Dropping in on Glasair

Glasair's Assembly hangar, with two airplanes going through the Two-Week-to-Taxi program.
Glasair's Assembly hangar, with two airplanes going through the Two-Week-to-Taxi program.

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.) Continue reading "Dropping in on Glasair"

The Survey

FAA survey

I got one of those little postcards in the mail today - the ones you get from the FAA semi-occasionally that ask you to participate in the annual aircraft survey which is used "to calculate fleet size and the hours flown by the general aviation community", to quote the p[postcard. The card is addressed to the owner of a particular aircraft (this year it was referencing our Dream Tundra) and send you to the web to take the survey, which is conducted by a contractor. Continue reading "The Survey"

Why yes - it IS a kit!

Alisport Silent-Electro2

The Silent Electro2 is a self-launching single seat, 40:1 sailplane with an electric motor to get you into the air with little effort. Sold as a complete aircraft, well equipped for about $130K, it is available in quick-build kit form for about $12-15K less - that's with a trailer and complete instrument package. Continue reading "Why yes - it IS a kit!"

More Soaring

Chad Sanders and his jet-powered glider
Chad Sanders

Meet Chad Sanders - Chad took an inexpensive (and ubiquitous) Schweitzer 1-26 sailplane and built a beautiful mount for a pair turbojets - and now he has a jet-powered, self-launching sailplane that can get him from the flatlands of the California Central Valley up to the hills where he can find lift to go soaring - and then back to his home base when he's had enough fun! Continue reading "More Soaring"

Soaring Tidbits

Cherokee II glider

At the 2018 Soaring Society of America convention this week, I attended a session on "Safety Considerations for Soaring in Northern Nevada," which covered a lot of good ground on thunderstorms, wave, and the like - but also on the realities of "landing out" if you can't make an airport. Interestingly enough, the presenter had similar thoughts to mine, in that you can fairly easily find a place to land - but that doesn't mean that you'll have good communications for pick-up, and you might be waiting in the desert for awhile. So - survival equipment is important, as is some sort of satellite tracker. A very good point he made is that for us GA pilots, don't forget that there are "low altitude relay satellites," otherwise known as airliners, and most of those crews are monitoring 121.5. You can add a little excitement to their day by asking them to relay a call to someone who can come pick you up - so don't feel you're alone, so long as you've got a VHF radio! Continue reading "Soaring Tidbits"

Homebuilts Soar!

The annual Soaring Society of America convention is underway in Reno, Nevada, and since there are (and always have been) homebuilt sailplanes, we felt it worth the trip so see what's going on in the quieter part of our industry. The first thing to note is that not all sailplanes are that quiet!

Continue reading "Homebuilts Soar!"