Explorer Aircraft of Jasper, Texas, which showed its proof-of-concept aircraft, configured as a 500T with a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-135B, at Oshkosh, is still looking for investment money, according to Don Joseph, president. With the economy picking up and venture capital firms starting to invest in promising businesses, Joseph said he’s seeing increasing interest, but nothing firm yet.
Last year was not friendly to startup companies dreaming of producing airplanes, but there are glimmerings of hope for some. Financial issues, however, continue to dominate the agendas of companies like AASI, American Utilicraft, Phoenix Fanjet (Alberta Aerospace), VisionAire and others, while development of their respective aircraft takes a backseat.
This year and last were not kind to the startup airplane manufacturers, those OEM wannabes that are–or in some cases were–attempting to grab the brass ring of success by riding on the wings of their first turbine-powered airplanes. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to run the new-aircraft triathlon of development, certification and production.
It is AIN’s normal approach to report the news without comment.
Based on Flight School 05’s agenda, one could conclude that the one-day forum held earlier this year in Scottsdale, Ariz., was just another aviation industry gathering. From the first speaker, FAA general counsel Andrew Steinberg, to panels featuring CEOs from start-up air limo, very light jet (VLJ) and commercial space companies, little was said that savvy aviation and aerospace industry people hadn’t heard before.
Adam Aircraft of Englewood, Colo., last month completed a $93 million funding round led by venture-capital firm DCM, a new investor in the start-up manufacturer. The company plans to use this new capital to accelerate the certification of its A700 AdamJet, which is now scheduled for early next year.