Since its formation in 1948, one of the stated aims of the LAA has been to encourage the designing and building of new types of light aircraft. Over the years this has led to several commercially successful kitplanes (Europa, Streak Shadow, Sherwood Ranger), as well as designs that have been released for plans-building (Flitzer, Isaacs Fury, FRED) and a whole range of fascinating on-off personal aircraft – the Acro Advanced, Bonsall Mustang, Mickleburgh Sparrow to name just a few. There will always be LAA’ers keen on the ‘retro’ look, but with ever-increasing fuel costs we foresee a greater emphasis in future on aircraft exploring higher efficiency, alternative powerplants (electric?) and renewable materials. Punishing hangarage fees means that aircraft enthusiasts are more than ever interested in folding or de-riggable aircraft that can be kept at home.
This new addition to the LAA’s website sets out to stimulate interest in light aircraft design, help potential designers through the process and encourage the development of high quality designs.
With the decline in UK manufacturing over the recent decades, it seems more than ever important to keep alive a thread of creativity and enthusiasm for design and development. For some, the ability to bring a personal design from first concept to a flying prototype provides the ultimate source of satisfaction within the LAA scene.
For our own purposes, we in LAA Engineering have been producing a series of Excel spreadsheets to use as tools in the verification of calculations in the many aircraft design submissions we deal with. The spreadsheets have been designed to carry out the various calculations that are necessary during the design of light aircraft. Some of them have been written against specific paragraphs in the design code CS-VLA, whereas others, for example, cover areas related to the development of aircraft undergoing flight testing. In addition, simple spreadsheets for straightforward mathematical calculations have been written.
It is for information and educational purposes that these spreadsheets are now available to LAA members on the LAA web site. The intention is to add links to other web sites where useful design tools are to be found and new spreadsheets as they become available, including both imperial and metric versions where possible.