The Lazair Series 2 Ultralight
The original Lazair series 1 was a great airplane, but there was customer demand for putting the Lazair on floats, but this required more power than the two 5.5 hp Pioneer powerplants could develop. The solution was to substitute 9.5 horsepower Rotax 185 engines. These single cylinder engines were used extensively in forest fire fighting water pumps and had proved reliable in that application.
The airplane has many of the same features as the original Lazair series 1. The propellers were the same plastic units used on the Series I with its 5.5 hp engines, but doubled up on top of each other in a stacked formation when now used with the Rotax 185’s. This was to help absorb the greater power and also because the manufacturer, “Ultraflight” had ample supplies of the existing propellers and using them saved money over developing a new propeller.
During the production of the Series II the tail skids were replaced with tail wheels and later on, swiveling wheels. Skis were also available, although open cockpit flying in the winter could be a challenge. Rudder pedals were introduced which allowed side slipping of the aircraft as well as crosswind landings. The rudders could be coupled to the ailerons or de-coupled and controlled by the pedals in flight through a mixer gear that was located in front of the control stick. The plane flew VERY different when coupled. It seemed to fly uncoordinated. Turns were best with just the rudder pedals and ruddervators acting. Aileron control with the stick could help steepen the bank as needed. The plane was a perfect example of a “balanced” airplane, with very light controls.
The authors Lazair had the non swiveling castor wheels. These actually made a ground loop pretty well impossible! Since the tail pops up almost instantly if you want it to (push the stick forward), you can taxi with the tail up on two wheels, or tail down. You can also turn on a dime by put a foot down to pivot on and act as a brake, and apply opposite engine control while pushing the stick forward and lifting the tail. The tail could then swing right around a full 360 degrees, and not move forward an inch!
Later on though in 1984 (after the authors plane was built), Ultraflight offered swiveling castor wheels via an upgrade kit. You can see the details here.
Do you now own a Lazair Series 2? Do you have the operating manual printed? Make sure you print this out and bind it, you will need a physical copy for reference when at the field. View and print it here.