July 23, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
It was 1975 when the late Larry Lam, known as an innovative aerospace engineer, came up with an aileron design that manages adverse yaw. That wasn’t all it did.
Full-span flaps used in the design meant greater safety and flight at lower speeds, said his son, Lam Aviation CEO Dr. Michael Lam. The smaller wing allowed by the design meant a smoother ride through turbulence. Short field performance would be improved, and the payload would improve. It meant the Piper Malibu, known to owners as a two-person airplane with full fuel, could fill its seats, Lam said.
There was just one problem. His father never got a patent for it. (It is patented now.) “It took 20 years to convince Dad. He looked at it as his hobby,” said his son, an anesthesiologist. During that time the aileron design was shown at Oshkosh on an aircraft Larry Lam built himself.
The advantages are more interesting to manufacturers of larger aircraft, where the cost of a new design is less of a concern, and fuel savings plus increased payload make good business sense. It involves more moving parts in the wing and fresh FAA approval, usually a costly process.
The design mixes the functions of ailerons and flaps. To turn, only an upward aileron is needed to provide rolling moment. Larry Lam discussed his idea before his death with Cessna, NASA Langley Research Center, and Burt Rutan, Michael Lam said. He had easy access to fellow aircraft designers. He worked on the lifting body, the B–70 bomber, the B–1 bomber, the Space Shuttle, ICBM missiles, and air-to-air missiles.
Greg Cole of Windward Performance has retrofitted a Lancair Columbia 300 airframe (now Cessna Corvalis) with a new wing equipped with the Lam Aileron. Following an initial test flight and evaluation in Bend, Oregon, test pilot Len Fox will fly the Lam Aileron-equipped Columbia to EAA AirVenture.
Lam’s son intends to see that his father’s idea gets a fair hearing.
AOPA and the Massachusetts Airport Management Association defeat an effort to cut $34 million from the Massachusetts transportation bond bill.
Engine overhauler Penn Yan Aero announced that it is extending the warranties on overhauled and experimental aircraft engines, effective immediately.
Dinners at Waypoint Café at California's Camarillo Airport will have an outside dining option to watch airplanes and helicopters take off and land, and learn more about general aviation in the process.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>