Arlington, WA - After months of careful preparation, Glasair Aviation's new light sport aircraft, Merlin, took its first flight through the skies above Arlington Municipal Airport Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
Following detailed validation testing, including engine run-up, high-speed taxi, and ground roll lift off, the team at Glasair stood back and watched as Merlin departed the surface of runway 34 with test-pilot Grant Smith at the controls. The flight lasted fifty-seven minutes, as Smith took the plane through a full test flight profile that included validating the engine's reliability, exploring flight control characteristics in flight and conducting standard flight maneuvers.
"While nothing can replace the sheer wonder of witnessing the birth of a child, the introduction and maiden flight of a new airplane design is a close second!" Glasair Development Manager Ted Setzer said. "The 'parents' were all there to witness it, including the Glasair Aviation's flight designer engineer, Chuck Hautamaki, and the entire Glasair Aviation team. Seeing the joy and exhilaration on everyone's faces was as satisfying as hearing the test pilot Grant Smith's, positive comments as he emerged from the cockpit."
More power = more better! Read about Cameron Fraser's Lycoming O-540-powered GlaStar and David Salinger's Supercharged Super II RG. Less fuel consumption is also better - Kurt Goodfellow's Diesel Sportsman flies - the first customer-built Diesel Sportsman to take to the skies.
In this double-issue:
GAOA Flight Deck By Omar Filipovic
Glastar 540 Project By Cameron Fraser
Magnetic Engine Protection By Ted Setzer
Effective Low-Cost Solutions By Alan Negrin
Changing the GlaStar Seat Back Angle By Wayne Stafford
Events: Columbia 2014 By Arlo Reeves
Engine Oil Analysis By Andy Plunkett
Flight Report: First Customer-built Diesel Sportsman By Kurt Goodfellow
Postcards: Festival of Flight 2014 By Dee Whittington
First Aid Kit By Jonathan Apfelbaum
Glasair FT Gear Bracket Cracks By Ted Setzer and Mike Palmer
Glasair Model Trivia
Mentors Wanted By Mark Lee
Postcards: Oshkosh 2014 By Dee Whittington
Jeff Lavelle Cleans Up at Reno By Todd Copeland
Second First Flight By Bruce Zimmerman
It's Not About the Airplanes, but the People By Kathy Sutton
Glastar & Sportsman Service Bulletin 72
Trimming Doors By Chris Dellos
Smiley Creek 2014: Fun and Friendship in a Mountain Paradise By Kathy Sutton
Partially Collapsed Retractable Gear By Don Yoakley
Sportsman Transfer Pump Filters By Scott Diffenbaugh
Zach Chase of Fibertech Composites has been the go-to man when it comes to assembling the Glastar and Sportsman airplanes. His one day of "Zach Attack" work can easily save the builder a month of labor and head-scratching. In addition to being the master of all things composite, he is also a movie star.
Zach's latest contribution is a series of new videos about window installation in the Glastar and Sportsman - an improved set of how-to instructions that replaces the old VHS-grade recording from many years ago. Dj Merrill edited the videos - thanks Dj.
12th Annual Northern California Glasair Aircraft Owners Association Fly-in October 3-5
Join us for the 12th Annual Northern California GlaStar/Sportsman Fly-in on Oct. 3-5 in Columbia, California! This fine fall fly-in takes place at one of California’s nicest public fly-in facilities. Beautiful examples of our favorite aircraft will gather on the flight line, we’ll talk shop, walk to the old gold mining town, and potluck together.
On Saturday, some may fly to nearby Pine Mountain Lake for airport day while others may visit the Giant Sequoias. Wear your favorite flying t-shirt to our Saturday evening potluck! There will be prizes for funniest, oldest, and best homebuilt t-shirt.
Kitplanes Contributor David Prizio, and Editor in Chief Paul Dye, were the first journalists to fly the new Diesel Sportsman from Glasair. The aircraft, a carbon version constructed specifically to test the new engine from Continental Motors - was flown at the Glasair factory in Arlington, Washington, and exhibited performance, fit, and finish far superior to what was expected from a prototype machine. The airframe and engine had about 42 hours on it when the Kitplanes pilots got their hands on it, and several more when they were finished - it was hard not to keep flying it. While absolute speed and climb performance is lower than with the IO-390, that is to be expected with an engine rated for considerably less power. There are advantages however - with the standard turbocharger, the climb power remained constant to approximately 8,000′. Cruise fuel consumption is on the order of 7 gallons per hour at economy, and less if the aircraft is slowed down. The test team at Glasair is expecting that they might be able to see ten hours of endurance with the power pulled back, and full tanks - and those tanks would be full of cheaper Jet A.
Read Dave Prizio's article in the June issue of EAA Experimenter
If the proof of any airplane is in how it flies, the GlaStar does pretty well. Using the Cessna 172 as a benchmark, the GlaStar lands more slowly, cruises much faster, and is much more roomy and comfortable for two passengers than any 172. It does, however, lack rear seats. It is a lot less expensive, too, although admittedly some assembly is required.