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Glasair II Builder Flies England to OSH
His second homebuilt
By Nyreesha Williams-Torrence
Geoff Lewis had one thing on his mind as he flew his homebuilt Glasair, G-LASR, the 20 hours from his home in Heswall, England to Wisconsin for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: Get here and beat any bad weather.
Concerned that he wouldn’t make it all the way to Oshkosh on the fuel his airplane is capable of holding, Lewis decided to build an additional fuel tank for the trip. Which, if necessary, would increase his range by 400-450 miles.
“Essentially it’s a fiberglass fuel tank that holds about 90 liters [or about 24 gallons],” Lewis said. “Although I didn’t use the tank, I only had about 20 or 30 liters left in the airplane when I landed at Sondrestrom,” Greenland.
“In fact, when I left Iceland, I was going to Kulusuk on the east coast of Greenland, and [the weather] was kind of okay, but when I got to Kulusuk it was 100 meters in fog and unlikely to improve. So I had to cross Greenland to land at Sondrestrom on the west side. If I wouldn’t have been able to get in there, I would’ve had to ditch without the comfort of that tank on the passenger seat. But it would’ve allowed me to continue on to Canada if necessary.”
G-LASR, a Glasair II-SRG (sinlge-engine, retracable) is the second plane Lewis has built. It’s a project he says he took on at his wife’s request.
“It was my wife’s decision really,” he said. “I built a Lancair, and when I finished it I was getting under her feet, so she said ‘for God’s sake build another airplane and get from underneath my feet.’”
This is Lewis’ second-ever trip to Oshkosh and first in 25 years. He doesn’t remember much about that first trip but he’s excited to take in everything AirVenture has to offer this year.
“It’s the biggest show in the world,” Lewis said. “Having built your own airplane, it’s nice to actually fly the 3,000-odd miles to see it and enjoy it.”
In 1980, Glasair Aviation became the first company to offer pre-molded composite airplane kits, which drastically simplified the building process. The fuselage, wing, cowling, and tail feathers were already fabricated in two halves. The only thing left for the builder to do was install ribs or buckheads and seam the two halves together.
Glasair says it is now one of the largest, most well established kitplane manufacturers in the world, with more than 2,500 kits in the field and some 1,200 aircraft flying.