Fire Damages Belite Factory

Belite Chipper

A devastating fire broke out at the manufacturing facility for Belite Aircraft late last week. The company produces the Chipper experimental and the UltraCub ultralight, as well as the Radiant instrument line.

Fire damage at the Belite facility. Photo: James Wiebe/Belite.
Fire damage at the Belite facility. Photo: James Wiebe/Belite.

According to company founder James Wiebe, “It appears that the fire started at our CNC router dust collection system. Intense smoke filled the building, and my office and much of our building contents was destroyed. The back area of the building (in the production area), everything higher than 6 feet off the ground was melting or burned. Much of our raw inventory and all of our older collections of parts for older aircraft designs (for instance, ProCub and UltraCub) was upstairs. It appears that almost all raw inventory and most if not all work in process for aircraft kits was destroyed.”

The fire came at a time when Belite was seeing significant success. “We had been working very hard this year… our sales for the year were at a record company level.”

Weibe concluded, noting that he was and his wife were in contact with the insurance company, that “we do not know what is next.”

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Marc Cook
Marc Cook is a veteran special-interest journalist who started as a staffer at AOPA Pilot in the late 1980s. Marc has built two airplanes, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Aviation Sportsman, and now owns a 180-hp, steam-gauge-adjacent GlaStar based in western Oregon. Marc has 5000 hours spread over 200-plus types and four decades of flying.


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