Eclipse Aerospace (EAI) marked the official start of customer deliveries for its Eclipse 550 very light jet Wednesday, as company CEO Mason Holland handed over S/N 265 to Louisiana businessman Fred Phillips at the company’s Albuquerque, N.M. headquarters.
EAI earned FAA certification for the Eclipse 550–a heavily updated variant of the original Eclipse 500 VLJ–on February 28. Holland acknowledged to AIN that receipt of the FAA’s blessing took much longer than the 30 to 45 days the company estimated during a “ceremonial” delivery of the aircraft last fall at the NBAA Convention.
“I like to tell people we’re four years into a three-year plan,” he added. “Getting an aircraft certified is not an efficient system, and it needs to get better. Still, what we’ve accomplished since announcing [Eclipse 550] production in June 2012 is something special.”
Chilean real estate consultant Camilo Justiniano was to take delivery of the second Eclipse 550 today, with further deliveries to follow at a production rate of one to 1.5 aircraft per month, according to Holland.