The single-turboprop AeroCourier utility airplane, proposed by a Minneapolis company of the same name, has progressed little since its announcement at NBAA 2001. As with all startup OEMs, money is the problem. “We’re working on new investment,” Justin Ladner, vice president of engineering operations, told AIN, “but the project is still in the early, ‘fetus’ stage.”
The basic concept behind the AeroCourier is “rollup containerization,” a small cargo airplane designed to carry up to six custom-designed LDX containers. These containers, designed to be easily loaded and off-loaded from trucks, would be sized to fit into larger industry-standard containers for transport on larger aircraft and ground vehicles. The non-pressurized AeroCourier was to have fixed landing gear and manual control systems.
Paul Jackson, one of AeroCourier’s founders and president of the company at the time of its 2001 NBAA appearance, left the company last April and was followed soon after, according to Jackson, by Joel Schlactenhaufen, CFO, and Brian Schoenborn, general counsel. “The other founders wanted to pursue the project in a different direction,” Jackson said. “I could not agree with the direction and felt I added nothing to the ‘new’ program.” He said he surrendered all his stock in AeroCourier, “as part of the terms of separation, as did the others who left the company shortly thereafter.” John Guernsey, former vice president of engineering and certification, remained with the company, but was not available for comment.