February 27, 2007
So, compared to the Cirrus SR-22, what is the Lancair Columbia 400 like?
Well, as you preflight it, you see the Cirrus has a nice big, bulging fuselage.. sort of like it was designed by (or for) Homer Simpson. The fuselage bulges WAAAY out to the side and top around the seating area, then tapers in the back, necking into a skinny tail like a tadpole. This shape gives the most internal volume for the least drag, so from an engineering standpoint, it works really well. Sure, it has a lot of frontal area and wetted area in thefront part of the body, but as the tail tapers in at the back, the air SLOWS DOWN after it’s hi-speed frantic race around the big bulbous front. As the air slows down over the aft part of the airplane, it naturally becomes higher in pressure. And, thanks to the carefully-sculpted conCAVE curve of the tail, this extra pressure sort of PUSHES the plane along, making up, to SOME DEGREE, the drag incurred pushing the air out of the way in the first place. In other words, it works like this:
Step 1: the air puts some drag on the airplane getting out of the way of the bulbous body
Step 2: the air goes to very low pressure as it races quickly to slide smoothly around this bulbous intruder
Step 3: the air slows back down as it comes back together over the skinny tail
Step 4: as the air slows down, it goes to high pressure
Step 5: because of the way the tail tapers so much in a concave curve, this high pressure pushes the airplane along
Obviously, this is no perpetual-energy machine… only SOME energy can be recovered, but this is how pressure-recovery works, and it lets the Cirrus slip through the air fast, even though it has a very large cabin area. (Enough, in fact, to scoot your seat all the way back and put your feet on the dash, should you feel so inclined, while waiting on the ground for someone. This could also easily be done in-flight when on autopilot, in theory 😉 ).
Once you have pre-flighted the Cirrus, walking around it’s large, bulbous body, and entering it’s pretty large, comfortable cabin, you sit inside to be greeted by a surprisingly HARD seat (bad) and a pretty impressive smattering of glass displays. The SR-22 has an Avidyne PFD, MFD, two Garmin 430’s, an STEC-autopilot, and a Garmin transponder, ALL with screens of one size or another. That’s SIX computer displays. Throw in the three emergency flight instruments and four standby engine instruments and you have a pretty decent smattering of instruments in the cockpit. The look is fine, though perhaps a TINY bit cluttered. This shotgun-blast of instruments has a TREMENDOUS advantage, though: THREE-QUARTERS OF THE STUFF IN THE PLANE CAN BREAK, AND YOU CAN STILL FLY JUST FINE! Adding up the PFD, MFD, and two Garmin 430’s (each a GPS with it’s own screen and map), the Cirrus has 4 moving maps, 2 gps’s, two com radios, two nav radios, three fuel gages, two attitude references (three if you include the autopilot, which can keep you right side up), and five heading indicators. (Five? Yup. The HSI on the PFD, the moving map on the MFD, each Garmin 430, and the compass). And, you can pull the circuit breakers on any of these guys and that will have only limited effect on the other units. Each GPS has it’s OWN moving map if the MFD fails. The autopilot has it’s OWN attitude reference system if the primary AND BACKUP attitude indicators fail. I have had instructors pull the circuit breakers on basically every piece of equipment in the airplane and still flown approaches to minimums, no problem at all. I have had in-flight failures of the PFD, MFD, and GPS’s (not all at once) and have never even been slightly inconvenienced by them.
Anyway, the avionics are not that pretty (6 screens, 4 manufacturers), but simply impossible to take out of commission in flight. (Remember, two generators, two batteries, two electrical systems, one system failure does not typically cause another).
Once you have gotten into the bulbous fuselage that offers both roominess and speed (but looks sort of Homer-Simpson-like), and gotten acquainted with the avionics which are both functional and just SILLY-redundant (but sort of random-looking), you fire up the engine. This is a big old 9-liter flat-6 normally-aspirated with no exhaust system to speak of. It starts up with a nice big SNORT and than a growling, popping, snarling-at-the-bit lope. The Cirrus engine lopes and snarls along at idle EXACTLY like stock-car: The cams clearly optimized for a higher rpm while the engine barks and canters along, barely running to save fuel at idle, announcing to everyone in sight that it has an unlimited airflow on-tap, and wants to USE IT by spinning up to redline, because it is just NOT happy to sit here at idle.
