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American Aerolights Eagle / Double Eagle

Electra Flyers Eagle




Staff at Electra Flyer (an Albuquerque-based hang glider company) sensed the presence of a growing demand for a powered, portable, super lightweight aircraft.

Subsequent development was intermittent encountering several obstacles. Although it flew well, it was not unlike other conventional powered hang gliders. Being heavier than desired, it failed to offer the portability necessary for convenience.
While its performance fell within normal parameters, it lacked certain handling characteristics required for acceptance by the general flying community. It would be one thing to sell it to an experienced pilot, but another to sell it to a person with little or no flying background. They also wanted to produce a craft completely built and test-flown by the factory.

Early in 1979, Romauld Drlik called to say that his research efforts had produced a craft so unique that Electra should halt their own ultralight development until hearing further from him. Romauld's design was built around a power system, (as opposed to most ultralights which are hang gliders with engines added) and employed a canard wing. Conceived to be extremely portable, it could be carried on one's shoulder, transported without special car racks and stored inside an apartment. And it could be built from available hang glider components.

When the craft it had logged over 100 hours and undergone numerous changes, an agreement to manufacture the ship was made.

Back in Albuquerque, the prototype was refined, employing a semidouble-surfaced airfoil and a flexible airframe which could be assembled/ disassembled in only 25 minutes.The result was EAGLE.

In EAGLE, as the pilot's body moves aft, the elevator automatically deploys in the "down" position, causing the nose to climb. Since the canard's angle of incidence is higher than that of the main wing, it stalls first. Yet when this happens, it is in a relatively unloaded state. The resultant force is a slight oscillation or porpoising of the nose.

Turning is accompanied by a steering wheel which controls drag rudders at the tips. The drag of the tip rudder causes the craft to turn, producing a coordinated roll.

Pitch is controlled by fore and aft pilot movement which activites the elevator attached to the canard.

While on the ground, the, foot controlled nosewheel is used for steering. At higher speeds, prior to takeoff and just after landing, the tip rudders can be used to steer.

EAGLE folds up into a hang glider like package which can be carried on one's shoulder (with the landing gear and engine over the other) and transported via car top. And the frame can be further disassembled to 12-foot lengths for airline transportation.

Performance is a realistic 200-250 fpm climb at sea level (using the standard Chrysler engine), and over 400 fpm with the optional Chrysler Twin-pak engines.


The Eagle was never really a hang glider, being intended for motorized flight. It was foot-launched only once, as part of an early FAA requirement for ultralights, by one of the factory pilots.


Cruise speed is about 35 mph with the standard unit. Glide ratio is 10:1. Takeoff and landing speeds are 16-17 mph, and top speed is close to 50 mph. Mush speed is approximately 16 mph.



Canard ultralight Controlled by tip rudder for roll; elevator plus variable cg for pitch; twist grip throttle for climb and descent; steerable nose wheel. The 215B is a canard design with tip rudders, built and test flown before delivery. Elevator on canard responds to weight shift for pitch control. Steering handlebar moves tip rudders for roll con-trol. Aluminum tubing, Dacron covering. POWERPLANT: Cuyuna two-cycle engine with in-flight restarter. LANDING GEAR: Trike, steerable nosewheel. Price 1982:  $4,395 (with engine). Units delivered  to June 1981: 1,016.

The Eagle SL is a canard ultralight Controlled by tip rudder for roll; elevator plus variable canard for pitch; twist grip throttle for climb and descent; steerable nose wheel. Seat fixed. First year built: 1981. Price 1982: $4,695 (with engine).

The prototype of the Eagle XL used a double-skinned wing and retained the tiller of the previous models, but on the production models a side stick was substituted, controlling the spoilers and the elevator hinged from the trailing edge of the canard. What was new also was the canard was fitted with fixed slats on the leading edge. The pushrod controlling the elevator has been replaced by a flexible control, similar to those fitted to outboard motors. The rudder bar works the tip-rudders which were initially triangular as on the Eagle of 1981, but were redesigned in a trapezoidal shape and enlarged. The nosewheel steering is connected to the rudder bar.

Appearing also in 1982 under the confusing title of Double Eagle, this single-seat machine was renamed the Eagle 430B at the Sun’n’Fun fly-in in March 1983 at Lakeland, Florida. It is designed for heavier pilots and has a pilot weight range of 200-300 lb (91-136 kg). It has been equipped from the start with the twin cylinder Cuyuna 430RR 35 hp engine, which makes it stand out from the ordinary Eagle, which has the 215RR 20hp engine. However, it retains the hybrid control of the latter: in pitch, the elevator responds to the pilot's body movements, while the tip rudders respond to the tiller to control yaw. The frame of the Eagle 430B has been enlarged compared with the basic model and the structure reinforced as a result.

