Video: Turbo LS1 Powers Home-Built Glasair Airplane

Yeah boy! Check out those 'spinnaz'...

It’s one thing to build your own car, but can you fathom just how much guts it would take to build an LSX powered craft in your own shop – with your own two hands – that can effortlessly send you hurtling 20,000 feet in the air at speeds of well over 300 MPH? I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t have that kind of faith in my mechanical abilities.

The fella in this video sure seems to have plenty confidence in his work, showing off his turbo LS1 powered personal aircraft for the camera. Last year we brought you a story about how LSX engines were even starting to find their way into “homebuilt” experimental aircraft, thanks in large part to a company called Geared Drives, out of Conroe, Texas. Geared Drives builds a custom “Propeller Speed Reduction Unit” (PSRU) specifically for LSX engines – which is pretty much a transmission that spins the propeller at the proper speed through a fully automatic centrifugal clutch system, much like the ones used on Top Fuel dragsters.

The plane featured in this video is reportedly a Glasair III “kit-plane”, which will set you back right around $60,000 for the complete set up from Glasair Aviation. The company states that the plane body is built to handle an astonishing positive 9 G’s, and owners have reported straight-line speeds in excess of 335 MPH. With the turbo hanging off the right bank of that LS1, it’s a safe bet that this particular Glasair should have no problem pushing right up to those limits… and well beyond.

Note for the tech-obsessed: You may have noticed the odd way the propeller blades appear “bent” in the video – this is from the “rolling shutter” effect common to cell phone cameras shooting video. See, ya learned something today!

About the author

Clifton Klaverweiden

Clifton has been a car fanatic since his late teens, when he started the restoration of his '67 Camaro. He considers himself a student of automotive science and technology, and particularly loves all things LSX. And, although he has an appreciation for everything, from imports to exotics, his true passion will always be for GM musclecars.
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