July 31, 2008
A700 Very Light Jet is Again on Track for FAA Certification
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- AAI Acquisition, Inc. (AAIA), a U.S. company and the successor to the former Adam Aircraft Industries, announced today that significant steps have been made in its plan to resume operations. Key to the comeback is the naming of veteran aviation executive Jack Braly as the new president and CEO of the company. AAIA purchased the assets and intellectual property of the former Adam Aircraft from the bankruptcy court in April 2008. Adam Aircraft declared bankruptcy in February, 2008.
AAIA also announced that it has completed its business organization process and will focus on FAA certification of its A700 very light jet (VLJ) from its headquarters at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado. Certification is projected for early 2010.
"We are working diligently to gain certification of the A700, with the goal of getting this jet into production," said Braly at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Braly said the FAA has given the company notice that the A700 certification basis has been accepted, and AAIA has resumed the testing process.
AAIA is the first U.S. investment by the partnership of Industrial Investors Group and Kaskol, two Moscow, Russia-based private equity firms. The investors were made aware of the opportunity by former Colorado Governor Bill Owens, who serves on the board of directors of another one of Industrial Investors Group's holdings. In a two-step approval process, AAIA's purchase of the assets of Adam Aircraft first gained approval of the bankruptcy court, and then in July, 2008, from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Braly said AAIA has begun recruiting and hiring. The company already has 150 employees, many of whom previously worked for Adam Aircraft. Braly said the advantage to AAIA is that the retained employees have intimate knowledge of the design and capabilities of the A700, which will be key to remaining FAA related activities in the certification process. AAIA's plans show employment levels growing to around 300 by the end of 2008, and to over 500 by the end of 2009.
AAIA, working with the FAA's Denver Aircraft Certification and Los Angeles Manufacturing Inspection District Offices, quickly re-established the A700 as an FAA-approved project. This allowed AAIA to successfully perform several structural tests and resume the manufacturing of test articles. At the time of bankruptcy, approximately 80-percent of the company's structural test requirements and 50-percent of the FAA's required structural tests had been completed.
"This has been a timely and impressive transition toward producing the best VLJ on the market," said Braly. "We are working hard to capitalize on the testing that had already been completed, in an effort to gain FAA certification as quickly as possible. That is the critical piece in moving toward production. Our goal is to sell a safe and dynamic airplane. Everything we are doing is working toward that goal."
With extraordinary efforts from the engineering and flight test teams, as well as the quick reorganization of AAIA, the A700 flew again on Thursday, June 26, 2008, less than 40 working days after AAIA occupied company headquarters. Since that time, the A700 has completed several additional flight tests.
Braly confirmed that AAIA has no plans at this time to resume production of the A500 piston twin aircraft, of which only a few were delivered by the former Adam Aircraft.
Braly said he and AAIA will provide future updates on the progress toward FAA certification, as well as a new marketing plan to position itself as a crucial player in the VLJ industry. Full-scale production is planned to begin shortly before certification is achieved, but customer-ordering protocols and potential delivery dates still are to be determined.
Braly had been in retirement after serving as president of Sino Swearingen Aircraft (San Antonio, Texas), Rockwell's North American Aircraft Modification Division (Los Angeles, California) and Beech Aircraft (Wichita, Kansas). He was recruited to AAIA by the top management of Industrial Investors Group and the returning management team at AAIA.
AAI Acquisition, Inc.
CONTACT: Jan D'Angelo of AAI Acquisition, Inc., +1-303-406-5956, cell,+1-303-877-2151, [email protected]; or Pete Webb, or John Hall, both of WebbPR, +1-303-796-8888, cell, +1-303-204-6131, for AAI Acquisition, Inc.