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Edgley Optica

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,


EA-7 Optica
Edgley Optica (source: Edgley Aircraft)
Role Observation
National origin UK
Manufacturer Edgley
Designed by John Edgley
First flight 14 December 1979
Number built 21

The Edgley EA-7 Optica was a British light aircraft designed for observation work, intended as a low-cost alternative to helicopters, retailing originally at around US$200,000.


The Optica, designed by John Edgley and built by Brooklands Aerospace, had an unusual configuration with a fully-glazed forward cabin seating three across, reminiscent of an Alouette helicopter. Behind it was situated a Lycoming flat-six engine powering a ducted fan, twin boom cantilever tailplane with twin rudders and a high-mounted single elevator. The fixed tricycle undercarriage had the nosewheel offset to the left. The wings were unswept and untapered, and the aircraft was of a fairly standard all-metal construction with stressed aluminium skin. The aircraft's distinctive appearance led to it being known as the "bug-eye" in some popular reports.

It first flew on 14 December 1979 , powered by a 150 hp (112 kW) Lycoming O-320 engine. The Optica, now powered by a more powerful Lycoming O-540, entered production in 1983, achieving certification on 8 February 1985. A crash of police Optica G-KATY on 15 May 1985 killed two members of the Hampshire ConstabularyThe cause was suspected to be a stall: insufficient airspeed during a turn causing instability. The reason for the low speed was never established. This led to the bankruptcy of Edgley, with Optica Industries being formed in October 1985 to continue production and 25 were built before a fire caused by arson destroyed the factory and all but one flying Optica. The company was reformed again as Brooklands Aircraft, and the Optica returned to production, production ceasing in March 1990, when Brooklands Aircraft went bankrupt.

An example featured in the 1989 movie Slipstream.

There was a grounding order by the FAA due to cracks developed in the wing spars but this is not in force as there are two examples flying in the U.S. and two are flying in Australia. There are a further two in storage in the UK.

The Design of the Optica has now been bought by John Edgley once more (along with the design for the FLS Sprint 160). Edgley hopes to put both types into production and further to that goal the Optica 300 Series s/n 021 G-BOPO is being restored as a UK type demonstrator.

Specifications (Optica Scout)

Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1988-1989

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 2 passengers
  • Length: 8.15 m (26 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.0 m (39 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 2.31 m (7 ft 7 in)
  • Wing area: 15.8 m² (171 ft²)
  • Airfoil: NASA GA(W)-1
  • Empty weight: 948 kg (2,090 lb)
  • Useful load: 367 kg (810 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,315 kg (2,900 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× Textron Lycoming IO-540-V4A5D flat six piston engine, 194 kW (200 hp)
  • Propellers: five bladed ducted fan propeller, 1 per engine


1 x IR/Camera Turret in recessed bay in nose. 1 x Skyshout Loudspeaker (Police Equipment)

See also

Comparable aircraft


External links


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Published in July 2009.

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