Lancair controls the weather

If luxury cars can have set-and-forget climate control, why not far more expensive airplanes?

That question was raised by the people at The Lancair Co., whose answer was along the lines of “Why, indeed?”

As a result, new Columbia 350 and 400 certified Lancairs now can be delivered with that option, a $22,500 add-on. It allows a pilot to set a desired cabin temperature, using a digital display on the panel. After that, the electronic control regulates and maintains that temperature, regardless of altitude and outside air temperature, in the air and on the ground.

“In addition to the set and forget capability, the climate control system can be used throughout the operational envelope, from taxi to takeoff to landing,” said Tom Bowen, Lancair’s vice president of engineering.

You can select 72° on the ground in Santa Monica, keep that cabin temperature up to FL250, and land in Florida without any temperature change, he stated.

In tests, it lowered cabin temperature by 20° in five minutes and 35° in 17 minutes, he said.

Three Columbias already have been delivered with the fully certified system, but most of those delivered during the past 17 months have been pre-fitted for it, Bowen said, adding after-market installation kits soon will be available.

The new Lancair system is not just an air conditioner, he emphasized. It is a complete climate control, which heats or cools depending on conditions, controlled by the system’s electronics without any intervention by the pilot.

Furthermore, having been designed specifically for the aircraft, the system’s 12 vents are integrated with the interior design. “Our objective was to maintain the elegant appearance of the cabin as well as to maximize the effectiveness of the system,” Bowen said. “I think we’ve succeeded.”

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