A700 Program in Limbo Following AAI Realignment
AAI Acquisition, the company formed by Russian investment firm Industrial Investors to buy the assets of bankrupt VLJ developer Adam Aircraft Industries in April, on Tuesday afternoon eliminated 177 of 209 jobs and suspended flight test and development activity. “Worldwide conditions have taken almost everyone by surprise,” said Steve Patrick, vice president of flight test and program management, “and it’s having an impact on our business plan. We’re taking the opportunity to step back, reassess and set a new strategic plan.” Jack Braly remains president and CEO, but Jan D’Angelo, the former director of international and fleet sales and a key player in the AAI Acquisition purchase, was part of the group that was let go. Also leaving AAI was Chester Schickling, recently hired as marketing and sales chief. The 32 remaining AAI employees, Patrick said, include engineering, manufacturing and certification personnel who will help retain “the intellectual value of the company, making sure we are in a position to move forward once we’ve had a chance to look at the strategic plan.” Since restarting A700 activities, AAI has flown A700 S/N 4 fifteen times, logging 70 to 80 more hours of testing. Before the suspension, AAI had projected FAA certification of the A700 very light jet in 2010.