It's been nearly one year since Glasair Aviation announced its “Two Weeks to Taxi program”... and company representatives say they've been surprised by the response. When the program started, company officials told ANN they expected a rush of aircraft builders who were excited about compressing the typical multi-year building time into just weeks.
But to their surprise, the vast of majority of pilots who enrolled in the Glasair program had never built an airplane in their lives. They came not only for the building experience -- but also because the program gave them more airplane, for a lot less money.
"The Sportsman’s performance literally blows its certified competitors away," says Two Weeks to Taxi graduate and first time builder John Stroud. "I get the speed and performance of airplanes that typically cost a whole lot more money. Now, every take off I almost chuckle!"
Glasair’s Two Weeks to Taxi Program allows even a novice builder to step into a high tech ‘operating room,’ designed and equipped with virtually everything required to turn out a Sportsman aircraft in two weeks. Accompanying each builder is a team of factory personnel specially trained to insure safety, a timely completion, and full compliance with the FAA’s 51% rule.
"The guys started me off slow and they didn’t get upset when I screwed up. The quality and helpfulness of the Glasair people was uniformly outstanding," says Montanan Tom Kuffel, also a first time builder. He had looked at a variety of other aircraft to purchase, but ultimately selected the Sportsman because of its Two Weeks to Taxi Program. "This revolutionizes the industry!" Kuffel says. He even took his wife Betty along to help him build his Sportsman. "It was just as gratifying an experience for her as it was for me. She’s much more excited about flying now."
Richard Eastman is a high time California pilot who began shopping for an airplane. For business trips he was attracted to the speed of the Cirrus, but for his fun trips to Baja, Mexico and British Columbia, the Cessna 180 made more sense. Then he discovered the Sportsman. Though he had never built an airplane in his life, he enrolled in the Two Weeks to Taxi program. And like almost all of the pilots who’ve completed the course, Eastman came away with not only a great airplane, but a whole lot more than he’d bargained for... something that only a fellow aircraft builder might understand.
"The Two Weeks to Taxi experience was one of the highlights of my life," Eastman now says. "I learned things about airplanes that I’d never understood before even after 12,000 hours of flying. Or even thought I needed to know. I learned enough to look intelligently at airplanes. I now know what it is critical in an airplane and what is not. I came away with that -- more than that."
"The whole Two Weeks to Taxi process transformed me in many ways," John Stroud says. "I would rank it up there with a birth of a kid in terms of the power of the experience. I am absolutely confident that I am a better aircraft owner and better pilot because of the program." Stroud grins. "I know I got twice the airplane. And by building it myself, I got it at half the price!"