I had the opportunity to pop up to Arlington, Washington the other day to visit Glasair, maker of the Sportsman and home of their Two Week to Taxi program. I hitched a ride with engineers from Click-Bond, a company famous for aerospace fasteners, based near my home in Carson City. Click-Bond employees - along with the winners of GAMA's "Build-A-Plane" competition will be building a Sportsman in June, and we'll be following along as they learn about homebuilding while showing just how many places they can use Click-bond nutplates, stand-offs, and other goodies. Anyone who has ever built using standard riveted on nutplates will appreciate not having to drill, deburr, and countersink for AN3 rivets, as these little gems glue on using a special adhesive that is used throughout commercial and military aviation. (My first exposure to their products was during training for the International Space Station program, where we used their products as hole patches in case of hull breeches by micrometeoroids.)
Glasair is busy turning out parts for a full-up schedule of Two-Weeks-to-Taxi customers, and said that they are pretty much booked up through the year already. That's working well for them because their big push is working their way through Part 23 certification for the Sportsman - yet another airplane that moves from the homebuilt world and into the certified category. It's hard not to feel a little pride when one of "our" aircraft moves up into the big city world of factory built airplanes.
It was one of those rare winter days in the Pacific Northwest, perfect for sightseeing from the right seat of Click-Bond's CJ3 - not a homebuilt of course, but much more practical for an up-and-back in a single day. I was clearly not the only one in the experimental world enjoying the weather, since I saw many pictures and videos posted on various homebuilder forums form others who took advantage of the wonderful visibility to exercise their airplanes before winter returns. Flying is just a great way to get around, and see the world!
A beautiful day for flying in the Pacific Northwest - Mount Rainier standing proud in its winter coat.