Sun Lakes Aero Club member wins EAA honors with homebuilt aircraft
Publicity December 1, 2010
By: Gary Vacin, Publicity Director

Sun Lakes Aero Club member Dan Lance earned high honors with his homebuilt Challenger Long Wing aircraft at two recent Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) events.

Lance’s Challenger was awarded Reserve Grand Champion Light Sport Aircraft at EAA’s annual International Fly-In Convention at Oshkosh, Wisc. in July. The craft also was awarded Reserve Grand Champion of all aircraft judged and also 2nd place in Tube and Fabric construction at EAA’s Copperstate Fly-In at Casa Grande, Ariz. in October.

 Lance started flying in 1982, “mostly in Cessnas and Piper Warriors,” he says. “I did most of my flying in the Midwest, then moved to Arizona in 2000 and got tired of renting planes in order to fly. So I started looking for a relatively inexpensive plane to build and discovered the Challenger. I got a demonstration ride and decided to proceed.”

Lance purchased a kit and started his homebuilt project in 2004, competing the tail section, landing gear legs, and wing ribs at his residence in Chandler.  He moved the project to the Glendale airport where he installed the engine and wiring and fabric covering completing the project in November, 2009.

A Coast Guard veteran, he decided to paint his plane

in a Coast Guard theme. “I get a lot of gawkers and picture takers whenever I land somewhere,” he says. He now hangars his aircraft at the Coolidge Airport southeast of Sun Lakes.

Lance’s Challenger has floats, allowing him to land on the water. The floats also have conventional landing gear for landing at airports.  The aircraft is powered by a 52-hp Rotax 503 engine.

Lance purchased an enclosed trailer and added modifications so he could transport his aircraft to Okshosh. “It’s about 1,700 miles from Chandler to Oshkosh,” he said. “We pulled it with our customized van, so we could pull off and rest when we wanted to. We made the trip in a long two days.”

He said it usually takes about four hours to take off the wings for transportation in the trailer and another four wings to attach the floats.

Lance has taken several videos of his flying experiences that are well worth viewing for aviation enthusiasts. They can be viewed on the internet as follows: Flight from Coolidge to Roosevelt Lake:; Wisconsin clips – EAA Airshow, etc.:; Pewaukee Lake landings and takeoffs:


Dan Lance holds the Silver Lindy trophy he won at the
EAA’s International Fly-In Convention in Oshkosh, Wisc.
in July for his Challenger amphibian floatplane.