100% Pinoy-made light plane unveiled

Photo via philstar.com

Photo via philstar.com

By Rainier Allan Ronda/The Philippine Star – It’s a light plane, and it’s proudly made in the Philippines.

The Department of Science and Technology displayed a 100 percent Filipino-assembled light sport aircraft (LSA) at the opening Thursday of the four-day National Science and Technology Week, in the DOST’s effort to kick-start the country’s infant aerospace industry.

Science Secretary Mario Montejo said local manufacturer Famous Secret Precision Machining Inc. (FSPMI) assembled the RP-S512, proving that Filipinos could produce quality tools and aircraft parts.

“We can be a major player in the aerospace industry,” Montejo told The STAR.

FSPMI, from its manufacturing hub at the Daiichi Industrial Park Special Economic Zone in Silang, Cavite, also manufactures aircraft parts for the American multinational aviation firm Moog, Inc., which has manufacturing operations in the Baguio City export processing zone.

Jun Ramos, FSPMI marketing head, said that they have been assembling LSAs for US aircraft firm Van’s Aircraft since 2008, but it was only last year when they fully assembled an LSA in their assembly plant in Silang.

Ramos said that the LSAs they assemble for Van’s Aircraft are used in the US and is popular among American pilots.

Aside from FSPMI, another international aircraft parts and components manufacturer, B/E Aerospace, also has manufacturing operations in the country.

Montejo said the thrust of the DOST is to draw more of these international aircraft makers and parts suppliers to set up shop in the Philippines.

To do this, they have to assure the foreign companies that the country has a pool of skilled workers, among other concerns.

“If we can grow an aerospace industry here, the potential revenues are huge,” Montejo said.

Montejo had earlier said that the potential revenues of the industry could equal, if not surpass, the revenues generated by the information technology-business process management industry.

The DOST, through its Metals and Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) has been providing support to other local aviation manufacturers in achieving quality assurance standards.

“The training program started last year and we now have about eight companies,” Lina Afable, DOST-MIRDC chief of the technology information section, said. “There is really a potential for this industry to generate jobs.”

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