The Lancair Mako is a kit aircraft, and it was introduced at EAA AirVenture in 2017. It was a four-seat aircraft built from composite materials, with low wings and tricycle landing gear. It was primarily intended to provide an alternative to the popular Cirrus SR22 and Cessna TTx but at a much lower cost.
Lancair is well known for manufacturing kit aircraft; this is what they specialize in, having started as early as 1984. The company changed hands several times, ending up being run by Mark and Conrad Huffstutler, a father-and-son team. The two of them run Lancair International from their base in Uvalde, Texas.
People who want to own a Mako can build one themselves from a kit that they purchase, or Lancair will do part of the building if required. You can read more about Lancair kit planes at: Lancair Plane Types and Models: A Complete Guide
This setup would probably suit a lot of pilots wanting a Lancair Mako since keen pilots are often not that enthusiastic about aircraft building, and vice versa.
Indeed, I have known several pilots who have enthusiastically bought a kit aircraft, only to leave it half-built in their garage, when they realized that building an aircraft is very hard work, and difficult unless you have extensive experience with this sort of thing.
And if you’re not very careful, you spend so long building your kit plane that you don’t have time to do enough flying and keep up your currency, which means you won’t even be safe to fly your new plane when it’s finished. So be warned before you start!
Lancair Mako Kits – The Current Situation
Before you start considering whether you should build your own Lancair Mako, there is something important that you need to know. Fairly recently Lancair published a “Production Status Update” for the Lancair Mako on their website.
It states that after Covid-19 appeared in 2020, they decided to temporarily pause production of the Mako kits. As the pandemic continued, Lancair decided to move from a temporary to a permanent closure of their production facilities.
At some point, they intend to re-evaluate returning to production, but for now, new Lancair Mako kits are unavailable. Anyone who wants a Lancair Mako will have to buy a completed aircraft, usually pre-owned.
So if you want to build your own Lancair Mako, you probably can’t, at least for now. When will production restart?
Despite extensive research, I was unable to find this out, and Lancair isn’t saying. But with the Lancair Mako being first produced in 2017, and kits having been discontinued in 2020, there are really not that many of them around.
This could, of course, have certain disadvantages when trying to give estimates as to insurance, costs, availability of parts, etc.
This article is being written with all of the above in mind.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Lancair Mako is a fast, comfortable four-seater light aircraft, built as a kit plane. It was designed by Lancair to be similar to the popular Cirrus SR22 but at a cheaper price. This aim seems to have been successful, and reports of the Lancair Mako are on the whole very favorable.
However, at the present time, Lancair is no longer producing the Mako kits, and it is not clear when they will recommence production.
The only Lancair Makos available are made-up pre-owned ones, and there do not seem to be many of these available. So if you want a Lancair Mako, you may have to search around or even wait a while.
- Crew: one pilot
- Capacity: three passengers
- Empty weight: 2,250 lb (1,021 kg)
- Gross weight: 3,550 lb (1,610 kg)
- Fuel capacity: 75 U.S. Gallons (280 L; 62 imp gal), optional 109 U.S. Gallons (410 L; 91 imp gal)
- Powerplant: 1 × Continental TSIO-550 six-cylinder, air-cooled, turbocharged four-stroke aircraft engine, 350 hp (260 kW)
- Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propeller
- Maximum speed: 245 knots (282 mph, 454 km/h) true airspeed
- Cruise speed: 225 knots (259 mph, 417 km/h) true airspeed at 25,000 feet
- Stall speed: 58 knots (67 mph, 107 km/h) in landing configuration
- Never exceed speed: 220 knots (250 mph, 410 km/h) indicated airspeed
- Range: 1,100 nmi (1,300 mi, 2,000 km)
- Service ceiling: 28,000 ft (8,500 m)
- Garmin G3X Touch glass cockpit
When the Lancair Mako kit was available, you could buy a kit for as little as $127,500, not including the engine, avionics, paint, and interior. At least, that’s what was said.
But this was not the whole story. You would need those additional items, and according to Lancair, in practice prices ranged from around $350,000 right up to $500,000, depending on what extras and modifications were required.
However, it should be noted that this is still much less that the cost of the Cirrus SR-22, which the Lancair Mako was perceived as being in competition with.
Lancair had claimed that they wanted to build planes of a similar quality to those already available, or even better, but at a more reasonable price. It seemed that the Lancair Mako would be able to fulfill this aim.