Of course, the engine gets it’s wish every flight, and if you advance the power slowly, you are typically IN THE AIR BEFORE YOU HAVE EVEN GOTTEN THE THROTTLE TO THE WIDE-OPEN POSITION. This is thanks to the Cirrus’s nice long skinny wing, which is all too happy to get you off the ground out of it’s generous ground effect. The plane races up at 2,000 fpm no problem, and eases down to maybe 500 fpm thru 15,000 feet. Level at 15,000 feet you pull the mixture back and you are running at 50% power, lean of peak, 165 knots, 10.5 gallons per hour. You are getting about 18 statute miles per gallon at this point.. the same as a car in town, which averages about 25 miles per hour… but you are going 190 miles per hour.
Again, that is the same gas mileage as a car going 25 mph, but you are going 190 mph.
This is thanks to the pressure-recovery fuselage, long skinny high-aspect ratio wing, low air drag at 15,000 feet, and ability to run the engine lean of peak, an ability granted by the carefully-balanced engine and per-cylinder exhaust gas and cylinder-head temperatures on the displays.
The airplane just hums along for about 7 hours like that, with enough room inside for one pilot to crawl into the back of the plane while the other flies, and vice-versa, to literally fly in shifts like an airliner on an inter-continential flight. I have been in the back of my airplane while a friend flies, setting up a local-area network between multiple Macintosh laptops, running networked copies of X-Plane in preparation for a business presentation, while flying at 8,500 feet over Wyoming and Colorado. The plane has so much room, speed, and range, that you can actually use it as a little flying hotel room, traveling and working all at the same time, with a hardware setup that makes the Cirrus basically impossible to stop. The stormscope display built into the maps show you lightning, the traffic display shows you other planes, and the prop and wings will, on command, sweat glycol to keep ice from forming on the plane.
On descent, point the nose down and feel the speed build just a bit… the Cirrus does not have speedbrakes, or need them as long as you plan your descent way out if coming down from 15,000 or so. Since you were only running at 50% power at 15,000 feet (about all the power you can get in that thin air) shock-cooling does not even come close to existing. Just ease the throttle back as you descend to ease back to 35% power approaching the airport and you can come scooting into the pattern nice-n-speedy, but a final 15% power reduction and maybe a steep turn will have you right at a comfortable 120 knots, just about ready to lower first notch of flaps.
The Cirrus SR-22 has got to be the best all-around, easy to use, versatile, nice-flying single-engine airplane made, in the world.
If you fly less than 800 miles, want a plane that is easy to learn, use, and fly, with moderate performance and good systems, then Cirrus is simply the best.
But, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are technically the best cars… but are they really the ULTIMATE cars?
So, enter the Lancair Columbia 400.
The Lancair started life as a sexy, speedy, and sleek homebuilt, and then some guys came along and said “Let’s certify it and sell it!”
Thus was born the Lancair Columbia 300.
This sounded great at first, but then they saw that the FAA was oh-so-picky about being able to get out of a SPIN. (The Cirrus does not need to worry about this… it has a parachute, and the spin recovery in a Cirrus, officially, is to pull the chute with your right hand while calling your insurance company on your cell-phone with your left). The Lancair needed to have a radically larger wing to be certified so that it’s stall speed would be at or below 61 knots. And it needed some tweaks here and there on the wing to make sure it could recover from a spin. The resultant plane, the Lancair Columbia 300, was nice, but not really much faster than a Cirrus, so most people just bought Cirruses. Well, Lancair had a solution to that: TURBO! Put on two big turbochargers, two big intercoolers, and an oxygen system in the right wing. Call it the Lancair Columbia 400. The plane can sizzle at 235 knots, but the weight of all that turbo hardware up front scooted the center-of-gravity forward… they added the turbo up front, but did not scoot the wing forward (that would require a whole new design), so the plane can, in some cases, actually be illegal to fly because it is out of it’s forward CG limit with full fuel and two big people up front, if nothing is in the back! (NOTE: The Cessna 182 has the same issue, so this problem is not unique to the Lancair) As well, the plane just did not always get out of a spin, so they added a strake under the aft fuselage like a Lear-jet to stop the spin. And added a bunch of little vortex-generator-thingies on the wings. And the tail. And put on a really tiny nosewheel fairing to reduce side area up front. And made it so that the inner 25% of the elevator IS ACTUALLY FIXED, MOTIONLESS, NOT MOVING AT ALL, to limit elevator authority to make it harder to get into a spin and hold it there. All of this to guarantee the plane can get out of a spin… something the Cirrus is not expected to do without a parachute and resultant damage to or destruction of the plane.
