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Company Says New Ailerons Boost Performance

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A California company says it has increased the top speed of the fastest fixed-gear single by almost 10 percent, added up to 30 percent range and given it a 40- to 50-percent increase in climb rate without touching the engine. In fact, says Lam Aviation, the Columbia 300 (predecessor to the Cessna Corvalis) saw all those improvements and more with new ailerons. It's not quite as simple as that. The Lam aileron allowed the installation of a smaller, lighter wing while retaining or improving handling across the full flight envelope. "The Lam Aileron enables aircraft to use smaller wings that weigh less and produce less drag, yielding higher cruise speeds and rates of climb, lower fuel consumption and improved ride comfort through turbulence, while also improving roll control and slow-speed flight handling," the company said in a news release.

The aileron system was invented by aerospace engineer Lawrence Lam and gives the outboard trailing edge the capability to perform two functions at once. The lower piece of the aileron is deflected downward as an extra flap while an independently functioning upper layer can be simultaneously used as an aileron. This, says the company, eliminates the normal compromise between flap and aileron span. The Columbia has been put through its paces by former Navy test pilot Len Fox who says the aileron setup has applications from bush planes to airliners. "From the pilot's perspective, operation of the Lam Aileron is seamless," Fox said. "With the Lam Aileron, a slower stall speed was achieved with a smaller wing. The reduction in wing area contributed to a higher cruise speed." Lam will have the Columbia at AirVenture 2013.

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