The Eagle 2-Place was a side-by-side two-seat single-engined high-wing monoplane with conventional three-axis control. Wing has swept back leading and trailing edges, and tapering chord; no tail, canard wing. Pitch control by elevator on canard; yaw control by tip rudders; roll control by one-third span spoilers; control inputs through stick for pitch/roll and pedals for yaw. Wing braced from above by kingpost and cables, from below by cables; wing profile; double-surface. Undercarriage has three wheels in tricycle formation; no suspension on nosewheel and suspension on main wheels. Nosewheel steering by lever between seats. Brake on nosewheel. Aluminium-tube framework, without pod. Engine mounted below wing driving pusher propeller.

The prototype two-seat Eagle appeared in 1982, fitted with controls operating on all three axes, adopting spoilers as on the XL model but retaining the swing seat as used in the hybrid model 215B.

It was originally equipped with the Cuyuna 430RR 35 hp, but this was dropped for the production machines in favour of the 50hp twin-cylinder in-line Rotax 503. This announcement was made in March 1983 in the course of the Sun’n’Fun Fly-in at Lakeland, Florida where American Aerolights revealed full information on the Eagle 2-Place, which was classed as an experimental aircraft in the US.

The aircraft was provided as a complete kit requiring 100hr for completion. The kit includes as standard the fairings for all three wheels, which are an option on the other Eagles, and also a nosewheel brake.

Electra Flyer Eagle
Engine: Chrysler.
ROC: 200- 250-fpm.
Cruise: 35 mph.

Electra Flyer Eagle
Engine: Chrysler Twin-pac.
ROC: 400 fpm.

Gross wt: 430 lbs.         
Empty wt: 165 lbs.
Max pilot wt: 265 lbs.         
First year built; 1980.

Eagle 215B
Wingspan: 35ft.             
Wing area: 180 sq.ft.
Length:    15ft.             
Empty weight: 175 lbs.
Pilot weight: 90-180 lbs.         
Minimum sink rate: 300 fpm.
Cruise speed: 32 mph.         
Min speed (ground effect): 23 mph.
TO and Ldg rolls: 50-100ft.         
Climb rate: 550 fpm.
Fuel capacity: 4 USG.

Double Eagle / Eagle 430B
Engine: Cuyuna 430RR, 35 hp at 6000 rpm.
Prop diameter x pitch: 54 x 36 inch, 1.37 x 0.91 m.
Toothed-belt reduction, ratio: 2.2/1.             
Max static thrust: 240 lb, 109kg.     
Power per unit area: 0.19hp/sq.ft,2.1 hp/sq.m.
Fuel capacity: 5.0 US gal, 4.2 Imp gal, 18.9 litre.
Length overall: 15.0 ft, 4.57 m.         
Height overall: 10.0ft, 3.04m.
Wing span: 35ft, 10.67m.         
Mean chord: 4.3ft, 1.31m.
Canard span: 7.8ft, 2.38m.         
Canard chord: 3.7 ft, 1.13 m.
Total wing area:    180 sq.ft, 16.7sq.m.         
Main wing area:    151 sq.ft, 14.0sq.m.
Canard area: 29 sq.ft, 2.7sq.m .         
Main-wing aspect ratio: 8.1/1.
Nosewheel diameter overall: 16 inch, 41 cm.         
Empty weight: 210 lb, 95kg.
Main wheels diameter overall: 16 inch, 41 cm.         
Max take-off weight: 520 lb, 236kg.
Max wing loading: 2.88 lb/sq.ft, 14.1 kg/sq.m.     
Payload: 310 lb, 141kg.     
Max power loading: 14.9 lb/hp, 6.7kg/hp.     
Load factors: +8.0, -3.0 ultimate.
Max level speed: 55 mph, 88 kph.     
Economic cruise: 37 mph, 60 kph.
Stalling speed: 25 mph, 40 kph.     
Max ROC sea level: 750 ft/min, 3.8 m/s.
Min sink rate: 400 ft/min, 2.0 m/s.     
Best glide ratio pwr off: 8/1.
Take-off distance: 100 ft, 30 m.         
Landing distance: 50 ft, 15 m.
Service ceiling:    17,500 ft, 5340 m.     
Range ave cruise: 50 mile, 80 km.
Pilot weight: 180-300 lbs.

