Kitplane Built In 18 Days -- Legally
Building an airplane is often a years-long commitment but Marc Cook took less than three weeks to take a Glasair Sportsman from the crate to the sky. The editor in chief of our sister publication Kitplanes was the prototype builder for Glasair's new "Two Weeks To Taxi" program that will be introduced at Sun 'n Fun next month. First customers will go through starting next fall. Cook, who took three years to build his last plane, a Pulsar, said the Sportsman process was "an eye-opener." Working eight hours a day, five days a week, Cook started on the four-place plane on Jan. 9, finished it Jan. 27 and flew it for the first time Jan. 31. "It flies beautifully," he told AVweb. Perhaps more important, Cook says he knows it's perfectly straight, properly built and safe. Cook will chronicle the building process in a series of stories in Kitplanes that starts in the August issue. Cook said the key to the speedy build time and keeping the process within the 51-percent rule is putting the resources of a factory setting at the disposal of the builder. "This program is designed to maximize the builder's time," he said. That means all preparation work, such as organizing the tools and laying out the parts, is done for the builder by factory staff. The builder need only concern him- or herself with the actual assembly of the aircraft. "It's dramatically distilled time," he said. Two staff members, each very experienced in construction of this airplane, helped through the whole process. Cook said he learned in fine detail what makes his plane work and flies it with "a very high confidence level." FAA inspectors reviewed the process and said it meets the 51-percent rule.