July 25, 2011
By Sarah Brown
“It is good to be back,” Superior Air Parts CEO Tim Archer told reporters July 25 at the company’s first appearance at an EAA AirVenture since Chinese ownership put the company back in business in 2010.
The manufacturer of certificated Vantage and experimental XM engines, and parts for Teledyne Continental and Lycoming engines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2008, months after parent company Thielert Aircraft Engines filed for insolvency. It recently began shipping parts and XP engines after being purchased by two Chinese holding companies.
Archer, accompanied by holding-company chairman Cheng Shenzong, described how the Texas-based engine and engine-part manufacturer is re-entering the American market as it provides technical and regulatory support to its parent company, Superior Aviation Beijing. The Beijing-based company is working to bring Superior’s product line to an Asian market and brought Archer back as CEO when it purchased Superior Air Parts.
Reading a statement from Chen, chairman of the Qingdao Brantly Investment Group and Beijing Suyoupeirui Company, Archer said that since Superior Aviation Beijing was founded in July 2010 it has completed a 1,300-square-meter facility in Beijing’s economic-technological development zone—a “mirror image” to Superior Air Parts’ Texas facility, Archer added. Superior has trained its first class of assemblers, engine testers, and quality assurance inspectors, and has completed assembly and testing of Superior Aviation Beijing’s first 360-cubic inch, 180 horsepower aircraft engine for the China market, he added.
“We’re very proud of the progress that Superior Aviation Beijing has made,” he said.
In the United States, Superior Air Parts is gaining momentum, with strong demand for cylinders, Archer said. The company resumed shipping cylinders for Teledyne Continental Motors and Lycoming engines and then its XP series experimental engines in 2011.
“Superior is back to delivering product,” Archer said. But, he said, “We are not delivering the product at the levels I would like to see it delivered.” The company announced price cuts on select components and piece parts to help it “get back into the business.”
Price rollbacks are applicable to a number of Superior’s FAA-approved parts manufacturer approval parts and components, including SA47006L-A20P Millennium Cylinder Assembly, SL10302-A21P Millennium Cylinder Assembly, SA642318 P05 Valve Seat, SL12033-SC Gasket Set, and SL75061 Rod Bolt.
The purchase of Superior Air Parts was one in a series of recent purchases by China of American general aviation assets. While Western investors passed on Superior, China saw it as an opportunity for growth, Archer said.
“It’s a trend that we’re seeing throughout the industry.”
Production in China will focus on the certificated market; Archer said the company is still testing the waters with Chinese regulatory authorities about its experimental line. The holding companies own five aerospace companies within two groups; success in each of them could help buoy the other divisions with additional investment, including the United States company, Superior said.
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