History of how this all started

In 1983 I saw my first Glasair. It was during my last year of high school when my brother and I took a trip 60 miles north of Seattle to the Stoddard-Hamilton factory in Arlington Washington so as to take a look at a new and exciting airplane that the magazines were writing about. I am not sure what the people at Stoddard-Hamilton thought about a pair of kids on their door step wanting a tour of the place and to see the airplanes. Stoddard-Hamilton had just moved from their humble beginnings at the "pig farm" to their current home at Arlington airport a few months earlier and they where proud to show off this new home as well as their airplanes. They had just finished their conversion of the original tail dragger model to a retractable version. The magazines at the time had rave reviews with lots of articles about this new model. It was bewildering to think that anybody could build and fly their own airplane. Having not yet finished school it was all a dream for me.

For 14 years the thought of owning or building an airplane only occasionally crossed my mind. Until recently the thought never really was given serious consideration. However, as anyone who rents airplanes can testify, renting has its limitations and frustrations. It seems that every time I wanted to fly everybody else has the same idea. This of course meant there were no airplanes available for use. Scheduling a week in advance was cutting down on the impulse flying. Having a choice of a number of aircraft (8-10) at the flying club it was a battle to avoid getting stuck with the least desirable, Cessna 4ML, commonly known by the nickname of 4 Massive Leaks, not a bad airplane, but you get the idea. Working at Boeing within the Flight Test organization has also given me some insight into the process of aircraft design and manufacture. Given this opportunity to see how airplanes are put together I could see that there where no major mystery to it, and maybe I could build one. The last event that convinced me may have been my involvement in sports car road racing. Having built and raced my own race cars provided some confidence in my fabrication abilities. It also gave me a taste of the great sense of satisfaction that comes from building something that had a fair amount of complexity to it. All of this led to the thought that it would be nice if I had an airplane of my own and perhaps I could even build it. So the search for an airplane started.

Now the question became do I buy a used factory airplane or build a kit airplane? Or maybe the question is, what factory airplane has the combination of good performance and is reasonably priced? Well I looked at Piper Arrows, Cessna Cardinals, Mooney’s 20 series, and others. There just seemed like there should be more available for the money. On the kit side of the equation it was narrowed to offerings from Stoddard-Hamilton or Lancair. The Glasair Super II RG quickly became the first choice. Reasonably priced, comfortable, aerobatic capable, handles well both at both high and low speeds and the design has been proven over many years. Having the factory just an hours drive away doesn't hurt either.

My first demo flight in a Glasair occurred on December 6, 1997 and it was an eye opener. It was fast, comfortable, well mannered, and I found that I could handle it without a problem. I had to fly it again. My second flight in January ,1998 was all the reassurance that was needed that this was the airplane for me. It is hard to describe but I just had to build and fly one.

I ordered the complete kit from the factory during the first quarter of 1998 and took delivery at the end of May. The garage and family room of my home in Renton, Washington was about to become my own factory!


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