But one thing needs to be considered. Since the Lancair Mako kit is no longer being made, it is unclear whether future ones will sell for the same price. This should be borne in mind if you are considering hanging on in the hope of buying a new Lancair Mako kit in the future.
Performance and Handling
The Lancair Mako was designed to attempt to make inroads into Cirrus’ market share. Several other aircraft manufacturers had tried to build something similar to Cirrus’ SR20 and later SR22, with a similar speed, plus the famous Cirrus parachute, but more cheaply.
With the Mako, Lancair seems to have come close to doing just this. The Lancair Mako is considerably cheaper than the Cirrus SR22. But is its performance as good|? Let’s take a look in more detail.
According to those who have flown it, when aligned with the runway, full throttle produces steady acceleration, and the plane reaches its 65-knot rotation speed in about eight seconds. The Lancair Mako has a really good rate of climb even right after takeoff, and when the nosewheel retracts it speeds up even more.
Both the nosewheel and landing gear retract automatically at the appropriate time, which should be a safety feature as well as increasing cruise speed. The Lancair Mako cruises at an amazing 185 knots if required.
The stick grip contains a four-way switch for the rudder and aileron trim. Steep turns and slow flights are not difficult, and overall, the plane is comfortable and not difficult to fly. So it is likely that claims concerning the Lancair Mako’s performance were accurate.
Earlier Lancair models were said to be difficult to fly, particularly for those not used to this sort of fast aircraft. However, with the Mako, Lancair has tried to appeal to a wider pilot base, and it seems they have done so.
The aircraft appears to be fairly easy to fly, has few vices, and the optional parachute system of course provides added safety for those that want it.
So overall it seems that Lancair has designed a very useful aircraft with the Mako, an improved development from previous Lancair types. And hopefully, it will be possible to buy the Mako kit again in the reasonably near future.
Since it is a fairly new kit plane, it is not possible to get an official manual for Lancair mako maintenance. However, Lancair themselves offer to do all required maintenance for mako owners; details can be found on the Lancair website.
Owners can also contact The Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO), who are willing to provide assistance with maintenance for all Lancair types, including the Mako; see the LOBO website for details.
You should bear in mind that self-built aircraft required a substantial amount of maintenance compared with factory-built planes. This is true of most of the Lancair aircraft. Anyone who has built an aircraft before will not be surprised by this.
But if you haven’t then you need to know that you may need to spend longer on maintenance than maybe you are used to. And it would be a good idea to take advice from Lancair, LOBO, or other self-build owners and pilots.
Modifications and Upgrades
Lancair designed the Mako so that an almost infinite variety of modifications is possible. This was a big selling point for them.
Buyers can just about have the plane the way they want it, with different size engines, and various other changes, all possible. In fact, if you want modifications or upgrades, practically anything is possible with the Lancair Mako.
Obtaining Replacement Parts
Lancair International supplies parts for all their types, and this includes the Mako. Details are on their website. As far as I can ascertain, there is nowhere else to obtain them at the present time.
Parts for other Lancair models can be found on eBay and similar sites, but I couldn’t find any for Lancair Mako; it is probably just too new. But in any case, buying parts directly from Lancair could be a better idea.
Many of the problems of earlier Lancair models were that they were slippery and difficult to fly. This does not seem to be the case with the Lancair Mako. There is more automation, which is a safety feature since it means you cannot forget to raise the landing gear after takeoff or make other similar common errors.
Overall, the Lancair Mako seems likely to appeal to relatively low-hour pilots. Although of course, it would be sensible, if not essential, to get some training before you set off in your new Lancair Mako. This is recommended for any new aircraft type.
Overall, the Lancair Mako seems to have few if any problems. But you should bear in mind that the aircraft is relatively new, and it is possible some issues will surface when it has been flown by more pilots in the future. But at the moment the main problem seems to be the unavailability of new Lancair Mako kits, and the relative scarcity of pre-owned aircraft.
It should be noted that getting insurance for any type of self-built aircraft can be difficult.
Some insurance companies are not keen to deal with anything unusual like this, preferring to stick to the aircraft types they are used to. experimental aircraft, preferring the more usual types flown by private pilots, such as Cessnas and Pipers. Of course, the market for private aviation is very small to being with in any case.
However, some brokers and insurance underwriters are willing to work with these aircraft types and will offer all types of insurance. But Lancair aircraft have always been relatively difficult to insure, bearing in mind the fact that they have had a number of accidents in the past.
