Moultrie- Maule Air is slowly climbing out of sales turbulence. Like many business around the world, 9-11 hurt sales.
As for Maule Air, orders were cut back because of the weakened economy. Now, customers are showing up again to spend money. The future is also looking brighter because they are one step up on technology from other airplane manufacturers.
Business is finally taking off. "We're not back to full capacity, but I think we've picked up some," says Radio technician Jim Strange. "Makes me feel like I'll still have a job, for start."
Maule Air hasn't been grounded during tough economic times, but they've definetly felt a bumpier ride. Jim Strange puts together and installs radios for the Moultrie airplane manufacturer. The more orders for airplanes the more work he gets. Maule planes are expected to fly in a lot more business to Moultrie.
It's an experimental plane that runs on Jet-A fuel which is expected to last a lot longer. "Several companies are going this way, Maule is number one in that direction. They are leading the pack at this point," says Engine Manufacturer Theirry Saint-Loup.
Maule could be the first airplane manufacturer to become FAA certified in the United States for diesel engines. "Business is going to boom," Saint-Loup said. "I believe we already have orders, so it's been good."
SMA in France manufacturers the engines. Jet-A fuel is the same fuel used in commercial airplanes.
It could take up to two years to get FAA certified for the diesel engine. The engine runs roughly 10 gallons of fuel per hour compared to 15 gallons per hour on a similar powered plane.