Eagle SL

Gross wt: 405 lbs.         
Empty wt: 180 lbs.
Max pilot wt: 225 lbs.         
First year built; 1981.

Eagle XL
Engine: Cuyuna 430RR, 35 hp at 6000 rpm.
Prop diameter x pitch: 54 x 36 inch, 1.37 x 0.91 m.
Toothed-belt reduction, ratio: 2.2/1.             
Max static thrust: 240 lb, 109 kg.
Power per unit area: 0.20hp/sq.ft, 2.13 hp/sq.m.
Fuel capacity: 4.0 US gal, 3.3 Imp gal, 15.1 litre.
Length overall: 15.0 ft, 4.57 m.         
Height overall: 9.0ft, 2.74m.
Wing span: 35.0ft, 10.67m.         
Mean chord: 4.4ft, 1.35m.  
Canard span: 10.0 ft, 3.04 m.         
Canard chord: 2.2 ft, 0.67 m.
Total wing area:    177 sq.ft, 16.5sq.m.         
Main wing area:    154 sq.ft, 14.4sq.m.
Canard area: 22sq.ft, 2.0sq.m.         
Main-wing aspect ratio: 8.0/1.
Wheel track: 5.4ft, 1.62m.         
Wheelbase: 5.6 ft, 1.67m.
Nosewheel diameter overall: 11 inch, 28 cm.         
Empty weight: 225 lb, 102kg.
Main wheels diameter overall: 11 inch, 28 cm.         
Max take-off weight: 464 lb, 211 kg.
Max wing loading: 2.62 lb/sq.ft, 12.8 kg/sq.m.     
Payload: 239 lb, 109 kg.     
Max power loading: 13.2 lb/hp, 6.0kg/hp.     
Load factors: +8, -2.5 ultimate.
Max level speed: 50 mph, 80 kph.     
Vne: 55 mph, 88kph.
Economic cruising speed: 35 mph, 56 kph.     
Stalling speed: 26 mph, 41 kph.
Max climb rate at sea level: 850 ft/min, 4.3 m/s.     
Min sink rate: 300 ft/min, 1.5m/s.
Best glide ratio with power off: 7/1.             
Take-off distance: 125ft, 40m.
Landing dis-tance: 125ft, 40m.         
Service ceiling: 17,500ft, 5340m.
Range at average cruise: 50 mile, 80 km.        
Pilot weight range: 120-240 lbs.

Eagle 2-Place
Engine: Rotax 503, 50 p at 6000 rpm.
Propeller diameter and pitch: 58 x 27 inch, 1.47 x 0.69 m.
Max static thrust: 285 lb, 129 kg.         
Power per unit area: 0.28hp/sq.ft, 3.0hp/sq.m.     
Length overall: 15.0 ft, 4.57 m.
Height overall: 10.0ft, 3.05m.         
Wing span: 35.0ft, 10.67m.
Mean chord: 5.0ft, 1.52m.         
Canard span: 10.0 ft, 3.05 m.
Canard chord: 3.1 ft, 0.94 m.         
Total wing area:    177 sq.ft, 16.5sq.m.
Main wing area:    146 sq.ft, 13.6sq.m.         
Canard area: 31 sq.ft, 2.9sq.m .
Main-wing aspect ratio: 8.4/1.             
Wheel track: 6.4ft, 1.93m.
Wheelbase: 6.6 ft, 1.98 m.         
Nosewheel dia. Overall:    16 inch, 41 cm.
Main wheels diameter overall: 16 inch, 41 cm.         
Empty weight: 310 lb, 141 kg.
Max take-off weight: 660 lb, 299 kg.         
Payload: 350 lb, 159 kg.
Max wing loading: 3.72 lb/sq.ft, 18.2 kg/sq.m.     
Max level speed: 45 mph, 72 kph.
Max power loading: 13.2 lb/hp, 5.9 kg/hp.     
Cruising speed:    42mph, 67kph.
Stalling speed: 30mph, 48 kph.         
Max ROC sea level: 400 ft/min, 2.0 m/s.
Min sink rate: 500 ft/min, 2.5 m/s.     
Best glide ratio pwr off: 4/1.
Take-off distance: 250 ft, 75 m.         
Landing distance: 250 ft, 75 m.
Service ceiling: 8000 ft, 2440 m.


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