No. 9501. Ultraflight Lazair SS EC (N911MP c/n A838)
Photographed at NASM Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia, USA, October 7, 2009, by Ted Black

Ultraflight Lazair SS EC

12/31/2009. The Monterey Park Police Department in California became the first police force to use an ultra-light for law enforcement when it started to operate a single-seat single-engined American Aerolights Double Eagle on September 2, 1982. Due to an unacceptable number of engine failures the Double Eagle was grounded in early 1983, several other ultra-lights were tested, but it was felt the single-engined configuration reduced the safety margin to a point of being impractical and the program was discontinued.

When Ultraflight introduced the twin-engined Lazair Series III, it was again the Monterey Park Police Department that had another first when they started to operate the Lazair SS EC (Surveillance Special Enclosed Cockpit) in 1984.The single-seat aircraft was fitted with two 25 hp KFM 107E two-cylinder two-stroke engines to increase payload and top speed, electric starting, jury struts to increase limit loads, larger pushrods for even greater control precision, increased wing area, radios, lights, and a public address equipment.

It also introduced a wider-track main landing gear and twin tail wheels instead of the former non-steerable nose wheel. The cockpit enclosure of glass fiber reinforced plastic and a Lexan windscreen was fully removable.

Due to several accidents the insurance coverage was lost in 1986 and subsequently the Lazair SS EC was withdrawn from use. It was donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1989. Previously, the Monterey Park City Council had donated the single-engined American Aerolights Double Eagle to the Smithsonian on March 22, 1985.

Created December 31, 2009