The Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation designed and built light general aviation aircraft. Originally The Lancair Company, Columbia Aircraft was spun off from that company; the resulting company was renamed Columbia Aircraft in July 2005. The company was acquired by Cessna in November 2007.
Columbia produces some of the most technologically advanced single-engine aircraft on the market. All models feature side-mounted control sticks and a glass cockpit and achieve their performance without the complexity and weight of retractable landing gear.
Originally designed by Lance Neibauer in the 1980s, his first model, the Lancair 200 was developed in 1984.
In January 2003, Composite Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM) bought a controlling interest in Columbia for over $50 million. CTRM is owned by the Malaysian government and was incorporated in November 1990 by Minister of Finance Malaysia Inc. CTRM's CEO is Retired Col. Rosdi Mahmud.
CTRM became interested in selling its share of the company in 2006.
On September 24, 2007 it was announced in a Columbia Aircraft press release that Cessna Aircraft had indicated an intent to purchase Columbia, including its line of high-performance single-engined aircraft. As part of the sale agreement Columbia Aircraft will enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The arrangement would be subject to approval of the bankruptcy court and also to a final agreement with Cessna.
The fate of Columbia Aircraft was further complicated on October 14, 2007 when it was announced that there are three additional bidders for Columbia Aircraft. These are Cirrus Design, Versa Capital Management and Park Electrochemical Corporation. The two latter companies have filed motions with the bankruptcy court stating that Cessna has been "getting preferential treatment in the process". On November 20th it was reported that Cirrus Design will not pursue purchasing Columbia, citing Columbia's problems as being too serious and that resolving them would require excessive resources.
On November 27 2007 Cessna's parent company Textron announced that Cessna Aircraft was the successful bidder for Columbia Aircraft and that the Columbia 350 and 400 will become the Cessna 350 and Cessna 400 and that existing Columbia aircraft will be supported by Cessna. Cessna paid USD$26.4M for the company and has committed to investing in the current company location to continue aircraft production in Bend, Oregon.
The former Columbia Aircraft (now Cessna division) is located on the southeast corner of Bend Municipal Airport in Bend, Oregon.
Columbia 300 - production completed
Columbia 350 - now known as the Cessna 350
Columbia 400 - now known as the Cessna 400