Scope of our
Lets Get Started
The Bottom Line
|At Great Lakes Aero
- Make Aircraft Windshields and windows for
General Aviation - its what we do
- Build molds and dies on site.
- Modify customer supplied dies as per customer
- Mill Edges of the parts
- Assemble Vent windows
- attach Fiberglass Rings to parts.
- Cast small urethane parts.
- Make Blown or Formed parts
- Make complicated parts from Acrylic, such as
Wing tip Lenses with good optical characteristics.
- Quickly get FAA/PMA for production parts.
In the past We have Made parts
- Aircraft - Mostly Non-Pressurized Part 23
Aircraft & part 25 aircraft
- Concept Car - Windshields, Windows, Custom
Tail light covers, headlight covers and custom transparent IP covers
for concept vehicles going back to the 70's.
- Race Car - Windshields, windows, headlight
covers, etc. We made many if not most of the GTP race car
windshields from the 80's and 90's and we also made the Rear quarter
windows and rear Window for Buick Regals that raced in NASCAR from the late 80's
- We have also made specialty parts for Pratt &
Miller, GM, Ford, Jaguar, Ferrari,
PPG, Panoz, Porsche and Lola race teams just to name a few.
- Custom Car Projects - Specialty Windows for
"Chop-Top" custom cars as an example.
- Classic car Reproduction Parts.
Corvette Convertible Hard Top rear window as an example
- Boat Windshields & Windows made from Acrylic.
- Motorcycle Windshields.
- Shallow Depth Submarine windows.
- Specialty custom Fish Tanks
- Other specialty projects using Acrylic (Plexiglass)
& Polycarbonate "Lexan".
Our customers realize that quality matters, and when
they get our parts, there should only be a minimum if any trimming to
install a window. Everyone knows that aircraft do vary from one
aircraft to another, even today most aircraft are hand built and hand
Aircraft manufacturers who buy from us demand the consistency and
quality that they themselves adhere to and only Great Lakes Aero
Products can supply. It is not just the materials we use, it is
our attention to detail and our willingness to make our parts right,
without skimping on quality. We work closely with our customers to
ensure that we make what they need, make it right, and keep costs down...
- Consistency - Shape AND trim.
Nothing is worse than not knowing what your going to get in your
next shipment. We strive for consistency with your project.
We guarantee that your parts MEET or EXCEED the specifications you supply.
- Optical quality second to none - our
skilled tool and die makers have more than than 40 years combined
experience. Only with good tools you get good results.
- Specifications - Most
Aircraft manufacturers require spec LP-391, if you require a
different spec let us know, some of the newer specs like the
ASTM-D4802 is basically the same as the LP-391 specification except
it is metric instead of English measurements. If your project requires specifications that
exceed the LP-391 or the ASTM specs our methods can achieve that by hand
selecting materials to make your parts.
Our unique inspection process' allows us to inspect and make parts
that will exceed your expectations, all within a cost effective
Blown parts vs Formed Parts
At Great Lakes Aero Products we make basically
three different styles of window. Those that are Flat, parts
that are "Free-Blown" and others that are molded.
Flat parts are just that, Flat, there is no
thermal forming involved.
For parts that require thermal forming, we
prefer to make parts using a mold. Our engineers and
fabricators are able to make superior parts using molds to make a
consistent, quality part. We have developed systems that by molding
our parts we are able to achieve a level of clarity that other
manufacturers are only able to achieve by free blowing.
This gives us a distinct advantage when it comes time to install one
of our parts because each part is more consistent when comparing it to
Parts that are Free Blown generally look good
optically, however there are some drawbacks to free blowing a part.
The most obvious problem that arises is the risk of getting
parts that are misshapen. If blown incorrectly parts are inconsistent and fitment and some cosmetic issues
arise. We have also found that some of our competitors that
make blown parts create distortions because of their process'.
However there are some parts are impossible to Mold form, such as
our Bubble or "Domed" Door Windows for many Single Engine Cessna
models. There we have to blow the parts in order to get
the correct shape.
INCORRECT SHAPE FROM BLOWING A
Notice the bulge at the top
of this Beechcraft Windshield. This part
was obviously blown as the contour of the windshield does not
fit the top of the aircraft fuselage.
In contrast the top of this
windshield has the correct contour. This Windshield is
also installed on the same model Beechcraft as the windshield to
the left. However it appears that this this windshield was
formed on a mold to get the correct shape.
SHAPE OF THE WINDSHIELD
Great Lakes Aero Products uses superior
techniques for creating consistency over our competitors when
milling the edges of windows. Our superior methods are
more difficult to perform and set up, but the results are
astoundingly superior to the methods the competition uses.
Where the competition struggles to make a part that is consistent,
Great Lakes Aero Products is able to make parts with a milled edge
that is consistent and repeatable.
Great Lakes Aero Products has developed methods of
milling windows which is specifically designed for a tolerance specific
fit and finish that aircraft manufacturers require. Our methods
allow us to make parts that are far superior to traditional milling
methods which allow us to even mill a taper into the edge of the part
and still be cost effective.
When you are a customer, we are partners...
- You specialize in making aircraft, Let us
specialize in making your Windshields, Windows, Landing light
& wing tip Lenses. It is easy to get wrapped up into making all
of your parts as has been done for decades by aircraft
manufacturers. Some of our manufacturer partners were unable to get
the quality materials they needed to make their parts to the
specifications they required. Our purchasing power
allows us to use a large volume of materials and hand select
materials for your project. Making us the perfect fit into
almost any production scenario...
