Stoddard Hamilton SH-2 Glasair
Designed in 1976 and first built in 1979, the Glasair is an all-composite, side-by-side two-place airplane which makes use of female molds to fabricate kit parts. The Glasair is constructed from preformed composite shells provided by Stoddard Hamilton Aircraft. Such a technique offers structural integrity without use of steel tubes or aluminum. A one-piece wing was designed to take advantage of skin strength without joints. A one-piece spar is made in a mold at the factory out of unidirectional glass for spar caps and bidirectional glass on a 45-degree bias for the shear webs. This is then bonded into the lower wing shell to save amateur builders time. The fuselage is built from three main pieces and requires no jigging but only three bulkheads, the firewall, seatback and a small aft bulkhead. The landing gear legs are pressure-molded unidirectional glass. A 160-hp version can also be built.
Tom Hamilton began flight testing the Glasair TD in 1979. Originally powered by a 115 h.p. Lycoming O-235 powerplant, the TD prototype featured conventional landing gear and a gross weight of 1,600 lbs.
Glasair debuted at the EAA Convention in Oshkosh 1980 with the first premolded composite kit aircraft ever offered. All the major airframe components pieces such as the fuselage, wing, cowling, and tail feathers were already fabricated in two halves. All the builder needed to do was install the ribs or bulkheads and seam the halves together. All the parts came direct from the factory with a mirror-smooth gel coated finish. Thus, the Glasair kit offered tremendous time savings compared to the scratch-built projects that were then available.
In addition, the production kits featured a 3" higher canopy for improved cockpit comfort and visibility, as well as the more powerful 160 h.p. Lycoming O-320 engine. 150 builders in 1980 alone ordered the Glasair as their kitplane. The Glasair, powered by a Lycoming 0-320, returned a cruise speed of 221 mph at 75 per cent power. Winning the EAA's prestigious "Outstanding Aircraft Design" Award in 1981, it was only a short time before Stoddard-Hamilton captured a large share of the GRP kitset market.
Units delivered to June 1981: 78. Price 1982: $8,600 (Excludes engine).
The retractable tricycle gear Glasair RG was introduced in 1983, and at the same time, kit completeness for both the RG and the TD was greatly improved. The introduction of prefabricated rudder pedal assemblies, aileron and elevator bellcranks, control stick yokes and various other metal parts completely eliminated the need for welding or complex metalworking skills on the part of the Glasair builder. The retractable undercarriage version has a 1.5 square foot frontal area and 234 mph cruise on 160 hp.
Apart from the undercarriage, the TD and RG models are otherwise fairly identical, the latter naturally featuring the higher performance.
In 1984, working from a new 80,000 square foot factory, the company produces 3 Glasair kits a week. More than 600 kits had already been sold.
The fixed tricycle gear Glasair FT was developed in 1984. Making the new landing gear retrofittable to existing TDs, S-H converted the original production prototype, N89SH, to the new gear configuration. The new FT gave up only 2 m.p.h. of speed to the tail dragger.
With some 700 Glasair kits in the field in 1986, enter the Glasair II, which was simultaneously introduced in TD, FT and RG models. The main areas of improvement over the original Glasair I centered on cockpit ergonomics and labor savings. A complete retooling of most of the composite parts resulted in an additional 3" of cabin width and 1-1/2" of cabin height.
These changes also resulted in a larger baggage compartment. S-H’s labor-saving campaign resulted in, among other things, premolded mounting joggles for such components as the wingtip fairings, cowling, and so on; factory-made cutouts for the canopies and windshield; and premolded scribe lines in parts that required builder cutting. The end result was a more comfortable, more practical, better engineered aircraft that was more enjoyable to build as well as to fly.
In 1989 the Glasair II-S models were introduced — ‘S’ for stretched. The original II fuselage was lengthened by 14", providing easier installation of the more powerful 180 and 200 h.p. engines builders were installing, as well as improving the appearance of the aircraft.
As before, tail dragger, fixed tricycle and retractable tricycle gear were all offered on the II-S. 1989 also marked the founding of Stoddard International, Inc., a sister company organized to produce composite parts for the Boeing Company.
Original manufacturer of the Glasair and Glastar, Stoddard Hamilton closed its doors in 2000 after more than 20 years in business. Both aircraft types were split from the Stoddard Hamilton camp when the closure occurred.
Thomas W. Wathen, former Chairman and CEO of Pinkerton's, Inc., purchased the assets of Stoddard-Hamilton and AADI and formed Glasair Aviation, LLC in 2001 for the continued manufacturing and sale of both the Glasair and Glastar product lines.
New owner Thomas Walthem was committed to getting all three kits back into production. He initially purchased the Glasair side of the business but after finding the overheads of the line were not self supporting approached Arlington Aircraft Development Inc (AADI) to purchase the GlaStar line. As a single entity, the Glasair and Glastar kit aircraft under the banner of New Glasair/GlaStar.
In 2009 produces kits to construct the very popular Glasair in various models.
Engine 150-160hp Lyco-mlng
Gross Wt. 1500 lb
Empty Wt. 910 lb
Fuel capacity 42 USG
Top speed 230 mph
Cruise 221 mph
Stall 57 mph
Climb rate 1700 fpm
Takeoff run 450 ft
Landing roll 640 ft
SH-2 Glasair TD
Engine: Lycoming O-320-E2D
Cruise: 115 kt
Engine 150-160hp Lyco-mlng
Gross Wt. 1800 lb
Empty Wt. 1100 lb
Fuel capacity 42 USG
Top speed 243 mph
Cruise 233 mph
Stall 59 mph
Climb rate 2100 fpm
Takeoff run 375 ft
Landing roll 650 ft