lancair pressurized

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any experience with homebuilt such as lancair?
could you tell me the pro's and con's about buying an experimental
aircraft ie, insurance, liability, annuals, etc?
Seems like the pressurized lancair is a plane that has is all.
Pressurized, fast, even deicing. Any idea on how effective is their
deiceing system?

-- Craig Jaces, December 28, 2007


Everything is better in the experimental world, as you've noticed. For starters, you're not paying a huge amount of money for the manufacturer's liability insurance. You can avail yourself of some superb avionics at low prices.

Be aware that experimental aircraft will not necessarily have the forgiving flight characteristics of a certified airplane. FAA certification ensures that the fuel is available in all flight conditions, that it is almost impossible to spin the airplane, etc.

Another downside of an experimental is that it might not be easy to get parts and service. A mechanic may not want to incur the liability of working on a plane whose construction and service history is unknown to him.

You asked about liability. I assume that is for you. I would imagine that if you crashed your Lancair and killed someone, a lawyer would have a pretty easy time pinning the blame on you!

The electric de-icing system on the Lancair sounds pretty good. I'm sure it works reasonably well. What is far more useful, though, is the plane's ability to climb out of the ice.

I would think that a pressurized twin-turbocharged Lancair would be at the upper end of headaches and maintenance costs among experimentals. There is no reason to expect the engine to be more reliable than the engine in a Piper Malibu (many of which come apart after only 150 or 200 hours). Nobody has managed to design a piston-powered airplane that can consistently do the missions for which the pressurized Lancair or the Piper Malibu are advertised. Something always fails.

If you want a fairly cheap pressurized airplane that won't have you praying for the engine to keep spinning, look into the Epic kit turboprops. They have great specs and at least one respected friend of a friend has flown one and gives it a good report.

-- Philip Greenspun, January 2, 2008

Personally, there's no way in heck I'd ever want to assume the liability risk of building a complex, very high performance aircraft like a Lancair. If you ever decided to sell it and someone down the line crashed it and died, his heirs would almost surely sue you as the manufacturer of the aircraft.

It's certainly a buyer beware market out there for used homebuilts, but there are always Lancairs for sale, just make sure they're actually legal aircraft ("professionally built" is a real gray area with the FAA).

-- Clifton Rybick, June 14, 2008