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
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.