MORE Major Breaking News... Klapmeier Confirms That Cirrus
"Will Not Bid"
ANN has confirmed, in an exclusive conversation with Cirrus
Founder Alan Klapmeier, that the company will not bid for ownership
of the assets of Columbia Aircraft, currently on the block and
slated to be sold in a bankruptcy auction in just a few
Klapmeier noted that Cirrus had been to the Bend plant, come
away with strong impressions of the continued viability of the
Columbia program but admitted that making Columbia a viable
addition to their product line, "will not be cheap."
Among a number
of concerns raised by Cirrus were their estimates that the
Columbia's warranty claims are quite a bit more costly than first
thought, and that additional issues with "Evade, Service Bulletins,
and other concerns," were likely to drive the true cost of the
acquisition, in both time and money terms, far higher than
While not questioning the ultimate market potential for the
aircraft, Cirrus noted that such an investment in resources would
be considerable and that when the total costs were factored in,
that continued development of 'the jet' should remain their largest
Klapmeier also admitted that the reality of producing this
aircraft without the chute, for the year or more that it would take
to reverse engineer its installation, concerned them -- if in fact
that the aircraft could be so adapted. "What do you do without the
chute..." asked Klapmeier.
"...Philosophically, it just doesn't fit in well with our view
Other sources close to Cirrus, and other parties looking at a
possible Columbia acquisition, also counseled ANN that while
they thought that Columbia could be brought back to full production
and achieve the 200 unit annual sales figure touted by many for
intiial survival, that upgrading the Columbia for true "High-Rate"
production (in excess of 200 units, annually) would be a
considerable task... and one that could conceivably be the most
expensive of the many undertakings necessary to guarantee a firm
future for this aircraft series.
With this annnouncement, there are but two "serious" players
left in the bidding for Columbia... Industry behemoth Cessna
Aircraft and aero-newcomer Park Electric... with just days to go,
the race is narrowing but we have a feeling that the sparks are
just beginning... we'll keep you updated.