Certification of the Extra Flugzeugbau EA-500 aerobatic aircraft will be the first priority of any new investor in the struggling German manufacturer. The company says that certification could still be achieved by the end of the year.

The company is in negotiations with two investors after it filed for bankruptcy protection in late January.

Extra says it is confident that new funding will be signed off by the end of next month, allowing it to resume test flights of the six-seat turboprop variant of its EA-400 piston.

The EA-500 suffered a setback last year when the first prototype crashed on its first test flight, damaging the wing (Flight International, 14-20 May 2002).

The test programme has been suspended during the period of insolvency administration. Extra's engineering manager Thomas Fuchs says that the rebuilt prototype, which includes a new wing, tail cone and fin, had undergone around 30h of flight tests between its second flight, performed in June last year, and January this year.

Fuchs says that investors regard the 500 "as the main potential of the company and we would expect to restart the test programme immediately after a solution is found".

The aircraft was originally due to be certificated in June, but there remains around nine or 10 months of testing to complete, he adds. This programme could be compressed to achieve certification before the end of the year, he adds.

Bankruptcy administrator Heinrich Stellmach is conducting negotiations with two potential investors and he expects to have a deal signed by the 30 April deadline that has been imposed by the Duisburg county court in Germany.

Source: Flight International