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Lancair launches piston-powered Evolution

Lancair has begun selling a piston version of its new Evolution four-seat pressurised kitplane.

Lancair began delivering Evolution kits last year with the Pratt & Whitney PT6A turbine. Lancair's new chief operating officer, Tom Bowen, says the first PT6A-powered Evolution was recently completed and has had its first flight. He says another 12 aircraft are under construction.

Bowen says Lancair has so far received 14 orders for Evolution kits including one for the newly available piston option. "We expect that number to change dramatically," he says.

Lancair flew an Evolution powered with the Textron Lycoming TEO-540-A piston engine for the first time in June and showcased the aircraft at AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh. The Evolution is the first OEM-offered aircraft to be powered by the TEO-540, which features the integrated iE2 electronic management system.

Lancair sales executive Neal Longwill says the Oregon-based manufacturer plans to produce two Evolution kits a month for the remainder of this year. It also continues to produce the Legacy with one to two kits being delivered every month.

Longwill says Lancair's production dropped to about 30 kits last year, explaining "we're a build-to-order company and when there's a downturn we just slow production". But he says production is starting to ramp back up and Lancair expects to deliver about 40 kits in 2009.

The piston version of the Evolution, which is designed to cruise at 270kt (500km/h) at up to 28,000ft (8,540m), costs $600,000. The turbine version costs between $700,000 and $1 million depending on if the owner opts for a new or used PT6A.

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