Lancair designs for sale

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BoKu

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That will be a tough one to negotiate. Obviously, Lancair doesn't think they can continue to sell those kits at a reasonable margin, even though they already own all the tooling and IP and have an established organization to manufacture and distribute product.

Which begs the question; if they can't do it, who can?

I suppose that a lean, mean shop with low overhead and high risk tolerance could make it work well enough to pay off the purchase cost. But only if they manage to drive a pretty hard bargain.

Having negotiated a deal like this in the past, my bet is that the watchword will be "buy low, sell parts." The successful bidder will develop a solid business plan that shows that there is a steady market for tech support, repair parts, upgrades, and the like. Their prices will reflect the business expenses of storing a lot of big molds that only get used a couple of times a year. But I suspect that what the market will bear will still be bearable.

Thanks, Bob K.
 

plncraze

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I spoke with a customer who was trying to buy an autopilot servo bracket a few weeks ago who was very disppointed in the factory's performance. He said they had been very good but now they could not find somebody who could answer the phone and find parts at the same time.
 

Victor Bravo

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They are probably looking to find an overseas buyer. Now that general aviation has opened up in China, I'm sure that a relatively inexpensive 200-240 mph airplane that can transport medium level executives and drug lords back and forth across China, that can operate out of a 2500 foot runway, and brings with it the ability to put people to work manufacturing these airplanes, might be a decent investment for the Chinese even if it doesn't make sense in America.

It also raises money for Lancair's current products and who knows what else. Lancair is in a position to build a small jet if they really wanted to, or develop some sort of a medium range drone system, or a seaplane, etc. Selling their "obsolete" product line would provide the money for some or all of that.
 

BoKu

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...Now that general aviation has opened up in China, I'm sure that a relatively inexpensive 200-240 mph airplane that can transport medium level executives and drug lords back and forth across China, that can operate out of a 2500 foot runway, and brings with it the ability to put people to work manufacturing these airplanes, might be a decent investment for the Chinese even if it doesn't make sense in America...
That was my initial thought as well; that Lancairs would be very popular among the scions of the growing middle-oligarch classes. However, in order for that to happen, there would need to be an established infrastructure to go from kit parts to finished airplanes that are certificated in the applicable regulatory environments. And so far, China has been rather conservative about certificating general aviation airplanes, and there isn't much sign that China is going to trust its citizens with the privilege of building and maintaining their own aircraft. So I think we'll see Cirrus sew up that particular market sector.
 

BJC

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Anyone know how many kits they sold in the past 12 months?

I recall some discussion that they were selling approximately one Evolution kit per month.


BJC
 

plncraze

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Read James Fallows' book about flying a lightplane in China. There is no real infrastructure to support piston aircraft. My guess is with the unfinished kits on the market, even if some are garbage due to construction errors, that the factory can't compete with itself. Also the glory days of kit sales are gone.
 

BoKu

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...approximately one Evolution kit per month...
The deal would probably be a lot sweeter if the Evolution series was included. But apparently it's not:

This all-inclusive offering from Lancair International, Inc., will transfer to buyers all assets... for the 320/360, IV, IV-P, ES and Legacy aircraft components... The facility in Redmond, Oregon will continue to develop the Evolution Turbine and Piston models of airplanes with the newly developed “Evolution Aircraft Company.”
 

BJC

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The profit margin likely is much higher on the Evo than any of the others. With low unit sales of the older designs, it would be very difficult to make any profit while trying to support them even if the tooling cost (probably) has been recovered.

Their move is not a surprise.


BJC
 

TFF

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The big question is how many kits are out there unbuilt? If there is a flood of them, no need to return any to production. I can see someone picking up the IV and P. There is a group about 60 miles away that professionally assemble them; it would be their best interest to have the design. The biggest problem I see is builder assist. It has become important to sell these designs and have a crew of support. Popping a kit out of a mold is easy; having a support system is not. If the 320/360 design could be bought cheap enough that they could be sold cheap without high end support they might could sell some. The Hiperbipe company changes hands every so often. Every one asks when they will produce a new kit, but the answer has been when more have been finished. Something like 50% are still sitting in boxes. Trying to sell a $50,000 kit when you can probably get one for $10,000 will not go.
 

trifoils

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I went to college with a guy who worked for Lancair after graduating, around the time the Evolution was in early development after Lance sold the company. If I recall correctly, it was conceived by the new owner as a ground-up new design to fill the role of the IV-P Jetprop, which had limited range. I visited their facility around this time and there were a few IV's in the hangar, a couple Legacys and the prototype Evo. All the energy in the place was centered on the new design.

