Jetcruzer Assets Up For Auction
With all of the competition and struggling start-up manufacturers in the personal-jet niche, it's hard to imagine there are a lot of people interested in starting up an airplane company -- unless, of course, the price is right. As AVweb reported earlier this month, Mooney Aerospace Group (MAG) has followed through on plans to auction off its defunct Jetcruzer project to the highest bidder. The company has opened a Web site to conduct the auction. The reserve bid is $500,000, although the company will look at lower offers. Before balking at the price, consider that almost $100 million was spent on developing the rear-engine, six-place turboprop. And last time we checked the auction home page, it did not yet register a bid since the auction began November 25.
So, what will the successful bidder, if any, haul away from the hangar in Long Beach, Calif.? There's a flying prototype of the Jetcruzer 500, which would likely fly again, but not in its current condition -- the engine and prop have both been taken out and sent back to their respective manufacturers. There's the type certificate for the Jetcruzer 450, an earlier unpressurized version. (The 500 didn't achieve certification.) There are molds and jigs and various other items particular to the aircraft. There are also boxes and boxes of drawings and small parts. But almost anything that could be immediately put to use by someone else has already been sold -- things like power tools, workbenches, autoclaves, test equipment and the like. And don't look for any encouraging words from the owners. In an earlier interview, MAG CEO Nelson Happy told AVweb he thinks the market for single-engine turboprop aircraft is doomed by the bevy of mini-jets about to be launched on the market.