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Tue, Jan 31, 2006

Ken Brock Manufacturing Closed

Some Parts Sold To Spruce; Gyros Remain in Limbo

When Ken Brock (right) died in a freak Thorp T-18 accident on October 19, 2001 -- the tailwheel failed, and the plane groundlooped and overturned, breaking his neck -- there were long odds against the survival of his company. Sometimes you beat the odds, but sometimes the odds beat you, and the Ken Brock Manufacturing Company of Stanton, California closed its doors at the end of 2005, after a would-be buyer backed out at the last minute.

Marie Brock, who survived the 2001 crash, has attempted to sell off the lines of business that were of greatest interest to the aviation community, with mixed results.

Ken Brock Manufacturing may have been best known for its high-quality gyroplane kits. Ken was known to airshow-goers as the guy who did the gyro demonstration -- Ken's black gyro was always a welcome sight at airshows. His company offered two gyros, the KB-2 (below), which was very similar to a Bensen, and the more powerful KB-3.

Due to the high thrustline of the KB-3, and the large numbers of options for those seeking an open-frame, Bensen-inspired gyro like the KB-2, Mrs Brock has been unable to sell this line of business at this time. Much of the parts inventory has been sold.

Brock manufacturing also made a wide range of metal components, controls and fittings for experimental aircraft, especially canards like the Long-EZ and Cozy. With no new Long-EZ construction starting, the Cozy parts were the most active line of business, and that has been acquired by Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Co., including "all existing inventory, tooling, and drawings for the prefabricated metal parts used in construction of the popular Cozy Mark IV aircraft." Brock had made the Cozy parts as an outgrowth of its other canard-parts business for thirty years.

"As the owner of the design rights for the Cozy Mark IV and the source for plans and kits, Aircraft Spruce wanted to insure that builders would continue to have a source for the former Brock parts, and now has the existing inventory in stock. There was no remaining inventory of some of the parts, but these parts will be available as soon as new production sources are established," Aircraft Spruce posted on its website.

The Ken Brock Manufacturing website remains up, showing no signs of the closure of the company, but it's definitely closed, despite the "undead" website. Should any reader have an interest in the gyro business, drop us a line and we'll try to put you in touch with the principals in the case.

FMI: www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/kitspages/cozy.php, www.kenbrockmfg.com (historic interest only)

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