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Thu, Aug 21, 2008

Grob Earns Vote Of Confidence From spn Customer

PlaneSense Says It Will Keep Its Orders

Times are tough for Grob Aerospace, after the fledgling jetmaker entered insolvency proceedings this week due to delays in bringing its spn very-light jet to market. The company may take some comfort, however, in knowing one of its largest customers plans to stand by the company, and its orders for 25 planes.

New Hampshire-based fractional ownership program PlaneSense tells ANN it has decided to continue to support the Grob spn program, after following the sequence of events that led Grob to declare the German equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"We continue to stand by our fleet purchase order of 25 Grob spn aircraft," said George A. Antoniadis, President and CEO of Alpha Flying, Inc., the program manager for PlaneSense. "We believe that the Grob spn is the best large cabin light jet to fulfill the needs of the PlaneSense Program participants. Its combination of large cabin size, fuel and operational efficiencies, and short field performance is unique."

As ANN reported, PlaneSense placed the firm orders and options for Grob spn jets last November, to add to its fleet of Pilatus PC-12 turboprops. At the time, both parties expected FAA certification for the all-composite VLJ by mid-2008... a timeframe that proved to be very optimistic.

A perennial exhibitor at industry trade shows for years, Grob flew the first prototype spn in 2005. Development progressed rapidly from that point, but suffered a setback in November 2006 when the company's second prototype crashed on a test flight, killing company test pilot Gerard Guillaumaud.

Since that time, the company has built two more prototypes, the latest of which flew for the first time earlier this month.

"We look forward to hearing news of a prompt reorganization of Grob Aerospace," Antoniadis added.

FMI: www.planesense.aero, www.grob-aerospace.net/

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