Flights of Fancy
A bird’s-eye view of the MidSouth
Story and Photos by Mike Lee
Owner Levy Harris, of L&T Construction Company, first saw his twin-engine Lockwood AirCam at an auction in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 2011. An avid pilot and owner of several aircrafts, Harris flew to the experimental aircraft association meet in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the following year where he happened on AirCam’s booth.
“It had everything I wanted in a slow-flight, stable platform I could use for my businesses. It takes off in less than 100 feet and lands in less than 500, making it very safe and flexible.” And indeed, the aircraft fits the bill in every way. It was designed by for the National Geographic Society to use in the Amazon.
The plane’s wings are broad, providing extra lift, the systems are redundant, and power is provided by twin-Rotex 100hp engines for safety; the reason being that if the plane were forced down in the jungles of Brazil, it would still have power to lift off on one engine since help would be more than a thousand miles away.
Harris’ plane was shipped to Desoto County and arrived much like a big model airplane, in several boxes. Once all of the parts were laid out, two of Harris’ closest friends – and both men FedEx pilots – took on the task of assembling, painting, and test flying the AirCam.
Brian Austein of Hernando, and Jon Bailey of Southaven, constructed, painted and flew the plane in March, 2015. And according to both, “It’s a dream to fly; easy to handle, slow and maneuverable. It’s stable to a fault, handles comfortably on the ground and is smooth and predictable on water.”