Lancair has received US certification for the Columbia 400 turbocharged piston-single, more than two and a half years later than originally planned because of financial and technical problems. Capable of 235kt (435km/h) at 25,000ft (7,600m), the all-composite Columbia 400 is the fastest certificated piston-powered aircraft in production, says Lancair.

The turbocharged aircraft is a derivative of the normally aspirated Columbia 300 and 350, and is powered by a 310hp (230kW) Teledyne Continental TSIO-550. The $475,000 aircraft is designed for fast cross-country travel, performance includes a 220kt cruise at 18,000ft and 210kt at 12,500ft. The Columbia 400 is equipped with Avidyne's FlightMax Entegra integrated flightdeck.

Bend, Oregon-based Lancair, meanwhile, has brought in consulting firm Technical Change Associates to streamline manufacturing and accelerate production. The company is building one Columbia every two days and expects to reach one a day next year, to which end it has launched a $2.5 million programme to expand its plant and acquire additional tooling.

Raising the production rate and adding the high-value Columbia 400 will help the company move into profitability. "Increasing the production rate is vitally important to Lancair," says TCA president David Dixon. "TCA is working with us to expand our overall manufacturing efficiency," says Lancair vice-president Don Wright.

Source: Flight International