Merlin LSA Takes First Flight

Arlington, WA – After months of careful preparation, Glasair Aviation’s new light sport aircraft, Merlin, took its first flight through the skies above Arlington Municipal Airport Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

Following detailed validation testing, including engine run-up, high-speed taxi, and ground roll lift off, the team at Glasair stood back and watched as Merlin departed the surface of runway 34 with test-pilot Grant Smith at the controls. The flight lasted fifty-seven minutes, as Smith took the plane through a full test flight profile that included validating the engine’s reliability, exploring flight control characteristics in flight and conducting standard flight maneuvers.


“While nothing can replace the sheer wonder of witnessing the birth of a child, the introduction and maiden flight of a new airplane design is a close second!” Glasair Development Manager Ted Setzer said. “The ‘parents’ were all there to witness it, including the Glasair Aviation’s flight designer engineer, Chuck Hautamaki, and the entire Glasair Aviation team.  Seeing the joy and exhilaration on everyone’s faces was as satisfying as hearing the test pilot Grant Smith’s, positive comments as he emerged from the cockpit.”

Flight testing will continue throughout the coming weeks as Glasair celebrates this milestone in the company’s history.

Merlin is a composite high-wing, tricycle gear aircraft designed to meet LSA certification requirements and based upon ASTM standards.  It is fitted with a Rotax 912iS engine and Dynon’s Skyview glass-panel avionics. Glasair also designed the Merlin to utilize the optional BRS parachute system for added pilot safety. The SLSA will also be the company’s first certified aircraft.


“Our goal was to design an LSA with exceptional flying characteristics, performance, great visibility, aesthetically pleasing lines with easy access,” Chief Engineer Chuck Hautamaki said.

The Merlin’s 45” wide cockpit offers very comfortable side-by-side seating and outstanding forward and side visibility and sports one of the largest windshields in the entire LSA fleet. Designed and built with the same quality and care as the other Glasair models, Merlin will provide pilots with a high-quality option in this market segment.

“The Merlin LSA fits perfectly into our product line, rounding out a rich history of successful product launches that started in 1980 with the revolutionary Glasair,” Setzer said.

Glasair Aviation was founded in 1979 (as Stoddard-Hamilton Aircraft) and has been a world leader in kit-plane manufacturing for 35 years.

Test Pilot Grant Smith
Ted Setzer and Grant Smith after Merlin’s first flight.


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