Scouting the possibility of trading up to a IVP

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New to the forum so hello to all...I have been flying my current turbo Mooney for close to 20 years....love the plane and have taken it north of the Artic Circle, the Yucatan Pennisula, multiple trips into Baja, Mexico and across the states but I want ot go faster! My Mooney will give me 175 KTAS at 18k running LOP on 9 gph which is not too shabby. It is intercooled with a Merlyn wastegate and yes, I use the speed brakes in descent but my wife and I don't really like the masks and forget flying our dog that high. I have been looking at upgrades from our current mount. I love the Mooney but I think the company missed the market when they ommitted a non-pressurized model and no other certified maker can give me the speed I desire. I also want a new design. Composite and no rivets.... My wife has mandated that any replacement would also have to be 4-place. My useful load with empty tanks is  a paltry 920 pounds and my plane carries 72 gal so it really is useful for 2 people plus baggage on full tanks. The Cirrus, while nice, doesn't get me much more  than I already have for the additional cost.  Of the Experimental market, the Vans lines are nice but frankly, ugly. Beyond those are the "odd lot" models withrelatively small or non-existant fleets. Hence, the Lancair line!  I can spend up to $500k which knocks out the Evo and LX-7. The 320 and Legacy are 2 passenger so a no-go from the Boss as are the Mako and Barracuda. So the IVP jumps out but I have some group questions;

1) For all practical purposes, insurance is unobtainable at the premiums quoted. How many of you fly "naked"?

2) At 32 pounds/sq foot wing loading, the IVP is not a trainer and quite lethal to a novice. Unlike the Mooney, the IVP cannot be safely stalled and requires a relatively high approach speed. It is an intimidating machine for sure. How was transition training?

3) What percentage of fuel do most carry or are full tanks the rule of thumb? 

4) Do the pressurization, air conditioning or landing gear systems cause maintenance headaches?

5) As an IMC platform, how does the AP hold? Is it stable or "squirrely" in IMC?

6) How effective is anti-icing?

7) Are good maintenance shops abundant or are they tough to find? 

8) How well do the tanks hold fuel? Are bladders and wet wings available as a build option or only bladders and do they tend to leak?

Thank all for responses.....at the early stages and not in a hurry but understand to find the right one takes time...

 

Well I bought a IVP and love

Well I bought a IVP and love it. Best plane I have ever owned. It stalls just fine. It shakes and lets you know your to slow. 
At 17k I see 235kts true on 16.5gph, on climb 160kts indicated climbing 1200 to 1500fpm. The plane handles very nice. In my opinion the plane is very safe, if anyone talks bad about it, it’s because they don’t know how to fly. That’s been the case with the MU2, Lear Jet, and many other planes. Never found a bad plane, but have seen bad pilots. It’s definitely a plane you want to take instruction in, but that is with all planes. The airlines don’t just let you jump in and fly something. So why would you want to do that in general aviation. Truly sad the kit still isn’t available. My dream came true only after waiting 30 years. Had a ride in one back when they first came out with the IV.

Scott,

Scott,

Great questions. I will try to answer a few here. I built a IVP and flew it for seven years and over 1500 hours. To your wife's requirement. It is not a four place aircraft. It is a two place aircraft with a small bench seat suitable for bags, a small pet or a two year old. Before you jump in with both feet the two of you should sit in the back seat for about two hours and see if you like it.

1. Insurance is very pricey in response to many accidents in our community.

2.In spite of what Mr. Smith stated, LOBO does not recommend stalling or practicing stalls in this aircraft due to the significant loss of life while pilots (including military test pilots, airline pilots, etc.)  were practicing stalls. Each aircraft is unique. Not all verticals were put on straight, some wings have different angles of incidence on the same aircraft, many do not have stall strips, etc. Avoid the stall regime and it won't bite you.  You and Mr. Smith can call me for further information on this topic. I recommend you review the white paper on the safety issues. The accident rate has declined significantly but much work remains. fmi https://www.lancairowners.com/files/wp-content/uploads/2016-LOBO-White-P... Also review the attached file.

3. Full fuel on typical xc flights.

4. Yes to pressurization and ac. Landing gear (nose gear design and maintenance) have been involved in many nose gear collapses. Bob Pastusek can weigh in here.

