Kolb Aircraft Reports a Two-Year Delay in Delivering New Orders

Kolb FireStar. Photo courtesy of Kolb Aircraft.

Kolb Aircraft principal Bryan Melborn reports that the company is not currently taking any orders for new aircraft kits for a period anticipated to be as long as six months. After that, he estimates that it will take another 18 months for Kolb to ship an ordered kit.

Melborn blames the manufacturing shortfall on the COVID “scare,” stating that many of his employees would rather take government benefits than work for him at Kentucky market rates. He reports paying his employees less than $15 per hour.

Most affected are orders for Kolb’s popular Firefly ultralight kit. Many orders currently on the books will not be shipped for another year and a half.


  1. I would not consider a half a million dead people, from a known virus, a “scare.”
    While some day in the future, as I age, I might have considered “moving down” to a Kolb, I’ll probably remember the owners attitude, and seek an alternate LSA.

    • Aviation is all about FREEDOM, the amazing feeling of FREEDOM that only aviation can give and that has prospered in the USA and spread all over the world. Are you now using the COVID pandemic SCARE as an excuse to CANCEL Kolb Aircraft? Kolb should be free to call COVID as they wish, period. It is cancellers of freedom of speech like you who should be cancelled and all of the manufacturer’s in Experimental Aviation should come together and cancel individuals like you! None of them should sell you an aircraft of any kind at any time. Who needs pilots flying around with pontificating attitudes about freedom of speech and imposing political correctness? If freedom of speech and action dies, aviation dies. You don’t care about those who died but about how Kolb speaks. Wow! The cancelling dogma is way too heavy in you.

      • The owner of Kolb Aircraft has the right to call COVID whatever he wants. Others have just as much right to agree or disagree with him. Furthermore, it is a right, not an excuse, for anyone to decide where and how to spend his own money, isn’t? So, why give a label like “canceler” to someone who is just exercising his right to disagree and spend his money somewhere else?

        If you agree with Mr. Melborn, fine, give him your cash. Don’t name call others.

      • They can call it what they want, but the rest of us have the right to think he is acting like an Ass and take our money elsewhere.

  2. Bryan,

    Sell your company to someone who WILL continue production, tomorrow. People won’t wait 18 months while you take a holiday. How much do you want for the company?

    Jack Chomley

  3. Looks to me as though the company’s problem is clearly explained in the article, right here: “He reports paying his employees less than $15 per hour.” Even in Kentucky, that doesn’t sound like a living wage — especially for folks building airplane kits.

    • Your right. Walmart pays $16 hr to start, with some bennies. If he wants just keeping the parts going would at least keep some good will.

  4. I am not aware of any combination of federal and state programs that would pay someone close to $600 a week ($15 x 40 hours), week after week, for sitting at home. Unemployment payments don’t go on forever, and you have to be unemployed to collect it. The 3 federal covid payments don’t add up to that much. So how are these workers collecting so much covid-related benefit money that they would forgo a steady paycheck from Kolb?

    My interpretation of the story is that there is a labor problem at Kolb, one that has more to do with the compensation level than covid.

  5. Just prior to the pandemic I wanted to purchase a Kolb Firefly kit but Kolb said they no longer shipped kits using commercial services (I suspect that was because of too much damage to kits by the movers) I never could arrange reasonable transportationof the kit so I gave up. Sadly.

  6. Dear Bryan Melbourne
    I made a trip to Kolb in London Ky in March
    This year. They gladly took my 5000.00 deposit for a trifly and they keep giving me the runaround about the progress on the plane. Please step in and get my plane done.


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