Sales professionals from more than 30 countries who attended the first International Eclipse Dealer and Sales Conference on May 31 may have noticed a not-so-subtle change to the buildings that house Eclipse Aerospace at the Albuquerque, N.M. International Sunport. Before the meeting, Eclipse CEO Mason Holland arranged for bucket loads of blue paint to be delivered to the company’s facilities, and painters quickly erased the bright orange that had been the hallmark of the old Eclipse Aviation and dabbed on the blue that is the color of Eclipse Aerospace.
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.
Other than seeing a ramp full of stored ex-DayJet Eclipse aircraft in 2008 after the collapse of the Florida-based air-taxi firm, it’s rare now to sight more than a couple of the type together at an airport–unless you happen to pass through Henderson Executive Airport near Las Vegas, Nev.
I’ve been waiting quite some time to fly the Eclipse, a dozen years in fact, since the then revolutionary very light jet (VLJ) was first announced in 1998. The term very light jet–originally coined to describe the Eclipse specifically–came to be applied to a number of small jets, although a precise definition seemed to depend upon an aircraft manufacturer’s marketing department at any given time.
Boca Aircraft Maintenance (BAM) celebrated its first anniversary in June. The FAA Part 145 repair station is also EASA certified and has Eclipse authorization for work and parts distribution in the southeast.
The FAA has approved North American Jet of Charleston, S.C., to fly its Eclipse 500 very light jets in single-pilot configuration. The approval came after upgrading
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) approved Eclipse Aerospace as its newest member, bringing the international trade association’s membership to 67. Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace is providing service for the fleet of more than 250 Eclipse 500s. The company acquired the former Eclipse Aviation out of bankruptcy in September.
The prognosticators may claim that the very light jet era is over, but the investors who paid $40 million (half in cash up front) for the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation think otherwise.
Eclipse Aerospace held a supplier summit on October 27 for manufacturers and vendors of Eclipse EA500 very light jet components. Eclipse Aerospace purchased the assets of bankrupt manufacturer Eclipse Aviation on September 1 and is focusing on supporting the existing fleet of EA500 VLJs.
The bankrupt status of Eclipse Aviation finally ended in August after Eclipse Aerospace bought the assets of the very light jet manufacturer for $40 million. On September 1, Eclipse Aerospace founders Mason Holland and Michael Press joined Albuquerque mayor Martin Chávez to celebrate the reopening of the factory at Eclipse’s headquarters at Albuquerque International Air- port.