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Tiger Aircraft formally opens new plant

January 06, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Tiger Aircraft has opened its new plant at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport and expects to roll out its first Grumman Tiger plane in November, a company spokesman said.

"We are open for business and ready to take orders," said Tiger Aircraft spokesman Rick Wood.

The plant at the John D. Rockefeller IV Science and Technology Center opened in November 1999, but didn't have a full support staff until this month, Wood said.

Wood said the firm plans to start hiring people in July so that by the end of 2001 it will have approximately 40 full-time employees.

The firm, previously known as TLM Aerospace Inc., had planned to start making the four-seat, single-engine planes in April 1999, but ran into delays because of design changes and construction problems for the plant.

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The Grumman Tiger planes will be made for private owners and flight schools across the nation, Wood said.

The Tiger planes used to be made by American General Aircraft Corp., but the Greenville, Miss., company went bankrupt, Wood said.

Wood said Tiger Aircraft officials expect to manufacture 70 of the planes by the end of 2001, with four of the $215,000 planes expected to be made this year.

Wood said he did not know the latest cost estimate for construction of the plant at the local airport, but previous reports stated it was a $30 million facility.

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