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If you said Lancer 200, you might get some strange looks, but if you said Lancair 200, then all the lights would go on and the bells would ring. When Lance Neibauer designed his aircraft, he called it the Lancer 200. Due to some naming conflict with an aerospace vehicle, the design was renamed the Lancair and of course, the rest is homebuilt history. Lance Neibauer wrote about his aircraft in the April 1985 issue of SPORT AVIATION and that article is the basis for the following information.

Lance Neibauer was introduced to aviation by his uncle Ray Betzoldt. Uncle Ray collaborated with Al Meyers to build the Meyers 200. While visiting his aunt and uncle, there was always a ride in a speedy Meyers to be had and that did it for Lance, he was hooked. Twenty years later when he decided to buy his first airplane, there didn’t seem to be anything on the used market that matched pocketbook to desired criteria. It’s then that Lance thought about those “amateur-built” designs and decided to join EAA.

By 1981 the dreams of just exactly what he wanted in a personal aircraft were taking shape on paper. Soon he was hopelessly immersed in the project. Lance was involved in marketing at the time so he knew the value of surveys. He asked every builder he could find; just what was it that they were looking for in a homebuilt design. As 1983 rolled around it was time to rent a shop and make the drawings turn into hard objects.

The Lancair 200 design has the following characteristics: it’s a two-place, side-by-side configuration with a wide speed range using the 100 hp Continental O-200 engine and is easy to land; cockpit comfort was a major concern, a conventional seating position with a seat back angle of less than 30 degrees was based on survey input. The cockpit measures 42 inches across and the baggage area is quite ample and easily accessible while in flight. The canopy opens with a dual spring loaded overcenter, parallelogram system that provides 24 inches of entry room while the instrument panel remains covered at all times.

The aircraft has great pitch stability through the use of a long tail moment arm and flies quite nicely “hands off.” The landing gear is a hydraulic retractable tricycle system following the Al Mooney approach – trailing arm link with compression “donut” suspension. The gear can be retracted in five to seven seconds with the flip of a switch. When the gear is retracted, full gear doors close up behind it.

The first flights were made at Chino, CA in June of 1984. There was some leakage in the wing tanks that necessitated a trip to the shop instead of Oshkosh ’84. While at the shop, extensive “fine tuning” was done, tedious, but necessary. A word here about the aircraft’s wing. The airfoil, at the time, was quite new, a NASA NLF 0215-F designed by Dan Sommers at Langley Center. The NLF, Natural Laminar Flow, series is one step beyond the old GAW or, as they’re now denoted, LS series. The big difference with this airfoil is that if laminar flow is lost at the leading edge, drag will increase, but there will be no loss of lift.

In December of 1984, the newly modified Lancer was flown and the flight characteristics were superb. Once the time had been flown off the prototype, Lance was ready to start his kit business. He brought the aircraft of Oshkosh ’85 and attracted great interest. His article notes that there would probably be a Lancer O-235, but not an O-320 (model designated by engine used). Well, homebuilt history tells us the O-235 and the O-320 did happen as well as the Lancair IV, IV-P, the ES, the Legacy and more. Lancair International, Inc. seems to have something for every homebuilder.

Lance Neibauer donated the prototype Lancer/Lancair 200 to the EAA in 1986.

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