Innovative general aviation aircraft manufacturers suspend operations

Two high-profile, Colorado-based general aviation aircraft OEMs startled the composite aircraft market recently by abruptly suspending operations in the face of financial woes. Adam Aircraft (Englewood, Colo.) announced on Feb. 11 that it had shut down all work on its A500 push/pull twin prop plane and A700 very light

Two high-profile, Colorado-based general aviation aircraft OEMs startled the composite aircraft market recently by abruptly suspending operations in the face of financial woes.

Adam Aircraft (Englewood, Colo.) announced on Feb. 11 that it had shut down all work on its A500 push/pull twin prop plane and A700 very light jet. The notice followed a round of layoffs on Jan. 17, closure of the company’s Ogden, Utah, facility and suspension of manufacturing at its Pueblo, Colo. plant. According to a company statement, the move was necessitated by the company’s inability to come to terms with its lender for funding necessary to maintain business operations. A Feb. 20 story in The Denver Post reported that Adam Aircraft had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation and that the trustee in the case is in talks with potential buyers of the assets. The story quotes the trustee as saying that interest is high among many potential buyers, some of whom would continue the business. Former Adam Aircraft employees, in the meantime, are being courted by other airframers in search of aviation engineering talent (CT’s editor-in-chief Jeff Sloan comments on Adam Aircraft’s untimely demise in this issue’s “From the Editor”; see “Related Content,” at left).

For similar reasons, Englewood-based very light jet manufacturer Aviation Technology Group Inc. (ATG), has halted production on its composites-intensive Javelin business jet/military trainer. The firm laid off 40 workers in mid-December 2007 after a year-long search for funding apparently ended unsuccessfully, despite the aid of a Wall Street banking institution. The company’s public statement noted that further action will be taken after consultation with ATG’s strategic business partner, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel).

Meanwhile, Adam Aircraft founder Rick Adam, who departed the company during a 2007 management reshuffle, has resurfaced as a consultant. His new firm, AdamWorks (Centennial, Colo.), will focus on the development and production of low-cost, high-performance composites. The company reportedly will offer conceptual, preliminary and detailed part design; cost and schedule estimation; systems integration design; design for manufacturing; structural analysis; tooling design; tooling fabrication; prototype part development; production part manufacturing component inspection/conformity; and composite assembly and systems installation. Adam has been joined in the new venture by Joe Wilding, formerly of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), and new company president Kim Burquest.