True Flight Holdings LLC Hopes To Begin Production Anew
There's a new chapter in the
turbulent history of Tiger Aircraft. True Flight Holdings, LLC is
the new owner of the type certificate for the single-engine Tiger
The Martinsburg (WV) Journal-News reports the company was the
sole bidder for the TC. Bankruptcy trustee Thomas Fluharty said a
planned Wednesday auction was scratched, and True Flight snagged
the certificate for $925,000.
"There was only one offer," Fluharty said Wednesday.
A total of $5.1 million in claims have been filed against the
former Tiger Aircraft Company, which as ANN reported filed for
Chapter 7 liquidation in January. The company opened its doors in
2001, and had hoped to follow Cessna's lead for a successful
reintroduction of a storied airframe.
Tiger's business model closely followed that of Cessna with the
172 Skyhawk and 182 Skylane; the planemaker even received FAA
certification for installation of the Garmin G1000 glass panel
(below) in 2005. Its original business plan was to produce 70
aircraft per year.
Sadly, the company never attained even that relatively
conservative goal. In Tiger's best year -- 2004 -- sales reached
their zenith of $3.1 million. In 2005, the factory shipped 15
planes, then only three for the first ten months of 2006.
The type certificate grants Georgia-based True Flight the right
to produce the AG-5B. As of Thursday, however, the rest of the
former Tiger Aircraft's assets were still up for grabs... including
the now-defunct company's lease on land near Eastern West Virginia
Regional Airport, as well as a 75,000 square-foot manufacturing
"The land lease is still being marketed," Fluharty said. "There
are a few interested purchasers."
In a posting to a Grumman owners
group, True Flight CEO Kevin Lancaster clarified what his group's
"In other words, the type certificates and rights thereof, the
tooling and equipment used to build the aircraft, intellectual
property rights, parts and materials inventory, in short,
everything except the buildings, ground lease, office furniture and
paint booth," Lancaster wrote.
"We want to return the aircraft to production ASAP," Lancaster
said, adding he has owned two Tigers.
Lancaster adds it's likely a new plant to produce the AG-5B will
be located in Georgia.
The news of Tiger's sale, and likely move, comes in the midst of
a tough news cycle for aircraft companies once -- and still --
based in Martinsburg. As ANN reported earlier this
week, struggling jetmaker Sino Swearingen laid off an
estimated 43 workers at that company's parts manufacturing plant in