Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. C10844) ceremonially delivered the first Eclipse 550 yesterday at NBAA 2013, marking the first aircraft to come off its revived production line since its predecessor company filed for bankruptcy and shut down in 2007. The new twinjet builds upon the “proven and reliable” Eclipse 500, adding more range, upgraded avionics and improved cabin comfort.
Marking its full return to aircraft production, Eclipse Aerospace delivered the first Eclipse 550 today at the 2013 NBAA Convention in Las Vegas.
Eclipse 500 upgrades announced yesterday by Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace promise to bring long-pledged safety equipment and performance capabilities to the original very light jet. The new Safety Enhancement Package (SEP) will also remove the last of the “INOP” stickers present in Eclipse 500 cockpits since the former Eclipse Aviation delivered its first customer aircraft nearly seven years ago.
Eclipse Aerospace’s new 550 very light jet will feature an enhanced vision system (EVS) sensor made by Lexavia. The Lexavia LFS6000 infrared sensor has a 640- by 480-sensor element and 4X zoom. EVS imagery will be displayed on the Eclipse 550’s MFD, which is part of the jet’s Innovative Solutions & Support Avio/IFMS flight deck. The EVS sensor is mounted in a low-profile housing that projects 1.42 inches above the fuselage nose surface.
For the first time in more than four years, new aircraft have emerged from the former Eclipse Aviation final-assembly facility in Albuquerque, N.M. Two unfinished airframes left on the assembly line when that company declared bankruptcy in November 2008 were recently completed by the resurrected company, Eclipse Aerospace, and outfitted as factory-new Total Eclipse twinjets.
This formation of 27 Eclipse light jets was part of a larger group that descended on Branson Airport in Missouri for the Eclipse Owners Club Fall Fly-In last month. Forty-three of the twinjets met up in what was one of the largest gatherings of the same model private jet ever to land on a field at one time. Eclipse Aviation built 261 of the EA500s before it went bankrupt in 2008. Eclipse Aerospace, which acquired the company’s assets, announced it has restarted production with deliveries of the updated Eclipse 550 expected next year.
Eclipse Aerospace took an important and large step toward resuming new production of its light twinjet yesterday. The company placed a production order Innovative Solutions & Support (Booth No. 4331) for the initial 50 of 300 shipsets ordered of the Eclipse 550 Avio integrated flight management system (IFMS), which includes dual FMS, autothrottles, synthetic vision, integrated Taws and enhanced vision system (EVS). The IS&S suite also features electronic circuit breakers, radios, transponders and radar.
It’s been a bit more than three years since Eclipse Aerospace was awarded the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation in August 2009, not quite enough time, perhaps, to fully separate conversations about the former from the mixed record of its predecessor, but Mason Holland, CEO of Eclipse Aerospace, told AIN the company is weary of “Phoenix rising from the ashes” stories and declared it has made considerable progress updating a
Eclipse Aerospace announced last week that an anti-skid braking system will become an available option on new production Eclipse 550 jets as a retrofit item to all existing aircraft. The new anti-skid system adds 17 pounds to the aircraft’s empty weight; the company says it will offer a weight-reduction package to help offset the new feature.