Superior Chapter 11: Still Shipping Parts, For Now
Superior Air Parts says it's continuing to fill and ship orders following its bankruptcy filing of last week and the acquisition of most of its assets by Textron Lycoming. Superior's Kent Abercrombie told AVweb this week that although the company laid off staff following its Dec. 31 bankruptcy filing, it is maintaining sufficient staff to accept and fill orders. Superior's XP experimental engine program will continue, but its popular owner-build program for homebuilders has been at least temporarily suspended. Lycoming's purchase includes only Superior's assets, meaning its PMAs and STCs for aftermarket parts, production certificates and various approvals, plus all parts in inventory and related intellectual property and equipment. Curiously, it did not buy Superior's Millennium cylinder line for Teledyne-Continental engines that, presumably, represents yet another asset Superior can sell.
The company remains as an independent business entity, albeit an insolvent one. Superior got into financial straits following the bankruptcy of its mother company, Thielert Aero Engines, last spring. Immediately after Thielert filed for insolvency in Germany, Superior's shipments of its Millennium cylinder line were disrupted. The cylinders were being shipped to Germany as raw castings and finish machined in Thielert's facility. That work was suspended when Thielert went under, but resumed when its recovery plan was in place.
Abercrombie told AVweb that Superior has continued to deliver cylinders, but at a slower pace, and added that cylinder delivery lead times have been improved over the past couple of months. The bated-breath question is whether Lycoming will authorize Superior to continue producing Lycoming and Continental parts (other than cylinders) under the aegis of the treasure trove of PMAs it now owns. Both Superior and ECI have represented competitive pressure for Lycoming on parts prices, which many field overhaul shops say has allowed them to remain in business. Scott Miller, a spokesperson for Lycoming, told AVweb this week that the company can't comment on its business plans until the bankruptcy court approves the assets sale.