I have been "intending" to write several aviation updates, leading with one that has both personal and business drama, but ... it kept getting put off. Imagine then my gratitude to see that our Atlantic correspondent Lane Wallace has just done, for the Atlantic's business channel, a far more detailed and fully-rounded presentation of one important news item than I would have done.
Her story is about someone both she and I find to be a tremendously admirable and compelling figure. This is Alan Klapmeier, who with his brother Dale founded the Cirrus Design Corporation of Duluth, Minn., and absolutely transformed what had been a stagnant, declining industry. Theirs was a barely-known family business a dozen years ago. Now some 5,000 of their planes are in use all around the world are the market leaders in their category. This was part of the story I told in my book Free Flight. I agree absolutely with Lane Wallace when she says:
Along the way, Klapmeier also earned a reputation for being not only a passionate and talented visionary, but also a passionate man of his word who delivered what he promised, cared deeply about the quality and safety of his product, and would make it right, in the end. That's a rare find in any industry.
Here's the picture Lane Wallace took at the Oshkosh air show, of Alan (right) and his new business partner Adrian Norris, with their new airplane.