Sportsman TurboCarbon improves over the original version with
and a turbonormalized engine. Photo by Mariano Rosales
How do you improve on an aircraft design
popularized by builders and owners who swear by its rugged
characteristics, high utility, good performance, and solid reliability?
First, replace all of the components
previously made out of fiberglass—fuselage, cowling, doors, and
interior panels—with carbon fiber; then, stick a turbo-normalized
engine under the cowling.
Glasair Aviation announced the newest
member of its composite piston-engine aircraft family, the Sportsman TC,
or TurboCarbon, to enthusiastic crowds at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010.
And with those changes, of course it’s
Complete with carbon fiber components
from the cowling to the tail, it has been turning the heads of many who
have walked past its spot on Celebration Way.
“The average person who walks by the
Sportsman TC usually says, ‘Well that’s a pretty little airplane,’”
said Ted Setzer, manager of Glasair development.
“But once they get closer and look at
the performance numbers, they really can’t believe its capabilities.”
The use of carbon fiber components in the
Sportsman TC has resulted in a 40-pound weight reduction, but the plane
actually received a 150-pound bump in gross weight due to a few
“We did three things with the new
design: We increased the strength of the steel safety cage, wings, and
fuselage,” Setzer said.
“The use of carbon fiber and the
engineering changes have resulted in an additional 190 pounds of useful
The total useful load comes in at a
copious 1,200 pounds, enough to carry four passengers and a week’s
supply of food and camping gear, Setzer noted.
Pilots in high-terrain, mountainous
regions will appreciate the Sportsman TC’s 180-hp turbo-normalized
Lycoming IO-360 engine. Capable of making sea-level power to 20,000 feet
MSL, the turbo-normalizing improves climb and cruise all the way up to
its critical altitude.
“I fly to Alaska and around the Arctic
Circle periodically for trade shows, and the Sportsman TC has been a
fantastic airplane not only in terms of cruise speed, but also its
point-to-point capabilities,” Setzer said. “It has the ability to
land on glacier rivers and gravel bars, and can lift off in about 350
feet. Just going out and exploring in this plane makes you feel like
aviation’s version of Lewis and Clark.”
The Sportsman TC has a wide performance
envelope with a slow (50 mph) stall speed at full flaps, to a max cruise
speed of 190 mph at 85 percent power. It’s available as a trike and
taildragger, and it can be fitted with amphibious floats, as well as
31-inch bush wheels.
Setzer said the response to the Sportsman
TC at AirVenture 2010 has been phenomenal.
“Our customers are happy to see us
moving forward innovatively as a company,” he said. “And attendees
at this year’s event seem to be in a buying mood.
“We’ve sold several Sportsman TCs
already and have had a bundle of people who are on the edge buying one.”
To check out Glasair’s new Sportsman TC,
visit its display at Booth 253-254 along Celebration Way near AeroShell