In The Works: Farnborough Aircraft F1

 - May 5, 2008, 12:06 PM

At an extraordinary general meeting on July 8, Ltd. (FAC) shareholders, voting on two proposals relating to the future management and funding of the company, backed lead investor Geoffrey Galley instead of company founder Richard Noble. But Galley said, “I hope it will be possible for him [Noble] to play a part in the future development of this exciting British aircraft–a project he founded and which I know is close to his heart.”

Galley’s first item of business for the new Farnborough Aircraft Corporation Ltd. (FACL) is to present a business plan to professional investors in an effort to raise the additional £100 million ($155 million) needed to bring the F1 turboprop single to production. Galley has already pledged an additional £500,000 ($782,000) to keep the company afloat, and work has restarted on the aircraft. Estimated first flight and certification dates, however, were unavailable.

FACL financial advisor Andrew Taee, chairman of Dial Corporate Finance, said of the vote, “The proposal accepted by the extraordinary general meeting on Monday [July 8] was virtually the same as the proposal FACL made to FAC last March. It is unfortunate that Richard Noble, the sole director of FAC, decided not to submit that proposal to the other shareholders at that time, even though initially he had promised his backing.”

When he announced the F1 project in 1999, Noble forecast that its design and development would need less than £20 million ($31 million), first flight would take place this year and certification would occur next year. These milestones later slipped to the fourth quarter of 2004 and 2006, respectively.

A physicist, Galley developed a patented manufacturing process for the volume manufacture of contact lens. His company, Aspect Vision Care, is now one of the world’s leading independent contact lens companies.