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Kestrel Aircraft Nesting in Maine

By Dave Higdon

July 23, 2010 — More than 25 years ago, Alan Klapmeier helped put Minnesota on the aviation map when he and brother Dale launched Cirrus Design Corp. and brought to market an innovative new line of piston singles.

Now Alan Klapmeier is turning his attention to bringing the same sort of magic to the turboprop market as chairman and CEO of Kestrel Aircraft in facilities at Brunswick, Maine.

Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci announced the development Friday and provided some of the initial details of the development.

Kestrel has been working to develop an all-composite turboprop single with performance in the 350-knot range.

The company plans to take up residence in a relatively new 160,000-square foot hangar at the new Brunswick Landing, which Maine bills as its Center for Innovation. The facility is on the Naval Air Station Brunswick, slated for decommissioning later this year.

Klapmeier’s appearance at another aircraft company resolves expectations and anticipation about what sort of aviation project he would next tackle after departing from Cirrus last year during AirVenture 2009.

According to the information from Gov. Baldacci’s office, the fledgling planemaker plans to invest more than $100 million to develop the Kestrel out of an effort launched previously by the U.K.’s Farnborough Aircraft and shown earlier this year at Sun ‘n Fun.

According to the state, Kestrel expects to employ about 300 people once the aircraft enters full production.

While similar to the Epic LT, the Kestrel’s six-to-seven-seat cabin sports about 27 percent more space than that experimental-market design – though they reportedly share the same wing design.

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