Aircraft manufacturers with facilities in Ukraine threatened

German company Flight Design employs nearly 200 people at an aircraft production plant in Ukraine. Flight Design USA President Tom Peghiny said the company is deeply concerned about its employees.

“We know them very well,” Peghiny said. “Some have been in the business for more than 20 years. We are good friends and we take this very personally.

The Flight Design factory is located in Kherson, a city of 300,000 people in the southeastern part of Ukraine which is currently surrounded by Russian troops. The factory remains open for business, however, and the workers are building planes as best they can.

Flight Design USA has approximately 25 aircraft on order.

Flight Design was in the process of expanding aircraft production to a second factory in the Czech Republic before the invasion, and this shift continues.

“We have already installed part of the tooling in the Czech Republic and we will continue to fill it,” Peghiny said. “We hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Dennis Long, a dealer for Aeroprakt, a maker of light-sport aircraft in Ukraine, said he spoke with factory officials who said they plan to stay at work.

“They told me they would keep making planes until they couldn’t anymore,” he said. “For now it’s business as usual, although my next two planes will probably have to be shipped from Poland because the port of Odessa is closed.”

Long is based in Searcy, Arkansas, and sells about a dozen Aeroprakt A22 and A23 two-seaters a year. Business has been extremely good recently and it is currently sold out until the end of 2022.

“Sales have been great,” he said. “At the moment, due to all the uncertainty, I’m not taking any new deposits. I’m more concerned about the people there than the planes at the moment.

Epic Aircraft, maker of a single-engine turboprop in Bend, Oregon, is controlled by a holding company owned by Vladislav Filev, a Russian oligarch with several aerospace companies known as “Russian Elon Musk.” Filev owns S7 Airlines, Russia’s largest private passenger carrier, and S7 Technics, a major aircraft maintenance company. Filev graduated from the former Soviet Union’s military space academy in St. Petersburg and later became chairman of a Russian investment company. Epic Aircraft has received an FAA type certificate and production approval for its carbon fiber E1000 GX, which cruises up to 333 KTAS and has a ceiling of 34,000 feet.

the Folding slip reported on February 22 that Epic had ramped up production following a slowdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic, and plans to complete 20 aircraft this year, doubling that production rate to 40 aircraft in 2023.

Epic Aircraft’s director of sales and marketing, Mike Schrader, said in an email exchange that the situation in Ukraine is not expected to impact the company.

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