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Lockwood Aircraft updates Super Drifter kit airplane

After buying all the rights to the Drifter series of light aircraft kits, Lockwood Aircraft has been delivering kits but also evaluating the design. Drifter is widely known as a hard-working recreational aircraft and a common use is flying on floats. With a new change Lockwood Aircraft has noticeably improved the flight characteristics of the popular design.

President Phil Lockwood observed, "The new horizontal stabilizers and elevators add approximately two feet to the span of the tail. They are designed to increase pitch stability and elevator authority on float-equipped Super Drifters." (Super Drifters are those powered by the Rotax 912 engine; other models use two-stroke Rotax engines.) "Our goal is to overcome the additional nose-down pitch force created by adding floats," added Lockwood.

"Testing of the new tail is going very well and it is doing exactly what we wanted," said Lockwood Aircraft manager George Weber. "We first tested a set of end plates for the horizontal stabilizers, much like the ones you find on many floatplanes. Our testing showed this approach offered very little improvement."

Lockwood Aircraft reported the new horizontal stabilizers offer much more pitch authority when rotating off the water, especially with heavier pilots up front. This allows the Super Drifter to lift off the water at the lowest possible speed, dramatically reducing the take-off distance. They may also allow for an increase an in the CG envelope. "They really work well," exclaimed Lockwood!

"The new horizontal stabilizers will be available as a retrofit kit for existing float-equipped Super Drifters and standard on new kits going on floats," indicated Weber. "We expect to complete the testing and engineering this winter. Providing testing continues to go as expected the new parts should be available by March, 2010."

Press release issued by Lockwood Aircraft Corporation on November 24, 2009


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