5. Trutrak ap is great in this aircraft if dialed in

6. TKS is the only reliable anti ice deice system. The Kelly system IMHO is not reliable. Only a few aircraft have TKS.

7. Maintenance shops are listed on this website. Brad Simmons is in TN and most of the rest are in central Oregon. fmi see https://www.lancairowners.com/lancair-owner-resources

Get good training from a qualified LOBO approved instructor  before you fly. They are listed on this website. Also the IVP manual is found here https://www.lancairowners.com/files/wp-content/uploads/IVP-Training-Manu...

If you have any questions I can be reached at 314-308-6719 c

 

Best regards,

 

Jeff Edwards

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harrelson's picture

Hello Scott, welcome to the

Hello Scott, welcome to the forum. You've asked some good logical questions. I can shed a little light on some of them.

1) For all practical purposes, insurance is unobtainable at the premiums quoted. How many of you fly "naked"?  Insurance is indeed available. Most insurers will require initial training and some require recurrent training also. As for me, I've always flown naked. I carry liability (I pay less than $600/year) but no hull coverage. Your Mooney background should help in obtaining insurance.

2) At 32 pounds/sq foot wing loading, the IVP is not a trainer and quite lethal to a novice. Unlike the Mooney, the IVP cannot be safely stalled and requires a relatively high approach speed. It is an intimidating machine for sure. How was transition training?   The fact that you're asking this question leads me to believe that it is your intention to participate in transition training. That already puts you in a category of pilots who, the statistics show, are much less likely to have problems. The Lancairs are not "hard" to fly, but they are unforgiving. They are different enough from almost all certificated airplanes as to require, IMHO, type specific training. Having participated in LOBO training for many years, I can recommend it wholeheartedly. The initial and recurrent training syllabi are available to download on this web site. Plan on two or more full days and plan on paying a highly experienced military and/or airline pilot who is also a Lancair owner/builder for comprehensive training.. It ain't cheap but it's worth the money. 

3) What percentage of fuel do most carry or are full tanks the rule of thumb? I can tell by this question that you're coming from the certificated (store bought) aircraft world where the fuel capacity of an airplane is x gallons or, with the long range option, y gallons. These are all custom built airplanes. Fuel capacity varies from the 70 gallon range to my airplane which can carry 361 gallons (in the single place configuration) and everything in between. In my 4 place configuration I can carry 122 gallons. I flight plan 11 gph at 210 knots so it almost never makes sense to "fill up". The Lancair IV is designed from the start to be a fast, long range airplane. Shorter trips generally don't require a "fill up" but I really enjoy the ability to fly from...say... Florida to New York and know that, if I need to, I can use Chicago as an alternate.

4) Do the pressurization, air conditioning or landing gear systems cause maintenance headaches? My airplane is non turbo, non pressurized so I'll leave it to others to speak to this question.

5) As an IMC platform, how does the AP hold? Is it stable or "squirrely" in IMC? Again, you need to keep in mind that these are each custom built airplanes. There is a huge variety of avionics and autopilots installed. In my airplane and most of the other IVs that I've flown they are stable and the autopilot works well. I've been flying my IV for 2,300 hours much of it in "hard" IFR including two trips around the world. To me, it handles much like the airliners I used to fly (read stable). 

6) How effective is anti-icing?  There are different anti-icing systems installed on these airplanes. Since my anti-icing system consists of pitot heat, I'll let others speak to their systems.

7) Are good maintenance shops abundant or are they tough to find? There are several shops around the country that specialize in Lancairs and other experimental aircraft. There are also competent shops that will not work on them.  A few things to know about EAB aircraft. 1. You can work on it yourself and sign the logbook. Most of us who built our airplanes do all or almost all of the maintenance ourselves. 2. As a non-builder, the only thing you cannot sign off is the annual "condition" inspection. Any A&P can do this. Having said this, it would be an excellent idea to become very familiar with the "mechanics" of your particular aircraft before digging very far into airframe work. 3. There is no maintenance manual for these airplanes. The construction manual is as close as you get.  4. The engine, on the other hand, is typically either a Continental TSIO 550 or an IO550N. Any competent mechanic would be comfortable working on the engine.  Hint: offer to help a builder or two on their condition inspection.

8) How well do the tanks hold fuel? Are bladders and wet wings available as a build option or only bladders and do they tend to leak? The designed construction calls for wet wings. I have never heard of anyone putting a bladder in the wings. I have never had any leaks in either my wing tanks nor in any of the "extra" tanks that I have build for ultra long range (Guam to Jacksonville, FL...non-stop) BUT these are all individually built airplanes. Build quality varies.

I hope that this helps with some of your questions. I'm sure that others will help out where I could not. Best of luck.

