One month after gaining light sport aircraft (LSA) certification, Glasair is tweaking the design of the two-seat Merlin flight trainer to reduce weight and improve performance.

Five “beta” models are in production now with the improved Merlin design, which includes a slightly more contoured cowling and a reduced-weight airframe, says Dan Burwell, vice-president of operations for Arlington, Washington-based Glasair.

The design goal is to reduce the weight enough to add about 31kg (70lb) to the maximum payload, he adds. The extra payload would help Glasair accommodate a planned option for a ballistic recovery system.

“We have it pretty well dialed in,” Burwell says.

The first delivery to a customer is expected next year, he adds.