DayJet invited members of the press to sample the company’s service as it nears next month’s launch of per-seat regional VLJ on-demand charter operations. Yesterday, two reporters and a DayJet employee flew in an Eclipse 500 with DayJet pilots Don Osmondson and Rick Hemphill. The flight was planned from DayJet’s headquarters in Boca Raton to Gainesville, Fla., but diverted to Lakeland because of a broken layer of clouds at Gainesville.
DayJet founder, president and CEO Ed Iacobucci dropped by AIN’s offices last month to provide an update on progress with his per-seat, on-demand VLJ air-taxi service. The company had 100 employees and had taken delivery of the first three of 310 Eclipse 500s it has ordered or taken options on. The aircraft awaited installation of a third attitude indicator before they could be used for Part 135 pilot training and operation.
Eclipse Aviation delivered to DayJet its first three Eclipse 500 VLJs on March 31, bringing Eclipse’s delivery total to five. While its airplanes await a third ADAHRS for Part 135 operations, DayJet is using its initial deliveries to train pilots for air-taxi services. Eclipse also released draft section 5 of the Eclipse 500 AFM, for the final configuration with aerodynamic mods, aluminum tip tanks and Avio NG avionics.
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Jet Alliance claims to be the first company to offer fractional shares in the Eclipse 500 very light jet. “The technology used to build this aircraft allows us to offer shares at an incredible value,” said v-p Craig Arnold. A one-sixteenth share costs $75,500, with $1,250 per month maintenance charge and $650 per occupied hour fee.
After an extended gestation period and months of uncertainty about first delivery, Eclipse Aviation delivered its first production very light jet (VLJ). When the FAA awarded an airworthiness certificate for the first production Eclipse 500 in the closing hours of last year the Albuquerque, N.M.-based tyro airframe manufacturer immediately initiated a virtual “delivery” in which the co-owners completed the documents via fax.
Just a week before EBACE opened, air-limo start-up DayJet of Delray Beach, Florida, announced it would start its “per-seat, on-demand” jet service in the southeastern U.S. this November with Eclipse 500 VLJs.
DayJet, which plans to start per-seat, on-demand operations using Eclipse 500s in November, yesterday unveiled its five initial DayPorts (service cities), all of them in Florida: Boca Raton, Gainesville, Lakeland, Pensacola and Tallahassee. DayJet chose these cities because each represents a “strong and growing local economy and business environment that is underserved” by airlines.
Eclipse and its Swiss customer Aviace have entered litigation over the delivery of 112 VLJs. Aviace sued the manufacturer early this month for breach of contract for allegedly refusing to deliver the aircraft ordered in 2002. The Swiss company was one of the earliest large customers for the Eclipse 500 very light jet and was established to launch a low-cost air taxi business. Both parties declined to comment while in litigation.
The much-anticipated very light jet (VLJ) air-taxi market is beginning to take shape with operators gearing up for the start of service in the eastern U.S. and Europe. VLJ fractional ownership companies also have been formed in Canada and California, a sure sign that the era of the VLJ is about to begin in earnest.
Three of the major players in the very light jet (VLJ) arena appeared before the Senate aviation subcommittee to address concerns that the new breed of aircraft will present insuperable challenges for the ATC system. Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton; Eclipse Aviation president Vern Raburn; and DayJet founder Ed Iacobucci took their case to Capitol Hill. Joining them were two top FAA officials and an aviation consultant.