Williston aircraft company teams with Bolivian Air Force
Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 7:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 7:26 p.m.
It takes two to tango, and after a recent agreement between the Bolivian Air Force and a Williston aircraft company, the two partners are collaborating.
Team Tango, a local business that specializes in building experimental airplane kits, is negotiating contracts and training technicians in Bolivia.
The Bolivian Air Force purchased one two-seat Tango and two four-seat Foxtrot aircrafts from Team Tango, said Lewis Strough, the company’s vice president.
The agreement, signed on Feb. 19, involves supplying, manufacturing and assembling parts for the Bolivian Air Force to be able to perform loops, rolls and other aerobatic methods of flying.
One of the Foxtrots had a test flight on May 31, Strough said, and the team is working on completing the others. He said there was a minor setback with a bent engine mount that caused a delay, but he expects completion of the Tango by early August.
The Bolivian Air Force reached out to Team Tango because of the composite aircraft design that suited its needs, said chief test pilot Denny Funnemark.
There is currently a demand for aerobatic aircraft, and the company’s ability to install avionics — interior parts that allow for more speed — was also desirable, he added.
Team Tango modified the aircraft by putting in stringers, inverted fuel and inverted engine systems to feed fuel to the engine while flying upside down. The company also installed a glass panel, which is a more modern-technology screen replacing a cluster of dial controls.
“We were the one that intrigued them the most and had the product they wanted,” Strough said.
This isn’t the first international business agreement the company has had, but Strough said this one is on a broader scale and is going smoothly with foreign government regulations.
There was confusion with a past deal made with a private Chinese organization that involved China wanting to set up production of planes. There was a pause in the deal because of what Strough said was a language barrier issue, but now the terms are being clarified on both ends.
“I believe we will fix the China deal,” he said, “and long-term growth (with Bolivia) looks very strong.
“They’re happy with the product and we’re happy with them,” he said.