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And legends don’t appear overnight. They are painstakingly crafted over time like fine wine that is lovingly nurtured for years before reaching perfection. The story of Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation is one of a quest for speed and perfection that began over two decades ago in the heart and soul of one daring individual – Lance Neibauer.

Like so many tireless souls passionate about aviation, Neibauer had a dream – a dream that would not fade and could not be contained. In the early 1980s, Neibauer, finding himself dissatisfied with the outdated aircraft designs of the time, believed he could build a better aircraft – something more representative and inclusive of the Technology Age. So he embarked on an odyssey to build himself a modern high-performance aircraft with one major design imperative: the aircraft had to “look cool” – and it did.

In fact, once the design was completed, response from fellow aviators was so overwhelming that Neibauer courageously dedicated himself to aircraft design and construction full-time, leaving behind his career as a graphic designer. That relentless pursuit of his dream led him to become founder of Lancair – one of the most successful companies in the vibrant kit aircraft industry. Neibauer’s designs are world renowned for their beauty and of course, the all-important speed that was the birth of the Columbia legend.

Fast forward a decade to 1994 and the winds of change are breathing new life into the once stagnant general aviation industry in the United States. By the time the General Aviation Revitalization Act was passed that year, Lancair was already synonymous with speed and beauty. Then, as if by divine intervention, and with the encouragement of NASA, Neibauer announced his intention to design, certify and build the first all new four-seat general aviation aircraft in three decades. To do so, Neibauer divested himself of the kit company and established a new and completely autonomous company with the mission of designing, certifying and building the hottest certified aircraft on the market. Form was destined to meet function and that moment was drawing nearer.

One decade and tremendous amounts of “sweat equity” later, the original vision became reality. Form indeed finally met function in the Columbia certified aircraft. The elegant Columbia line is adorned with the highest level of standard features and some innovative options that are available exclusively on Columbia aircraft. The tastefully appointed Columbia cabin is rich with perforated Italian leather, black-walnut trim, advanced digital climate control, a push-button flight management system and a host of subtle “value-added” features like the illuminated steps that you’d expect in a luxury personal aircraft.

Finally in 2005, The Lancair Company made a dramatic change and re-branded itself as Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation of Bend, Oregon, USA. Columbia Aircraft has three certified, high-performance aircraft models to its credit (Columbia 300, Columbia 350 and Columbia 400). Each model remains true to the original vision and mantra to create an airplane that combines stunning ramp appeal with state-of-the-art safety features and jaw-dropping performance. Testament to their beauty is the fact that a Lancair is the only aircraft ever to be displayed in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Validation of the quest for speed lies in the Columbia 400’s title of “world’s fastest.”

Today, staffed by aviation professionals with significant experience in the certified aircraft sector, the company has become the maker of the premier personal aircraft on the market and recently delivered the 500th production aircraft to a delighted customer1. But perhaps what will continue to make Columbia “the stuff of legends” is piston-powered performance that even confounds air traffic controllers. The Columbia 350 and its fire-breathing cousin the twin-supercharged, dual super-cooled Columbia 400 fly at speeds that frequently have controllers asking Columbia drivers to slow down2. Not surprising since the Columbia 400 is the title-holder of “world’s fastest” certified piston-single.

Backed by strong, international funding, Columbia intends to build on the legend our founder began 20 years ago in that Southern California garage. Columbia will continue to raise the bar for personal aircraft and provide the best customer support the industry has ever seen, bar none. So if you have a “need for speed,” a penchant for craftsmanship and a license to fly – Columbia is your time machine and it’s time to “Let Your Dreams Take Flight.”

Over the years, the company name has changed but the need for speed has driven its pursuit of perfection. To learn more about the aircraft that the critics have already dubbed “Best of the Best,”3 “Best GA Aircraft of the Year”4 and “Editor’s Choice,”5 visit www.flycolumbia.com to locate a local Columbia salesperson and arrange a demonstration flight today.

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