 

Bill Harrelson,   N6ZQ   N5ZQ

 

bknotts's picture

Very good questions.  I'll

Very good questions.  I'll take a shot at answering them. 

First, my experience:  About 2800 hrs.  PP, SEI, ME, MEI.  I've owned two IV-Ps. One was completed but with only 70 hours on it and still in primer when I bought it, one I built.  I have about 1000 hrs. in IV-Ps.  I don't think that there is an aircraft out there that is comparable to it.  It is miraculous.  But every one is an individual, not like any other one. 

1) For all practical purposes, insurance is unobtainable at the premiums quoted. How many of you fly "naked"? 

     My current insurance is in force.  However at age 74 I don't expect to be able to afford insurance soon.  Price: Just short of $10,000 per year.

2) At 32 pounds/sq foot wing loading, the IVP is not a trainer and quite lethal to a novice. Unlike the Mooney, the IVP cannot be safely stalled and requires a relatively high approach speed. It is an intimidating machine for sure. How was transition training?

     I spent 17 hours in transition training with an experienced Lancair instructor.  That was transitioning from a pressurized twin.  The extended training was partly due to the need to shake out issues with an already built IV-P.  But, still, incredibly valuable to learn the aircraft and especially the avionics.  The avionics are quite different, aircraft to aircraft.  Not all work the way you thought that they should.  Once sorted out and adequately trained, knowing the avionics very well keeps you safer, especially in IMC.  "No IMC for first 100 hours" was good advice from my first instructor. 

     Both of my aircraft stalled with a minimum of drama.  However, stalls were performed above 10,000 AGL and with a fully acrobatic, experienced Lancair instructor.  And we "snuck up" on stalls knot by knot. That's not an endorsement of stalling the aircraft.  I've only done it a couple of times in each aircraft, just to set stall speeds. I do recurrent training every year and learn something new every time.  I've been flying these IV-Ps 15 years. 

     As for speeds: 120-130 kts on approach, 100 kts over the fence, 90 kts over the numbers, about 80 kts on the asphalt.

3) What percentage of fuel do most carry or are full tanks the rule of thumb?   

     I usually fly full. (110 gal, 108 usable)  Much more endurance than necessary, But occasionally it's comforting that you can get pretty far if your destination is low IMC.  It's also a little challenging to "gauge" a partly filled tank as there is no "tang" in the filler to let you know when you are at a set level.  My fuel gauges are quite accurate, but I still don't trust them.

4) Do the pressurization, air conditioning or landing gear systems cause maintenance headaches?

     Pressurization: Pretty bullet proof.  However, repair facilities are hard to find if they are needed.  Sealing the pressure vessel is critical.

     Air Conditioning:  I've had both electrically and mechanically driven compressors. Both worked very well and were low maintenance.

     Landing Gear:  The gear have been an issue in the past.  Annual inspections require a detailed inspection of the gear and gear operation.  Knowledge is gold.  Lancair and LOBO are great resources.

     Having said all that, this is a very complex aircraft and requires care, knowledge and detail oriented maintenance. Much cheaper than a pressurized twin to maintain, but still requires time and sometimes patience.

5) As an IMC platform, how does the AP hold? Is it stable or "squirrely" in IMC? 

     Well, that's in the eye of the beholder.  The plane is very responsive in pitch, not so much in roll.  My autopilot (TruTrak) is excellent.  It tolerates turbulence very well and is much better at holding altitude than I am.  I have flown in IMC without an operating autopilot.  It's doable, but requires pretty intense monitoring to stay within the regs.  I consider a working autopilot essential equipment, even in VFR (except for short flights where I wouldn't use an autopilot anyway). 

6) How effective is anti-icing? 

     I have Therm-X heaters.  It works better than the boots I have flown in the past.  Very effective.  With the laminar flow, thin wings it's imperative to get out of the icing conditions ASAP.  You give up 10-12 kts. with these heaters.  It's worth it.  I have no experience with weeping wing anti-ice.

7) Are good maintenance shops abundant or are they tough to find?

     Yeah, that's an issue.  Not the shop, it's the mechanic.  It's easy to find engine mechanics, airframe, not so much.  LOBO is a great resource to find someone in your area.  There are a few well known shops for Lancairs.  You are lucky if you live near one. 

8) How well do the tanks hold fuel? Are bladders and wet wings available as a build option or only bladders and do they tend to leak?

