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August 28, 2014
By Jim Moore
Five years after founding SAM Aircraft, and less than a month after announcing that testing of the experimental version of the SAM LS is complete, Thierry Zibi announced Aug. 27 that the company is for sale.
“I came to the realization that I love designing airplanes, but I am not so keen on running a production company,” Zibi said in a news release. Zibi reported that one final production example remains to be produced before the SAM LS will be eligible for FAA approval as a factory-built light sport aircraft (SLSA), as Zibi reported during EAA AirVenture July 30, when he also briefed the media on flight tests during which the aircraft would not spin with the CG between 22 and 28 inches from the reference datum.
Zibi declined to name an asking price. In a follow-up email, he said the asking price is "attractive" and established with a prompt sale in mind.
AOPA flew the SAM LS in 2013 and reported on its flying qualities and ramp appeal. Zibi captured more attention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July with a new paint scheme and reduced price of $117,900 for the factory-built version. Zibi said in an Aug. 28 email that the company has sold three complete kits.
Zibi closed his announcement with a pitch aimed directly at prospective buyers, inviting tours of the factory:
“See what convinced our customers to put down their deposits, and you’ll have a ready-to-go operation, for dimes on the development dollar, or a tested, ready-to-deliver design to add to [your] existing line.”
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
The experimental SAM LS has successfully completed spin testing, SAM Aircraft Founder Thierry Zibi announced July 30 at EAA AirVenture.
Reminiscent of a Yak 52, or North American T-28 Trojan and T-6, the SAM LS light sport aircraft is the warbird of the LSA market.
Pilots have a chance to double the impact of their donations to the AOPA Foundation as the nonprofit nears its goal for a matching gift challenge.
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