26 March 2004
26 March 2004
The Adam Aircraft twin-jet, double tailed A700 commercial air taxi will be assembled in Ogden.
The Colorado-based aircraft developer plans to open a plant in Ogden by the end of 2004 that within three years will employ 500 workers assembling a new generation of carbon-fibre composite commercial aircraft.
""This is one of the biggest home runs Utah has hit in a long time,"" said Dell Loy Hansen, a member of the state Board of Business and Economic Development, which approved the deal. The incentive involved is sanctioned by the Aerospace Aviation Tax Increment Funding Act passed by the 2003 Legislature.
""This is a golden company for Ogden, not just because of these jobs and the investment Adam Aircraft will bring, but for the spin-off of industries around it,"" Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey said recently.
Ogden is helping Adam Aircraft get a $6 million loan from Utah banks to cover its initial costs. Adam said the plant itself will not require much construction. Work will begin in an existing hangar at the airport, then expand into an 80,000-square-foot facility as the company adds workers.
""Most of the investment is in human resources,"" Adam said. That also means the plant's ramp-up time will be relatively brief. We can be in production of the jet a year from now,"" Adam said. ""We have a good head start because there are so many workers with these [jet engine] skills around Hill.""
Adam Aircraft started developing its twin-tailed aircraft in 2000 at Centennial Airport near Denver and added a plant in Pueblo, Colo., last year. The company already has orders for prop and twin-jet aircraft. The A500, a propeller version of the aircraft, should be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in the next three months, Adam said.
The A700, the twin-jet model that will be assembled in Ogden, is in the testing phase. Because the jet shares 80 percent of its parts, including the fuselage and landing gear, with the A500, FAA certification should come quickly. The engines and avionics for the planes are being purchased from third parties, including engine maker Williams International, which eliminates surprises and delays in design and approval.
The double-tailed A700 may be a winner in a competition to build a nationwide air taxi service. Air taxis, based on small but inexpensive jets flying from convenient air strips, would liberate business people from the hassles and expenses of using commercial airlines, according to a study by NASA.
The six-seat A700 is expected to cost just under $2 million -- less than half what a similar-sized corporate jet costs now. Adams used $25 million of his own money to start Adam Aircraft. A major investor in the $80 million company is Goldman, Sachs & Co.
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