Lancair Offers More Move For Your Money
Plans For Columbia Turbo 400 Unveiled
Lancair’s Lance Neibauer is offering something new, faster, and pricier… but don’t expect to be flying it anytime soon. The Lancair Group announced at Sun ‘n Fun the development of a turbocharged version of the Columbia 300 called the Columbia Turbo 400. The plane will be powered by a Teledyne Continental TSIO-550-E engine, and will boast a cruise speed of "cookin,’" according to the Lancair press release. When asked, one company spokesman guesstimated a fast microwave “cookin’” speed of 220 knots at 18,000 feet, 240 knots at 24,000 feet.
The airframe will remain the same all-composite, fixed-gear Columbia 300 that pilots have come to know and covet, but will have a built-in oxygen system and a different panel. The Columbia 400 will be equipped with TCM FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Controls), which Lancair hopes will become an option on Columbia 300s in 2001. Lancair’s goal is to have the 400 certified by 2001, with a target price of $365,000-ish. The 400’s service ceiling will be set at FL240, and the gross weight and useful load will remain as in the Columbia 300. If you’re itching to take a look, Lancair plans to have a Columbia 400 prototype available to gaze upon at EAA AirVenture 2000 in Oshkosh.
All this talk of a new plane is well and good, but what about Lancair’s ability to deliver? That, of course, is the question of the hour among the GA types at SnF. Only one Columbia 300 has been delivered to a customer so far, in February, to a buyer in the Lancair factory town of Bend, Oregon. CEO Neibauer and company have a goal of one aircraft produced per day, but that is obviously some time away. A couple of things that will likely help the company is the development of a nationwide dealer program that should take the burden of sales and customer support off the factory and allow it to focus on actually producing aircraft. Additionally, the recent settlement of a $6.9 million dollar lawsuit against the country of Malaysia should free up needed funds. Once Lancair shows that it can actually deliver planes there should be no stopping them.