In The Works: Extra EA-500

 - August 4, 2008, 11:09 AM
Extra Flugzeugbau of Hunxe, Germany, has operated under insolvency (similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S.) since January and has reportedly been in negotiations with a U.S. investor group for the past several months. Last month, Kenneth Weaver, president of Lancaster, Pa.-based Extra North America, told AIN the company “is in the final stages of being purchased by the investors and we expect to make an announcement at Oshkosh [July 29 to August 4] at the latest.” The insolvency notwithstanding, the company began taking $25,000 deposits at EAA Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-in in April for the EA-500, a Rolls-Royce 250-powered derivative of the six-seat EA-400 piston single. Officially, development of the EA-500 at Extra’s factory is on hold at the direction of the bankruptcy court, but Weaver said a number of engineers are working “unofficially” on the design outside the factory. “We’re still looking at certification this fall–in October or November,” he said. “The moment the keys to the company change hands work on the 500 will start again at the factory.” First flight of the model was in April last year. Target price of the turboprop EA-500 is $1.6 million. Extra holds deposits for five EA-500s, with more “in the works,” Weaver said. Meanwhile, production of EA-300L and EA-400 piston airplanes begun before the declaration of insolvency continues at the factory.