Again and again - for example during the AERO 2005 - we’re asked about the LS10, many pilots wait for its release.
For us in Bruchsal, it is a daily topic and we really have to rack our brains about it-
In this article, I would like to inform you about the current project status, based on a frank and honest information policy.
The problem divides into three aspects that have to be considered:
You’ll probably remember: In July 2003, we noticed certain economic problems in Rolladen-Schneider, but there were no rumors of insolvency. In this situation, the chairmen and partners sold us their machinery at a very fair price. The attempt to dissolve the business properly failed because the workers refused to finish the half-built planes. Insolvency was inevitable.
Within four months, we rebuilt the line, invested several hundred thousands of Euros, built up the spare part stock, the molds and the advertisement. And then, another investor offered the insolvency administrator a –obviously- much price.
In addition, the situation got a bitter aftertaste because the other investor was an important business partner of ours.
The insolvency administrator ruled against our contract (after ensuring us two weeks earlier that this would not occur) and requested a reversal of the transaction. He lost the following law dispute in February, 2005, and appealed a reversal again in March. So now, the whole “LS-Story” is still uncertain and has obviously affected the whole line and development of LS in a bad way.
As long as this whole thing has not been settled finally, development will be blocked.
“How good is the LS-10 really?”- Of course we tried to answer this question for ourselves very well and had the plane compete against all current models of our competitors. Naturally, those flights weren’t tested in “laboratory-like” conditions, but it became clear that the LS-10 was better than any of the other models available on the market, although the differences were rather small.
But, one has to consider the fact that our LS-10 was still entirely rough machined. Based on our experience, we know that usually these rather small tuning measures like shape and position of 3-D turbulators will give a definite improvement, which will make additional increase in performances of the LS-10 possible.
The fuselage is almost the same of the LS-8. If we rework it according to the changes on the LS8-s, it will be a good combination.
Unfortunately, we found that the moulds and fixtures are in a rather sad condition and on top of everything; LS models are a rather complex design and hence can only be produced at a relatively high cost.
Everyone knows that the approved certification of new models becomes more and more expensive and the number of production planes will never reach the quantities of the past.
The cost for developing the LS-10 will definitely be more than 500.000 Euros. This requires precise planning for a business like DG, to keep the whole process at the lowest cost. This planning which we are doing at this time will take much more time than we expected when we bought LS.
And as long as the lawsuit is not closed, all the economic risks are simply too high for us.
We will win this case. We are sure about that. Another thing that all the pilots that flew the prototype are already sure about it:
At the end of August, the Appeals Court in Karlsruhe finally dismissed the appeal by the bankruptcy lawyer against the court decision of February, 2005, as "obviously without merit." This was a complete victory for us even though it was a "Phyrrus Victory." We had properly taken over all rights to the "LS" brand name right from the beginning, but because of the long period of doubt and questions, the brand name suffered and many potential customers turned to our competition due to their uncertainty of our ability to sustain the line.
I can't blame them for that.
And if somebody had wanted to give us another hint of our success, nothing would have been better than to see Ralf Fischer take second place in the European Master's with an LS10 and our Production Manager, Holger Back, win first prize in the German National's competition in the 18 meter class.
If that wasn't a kick in the pants.........!
Now the pressure is on to develop the LS10 even further. There will be a Turbo version of the 18 meter ship and an optimized version of the 15 meter racer with improvements in the wing separation and newly developed winglets.
We hope to be in series production within the next year. First, however, the customers will be served that have waited through the difficulties of the past two years for their options to become firm orders. We want to assure them that they did not make a mistake waiting for us and that we will be true to the LS Brand name.
We will be glad to accept further options to buy until we are in series production and can then accept firm orders.
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