A Holiday Wish List: One Airplane Factory, Please

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For every new aircraft to actually make it into production, we'd guess there are a dozen that don't make it past the prototype stage. A couple of old friends in Tower, Minn., are ready to test those odds and try to raise a couple of million dollars to realize their dream. Larry Gish, 53, and Ray Jacobsen, 59, designed and built an airplane based on the 1940s-era Piper PA-14 Family Cruiser, a compact four-passenger taildragger with nifty short-field performance, and named it Pegasus. "The response we got from other pilots to our airplane was incredible," Gish told the Associated Press. "It seemed like everyone wanted me to build one for them." Thus began a year of market research, which the partners say uncovered a considerable demand ready and waiting for a plane just like theirs. Jacobsen told the AP that Pegasus has more power and better handling than the original Piper design. The prototype cruises at about 120 mph. Certification by the FAA is expected to take a couple of years, and the base price is projected to be $130,000. If there is any magic left in the season, may it cascade down upon all those endeavors that would bring us shiny new airplanes.