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Pterodactyl Early Bird Light Flyer



Single-seat single-engined biplane with con-ventional three-axis control. Wings have swept back leading and trailing edges, and constant chord; two-fin tail and canard wing. Pitch control by double fully flying canard; yaw control by tip-rudders between wings and twin fully flying tail rudders; roll control by ailerons on lower wings; control inputs through stick for pitch/roll and pedals for yaw. Wing braced from above by struts and transverse X-cables; wing profile; double surface. Undercarriage has three wheels in tricycle formation; bungee suspension on nosewheel and glass-fibre suspension on main wheels. No ground steering. No brakes. Aluminium-tube framework, without pod. Engine mounted between wings driving pusher propeller.

The prototype Pterodactyl caused a sensation at Sun 'n' Fun in March 1983 at Lakeland. Florida, where it was shown publicly for the first time. With the Light Flyer, Pter-odactyl has moved away from their earlier productions. Structurally, the only points in common between them and the new design are the undercarriage construction and the canard configuration.

One of the first photographs of the Light Flyer, showed it with two rudders mounted behind the wings, in the propwash. More recent literature shows that the aircraft now also has tip rudders which are hinged on the interplane struts near the wing tips. The Light Flyer is sold as a kit requiring around 125 h assembly for a price of $5420 in 1983.

Engine: Cuyuna 430R, 30 hp at 5500 rpm
Propeller diameter and pitch 54 x 27 inch, 1.37 x 0.69 m
V-belt reduction, ratio 2.0/1
Power per unit area 0.7 hp/sq.ft, 1.9 hp/sq.m
Fuel capacity 5.0 US gal, 4.2 Imp gal, 18.9 litre
Length overall 15.7 ft, 4.78 m
Height overall 7.0 ft, 2.13 m
Wing span 26.0 ft, 7.92 m
Total wing area 174sq.ft, 16.2 sq.m
Empty weight 240 lb, 109kg
Max take-off weight 500 lb, 227kg
Payload 260 lb, 118kg
Max wing loading 2.87 lb/sq.ft, 14.0kg/sq.m
Max power loading 16.7 lb/hp, 7.6kg/hp
Max level speed 55 mph, 88 kph
Never exceed speed 55 mph, 88 kph
Max cruising speed 45 mph, 72 kph
Economic cruising speed 35 mph, 56 kph
Stalling speed 24 mph, 39 kph
Max climb rate at sea level 800 ft/min, 4.1 m/s
Take-off distance 110ft, 34 m
Landing distance 50 ft, 15 m
Service ceiling 18,000 ft, 5490 m
Range at average cruising speed 100 mile, 160km


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