June 1999 Issue

2 Prototypes Crash

New Lancair and Cirrus test planes kill their test pilots, one passenger

Early versions of the first two all-new single engine airplane designs in years crashed within a few months of each other, leaving their test pilots and a passenger dead and leaving many people wondering just what went wrong with the airplanes that personify the resurgence of the industry.

Both were popular and promising FAR 23-certified composite aircraft. Both were factory prototypes that were not in the final conformity (certifiable) configuration. Both so far leave far more questions than answers.

On Jan. 8, a Pacific Aviation Composites LC 40-550FG, a prototype of the Lancair Columbia, was executing the second of two apparently normal instrument approaches to Portland (Ore.) Inter...

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