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. A factory-new Eclipse 550 will carry a price “under $3 million” according to Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland, $2.695 million (2011 $) to be exact. That was the figure Holland named at a press briefing hosted by Sikorsky.
Mason added that current plans call for production of all-new airframes to commence in 2013. The 550 will be built under the same type certificate as the model 500, with the same airframe, weight and Pratt &Whitney Canada PW610F engines, but with updated and enhanced avionics as well as autothrottles. Holland said Eclipse Aerospace is now taking orders for future production and holders of early positions will not be charged cost-of-living price increases and will receive approximately $124,000 worth of options.
Sikorsky Aircraft president Jeff Pino, himself an Eclipse owner-pilot, said Sikorsky has concluded a memorandum of understanding with its Polish affiliate PZL for fabrication of fuselage, empennage and wing structures in Poland, with final assembly to take place at the Eclipse plant in Albuquerque, N.M. He called Sikorsky’s participation “an extremely disciplined approach” to putting the Eclipse back in production, adding, “We have a business plan to make it happen.” That, he noted, includes a supply chain already in place.
Holland said Eclipse Aerospace expects to eventually reach a 50- to 100-per-year production rate for the Eclipse 550.
Meanwhile, Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S), provider of the Avio integrated flight management system for current Eclipse 500s, has also entered an OEM agreement with Eclipse Aerospace to supply its Vantage Premier avionics suite. The Vantage system will include primary flight and multifunction LCD displays with an electronic flight bag system. New features will include autothrottle, synthetic vision, enhanced vision, dual-mode FMS, TAWS, TCAS-1, ADS-B, radar, radar altimeter and iPad data entry.