LOBO Landing Beneficial for Owners and Builders

By Tom Sullivan, EAA 410928, EAA Chapter 439

More than 40 Lancairs and 100 owners of the aircraft attended the third annual Lancair/LOBO Landing on October 4 to 5 in Greenville, South Carolina. Sponsored by the Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO) and Lancair International Inc., LOBO 2013 also offered an extra day of activities, including a ground school for builders, a pinch-hitter course for non-pilot spouses, and safety training for those with completed and flying Lancairs.

During the two-day event, daytime activities included forums presented by several vendors, a vendor market, and plenty of time for an afternoon visit to the airport to view the Lancairs or talk with builders and owners.

As a current builder rather than a flying member of LOBO, I wondered whether attendance by builders would be welcomed by those that were fortunate enough to be flying already. After all, there really would not have been much of an event if there were no flying Lancairs there.

In reality, there were as many builders there as owners of completed planes, and it seemed none of the flying members forgot their roots. Knowledge and advice were free flowing the entire weekend. The completed airplanes on the ramp were the focus of many cameras before it was over, serving as motivation to the many current builders in attendance.

One thing is really evident about LOBO: commitment to its mission. As a type group, much like those you see affiliated with some certified aircraft, the dedication of the core group and board is impressive. They have not only expended an unbelievable amount of time in forming and running LOBO but have also funded much of the out-of-pocket expense for the travel required to operate the organization.

Their mission of enhancing the safety record of Lancairs has been very successful. This is being achieved through pilot education and training, industry involvement in policy recommendations and needed change, and having LOBO serve as a resource to builders and flying members. LOBO's program would clearly be a template for other interested experimental amateur-built owners looking to start a type club.

Evening activities were well planned, with something different and fun every night. On Thursday night, dinner was provided at a hangar on the airport near the Runway Café, which was in close proximity to the Lancairs parked on the tarmac. Friday evening food and refreshments were provided at the Hilton, host facility for the event, and Saturday evening featured a terrific dinner along with special guest speaker Bill Harrelson. A longtime Lancair owner, builder of at least two Lancairs, and now record holder of an incredible long-distance flight, Bill captivated everyone as he spoke.

Bill's most recent Lancair was purpose-built for several record-breaking attempts. His Guam to Jacksonville flight (7,051 nautical miles) in a Lancair IV was recently certified as a world record for distance in Class C1d (landplane, internal combustion engine(s), 1,750 to 3,000 kilograms). Yes, that is one very long nonstop flight!

All aspects of Bill's venture - building the plane, initial test flights (including a VFR nonstop from Virginia to California to Florida), and the final record-breaking flight - were extremely interesting. Next year's event, marking Lancair's 30th year in business as a kit manufacturer, will take place in the company's home city of Redmond, Oregon. The event is planned for Labor Day weekend, with some pretty exciting activities and a great venue. Detailed activities have yet to be announced, but this has the makings of an event Lancair folks won't want to miss!

This article was originally published in EAA's November 2013 ChapterGram and reposted here with permission.