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Lancair aims Sentry racer at military market

Kitplane manufacturer Lancair International is flight testing a high-performance turboprop aimed at the racing and military training markets. The tandem-seat Sentry is powered by a Walter M601 and is based on the turboprop-powered version of the Lancair IV-P four-seat kitplane first flown in September last year.

The Sentry has a new upper fuselage, with stepped seating under a rear-hinged canopy, and a taller fin for increased directional stability. The rest of the all-composite fuselage remains unchanged from the Lancair IV-P. Cruise speed is unchanged at 320kt (600km/h). The kit costs $120,000, with engine and avionics taking the completed price to $325,000-350,000, says sales manager Kim Lorentzen.

In the civil market, the Sentry is intended to compete against racing kitplanes such as the Thunder Mustang and Turbine Legend. The V12-powered Thunder Mustang, modelled on the North American P-51, has been out of production while new owners are sought for the company. Only six kits have been sold. The Turbine Legend is a Walter-powered version of the Performance Aircraft Legend racer.

Lancair hopes to find a larger market for the Sentry as a military trainer. The Redmond, Oregon-based company plans to demonstrate the aircraft to the Mexican navy, which previously purchased and completed nine Lancair kitplanes for use as trainers.

Lorentzen says kits sales remain steady at around 100 a year, despite the downturn in the general aviation market. Orders are divided between the two-seat, fixed-gear Legacy (40%); four-seat, fixed-gear ES (20%) and the four-seat, retractable-gear IV/IV-P in piston- and turboprop-powered versions (40%).

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