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LESHER TEAL – N4291C

In 1962, Ed Lesher began designing his new airplane, the Teal, with the intention of setting new distance records in the 500 kilogram class. Ed’s goal was to beat most, if not all, of the seven world records for 500 kilogram airplanes.

Throughout the design, the criteria of low weight and low drag were constantly kept in mind. Ed decided to use the tail pusher configuration of his earlier design, the Nomad, despite the weight penalty of about 50 pounds. Ed himself weighed well over 200 pounds and first thought of using a jockey pilot. Not wanting to forfeit the best part of designing the Teal, Ed decided that it was the perfect incentive to lose weight.

Construction of the Teal began in the fall of 1962. The wings had integral fuel tanks extending almost to the tips and were constructed of all metal. The main gear was of the Wittman spring type with aluminum legs. Early studies showed that a retractable landing gear would be necessary, but the weight would have to be kept to a minimum. As a result, eighteen operations were required to retract the landing gear. The Teal was powered by the same 100 hp Continental O-200A engine that Ed’s earlier design, the Nomad, used.

The first flight was made in April of 1965 at Willow Run Airport. The performance proved to be better than expected and Ed began competing with his Teal. In 1967, EAA Chapter 113 unanimously agreed to sponsor Ed’s record flights. By January of 1968, Ed held the world record for maximum speed in a closed course for the 500, 1000, and 2000 kilometer races. In 1970 the Teal claimed the world record for maximum distance in a closed course, traveling 1554.29 miles. Ed beat the world record for maximum distance in a straight line in 1975, flying a distance of 1835 miles.

Ed had accomplished his goal of flying his way into the record books and, after several attempts at beating and defending its world records, the Teal went into retirement. Ed Lesher’s children donated the record breaking Teal to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 2002.

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