     They are all wet wings.  No bladders here.  Leaks happen.  Usually early in the lifetime of the aircraft.  Fortunately, LOBO has developed some very effective fixes that don's require cutting holes or pulling the wings off.

Other considerations:

A)  Your airport.  I consider 3500 ft. of asphalt my minimum.  Both for departure and destination.  My aircraft requires 1800-2100 ft. take-off roll.  (Without Therm-X it takes about 1700-1900 ft.)

B)  Your backseat passengers.  It helps if they are small or amputees.  My rear upholstery is removeable.  I use it for baggage since almost all my flying is 1 or 2 person.  Be aware that the max. gross weight is builder assigned.  So you may see up to 4000 lbs. as max. gross weight.  Don't try it.  My max. is set at 3850. But the landing gear is only tested to 3550 on landing.  Not well known.  The limiting factor, I think, is the landing weight, especially since I am usually tankering fuel.

C)  Nearest qualified instructor:  Your insurance will require annual recurrent training.  There are precious few qualified instructors.  LOBO is the best source for finding instructors.

D)  Your size:  My wife and I are good friends.  Our combined weight is less than 320 lbs. My height is 5'10".  We're comfortable.  Not for big or tall people.  A trial fit is called for.

E)  Speed:  I plan 245 kts. at FL 210.  17.1 gal./hr., lean of peak.  Your results may vary.  My other IV-P was faster without the Therm-X.

F)  Ramp appeal: WOW!  Only personal jets and warbirds get more attention. 

More questions?  This forum or lancairtalk.net are your best bets.  Lancairtalk.net has more history.  Searches are revealing!

 

Thanks all for the very

Thanks all for the very useful information. Your comments have really put my mind at ease regarding the safety of the aircraft. Obviously, any aircraft can be lethal in the wrong hands. I would certainly seek transition training but would likely carry liability insurance only. The 4-passenger mandate from the Boss applies to "I can see four seats" so it is a four passenger airplane. Our Mooney fits that criteria but like the IVP, is a brochure claim rather than reality and better for bags which is good since we fly almost exclusively, the 2 of us. My struggles will likely revolve around looking for the trouble spots in someone else's build. At 65, I don't have the time or energy to try and complete someone's kit. The engine is pretty standard and I am familiar with the big bore continentals and turbos. Do most builders of turbocharged engines include an intercooler? I assume all builders included the turbocharged engines but maybe there are a few that elected to go NA...It's the airframe weak links that concern me as I am totally unfamiliar with them. I would certainly plan to secure the services of a LOBO recommended inspector who could really "eyeball" any potential purchase candidate to see what, if any issues remain unresolved. Does someone know, off the top of their head, what the total fleet size is for the IVP? Thanks again!

Hello Liketogofast, You are

Hello Liketogofast, You are the kind of folk that would love the L4P. I built my 4P in 2001, Had an A36 Bonanza for 28 years before that, and Mooney F20F for 10years before that. I thought I was in heaven with A36 but I wanted more speed and Pressurization and after looking at 4P in detail it was a much better design and build than most certified airplanes. After 22 years of flying my 4P and doing my own maintenance and inspections I am convinced I made the right choice. I have over 700 hrs in type and still flying, but much less, at 83. I have been self insured for the last 15 years. When I looked at what I was paying for insurance back then it was $12K/year for $400K hull and with 10% deductible that ment that I had to pay the first $40K for any damage like Gear up, and nothing over $400K if totaled. So now I’m $200K ahead for saved premiums. Your questions are the right ones to be asking. I have told the answers to many fans at many air shows. I am happy to talk with you on the phone or invite a visit if that is of interest. I’m not a great typist but as a mechinical engineer I’m full of opinions. Here is my contact info. Jim Hergert 408-482-8000, jimrher [at] aol.com based KSEZ

 

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Hi Jim, yours was the first

Hi Jim, yours was the first IVP I ever looked at up close and yes, I would love to talk with you at length about your perspective and since my hangar row is one over from you, it is about a 6 minute walk. I will shoot you a text after tuesday since I have a biannual tomorrow am and two roundtrips down to Safford on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.

Wilco, Go figure,,,Best of

Wilco, Go figure,,,Best of luck on your Biannual and trips flying. Looking forward JH

bknotts's picture

As a IV-P owner, builder and

As a IV-P owner, builder and insurance shopper I like your attitude!  Whether you buy insurance or not still affects me when I buy insurance.  Transition training, recurrent instructor visits and practice are the best weapons against another statistic.  