So the Cirrus gets out of a spin with a parachute and resultant airframe damage or destruction, the Lancair gets out of a spin conventionally, but requires a dozen annoying aero tweaks to make it happen.
As far as construction goes, the Lancair seems built to survive several World Wars. While the Cirrus is certified in the NORMAL category, the Lancair is in the UTILITY category, which requires the plane to be able to survive higher G-load, so the Lancair is certified to be structurally stronger than the Cirrus. I spoke to someone who said he took his Lancair through turbulence so strong that no other plane he knows of could have survived it. When Lancair put the wing in a jig to put huge loads on the wing to see when it would break, they broke the TESTING JIG rather than the wing! Oops!
But that is just the structure, what about all the structural SYSTEMS? While a Cirrus has wound up grinding down into a field because one pin was left off of one aileron by one careless mechanic, when you pre-flight a Lancair, you look at (for example) the aileron attach-point and say: “Wow, That is some pretty heavy duty hardware. That could NOT feasibly break!” Then you see ANOTHER attachment just like it 2 feet out along the aileron. And then a THIRD after that!!! The mechanic could forget to assemble any one of these COMPLETE linkages and the plane would be UN-AFFECTED: The two remaining attach-points would easily do far, far more than hold the surface in place. Not only is the Lancair PHYSICALLY STRONGER, but the Lancair can withstand failures that the Cirrus can not. You look at the trim tab actuator: and then right next to it you see a back-up. You look at the aileron actuator: and then right next to it see a back-up. Not so on the Cirrus. You look at the electrical buses, generators, batteries, and magnetos, and see every system exists in duplicate. This is no different than the Cirrus, but the Lancair has a cross-tie switch that lets you send power from one half of the plane’s electrical systems to the other in a pinch (like, if one half of the plane’s electrical systems are brought down by a nearby nuclear blast)… the Cirrus can NOT do that. Here’s the deal: If a Cirrus loses half it’s electrical-generation systems, it loses half the electronics plane. If the Lancair loses half it’s electrical-generation systems, it loses NOTHING. Simply flip a cross-tie switch to power the broken half of the airplane off of the working half.
The Lancair engine can be fed fuel by it’s internal engine-driven pump. Or the standby pump, which auto-engages within a half-second of primary pump failure. Or you can hit the primer… heck, you can run the engine on that! Or you can feed it a bit more fuel with the vapor-suppression switch.
The Lancair systems still go farther to improve safety. On the Cirrus, they said: Let’s combine the throttle and prop-rpm control into one lever to make it EASIER to fly. Great. It works OK. BUT, in the event the engine quits, and you pull the throttle back, the engine is still windmilling at 1,600 rpm! That is pretty fast, and a lot of windmilling drag! As you glide down in a Cirrus, the engine and prop are constantly engine-braking (just like down-shifting in a car) soaking up power and steepening your glide. In a Cirrus, you can only glide 9 miles for every mile of altitude: a 9-to-1 glide ratio. In the Lancair, after an engine failure, you can pull the prop rpm-governor back to less than 900 rpm! That is normal idle! The engine and prop have basically ZERO drag at that low rpm. The result? The Lancair can glide THIRTEEN miles for every mile of altitude! That’s a 50% improvement in glide-range over the Cirrus! This is due to the additional complexity and control of the variable-pitch manual-control prop and the low-drag shape of the plane.
So the Lancair is stronger than the Cirrus, is built with heavier-duty hardware, has more backup hardware in case primary hardware fails, has more backup electrical options in case half the electrical systems go down, has more backup fuel pump options in case the engine goes down, has more engine and prop control to glide just about 50% farther than Cirrus, and can be spun and recovered as well.
So how are they operationally?
With Cirrus, you can easily check the tire pressure. Not so with the Lancair. With the Lancair, the main wheel fairings are so tightly faired for speed that you can hardly check the tire pressure or put any air in the tires without taking the fairings off!
With the Cirrus , there is room to move around inside. In my Cirrus, I have actually crawled into the BACK of my own plane during flight to work on my computer. (A friend flying). Not so with the Lancair. The fuselage is so skinny and trim and minimal that once you are in the plane, it is amazingly comfortable, but you have little room to move. I literally cannot take off my jacket in the Lancair cockpit: there is not enough room to move around enough to take it off. (This is no matter since the cockpit is so comfortable, that you might as well be in the cockpit of a Corvette: Comfortable but without any thought of moving). The people in the back of a Cirrus are snug but comfortable… the back of a Lancair is a bit more like cruel and unusual punishment for more than two hours if there are two people back there… though one person can sit sideways for hours just fine.
