SOURCE: Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc.

January 22, 2008 07:00 ET

Groen Brothers Aviation's American Autogyro Announces SparrowHawk III Quick Build Gyroplane

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwire - January 22, 2008) - Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. ("GBA") (OTCBB: GNBA) announced today that their American Autogyro Division is introducing the latest version of its SparrowHawk series of kit-built gyroplanes, the SparrowHawk III Quick Build. "Compared to our earlier versions, the new SparrowHawk III will significantly reduce the time and effort involved in building this fine aircraft," said GBA CEO David Groen. "More importantly, several critical areas of assembly, where mistakes by the builder could lead to compromising the safety of the aircraft, are now completed here at the factory." The SparrowHawk reflects GBA's more than two decades of gyroplane design and development experience.

"More than 100 SparrowHawks have been sold through American Autogyro's national and international dealer network. "For many of our customers, it had been their first attempt at building an aircraft," said SparrowHawk Program Manager Devon Hansen. "We wanted to reduce the build time and yet increase the enjoyment and sense of accomplishment throughout the build process. To achieve our goal, we concentrated on minimizing tasks and assemblies in critical areas such as the mast and keel assemblies, and flight controls. We also focused on areas that demanded large investments of time for the builder such as wheels, landing gear, and the composite cabin and tail assemblies."

The aircraft's electrical wiring system is an example which fits both criteria. A marked electrical wiring harness replaces rolls of wire which required cutting to correct lengths, identifying and bundling. Mast, keel and landing gear assemblies consisting of hundreds of parts are now provided in sub assemblies which can easily be combined together in a few hours. The cabin and tail, which once required a large investment of time in cutting, fit and assembly, now come complete and ready for prep and painting. Our customers have always shared with us the pride they feel in flying such a wonderful aircraft that they have built. The SparrowHawk III makes the build process a more enjoyable and satisfying part of the whole experience.

The SparrowHawk III Gyroplane is an Amateur-Built (also known as home-built or kit-built) aircraft, built by individuals and licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as "Experimental." The Experimental designation has been in existence for more than five decades. It defines aircraft that are used for non-commercial, recreational purposes such as education or personal use. Currently, more than 23,000 amateur-built/home-built aircraft are licensed by the FAA. While some of these are truly "home-built" by individuals, others, such as the SparrowHawk, are built from proven, carefully engineered kits with an established safety record. For more information on the award-winning SparrowHawk Gyroplane, visit American Autogyro's website at www.americanautogyro.com.

About Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc.

Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. has been developing gyroplane technology since 1986 and is recognized as the world's leading authority on autorotative flight. Powered by a Rolls-Royce gas turbine engine, GBA developed the world's first commercially viable modern gyroplane -- the first "autogiro" to utilize a jet engine -- the Hawk 4 Gyroplane. The Hawk 4 was used extensively for security aerial patrol missions during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

GBA announced in October 2005 that DARPA, an arm of the United States Department of Defense, awarded a contract to a GBA-led team to design a proof of concept high speed, long range, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft designed for use in Combat Search and Rescue roles. This modern rotorcraft, named by DARPA as the "Heliplane," is designed to exploit GBA's gyrodyne technology; offering the VTOL capability of a helicopter, the fast forward flight of an airplane, and the safety, simplicity and reliability of a GBA gyroplane. The first $10.4 million phase of the contract includes preliminary design development and key technology demonstrations. The contract has the potential to become a $54 million, multi-phase program for the GBA-led team. The Heliplane could be the next-generation rotor wing aircraft, meeting economy and performance goals not considered achievable by any other type of VTOL aircraft.

In December 2006, GBA announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Aragón, Spain to complete FAA certification, production, marketing, and delivery of GBA's Hawk 5 Gyroplane, based on the Hawk 4 prototype. Discussions are ongoing with the central government of Spain through its industrial development agency, CDTI, and a major Spanish aerospace manufacturer, with the potential of a joint venture (JV) to be set up in the first half of 2008.

Through its American Autogyro division, GBA has developed and is selling a smaller kit gyroplane, the two seat "SparrowHawk III." GBA is offering this aircraft as a safe, extremely economical Airborne Patrol Vehicle (APV) for law enforcement and other government applications. Groen Brothers is also developing a production two-seat gyroplane for both the "Airborne Law Enforcement" and "Light Sport Aircraft" (LSA) markets. The Company continues to develop an international and nationwide dealership network for the sale of these products.

Further information about the Company, its products, and individual members of the GBA Team is available on the Company's web site at: www.groenbros.com.

Safe Harbor Statement/Forward-Looking Information Disclaimer

Certain statements in this news release by Groen Brothers Aviation are forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking information is subject to risk and uncertainty. Certain statements in this Press Release may contain forward-looking information that involves risk and uncertainty, including but not limited to, the Company's ability to fund ongoing operations and to complete its obligations under the government contract and its other ongoing commitments. Future results and trends depend on a variety of factors, including the Company's successful execution of internal performance plans and agreements; product development and performance; risks associated with regulatory certifications of the Company's commercial aircraft by U.S. and foreign governments; government bid and funding availability uncertainty; other regulatory uncertainties; performance issues with key suppliers and subcontractors; governmental export and import policies; and the ability to adequately finance operations including meeting its debt obligations, fund manufacturing and delivery of products.

Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
    Hank Parry
    Media
    Al Waddill
    Investor Information
    Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc.
    801/973-0177