Thursday 16 January 2014

Neico (and Subsequent) Lancairs of New Zealand (1) - 2 Seat Aircraft

The Lancair series of aircraft was designed by Lance Niebauer, taking advantage of the new advances in composite aircraft construction to form lovely compound curves.  Along with Glasair, Lancair was among the first kitplane manufacturers to bring molded composite construction to light powered aircraft (gliders had been using molded composite construction for some years).

The original Lancair was designed in the early 1980s and was introduced at Oshkosh 1985 as the Lancair 200 with an O-200 engine.  It featured a laminar wing for performance and it easily outperformed all other O-200 powered aircraft at Oshkosh that year.  The 200 model was quickly replaced by the Lancair 235 with an O-235 engine, and then the lancair 320 and 360 followed in 1988 with O-320 and O-360 engines respectively.  These models had increased tail surfaces.  We have had examples of all the Lancair models in New Zealand, as detailed below.  The Lancair kits sold well and Lance Niebauer the turned his attention to designing a similarly fast 4 seat Lancair, and I will cover this in a future post.

The 2 seat Lancairs had a length of 21 feet, a wingspan of 23 feet 6 inches and a wing area of 76 square feet.  Empty weight was around 1,090 pounds (Kg) and MAUW was pounds (764 Kg).  With an O-320 engine of 180 HP the cruise is around 235 mph.  That's fast!

We have had eight 2 seat Lancairs in New Zealand to date, built from kits supplied from Neico, Avtek and Lancair International.

ZK-SDQ, a Lancair 235 (c/n AACA/1060) was our first Lancair registered.  It was built by Len Helms of Hamilton from an Avtek kit and was first registered on 19/11/90.  It is photo'd above at the 1998 AACA flyin at Matamata.  It was sold to John Spry of Wellington on 30/9/97 as a replacement for his cancelled ZK-PDS, and then to SM Sutherland of Whangarei on 11/10/05 following the completion of his ZK-VDQ.  It suffered a prop strike at Whangarei on 11/5/06.  Finally it was sold back to Wellington, to DS Buchanan and AJ Davis, on 5/8/07.  It is still current.

ZK-PDS (c/n 223), another Lancair 235, was registered to John Spry of Wellington on 11/5/92, but I remember it being built by another builder at Manakau in the Horowhenua.  It is photo'd above at Foxpine in 1993.  Unfortunately it ditched in the Pauatahanui Inlet of Porirua Harbour on 3/9/97 and was written off.  It was cancelled on 2/9/97.

ZK-RLW (c/n 062) was a Lancair 360 built by Avtek in Australia as a factory built kit.  It was registered to RK and WF Thompson of Windwhistle on 16/7/96.  It is still owned by them and has been based at Ashburton for its entire life.  The above photo was taken at the 2009 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton.

ZK-PDQ (c/n 353) was a Lancair 320 model built by Peter Dyer and Simon Creasey at Taupo, and was first registered on 26/3/97.  It is photo'd above at the 2008 SAANZ flyin at Matamata (7/2/98) by Greybeard.  It had a wheels up landing at Taupo a few days later, on 19/2/98 but was repaired.  Simon Creasey took over sole ownership on 12/2/02.  Unfortunately it caught fire and force landed on State Highway 1 near Turangi on 18/10/05 and was destroyed by fire.  It was cancelled on 18/7/07.

ZK-TTD (c/n 526) is a Lancair 360 built from an Avtek kit by Arthur Wells of Ashburton.  It was first registered on 3/8/98.  It suffered an undercarriage collapse at Ashburton on 20/8/01 but was repaired.  It was sold to the TTD Syndicate of Ashburton on 10/3/12.  The above photo was taken at the 2009 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton.

ZK-TAO (c/n SP1065) was a Lancair 235 that was built by John Connell at Rotorua.  It was first registered on 10/2/99.  It was sold to Southern Aircraft Sales of Christchurch on 10/6/04 and it is photo'd at North Shore in their ownership.  The registration ZK-TAO was cancelled on 29/9/05 and transferred to ZK-RKT.

And here it is as ZK-RKT an an air expo at Ardmore on 3/3/07.  It was sold to Australia and flew to Western Australia in January/February 2008 where it was re-registered VH-FWR.  It was cancelled from the New Zealand Civil Register on 8/2/08.  It is still currently registered in Australia.

ZK-MHS (c/n 1626) is a Lancair International Lancair 360 model that was built by Peter Morton, Harry Harris and Tom Schnackenberg of Auckland.  I think it was mainly built by Harry Harris at Tauranga.  It was first registered on 21/7/03.  It suffered a couple of nose gear collapses in short order, at Great Barrier Island on 3/12/04 and at Tauranga on 14/1/05.  It was sold to WM Wakelin of Auckland on 17/8/05 and then to Norm Bartlett of Auckland on 28/4/09.  The above photo shows Norm Bartlett taxying out for a local flight at Ardmore on 2/7/11.

And finally for now, ZK-VDQ (c/n 347) is our most recently registered Lancair.  It is a Neico Lancair 320 that was built by John Spry of Wellington and was first registered on 16/11/05.  Its first flight was at Taupo on 17/1/06.  This is the third Lancair that has been owned by John Spry.  The above photo was taken at Masterton, by Rodney Maas I think.

That is the total of our 2 seat Lancairs to date.  You might notice a theme in some of the registrations which I do not know is coincidental.  But it could be that SDQ is Seriously Darned Quick?  PDS is Pretty Darned Speedy?  PDQ is Pretty Darned Quick?  and VDQ is Very Darned Quick?

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