OurPLANE Dissolves Amid Ugly Accusations

Fractional ownership plan OurPLANE declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September, leaving many of its aircraft "owners" with a lot less return on investment than they thought they'd bargained for. Founded in 2003, OurPLANE sold shares in Cirrus SR22s, but the intention was always to add Eclipse 500 very light jets (VLJs) to the business plan as soon as they became available. When Eclipse folded, the OurPLANE business plan took its first serious hit. Then, the economic crash of late 2008 dovetailed with the scheduled contract renewal time for most Cirrus owners. Most did not renew, sealing the fate of the company. When the bankruptcy announcement finally came, many owners expressed distress at finding that they would receive no proceeds from the sell-off of the airplanes. Rather, they were issued notices that they were listed among the company's "creditors" and invited to attend the bankruptcy hearings in early November, in Buffalo, New York. OurPLANE CEO Graham Casson said that owners' contracts included a clause that they could file an FAA lien against the aircraft in their names, and the owners who did so have received their secured funds. That hasn't satisfied the owners left out in the cold, and some have been organizing an effort to prosecute Casson legally. For his part, Casson has become involved in a startup venture, Exclusive Jetz — a more traditional aircraft-charter/management firm based in Reston, Virginia, and specializing in Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 models.

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