Glasair Aviation has announced that production of the Sportsman kit will be moving from its ancestral home in Arlington, Washington, to Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, China. Kits already on order will be completed before the move but no additional kit orders are being taken. Also, according to the company, parts orders placed before the end of July will be fulfilled from the U.S., while those placed afterward will be shipped from China once the facility is up and running. The estimated timeframe for that is two years, according to the company.
The company is making moves to give existing Sportsman (and GlaStar) builders and owners some support. Some assets will be maintained in the U.S., including paperwork that would allow the company to issue bills of sale for those builders who may have lost them. And they’re working on developing new molds for consumable composites—wingtips, cowlings, other fairings, but not the main fuselage—to help support airplanes under construction or already flying. As with most homebuilts, the majority of the common wear items in the GlaStar or Sportsman are off-the-shelf pieces and other model-specific parts (such as landing gear legs) were produced by third-party vendors who are still in business.
Glasair, which has been Chinese owned since 2012, suffered significant setbacks in 2020 as the pandemic forced the Two Weeks to Taxi program to be suspended, while supply-chain issues after that hampered the company’s recovery.