From the Cockpit Part 44: Lockwood Aircam

Ryan Flies

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY NOV 2, 2017

Editor’s Note: This is part 44 of an ongoing series documenting the flights of active-duty US Navy Pilot Ryan Rankin on his journey to fly 52 planes in 52 weeks through the year 2017.

Rankin continues his year of aviation exploration with another standout aircraft—the Lockwood Aircam. Built in-state over in Sebring, FL, the Aircam may look like a banana or a flying catamaran, but gave Rankin one of his wildest flights yet. It helps when the copilot’s a little wild too.

Built in 1995 for the National Geographic Society, the Aircam was designed as the optimal craft to research and photograph the Ndoki Rain Forest in what is today the Republic of the Congo. Performing its job admirably, the Aircam made its name on that assignment as an exceptional photo platform and continues to sell today as a kit plane. Though sizable, and one of the rare multi-engine kit planes, the Aircam retains the simplicity that Rankin has come to appreciate from kit planes. “They take out all the fluff,” he says. At its core, Rankin believes, flying is simple and there’s beauty in that simplicity.

Approaching the plane, Rankin admits to some initial skepticism. But after 30 to 40 minutes flying around with the Aircam’s owner, Robert Meyer, he pulled a 180 almost as fast as the Aircam. Great for sightseeing and cruising, the Aircam turns to also be surprisingly nimble. “A lot more agile than I was expecting,” Rankin says. Yanking and banking across the sky, ducking below the treeline to track the river’s winding path through the branches, Meyer pushes Rankin to find the plane’s limits for himself. “He was encouraging me the whole time to go harder,” says Rankin. “That’s not something you usually hear.”

For more about the flight in Rankin's own words and a video of the flight, follow the link below.

Pictured: Ryan Rankin flies the Lockwood Aircam. Photo courtesy of Ryan Rankin.

Ryan Flies

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