Also, the Cirrus has tie-downs, but with the Lancair, the tie-downs are actually stored INSIDE THE PLANE, and then screwed onto the wings AFTER YOU LAND, so you do not have the infinitesimal drag of tie-downs in flight!
Also, the Cirrus has nice little fuel-drains that stick out so you can get to them. The Lancair has the drains recessed so not even one extra quarter of a square inch is exposed to the wind… never mind the fact that you can’t drain the fuel before take-off without spilling it all over you hands and dribbling it all over the wing and gear fairings because of the recessed nature of the fuel-drain.
So, you have a plane with a fuselage so trim you can hardly move once inside.
A plane with such tight fairings to save drag that you can hardly check the tire pressure without letting the air right out!
A plane without external tie-downs to save drag so you have to screw them into the wings after each landing if you are leaving the plane outside (rare).
A plane without external fuel-checks to save drag so you have to spill fuel to check it.
A plane so tight and optimized for speed that you cannot take off your jacket in the cockpit. (literally)
A plane known as the 2007 Lancair Columbia-400: Achingly beautiful to look at with it’s super-sleek lines, slippery-sexy-small, ludicrous-fast, amazingly-long-ranged, amazingly strong, and with enough redundant systems to survive World-War-3, all with the quirky personality of a home-built or a Ferrari.
It’s as close as you can get to an X-Plane in a certified design.
So what’s it like to fly?
You walk up to the airplane and you are simply overcome by it’s beauty. Unlike the bulbous Cirrus, which is always just painted white with some stickers on the side to try to make it look fast (reminiscent of putting racing stripes on a Honda Civic) the Lancair is truly custom-painted, the sensuous lines on mine draped in arctic white, Cranberry-Pearl, and Viper Steel gray. Any Italian would approve of the style. Open the little door and manage to wiggle in (unlike the big door and easy-access of the Cirrus) and you find yourself in the Shuttlecraft from the USS Enterprise, (and I am talking the Enterprise-E here… the one with all the leather cushioning and glass displays). The cool executive-gray interior is simply without equal in svelte perfection and style, and the panel consists almost solely of two sleek black Garmin-1000 displays, with a handsome trio of standby-gages on the left. A cool black numeric keypad rests under your right hand, the throttles at ready forward of that. The seat is MUCH more comfortable than the rock-hard Cirrus seat, making it every bit as comfortable as the new Corvette C-6… and that is saying a LOT. You could sit there for hours and never feel like getting out. It is, truly, like putting on the perfect, taylor-made glove. You won’t MOVE much once you are in.. but you won’t WANT to. The same can be said of your front-seat companion, though it would take a special fortitude to remain for long in the back.
Like the exterior, the interior is simply un-matched. I could go on for about 10 pages on what the Garmin-1000 can do, but let’s just sum it up in one word: ANYTHING. From real-time weather uploaded to you by satellite to perfection in trip-planning right to the gallon and minute to real-time TFR data uploaded to you by satellite to a digital autopilot that will run right alongside a Boeing in functionality to terrain maps turning yellow, and then RED (!) as you get too close to the ground, to cool circles drawn around the airplane showing you your current range, with all wind and speed and fuel-flows considered. The G1000 can do anything you could imagine to ask for, and if either screen fails, the other goes into backup-mode to get you the rest of the way home.
Turn the key and you are greeted by a sound a Cirrus pilot does not expect: A soft purring hum of an engine that sounds like a Corvette at idle, but with the gentle feathering purr of a lightly-spinning propeller. The big turbos suck up all that exhaust noise, resulting in a very pleasant, quiet choppa-choppa-choppa-choppa sound, mostly coming from the gently-loping prop. Inflate the inflate-able door-seals and even the windy sound from the prop goes away and you feel like you are in a spaceship from the future.. all cool gray leather with smooth black glass and a smooth purring from the powerplant. At this point, you might feel that you are in the careful refinement of a new C-6 Corvette (OK, you HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A GREAT CAR THAT IS, so let me use an analogy you will understand: It feels like a new BMW. Ugh. I can’t believe I said that because a new C-6 Corvette is every bit as refined and sophisticated as a BMW, but faster and more capable by far as well, but THAT is a topic for a different paper).
