Lancair 360 Guide and Specs

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Lancair first started manufacturing aircraft in 1984, building kit planes that had to be made up by the buyer.  The company won several prizes for its innovative aircraft, and founder Lance Neibauer was given an award by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

All of Lancair’s kit planes were classified as Experimental Aircraft by the FAA, which meant that at least 51% of the aircraft had to be built by the buyer or another individual, if necessary, with Lancair helping them.  There are still several Lancair kit planes in production.

However, the kit for the Lancair 360 has now been discontinued.  In its time, it was a more powerful development of the Lancair 320, which was a two-seat single-engine light aircraft based on the earlier Lancair 235.  It had low wings and a retractable tricycle undercarriage.

It was discontinued in 1999 and replaced with the Lancair legacy. However, Lancair continued to support the Lancair 360 with parts and technical assistance and does so up to the present day.

In 2017 Lancair was sold and renamed Lancair International LLC.  But the company still continues to operate, build aircraft, and support those already made and still flying.

Specifications

Lancair 360

General Characteristics

    • Crew: 1
    • Capacity: 2
    • Length: 21 ft (6.4 m)
    • Wingspan: 23 ft 6 in (7.162 m)
    • Wing area: 76 sq ft (7.1 m2)
    • Aspect ratio: 7.266
    • Airfoil: NASA NLF(1)-0215F
    • Empty weight: 1,090lb (495 kg) Varies, based on Engine and Options
    • Gross weight: 1,685 lb (765 kg)
    • Fuel capacity: 40-44 gal
    • Powerplant: 1 × IO-320/IO360 Lycoming, 160–180 hp (120–130 kW)
  • Propellers: 2 or 3-bladed

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 222–226 kn (255–260 mph, 410–418 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 205 kn (235 mph, 378 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 59 kn (68 mph, 109 km/h) Landing Configuration
  • Range: 510–640 nmi (580–730 mi, 940–1,180 km) (75%, std/opt fuel)
  • g limits: +9.0 -4.5
  • Wing loading: 22.17 lb/sq ft (108.2 kg/m2)

(Data from Lancair)

Prices

It is difficult to estimate prices for the Lancair 360 since the kit is no longer in production, and only second-hand aircraft are available.

Of course, prices of these will vary a great deal, since they will depend on many things, from the age and state of repair of the aircraft, to how well it was built in the first place.  This is always the case with amateur-built aircraft.

Having said that,  one reputable source quotes an average price for a used Lancair 360 as $75,000.   I have seen another one for sale on the internet at $95,000. So it is difficult to be exact about prices.

However, the Lancair Legacy, the successor to the Lancair 360, was still available as a kit in 2011 and cost $71,000 at that time. So this gives some idea of the range of prices these experimental aircraft sell for.

Performance and Handling

Lancair 360

All of the Lancair aircraft are known by pilots as being easy to handle, fast, and very enjoyable to fly.  But there is another side to this story. The above is only true if you are an experienced pilot who has been properly trained on the Lancairs.

If you are not, then the Lancair 360 is not for you, or at least not until you get some relevant training.  Their accident rate for many of the Lancair aircraft is higher than average. The majority of these accidents are due to loss of control and stalls or spins.

These are not planes for a pilot who has learned to fly on a Piper Tomahawk or Cessna 172, and never flown anything more challenging – not without some extra training and a great deal of care.  This point cannot be emphasized enough.

The Lancair 360 has a top speed of 418 km/hour. This is extremely fast for such a small plane and explains why it is known for being fast and a lot of fun – but also slippery and easy to get out of control in the hands of pilots with less experience.

Its small wings and powerful engines mean that glide performance can be poor. Even experienced Lancair often pilots doubt that they would be able to successfully land a Lancair 360 after engine failure.

Prospective Lancair 360 pilots need to clearly understand these facts, for the type is far less forgiving than the average light aircraft on which private pilots learn to fly and often gain most of their experience.

Despite all of this, the Lancair 360, like all Lancair types, has many fans.  Pilots who can handle it say that the Lancair 360 is great fun to fly, being fast and very responsive.  They even claim that it is easy to fly.  But to repeat myself, this is only the case for those pilots who are experienced and have trained well on the type – and are aware of its limitations.  If that does not apply to you, perhaps fly something easier and more forgiving.

