February 21, 2008
SparrowHawk III Gyroplane Added to FAA List of Eligible Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits
Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. ("GBA") (OTCBB: GNBA) announced today that U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has evaluated its SparrowHawk III kit, produced and sold by GBA's American Autogyro Division, and determined that it qualifies to be included in the FAA listing of Eligible Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits. The primary purpose of this listing is to assist FAA Inspectors/Designees and other interested individuals by eliminating the duplication of evaluations for "major portion" determination when the aircraft is presented for airworthiness certification as an "Amateur-Built Experimental." All Amateur-Built/Homebuilt aircraft must be inspected and registered with the FAA before an Airworthiness Certificate can be issued. This fairly rigorous process is simplified for the builder if the kit has been evaluated and qualified by the FAA for inclusion in their listing of Eligible Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits.
The Amateur-Built Experimental designation has been in existence for more than five decades. It defines aircraft that are used for non-commercial, recreational purposes such as education or personal use. Currently, more than 23,000 amateur-built/home-built aircraft are licensed by the FAA. While some of these are truly "home-built" by individuals, others, such as the SparrowHawk III, are built from proven, carefully engineered kits with an established safety record. "GBA and American Autogyro are pleased with the determination by the FAA that the SparrowHawk III kit qualifies to be included in the FAA listing of eligible amateur-built aircraft kits," said GBA Executive Vice President Robin Wilson, "The SparrowHawk reflects GBA's more than two decades of gyroplane design and development experience."
American Autogyro has continued to refine and improve on the SparrowHawk design. The quick build SparrowHawk III kit significantly reduces the time and effort involved in the build process and makes it a more enjoyable and satisfying part of the whole experience. Additionally, several critical areas of assembly where special tooling might be required, or mistakes by the builder could lead to compromising the safety of the aircraft, are now completed at the factory. Estimated build time for the SparrowHawk III is approximately 300 hours, a notable reduction in build time from the previous model. For more information on the award winning SparrowHawk Gyroplane, visit American Autogyro's website at www.americanautogyro.com.
About Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc.
Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. has been developing gyroplane technology since 1986 and is recognized as the world's leading authority on autorotative flight. Powered by a Rolls-Royce gas turbine engine, GBA developed the world's first commercially viable modern gyroplane -- the first "autogiro" to utilize a jet engine -- the Hawk 4 Gyroplane. The Hawk 4 was used extensively for security aerial patrol missions during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
GBA announced in October 2005 that DARPA, an arm of the United States Department of Defense, awarded a contract to a GBA-led team to design a proof of concept high speed, long range, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft designed for use in Combat Search and Rescue roles. This modern rotorcraft, named by DARPA as the "Heliplane," is designed to exploit GBA's gyrodyne technology; offering the VTOL capability of a helicopter, the fast forward flight of an airplane, and the safety, simplicity and reliability of a GBA gyroplane. The first $10.4 million phase of the contract includes preliminary design development and key technology demonstrations. The contract has the potential to become a $54 million, multi-phase program for the GBA-led team. The Heliplane could be the next generation rotor wing aircraft, meeting economy and performance goals not considered achievable by any other type of VTOL aircraft.
In December 2006, GBA announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Aragon, Spain to complete FAA certification, production, marketing, and delivery of GBA's Hawk 5 Gyroplane, based on the Hawk 4 prototype. Discussions are ongoing with the central government of Spain through its industrial development agency, CDTI, and a major Spanish aerospace manufacturer, with the potential of a joint venture (JV) to be set up in the first half of 2008.
Through its American Autogyro division, GBA has developed and is selling a smaller kit gyroplane, the two seat "SparrowHawk III." GBA is offering this aircraft as a safe, extremely economical Airborne Patrol Vehicle (APV) for law enforcement and other government applications. Groen Brothers is also developing a production two-seat gyroplane for both the "Airborne Law Enforcement" and "Light Sport Aircraft" (LSA) markets. The Company continues to develop an international and nationwide dealership network for the sale of these products.
Further information about the Company, its products, and individual members of the GBA Team is available on the Company's web site at: www.groenbros.com.
Safe Harbor Statement/Forward-Looking Information Disclaimer
Certain statements in this news release by Groen Brothers Aviation are forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking information is subject to risk and uncertainty. Certain statements in this Press Release may contain forward-looking information that involves risk and uncertainty, including but not limited to, the Company's ability to fund ongoing operations and to complete its obligations under the government contract and its other ongoing commitments. Future results and trends depend on a variety of factors, including the Company's successful execution of internal performance plans and agreements; product development and performance; risks associated with regulatory certifications of the Company's commercial aircraft by U.S. and foreign governments; government bid and funding availability uncertainty; other regulatory uncertainties; performance issues with key suppliers and subcontractors; governmental export and import policies; and the ability to adequately finance operations including meeting its debt obligations, fund manufacturing and delivery of products.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Hank Parry Media Al Waddill Investor Information Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. 801/973-0177
SOURCE: Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc.