In a press conference Monday at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center in preparation for this year's National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting and Convention, Adam Aircraft's new management team vowed "we'll make our numbers" as its members touted to-be-certified Adam A700 very light jet as the price/performance leader in the VLJ market. Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John D. Wolf echoed a theme heard in Adam's tent this summer at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh: His task his to transition Adam from a "world-class" development company to a same-level production concern. The company even has a new slogan recognizing the new situation in which it finds itself: "Make Production Fly." Meanwhile, Adam President Duncan (Dunc) B. Koerbel stressed he and his team were "on track for certification and delivery of the A700 by the end of 2008," even as he declined to be pinned down on exactly when next year all that would occur. Their optimism and confidence in the company's future was buttressed by the signing of a 10-year training agreement with Ross Perot-backed SAFERjett, a Colorado-headquartered aviation training and education company planning to base its Adam training facilities at the Fort Worth (Texas) Alliance Airport beginning in late 2008.
Adam officials also updated attendees at this year's NBAA extravaganza on its progress toward full certification of the company's A500 push-me-pull-you pressurized piston twin as well as the jet-powered A700. Stressing the A500's price and performance when compared to other piston twins -- it is the only pressurized piston twin in production -- Adam noted the A500 now is FAA certificated to FL250 and its enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) is also approved. The airplane can legally be flown into inadvertent icing, with known icing approval expected in 2008. But Adam's real deal is the A700, and it's evident the company is putting a larger share of its resources -- it's raised some $300 million thus far in its history, not counting what now-sidelined company founder Rick Adam pumped in -- toward making its VLJ a strong competitor in that market. So far, the A700's numbers -- including price, performance, number of seats, cabin volume and aft-mounted potty -- are good ones, placing it solidly and attractively in the VLJ pack. The company's challenge, though, is the same one faced by all startups -- especially those startups trying to gain more than a toehold in the VLJ market: Deliver a fully certificated jet meeting investor and customer expectations. The jury's still out on whether it can be done and by whom, but Adam's startup efforts are definitely in contention.