Sunday 19 January 2014

Lancairs of New Zealand (2) - 4 Seat Aircraft

In around 1990, Lance Neibauer turned his attention to designing a 4 seat Lancair and the result was the Lancair IV which appeared in 1991.  The Lancair IV was a very fast aircraft utilising carbon fibre construction.  A Lancair IV broke all existing speed records for its class in February 1991 when it averaged 360 mph between San Francisco and Denver.  The Lancair IV length is 25 feet (7.62 metres), wingspan is 35 feet 5 inches (10.82 metres) and the wing area is 98 square feet.  Cruise speed is an incredible 330 mph at 25,000 feet.

Lance Neibauer then set to designing a simpler fixed gear version of the Lancair IV, the Lancair ES which appeared in 1992.  The ES was later developed by Lance Neibauer's new company Columbia Aircraft into the Columbia 300 which was certified in 1998.  The Lancair ES length is 25 feet 2 inches (7.67 metres), wingspan is 36 feet 1 inch (11.0 metres) and thee wing area is 141 square feet.  Cruise speed is 270 mph at 25,000 feet and 217 mph at lower levels.  That's still very fast.

Columbia went into bankruptcy in 2007 and the assets were purchased by Cessna who offered the aircraft as the Cessna 350 (normally aspirated) and the Cessna 400 (turbocharged).  The aircraft has not been very successful for Cessna (it competes with the Cirrus 20/22 series), but it  has been developed and is still in production.

We have had 2 four seater Lancair's in New Zealand, both from the same workshop at North Shore.

ZK-CTL (c/n LIV192) was a Lancair IV built by Chris Toms of Auckland, and was first registered on 30/1/95.  It was powered by a Lycoming TIO-540 engine of 350 HP.  It had an early fright when it force landed on the beach at Ruakaka with engine problems, but the landing was successful.  The above photo was taken at Tauranga in 1997.  It was cancelled on 18/8/00 and sold to an owner in the USA as N831F.  It was delivered by air across the Pacific in September 2000, and is still current in the US.

ZK-KES (c/n 17) was a Lancair ES built by Roger Ramsey and his team at North Shore, and was first registered to Scientific Management NZ Ltd on 29/4/97.  It is photo'd above at the 1998 SAANZ flyin at Matamata alongside Scientific Management's KIS TR-1 ZK-KIS (later to be followed by their KIS TR-4 ZK-TEL to form "kis and tel"! ).  It was powered by a Lycoming IO-550 engine of 300 HP and was the first New Zealand homebuilt aircraft to be certified for full IFR flight.  It was sold to Australia as VH-KAM and was cancelled on 1/10/99, and it is still current in Australia.

And as I postscript, photo'd above at Ardmore is a Cessna 400 that was demonstrated around New Zealand by the Cessna agents in 2008.  It did not attract a buyer so it returned to the US.


  1. Do you know how the Columbia 400 was brought to New Zealand? Ferry flight or shipped over? Thanks

  2. N400NM flew into Kerikeri from Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands on 04-07-2008 and departed Auckland for Norfolk Island on 27-01-2009