Earl Robinson, vice-president of programmes and aircraft development at Fairchild Dornier, has resigned and 328JET programme manager James Brown has left in a major shake-up at the regional aircraft company.
Robinson's resignation came as the company appointed former Douglas Aircraft executive John Wolf as chief operating officer, reporting directly to chief executive and Fairchild Aerospace president Jim Robinson.
Earl Robinson would have reported to Wolf, but chose to resign rather than lose seniority, says Jim Robinson. The resignation was settled "as amicably as possible under the circumstances", he says.
Wolf's appointment was part of a policy to bring in more people with large aircraft experience as the company pushes ahead with its 728JET family of regional aircraft up to 110 seats. He has been in aerospace for over 30 years, and was at McDonnell Douglas working on the MD-80, MD-90, MD-11 and MD-95 (now Boeing 717) programmes. Since then, he has been chief operating officer in the Teledesic communications satellite venture. Jim Robinson says James Brown came to the company as Earl Robinson's protégé.
Fairchild Dornier is believed to have selected General Electric's CF34-8D turbofan to power the 728JET and family derivatives after a competition with the Snecma/Pratt & Whitney Canada team which was offering the SPW14.
The CF34-8D is a simple derivative of the -8C now in the final stages of development for Bombardier's Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ)Series 700.