October 6, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Reno racer Jeff Lavelle set a new speed record during qualifications at the National Championship Air Races near Reno last month by flying the course at 357.683 mph.
Lavelle’s Glasair III is a factory-stock airplane powered by a twin turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540 engine developed by Grant Semanskee of Snohomish, Wash.
“Glasairs are known to be one of the best sport planes on the market—strong and fast—but I think it’s now clear to everyone that Glasairs are really fast.” Lavelle said after his recording-breaking flight. His race airplane is factory supported.
Lavelle flies year round for both business and pleasure. “The Glasair III is amazingly versatile,” Lavelle said. “It’s incredibly strong yet very comfortable. My turbo-III will climb at over 3,000 fpm and cruise at up to 340 mph. I don’t know of any other sport plane that does so many things as well as the Glasair III.”
The Glasair was the first pre-molded composite aircraft kit offered. More than 300 are flying in countries around the world.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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