August 1, 2014 - Glasair Aviation brought both tailwheel and tricycle versions of its new Sportsman Diesel to Oshkosh for the first time this year.
The tricycle version is on static display during AirVenture at Glasair booths 253-254 on Celebration Way, while the taildragger is parked in Homebuilts near the Brown Arch.
AirVenture Today took a demonstration flight with test pilot Ben Rauk on Friday morning.
What makes this airplane different from other Glasairs? What does it have more of than others? Well, first we have to say what it has less of: less strong engine under the cowling, less levers in the cockpit, and less fuel burn (Jet A) in flight.
On a humid AirVenture morning the engine started easily, and its vibration level was in all flight phases exceptionally low. The Continental CD-100/155 (previously Centurion 2.0s) is rated at 155 hp using a single-stage, exhaust-driven turbocharger. Full authority digital engine control (FADEC) allows the pilot to set maximum power anytime full power is required, without worrying about over-boosting the engine—and what a delight, you can read the power setting percentage on the engine instrument together with a welcome low fuel consumption.
Fine, fine, you could say, but how does this Sportsman Diesel fly? It flies great. It is a real Sportsman; one that you will love for cruising and covering long distances. As in all diesel installations, there are gains and drawbacks. The engine weighs more, and so does the fuel.
At about 60 percent power, the carbon Sportsman Diesel burns 4.9 gph. With full tanks (50 gallons), this Sportsman becomes a 10-hour traveling machine, including one-hour reserve, carrying about 700 pounds of payload.
The versatility and payload of the Sportsman are available now in the diesel version as well as in its Lycoming- and Superior-powered counterparts with 180/210 hp, respectively.
At lower altitudes, the less available power affects takeoff run and climb rate. The turbocharged airplane climbs at about 900 fpm up to 10,000 feet at full power and then begins to drop off. At maximum power at 9,500 feet, the speed is, according to the manufacturer, just below 140 KTAS with a fuel burn of 8.8 gph.
Rauk says the 155-hp diesel starts to outperform the 180-hp gasoline engine at 3,000 feet and the 210-hp at 6,500 feet.
The Diesel Glasair will be available though the company’s Two Weeks To Taxi program, with price starting at $249,000.