In 1936, Luton Aircraft Ltd of Barton-in-the-Clay, Bedfordshire, flew the Buzzard I, a single-sear open-cockpit wooden ultralight, powered by one 35hp Anzani and designed by C. H. Latimer-Needham. This was rebuilt the following year with short-span wings and enclosed cockpit as the Buzzard II. The tandem-wing LA2 never flew, but its fuselage and other components were incorporated into the LA3, which was itself redesigned for home-assembly as the LA4 Minor. The first was built at the company's Phoenix Works at Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, and fitted with a 40hp ABC Scorpion, but subsequent models were horne-built from drawings and fitted with many different engines. A hangar fire at the Phoenix Works in 1943 destroyed the single example of the LA5 Major, a two-seat cabin type first flown on 4 March 1939, and also spelt the end for the company. C. H. Latimer-Needham founded a new company at Cranleigh, Surrey, in March 1958, appropriately named Phoenix Aircraft Ltd, which acquired the rights for the Minor and Major. Both designs were improved, the first as the LA4A Minor, and built in the UK and in several countries across the world.

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