Eclipse To Restart Production of VLJs in 2013
After rising from the ashes of bankruptcy in 2009 and following substantial minority investment by Sikorsky late last year, Eclipse Aerospace announced at NBAA 2011 today that it will restart production of the Eclipse very light jet in 2013. The new Eclipse 550, priced at $2.695 million, will be built under the same type certificate, with the same airframe, weight and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F engines as the original Model 500, but with greatly updated and enhanced avionics, as well as autothrottles. Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland said his company is now taking orders for the new aircraft, and holders of “early positions” will receive approximately $124,000 worth of options and not be charged cost-of-living price increases. Sikorsky Aircraft president Jeff Pino, himself an Eclipse owner-pilot, said Sikorsky has concluded a memorandum of understanding with its Polish affiliate, PZL, for fabrication of the 550’s fuselage, empennage and wing structures in Poland. Final assembly will to take place at the Eclipse plant in Albuquerque, N.M. Holland said Eclipse Aerospace expects to eventually reach a production rate of 50 to 100 per year for the Eclipse 550.