Friday 24 August 2018

Lockwood Air Cam(s) of New Zealand

The next type of sport aircraft to appear on the NZ Civil Register was the unique Lockwood Air Cam.  This aircraft features twin pusher Rotax 912 or 914 engines but can be flown without a twin rating.  It was developed in 1995 from the Lockwood company’s earlier Drifter microlight (of which we have had several in New Zealand), and the prototype was built for the National Geographic Society for photography of forests in the Northern Congo.  It was built to fly low and slow to provide a great view and with the added safety of twin engines.  Because the two engines are mounted close to the centreline its single engine handling is benign.  With the power of the two Rotax engines it can take off in a claimed 100 feet and land in 300 feet.  That’s Valdez STOL performance!

The specifications for the Air cam Are:  length 27 feet (8.23 metres), wingspan 36 feet (10.97 metres).  Empty weight is around 1,040 pounds (472 Kg) and MAUW is 1,680 pounds (762 Kg).  The rate of climb is very good with up to 2,000 feet per minute one up.  The single engine rate of climb is quoted as 300 feet per minute.  Cruise speed can be between a loitering 50 mph and 100 mph, with a stall speed of 39 mph.

We have had only the one Air Cam in New Zealand:

ZK-SUN3 (c/n AC073) was registered in New Zealand to Cyril B Wright of Auckland on 21/11/07.  It was built in the US by John W Herbert of Ketchun, Idaho and was registered N417AC on 1/8/00.  After Cyril Wright purchased the aircraft in 2007 he ferried it with an experienced Air Cam pilot from Idaho to Corona Airport in California where it was packed into a container for transport to New Zealand.  It was re-assembled and test flown at Parakai by the same American pilot.

The above photos were taken at the 2009 SAANZ flyin on Ashburton, on 7/2/09.

Later that year Cyril had the Air Cam at the 2009 Black Sands flyin at Raglan, on 7/11/09, where it demonstrated its impressive short take off abilities.

Cyril Wright keeps the Air Cam on his property at Waiheke Island.  It has not flown much recently but Cyril intends to get back into flying it soon.

There is a really nice video of Air Cams flying low and slow in America at:

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