Additional comments on the Mite's Laminar flow wing....

From an article written by Budd Davisson in Air Progress, April 1985:

"One of the things I'd always heard about the Mite was that it used a lot of new Al Mooney ideas about preventing stall/spin accidents. Some of these ideas included the straight leading edge and swept forward trailing edge and a truly unusual combination of airfoils: The root is a laminar airfoil, a 64215, but the tip is a standard NACA 2412. This is supposed to give aileron control well into the stall... a fact that can be proven only one way.

"Carb heat out, I brought the nose well up and waited. As the power came back, a bright light on the panel reminded me I didn't have the gear down (some have a little wand that wags back and forth as a gear warning). The needle fell off the bottom of the gauge when the stick pegged against my lap. The airplane buffeted and nodded up and down. I could feel air flow attaching and detaching from the root sections. The stall was straight ahead and needed no correction, but I poked the ailerons out in either direction and was rewarded with a fairly precise wag of the wings. Mooney's ideas work! At no time were the ailerons stalled, or even close to it. I was impressed."

Comments from Ben Favrholdt, N66MX:

"Some interesting things about a laminar flow wing. It is not a high lift wing like the Hershey bar wing on the Cherokee. It is a high speed wing, and it behaves differently. In a Cherokee, you can perform a 'soft field take-off' by applying full up elevator at the start of the take-off roll, to get the nose wheel off the ground early. If you try that in a standard Mooney, you can go the entire length of the runway and never leave the ground. In the Mite, the premature rotation is not as critical, probably because of the light wing loading. Years ago, a pilot in an F-86 in Sacramento rotated prematurely, never got airborne, and crashed into a Farrell's ice cream parlor, killing a bunch of people.

"The laminar flow wing is also very sensitive to dirt and bugs on the leading edge -- anything that will disturb the laminar flow. The advantages of a laminar flow wing are that it is fast with less drag. You can actually get a plane with this wing 'On-the-step', so in cruise, you can reduce power gradually and see almost no change in airspeed -- to a point. The disadvantage is that the stall is not as gentle. This problem is somewhat overcome by using a different airfoil at the wing tips. The Hershey bar wing is slower, has a lot of lift, and is very gentle at the stall break."

February 11, 2000