A handsome family of aircraft, that Lancairs (see list). History started in 1981 when Lance Neibauer (1949) started designing his own airplane, in Santa Paula, California. Neibauer also chose to use the advanced NLF 0215-F airfoil, a natural laminar flow type of airfoil designed by Dan Somers. This became the Lancer, a two-place, low wing, retractable u/c aircraft.
Neibauer was a 1971 BFA graduate from Michigan State University and a succesful graphical designer, but also came from an aeronautical family. He started to build his own plane, but not with future industrial production in mind. Nevertheless in 1984 he founded his company Lancair, to produce composite homebuilt aircraft kits.
The prototype Lancer flew in 20 June 20 1984, and was later re-engined with a 100 hp Continental O-200 engine, becoming Lancer 200. It first flew December 1984 and had to be renamed Lancair 200 in 1985.
Lancair 200 was replaced with the Lancair 235, re-engined with a Lycoming O-235. Other versions to follow: Lancair 320 with a 150 hp Lycoming O-320, and Lancair 360 with 180 hp Lycoming O-360.
The Lancair outperformed all other existing models with the same engines, making it a popular design, selling over 600 kits by end of 1999.
Lancair LC IV
Development started in 1990 on this four-seater, low wing, retractable u/c. It first flew in 1991, becoming available with an optional pressurized version, LC IV-P, which first flew in November 1993.
In 1992 the company resettled on Roberts Field in Redmond, Oregon becoming Lancair International. Neico Aviation was founded to market the planes.
Around 1993 development started on a simplified version of the LC-IV, with fixed undercarriage, also available as a pressurized model.
Lancair LC-40/Columbia 300, 350, 400
In 1994 Lancair was chosen by NASA as partner in its AGATE project resulting in development by Pacific Aviation Composites, a spin-off based in Bend, Oregon of the LC-40, based on the Lancair ES. It first flew in July 1996. Becoming the Columbia 300 in 1998. The turbocharged Columbia 400 emerged in 2000. The Columbia 300 was fitted with the 400’s new glass cockpit, developed under AGATE, becoming the Columbia 350. Pacific Aviation was integrated into Lancair in 2000. The LC-IV Propject was introduced in 2000, using a Walter 601E, 750hp turboprop engine.
N6504K, LC-40-550G at Lelystad (EHLE) 20040904
As Neibauer wanted to focus production on the Columbia models, in 2003 the kit division was sold to Joseph Bartels, himself a Lancair IV-P home-builder. Bartels has continued sales of Lancair IV and IV-P (with the Continental TSIO-550), ES and ES-P, and the Legacy and fixed-gear Legacy FG. The Lancair Legacy is a modernized version of the Lancair 320. A version with a 15% larger wing has been developed for the Columbian AF. The IV-P has been developped into the Sentry, in use with the Mexican Navy.
The Evolution was developed to meet the FAR Part 23 requirements, becoming available in 2008. Two version exist: with a Lycoming TEO-540 piston engine, and Pratt & Whitney PT6-135A turboprop
In 2005 Lancair became Columbia Aircraft, but competition with the Cirrus SR22 was heavy and relatively unsuccessful. As a result Columbia went bankrupt in 2007, and was taken over by Cessna.
As of 2007 Cessna has continued building the Columbia models, renaming them in Cessna 350 and 400TT Corvalis.
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