It could be that it was finally time to let go of Lance's designs and continue along the direction set by the new owner of the company (the name change seems to fit this possibility). The Evo doesn't look anything like any of the older designs.
 

cheapracer

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Despite what the Chinese government said a few years back, their sky is still not open to GA as we understand it over here.
It's going ahead just fine - very much on "Chinese time" though. The 5 year plan was just released and the area of aerospace and aviation has officially been given A+ priority and there is chunks of cash available for expansion in this area.

What is not understood by many outsiders is just how severe the recession here is currently, especially at ground level, bank and private money is extremely tight. Fortunately China is generally asset solid, not paper nonsense although a bunch of people recently lost on the stockmarket bubble - you gamble, you lose, tough.

Of course there is still some people with obscene amounts of money here who simply want to tell their mates they own an aircraft company (serious social claim here) and with the 5 year plan there may be a couple interested in Lancair.
 

rv6ejguy

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It's going ahead just fine - very much on "Chinese time" though. The 5 year plan was just released and the area of aerospace and aviation has officially been given A+ priority and there is chunks of cash available for expansion in this area.

What is not understood by many outsiders is just how severe the recession here is currently, especially at ground level, bank and private money is extremely tight. Fortunately China is generally asset solid, not paper nonsense although a bunch of people recently lost on the stockmarket bubble - you gamble, you lose, tough.

Of course there is still some people with obscene amounts of money here who simply want to tell their mates they own an aircraft company (serious social claim here) and with the 5 year plan there may be a couple interested in Lancair.
Nothing of consequence has happened in the last 4 years and if it takes another 5 years, who can gamble a business on that? Only the people in your last sentence who have huge cash on hand and can afford to lose it. There is still no infrastructure in place after 4 years for procedural ATC, airspace and oversight for something like the huge numbers of GA aircraft we have here. It will be a very long time before this is in place in China given the past performance of the CCP and PLA. Giving up control is not part of their basic makeup.
 

rv6ejguy

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If you read my first post about this part, I said it's nowhere close to what exists over here and that's reality.

If we look at what the Hank Cheng had to do in Hong Kong to get the RV8 flight permit for a SINGLE flight, it was mind boggling.

The day you can crank up your homebuilt and fly cross country in China where ever you want without a flight approval/ flight plan is a long ways away- a lot longer than 5 years from now.

Until something close to this happens, the market for something like a Lancair will remain pretty limited in my view. Maybe a few rich guys who want a toy to show around to their friends would have one but they won't get to use it much for its intended mission.
 

cheapracer

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If you read my first post about this part, I said it's nowhere close to what exists over here and that's reality.



The day you can crank up your homebuilt and fly cross country in China

Sorry, I missed you were comparing to Nth America - comparing a startup from scratch to 100 years of free flying with constant natural progression is a bit rich. Can you begin to imagine the magnitude of what they have to do from scratch?

You can jump in your homebuilt now and fly certain trial routes currently, not cross country, but it's a start. All outside of Beijing and Military hands by the way. Lack of airfields is seeing a larger interest in helicopters initially of course.

Zenith have use of a section of Hwy in front of their factory currently, a flag guy steps out and stops traffic!
 

rv6ejguy

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China has made some progress, in the last year especially. They are actually constructing many new runways as mandated and this has to be one of the most important steps to making GA useful and viable.

I believe they also opened up the altitude restrictions in many places from 1000M to 3000M plus opened more routes and reduced approval times for others and those are huge steps too.

After seeing what China can do in a relatively short period with their high speed rail system, I believe it won't take them anywhere near 100 years to put in place what's required to launch and establish GA there. The slowed economy, different priorities and general value to the public compared to fast rail infrastructure makes me think it won't explode like that industry, but China certainly does make things happen when the plan is approved.

The ones ready to make and sell planes when things start to really go will be better paced than those late to the game and there's certainly lots to learn before you get there. Power to you if you can invest the money in something like the Lancair designs and wait for a bit. At the same time, I kinda hate to see the legacy GA manufacturers from the USA like Continental sell out to China. Can't Chinese companies design and build their own stuff? What exactly are they teaching at the new aeronautical schools like opened in Nanning and other cities recently?
 
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