Lancair's Fastest And Most Docile -- How They Did It

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Today at Sun 'n Fun Lancair has received ceremoniously (or will receive, dependant on when you read this) FAA certification for their 310 hp turbocharged Columbia 400. What we knew, but were before today unable to share is that the madly capable, top of its class, 235 knot at 25,000 feet super cruiser may also prove itself the most docile aircraft of its performance class. Lancair Vice President of Engineering, Tom Bowen, explained the outboard wing cuffs designed to keep the ailerons flying while the inboard section of the wing is stalled, enlarged rudder (a visually imperceptible difference from the 350) and added ventral strake to add yaw stability and assure rudder authority should the pilot manage to stall the aircraft; and the reduced-area elevator designed to prevent deep stall entry at altitude. Still, the idea we heard again and again, is safety through performance.

Designed as a high altitude go fast, go far aircraft the 400 is equipped with an Avidyne FlightMax Entegra, dual Garmin 430s, plus autopilot and traditional gauges (to back up the glass panels). One item not yet finalized is the aircraft's de-ice system. The de-ice system the company is currently pursuing would be a low-profile, low weight electric system armed by the pilot to turn on when it sees a certain temperature. Heat would be applied cyclically through the system while a core area is kept hot. The idea, says Lancair, is to leave the pilot with a system that, for the most part, requires very little management -- especially when compared to pneumatic boots or quantity-dependent chemically based systems -- and gets the pilot through the weather for a long flight above the weather. The aircraft will begin delivering next month and a new hopefully-retrofittable certified de-ice system may be available for September. Otherwise, the aircraft may carry a more traditional system. (Pressurization may follow...)