In The Works: Farnborough Aircraft F1

 - January 14, 2008, 6:19 AM

Fund-raising remains the primary endeavor of Farnborough Aircraft Corp. Ltd., according to Jonathan Sumner, marketing director. The UK company has maintained this focus since stockholders backed lead investor Geoffrey Galley at an extraordinary general meeting last July and ousted founder Richard Noble. Noble had been unable to raise additional capital to bring the single-turboprop Farnborough F1 program, announced in 1999, any further, after some 50,000 man-hours of work had been done on the design of the airplane. Galley pledged to invest an additional £500,000 ($803,357) in the company and appointed Andrew Taee chairman of the new entity. “Our target is to raise £80 million, about $125 million, to take the program through certification and into production,” Sumner told AIN. “After we go into production, additional working capital will be needed.” He added that the company is now negotiating with a number of investors in the U.S. and Europe.

No work is being done on the airplane, said Sumner. The first milestone, once funding is secure, will be a preliminary design review to freeze the design, which would take place in about 12 months. This would be followed by detailed design, construction of a prototype and first flight, estimated to take place about 36 months after securing financing.

“We’re optimistic,” Sumner concluded. “We’ve done our market research and have a good business plan and financial model. We just need juice to fuel the engine.” Farnborough Aircraft is based in the Qinetiq site (former Defense Evaluation Research Agency) in Farnborough’s Cody Technology Park. The company currently has 10 people on its staff.