SAN FRANCISCO — LAM Aviation has introduced a new wing flight control system.
According to company officials, the LAM Aero System (LAS) is based on a novel approach to using aileron and flap panels that exploits new interactions between the panels, while uncoupling the traditional interdependent sizing relationship between ailerons and flaps. The resulting configurations limit loss of control and stall/spin departure by allowing a smaller wing to produce more lift, while also improving roll control at slow speeds, officials say.
LAM is offering a system package that can be applied to any general aviation (GA) aircraft.
“There is one fatal accident involving loss of control every four days, making spin fatalities and stall/spin accidents a major concern for pilots, aircraft manufacturers and the FAA,” said Erik Stephansen, CEO of LAM Aviation. “LAM’s system-based approach to safety is precisely the type of industry innovation the FAA is seeking to address its most pressing aviation concerns, and we’re excited to make this game-changing solution commercially available for GA pilots.”
LAM’s hybrid system is a combination of flight control surfaces driven mechanically and electro mechanically for improved aircraft performance, handling and control. These flight surfaces can work independently or together, improving low-speed performance and flight-handling characteristics.
They can also provide numerous other functions, such as speed brakes and drag rudders. This yields wings with both increased lift coefficients and improved lateral control at slow speeds, and improved stall/spin behavior, according to company officials.
LAM spin resistance provides a foundation for envelope protection enabled by LAM’s underlying aileron technology. The combination of improved stalling behavior and better lateral control is key to providing spin resistance characteristics, and also provides anti-torque for spin recovery, company officials explain.
The LAM Aero system prevents inadvertent departure from controlled flight, tolerates aggravated control inputs, is highly non-spinnable, and anti-autorotative in a spin.
In addition, LAS is fully redundant. If the LAM electro-mechanical system were to fail, the aircraft’s independent mechanical system would by itself provide control.
“LAM’s Aero System is a huge breakthrough for pilots, who traditionally have had to choose between speed and safety,” said Michael Lam, founder of LAM Aviation. “Our hybrid, fly-by-wire system expands the performance envelope in all directions, providing not only improved control, stability and performance, but enhanced safety throughout all phases of flight from takeoff to cruise to landing. This is a significant advancement for general aviation that will make flying safer, as well as more enjoyable.”
LAM showcased its early technology solution on a retrofitted Lancair Columbia as a proof-of-concept at EAA AirVenture 2013. The successful flight test results showcased dramatic improvements in fuel economy, cruise performance, rate of climb, and better handling in all phases of flight, company officials report.
At EAA AirVenture 2016, LAM will display the system on a modified Columbia 300, named the Columbia Volant.
The company will begin licensing its technology soon, and is planning retrofit LAM Aero Systems for GA aircraft in both experimental and certified versions that will provide its anti-spin and high-lift system.