Anyway, once the engine is purring you add a little dose of power and the sleek, heavy airplane eases forwards. The Cirrus has the rudders inter-connected to the ailerons, with springs, so the rudder pedals have a nice, firm, springy self-centering feel. The Cirrus has brakes with a nice gentle feedback. The Cirrus has long wings with ailerons far from the center of gravity, but inboard of the wingtip to keep them out of the harsh wingtip vortex. This gives the Cirrus a WONDERFUL feeling in roll: very light and crisp and effective. The Cirrus has a full-span elevator to give a very crisp, precise, easy pitch control, The Cirrus has it’s center of gravity right over the center of the wing to make pitch control light and precise and easy. The Cirrus has a wonderful, balanced, responsive, self-centering and harmonious feel in ailerons, elevators, rudders, and brakes, in taxi, take-off, and climb.
The Lancair has NONE of these qualities.
The Lancair has no rudder-aileron inter-connect, so the rudder pedals flop around loosely under your feet with no tendency to center themselves, resulting in a dis-connected turning feel. (Remember, both plane shave free-castoring nose-wheels). The brakes on the Lancair feel amazingly ‘wooden’: The pedals offer no resistance at first, then suddenly cannot move any more at all, and give no feedback or motion as they are pressed harder, resulting in a dis-connected braking feel. The Lancair wings are short, so the ailerons have little leverage on the center of gravity, so the aileron response is a bit slow. You input an aileron deflection and the plane gradually BUILDS roll rate rather then responding instantly, like a Cirrus does. The Lancair ailerons go almost all the way out to the wingtips, so the tips of the ailerons live in the wingtip vortex, making them difficult to move at high speed. The elevator is only partial-span (for spin recovery) so elevator authority is really limited… sometimes it is hard to hold the nose up… in fact, it is common to run out of up-elevator authority in every landing, rolling the plane smoothly onto the runway at high speed as the elevator hits the up-stop! In other words, the Lancair is so nose-heavy that you sort of just drive it down to the earth, easing your flight-path to level with pitch and maybe some power as you slide onto the runway. Every landing is sort of smooth, but fast. If you carelessly fly it just like a Cessna, you will crash. When at the forward CG limit, the elevator in the Lancair just starts getting really HARD to pull in the flare and soon hits the stops as the plane eases (or plops) onto the runway in a flat attitude. Now, you do NOT need to ever be at the forward CG limit, though! I have 36 pounds of emergency survival gear (3 packs at 12 pounds each) in the back, and that scoots the CG AFT just the right amount to give the plane a nice feel in pitch: Landings involve a FIRM aft motion on the stick to EASE the plane onto the ground. The balance feels nice, if firm and solid, as you ‘paint it on’ in a somewhat-flat attitude.
In other words, you really FLY a Cirrus, without any thought of control limits. (much like a Cessna)
You MANAGE a Lancair, carefully watching speed and trim and control deflections. (much like a 747)
It is NOT TOO hard to do, but it is an extra little bit of challenge that makes the flight MORE fun, and the plane MORE endearing, IF you are up to the challenge, and IF you take pleasure in managing the plane across the sky in plush comfort and ludicrous speed, rather than just flittering around easily at moderate speed.
(I should note that an F-18 pilot once told me that the Lancair is BETTER to roll than a Cirrus, and that the Lancair IS used in aerobatic routines, while the Cirrus is NOT. The F-18 pilot told me he can NOT do a decent barrel-roll in a Cirrus, but in the Lancair he really CAN do it. Perhaps this is because even though the Lancair may not feel as CRISP, with it’s shorter little wings than the long spindly Cirrus-wings, it may ultimately build up more roll rate if properly managed. As well, Cirrus just paints the word “CIRRUS” on an aerobatic airplane and hires Patty Wagstaff to fly HER aerobatic airplane (made by Extra) at airshows, while the Lancair guys actually do their aerobatic routine IN A COLUMBIA 400).
Even the full-power of climb is quiet, thanks to the turbos soaking up the exhaust, the heavy frame absorbing the engine, the tight little package slipping un-noticed through the wind, the heavy, rigid frame allowing ZERO vibration or squeaking, and the door-seals keeping out that last little bit of wind. All is quiet as the colorful displays on the G1000 predict every tiniest detail of the trip to come, and you sit in cool, opulent comfort as the miles melt away, listening to techno on the XM-radio. We finally got our flying car.
