Posts Tagged ‘China’

Mooney announces its “comeback”

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Friday night Mooney released this announcement on achieving new funding that will allow a restart of production in January. Earlier this week a Chinese news agency reported a Chinese real estate firm was making an investment in Mooney. The announcement identifies only a California company as the investor.

 

Mooney Announces Its Comeback

With New Funding, Mooney Sets Itself to Re-enter the Single Engine Market

 Kerrville, Texas – After a five-year hiatus from manufacturing single-engine airplanes Mooney is pleased to announce that it will restart manufacturing at the beginning of January 2014 at its headquarters in Kerrville, TX.  New funding from Soaring America Corporation, a California based Company will provide necessary capital to re-launch and sustain the legendary brand. Details of the financial arrangements will remain confidential. The company will continue to manufacture the Acclaim Type S, and the Ovation series.

“It’s a new day for Mooney. And with a new investment group that is committed to the future, we’re expecting to make a strong move in the industry,” noted Barry Hodkin, Chief Financial Officer for the company. It’s been a long time coming and we couldn’t be more excited about our return to manufacturing one of the finest and most trusted airplane fleets in the industry.”

The first order of business will be to hire and train a new workforce and reestablish the supply chain. The company is projected to recruit up to 100 people within the first year of operation. The company has a large variety of personnel needs that includes technicians, engineers, line workers, accounting and sales people. Within two years, the company is anticipating employing significantly more people depending on the demand for its products.

“While we expect to be reunited with some of our previous employees, we are confident we’ll attract new talent as we re-enter this aviation space. We’re looking for the best and brightest people to help meet our vision for the future,” said Hodkin.

The Acclaim Type S is recognized as the world’s fastest single engine airplane. The turbo-normalized airplane is home to over 130 speed records with a normal cruise speed of 230 ktas and a service ceiling of 25,000 feet. The Ovation series has cruising speeds up to 190 ktas and a service ceiling of up to 20,000 feet.

“It’s too early to provide the details, but we’ll have some very exciting announcements in the near future about the technological advances that will accompany the Acclaim Type S and Ovation series,” said Hodkin.

During the difficult economic times starting in 2008, when single engine sales dropped by over 30 percent compared to the year prior, Mooney ceased production. Over the last five years, the Company that was started by Al Mooney more than 80 years ago has remained in business, focusing on customer support for the Mooney planes still in service. Given more positive economic indicators and the unique market niche for Mooney airplanes, the company feels confident about a sustaining future in the industry.

Diamond Aircraft (Canada) and diesel company on the mend

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Not long ago Diamond’s plant in Canada laid off all but 51 workers. That 51st employee was there to oversee the paperwork on the Diamond D-Jet. At the time I was told that there were still partially completed airframes on the line, and when those were delivered as new aircraft, employees would be called back. Now 34 workers have returned, including those needed to lay up more composite airframes. Through all this the Diamond headquarters in Austria has operated normally. A Diamond plant in China continues to churn out 30 to 40 four-passenger DA40 aircraft a year to be delivered in Asia, at this point meaning China. That plant has never built a gasoline-powered model, putting a Thielert diesel engine on the very first one. Only now is the plant transitioning to Austro diesel engines, the engine Diamond turned to when Thielert hit financial and mechanical problems (now solved). Thielert, with its Centurion marketing and warranty arm, is on the verge of emerging from bankruptcy–meaning someone is going to buy it. Whoever does that will suddenly have a family of diesel engines, right up to a 350-hp certified but undeveloped engine.  There are already negotiations in progress which the company can’t disclose. The financial questions that led to Frank Thielert leaving the company will be resolved soon, too, by a German court. Thielert engines have one problem–time between replacement. That means you trash the engine (destructive testing is the nicer phrase) when it reaches 1,500 hours rather than overhaul it. Overhaul might be offered in the future by the new owner. Purchasing the engine is still economical if you happen to live in Europe where avgas is $12.58 or in Niger where it is $22 a gallon. Diesel engines cost 30 percent more but you save 24 to 35 percent on fuel–a good deal for those flying 500 hours a year.

“Corporate Jet Investor” lists possible Beechcraft suitors

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The savvy jet industry publication, Corporate Jet Investor, has an article detailing what might happen next in the stage of the Hawker Beechcraft bankruptcy–soon to emerge as just Beechcraft Corporation. Here is a list by Corporate Jet Investor of companies that are, should be, or have been interested in the company in the past.

Mahindra & Mahindra
India’s largest auto maker supplies components to Boeing and Gulfstream.

Nextant/Directional Capital
Nextant, which already offers the Hawker 400XP aircraft, might want to offer modifications for other models.

AVIC
China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) has joint ventures with both Embraer and Cessna and owns Cirrus Aircraft.The article states the company could still be interested in Hawker. Other Chinese firms might be interested, Corporate Jet Investor said.  Xi’an Aircraft International acquired Austrian composite parts maker FACC in 2009. Hunan Boyun that makes carbon-fiber auto and aircraft parts could possibly be interested in Hawker’s carbon-fiber jet.

BAE Systems
BAE Systems sold Hawker to Raytheon in 1993. It had been hoping to merge with EADS, which owns Airbus, but the deal fell through for political reasons, the magazine said. “Hawker could give it a commercial aircraft business of its own,” the magazine article said.

China came to learn from Oshkosh, not buy it

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

China’s participation in EAA AirVenture this year was largely under-reported. They rented one of the $40,000 chalets on the flight line where they briefed American officials and reporters on what their country is doing to improve general aviation and other infrastructure. I made a visit, although I could not attend the briefing, and found a nice group of people eager to learn and to explain their culture. Serving as guide to Chinese officials was Francis Chao, managing director and publisher of China Civil Aviation Report who also operates a “virtual office” in California that informs American businesses about China. Both of his efforts are located in Pittsburg, California (which explains the spelling of the city name). Chao seems to get it–he understands both the American and China perspectives, and was a great supporter of the China visit to Oshkosh. Chinese officials at first wondered why they needed to go to Oshkosh when so many U.S. aviation companies are already traveling to China to seek new markets and joint ventures. Chao felt that Chinese officials needed to see Oshkosh where new, old, and future aerospace are all in one place–and in perspective. Many Americans

China Chalet at EAA AirVenture

are concerned that China is buying every American airplane company in sight, but as airshow star Michael Goulian pointed out to me minutes after I left the China chalet, general aviation needs Chinese money to survive.