Why is the Lancair IV-P so dangerous?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Ryanb, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Recently there was a Lancair IV-P accident near where i live. After this i have researched this aircraft and read about how its a dangerous aircraft. What makes it so much more dangerous than say a bonanza or cirrus when comparing to speed. Ive read that pilots do not want to intentionally stall this aircraft like for training or what not. "Dont stall it and fly high approach speeds", "it glides like a brick" even one guy asking if an ex-military pilot would be safe flying it. What makes this plane so dangerous to raise all these concerns?
     
  2. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    It's as dangerous as you make it. It is a generally unstable and likes to fly fast. It's a very nice airplane, but you have to keep your chops up.
     
  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    How does it differ from a cessna 400? Basically the same design, but the cessna/columbia most likely has a better safety record.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  4. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    I isn't the same design. The biggest difference is wing loading. The Cessna's wing area is 141 ft^2 whereas the Lancair's is 98Ft^2. Since they have essentially the same gross weight, the wing loadings are vastly different. The Cessna comes in at 25 lb/ft^2, with the Lancair at 35 lb/ft^2.

    This drives a much higher stall speed for the Lancair and much higher speeds in all aspects of flight.
     
  5. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It has a diffrent envlope compared to the trainer types most folks fly, gotta shift your brain to that.

    Plane is not unsafe, it's just not a lil trainer or cirrus or Bo.
     
  6. txflyer

    txflyer En-Route

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    Fly it like you STOL it ♦
    Sounds like you gotta fly it like a jet. Long straight in approaches and wide patterns.
     
  7. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Is it really that much faster than a Columbia 400? The ads for the IV-P used to say "290 ktas" but based on flight aware tracks, that's inflated by at least 50 kts.

    How would one train to fly a IV-P safely?
     
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  8. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Just shooting from the hip here, but in addition to it being a higher performance airplane in terms of speeds and wing loading, it also has more systems, e.g. pressurization, retracts. That's added complexity.

    And in addition to those factors, it is an experimental aircraft operating at the leading edge of experimental kit plan development. Certification is a high bar and the IV-P doesn't have to clear it. It's not just a design and performance bar (I'm guessing it's stall speed exceeds certification standards for it's category of airplane), it's also a manufacturing process and quality control issue.

    Is the fleet of Lancair IV-Ps likely to be involved in more accidents per 'whatever' than comparable certified aircraft? Yes.

    Is the fleet of Lancair IV-Ps likely to be involved in more accidents per 'whatever' than other experimental kit planes? Yes.

    Is an individual example of Lancair IV-P flown by a particular pilot dangerous to own and operate? Depends on the airplane, the owner and the pilot.
     
  9. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    I think the 290kt figure is for the 4PT version.

    First and foremost it would be advisable to get good transition training from an instructor with time in type. Then when flying on your own, it would be advisable to not take an instructor from the local field along with you until you are comfortable solo. Operate it out of long runways in good VFR conditions until more comfortable. Then, continue to fly at least about once a month to maintain proficiency.

    At all times one must fly these by the numbers. Mine isn't a 4p but I use 120kt downwind, 110kt base, 100kt final and cross numbers at 80-90kts. The 4p will have similar numbers or perhaps slightly faster.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  10. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ah, you actually fly one so in the finest POA tradition you aren't allowed to comment and if you do comment it will be attacked/ignored/overlooked. :D

    Kidding aside, what's your take on the control force reversal at low speeds? Is it a real or imagined problem?
     
  11. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    You're thinking of the ES. The IV-P is very different. The ES/400 was designed to be certifiable. Stall speeds and stall characteristics are part of this. The IV-P is extremely unforgiving.

    Add to that a rotten glide ratio and an engine failure is a real problem.

    Speeds are much faster. 240-300 is doable for pistons. 230-240 is more of an economy cruise. In the 400, that'd be more like 180.

    To be safe, fly it a lot, keep it fast, don't fly into short runways, don't stall it, and don't let the engine fail.
     
  12. GarmAspen

    GarmAspen Filing Flight Plan

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    I have some time in a IV-P. The plane has an aggressive roll rate and coupled with blistering speed, it wouldn't take much for someone to get behind it. It is also the only piston that I have flown that will hit the below 10k speed limit with plenty of throttle to spare.

    Approach speeds are higher than Cirrus and the 400. It's not a toy and if not respected will bite.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  13. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I view the IV-P as a plane I'm not convinced I wouldn't kill myself in. That's a large part of why I stick with the 310.
     
