By lex, on November 22nd, 2010
Glasair’s turbo charged Sportsman can be fabricated in two weeks, if you travel to their factory floor and dedicate yourself to the task:
Glasair knew much of the time spent building an airplane isn’t actually spent building an airplane. A lot of it is spent tracking down tools, searching for parts and trying to make heads or tails of the instruction manual. If it could shave a lot of that time out of the process and still let customers do the heavy lifting, it could stay within the 51 percent rule.
“We figure people are about 20 percent efficient at home,” says Scott Taylor, operations manager at Glasair. “Here we’re about 85 percent efficient.”
Taylor says the typical builder follows what he calls the “lights on, lights off” way of building. From the time he turns on the lights in the garage until the time they’re turned off, a builder might spend eight hours on any given Saturday working on their plane. But that time will include making a trip to the hardware store, searching for that half-inch socket, building a jig to fabricate a part, or simply shooting the breeze with a fellow pilot over lunch.
There’s nothing wrong with any of this, and for many builders it’s part of the fun — unless you’re trying to finish your plane in a reasonable amount of time.
“Going and buying the tool, building the jig — it’s all non-essential parts of the 51 percent rule,” Taylor says. “We can do all that.”
You’ll also need to cut a check for a cool $200k. Because all you need to fly is airspeed and money.