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May 2004
I have reached the two year mark of my build and things are coming together at a rapid pace. I have been getting out most everyday for a two-hour lunch build session. I have kept a to-do list going and have a clear set of objectives before getting out to the hangar. That has helped me a lot and has kept me focused on completing tasks instead of thinking out my tasks after opening the hangar doors.

So, the canopy bodywork is almost complete, side window is done, I rolled primer on the flaps and ailerons, then followed with blocking, filling and a coat that was sprayed. I have opened up gaps on my earlier releases, jacked the plane up and got ready for the first gear cycle.

My two boys have been helping me get out and build too. They both love bringing their bikes out to the airport for a ride and RHV is now their favorite "park". A neighbor with a Lancair 235/320 has been coming around and has treated me to a few rides in his plane. So far his plane is much faster than mine, as Bob likes to point out, but not for too much longer! At any rate, this whole experience has been very rewarding and I'm enjoying every day.

At long last the gear comes up on its own! The day I did, I had not intended to cycle it, just finish installing the console lines after bonding it in. I had a helper out that afternoon and I looked at him and said "get the oil. Let's do it". A few observations on my experience. I went around a checked all my fittings, but managed to miss a few, so the first crank on the pump produced a huge mess. The second crank produced another mess from fittings that were not tight enough. Whatever rule I heard from so many other "experts" turned out to be BS. Those fittings really have to be tightened down firm. After an hour of mopping, wiping, cleaning and chasing leaks the system was leak free and the gear was working great. There's still some air in the lines after about forty cycles or so, but it's getting better and I'm enjoying every one. Gear up. Gear down.

The beautiful tunnels I got from Ron Gregory came back from the polishers and are a work of art. They really stand out and finish the bottom out beautifully. I also have my avionics shelf laid out and using click bond studs, got everything secured in place. My panel I had built by Lancair came with a wiring harness that should take a weekend to install and connect. What a time saver. Another task I finished was to rig the plane (roughly). Probably about a half turn away from spot-on, but I'm going to have the builder-assist AirCrafters help me get it perfect. (But I feel it already is).

My nose gear doors are coming along. I am doing mine the same way Tom Gourley did his. No screws, just rivets. It will be bodyworked and be seamless. There is a bit of a step down from the fuselage to the hinge. Nothing I can do to make flush, just fair it in and clean up. More bodywork.

Well, this is where I save the best for last. My engine is here. WOW. It all began by talking to other builders and getting advice on engines. Carl Lewis got a new motor and had it fitted with 10:1 pistons and Peter Stiles remarked that it was the fastest Legacy he flew next to Lee Behel's. OK, wheels were turning. I had remembered talking to Stuart Featherstone (Legacy builder #1) and he had a 370 hp IO-540 built for his Legacy by Performance Engines, who he works for. I didn't want to go with the cost and work to fit a Lycoming, so he put together a quote on a re-built IO-550. New pistons and cylinders that are treated to the ECI Ceramanil plating, induction flow-matched, engine parts balanced to within one gram and a Plasma III electronic ignition to give my motor 370 hp at 2800 RPM and for less than a new motor. Ya-hoo! Top that off with the shop they build these in.

Performance engines also ran the motor in 10 hours to assure a solid break-in and a non-event first flight (fingers always crossed). This was the best thing I did in my build and I could not be happier after to talking to Peter Stiles and getting his input on Performance's quality and overall numbers on the engine (and they run thier's hard!). Another great thing to come out of this was to become close friends with Stuart. Stuart's a great builder and a total motor-head who knows air-cooled engines. I can't recommend Performance Engines enough. They built me an incredible engine and are now building Darryl Greenamyer's for Reno 2004.

So, Stuart's the guy to contact if you choose to go this route or just need a quote. I'm now one happy builder and getting closer to flying!

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Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. This site is the builder's log of Don Barnes and for the purpose of sharing information and opinions related to building a Lancair Legacy. Any person using these images, ideas and tips does so at their own discretion and risk. No responsibility is expressed or implied and is without recourse against anyone related to this site. This site is not affiliated with Lancair International or Neico Aviation Inc., however, we love their aircraft.

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