Want New Company To Support Customer Twins
For the five customers who managed to take delivery of Adam A500
piston inline-twin-engined aircraft, before that planemaker
declared bankruptcy earlier this year, they have what amount to
$1.25 million lawn ornaments... planes that can't fly, without
support from the manufacturer.
And for the Russian-backed company that now owns many of Adam's
assets, those planes mark a chapter of Adam's history they'd just
as soon forget.
"It's grounded," A500 owner Mike Hackett told The Denver Post of
his plane, now sitting on an airport ramp near Napa, CA. "I can't
fly it." Hackett notes some components on the plane have
life-limits as low as 60 flight hours... and only the manufacturer
can replace them.
But Adam Aircraft doesn't exist anymore.
As ANN reported, AAI Acquisition bought much
of the defunct Adam Aircraft company in April, with the intent to
continue certification efforts for the A700 very-light-jet.
As for the already-certified A500 piston twin -- on which the
A700 is heavily-based --
AAI announced at Oshkosh last month it won't build any more
planes, beyond the seven Adam assembled prior to its
February entry into Chapter 7 liquidation.
Of those seven aircraft, five were delivered. In addition to
Hackett's plane, A500s were delivered to owners in Colorado and
California. The New Mexico State Police department had the dubious
honor of receiving the last A500 before Adam folded.
Four of those owners, including Hackett and the NMSP, have since
banded together to form the A500 Owners Association, with the sole
purpose to pressure AAI to reconsider its stance, and support
Trouble is, there's little
financial incentive for AAI to ramp up a dedicated customer service
department and support staff -- nevermind technical training and
insurance coverage -- to support a middling fleet of five aircraft.
AAI's only obligation to A500 owners is to address any safety
issues raised by the FAA.
"There's no economic model that justifies setting up a support
team to support just five planes in the field. There's no critical
mass to make it economically viable," said Jan D'Angelo, a former
Adam Aircraft worker and now head of customer support at AAI.
"We're the lighting rod for their ire right now because they got
burned by the prior company.
"I don't think there's anyone with this company that doesn't
sympathize with them ... but it is not our responsibility to
support these owners," D'Angelo added. "The previous company is
responsible for putting them in the position they're in today."
Kay Ardalan, Adam's former vice president of customer support,
is one of two former Adam workers who are working with A500 owners
in their quest to put pressure on AAI, and the FAA. "Without the
manufacturer's support, these guys are dead in the water," he