"President & Test Pilot"


The Toucan was the creation of our own Peter Corley, the very close friend of Dale Kramer
that helped Dale design the Lazair (which was "inspired by" Klaus Hill's Super Floater ultralight sailplane).
After a couple years there, Peter left Ultraflight to go work for bad boy Larry Newman,
where he helped design the Falcon, especially the wings. If you have ever looked at the Falcon's wings,
you'll see the Lazair's influence. Also, instead of the anti-drag box at the root like the Lazair,
the Falcon has a long, tubular aluminum tube that extends from the root up through the wing
to the front spar. That was "borrowed" from a Lazair wing redesign by Dale,
who was so unhappy about it, that he decided not to use it because
he thought people would think he copied it!

Peter left Larry and his bunch in California to return to Canada to finally design and produce his own design,
the Toucan. I believe that was in late 1983, as I remember Peter was still in California while I spent that summer
working for Ultraflight. The Toucan was a tandem, two place inline twin utilizing Rotax 277 engines.
The wingspan was 38 and a half feet, wing area 180 sq. ft. Empty weight was almost 400 lb. with a useful load
of about 475 lb. With the inline thrust line, it was claimed that the Toucan could actually climb about 200 fpm
on one engine at gross. Cruise speeds were only in the 55-60 mph range. Solo climb on both engines was very good,
though, at over 1000 fpm! It was a high wing, twin boom, tricycle gear plane. The wings showed their
Lazair/Falcon heritage. One cool thing was that the wings were covered on the top with TEDLAR, and on
the bottom with Mylar! The early prototypes had an aluminum tube fuselage, but the later kits were to have
welded steel tubing.

Sadly, Peter was killed late the next year while doing some follow up testing when a fitting in a lift strut failed.
Because he was not planning on doing any extreme maneuvers, just record some numbers, he left his chute in the trunk
of his car. Stories had it he left a nut off of an attach bolt, while the official line was a fitting failed. I've
always had a hard time believing Peter left the nut loose. Although Peter flew like a maniac, he was always
a careful maniac. I, for one, was very saddened by the loss of Peter, who in the early days of Ultraflight
helped make it a fun and exciting place. He was only in his late twenties when we lost him.

Peter's company was called Canaero Dynamics Aircraft, based in Ontario. Peter's brother ran the operation
after his death. Kitplanes ran a story on the Toucan in it's November 1986 issue
(which supplied the above specifications), so I guess they survived for several years.
I have no idea how many aircraft and kits were produced, but the article mentions that the factory built
12 prototypes. Kit building times were claimed to be in the 200-400 hour range.

Chappy in Virginia Lazair #25

(Our great thanks to "Chappy" for his help, when there was ZERO on the web.)
(It was great to sit around with him at the UPAC AGM)
(on the occassion of the 30th anniversary of "LAZAIR"!)
Dave, Pete & Michael say thank you.