I had planned to visit Evektor, one of the Czech Republic's new generation of aircraft builders, for our special feature on European general aviation which runs in our 6 April issue. But a four-hour delay on an EasyJet flight made an already ridiculously tight one-day schedule impossible (Gatwick to Prague and then rental car to Kunovice in Moravia, near the Austrian and Slovakian border), so sadly I ended up having to do the interview by email. It's never the easiest way to find out about what makes a business tick: detailed answers in perfect English to the right questions will make sure you get your facts right, but you lose a lot of the colour and sense of perspective that you get by walking around a factory and chatting in person to a chief executive or senior engineer.
One GA aircraft builder that I did manage to visit a few weeks ago was LH Aviation. This really is a start-up in every sense. Although the business has been going since 2004, its newly-renovated factory on an airfield just outside Paris is just coming to life with three "hand-built" all-composite prototypes of its Ellipse light aircraft in various stages of production (the first is already in flight test and flew for the first time at last year's Paris air show). Here I am with the very aircraft.
You can read about both companies and their highly innovative products, together with Kate Sarsfield's outlook for general aviation users in Europe and Rob Coppinger's take on electric aircraft in next week's issue.