Despite a halt in production of nearly four years and the bankruptcy of its original developer, the fleet of Eclipse very light jets could soon grow again after Eclipse Aerospace was awarded a production certificate from the FAA.
Eclipse Aerospace is outsourcing manufacturing of airframe structural components for the new Eclipse 550 very light jet to PZL Mielec, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. UTC is the parent company of Sikorsky, which is a minority owner of Eclipse.
Charleston, S.C.-based Eclipse Aerospace announced yesterday that it has received a production certificate from the FAA, green-lighting production of the Eclipse 550 very light twinjet. The approval was granted after the agency determined that the company’s manufacturing processes and quality systems meet all federal regulations.
“Armed now with a fully certified aircraft, a certified production process and an established supply chain, Eclipse is well positioned to re-introduce the Eclipse Jet to new production,” said Cary Winter, the company’s senior vice president.
Eclipse Aerospace released a flight-planning and in-flight reference iPad app called Eclipse Quick Reference Application (QRA) yesterday. The app for the Eclipse 500 very light jet includes a weight-and-balance flight-planning tool, interactive flight checklists and performance planning tools. Eclipse QRA can also pull up digital copies of the aircraft flight manual and the aircraft maintenance manual, complete with updated downloads of temporary revisions and other customer communications.
Eclipse Aerospace announced at last month’s NBAA Convention that it is resuming new-build production of its iconic very light twinjet, newly dubbed the Eclipse 550. At the show, Eclipse began taking orders for the new jet, which sells for $2.695 million (2011 $). The company expects to produce 50 to 100 Eclipse 550s per year once production resumes in 2013.
A new revitalized Eclipse VLJ is rising from the ashes of bankruptcy with a boost from Sikorsky’s substantial minority investment. Eclipse Aerospace announced today at the 64th NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention in Las Vegas that it will restart production of new Eclipse jets, dubbed the model 550.
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.
Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland said the company is currently building two refurbished Total Eclipse jets a month and still hopes to eventually start up a new aircraft production line. “We’ve got pretty good throughput now,” he said, adding that the company’s top priority is supporting the 260 aircraft that came off the production line at the original Eclipse Aviation before it cratered into bankruptcy in 2008.
The FAA has cleared all Eclipse 500 very light jets to return to a maximum certified service ceiling of 41,000 feet, contingent upon the installation of recently recertified combustion liners. Eclipse Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney Canada worked together to resolve carbon buildup on the static vanes of a limited number of P&WC PW610F engines.
Sikorsky Aircraft president (and Eclipse 500 owner) Jeffrey Pino shed more light on the company’s investment in Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace, including the possibility of restarting production of the EA-500 very light jet, last month at the Paris Air Show. “We’re good at working with supply chains, driving them down in cost, positioning things in the market [and providing] good aftermarket support,” Pino told AIN.