Sikorsky Chief Talks Eclipse at Paris Show

 - June 23, 2011, 7:00 AM

Sikorsky Aircraft president Jeff 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, during a meeting this week 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. “So we’re taking a look to see possibly if we could put that aircraft back into production one day, and see if that’s a place we might want to go. So this will be a supply chain and assembly play.” The Stratford, Conn.-based helicopter maker and Eclipse Aerospace announced the investment last October at the NBAA Convention and closed the deal in February. Other than describing it as a substantial minority investment (40 percent, according to industry sources), the companies did not give much detail at that time, including the value of the transaction. Sikorsky said the investment provides an opportunity “to further leverage our strong aftermarket and product-support capabilities for fixed-wing application.” The helicopter manufacturer also builds the M28 Skytruck twin turboprop through its ownership of PZL Mielec in Poland. The Eclipse 500’s PW610F turbofans are built by Sikorsky sister company Pratt & Whitney Canada, also a division of UTC. Pino personally owns an Eclipse 500.