Maintenance Schedule

Being an experimental aircraft and made from a kit in the first instance, there are no factory-approved maintenance manuals for the Lancair 360.  However, Lancair International offers full support for the type and can provide all the maintenance required for Lancair 360 owners.

Details are on the website of Lancair at https://lancair.com/maintenance-services/.  The Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO) can also provide assistance with maintenance if required.

In fact, they have a series of articles on different aspects of Lancair maintenance on their website, at https://www.lancairowners.com/.

It should perhaps be borne in mind that a company with many experimental aircrafts requires a great deal of ongoing maintenance.  According to Lancair, a large number of the aircraft’s parts should be checked before each take-off.

These include the fluid reservoirs, brakes, tires, landing gear, flight controls, fittings, lines, and just about anything else that is visible.  According to a Lancair engineer, ‘If it’s on the aircraft and visible, it needs to be checked before flight.’

Lancair recommends making your own checklist for pre-flight checks, and also for regular maintenance.  This sort of thing will be familiar to any pilot accustomed to building their own aircraft and being responsible for all aspects of it.

It may be new to those pilots who have learned to fly on more conventional planes and are new to the world of experimental aircraft.  If this applies to you, it would be as well to take advice from Lancair, and also from other Lancair pilots, and proceed with care.

Modifications and Upgrades

Lancair 360

The only official variant of the Lancair 360 was the turbocharged Lancair 360TC.  But, as with all kit-built aircraft, many owners have added their own modifications and upgrades.

A number of builders think they can improve on the original design, and there is nothing to stop them from doing this, so long as the modification is safe.  So there are Lancair 360s with larger engines, fuel-injected models, and several other variations.

So if you are buying a Lancair 360, it would be as well to get your new acquisition checked over by an engineer before flight, or even before you part with your hard-earned cash to buy it. You need to remember that a kit-built aircraft is only as good as the original builder. This could be a case of ‘Buyer, beware’!

Where to Find Replacement Parts

Lancair International continues to supply parts for the Lancair 360, even though the type has long been discontinued. Again, check their website for details. There are also parts occasionally available on eBay and other sites, as an internet search will reveal.  But buying them from Lancair is probably safer and more reliable.

Common Problems

Lancair 360

Most of the common problems of the Lancair 360 apply to most Lancair models and have already been mentioned; namely, the aircraft is light, fast, and slippery, and its speed and small wings make stall/spin accidents more common than in most aircraft.

Landings are also difficult for the inexperienced pilot, again partly due to the speed and light weight of the Lancair 360.

Indeed, managing to land a Lancair 360 in less than ideal conditions such as crosswind or gusty conditions requires a skill set that is probably new to most modern private pilots.  LOBO recommends that any new Lancair owner spend some time and money on training and does ongoing training too.

In addition, as with any kit aircraft, safety depends to a large extent on the skill of the original builder.  Some of the Lancair accidents are possibly due to the original build quality being less than perfect.  So again, if you are buying a Lancair 360, do get an engineer to check it over.

In summary, the type has more problems than most aircraft.  If you buy one, be very careful, and make sure you get properly trained before you start to fly it. I’ve mentioned this several times, but it really can’t be repeated too often.

Insurance Options

Getting insurance on kit-built aircraft is not always easy.  Some conventional insurance companies are reluctant to deal with experimental aircraft, preferring the more usual types flown by private pilots. There is a very small market for general aviation insurance, and the market is even smaller for Lancairs.

However, there are brokers who work with these types and insurance underwriters to provide insurance coverage, offering both liability and hull insurance. But the Lancair fleet has historically been a difficult market to insure due to the high loss rate due to accidents.

LOBO will provide advice about insurance and has worked hard to keep insurance available for Lancair owners.  But it must be said that there are only three or four underwriters who provide coverage at any given time.  Of these, LOBO’s preferred broker is Gallagher Aviation Insurance, so it might be worth checking them out first.

Resale Value

As I have already said, second-hand prices of Lancair 360s vary a great deal.  If you are likely to want to keep the value, the best thing to do is to keep up regular maintenance and make sure it is in good condition otherwise.

