What do you think of when you think of the Lancair IV-P? Speed, yes. Safety? Not so much. But Redmond, Oregon, company RDD Enterprises is out to change that perception with the introduction of an extensively remanufactured Lancair IV-P that it calls the LX7. RDD will start with a Lancair IV-P airframe and transform it into a brand new model, one designed to fly just as fast but with far more docile flight characteristics.
The process will take an existing Lancair IV-P kitplane, add a new, one-piece dual-spar carbon fiber wing with a laminar flow airfoil and double-slotted flaps for what RDD claims will be much improved stall and slow speed handling characteristics. There’s also a new tail section. The company will also add a whole-airplane recovery parachute system from BRS and an all-new flat-panel avionics system with integrated autopilot and dual displays (though they are not sharing the identity of their partner on that program yet).
The LX7, which all-up is slated to cost around the same as a new Cirrus SR22 G5 or Cessna TTx, will give the airplane much of the appeal of an FAA certificated high-performance single but with greater speed than you can find in a Part 23 model.
It’s a cool project. When I first flew the Lancair IV back in the early 1990s, I was amazed by the high tech kit plane’s remarkable performance and greatly concerned about its terrible slow speed flying characteristics. The addition of a pressurized version, the Lancair IV-P, in the mid-90s, did little to alleviate those concerns. The addition of a chute will give added peace of mind to potential owners who are looking for the speed of a Lancair IV-P without the greatly added risk of high stall speeds, poor aerodynamic stability and unforgiving stall characteristics.
RDD is not associated with Lancair but knows the models well. Several key players at RDD are former Lancair employees, and the company has been doing work on Lancair kit planes for some time. The target stall speed is 63 knots, right around the figure required by the FAA for single engine Part 23 certificated airplanes that get a couple of knots of credit for crashworthy features. This with a cruise speed of around 250 knots at altitude in pressurized comfort and with a range of around 2,000 nm (seriously), and you’ve got a package that will attract a lot of attention.
RDD plans to fly the first LX7 in the first part of 2016. It plans to announce additional details, including its avionics and aerodynamics design partners at that time as well.