Written by by Greg and Sue Prentiss
If I was writing a newspaper headline it would probably read: Hammer Brothers deliver ANOTHER one—two punch for Glasair at AirVenture 2007. A knock-out line to say the least. Actually the Hammer brothers, Steve of Peachtree City, GA and Bruce of Layfette, LA finished first and second in the Formula F/X class of the 2007 AirVenture Cup Race. The race, 500 miles long is held each year at the beginning of “Oshkosh”. It begins at Dayton, OH, goes to Kankakee, IL, turns at Rockford, IL and finishes at Lomira, WI. And, this isn’t the first time that they have finished first and second. They’ve done it before.
Steve and Bruce both built Glasair I tail-draggers. Steve’s was first with a seven year build time, finished 1991. Bruce’s was second with a three year build time, first flight 1997. They are both basically stock airplanes with Lycoming O-360 engines. They play with propellers a bit and Steve runs his engine at 3,000 RPM while Bruce holds his to 2600. They consider the AirVenture Cup a Gentlemen’s (Gentlewomen’s) race as it is reasonably easy on the equipment. They use these machines in everyday flying and have traveled from Alaska to Key West with them. Bruce also has another noteworthy accomplishment to talk about. In March of 2006, he set a Trans-Continental speed record in the C1B weight class (1100-2105 lb) flying from San Diego to Jacksonville in a time of 8 hours, 5 minutes and 21 seconds for an average speed of 258.27 mph. After our interview, Bruce told me in confidence that he let Steve win every now and then because he’s his favorite brother. However, I haven’t gotten Steve’s take on that. What do you think Steve? A hearty “well done” to these two brothers: real gentlemen to say the least.
Over at the tent, Andrew Seefried had his 2003 Grand Champion Glasair III C-GGTM and was busy answering questions and pointing out the details of this beautiful craft. He had come down from Vancouver Island, Canada to assist the Glasair Aviation folks at the Show. While chatting, he mentioned that the only reason he was there was because he had always been treated extremely well by all of the Glasair folks, both now, and in the past. As we talked, he cast an eye towards the shiny red Sportsman on display beside his machine, and remarked that his wife was becoming a bit suspicious about the rather large garage he’s built on his new house. If he tackles one of those, there’ll another Grand Champion in the works.
Out in the Past Grand Champions row, I spied another Glasair III, N525LL. It was the 2006 winner built by Dave Lenz from Madison, WI and his brother Jim from Rochester, MN. Jim, made the short hop (at Glasair speeds) from Rochester over to AirVenture and was enjoying the show.
Further on down the line, I caught up with Harry Webber who had made the trek from Oxford, CT in his recently completed (Nov 2005) excellently equipped Glasair III N98HW. Harry survived seven years in the fiberglass, resin and dust and the quality shows.
Getting an accurate count on the number of Glasairs was hard but a guess would put the number at 25-30. They ranged from Glasair Is and Glasair IIs in all the various versions to the fine machine of Dr. Bill Billups, Jr. N189WB that I believe has passed the 2000 hour mark. There was even a Rolls Royce, turbine equipped Glasair III, C-GMRL.
All in all, this year’s AirVenture was as good as it gets. Nice weather with just enough rain to keep the dust down. And, to wrap it up, at the Awards tent, Michael Hodge of Roanoke, TX, picked up the Kit Built, Outstanding Workmanship Plaque for his Glasair III, N8MH. It goes to show, Glasairs are still in the running when it comes to fine kit built aircraft.