June 26, 2010
May 26, 2011
Show all


I have been flying Columbia 400’s for a while, and they are great, but married with a baby on the way and the desire to travel with friends, we just need something a little BIGGER. 428x can only carry 2 people with full fuel and baggage, so we need a bit MORE if we are to go anywhere with friends. As well, I have always wondered how GOOD an airplane can be, if it is not encumbered by the countless reams of regulations of the federal government. I have also wondered how fun, or easy, it would be to BUILD my own airplane! With these thoughts in mind, I placed my order for a Lancair Evolution.

This is a 315-knot single-engine turboprop that flies at 27,000 feet. The urban legend goes that there can never be an expensive homebuilt airplane because those that can afford to BUY the plane do not have time to BUILD it!

I call BS on that!

People that can afford to buy a plane like a Lancair Evolution DO have the time to take vacations, and building an Evolution is MORE fun than any vacation. I have learned so far that there IS something as fun as flying your own airplane: BUILDING it!

GM offers a buyer engine-assist option where the customer can pay extra and show up at the factory to help build the engine for his Corvette. Showing up at the Lancair factory to have an expert staff help you build your Evolution is every bit as fun as that, and when you are done, you will have an amazing airplane to boot.

Well, I showed up at the Lancair facility this January to start construction of my Evolution with help from the expert staff at Composite Assist (the company that normally helps people start the construction on their Lancair Evolution), it was more fun than any vacation I have ever had, and here is my journal:

Day 1: Randy (customer service for X-Plane) and I show up at Lancair to go over the kit.
As we tour Lancair, we can took a look at the panel, which is being wired here for each customer.

Then it was time to get to work! Here, I fabricate the fuel and hydraulic tubes.

Now for the good stuff: We close up the stabilizer!
Now for my first screw-up: I botch up a fuel sump!
Now for the major stuff: We install the fuel and hydraulic lines and close up the wing!

Now time for the control surfaces. Here we work on the elevator.
Time to make some endplates, in this case for the ailerons.
And now we make the ailerons.
Now we make the flaps.
And finally the rudder.

And this is how we make and install the windows.

And now we mount the horizontal stabilizer.
And now we swing the gear.

Darn! Time to go home!

This two weeks was as fun as any vacation I have ever taken, and my next airplane is beginning to take form! My first build-session over, the Evo looks like an airplane, and it’s next stop is RDD, the company that will help me with the completion! Thas has been so fun so far that I wish I could take a longer vacation from X-Plane-10 coding than only 2 weeks!