Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WITTMAN “TAILWIND”



STANDARD DATA: (100-hp version) Gross wt. 1,300. Empty wt. 700. Fuel capacity 25. Wingspan 22'6". Length 19'3". Engine 80-, 90-, and 100-hp Continental, or 100- to 135-hp Lycoming.
PERFORMANCE: (100-hp version) Top mph 165. Cruise mph 150. Stall mph 55. Climb rate 900. Ceiling 16,000+. Takeoff run 800. Landing roll 600. Range 600+.

Aviation legend Steve Wittman’s idea in 1953 was to create a fast and economical cross-country airplane that could tote two people and 60 pounds of baggage. Additionally, the airplane would fly with the greatest of ease and would have gentle stall characteristics at the low end of the speed spectrum. The first five airplanes built were loaded to gross weight and subjected to 4Gs. So successful did the Tailwind design turn out that for some years it stood alone in its class for its cruise speed as well as for its acrobatic-quality handling, though Wittman considers it to be a utility aircraft. Not until John Thorp came along with his low-wing T-18 could any two-place homebuilt match the Tailwind’s performance. Improvements to the design include a modified airfoil, which is longer than the original wing by 19 inches. The modified airfoil slows landing and takeoff speeds, improves rate of climb, gives high ceilings, and boosts cruise speed at altitude. Also, revisions have been made to allow the use of a 150-hp Lycoming, a 145-hp Continental, and the Olds/Buick 215-cu. in. V-8s.



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