Our 3rd aircraft is a 1999 Glastar, C-GSBS (Glastar #11) !
Since embarking on the Glastar search in early spring, a suitable aircraft has finally been successfully acquired.
After discovering 11 Glastars for sale over the last few months, and making several trips to see 5 of the better/closer ones including to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alberta, we got lucky and found a very nice one already in Canada in our own back yard, Pitt Meadows. Through a stroke of good luck, we connected with Ken Smith of Upper Valley Aviation after he was contacted to sell one for the owner. This was fortunate for us because the good ones sell fast (sometimes in less than 24 hrs) and often to locals before they even hit the main stream advertising. After competing for early access to far away airplanes, finally the tables had turned and now we were the ones with the “local advantage”. We were determined to not lose that advantage. An immediate sneak peak was arranged in Pitt Meadows and attended by Chris, Adrian and Bevan despite the owner being away on vacation followed by a more thorough look by an AME assisted by myself (Bevan). The idea was to rule out any likely surprises. While it is not a perfect airplane (none are) it was determined that the negative details were minor and easily corrected. A dialogue to buy was initiated and after a few days of negotiations, a price was determined and in 2 weeks since learning of this great opportunity, the deal was finalized with the aircraft being delivered to YXX just before sunset on Sept 5th.
The Glastar is an amateur-built, two seat sport plane. This one has a power/weight ratio approximately 20% higher than our other aircraft and with the constant speed propeller, all the power is available on the takeoff roll and climb out unlike our other aircraft. I think you will find this to be a sporty, slightly different, and fun to fly aircraft. We expect/hope it to cost less to operate despite the same sized engine (fuel/hr is not the only driver of operating cost) as the other aircraft in the fleet. If we can keep the maintenance/repair costs down, and learn to operate it efficiently and to a high standard of proficiency (practice practice practice), I believe we can lower our hourly costs. We should try our best anyway. Following are some specifics for this particular Glastar.
Airframe total time is approximately 962+ hours
Originally built (completed) 1999
Lycoming O-360-A1F6 (180hp)
Hartzell Constant speed propeller
Standard 6-pack instruments, plus manifold pressure, Tachometer, oil temp/press etc
Apollo SL10 audio panel
Apollo GX65 GPS/Comm
Bendix/King mode C transponder
S-Tech 2-axis auto-pilot
JPI engine monitor
Nice condition external paint and interior leather,
Landing light, nav lights, strobe lights
Heated pitot tube
Currently, our Glastar has oversized (draggy and heavy) tires, and heavier nose gear strut. Better speed, and economy can be had with standard sized tires and wheel pants. I don’t have performance numbers as I’ve not flown it enough in this configuration to determine. Also, the large draggy tires and free castoring nosewheel make it quite difficult to push backward as into the Hangar. It’s worse if it’s up hill as our Hangar is. So a word of caution, DO NOT take it out of the Hangar if you do not have 1 or 2 helpers to push it back in. One to operate the tow bar, two to push. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PUSH OR PULL ON ANY PART OF A CONSTANT SPEED PROPELLER as the large bearing races could be damaged. Since two helpers will be rare when there’s only one passenger seat, the hanger winch system is being repaired. Considering the wing span (similar to our Cessna), there’s not much room on either side to clear the Hangar doors even when they’re fully open. Therefore extreme care must be taken or damage may result.
Several things I like about this Glastar compared to all the others I looked at. This one appears very well constructed (the best actually) when looking at overall quality of metalwork, fibreglass work, rivetting and electrical wiring to name the key areas. The welded fuselage cage is factory welded (all Glastars are but other designs are not). I believe the fuselage halves were likely bonded together and mounted to the frame at the factory. This Glastar is in very nice overall condition, has a basic instrument panel (easy to work on/upgrade modular instrument panel), but has an added auto-pilot, has a good engine/prop combination making it a great platform to build on for the future. It could be enough fun, capability, and challenge as it is, but this aircraft design and this particular example should be easy to maintain and upgrade if desired. I believe we should do our very best to learn to fly this aircraft to the very best of our abilities so as to not cause it any damage. It was hard to buy a nice one and I don’t want to have to go through this again anytime soon. If you notice me taking any damage personally, you might understand why. Please treat her as she was your own when she’s in your care.
According to the factory, here’s some preliminary specs (to be confirmed):
VNE 162 Kts
VNO 144 kts
75% cruise, 145kts, but figure much less with the big fat tires
65% cruise, 138kts, but figure much less with the big fat tires
Vfe (flap extension) 75 kts
VS (stall no flaps at gross weight) 49 kts
VSO (stall with full flaps at gross weight) 43 kts
Max rate of climb at gross weight, 1500 fpm, probably less with the big fat tires
Service ceiling, 21,500 ft estimated
Main fuel tanks, 30.6 gal (27.6 useable)
Auxiliary fuel tanks, 20 gal (17.5 useable)
Total useable fuel, 45 gal
Max gross weight, 1960 lbs
Empty weight (according to available documentation) 1403 lb (to be confirmed)
Useful load, 557 lb with the big tires (to be confirmed),
Max baggage, 25O lb max BUT figure much less considering our currently empty weight and balance
Cabin width at hips, 44 inches
Cabin width at shoulders, 46 inches
I’d like to thank the following who spent considerable time and effort, support and knowledge to make help this endeavour successful.
Cheryl for allowing me to be away (physically and mentally) so often during this time.
– Bevan Tomm
Photo Credit: Calvin Owen Jones, www.image120.com