Fridays are typically good days – but throw in a tour of the Glasair factory in Arlington, WA with a group of airplane nerds, and a good day becomes a great day. Such was today, when about a dozen of us in the BCnF team were treated to a tour of the factory from where our kit plane will come. Read on about our field trip after the break.
We were meeting with Harry DeLong who is Glasair’s head of sales and flight demonstration. He has been with the company since 1995 when he was building his own airplane, so his knowledge of the company and the product are very through. It was perfect since he would be our tour guide for the afternoon. After a properly Japanese style exchange of business cards, we were off.
First on the agenda was the order fulfillment area of the warehouse. Here all of the parts are put into bags according to the build step, so if you’re building a wheel faring for example, you might open a bag with some nuts and bolts, the faring halves, some brackets, etc.
Fuselage Layup Tool
Next, we looked at the composite layup and finishing stations. Here, fiberglass is imbedded in a room-temperature curing resin matrix. Along the way were many different parts for the different models Glasair makes, including cowling halves, a lower wing and spar, and a few different panels. It was exciting to think some of these parts may be included in our kit and eventually find their home in our airplane.
While we are building the Glasair SII, a low wing airplane, Glasair also makes the Sportsman, a high-wing and steel frame airplane. So we visited the metal shop. While they do not perform machining at this site, they do cut, finish and weld the metal components together.
The Glasair Hangar
Finally, was a trip to the Glasair hangar. The hangar itself is attached to factory, located on the East side of Arlington Municipal Airport. There a Sportsman and an SII (our plane!) were being worked on. The SII is a project plane for the folks working at Glasair to work on during their down time. Since ours will not be in this state of completion for many months and many hours of work, it was very cool to see one almost done. It’s pretty easy to get excited about the project and the work ahead of us.