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 officials say they have noticeably improved the flight characteristics of the popular design.
President Phil Lockwood (pictured above) observed, “The new horizontal stabilizers and elevators add approximately 2 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.”
“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 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, reducing takeoff distance. They also may 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,” said 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.”
Lockwood Aircraft is a related business to Lockwood Aviation Supply, the country’s largest service organization for Rotax engines. Part of a family of aviation companies, Lockwood Aircraft builds the Air-Cam twin-engine kit-built aircraft, as well as a line of Drifter models.
For more information: 863-655-4242 or LockwoodAircraft.com.