Czech/Taiwanese venture hopes certification will bring investment to improved aircraft

Ibis Aerospace expects certification of its Ae270 single-engine utility aircraft will finally be achieved by year-end and will generate increased interest from potential new investors, which are needed to fund the development of an improved variant.

Ae 270

Ibis sales director Karel Sovak insists that the programme is on course for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification despite numerous delays attributed mainly to modifications required during development. Further airframe changes will be needed following certification to ensure the Ae270 meets the original performance targets.

Sovak says Ibis owners Aero Vodochody and Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) agreed last month to continue to support the programme – but conditional on certification and acceptance of a new business plan for the post-certification modifications. “AIDC and Aero are really interested in pushing this programme forwards,” says Sovak. “We’re now finalising details of the investment necessary to complete development.”

Ibis chairman Anthony Han, who represents AIDC on the Ibis board, says AIDC will not provide additional funding, but is willing to work on the redesign if a new investor steps up. The redesign effort will begin as soon as new funding is secured and will end with certification of a new variant in three years. “We’re looking for an outside organisation to provide money,” Han says. “No specific investor has been identified yet.”

Han and other Ibis officials believe securing new capital will be easier once certification, initially scheduled for late 2003, is finally achieved, although the original variant will never be put into service. Ibis has decided against trying to sell at a reduced price the several aircraft Aero has completed because it is concerned they would be difficult to support. Sovak says the 73 customers who have placed deposits will be offered early next year a “partial” modification to the wing or a much longer-term upgrade based on a totally new wing and associated airframe changes.


Source: Flight International