AAI Acquisition, the company formed to buy the assets of bankrupt Adam Aircraft Industries, is closing its doors at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo. “It’s come to a very quiet and sad ending,” said Robert Olislagers, airport director of Centennial Airport, where Adam Aircraft certified and produced the composite A500 piston twin and tried to certify the A700 very light jet.
AAI Acquisition, which bought the assets of Adam Aircraft Industries for $10 million after Adam filed for bankruptcy in February, is ramping up the certification program for the A700 very light jet. The company has hired 125 employees, mostly engineers, and is working toward A700 certification late next year or in early 2010.
In 1998, entrepreneur George Frederick “Rick” Adam and attorney John Knudsen began a journey that few dare to try and even fewer succeed at, launching a new aircraft manufacturing company from scratch and without having previously worked in the aviation manufacturing industry.
Now that AAI Acquisition has purchased the assets of bankrupt Adam Aircraft, the number-two priority is to finish the FAA certification process for the A700 very light jet, according to Jan D’Angelo, the former director of international and fleet sales for the aircraft manufacturer. D’Angelo is part of a group of former Adam Aircraft employees that joined with Russia’s Industrial Investors to form AAI Acquisition and buy Adam Aircraft.
At a time when business jet deliveries are setting record highs (see page 3), Adam Aircraft, an Englewood, Colo. piston twin and very light jet developer, has ceased operations. Adam Aircraft is the second of the modern crop of very light jet manufacturers to shut down (Aviation Technology Group was the first), hobbled by a lack of funding at a critical time in development of the all-composite A700 twinjet.
Englewood, Colo.-based Adam Aircraft isn’t yet saying whether it met a “self imposed” deadline of January 31 to raise $30.5 million in short-term funding. On January 15, Adam Aircraft CEO John Wolf sent a letter to investors warning that the private company could liquidate some shareholder assets if the short-term financing round failed.
Very light jet developer Adam Aircraft has laid off 300 employees and temporarily suspended operations at its satellite facility in Ogden, Utah. “To provide for our future growth,” said Adam Aircraft president Duncan Koerbel, “we must be strategic in our focus by managing current cash expenditures to ensure adequate time to secure financing for the long term.
Adam Aircraft has chosen Colorado-based SaferJett to provide training for its aircraft programs. The 10-year agreement, announced at NBAA in Atlanta in September, taps SaferJett for pilot and maintenance training for the A500 centerline-thrust
piston twin and the new A700 VLJ twin. The curriculum will incorporate elements of the FAA/Industry Training Standards (FITS) program, which is designed to enhance general aviation safety.
A few aviation entrepreneurs have imprinted their name in the industry not only because they have provided a great product or service, but also because their foresight, innovation and personality have been a driving force behind it. George “Rick” Adam Jr. appears to be destined for that list.
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.
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