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As It Was: Medford Company Produces Ultralight Aircraft

During the 1970s and early 1980s, many people throughout the world sought ultralight aircraft as an affordable way to fly.  Lightweight and slow-flying, they were subject to fewer regulations than other airplanes.

Jim Higgs enjoyed flying and designed his own ultralight aircraft.  In the early 1980s, he developed the Ultralight Meadowlark produced by the Meadowlark Ultralight Corp. of Medford, Ore.  It has an aluminum tubing fuselage, a 35-foot wingspan and tricycle landing gear. The wings allowed for folding them back along the fuselage for ground transport or storage.  The pilot sat in the open without a cabin or windshield.  Its 30-horsepower engine was mounted above the pilot in front of the wing and ran on 3.7 gallons of fuel, reaching a maximum speed of 55 mph.

Higgs completed construction of the Meadowlark in 1982 and showed it at the 1983 Sun’n’Fun exhibition in Florida where it was considered one of the best designs on the American market.

Unfortunately for Higgs, the U.S. ultralight industry collapsed in 1984 and the factory only completed building and selling a small number of the Meadowlarks.

Sources: Meadowlark Ultralight Meadowlark." www.All-Aero.Com, All-Aero, 2017, all-aero.com/index.php/53-planes-l-m-n-o/6635-meadowlark-ult. Accessed 21 Sept. 2017; "Meadowlark Ultralight Meadowlark." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 25 June 2015, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meadowlark_Ultralight_Meadowla. Accessed 19 Sept. 2017;  Perkins, Scott. "Where Are They Now?." Vintage Ultralight and Lightplane Assoc., www.vula.org, 1999-2004, www.vula.org/where_are_they_now.html . Accessed 20 Sept. 2017.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.