I wish I had some facts about this, not just information received from emails and other websites. Presuming it’s true, that Expedition aircraft, Found aircraft, has gone bankrupt, into receivership, into liquidation, closed down, shut down, (I’m using redundant keywords for benefit of search engines), I’ve made this post, as a place for others to post what they know.
Here’s what I’ve heard: On August 14, 2013, I got an email from Chris saying “I learned (with great sadness) today that Found Aircraft / Expedition Aircraft company has entered into receivership…….Did you know that? Tried to reach Tony and Drew – no response.” On August 30,2013, Bob posted a comment in my blog saying “Recently, I have heard the unfortunate news that Found Aircraft may have closed. Are you able to offer any information on the current situation? (Found was also a no-show this year at Oshkosh.)” On January 1, 2014 a blog comment by Mark said “The news is they looked the doors with 31 million of debt. Darn shame to see such a nice product become orphaned. Have you had any problems yet getting parts support? Any ideas how many Expeditions were produced before they shut down?” On an avcanada.ca forum, tiny posted on August 22, 2013 “Went to order some Bush Hawk parts today and was told the company is n receivership and so can not fill the order.”
Have I had problems getting parts or maintenance? – personally speaking, no, but I haven’t needed parts yet. But I feel pretty confident that anything “off-the-shelf” like the dashboard avionics and engine parts, are not a problem, and any metal parts made by Found / Expedition are able to be fabricated at metal machine shops. My local AME mechanic doesn’t foresee any problems keeping my plane going.
What I, and other Bushhawk and Expedition owners need to do, is to gather together now, whatever resources are available, and prepare for long-term self-reliance.
At the moment, I’m personally very happy with my purchase, and I love what my plane can do, as my blog shows. It will be my daughters plane eventually. ( Most of my blog readers, are my friends, people who might fly with me in the future, and I want to reassure you, that I LOVE my plane, I feel proud to be lucky enough to own a unique and powerful and rare and beautiful aircraft. It’s still “certified”, still gets a thorough annual inspection, and a few oil changes and checklists done each year when it crosses a 50 or 100 hour engine-times. It crossed 300 hours a few months ago.)
If a bankrupt factory and warehouse of parts becomes available, I’d like to hear about it. I’m not rich enough to buy and restart anything, but maybe current owners can band together and privately save some of it. Or, if some thoughtful “parts company” manages to buy the parts on the shelves in the closed factory, please let me know, so I can post the news here. If a warehouse or hangar needs to be cleaned out, I own some farmland, and would be happy to arrange for steel storage sea-cans full of stuff to park there.
I’m going to make back-up copies of the Found Aircraft Maintenance Manuals, in case the FoundAir.com website disappears.
What would be really nice to get, and save, are the SolidWorks CAD files of all the parts, so that they can be precisely recreated. If anyone can get me those, to save as a backup for the future, please please let me know. If you know a guy, who knows a guy, who might know where to find these files on a computer, please pass on this request for me.
What else? If you can think of something worth finding and saving, let me know.
Current owners of Expeditions and Bushhawks, lets document our planes, their locations, owners and local mechanics, so that our mechanics can phone around amongst each other and discuss solutions to problems that arise in our future. Send me a picture of your plane!
How many Expeditions were produced? I don’t know yet. Did any buyers of partially-built planes, lose money? I don’t know yet. Did the bankruptcy cause bad damage to supply chain companies? I don’t know yet. I’d like to hear about who got hurt, and share our sympathies.