VLJ developer Adam Aircraft has suspended operations – hard on the heels of ATG, which hit a similar wall when it came to funding. Before I have my say here’s Adam’s statement, issued on Feb 11:
“In a difficult but necessary move, Adam Aircraft Industries suspended operations today at its facilities in Colorado. This measure was required due to the inability of the company to come to terms with their lender for funding necessary to maintain business operations. The company is currently exploring all of its alternatives and will provide further guidance when decisions are made, which is expected to be later this week.”
I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve been sceptical of Adam from the outset, when it retained Rutan’s Scaled Composites to design a new-generation all-composite piston twin (the M309). An admirable goal, but no-one had successfully taken a Rutan design through certification and into production. To give Adam its due, it has come closer than anyone, acheiving partial certification and slow-paced production.
But, for me, Adam stretched its credibility a shade too thin when it launched development of a VLJ before finishing the job on its piston twin. Okay, so that was the way the market was going. Okay, so the A700 VLJ was a derivative of the A500 piston twin. But aircraft manufacturers have walk before they can run and Adam was barely crawling.
Adam has recently begun to behave like a real aircraft manufacturer, bringing in experienced management and establishing proper production discipline. But meanwhile the money has run out. Inevitably, the credit crunch will be blamed for for Adam’s troubles, but I would look further back for their origins.