OSHKOSH 2009:VIDEO: A500 may be re-launched by new owner

The former Adam Aircraft A500 piston twin and A700 very light jet are again under new ownership.

The A700 had been favoured over the A500 during its brief ownership by Russian investors but will remain shelved as a restart of A500 production is explored by a new owner.

The new owner, Thomas Hsueh, is expected to formally announce he has acquired Adam Aircraft's former assets and plans to re-launch A500 production.

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Hseuh, a real estate developer from Washington state and owner of Triton America and Bayfield Edison, quietly purchased the intellectual property and assets at the end of April for an undisclosed amount.

"Tom has bought all that intellecutal property literally for pennies on the dollar," says Jan D'Angelo, a former spokesperson for AAI Acquisitions who earlier served as director of international sales at Adam Aircraft as the A500 and A700 were developed. Their backlog reached 332 aircraft worth $800 million.

AAIA was formed by Industrial Investors and investment firm Kaskol, both of Russia, who purchased the assets in April 2008 out of bankruptcy for $10 million.

Plans to restart A700 production near Denver, Colorado were shelved as the economy slowed. Most staff were laid off in October and AAIA was quietly dissolved earlier this year.

D'Angelo witnessed the April 30 sale to Hsueh, who could not be reached for comment. "He's got ideas about improving the design of the airplane," D'Angelo says. "That's not necessarily a new thing. When Adam had the design I had plenty of discussions with the engineers to improve the performance and design, to get weight out of the airplane. It would have eaten up all the development money at the time."

Certification of the A700 had been expected by November 2008. "Whatever 700s were flying are now in pieces. They were dismantled and trucked up to Washington state," says D'Angelo.

Seven A500s were produced, and two of the owners have flown theirs to AirVenture in Oshkosh, where the aircraft are on display. The owners of the aircraft say Hseuh is expected to make an appearance at Oshkosh later this week to announce the acquisition and his plans to re-launch the A500.