Grob Has Support, Needs Cash

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Grob Aerospace, which Monday announced its insolvency after repeated delays in the SPn business jet flight-testing program were capped by the loss of a loan provider, is winning support from customers. Chief executive Niall Olver says customers with jets on order have offered to support the manufacturer and told Flight International that half the customers he's spoken with "have offered to invest in the company." Olver added that the level of support has been "quite remarkable." Major order holders (PlaneSense, a fractional operator with 25 SPn jets on order) have not yet backed away from the company. Bombardier, which has targeted Grob as its structural design and manufacturing partner for three prototype all-composite Learjet 85 aircraft, says its plans with Grob remain unaffected. Grob's immediate future involves surviving a 90-day period during which the company will be overseen by an administrator, employees will continue to be paid and efforts will be made to find suitable financial footing for the company. Grob's SPn has an order backlog of roughly 120 aircraft and a fourth prototype flew for the first time on Aug. 7. Grob had hoped to see certification of the SPn later this year.

The company has produced a range of aircraft, from the aerobatic single-engine propeller-driven G 120A retractable-gear advanced trainer (selected for primary flight training by the Canadian government) through the SPn one-plus-nine-seat luxury business jet. Grob markets the SPn as a new class of business jet that combines "the versatility and robust short field performance of a turboprop with the comfort, elegance, and superior cruise speeds of a genuine luxury jet."