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Thread: OMAC story?

  1. #11

    Default Re: OMAC story?

    I remember walking by that building so many years ago, we looked in through one of the open doors and the gentleman inside was kind enough to give us a tour, it was impressinve for its time, I believe he told us it stood for Old Mans Aircraft Company?

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Mtn. View, Calif.

    Default Re: OMAC story?

    Thank you very much for the story.

    A shame that the aircraft didn't to move into production. Had things gone slightly differently with the prototype tests, there might have been examples flying today.

  3. #13

    Default Re: OMAC story?

    I was an Engineer in the structures group on the OMAC Laser 300 In Albany Georgia for nearly 4 years, and designed several pieces of the airplane, set up the static testing of the wings and landing gear, and did some of the aerodynamics. The Cheif of Structures was Gene Dearing, the Manager of Technical Services (basically the chief engineer) was Everett Cook, and Billy Vardaman was the VP of Engineerng, although he sadly died of a heart attack during the program.

    The company struggled with financial difficulties which drove some decisions that ultimately slowed the program down and compromised the design.

    The First prototype, we referred to as the OMAC I was built in Nevada and was the airplane that had a gear issue. The Laser 300 was to be pressurized and designed to fly higher, about 25,000 ft if my memory is correct. The prototype didn't have the pressurization system in it. The airplane had a very large fuselage cross section and a very efficient wing. Good payload range performance and low fuel consumption. Because the PT6-135 engine is a reverse flow engine, it was well suited to a pusher configuration. We hoped to compete with the Cessna Caravan on package delivery, and Fed Ex was interested.

    For financial reasons, they had to close the wing before all the flight control bell cranks and pulley brackets could be installed, so that work all had to be done through the access holes, once the parts arrived. That cost months. After working 14-18 hour days 7 days a week for months getting ready for first flight, the first flight party was epic. (Although I am not sure the Albany police department would have seen it that way).

    The gross weight was a bit of a moving target throughout the program, which resulted in a somewhat under strength landing gear, because it was designed early, before the increase to 7,200 lb. The empty weight was also a bit of an issue, it turned out higher than it should have been, but we weren't quite sure where the weight was. We ended up with a lot of shims to get stuff to fit that weren't necessary in the design, so that was part of it.

    It was very comfortable inside, especially with the executive interior in the mock up. Stand up room, if you weren't too tall.

    The strake tanks that you see in the pictures added a lot of drag, and Maury Thibodeau, our weights engineer at the time, came up with a way of putting fuel in the forward and main wings that would have eliminated them and simplified the fuel system, but we never got to try that out.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Nevada USA

  5. #15

    Default Re: OMAC story?

    I was also at the Albany, GA facility in 85-86. I was working on the Strake tank designs and forward pressure bulkhead. The completed forward section was delivered and being assembled and the wing build was also going on before I left for other opportunities.
    It was a very cool concept aircraft that we all hoped would be in the skies one day. Very rewarding to have worked on a new concept aircraft that was as unique as the Laser 300.
    A great team of individuals that were passionate about airplanes for sure. Just not enough funding to make it all a reality I guess.

    "Old Man's Aircraft Company" is correct!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Pacific Northwest

    Default Re: OMAC story?


    First posts from new automated setup members run through a filter so that the board stays SPAM FREE!!

    Just approved this first post, heading to the admin settings to make you full member..

    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  7. #17

    Default Re: OMAC story?

    Larry had designed a 19 passenger jet in the mid 90's but also suffered from funding problems.

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