Groen Brothers Aviation International, LLC has been formed to participate in a joint venture with Guangzhou Suntrans Aviation Science and Technology Co., Ltd. (Suntrans), called Foshan Suntrans-Groen Aviation Co., Ltd. (FSG Aviation), which will produce light gyroplanes based on Groen Brothers’ SparrowHawk design.
The agreement provides for FSGA to assemble, manufacture, sell, and provide related services for GBA’s SparrowHawk Gyroplane Program, including the most advanced version of the SparrowHawk aircraft developed to date, the SparrowHawk III. It is expected that FSG Aviation will reintroduce the SparrowHawk III Kit into the US and world markets, followed over the next few years by a fully assembled light gyroplane using technology transferred by Groen Brothers Aviation by the cooperative joint venture.
The agreement for the joint venture still must receive approval from the appropriate Chinese regulatory authorities, company officials note.
The total amount of registered capital of the joint venture will be Chinese Renminbi (“RMB”) 100 Million (approximately US$14.7 million). Under the terms of the agreement, Suntrans will contribute RMB 75 million (approximately US$11 million) to the joint venture in cash and hold 75% of the shares in FSG Aviation; in return for its contribution of the SparrowHawk Program and transfer of advanced gyroplane technology, Groen LLC will hold 25% of the shares valued at RMB 25 million (approximately US$3.67 million).
Groen Brothers Aviation considers the formation of this joint venture particularly of value because the Chinese government has announced that it has begun a program to open to the public, Chinese airspace below 3,000 meters. “An aircraft that’s easy and safe to fly, highly maneuverable and needing only a very short runway, which is essentially what the SparrowHawk Gyroplane is, ought to be very popular in China, as the country opens up to a new generation of private pilots,” said GBA’s Vice President of Business Development Al Waddill, “especially since demand for personal aircraft should be far beyond the capability of China’s current general aviation infrastructure.”
Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. has been developing gyroplane technology since 1986. Powered by a Rolls-Royce gas turbine engine, GBA developed the world’s first commercially viable modern gyroplane — the first “autogiro” to utilize a jet engine ± Hawk 4 Gyroplane. The Hawk 4 was used extensively for security aerial patrol missions during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
In October 2005 DARPA, an arm of the United States Department of Defense, awarded a contract to GBA to form and lead a team to design a proof of concept high speed, long range, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft designed for use in Combat Search and Rescue roles. This modern rotorcraft, named by DARPA as the “Heliplane,” is designed to exploit GBA’s gyrodyne technology; offering the VTOL capability of a helicopter, the fast forward flight of an airplane, and the safety, simplicity and reliability of a GBA gyroplane. GBA completed Phase I of the Heliplane contract and also participated as a subcontractor to Georgia Institute of Technology for tip-jet noise reduction work for Phase IB, which was also successful. To date DARPA has not announced funding for Phase II and the future involvement of the company in the DARPA contract is unknown, company officials said.
For more information: GroenBros.com