( Retyped from a 1995 newsletter)
Memories...Birth of the Lazair
By Clifford Kramer
Memories are a joy to behold, tempered by sadness, not to be deleted by a key on our computers
My interest in flying began in the 1970's with my recieving my Pilots Licence on a PA11 and in purchasing with three friends a145 hp Globe Swift. My son Ronald purchased 80 acres of land close to town and we built a hanger, for seven planes and an 1800' runway. In due time our four children obtained their Pilot's Licences and all of us became low time pilots with the exception of my youngest son, Dale who went on to accumulate considerable flying hours. Dale and his older brother Garry went through all the stages of building model airplanes,go karts ,motercycles, welding,etc. For many years we attended the annual EAA Oshkosh Fly-in both tenting and with a camper trailer.
One year Dale and I attended Oshkosh together and Klaus Hill presented a Superfloater glider which was designed to be towed and we bought the plans. On the third day of the show Dale wanted to go home as he stated had an idea for a better aircraft. We stopped on the way home and purchased a 3" aluminum tube and ordered aircraft tubing for the struts in Montreal. Three weeks later the first of Dale's gliders was towed into the air. He subsequently spent time building the basic Lazair design. Oshkosh came again and Ed Sweeny had a twin engine power unit for hang hang gliders.Dale made him a proposition on a trade consisting of the two engines for the original Superfloater glider he had built. Ed was in agreement and followed us home with the engines. These were mounted on the struts and two days later made the first powered glider.
One evening I recieved a phone call from Dale saying he had the name for his powered glider and would call it "Lazair" originated from his thoughts and the idea of lazy air.
In the late sixties, my wife and I had purchased an old two story shoe factory within five minutes walk from our house. I had been in the injection molding business since 1959 and we had several large rooms unused upstairs, one of which I had used to help a friend build a pietenpol. This later became the area Dale used to develop the first Lazair prototype. Dale was in his third year at the time at the university of Toronto in an Aeronautical Engineering course after completing his early school years where he was often the top student in his class and recieved many honours. One Wednesday evening I came home from my shop to find his car parked in the driveway. he stated that his grades were slipping due to his desire to go forward full time with his plans to build his aircraft,. His promise to continue his education if he failed was accepted. He moved into another large section and produces the first fifty aircraft equipped with chain saw engines. Over the course of the next few years, I helped Dale on occcasion with varios displays at Oshkosh and Orilla. Sales of the aircraft increased steadily every year. Dale's bisiness expanded to occupy the entire upstairs and all space available downstairs in the remainder of the building. Sales took off like his Lazair did and ,in 1981 , Dale purchased a large building in the same community and moved the operation there. At one point in time his company employed thirty people.
From the early beginnings of the business, Dale's wife, Linda fulfilled an active role in the management of the company. Dale also hired several dedicated employees, namely Peter Corley , Peter Lawrence, Frank Gillade and, as the compant grew, his father-in-law, Norm Reinhart.
The memories I have of the time are highlighted by my having been the first passenger in Dale's two-place Lazair with Dale's mother as the second passenger over our home in thr City of Pot Colborne.
The Lazair was one of the safest planes in the industry, however, due to a decision in 1984 by the insurance companies not to renew products liability coverage for ultralight companies,Dale decided to cease production of the Lazair. This decision came the year prior to Cessna suspending production of their single engine aircraft for the same reason. the original foot launched Lazair and several advanced models are now in storage. Last year I finally recovered my single seat Lazair from its original Mylar covering to Tedlar. Having painted the inside of the wings when I originally built the kit, my plane remains in show room condition.
Dale and Linda now have a son and a daughter so who knows... there might be more pilots in the family yet. Dale now has a company thet runs an industrial powdered paint line and is working on the side on what i believe is his tenth design project. This latest project, unrelated to the aviation industry., shows signs of being quite successful.
In Closing, I just want to let everyone connected with the production
of the newsletter know that I am completly ecstatic to see a newsletter
like this for the faithful flyers of the lazair.