SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — Groen Brothers Aviation has reached an agreement to help establish a new Aviation Industrial Park in Wuhai, China.
The company will form the GBAC Joint Venture Co., which will serve as the anchor tenant of the Aviation Industrial Park. It also plans to build a series of aircraft manufacturing facilities to produce FAA Type Certified gyroplanes “and a few carefully chosen fixed wing designs that fit within GBA’s standard for highly advanced aircraft,” company officials said in a prepared statement. This includes the tandem seating SportHawk and ShadowHawk Gyroplane series, the ArrowHawk Gyroplane series, and eventually the GBA GyroLiner class VTOL airliner series from 19 seats up to 100 seats. Though the market for these aircraft is expected to be extremely large within China, these aircraft will be produced for worldwide distribution, officials added in the release.
The Wuhai Aviation Industrial Park established by the GBAC Joint Venture Company will include full airport facilities capable of handling general aviation operations including a runway sufficient in length for use by executive business jets up to Gulfstream aircraft. In addition to the manufacturing facilities and airport terminal operations, the Wuhai Aviation Industrial Park also will have training facilities for aircraft assembly personnel, A&Ps, and both fixed wing and rotor wing pilots; a research and development center; an aviation technology training center; and employee and student housing.
As part of the venture, GBAC has entered into a joint venture with ZhongXin Group Ltd. Co. of Hong Kong, a technology investment company, to create GBA Aviation Investment Limited (GAI-JV). Each company will own 50% of the joint venture, according to GBA officials. “GBAC will license appropriate civil gyroplane technologies to GAI-JV,” officials continued in the prepared statement. “None of GBAC’s military specific technologies will be transferred and the JV company will be restricted to civil aircraft only.”
On May 1, GBA filed a Form 8-K, which announced that following months of negotiations with all its creditors, most of whom are significant equity holders, GBA had reached an agreement for a plan to accomplish a major financial restructuring. This plan will result in the elimination of substantially all of the company’s debt, which currently exceeds $170 million, through the exchange of all of the debt for stock in GBA’s newly formed Groen Brothers Aviation Corporation. In return, GBA will transfer substantially all its assets, including its “technologies, know how, and associated patents,” into Groen Brothers Aviation Corporation in exchange for this relief of debt and maintenance of some continued ownership of Groen Brothers Aviation Corporation. In contemplation of this financial restructuring, GBA filed in the State of Delaware a Certificate of Incorporation for GBAC as a wholly-owned subsidiary of GBA Inc.
Groen Brothers Aviation 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 — the Hawk 4 Gyroplane. The Hawk 4 was used extensively for security aerial patrol missions during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
GBA announced in October 2005 that 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,” was 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 successfully completed Phase I of the Heliplane contract and participated as a subcontractor to the 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. The Heliplane could be the next generation rotor wing aircraft, meeting economy and performance goals not considered achievable by any other type of VTOL aircraft.
For more information: GroenBros.com