Pilot Journal
Friday, September 1, 2006

From Lancair 200 To Columbia 400

Lance Neibauer’s aircraft evolution from homebuilt to certified

lancairThere aren’t many folks in the personal aircraft business brave enough (or perhaps foolish enough) to attempt certification on a homebuilt airplane. Curtiss Pitts may have been one of the few to do it with his S1 and S2 Pitts, and that was in a far simpler time.
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As one who has been designing futuristic airplanes for 20 years, Lance Neibauer inevitably faces questions about what’s next. Though he’s retired from day-to-day operations at Columbia Aircraft, he still owns a large block of stock and maintains contact with Columbia officials, occasionally consulting about future products.

“We’re primarily just trying to deliver the products we have now, rather than concentrating on new designs,” says Neibauer. “Remember, though, the Columbia line was designed with the Lancair IV retractable gear in mind for some time down the road. Also, it’s important to note that both the Lancair IV and ES offer pressurized versions, if that gives you any hint of what might be next.”

Let’s see, add 15 to 20 knots for retractable gear, and you just might see something like a Lancair 500 delivering 250 knots while cruising in pressurized comfort at 25,000 feet. Then again, there’s also the possibility of a turboprop version...


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