Glasair LSA Being Built, Should Fly Soon

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Glasair says it will fly its new S-LSA trainer by early 2015 and expects to have the aircraft on display at Sun 'n Fun next April. The mockup was displayed at SnF last April.  Nick Frisch, Glasair's director of sales and marketing, told AVweb in a podcast interview at Flying Aviation Expo in Palm Springs the Merlin is aimed at the "Skycatcher market" but offers some significant improvements on Cessna's abandoned foray into Light Sport. Frisch said the Merlin will carry two people with full fuel and have a conventional strutted high-wing design with a Rotax engine and comfortable cabin. 

But to survive the rigors of the training market, Frisch said the Merlin will be built to take the strain of "student landings" and also be easy to maintain and inspect. The projected price for a nicely equipped Merlin is $139,000 and it's part of Glasair's effort to improve student retention in flight training. Frisch, who has a background in flight training, said a solid, low-cost new trainer used in a program that stresses getting students through the program in a reasonable time should help increase the success rate. Currently only one in five new students gets certificated and his goal is to double that rate.