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My Glasair is a two-person, side by side, all composite experimental aircraft. The kit was manufactured by Stoddard Hamilton Inc (now Glasair Aviation). A 2001 Subaru 2.5 liter automotive engine hangs out front. The conversion includes a C&R Racing Radiators heat exchanger and a Marcotte 1.8:1 internal ring gear reduction drive. A modified OEM Subaru ECU controls electronic fuel injection and ignition. It turns a 72" Quinti electric in-flight adjustable carbon fiber propeller. Feeding vital information to the pilot is a Blue Mountain Avionics EFIS Lite and a Grand Rapids Technologies EIS 2000 engine monitor. Garmin's 327 transponder handles radar responses while an Icom IC-A200 handles communication. An Airsoob Lift Reserve Indicator lets me know we're still flying, just in case I forget.
I created this site to highlight some of the unique things I've done to my Glasair. The most involved being the install of the Subaru engine. This Subaru installation is my own design and these pages are merely to show how I chose to do things.
The Glasair #446 story starts here:
I've been building my Glasair since 1999. A lot of people ask what it is that gets into a persons mind and makes them want to build an airplane. In my case, it's all my wife's fault. One day back in 1997, she decided that a one-hour helicopter ride would be a perfect gift for my birthday.
I've always been interested in radio controlled airplanes and at the time I was getting proficient at my first radio controlled helicopter. My first flight was at Hillsboro Aviation in Hillsboro, Oregon. After that first flight, the only thing I could think about was how quickly I could sell my helicopter. I wanted to start real helicopter flight training.
After the initial knee-jerk reaction and going through with selling my helicopter, I discovered how expensive helicopter training really was. WOW! At the same time, I noticed that I could learn to fly an airplane for about half the hourly cost of the helicopter. That was it. I started ground school.
During my initial flight training, literally the first eleven hours, I took an opportunity to fly with a friend from Hillsboro, Oregon to Pomona, California for a pilots expo. After landing at Pomona, we had to walk to the bus to take us to our destination. Just behind the bus stop the expo organizers set up a couple of kit plane manufacturers exhibits for Lancair and Europa.
After the nine hour trip I just endured in a Katana, it took only a matter of minutes to realize that these kit planes were the way to go. I mean 200+ mph and I can build it in my garage?!
It was another year of research and the purchase, and inevitable sale, of a BD-5 kit (hasn't every experimental builder owned one of these?) before I stumbled upon my Glasair project. It was scattered around between a hanger, a garage and a house in Lompoc, California. I guess you could say it was love at first site, because that one look was all it took and we were on our way back to Oregon.
It was owned by it's third caretaker and had very little work done. I suppose to the builder that did the work, it was a lot. In the grand scheme of things, it amounted to a drop in the bucket.
This particular Glasair left Stoddard Hamilton back in 1983. It is one of the original design tail wheel kits that had only a handful of the metal parts prefabricated. Mainly just the tail wheel mechanism. The remainder of the metal components were to be fabricated by the builder.
The kit had lots of hardware, nuts, bolts, washer, rivets, bearings, rod ends, etc... and all of the skins were in tact with minimal warping from the years of storage. It came with brake calipers, wheels, tires and tubes. One of the builders had even purchased the rear window option. I later chose not to install this feature.
The horizontal stabilizer had the upper and lower skins bonded together and rough finished, and the fuselage had the three sections bonded together. I'm told this particular fuselage was seamed on a jig in the Stoddard Hamilton factory by the first owner of the kit. I've never confirmed the story. The belly panel, which tends to be somewhat of a problem to install and remove, does fit extremely well.
The windshield had been installed by the last owner, the same person who fabricated the horizontal stabilizer. The windshield is the only part I wished had been left undone to allow better access during the building process.
After five and a half years of building, I started tail wheel transition training at Stark's Twin Oaks Airpark. I wish I had started sooner. I found out pretty fast that flying a tail wheel aircraft is quite difficult. It's not impossible, it just takes constant attention and a high level of proficiency to stay trained. The other issue is cross country flying and cross winds. I intend to do a lot of cross country flying. Finding an airstrip that is in line with the wind and long enough for a Glasairs' high approach speed I feel would become a safety factor.
I've since stopped tail wheel training and have converted my Glasair to a fixed tricycle gear. This will allow safer cross wind landing control. Of course, that's just my opinion.
I'm slowly piecing together this web site with all the unique things I've done to my Glasair airframe and some extra detail with regards to the Subaru engine installation. If you have any questions about any of the information provided or if you need a better picture of something described here, feel free to e-mail me.
2/17/11: Updated flight photos page.
2/17/11: Updated cooling system page.
2/14/11: Updated flight testing page.
11/28/08: Installed custom aluminum header tank
10/25/08: MT prop installation begins.
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(most of the photos on this website are linked to larger files or other websites. Click the image to follow the link)