side configuration. It was introduced in 1983 and 50 were completed.

The Lazair II is powered by two JPX PUL 412 engines producing convert|22|hp|abbr=on each. The engines are more widely spaced than on the single seater models which gives it vastly different single engine handling characteristics. With one engine at full power and the other shut down it descends faster than with both engines off.

;Lazair SSThe “SS” is the “Surveillance Special” which was designed for police use, which included the Elite airframe and the JPX PUL 425 engines of convert|22|hp|abbr=on each as used on the two seat Lazair II.

Lazair SS aircraft were employed by the Monterey Park Police Department in California.


Lazair production commenced in 1979 and was completed in 1984, the company citing “liability concerns” and the resulting cost and availability of insurance as the reason.

The aircraft were widely sold in Canada and the United States and sales totaled more than 2000, making the Lazair the most produced Canadian aircraft design. The Series II Lazair was the most produced individual model.

The Lazair inspired many other aircraft designers to use the Lazair wing construction techniques. The Blue Yonder Merlin is one aircraft that uses a Lazair-style wing.

Regulatory Status

In Canada all Lazairs are classified as Basic Ultra-lights. A multi-engine rating is not required to fly the Lazair in Canada as there is no multi-engine rating for ultra-light aeroplanes. [cite web |url = http://www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/general/recavi/Ultralight/ULTransitionStrategy/menu.htm |title = Ultra-light Aeroplane Transition Strategy |date = April 17, 2007 |author = Transport Canada |accessdate = 2007-11-04 ]

In the USA the single seat models are flown as ultralights under FAR 103, whereas the Lazair II two seat models are usually registered as experimental amateur-builts.cite web |url = http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/acftinqSQL.asp?striptxt=Lazair&mfrtxt=&cmndfind.x=14&cmndfind.y=18&cmndfind=submit&modeltxt=Lazair |title = FAA Registry Make/Model Inquiry Results |date = November 1, 2007 |author = Federal Aviation Administration |accessdate = 2007-11-01 ]

Present Day

In the 21st century many Lazairs are still in use by private owners. As when first introduced, they remain prized for their handling qualities, if not their cruising speed.

In November 2007 the Canadian register still carried a total of 460 Lazairs of all models. [cite web |url = http://www.tc.gc.ca/aviation/activepages/ccarcs/aspscripts/en/menu.asp |title = Canadian Civil Aircraft Register |date = November 1, 2007 |author = Transport Canada |accessdate = 2007-11-01 ] In the USA where the majority of Lazairs are flown as unregistered FAR Part 103 ultralights there were also ten registered as amateur-builts in November 2007.

Aircraft type clubs

The Lazair family of aircraft are supported by a number of Aircraft Type Clubs, including Lazair.com and the Lazairforce.

pecifications (Lazair Series II)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
crew= one pilot
payload main=
payload alt=
length main= 13 ft
length alt= 4.0 m
span main= 36 ft 4 in
span alt= 11.2 m
height main= 6.3 ft
height alt= 1.9 m
area main= 143 sq ft
area alt=13.5 m²
airfoil=Custom Lazair airfoil, reflexed top and bottom
empty weight main= 210 lb
empty weight alt= 95 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
useful load main= 240 lb
useful load alt= 109 kg
max takeoff weight main= 450 lb
max takeoff weight alt= 205 kg
more general=
engine (prop)= Rotax 185
type of prop=
number of props=2
power main= 9.5 hp
power alt= 7.1 kW
power original=
max speed main=55 mph
max speed alt= 90 km/h
cruise speed main= 45 mph
cruise speed alt=73 km/h
stall speed main= 17 mph
stall speed alt= 28 km/h
never exceed speed main= 55 mph
never exceed speed alt= 90 km/h
range main= convert|135|mi|km
range alt= 218 km
ceiling main=
ceiling alt=
climb rate main= 200 fpm
climb rate alt= 61 m/min
loading main=3.14 lbs/sq ft
loading alt=15.2 kg/sq m
power/mass main= 23.7 lb/hp
power/mass alt=0.016 Kw/kg
more performance=


External links

* [http://www.lazair.com Lazair.com Aircraft Type Club]
* [http://www.lazairforce.central5.com Lazairforce Aircraft Type Club]
* [http://www.airport-data.com/search/search2.html?field=model&search=Search&code=Lazair+LAZAIR List of Lazairs by registration]

ee also

similar aircraft=
*AmEagle American Eaglet
*Birdman TL-1
*Pterodactyl Ascender
*Eipper Quicksilver
*Mitchell U-2 Superwing
see also=

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