Eclipse Calls Its Problems a “Perfect Storm”

 - March 6, 2007, 7:52 AM

While it is normal for a start-up to experience teething troubles, Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn conceded in letters sent last week to Eclipse 500 customers that his company has had “far more challenges than we anticipated.” For some time, serious problems–what Raburn calls a “perfect storm”–have plagued virtually every aspect of development, design and production of the very light twinjet. The company has yet to achieve production certification. Raburn blamed many of the problems on “supplier delays,” as well as “leadership oversights.” The company just hired a former Ford plant manager as its new executive v-p of manufacturing and said it now plans to deliver 402 aircraft this year, including 12 in the first quarter. To date, only one aircraft has been delivered. Customers who pay the final 60-percent progress payment are eligible for several types of compensation, depending on the extent of the late delivery.