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High-End Homebuilt Aircraft
By Ian Brown, EAA 657159
May 2016 - You may think I want to talk about SpaceX and the Falcon 9. After all, Falcon 9 really is the most high-end “homebuilt” imaginable. Landing the first stage of the rocket on a barge at sea after delivering its payload to the International Space Station was a spectacular achievement, so congrats to all those at SpaceX.
But actually, that’s not what this article is about. A friend asked me to check out the Lancair Evolution for him at Sun ’n Fun. I’m not sure that he’s planning on buying one, but it is certainly the dream “homebuilt” aircraft for anyone with big dreams and deep pockets. Speaking with a representative of Lancair, only three of the 60 kits sold and flying have actually been “garage-built.” The turbine-engine-driven version will cost you almost a cool million-and-a-half U.S. dollars, and it has less range than the piston-driven version, by a significant margin. The turbine will take you 988 miles and the piston version costing $845,000 will take you 1,707 miles on the same full tanks, with a loss of only 31 kts cruising speed.
You might find it informative to do the comparisons at this link on Lancair’s website, especially to see with which aircraft the Evolution is being compared.
Incidentally, it was fascinating to look around the Embraer Phenom 300, which the pilot told us we could probably get for a shade under $10.5 million. It’s interesting how the lines have become blurred between light/general/homebuilt and the big guys at aviation shows like Sun ’n Fun.