So you have a great idea for a new type of airplane design. You think you have enough enough money to fund the effort. You have the enthusiasm to push the project forward.
But then reality steps in and it turns out that passion and élan and innovative ideas are not quite enough to get you off of the ground – literally.
The call you then make is to Abbott Aerospace SEZC, one of highest flyers in Cayman Enterprise City, a rapidly growing special economic zone on Grand Cayman.
Richard Abbott, owner of Abbott Aerospace, has made a career – and built a business – on solving problems throughout the aerospace industry, identifying and resolving issues through the extremely complicated process of bringing such intricate products to market.
“We help start-up aircraft firms to grow, we help established firms identify issues early in the development process, and we help our clients improve their investor relations,” Abbott said. “We make sure that our clients’ aircraft are safe, well-engineered and a product that the market will accept. We identify financial and technical risks and we bring our years of multi-discipline experience to assist in every way we can, from the original ‘gleam in the eye’ to wheels up.”
Abbott, a mechanical engineer by training, was born in England and worked in various capacities there for years before decamping (with stops in Texas and Belgium) to Canada where he and his wife (and business partner) Anna first started their own company. Last year, Abbott Aerospace moved into the CEC for a number of reasons.
“In this field, growing a family business in Canada, unless you fit into a specific government slot and qualify for tax credits or grants, can be difficult,” Abbott said. “And, especially as your children get older, the admittedly amazing initial charm of the winters does begin to wear off, especially I think for those of us not born there.”
While committed to growing his Cayman-based staff, Abbott has a network of international aerospace specialists with expertise from complex engineering analysis and certification management to project planning and financial management.
“Everything we do is based on our direct experience” Abbott said. “For example, an entrepreneur may plan for $30 million to develop an aircraft and raise that amount from investors, while our experience suggests, based on their program risk level, the funds required may be many times higher. We help bring about a critical reality check for the project, help brief the investors and assist in expectation realignment and practical financial planning.”
Abbott said that while, on the technical side, the aerospace industry is cautiously innovative, on the design side the market tends to be very conservative. No matter how great a new plane design is, if it looks too different the aircraft can face significant market challenges that, if not managed properly can spell financial ruin for a project or company.
Abbott Aerospace SEZC Ltd, said CEC CEO Charlie Kirkconnell, is a perfect fit for the special economic zone and that the company’s growth has been wonderful to watch.
“The skills involved, the international connections, the commitment to growing locally – that’s exactly what we want to see here in Cayman Enterprise City!” Kirkconnell said.
Abbott Aerospace is an industry leader in freeware software tools and technical reference material. The company’s technical library website (http://www.abbottaerospace.com/technical-library) features hundreds of analysis spreadsheets and thousands of other reference materials that anyone, anywhere can use for free – in the last few years they have clocked over 300,000 downloads.
“We love raising awareness of the quality and quantity of public domain references and tools – and authoring some of the best out there. There are many young engineers, especially in emerging economies who rely on the internet as the only reference they have available. We play an important role in increasing access to, and awareness of these free resources.” Abbott said “Our latest hire in Grand Cayman, Kenan Stewart, is our digital library ‘custodian’ and he helps us increase the quality and quantity of our reference material and this helps raise technical standards across the world.”
“That has helped us get our brand recognized to an amazing degree and we’ve already been able to capitalize on that recognition by attracting additional clients,” Abbott said. “As a non-profit arm of the organization, it has paid for itself many times over already.”
“I’m a mechanical engineer and I can work on anything – and have worked on a number of non-aerospace products,” Abbott said. “But there is something about aircraft – unlike a washing/dryer combo or a toaster you find at Walmart – that truly inspires people and following an inspired dream can lead to either astonishing new developments or to significant corporate problems. We work to help people fulfill that inspired dream while minimizing the possibility of failure. We want to get everyone off the ground!”