...And Here, Darn it, Are The Heartbreakers
Final Compilations by ANN Editor-In-Chief/Corporate Insomniac,
It is both the most "fun," and most difficult task, facing the
ANN staff at the end of every year -- determining who, or what, did
the most to promote the cause of aviation in the past 365 days...
while also chastising those people or entities that did all they
could to undermine the many successes the aerospace community has
managed to accomplish.
Alas, 2008 saw more
than its fair share of downers, aviation-wise. Sure, "stuff"
happens... but a few folks, issues, or entities seemed to go out of
their way to create problems for the world of aviation.
So... it is ANN's annual obligation to recognize Ten of our
Aero-Heartbreakers for 2008... in something of an informal order,
starting from the 1st to the 10th.
Let us know what you think of our selections... whom YOU would
have liked be included, or omitted, from such a list. In the
meantime, we hope those who had something to do with this year's
selections think a little more positively about the welfare of this
industry, so that future lists become harder and harder to
Be it ignorance, arrogance or just plain incompetence, these
were the folks or topics that made our lot a whole lot more
difficult and immeasurably injured the aviation world in the past
Shame on those issues, folks, or groups that made our lot so
much tougher in 2008...
You have to be somewhat amazed at how quickly the tide has
turned for Aero-Engine maker, Thielert Aircraft Engines. These
folks took the world by storm with an alternative-fueled powerplant
that was light, efficient and… most amazingly, based on
technology that actually post-dated the last World War -- then
they blew it… badly. More than badly… they screwed
the pooch in ways that pretty much leave them not only swirling the
drain, but destined to take a few others with it.
Don't you hate it when that happens?
There is little question that the problems at Thielert were long
in the making, and that a company that was starting to take the
world by storm with an alternative to older power plant technology
failed miserably at a time when it should have been invincible. The
problems at Thielert were largely managerial and financial, but
when the doors were shut, the industry was wounded in ways that we
will be feeling for years.
Worse, though, was the fact that that as Thielert fell under
government control (the foreign equivalent of bankruptcy) due to
its inability to manage its business affairs any further; those in
charge had grandiose ideas about what the company was worth and
what people were willing to put up with in order to get its
products. Those in charge of the Thielert resurrection
process wielded aggressive power unwisely…
with overpriced replacement parts, the institution of
laborious and unncessary procedures, alienated the OEMs and
customer base quite thoroughly, and pretty much made the potential
recovery of Thielert nigh onto impossible.
We don't know what's going to happen at Thielert Aircraft
Engines, but as bad as the mismanagement was when Thielert was
still in "business," it (in some ways) pales in comparison to what
was done thereafter, especially in regards to the way that
officials dealt with some of Thielert's most substantial
For what it's worth, we believe that the damage done Thielert
both before, and after, its failure appears to be
insurmountable -- with Diamond's Austro program heading
for certification, as well as both Continental and Lycoming's
promise of future diesel products in the pipeline, the resurrection
of Thielert may simply be impossible.
We shall see…