- Let us work with you on your projects - Our ability to make you the parts you need is
determined on your ability to communicate to us your needs. If
you have a sample of what you want, or if you have a splash from
your aircraft, we can make dies from those to give you the best
possible parts. If you have dies that you want us to use, we
can do that too.
- We work very close with the FAA, so acquiring
new PMA's is relatively fast. If you need to rush a change
into production and do not have time to wait for your PMA to come
back with your change, GLAP may be able to help... This also allows
us to make special parts for customer requests, such as observation
windows or photography ports in windows.
- You hire us to do your windows because you want a quality part.
Its a simple equation, the less time you spend inspecting and
installing our parts
the more money you save, the less frustration you have...
Whether you manufacture 5 aircraft or 1,000 aircraft a year,
Great Lakes Aero Products is able to meet most aircraft manufacturers
windshield and window needs, without delays that are within our control. If you
have 10 different aircraft models or just one model, our parts
will exceed your expectations...
- Timely shipments are critical, especially
when you are working with Right On Time inventories. Great
Lakes Aero Products works closely with all manufacturers to make
shipments are on time. Purchase orders that cover several
shipments are the easiest and most reliable method for higher
production tc/pc holders.
- Being based in Michigan we have people that
have worked in the Automotive industry and are knowledgeable about
mass production. Today automobile factories produce about the
same number of cars in one day that even the largest aviation
manufacturers are making in a year. Our expertise and
understanding of these manufacturing methods used by automobile
manufacturers enables us to set up and implement high production
models to meet virtually any need without sacrificing quality.
- According to the new aircraft sales
information compiled by GAMA, since 2003
Great Lakes Aero Products is the single largest
independent manufacturer of Windshields and windows for new
piston aircraft. Since 2003 Great Lakes Aero Products has supplied approximately
one (1) of every three (3) new GA Piston aircraft manufactured
|We Need - at least ONE of the following
to make a first article
- A SUPPLIED MOLD is obviously the
cheapest and most cost effective means to getting your parts made.
If the mold is made correctly it will also reduce the time for a
first article. At your option we are able to modify and
tweak your mold to get superior parts. Call us to get
specifications of the materials we recommend as not all techniques
- A SUPPLIED PART works great. If
you have a part just like you want, trimmed exactly as you want and
with the correct contour, we are able to duplicate your part
exactly. We can usually work out any distortions or
imperfections from your sample if required. Our part will be
as good as if not better than your supplied part.
- Modified existing parts - This
method works well for modifying or minor changes to a tried and true
aircraft design. For example: the Super Cub
industry is exploding, and as a result there are several models that
utilize a wider fuselage. By splitting the windshield down the
center, and adding a strip of aluminum to the 2 pieces we can build
a mold from your modified part.
- A SPLASH from the aircraft in the area
where you want your parts made. Considering many newer
aircraft models are using composites, we have used the removed
window cutout portion of the aircraft to make molds.
- A MOCKED PART made from Wood, Aluminum,
Fiberglass or other material that we can make a tool from will
suffice for most purposes.
- SUPPLIED AIRFRAME - We have used an original Airframe from an
existing aircraft to make our parts. Although this can be a
labor intensive it is a very feasible manor to make the splash for the
parts you need.
- 3D COMPUTER MODELS are actually the
most difficult means to making an accurate part.
Although it would seem that a computer representation of your part
is exactly like the real part, in reality computer models are rarely
exactly what you need. What we have found is
that the computer model is a good representation of the aircraft,
however there are issues that arise in production that are sometimes
unforeseen through a computer model. Usually these things
are changed between a computer model and the production model that
are very minor and usually do not reflect the necessity of a
redesign of the aircraft. On the
premises we do have a small 4 axis CNC at our disposal.
However there are limits to the size of the part without making
several pieces and assembling them. If the part is too large
such as a Windshield, we may need to outsource the model to a
third party to have a part made. If you chose to supply
us only with a computer 3D model we will work with you to get the
parts you need for your project.
The Bottom line...
Some Aircraft manufacturers have found that the
Bottom line is only the beginning. A good friend used to remind me
that, "you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get."
As a manufacturer of a new aircraft there are choices to be made, What
engine to use, who is going to supply the instruments, do we need a
Glass cockpit or should we go with just instruments, and what does the
aircraft need to operate safely. As one of the most critical
safety parts of an aircraft to be overlooked, quality windshields and
windows can set you apart from other manufacturers. Quality windshields
and windows is what every pilot and passenger sees, or more accurately
does not want to see when they fly. Honestly you could get anyone to make your parts but you know that not
everyone will put the attention to detail that you need.
Great Lakes Aero Products prides itself in supplying its customers
with parts that no one else can make to the standards only we can
Not all manufacturers are the same... If
everything was equal, and you could get quality parts overseas then
would consider going to China, India or some other country where the
cost of labor is low. But then you have to worry about
approval from the FAA and quality. Unfortunately many overseas
countries do not have the oversight like our FAA to make the quality
parts you require for your projects. Parts made here in the
USA has its advantages when building an aircraft.
The bottom line is there are a few companies that
can do what we do, but we believe and our customers know that we do
it best. More manufacturers are coming to Great
Lakes Aero Products for one simple
reason... we make the best parts...period.
Quality that you want, with Quantities when you