“It’s been a long time coming,” said Curt LoPresti, “but we are delighted to announce that a location for the Fury factory has been selected.”
The late Roy LoPresti, whose motto was “Life is short. Fly fast,” designed, engineered and built what he thought was the perfect airplane. He called it the Fury. When the man who designed flying things ranging from the Grumman Tiger to the Lunar Lander tells you he has the perfect airplane, it’s time to listen.
The Fury combines the legendary LoPresti love of speed with a sporty, military-like design and meticulous attention to construction details. Somewhat resembling a Globe Swift, one of the handsomest airplanes ever built, the Fury might be described as a Swift that had gone to school at LoPresti Speed Merchants. Furthermore, Curt LoPresti told us, “It flies even better than it looks. It’s a fingertip airplane. It’s pretty sweet.”
Roy LoPresti’s goal was to build “the best-handling sport airplane ever,” his son said. Most stick-and-rudder enthusiasts would say he succeeded admirably. The Fury is a two-place, high-performance airplane that can carry two people and about 200 pounds of gear for 1,000 miles at 215 mph. It will sell for $295,000.
The Fury is to be built at Alexander Airport near Belen, N.M., where the LoPrestis soon will break ground for a 100,000-square-foot plant to house the certification project, then initial manufacturing. Belen is about 30 miles south of Albuquerque.
“It is well known that New Mexico is friendly to new business in general, and aviation specifically,” Curt LoPresti said at Oshkosh. “Alexander Airport is a major component of the region’s transportation system and part of a multi-mode complex that includes a Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad hub.” Belen is “on the verge of major growth,” he added.
Roy LoPresti died in August 2002 after slipping off a ladder while cleaning a rain gutter. Since then, his four sons – Curt, Jim, Bud and David – and widow Peggy have not only kept LoPresti Speed Merchants going but have kept it growing.
An old family friend, SJ Siegel, is managing the Fury project. Five certification Furies are to be built as soon as possible, he said at Oshkosh. Airplanes should be rolling out of the new factory within a year, he added.
The LoPrestis plan to invest $5.1 million in capital and construction projects at Belen, Siegel said, and another $5 million for infrastructure and equipment. He expects the plant to employ some 300 workers within three years.
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