A new 35,000-square-foot aircraft manufacturing facility which will be used by TopCub Aircraft broke ground on July 29 at the Arlington Municipal Airport.

The TopCub is a light aircraft made by the Liaoning Club Aircraft Corporation from China.

"It is never easy to set up a new company, especially in a foreign country," said Changjia Ge, general manager of TopCub Aircraft.

"It is very exciting to create history with all of you today. The building we start today will be our aircraft manufacturing facility," he said.

The building, located at the Arlington Airport, will be involved with parts inspection, assembling, maintenance, painting and flight testing.

The facility has a 40-year lease with the local airport which was granted in 2015.

"The airport is the economic hub of this city, as you can tell by the aircraft noise this morning. It's both a recreational hub and a business hub," said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert

The manufacturing facility plans to begin with 15 engineers and technicians and possibly grow up to 40 engineers "as demand dictates."

"We're so excited to have an aviation-development company that is going to employ people from the region and build this beautiful aircraft," said Tolbert.

The new facility could provide a local source of jobs for years to come, she said.

"We believe this will be a cornerstone development for our airport and we're excited to welcome you in here," said Tolbert.

TopCub Aircraft still has to acquire their Production Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, but once they do, and once the building is complete, they hope to manufacture 20 aircraft in the first year.

They plan ramp up production to 50 aircraft in their second year.

The $2.2 million facility is being constructed by Arlington's HCI Steel Buildings.

"We are excited to be able to put this building together for TopCub Aircraft," said Ted Wheeler, CEO of HCI Steel Buildings.

He said that CEI Steel appreciated how much TopCub Aircraft collaborated with them for the facility.

Ge said that he would like to thank the city of Arlington for working with TopCub to open a new manufacturing building.

"As a pilot I love to fly around Arlington, and as a business we like to base ourselves here, and that's why we want to call Arlington home," he said. "Thank you for letting TopCub grow in such a nice city."

Tolbert said she looked forward to a new aircraft business locating in Arlington.

"As a pilot I truly admire both your project and your ingenuity," she said. "We hope it is the beginning of many years of successful ventures."


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