With all of the above in mind, it isn’t easy to get precise figures for insuring a Lancair Mako, since so few of them are around.
However, insurance companies responded quite favorably to the new aircraft when it was developed, with rates being similar to those for a Cirrus of similar value. And LOBO also provides advice about insurance and has preferred brokers who are sympathetic to this kind of aircraft.
Naturally, second-hand Lancair Makos are fully built, and for this reason alone they often suit pilots better, especially if the pilot is not that keen on doing the self-building.
So everyone, from Lancair onwards, is presently trying to persuade pilots to buy a pre-owned and fully built Lancair Mako. It’s a great idea….if you can find one!
There are not many available, and despite extensive searching, I was unable to locate very many. So good luck with this! And if you are lucky enough to find one, it is unlikely to be a bargain. Indeed, you are likely to pay around the same price as you would if you built a kit with most of the usual additions and modifications.
The Lancair Mako is relatively new, and there are not that many owners or pilot reviews available. But I was able to find a few reviews in aviation magazines from pilots who had test-flown the Mako.
Most of these were extremely positive. The Mako was described as being a joy to fly, and extremely safe, even for low-hours pilots. Overall it seems as though the Lancair Mako is generally well-liked.
As would be expected, the Lancair Mako is very similar to the Cirrus SR-22. It is also similar to the Mooney Ovation Ultra, and also to the popular Cessna TTx.
These are all aircraft it was designed to compete with but at a lower price. As explained above, it seems to have achieved this.
Another competitor, but one that Lancair is less keen to talk about, is the metal Van’s RV–10. Both this and the Lancair Mako are four-seat, tricycle-gear, six-cylinder travelers.
They are similar in a number of ways, but the Mako is faster than the RV-10, and also has a better range. Having said that, the RV–10 could definitely win out on price. So this could well be an aircraft worth considering.
Clubs You Can Join
As might be expected, there is no specific club for the Lancair Mako. But Lancair Mako owners would probably find it a good idea to join the Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO), which is the main club for all Lancair pilots.
They offer assistance in all aspects fo Lancair aircraft ownership, from education to maintenance to communication with other Lancair owners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: When will it be Possible to Buy the Lancair Mako Kit Again?
Answer: This is the big question we are all asking! And Lancair just isn’t saying. Their website states that after the covid-19 pandemic took hold, they stopped making the Mako kits.
They claim that at some point they will think about returning to production. but when will that be? Who knows? And despite extensive research, I have been unable to find out anything more.
Question: What is the Cost of a Lancair Mako Kit?
Answer: The basic Lancair Mako kit cost $127,500 when they were being made. But this figure is deceptive, as the completed aircraft is likely to cost a lot more. The final cost will depend on the engine selection, avionics package, airframe options, and the level of finish.
Lancair state that they expect a completed Lancair Mako to cost from $350,000 up to approximately $500,000 when fully optioned with a turbocharged engine. But of course, this may all change when production of the kits re-starts.
Question: How much Time will it Take to Build a Lancair Mako?
Answer: This is like asking how long is a piece of string! According to Lancair, the whole plane can be made up in six months. However, personally, I would take figures like this with the proverbial pinch of salt.
I have heard other kit plane manufacturers say much the same thing, and then seen pilots struggling to make up their kits several years later.
Such figures depend on you being able to spend a lot of time and being experienced in some of the specialized techniques required for aircraft kit building.
If you are a typical new pilot trying to build an aircraft around work and family commitments, and learning as you go, it will take you a lot longer than six months. It could be better to accept this and get help from Lancair.
Question: Do I Need Special Training before I Fy a Lancair Mako?
Answer: It is a good idea to get some training, as for any new aircraft type, particularly one which is quite fast and responsive like a Lancair Mako.
Lancair has said that they will liaise with the LOBO (Lancair owners and builders organization) to design a syllabus for the Lancair Mako and that LOBO-approved instructors will be able to offer instruction. This could be a recommended route to learning to fly your Mako.
With the Mako, Lancair seems to have ironed out earlier kit-plane problems and built a fast, comfortable, easy-to-fly aircraft at a fairly reasonable price.
Hopefully, the kit will soon start being produced again, so that many more pilots can try flying this aircraft, which deserves to be better known and more popular. In the meantime, it could be worth looking for a second-hand model. And if you can find one, I’m sure you would enjoy flying it!
- Flying Magazine.
- Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO)
- Plane and Pilot magazine.