With new management and the goal of transforming itself from a development company to a lean production aircraft company, Adam Aircraft put a key foundation block in place here yesterday when it signed a 10-year agreement with SaferJett to provide training for the A700 VLJ and A500 at a facility on Alliance Airport, Fort Worth, Texas.
Seven years ago, at an aircraft factory in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, two engineers met and worked together on Fairchild Dornier’s ambitious 728 and 928 programs. While those airplanes never made it beyond the conceptual design stage, the engineers–John Wolf and Duncan Koerbel–went on to have successful careers managing significant aircraft programs at a variety of large aerospace companies.
The FAA issued a special condition fire-extinguishing requirement for the Adam Aircraft A700. Although fire-extinguishing systems are required by Part 23, that regulation “did not envision the type of configuration of the Model A700,” in which the two Williams FJ33 turbofan engines are not within the pilots’ field of view.
VLJ and piston-twin manufacturer Adam Aircraft experienced a shift at the top yesterday, as former Fairchild Aerospace COO and McDonnell Douglas executive v-p John Wolf replaced founder Rick Adam as chairman and CEO. Wolf joined Adam Aircraft in February and has since served on the board as a liaison. Duncan Koerbel, who also joined the company in February, remains president.
Pogo is the new name for the former iFly Air Taxi, a company that plans initially to use 75 Adam A700 very light twinjets as a start toward a national “air limo” network. “We wanted to find a name that conveys the idea of quickly hopping from one place to another,” said Pogo CEO Donald Burr, founder of People Express. Former competitor Bob Crandall, retired chief of American Airlines, is chairman of the new venture.
Hainan Zhong Hangtai General Aviation Airlines Company, the China-based operating entity of Los Angeles, California company Ameritec, placed a firm order for 50 Adam Aircraft A700 very light jets here yesterday. Based on Hainan Island off China’s southern coast, the company already operates Cessna Caravans in charter service in China and plans to sell and charter the A700 as general aviation there grows in the coming years.
Of more than 30 new business jet designs now in various stages of development, no fewer than seven are very light jet (VLJ) projects represented here at the
European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition.
Nearly all of these projects are clean-sheet designs, typically absorbing more money and time than variants of existing designs and demonstrating the faith aircraft manufacturers have in this prospective new market.
Though the problems Eclipse Aviation has experienced with certification and production are well known by now, other VLJ manufacturers haven’t been spared these trials. Adam Aircraft told AIN this week that despite flying its first production-conforming A700 last week, it is pushing back the planned certification date to late this year or early next year.
Adam Aircraft of Englewood, Colo., “hopes to announce receipt of the type inspection authorization for the Adam 500 [piston twin] soon,” a spokesman told AIN late last month. The TIA means official FAA flight testing may begin and is granted only after a company can present an aircraft that is conformed to the type design and structural testing is completed.
Adam Aircraft named former Gulfstream and Cessna executive Joe Walker as its group president of commercial sales, as the Denver-based firm simultaneously develops the A500 centerline-thrust piston twin and A700 very light twinjet. Walker will “play a key role” in the expansion of the company’s marketing and customer support efforts, according to a company press release.