German police arrested AvCraft Aviation CEO Ben Bartel last Wednesday at Frankfurt International Airport for tax evasion. Bartel, architect of a failed attempt to resurrect Germany’s Fairchild Dornier from bankruptcy, allegedly evaded €7 million ($8.53 million) in taxes through a fictitious transaction in the Cayman Islands.
German authorities have released AvCraft Aviation chairman Ben Bartel from jail some two weeks after sending him there on suspicion of tax evasion.
AvCraft CEO Ben Bartel in late January announced the restart of Dornier 328JET production at the company’s plant in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, just outside Munich. Headquartered at Leesburg, Va., AvCraft one year ago acquired production rights for the 328/328JET and its corporate version, the Envoy 3, as well as for the stretched 428JET that might be developed later.
A cooling deficiency in Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW306B turbofan has forced the company to correct and recertify the design after turbine blades showed premature wear on several Fairchild Dornier 328JETs. A company spokeswoman told AIN that PW&C would perform the “upgrade” as operators turn in their airplanes for regular maintenance.
Life for Fairchild Metro and Merlin owners is looking up. Maintenance, repair and overhaul options for the airplanes have now expanded to include Springfield, Mo.-based Worldwide Aircraft Services, which M7 Aerospace bought last year. According to Jim McClean, president and general manager, the company has a solid history upon which it has built the new service.
The Life Flight Trust, operator of a Wellington, New Zealand-based Westpac Rescue BK 117B2, was named 2004 “Trust of the Year” at a recent awards dinner.
While those with an interest awaited word from Leesburg, Va.-based AvCraft about when it would get its German assembly line rolling, another curious development involving local officials and businessmen in South Carolina raised questions about the status of the company’s Myrtle Beach maintenance base.
AvCraft Aviation announced it will restart the former Fairchild Dornier 328JET production line in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Under the plan, the first completed 30-seat 328JET is expected to roll off the production line by the fourth quarter. According to AvCraft CEO Ben Bartel, the company has sold all but two of 18 white-tail aircraft inherited when AvCraft purchased the Fairchild Dornier 328 program last year.
SWEARINGEN MERLIN IIA, JACKSONVILLE, FLA., NOV. 27, 2003–A Swearingen Merlin IIA (N698X) registered to George C. Swanson, MD Ltd of Port Arthur, Texas was destroyed at 12:56 p.m. when it crashed into a wooded area while on an ILS approach to Craig Municipal Airport (CRG), Jacksonville, Fla. The pilot was killed and all four passengers were seriously injured.
SWEARINGEN MERLIN IIIB, SPOKANE VALLEY, WASH, NOV. 20, 2003–Swearingen Merlin IIIB N439AF, owned by Ameriflight of Burbank, Calif., was destroyed when it crashed into trees approximately one mile short of the runway on an ILS approach to Spokane Valley, Wash. in IMC conditions. The accident occurred at approximately 4:06 p.m. The flight was operated as Ameriflight AMF1996 and the pilot, who was alone, was killed.