As it turns out, rumors of the death of the Glasair I, Glasair II and Glasair III are greatly exaggerated. It is true that Stoddard-Hamilton, the original corporate owner of the entire Glasair line, marched into bankruptcy many years ago. However, Ian Baker, an aviation entrepreneur from Australia, has purchased the rights to the Glasair low wing designs from Glasair Aviation and is resurrecting them, with huge improvements. Ian’s company, Advanced-Aero Components, has years of experience fabricating and manufacturing aircraft components. The corporate decision to go all in with the classic Glasair models came as the result of an interesting history.
Ian Baker’s dad was a flying veterinarian in Australia (where professionals often had to cover hundreds of miles in the outback to serve their patients and clients). Ian grew up at the yoke of his father’s A-36 Bonanza. One day, Ian’s dad decided to build a fast airplane himself. Later, the Baker family took delivery of a Glasair II-RG kit, serial number 1095. Ian, then about 10 years old, pitched in with aircraft construction. He was about 14 when the plane was completed. It appears that Ian came by his skill in engineering and aviation fabrication honestly. Ian’s aero components business did so well he was able to fulfill a dream and purchase the rights to Glasair I, II and III, free and clear. His company carries no debt, which is sure to bolster financial stability in the risky kit aircraft business.
Advanced Aero Components is not simply selling old Glasair parts. They have taken the basic designs and improved them considerably with new, more aerodynamic and impact resistant windshields, redesigned cowlings and, most importantly, strengthened fuselages utilizing carbon fiber. Ian studied the basic fuselage structure and then modified the design with the use of carbon fiber to add torsional strength and better crashworthiness. This principle of safety cell technology is also used in the construction of Formula One race car chassis. Newly designed fowler flaps are projected to reduce stall speed on the new models to 54 knots.
Advanced Aero is already producing and stocking parts to support the legacy Glasair I, II and III models. The new and improved aircraft are designated the G2 and the G3, the G3 having more carbon fiber components than the G2. These aircraft are designed to utilize either of three Lycoming engines, the YIO-360, YIO-390 or the YIO-540. There will also be an option for an Allison Rolls Royce-M250 gas turbine engine, projected to split the sky at 290 KIAS. The YIO-540 option is projected to have a range of 1500 miles.
Airventure 2019 has been the rollout of these new and improved designs. Pilots looking for well engineered kits and the promise of joining the 300 mph club are going to be happy.