New Zealand general aviation manufacturer Alpha Aviation has secured US Federal Aviation Administration certification for its Alpha 160A two-seat aerobatic training aircraft. US certification, which follows New Zealand and European certification last year, opens up the huge US aero club and flying school market to the small New Zealand manufacturer.

The Alpha 160A is part of the Alpha 2000 series, which also in­cludes the Alpha 120T basic trainer and Alpha 160Ai fuel injected aerobatic trainer.

The Alpha 2000 series was formerly the Robin R2160 and R2120 all-metal trainers produced in France by Apex Aircraft Group. The Hamilton-based manufacturer purchased the manufacturing rights and production equipment for the Robins in 2004 and transferred manufacturing to New Zealand.

Alpha has 48 orders and 21 options worldwide for the Alpha series to date, with considerable interest from the USA, according to managing director Richard Sealy. Higher than anticipated demand for the aircraft has already resulted in the manufacturer investing NZ$3 million ($2.1 million) to expand its Hamilton facility by more than 40% to allow it to increase production from three or four aircraft a month to eight.

The company is the subject of a takeover by Australian office chair producer Gregory Australia. The deal has been accepted by shareholders to the amount of 88.08% of shares, with acceptance required for more than 75% of shares to proceed. One remaining shareholder has until late January to accept or reject the deal.

Source: Flight International