A New Two-Seat Turboprop Kit Aircraft From Lancair?
Lancair's calling it "an aircraft that will be faster and safer than any other single engine aircraft in existence today." And when we spoke Monday with Lancair CEO Joe Bartels, he sounded excited and only slightly less vague than his company's press release. He did say, however, that "it's not a jet; it's a turboprop," and that the company is now working with all-computer-generated components that will cause customers to "be amazed at the degree of sophistication" of the design and "marvel at how little work will be required" to finish the aircraft. But Bartels stopped short of telling us what the new aircraft would be and whether or not a flying example would make it to Oshkosh. The company already produces a four-seat pressurized propjet kit, but there currently is no two-place turboprop offering. Whatever is coming, expect to see a fully outfitted mockup of the design at AirVenture next month, and maybe (but not certainly) more. "We don't want to have the flying aircraft used as a display model," Bartels said. That would either compromise flight demonstrations or close-up viewing by a larger audience, he noted. As for the kit, Bartels told us that his engineers estimate a builder could see his or her fuselage ready for panel and engine installation after about 15 weeks of work. Customers will be able to choose between instrument panels (probably one of two, he said) and one engine choice that will give builders the quoted performance, while others powerplants may be fitted to allow for lower overall project costs and lower performance. Builders can expect to be involved mainly in sanding and the application of structural adhesive and involved in "very, very little wet layup" work, according to Bartels. Of the numerous sources we contacted to gather the little information currently available about the project, one very clearly intended to lead us to believe we should be looking for a two-place turboprop kit design from Lancair.