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Optica Aircraft, What Became Of It?

Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:17 am

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I remember they were built on the Isle Of Wight with some involvement with Richard Noble (Thrust 2 World Landspeed Record Holder), but what happened to these "bees"?
What Goes Up Must Come Down, Hopefully In One Piece!
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RE: Optica Aircraft, What Became Of It?

Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:21 am

Sounds like another case of a good aircraft hampered by poor management:


Initial plans covered the construction of 200 aircraft, beginning in mid-1983, with first production models to be available at the end of that year for approximately GBP 55,000 each. However, the crash of an early production aircraft in 1985 led to the collapse of the company.

In October 1985, Optica Industries was formed to continue activities, and by the end of 1986 15 aircraft had been produced. In January 1987 the factory was destroyed by arson along with all but one airworthy Optica.

The company was reformed again as Brooklands Aircraft (later Aerospace), and the Optica Scout, renamed the Scoutmaster, returned to production with a 194kW Textron Lycoming O-540 engine. Six had been delivered to customers by the end of 1989. In March 1990, after building another five aircraft, all manufacturing was halted and a receiver called in.

In July 1990 the Optica project was acquired by Lovaux Ltd at Hum and a resumption of full-scale production and marketing is planned. Continuing optimism for the Optica concept is supported by market studies indicating that around 8,000 aircraft are used wholly or partly for observation work, ranging from expensive helicopters to simple single-engined fixed-wing types, but none specifically designed for the task, and a sales penetration of 5% or 10% would bring substantial business.


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