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Scope of our abilities

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The Bottom Line
SCOPE of our Abilities...
At Great Lakes Aero Products, we...
  • Make Aircraft Windshields and windows for General Aviation - its what we do best
  • Build molds and dies on site.
  • Modify customer supplied dies as per customer request.
  • 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 for:

  • 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 thru 1994.
  • 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 fitted.   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 manner.

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 another.  

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.


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.



Milled Edges

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 achieve  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 non pressurized 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 sure 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 world wide.  


Let's get started...
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 are equal.
  • 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 little more 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 achieve.

Not all manufacturers are the same... If everything was equal, and you could get quality parts overseas then you 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 need them.




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