You can add another acronym to the world of Light Sport Aircraft: Gobosh.
It means “Go Big Or Stay Home” and is both the name and the attitude of Gobosh Aviation, a company that has entered virtually every facet of LSA from imports and distribution to training and financing.
“We’re a new company in the LSA market and we plan to do things differently,” said Tim Baldwin, president of the Moline, Ill.-based company. “We expect to be a large player in a short time.”
While the company is new, several members of the Gobosh team are familiar faces in the aircraft industry, having come from other established companies, such as Symphony and Columbia.
“We bring a lot of experience to the LSA arena,” Baldwin said. “Over the last 18 months we’ve traveled around the world to find the best products for the market. We’re looking to brand the company, rather than the products. We want people to buy into our expertise.”
The first product the company brings to the U.S. market is the Polish-built Aero AT-3.
“We stumbled upon it last year and contacted the company to modify the aircraft to be a LSA product,” Baldwin explained. “The redevelopment involves primarily the wings. The aircraft is now called the G-700.”
The aircraft was developed by Tomasz Antoniewski and certified in Europe in 1999. Antoniewski is enthusiastic about the partnership with Gobosh.
“They are very professional,” he said. “They know the market, they know the rules and they know how to sell airplanes. It is important for the manufacturer and distributor to understand the goal of the company.”
According to Baldwin, the Gobosh strategy calls for the branding and marketing of a family of five aircraft. Different manufacturers build the different aircraft.
“We have identified a low-wing metal aircraft, a low-wing composite, a high-wing composite, a high-wing metal aircraft and a tube-and-fabric aircraft that will be part of our company,” Baldwin explained. “There will be something for everyone.”
The G-700 is the low-wing, metal plane. The G-800, which will debut at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., in January, is a low-wing composite plane made in the Czech Republic. Gobosh also redesigned the wings on this plane to make it LSA compliant.
Baldwin noted that Gobosh officials have flown all the airplanes, been to the factories and know the people involved in the manufacturing process.
The strategy is for customers to get to know Gobosh, rather than the aircraft it is selling.
“These products can potentially come and go,” Baldwin said. “What we want people to rely on is our company and what we bring to the table — that is lots of time, money and research of the industry to bring the best products to our customers. Our intentions are to brand the Gobosh name, the Gobosh product line and the Gobosh parts and service and dealer network. We also have Gobosh-branded finance and Gobosh-branded insurance.”
Since most of the Gobosh team come from other businesses in aviation, they have the contacts necessary to establish dealerships in the U.S., as well as a service network.
“We have three former Symphony dealers who have become Gobosh dealers,” Baldwin said. “We plan to have six dealers by next year or so. Our strategy calls for us to take it very slow. We want our dealers to be healthy. We have 20 aircraft available to us this year, 50 next year and 80 in 2009. For our dealers to be comfortable and healthy we think they should be able to sell 10 to 15 aircraft each year. So it would be silly to have 30 dealers all at once and competing for one or two airplanes a year.”
Baldwin notes that the construction of the aircraft, combined with the look, will attract buyers. Each wing skin section is constructed from a single piece of aluminum from wing root to wing tip, eliminating unsightly section lines and creating a seamless and efficient wing, he said. Under the skin, the attention to manufacturing detail continues. Beneath the painted surfaces, aluminum parts are anodized. All steel parts are cadmium plated for corrosion protection. Standard aircraft rivets are used throughout the G-700S. Additionally, the LSA boasts a steel landing gear, which, said Baldwin, makes it ideal for the flight training environment.
“It is a very robust aircraft,” he said. “It has a spring steel landing gear. This aircraft was built from the ground up to be a trainer.”
Baldwin adds that the aircraft also was designed for ease of maintenance.
“Inspections can be done via a hinged door rather than a screw removed panel,” he said. “We are excited about doing our first 100-hour inspection so that we can time the process and get a number that really means something to a flight school. The faster that process goes, the less downtime for them.”
Also attractive to flight schools is the low operating cost, he said, noting the plane burns about 3.8 gallons per hour and has 1,500 hours between overhauls on the Rotax engine. The G700S also boasts a two year/400 hour warranty.
The cockpit has been Americanized, he added. “The panel has been laid out and configured like any typical normal category airplane to fit this market,” he said. “It has the six pack of instruments and the Garmin LSA radio and the knobs are in the right places.”
There were slight modifications to the aircraft’s wings to, as Baldwin puts it, “make it LSA specific. The winglets have provided a phenomenal amount of stability in slow flight and stalls,” he said.
For more information: Gobosh.aero.
Earlier this month, Gobosh Aviation delivered the first two G700S LSA in the U.S.
The first was pressed into service as a flight training platform where it is already proving to be a valuable asset for its owner.
“With a field elevation over 5,000 feet and summer temperatures regularly climbing into the upper 90s, density altitude is a major concern,” said Chris Dillis, president of Skyraider Aviation in Denver. “The G700 is performing beyond expectations. It continues to generate revenue for our flight school on even the hottest days. Our flying club members are extremely pleased with the quality and performance of the aircraft.”