The original Canaero-Toucan in this design type was powered by two Rotax 277 engines.
Two of the three remaining were upgraded progressivly to Rotax 447s, then Rotax 503s.,
This gives them it excellent performance off water or land.
One engine performance is very gratifying, especially with two pilots .
Many other popular sport planes have flown for years with one Rotax 503 and two pilots.
Toucans were factory built kits.
"HXJ" & "HMB" (serial #007) have fuselages constructed of 4130 steel web format;
wereas a couple of early prototypes were worked up using aircraft grade aluminum - there is one
existing version in this mode (serial #001).
Toucans have full span junker ailerons, "HXJ" the newly restored (2008) version has ailerons and flaps.
Among it's other neat mods is a rear door (see video). Also it has fast removable wings.
In the seventies and eighties there exploded on the scene a new enthusiasm for grass roots flying.
People like Chuck Yaeger checked out some of the models.
Authorized monitoring of ultralight level equipment was virtually non existent;in Canada guidelines came in much earlier than in our American neighbour's experience.
So too the home-built arena grew with a new flurry, but under more scrutiny.
Probably former colleagues and pilots of Peter Corley's era would have a better grasp of his design reasons for the Toucan. He had been employed by Ultraflight, which produced a two place side by side version of twin engine Lazair. A few of my friends have owned these. IMHO they may have been
somewhat underpowered, especially with an engine out scenario (asymmetrical thrust), So when Corley developed the Toucan he did not at first add much more power, rather he went "centerline" thrust which tends to remove a lot of the hazards of an engine out, no matter what altitude.
As noted by the former Toucan general manager and test pilot, no two planes were exactly alike; in other words they tended to be custom built for the purchaser. There are inevitable revision and upgrades, ask NASA. Rumors have come down that a large batch of Toucans were due to go overseas until an unfortunate
political promise was reversed by a new government.
So we are left with three Toucans available to fly, four if we count the aluminum prototype and of course another hanging in an Alberta museum. It is an experience most pilots will never have - not squeezing their butts at take off. Mind you, just as "tried and true" is a fallacy so too is fail-safe. We must all fly safe.
Our Toucans were not designed to fly fast or haul freight. One fellow in the artic bought one for
obvious reasons. Originally they were very light and lower powered. The high lift wing
facilitated the lower power. It is a very sweet flying wing, howbeit, tricky to build. Others copied the wing
for a different plane, but switched to a simpler constant chord planform. Each has its place and planes evolve.
Since the plane evolved from 56 hp (2 X 28) to around 100 hp it might go differently with shorter wings and a
thinner leading edge - but not SWEETER.
(Differently being a higher VNE and quicker roll rate.)
They will pick up a lot speed, however, for safety and economy we fly close to the original envelop.
At the end of the day our two engines serve us well!
Some have said our Toucans look like "Wart Hogs" - well not exactly - UGLY.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we think they are sexy.
* [NOTE: There are so many excellent experimental, LSA and ultralight airplanes
Canada: experimental read "amateur built" and LSA read "Advanced Ultralights"].