  14. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like to me, this aircraft is on the level of a jet, correct me if I'm wrong, but it flies like a jet, high stall speeds, high approach speeds, etc.
    If you can't fly a jet you probably should not fly at IV-P..?
     
  15. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Pretty much. Except unlike a typical jet, it isn't designed to Part 25 standards with two or more engines, etc. No type rating required, less reliable engine and systems...
     
  16. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    When I read the thread about an ex-military pilot asking if he would be safe in it, I figured this must be a dangerous aircraft.
     
  17. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Sounds like a BRS might be advisable to lower the risk of death after an engine failure..
     
  18. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Check operating speeds on a BRS. Guess most of things are going too fast and only get faster when it goes tits up. If L IV-P pilots can't manage the plane as a glider they aren't going to be able to manage the speed/deployment operation.
     
  19. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    I have never experienced this on my 235/320. Mine does however lack the elevator authority to hold the nose off the ground once the mains touch on landing. This means it must be flown onto the ground with minimal sink while being unable to see forward over the nose due to attitude when landing combined with poor visibility over the nose on the ground.

    Ted is right though when he says do not loose the motor. I have read the best glide in a 4p is 120 kts. That speed in a plane which slips are almost completely ineffective is a recipe for a poor outcome.
     
  20. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    A IV-P designed as a twin with two TSIO-360s, autofeather, and rudder boost I think would resolve this. There's a reason why the minimum number of engines under Part 25 is 2.

    Yes, there get to be proficiency issues of twins, but given the other issues the plane has for proficiency, etc., I'm not sure that's really a negative.
     
  21. KSMooniac

    KSMooniac Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The high stall speed, very high wing loading (for a piston single) and the atrocious low speed/stall behavior lead to the very poor accident rate. It is a gorgeous plane that doesn't meet certification standards. The complicated systems that aren't always built/finished well also lead to accidents. Especially with auto engines or other significant mods. Fuel exhaustion or interruption seems to happen more frequently with these too.

    The ES (same fuselage, larger wing) fixed the stall speed and wing loading issue, but not the handling qualities issues and it doesn't meet certification standards either.

    The Columbia/Cessna 300/350/400 fixed all of those issues and was certified. It shares NO common parts with the Lancair kits.

    The 320/360 Lancair kits handle MUCH better than the 4-place kits prior to the Evolution. I wouldn't mind owning one of those, but I wouldn't own an ES or 4.
     
  22. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    Because they are largely flown by individuals with more money than aviation knowledge. Someone on one of the other boards refers to it as "The Cirrus Effect".
     
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  23. Jimmy cooper

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    I know nothing about this aircraft but it sounds very familiar. The MU2 has many detractors. It is a great aircraft and if flown by a well trained pilot, not a novice doctor, etc. frank Borman , for instance, owned two and raved about them. A gas bag senator blathered on and on about how dangerous they were. I've flown in them quite abit, in the right seat with a real pro pic who just thinks the MU2 is one the nicest, best performing aircrafts he's ever flown. He had the proper training and has over 14000 hours total time. 2000 hrs. In type. Another famous one was the martin maurader way back. Lousy pilots, poorly trained. Could this be the same type situation. ???
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  24. KSMooniac

    KSMooniac Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well, the MU2 satisfied certification standards, and again during the special review, so by definition it is considered safe by the feds. The LIV has not met those criteria, and it will not meet them either. Whether or not that is important to anyone considering one, I dunno.
     
  25. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    The MU2 has quirks, as I understand it. The Lanceair IV combines a complex build, edge of the envelope mission, and tough flight characteristics. Moreover, in an emergency the thing has to be flown fast and I bet drops like a stone. I'll bet it has one hell of a coffin corner in normal ops too.

    But another way, there were no doubt pilots who flew the F104 safely without incident. Still didn't make the things safe.
     
  26. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    The MU2 also seems to be considered safe by pilots who know how to fly one. Many articles written by pilots who really like them. Not for beginners, that's for sure.
     
  27. KSMooniac

    KSMooniac Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think you missed my point. The MU2 has been certified (essentially twice even) and is by definition considered safe. It is not surprising there are lots of supporting opinions about it... it is fast, efficient, and reliable. It is safe if the pilots are trained.

    On the contrary, there seem to be a lot more articles or anecdotes about how the LIV is NOT safe. It is fast, but many of the accidents are due to systems issues so I don't believe you can call it reliable. It does suffer from variable builder quality, especially if modified from original design specs, but the fact remains that many have crashed due to fuel issues, or other powerplant issues. It has a very high stall speed, poor glide ratio, and very poor stall behavior. That means at best, if you lose the engine and have a forced landing you'll likely be carrying 85+ knots and perhaps 1000 fpm or more down. Compare that to ANY certified single engine plane and it will stand out as less-survivable.