Now let’s talk about warning systems: The Lancair will tell you, with warnings on the Primary Flight Display, if it detects carbon dioxide in the cockpit. It will tell you what the oxygen on board-is, in PSI. It will tell you, with a nice loud “BING!” and flashing yellow alert message on the PFD, if the oxygen OUTLET PRESSURE is too low (as would happen if the system developed a leak). If you get to close to the ground in a rapid descent it will firmly announce: “TERRAIN! TERRAIN! PULL UP! PULL UP!” in your headset. If you get too close to a radio tower, it will emphatically claim: “OBSTACLE! OBSTACLE! PULL UP! PULL UP!” in your headset. If another plane gets too close to you, she will urge: “TRAFFIC! ONE-O-CLOCK HIGH! ONE MILE!” in your headset. If you put the fuel selector between the two tanks, she will gently chide you “FUEL VALVE!” in your headset. If you have too much fuel in one tank compared to the other, a “FUEL IMBALANCE” warning will come up on the PFD. If a generator fails (you have two) she will calmly announce: “ALTERNATOR OUT. ALTERNATOR OUT!” in your headset. If you are wearing an oxygen mask, then you can watch the oxygen pressure indicator running up and down on the “systems” page as you BREATH!
The Lancair is monitoring the terrain, the buildings and radio towers, itself, all the other airplanes in the area, the cockpit environment, and even your own BREATHING as you fly, bringing up warnings and telling you verbally, and in writing on the PFD, if ANY of them get out of safe operating limits.
All this while a map of the USA with all the weather systems drawn on it, and a green circle indicating your total range, with all resultant possible outcomes, is plotted for your to decide your next move. The Cirrus did NONE of this. If things get dicey, your game can become simple in a Lancair: Look at the weather patterns on the map. Look at the range circle on the map. Find an airport that is IN the circle but OUT of the weather. THAT is your destination if everything hits the fan, and with 106 gallons on board, you can have a really big circle. I know of no other plane that can touch these abilities.
For the descent in the Cirrus, ease back the power and the prop stays at a pretty high rpm and the big prop just eats up the energy as you slow. In the Lancair with it’s higher weight and lower drag and more powerful and versatile systems, you have a few more options: You can pull the prop RPM back and just SCREAM downhill if you like, or firewall the prop and surge down under engine-braking, allowing a more rapid descent… or even deploy the speedbrakes. Pop a little button and speedbrakes pop up out of the wings and the plane hops and skips and shakes as the speed just boils away. (Warning! Using the speedbrakes means that you did not plan something right, and therefore wastes energy. Using the speedbrakes to go from 250 mp down to 150 mph wastes the same energy as punching a Corvette from 0 to 100 mph… SIXTEEN TIMES! This is because kinetic energy is a square law… four times the average speed (200 mph vs. 50 mph) is sixteen times the energy).
So, how DO you fly?
You can fly at 200 knots at 1,000 feet, drinking a lot of fuel.
You can fly at 200 knots at 17,000 feet, drinking only a bit of fuel.
You can fly at 200 knots at 25,000 feet, just SIPPING fuel.
You can fly at 235 knots at 25,000 feet, GULPING fuel.
The plane lets you do anything… and world of weather on the panel lets you know just exactly what to do.
The turbo gives you every bit of power at all altitudes, the throttle and mixture let you gallop along gulping fuel running rich, or ease back low-power, lean-of-peak, sipping efficiently.
At 25,000 feet, lean of peak, 45% power, the Lancair goes 200 knots, a healthy does FASTER than the Cirrus, while still getting BETTER gas mileage.
At 16,500 feet, the Cirrus, rich of peak, can deliver 165 knots on 15 gallons per hour.
The Lancair, at the same altitude and fuel flow, delivers 190 knots.
FASTER with BETTER gas mileage: The Lancair makes the impossible true.
And with 105 gallons on board (to the Cirrus’s 84) and the ability to climb to 25,000 feet to catch the jet-stream (to the Cirrus’s 17,000), and cruise easily at 210 knots (to the Cirrus’s 165), the Lancair has the potential to GROSSLY leave the SR-22 in it’s propwash in strength, backup systems, warning systems, speed, altitude, range, and efficiency… ALL AT THE SAME TIME… with the best comfort and sound and avionics and beauty that there are. Period.
For he who can manage this airplane, there can be no substitute for the Lancair Columbia 400.
Like Ferrari, it is simply the BEST.