There does seem to be a regular niche market for these types of aircraft, and their popularity is likely to continue among a certain type of pilot.   This means that your Lancair 360 may well sell further along for about the same price you paid for it.  So if you look after it well, you could be pleasantly surprised by its resale value.

Owner and Pilot Reviews

Lancair 360 Pilot

Pilot opinion and discussion generally centre around the safety – or lack of it – of the Lancair 360.  The following is a typical question asked by those thinking of buying a Lancair:

“I am currently having an internal debate with myself as to whether getting a Lancair 360 is too much risk. From what I’ve read, it sounds like a very unforgiving airplane.

I like the airplane, but I am worried that I am getting swayed by the performance figures and not taking to account the airplane flying characteristics, i.e., high stall speed, possible unrecoverable stalls, etc.”

(from EAA forums)

As I have already said several times, the Lancair 360is generally known as being fast, unforgiving, and not for beginners.  You need to learn how to handle an aircraft of this type, as many Lancair pilots pointed out:

“They are a perfectly safe airplane when the pilot flies them with respect for their performance. What you need to ask yourself is what kind of pilot are you? Are you disciplined? Are you a pilot who easily gets bored in a Cessna 172, or is it enough to keep you busy keeping up?

Can you live with the unlikely event of a power loss in flight with a much higher landing speed than your average trainer? The Lancair and Glasair aren’t inherently dangerous aircraft, but they are much less forgiving of poor pilot skills.”

(from EAA forums)

However, those pilots who have got specialist training before flying a Lancair 360, and have the skill and experience to handle it, generally love the aircraft.

But it is generally agreed that the accident rate of Lancairs is high, and that you do need to be careful when flying one.   This point comes up in owner and pilot reviews again and again and again.

Similar Aircraft

Lancair 320

Most of the Lancair kit aircraft are fairly similar.  To recap, the Lancair 320 was based on the Lancair 235 but had a larger fuselage and a more powerful engine.

Then the Lancair 360 was developed, which was pretty much the same as the Lancair 320 but had a still more powerful engine. These two models were then discontinued, being developed into the Lancair Legacy.

These are all fairly similar in their flying characteristics and all rather different from most other aircraft.  So if you are looking for a similar aircraft, stick to a different type of Lancair.

Clubs You Can Join

Pilots who build their own aircraft generally like to join clubs, as it is the best way to find out more about their type of aircraft.  It also means they can easily get advice from other owners. Lancair 360 owners, in company with owners of other Lancair models, would be advised to join the Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO).

This organization is the main group for Lancair pilots. They claim to promote the safe use of Lancair Aircraft through education, training and improving communication between club members. They can also help with parts and maintenance.

There are also several Facebook groups for Lancair owners and builders. And any of the associations for self-build or experimental aircraft are very happy to welcome Lancair 320 pilots. You can find details of these by contacting the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association)

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How Fast is a Lancair 360?

Answer: The top speed is usually quoted as 418 km/hour, which is very fast by light aircraft standards.  This is why private pilots who are unused to fast airplanes need to be very careful when flying a Lancair 360 for the first time.

Question: If I Buy a Lancair 360, Where Can I Find a Qualified Instructor to Teach Me to Fly it Properly?

Answer: LOBO has a list of Lancair instructors on their website, at https://www.lancairowners.com/

Question: Is the Lancair 360 Aerobatic?

Answer: No, it is not aerobatic.  Please do not attempt aerobatics in aircraft of this type.

Question: How Much Does a Used Lancair 360 Cost?

Prices vary dramatically, but $75,000 is usually given as a good ballpark figure.  But some models sell for more than this, and if you find one that is much cheaper, do get it checked over carefully by a qualified engineer, as there may be a good reason.  There are rarely bargains in aviation.

Conclusion

The Lancair 360, like all Lancair types, is a great little high-performance airplane.  It is fast, responsive, and extremely enjoyable to fly.  But the downside is that it is slippery, difficult to handle for the inexperienced, and likely to get out of control if not flown with extreme care and a good knowledge of its limitations.

I would love to recommend it wholeheartedly, but I can only do so for the experienced pilot who is capable of this sort of aircraft handling.

Otherwise, please steer clear of this sort of aircraft, as you could easily end up killing yourself in it, and that is not an exaggeration.  Only you know what sort of pilot you are and what type of flying you are capable of.  So the choice is yours.

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