    Whether or not lots of military pilots successfully flew F104s or other difficult airplanes is moot... lots did, but quite a few died too. They were not certified to CAR/FAR requirements. Apples and oranges compared to a civilian owner-flown XC airplane.
     
  28. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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  29. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    That's a myth. A jet can fly a tight pattern. The difference with a jet is discipline. Adhering to speed and profile is more important with swept wing jet aircraft.
     
  30. KSMooniac

    KSMooniac Pre-takeoff checklist

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  31. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Also telling is the chart of pilot time in type vs accident incidence. Incidence decreases dramatically with time in type after exceeding 100 then 200 hours. This would reflect a lack of pilot proficiency coupled with an unforgiving aircraft etiology as many of us have stated.

    Personally I do not blame the aircraft. We all make our choices.
     
  32. Jimmy cooper

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    It was my understanding although I could be wrong here, that the 104 fighter crashed most often in Europe ( Germany) where it wasflown in mountain terrain and pilots, again , were not properly trained in this specific aircraft. I think most aircraft accidents are by low time or poorly trained pilots and this applys to the military pilots as well, although when I was in , lots of accidents, and many many were mechanical failures, catching fire, blowing up in air, failures on take off, tanker collisions, etc.
     
  33. KSMooniac

    KSMooniac Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It is definitely biased against lower-experienced pilots. The question becomes how do you go from zero-time in Lancairs to > 200 hours, or better yet according to that report, to > 1000 hours? I'm sure many of those <100 Lancair pilots had every intention of operating safely and surviving to get to that 1000 hr mark.

    Many other pilots buy Mooneys or Bonanzas or similar with <100 hours in type, yet the accident rate for those planes is not 18%. So without going through excruciating statistical analysis, you can boil it down to either most of those 18% of Lancair crashes were due to really bad pilots that would have also crashed a Mooney or Bonanza, OR maybe Lancairs are less safe than comparable certified airplanes. Today if you take the same pilot and shop him for insurance in a $100k Bonanza or a $100k Lancair you'll learn that the insurance rate for the Lancair is multiples of the Bonanza rate. The insurance guys make their living going through the statistics and have decided Lancairs are a much higher risk...
     
  34. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I'd agree there, but the degree of aviation knowledge, skill, discipline, and proficiency is much higher with a IV-P than with a Cirrus.
     
  35. magyarflyer

    magyarflyer Pre-Flight

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    coffin corner?
    you got to be kidding. Please get a ride in one. +500 hrs on mine
    i can fly forever at 85 knots and land at 80 kts. Just like any other airplane you got to pay attention to the speeds and especially turning on base but my SNJ5 will bite your butt if you dont do that and the speed in which it will turn turtle will scare the hell out of flying a heavy northamerican trainer.
    My IV has never bitten me. I fly with a AOA calibrated to 4 knots above stall speeds the lady yells at me when i get close to the line. It will drop the nose straight ahead and tell you before it stalls. I keep it at 100 knots on the pattern and never had a problem except for the fact that you are going twice as fast as the 150's in the pattern so i enter 1000 feet above normal pattern which forces me to avoid the fatal turn since i will never pull on the stick due to being high on base. I always turn to final as soon as my wing crossed the threshold. Now i spent 6 years building and my builder assist was an engineer with aviation experience. I am not sure other IV-P's out there perform as well as mine.
     
  36. WhiskeyPapa

    WhiskeyPapa Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not sure I understood this. You fly a pattern at roughly 2000 agl? Early turn to final is because of fast descent?
     
  37. txflyer

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    Fly it like you STOL it ♦

    I can dig it. I've seen jets do tight turns at airshows.

    The IV-P has a smoking hole rate of 4000f.p.m. down when the mill quits right?Man, that's space shuttle piloting. I can see it now,

    "hey Clem!, the mill quit! I'll just set her down in that field over ...
     
  38. JHW

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    So you come into the pattern high, in your low wing plane, and descend through traffic pattern altitude on the base leg while going faster than any other traffic likely to be encountered (run over). Is that about the size of it?
     
  39. magyarflyer

    magyarflyer Pre-Flight

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    Non towered airport 2500 feet pattern
    Controlled airspace 2000 foot pattern
    100 knots in pattern
    Standard IV-P teachings from LOBO and instructors
     
  40. J3 Driver

    J3 Driver Pre-Flight

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    So you fly it like a turbine. They have higher patterns as well. And the IVP flies at those faster speeds.