AAI Acquisition Inc., the Russian-backed company that bought the assets of Adam Aircraft, is aiming for certification of the A700 very light jet in the first quarter of 2010. The company has hired former Sino Swearingen, Rockwell and Beech executive Jack Braly to guide the process, which resumed recently with two structure tests performed for the FAA. Braly told a news conference at EAA AirVenture that the FAA is accepting all the test data submitted by Adam before its bankruptcy earlier this year and that gives the new company a major boost in gaining full certification. "We've only been at it for about a month and a half and we're already halfway there," he said. Many former Adam employees, including the test pilots, have stayed with the company, Braly said, and he expects the workforce to grow from the current 150 to 500 by the end of next year. There has been a casualty in the rebirth of the A700 program, however.
Braly said the A500 push/pull twin piston program has been shelved indefinitely because that segment of the industry is moribund. He also said the program could be revived if that market comes back. Test flights of the A700 have resumed in a limited way and Braly said all the aircraft systems are being re-evaluated. The only major design change that's been set is a steerable nosewheel.