Lancair Evolution in the Making

The construction process behind the smooth-flying speedster.

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** Lancair creates its own molds for composite production. This particular mold is for a version of the Legacy contracted exclusively for the Columbian Air Force, the Synergy. But the molds for the Evolution were also created in house. ** (Photos by: Pia Bergqvist)Pia Bergqvist
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** A heat gun is used to warm the pre-impregnated carbon fiber material that is used to create the Evolution. The heating process makes the material more pliable and provides a working cure to hold each piece in place inside the mold. **Pia Bergqvist
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** Once the carbon fiber is laid up in the mold, the excess is removed with a box cutter. **Pia Bergqvist
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** Each composite part is bagged and vacuum-sealed in its mold, and brought to the oven to be cured.**Pia Bergqvist
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** Vacuum hoses on the side of the oven maintain the vacuum during the curing process. The materials are cured at a high, computer controlled temperature. A higher temperature makes the composite more stable in hot environments.**Pia Bergqvist
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** The composite components are bonded together with Hysol – a very expensive epoxy that creates a chemical and mechanical bond between each piece. **Pia Bergqvist
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** Fasteners hold the components together during the bonding process to ensure that the pieces are precisely fitted. **Pia Bergqvist
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** The firewall and the two large pieces that make up the fuselage are bonded together at the same time. **Pia Bergqvist
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** It takes Lancair employees approximately two weeks to put together the fuselage pieces in preparation for the owner/builder to come in for the two-week in-factory supervised build process. **Pia Bergqvist
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**All of the components that go into the airplane are labeled, carefully inventoried and organized to make it easy for the builder. **Pia Bergqvist
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** The build up of the wings must be complete, with such things as fuel lines, hydraulic lines and control cables, before the upper and lower surfaces can be sealed. **Pia Bergqvist
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** Structural components such as the wings and horizontal stabilizer are attached during the two-week build process.**Pia Bergqvist
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** The closing mechanism for the door contains high tensile strength chains and precision sprockets to ensure adjustability and durability. The manual details the torque setting for each nut for every bolt for each component in the airplane, and each one is torque-striped. **Pia Bergqvist
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** At the completion of the two-weeks at the factory, the owner/builder can enjoy looking at a complete airplane mounted on the main gear.**Pia Bergqvist
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** A diagram of the instrument panel shows the layout of the G900X PFD and MFD and the Radiant touch screen in the main panel and L3 Trilogy backup instrument and electrical switches on the top.**Pia Bergqvist
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** The wire bundles for the avionics are meticulously put together by Lancair employees using large boards to trace each wire. **Pia Bergqvist
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** A highly detailed electrical diagram simplifies troubleshooting, whether the airplane is in the build process or in the field. **Pia Bergqvist
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** The first flight, which is completed by a professional test pilot, is conducted with the primer coat on the airplane, before the first layer of paint is applied. **Pia Bergqvist
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** While the avionics are installed prior to the first flight, the interior remains in very much a bare state. **Pia Bergqvist
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** In addition to the latching mechanism, air lines for the pneumatic door seal and an electric pump and regulator are installed inside the baggage door. **Pia Bergqvist
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** The owner/builder works with the commercial builder to choose the interior installation, which can be as elaborate as the customer wants.**Pia Bergqvist
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** One of the commercial assist shops has developed an air conditioning system for the seats by blowing cabin air through small perforations in the seat covers. **Pia Bergqvist
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** The air-conditioning condensers, oxygen tank (in this case an optional 48 cu ft tank – a 4.8 cu ft tank is included) and ELT boxes are mounted behind the aft cabin wall.**Pia Bergqvist
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** Despite the apparent complexity of the cockpit, the Lancair Evolution can be built by an amateur builder if he or she can devote the time. Most customers, however, seek commercial assistance. **Pia Bergqvist