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Oshkosh Be a Part of the Excitement!

By Dale Kramer, EAA 145132, for Light Plane World

Dale Kramer

Thirty-two years ago when I designed the Lazair ultralight, there was a buzz in the air, both at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, and at EAA Oshkosh. It was a time when people came and openly shared their ideas in hopes of achieving the ultimate flying machine in this new area of very light powered flight. This year when I came back with my electric Lazair, I found a lot of buzz from people interested in the type of practical electric flight that I demonstrated. Read more

I remember sharing pictures of my glider Mayfly (a bad name, I know, but I wasn’t sure it would fly) with Klaus Hill who immediately encouraged me in my work. I was so impressed with his Superfloater that I bought his plans at Oshkosh and went home to build and fly it in the four weeks before university restarted in September. I kept in contact with Klaus, and when I designed the Lazair using similar construction techniques as his Superfloater, he was pleased. After all, imitation is the best form of flattery. Just don’t exactly copy someone—that isn’t all right in my book. Evolution of design should include the past with unique new ideas resulting in a new innovation to a product. Leave out the least desirable attributes of a design and make it better. I’m happy to report that we had lots of this happening 30 years ago.

This year when I came back to Oshkosh, after a 25-year absence, I brought my electric Lazair amphibian. I was hoping that I could become a part of the new electric buzz which I had hoped would be there. Sadly, I found little of the old type of buzz I’ve mentioned above. What I did find was a lot of buzz from people very interested in the type of practical electric flight that I demonstrated during my flying sessions all week. This is a beginning.

I think we can develop this new aviation experience of electric flight at the grassroots level in a way that the large companies dabbling in this area cannot. We need to regain the buzz of yesteryear. Please learn from what I’ve done, make the next-generation electric aircraft, and bring it to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh next year. I hope it will be better than what I may end up bringing in 2012. There was a lot of room in the ultralight tie-down and exhibit area this year; it needs to be filled up.

I believe that Oshkosh is still a good place that can foster new innovator-based aviation development. Be a part of the new “quieter” buzz that will revolutionize flight as we know it. I know these are strong words, but you, too, will agree when you actually fly your new electric creation. Be a part of my new club that will have the motto “We dream it…then we do it!” I may even bring the appropriate T-shirts next year so I can hand them out to those who dare to accept my challenge.

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