Do you want to build a Glasair Sportsman 2+2 from a kit? Get ready to place an order something in the next year or so. According to officials of Glasair, the company has advised the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of its plan to apply for certification for the famous aircraft under Part 23.
Once the certification is granted, the company wants to slowly move out of the kit business.
According to Rick Paul, Director of Marketing, Glasair Aviation, Kit sales is loosing business to Two Weeks to Taxi builder assist program at the factory. Unfortunately, the company only has room for around 17 that are build in a year and prospective customers are looking for a certified Sportsman.
The Merlin Light-Sport model received certification a year ago and Paul believes that they understand what is required to go through the process for Sportsman.
Glasair Aviation was founded in 1979 and is based in Arlington Washington and is owned by Chinese investors. The latest move is a big change in how the company operates. It originally offered a low wing, speedy two seat Glasair I kit plane, which was introduced in 1980 at Oshkosh.
Over the years, the original Glasair has come out in three models. The Glasair III is still being used in competition at the Reno Air Races, although the kit is no longer available. Nearly 1,700 Glasair kit airplanes are still in operation.
The design of Glasair Sportsman is inspired from the GlasStar, which is a high-wing, two-seat utility airplane introduced in 1996.
The original Glasair models were made from pre-molded composite material, however, the GlasStar had a tubular steel frame encased in a composite skin. The tail and wings were made from conventional aluminum structures.
The bigger version of the same design that comes with Sportsman features a 2+2 configuration having a rear door. It has the option for luggage space or two rear-facing passenger seat. The aircraft also comes with the option for skis, floats and a belly pod.
What makes this airplane so popular among kit builders is that its landing gear can be changed from tail dragger to tricycle configuration within few hours and it has folding wings. After the Two Weeks to Taxi builder assistance program was introduced by the company it become quite popular.
As per 51% rule from FAA which requires aircraft manufacturer to do more than half of the work, customers have the opportunity to assemble the kit at the factory.
Kit builders can progress much faster when they work under the guidance of factory experts and have access to all the jigs and tools required. It is quite easier as compared working on your own.
A builder can assemble their airplane in just two weeks, start the engine and taxi out in their new plane. Finishing work and painting is performed later.
The Sportsman that was displayed at SUN ‘n FUN was assembled by a group of high school students under the Build a Plane sponsored program by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
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