1958 Review



This is a review of the Luton Minor taken from a 1957-1958 publication of Janes All The World's Aircraft...... a copy of the original page is available as an Adobe Acrobat download


Phoenix Aircraft Ltd


Head Office: Cranleigh Common, Cranleigh, Surrey

Directors: C H Latimer-Needham and A W J G Ord-Hume


Phoenix Aircraft Ltd was formed in 1958 to develop and produce ultra-light and light aircraft and engines, with particular emphasis on the manufacture of kits of parts for amateur re-assembly.


The company has begun by redesigning the pre-war Luton Minor single seat light aeroplane, and is also building a new version of the two-seat Luton Major.  Both of these types were developed in their original form by Luton Aircraft Ltd, which ceased to exist during the war when its premises were destroyed. Design rights of Luton aircraft have been acquired by Phoenix Aircraft Ltd.

The Phoenix LA4a Minor

The first LA4 Minor flew in 1937 and proved suitable for construction by amateurs and for operation by pilots of limited experience. Examples were built pre-war in England and other parts of the world.


Many improvements are incorporated in the new LA4a Minor and the construction has been simplified. In particular, a fixed vertical tail fin is now fitted together with a more robust landing gear similar to that of the Piper Cub.


Phoenix Aircraft supplies parts and components of the LA4a Minor to order and will offer complete kits of parts in due course. Plans are available through the Popular Flying Association.


Type: Single-seat light aeroplane.


Wings: Strut-braced parasol monoplane. Wing section R.A.F. 32 (modified). Aspect ratio 5. Wooden two spar structure in two halves, attached to the fuselage by tubular centre section pylons and braced by parallel lift struts of streamline section steel tubing. Wings removable for ground transport and storage. Leading edge and tips plywood covered, remainder fabric covered. Plain ailerons of wood construction, fabric covered. Wing area 125 sq. ft. (11.6 square metres)


Fuselage: Rectangular all-wood structure. Sides and bottom plywood covered. Curved decking aft of cockpit fabric covered. Fuel tank forms top decking forward of cockpit.


Tail Unit

Cantilever monoplane type. All wood structure, fabric covered. Aerodynamically balanced rudder.


Landing Gear

Fixed tail-wheel type with divided main legs of tubular steel construction. Rubber disc shock absorbers. Wheel brakes optional. Fully castoring tailwheel.



One 37 h.p. Aeronca J.A.P. two cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled engine driving a two blade fixed pitch wooden airscrew. Airframe is designed to take alternative engines of up to 65 hp. Fuel tank forward of cockpit, capacity 6.5 Imp Gallons ((29.5 litres). Provision for additional tanks in wings.



Single seat in open cockpit. Luggage space aft of seat.



Span 25 ft 0 in (7.62 m)

Length 20 ft 9 ins (6.32 m)


Weight empty 390 lbs. (177 kg)

Weight loaded 627 lbs. (285 kg)

Wing Loading 5 lbs. / sq. ft. (24.4 kg / sq. m.)

Power loading: 17 lbs./hp (7.7 kg/h.p.)


Max speed 85 mph (137 km/hr)

Cruising speed 75 mph (121 km/hr)

Stalling speed: 28 mph (45 km/hr)

Rate of climb at S/L 450 ft/min (137 m/min)

Take-off run 240 ft (73 m)

Landing run: 120 ft (36.5 m)

Range 180 miles (200 km)

Range with auxiliary wing tanks 400 miles (645 km)