Aircraft *designs* available for sale?

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ScaleBirdsScott

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Not that it exactly falls into the purview of the HBA but since we're on the topic of available designs, and there's some assumption that one buying a design would do so to make it some kind of business distraction on their life; I wonder how many certified aircraft designs are out there with someone sitting on all the paperwork but unwilling or unable to do anything with it. With a design for a kit or plans-built, you can just buy it and there's no significant requirements beyond that. I assume if you own the type certificate rights then, there's a lot of extra baggage along with it from legacy? Are there maintenance fees or reporting duties that you must now submit to the various authorities just for owning the paper, or does it only matter if you're setup and actively executing on it?

For every homebuilt design out there, and for all the expense it is to certify a modern aircraft, are there not legions of abandoned certificates sitting in some entity's archives that could be reinstated as (theoretically) viable product? I could even see a situation where a certificate holder could agree for a different company to fabricate, build, test, market, insure, etc all under license. It was done in the past. I'm not super up on how that is handled. Say Cessna were to license, say, "Double Summit Aviation Empire" to produce a version of the 150 but with all the latest avionics and everything and give it "hella sick" pantschemes, are those 150s still Cessna's problem? Do they need their own new certificate? Or a sub certificate? Is Cessna writing off on the factory being up to standards and ultimately responsible for what their licensee does with their charter? Or is the FAA bypassing Cessna entirely and doing inspections of the DSAE factory and treating DSAE as the type holder in all practical terms? (For the record I simply made DSAE up on the spot as a reference to twin peaks and not as some sly reference to an actual company. And I havn't even really watched Twin Peaks so...)

If it's a really old design, it's not like you'd need a facility any more advanced than what your mid-tier kitplane mfgs are already established with. And so I'm curious why it hasn't been more common other than rights holders wanting nothing more than to never see any more legacy liabilities see the light of day, or that there just is less than no market for such a proposition.

But if you thought there was a market, if you went to, say, whoever owns the paperwork for the Spartan Executive and say "I'll buy the rights and titles and lands and castles for X dubloons" then it seems like it shouldn't be some huge problem for the person sitting on that currently; and it might be free money for them. A helluvalot of work for whoever takes over all those titles (and hopefully they're "huuuuuuuuge tracts of land") but maybe the idea of the rejuvinated classic is tantalizing for some.

OF course I think we've seen a few such attempts and none have yielded anything much of note. Probably a lot of money spent on very little. But it's always so darn tempting. And those factory fresh WACOs always make the prospect seem so romantic.
 

cheapracer

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I wonder how many certified aircraft designs are out there with someone sitting on all the paperwork .
I approached numbers early on and the story always came out the same, pay me 'X' amount of dollars up front first.

Yeah, nah.

Your plane either hasn't been produced or sold in any numbers for years, if not decades. In 2 examples, the owners wanted more money up front than the plane's total combined retail sales value over the 20 years since it was released!

Example: Plane "Y" fiberglass high wing 2 Pax, had 32 sales over 20 years, aprox $60K per unit, so $2 million gross income over 20 years, guy wanted $5 million for the business!

Example: Plane "Z" was a fiberglass prototype, high wing 2 Pax pusher, been around flying for 3 years, had done various shows and not gained a single order, plane, fuse molds only (it used wings purchased from another brand), wanted $3 million for the lot!

Just 2 of a number.

My offer was always simple, I'll pay for everything to put it into production, marketing ect, and I'll pay a royalty on every sale, it will not cost you a cent, and in a couple of cases, I won't interfere with the business model in the specific country they were being sold in (and weren't being sold anywhere else).

The attitude was pretty consistent, light aircraft company owners seem to think they have companies worth way, way far in value in excess of the actual facts.
 

Turbine Aeronautics

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This certificated one is at a local field to me. There is a company there that holds the TCDS for it and wanted to put it back into production as a 4 seater, instead of the 2 seater that it was. It’s a great looking aircraft but nothing will probably ever happen to it.

Cheapie? :)

82AB00F4-5B7A-4090-821E-E4DE1C35A949.jpeg
 

Dana

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Existing aircraft companies won't sell old type certificates because it'd be competition for them; if there were money in producing the older models they'd be doing it themselves, and probably far cheaper than somebody who would also have to invest in starting up a brand new production line.

The Great Lakes and WACO (now the same company) are special cases of niche airplanes for wealthy buyers.

