Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.
Issue link: http://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/434207
EAA Experimenter 11 and gusset tail weigh 4 pounds before covering. Because the Guppy flew well with the ½ VW engine, it was an obvious choice for the Legal Eagle. Leonard said he has been drawing airplanes all his life and decided to make one as simple and light as possible. "M Y L IF E CH A NGED T HE DAY T H AT P IC T URE C A ME OU T " In 1999 Leonard submitted a picture and a description of his 244-pound empty weight ½ VW-powered Legal Eagle ultralight to the "What Our Members Are Building " section of EAA Sport Aviation magazine. As he tells the story now, some 15 years later, "My life changed the day that picture came out because the phone started ringing, and it hasn't stopped." Everyone wanted plans. It could have been the cute bicycle wheels, the overall look, the four-cycle engine, or a combination of all these factors, but a lot of plans have gone all around the world. Leonard simply put pencil and square and triangles to standard office paper until all the parts had been described. Obviously it's a little harder after the airplane is built. He admits there is no money in selling plans because of the support required, but the reward is the people who are calling with questions. He still gets several calls every day and enjoys talking about the airplane. The Legal Eagle is designed for pilots up to 220 pounds. A challenge to build a follow-up design for larger pilots evolved into the Double Eagle, a two-place experimen- tal version powered by a full 4-cylinder VW engine. The original Legal Eagle ultralight used established construction methods, but the Double Eagle was something new. Thanks to good luck, an aeronautical engineer in need of work was hired to do a complete structural analysis on the Double Eagle for a reasonable fee. Leonard's next design, the Eagle XL (for extra large) is a true enlarged single-seat Legal Eagle with a wider fuselage and a longer wing intended for pilots up to 275 pounds. His engineer was no longer available, so the XL wing was static loaded to simulate a 4g-load. The witnessed test deflected the wing 5 inches with no permanent deformation. The Eagle XL has a larger cockpit and a larger wing, so it must have very minimal instruments and aluminum engine cylinders to meet the ultralight weight limit. The prototype XL weighed 246 pounds with no brakes. Leonard said he flies without brakes and has no problem. Very light bicycle brakes are possible. All the airplanes, including the two- place Double Eagle, have the same NACA 4414 airfoil for the wings. Construction of the Double is similar to the Legal Eagle, except the tail is welded steel tubing instead of alumi- num. More than 500 sets of plans for the Double have been sold, with about 50 flying. P L A NS A ND DV DS AVA IL A BL E The Legal Eagle plans cost $50 and include about 45 pages of details and dimensions hand drawn with a pencil, T-square, and triangles. A construction text, materials list, and a few A Legal Eagle built by Joe Engelman from Kansas at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010. A beautiful, jewel-like ½ VW engine built by machinist Joe Engelman. A typical page of drawings from Legal Eagle plans.