Just a slight clarification:  Most IVs are turbocharged and pressurized and called "Lancair IV-P."  However some were (are) built with normally aspirated Continental 550s, are not pressurized and are usually called "Lancair IV."

The turbocharged Continental includes twin intercoolers for the engine and a third intercooler to cool air going to the cabin for pressurization.  One of the reasons that air conditioning is so popular in IV-Ps (and other pressurized aircraft) is that the pressurization raises the temperature of the compressed air.  Even though there is an intercooler, the pressurization causes warm to hot air to flood the cabin.  It's like a heater is on all the time.  Effective air conditioning minimizes the discomfort, especially on the ground.

Because these are complex the idea of doing a ride-along with a condition inspection is a great idea.  I wish I had thought of that before my first flight.

If you don't mind, where are you located?  I'd be happy to show, display, talk and potentially fly you in my IV-P.  (Port Orange, Florida -- near Daytona Beach.)

  

Sedona AZ but fortunately, I

Sedona AZ but fortunately, I have a IVP owner a hangar row over...I get to eyeball his beauty once in awhile and pick his brain

Hi LikeToGoFast. I agree with

Hi LikeToGoFast. I agree with most of the other feedback on your topic.  I can add a few bits, having owned a IVP for the last 18 years with over 1,100 hours in type.  I fly professionally a wide variety of airplanes from the most humble 65 HP tube and fabric to Lear Jets and about 130 different make and model between.

1.  How much can you afford to lose hull and liability-wise?

2.  I did not utilize transition training until I had perhaps 100 hours in type.  In retrospect, it would have been wiser and safer to get the transition training right from the beginning.

3.  I rarely fly with the 107 gallons full fuel.  Carrying a large excess of fuel beyond the mission requirements only increases the take-off and landing distances and speeds, and reduces the climb rate.

4.  I don’t have airconditioning and don’t mind being hot until I can get up to high altitude.  The pressurization and landing gear systems have not been any more onerous than other pressurized and retractable single or multiengine airplanes that I have flown or worked on.  Lack of attention to the nose gear gas spring, shimmy damper, and linkages will greatly increase your chance for a nose gear collapse.

5.  Most modern autopilots, (Garmin, TruTrak, Dynon) when properly tuned, will provide decent performance.  I had an  STEC system 50 for many years prior to upgrading to a Garmin that I never could get to perform very well in pitch.  The older STEC autopilots required gain resistors to be changed to change the autopilot response, much more tedious than the modern autopilots that have user settings on the control panel.

6.  I have a TKS system.  At the time I installed it in about 2007, the manufacturer had only sold one set of panels for a Lancair IVP prior.  Lead time was a year and no written installation information was available.  I was warned that a TKS system would slow the plane way down.  I get 260 KTAS at FL250 burning 15 GPH, doesn’t seem like much of a speed penalty to me.  I studied many other anti-ice and deice strategies prior.  There is not enough heat in the exhaust to use it for wing deice.  The ice-phobic coatings appeared to be sham, little actual performance data available.  Pneumatic boots are out of the question with a laminar flow wing.  I watched the Therma-wing testing videos and witnessed that the system only worked in very mild rime ice conditions.  The intermittent shed zones aft of the leading edge would only move a dam of ice further aft.  They also had unreliable controllers and wing burn-thru by the electrically heated strips.  Big hazard for a wet wing, but at least there will be no ice on the burning wing!  The was another system that had electrically deformed leading edges, similar to pneumatic boots, but so little actual performance data was available at the time, I rejected it.  The TKS system has its limits with how much of what type of ice for how long.  The system can be overwhelmed, even at an anti-ice fluid flow rate of 8 gallons per hour.  Once a cuff builds up on the leading edge of the wings and horizontal stab, the system is defeated.  I have only had this happen a few times in 15 years.  The system must be turned on 5 minutes prior to entering icing conditions or it may not wet down the flying surfaces in time to prevent the formation of an ice cuff.  I don’t use the autopilot while in icing conditions so I can be cognizant of any change to the feel of the flight controls.

7.  How ever far you may have to go for a Lancair expert for your prebuy or maintenance, it is money well spent until you become more educated about Lancairs.  I purchased my IVP in 2004 when there were few on the market.  It was one of the first ten kits built in the early 1990s and very poorly done in ways that were not obvious, particularly joint preparation and insufficient bonding.  It came apart in flight a few times before I took it completely apart and started over with the build.  No problem since the reglue.

Call me at 5411-727-2162 if you want to talk more about your pursuit of an IVP…Jeff.