The recession has put the spike to some major new jet development programs, delayed others and shuttered some undercapitalized aircraft companies altogether.
Moribund Adam Aircraft has a new owner. Thomas Hsueh says he plans to decide by year-end whether to place a modified version of the piston-powered A500 push-pull twin into production. He has hired very light jet designer Luc Van Bavel, a veteran of the Safire Jet and Diamond D-Jet programs, to evaluate changes required to make the 500 commercially viable.
Adam Aircraft of Englewood, Colo., will equip the in-development Adam A500 piston twin with Avidyne’s FlightMax Entegra integrated flight deck. Consisting of two 10.4-inch-diagonal, high-resolution displays as pilot and copilot primary flight displays, each side has its own integrated air-data and attitude-heading reference system (ADAHRS).
If Paris is the Big Daddy of airshows–high-powered, straight-laced and eminently button-down–then Oshkosh is the Big Mamma, her arms open wide as the Wisconsin prairie, beckoning teeming masses of aviation enthusiasts to their spiritual home in the heartland of America. So what better place could there be than the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture to really kick off the centennial of the first manned, powered flight?
In 1998, entrepreneur George Frederick “Rick” Adam and attorney John Knudsen began a journey that few dare to try and even fewer succeed at, launching a new aircraft manufacturing company from scratch and without having previously worked in the aviation manufacturing industry.
The lightest end of the business jet market gained another player last month as Adam Aircraft Industries of Englewood, Colo., unveiled a mockup of a twin-engine jet based on its all-composite Adam 500 centerline piston twin. Powered by Williams International FJ33 turbofans, the $1.995 million, six-seat Adam 700 is expected to make its first flight in about 10 months and be in the hands of its first customers by late 2004.
The resilience of general aviation was never more in evidence than at EAA’s AirVenture in late July, when an estimated 750,000 airplane buffs made the annual pilgrimage to east central Wisconsin for the 50th time.
Now that AAI Acquisition has purchased the assets of bankrupt Adam Aircraft, the number-two priority is to finish the FAA certification process for the A700 very light jet, according to Jan D’Angelo, the former director of international and fleet sales for the aircraft manufacturer. D’Angelo is part of a group of former Adam Aircraft employees that joined with Russia’s Industrial Investors to form AAI Acquisition and buy Adam Aircraft.
AAI Acquisition will close on the purchase of bankrupt Adam Aircraft Industries on April 15, having made the only bid for the assets of the composite aircraft developer. AAI Acquisition was formed by Russian company Industrial Investors, a private equity asset management company based in Moscow and London, along with a group of former Adam Aircraft employees.
The next chapter for bankrupt Adam Aircraft will start Friday, April 4, when the start-up aircraft manufacturer’s bulk assets are set to be auctioned. According to an Adam Aircraft bankruptcy Web site set up for creditors and “other interested parties,” those hoping to buy the company have until Thursday, April 3, to submit a minimum bid of $10 million.
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