US consultancy InterFlight Global (IFG) is poised to issue its valuation of the idiosyncratic AeroElvira Optica observation aircraft programme, and the potential buyer says it is impressed with what it has seen during preliminary evaluations.
“The programme’s assets are all in good shape,” says IFG chief executive Oscar Garcia. These include the Optica’s tooling, drawings, production and type certificates, jigs, demonstrator aircraft, intellectual property, unsold inventory and parts. “Around 85% of what is needed to restart production is there,” he says.
Garcia says some work will be required to bring the 40-year-old programme up to 21st-century standards, such as transferring the intellectual property from paper on to Microsoft’s Cloud platform and updating certain features of the dormant three-seat piston-single.
“The Optica doesn’t require a major upgrade, as it’s design was ahead of its time,” says Garcia. “The only feature that would need to be updated immediately is the instrument panel, and that is a straightforward task.”
Miami, Florida-based IFG will present its report and valuation to UK company AeroElvira in the middle of December; if the figure is acceptable, IFG will then perform due diligence on the programme.
“We will then do a deep-dive evaluation with a team of engineers, to make sure there are no show-stoppers,” says Garcia. “I’m pretty sure there won’t be any, so if all goes well, the Optica could be under new ownership by the Paris air show next June.”
IFG has already earmarked investors and hopes to restart production in the first half of 2018 – 26 years after it was halted.
Garcia envisages a family of Optica variants within five years, including diesel-fuelled and hybrid versions. “The design lends itself to derivatives, including a scaled-up version with a larger wing,” he says.
John Edgley, the owner and designer of the Optica and chairman of AeroElvira, says he is hopeful of a positive outcome. “I have been talking to many buyers over the years. Some were serious, but many were time-wasters,” he says. “IFG clearly has ambitions for the programme, and like me, would like to see it back in production and being a commercial success.”
Source: Flight International