I recall in the 1980s how the Taylorcraft type certificate went through various hands after the Dorothy Ferris (who with her husband had been a Taylorcraft dealer) sold it. One of the big concerns was preserving all of the tooling, without which aircraft and parts would be much more difficult to produce. Several companies popped up in the late 1980s and 90s offering parts (and complete new planes Real Soon Now...), but they seem to all be gone, and I don't know who owns the TC now.

Univair now owns the TCs for the Ercoupe and the Stinson 108. As such they can make and sell genuine factory parts. Presumably if they thought they could make a profit selling complete aircraft (who wouldn't want a brand new Stinson 108!) they'd be doing it.

On the homebuilt side, a guy I know bought the rights to the Zing and Cloudster ultralights along with half VW conversion plans, and is selling them as Simplex Aeroplanes. I think he barely breaks even after the cost of advertising, etc., and has a full time job as well as working part time as a SP-CFI. And I believe the current owner of Fisher Aircraft also has another full time job, with hopes of expanding the company after he retires.
 

billyvray

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Falconar Avia was for sale. im glad the designs have been picked up. I really wanted to buy the F11 and F12 but as mentioned above, the sales didn't appear to justify the cost.
 

crusty old aviator

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Univair had the TC and a pile of tooling & parts for the Globe/Temco Swift that they were looking to sell off, as there is too little market for supporting the type, so a group of Swift owners pooled their resources, started a Foundation, and bought the multiple truckloads of materiel and the TC, bringing it to Tennessee.
Interstate Aircraft went through many owners over the decades, ending up in a hangar in Lebanon, NH, owned by a man more interested in restoring exotic cars than supporting aircraft. He will never produce and sell a single part for the Cadet, L-6, nor Arctic Tern because his deep pockets might be exposed to liability claims, so the TC languishes and the existing aircraft lack support. Tim Talen is now establishing a Foundation, similar to Swift, to acquire the TC, tooling, parts, etc. to support and perpetuate the Interstate types.
 

Victor Bravo

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a simpler parasol design of my own, in the same spirit but with more wing area and at a weight suitable for microlight category (315 kg/694 lb gross weight). I even have a name picked out...Experimental Runabout International Class. ;-) One of these days....
No, any proper parasol should be named:
Microlight Aircraft, Touring Themed, Having Elevated Wing.

But please look at my post regarding the Kitten and Sportster, there is an orphaned or dormant follow-on design that is just sitting there in a hangar, which meets most of what I think you want. Design a folding wing mechanism (like the Airbike) and you'd have a delightful little LSA/Microlight airplane.
 

Mad MAC

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Hamilton New Zealand
Type certified aircraft have more revenue streams and costs than homebuilt plans. Its not just the parts sales (100% margin minamum) there is tech pubs subscriptions, repair schemes (better than break even on the 1st example pure profit on the same damage the next time around).
Locally to hold an aviation approval one needs three people minamum to hold all the required company positions. To hold a type certificate and do anything with it one needs a minimum of 3 approvals (the staffing of which can be contracted out but not the approvals)
Design organisation ( to allow you to maintan the type certificate)
Supply organisation (so you can break batches down and on sell)
Manufacturing organisation (so you can make new parts or have them made)
Its slightly different in the US but the end result will look much the same.
 

C.D. Donald

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"Someone should take the Cassutt rights, and promote and support it.

A non-racing fuselage, with the upper longerons built in one plane, would be slightly heavier, but would be much easier to build, and could have more room below the spar for taller pilot.

Three wings could be offered; the traditional wing, a larger sport wing, and a tapered all-out race wing."

That's already being done: https://www.cassuttaircraft.com/ Creighton King is promoting the Cassutt now.
 

BBerson

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Interstate Aircraft went through many owners over the decades, ending up in a hangar in Lebanon, NH, owned by a man more interested in restoring exotic cars than supporting aircraft. He will never produce and sell a single part for the Cadet, L-6, nor Arctic Tern because his deep pockets might be exposed to liability claims, so the TC languishes and the existing aircraft lack support. Tim Talen is now establishing a Foundation, similar to Swift, to acquire the TC, tooling, parts, etc. to support and perpetuate the Interstate types.
I thought the news report was the Arctic Tern buyer was killed during the tooling move from Alaska. I worked in all phases of manufacture at Arctic Aircraft. The design requires a huge amount of labor hours.
 

BBerson

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