Alpha Aviation Closes

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Alpha Aviation, a Hamilton, N.Z.-based planemaker, laid off most of its 70 staff and went into liquidation this week after a three-month search to find a buyer failed to turn up any prospects. In 2004, the company bought the rights to the French-made Robin two-place low-wing aircraft. The plan was to sell updated versions of sporty aircraft to the flight training market under the name the Alpha 2000. The aircraft was certified in the U.S. in 2007; a short time later, the company hired former Mooney CEO Gretchen Hahn as general manager.

It's not known if Hahn was still associated with the company when it closed. Alpha was purchased by Australia-based Inventis in 2006. The company expected big things from the U.S. market and was expecting to build 100 aircraft a year. It built a total of about 20 aircraft, most of which went to New Zealand and Australian flight schools.