Glasair Launches New LSA, Brings Diesel to Sportsman

** Glasair**

Arlington, Washington-based Glasair is taking advantage of the investment funds made available by its Chinese owners, Jilin Hanxing Group, by launching two new products, namely a new two-seat LSA and a diesel-powered version of the popular Glasair Sportsman.

I took a seat in the mockup of what Glasair has named the Merlin LSA at the company's booth at Sun 'n Fun. With gull-wing-style doors and a control stick that protrudes from underneath the panel, the Merlin has some similarities to Cessna's recently retired SkyCatcher. However, the cabin felt roomier in the Merlin and its panel setup was nicely laid out with related switches and buttons grouped in certain areas. Glasair's Scott Taylor said the flap switch will be on the control stick along with the electric trim and push to talk.

The company plans to take the Merlin, which will be powered by a Rotax 912iS, to the skies for the first time in June with first deliveries expected by the end of the year. The Glasair Merlin will sell for $149,000, a price that includes one Dynon's SkyView Touch screen. The only options are a second SkyView Touch screen with an autopilot for an additional $10,000 and a parachute, which would also add $10,000 to the purchase price.

But the Merlin is not the only new product at Glasair's booth. The company has opted to add the Centurion 2.0 diesel engine with Hartzell's three-blade Bantam propeller to its four-seat Sportsman quick-build kit airplane. Taylor said the airplane is expected to perform like the 180-horsepower version of the Sportsman. However, the fuel burn is expected to be between five and six gallons per hour rather than 10 or more gallons per hour in the Avgas-burning model.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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