The corner office at Eclipse Aviation’s Albuquerque, N.M., headquarters has gone strangely quiet. After years of missed deadlines, and facing rising pressure from customers, government regulators and investors, the company retreated to the tall grass last month as executives pondered how to reboot the ailing very light jet maker.
Eclipse Aviation supplier Albany International revealed on August 19 that Eclipse “has indicated that it was substantially reducing production of the Eclipse 500 jet, and planned purchase of components from [Albany Engineered Composites] and other suppliers, for the remainder of 2008 and the first half of 2009.” Although Eclipse Aviation declined to comment about this information, Albany International added, “Based on information provided to d
Another company has launched a bid in the crowded single-engine jet field. Stratos Aircraft of Bend, Ore., has launched the Stratos 714, which it claims will outperform single-engine jets from Cirrus Design, Diamond Aircraft, Eclipse Aviation, Piper Aircraft and even most twin-engine very light jets.
Shortly after the first flight of Cirrus Design’s single-engine jet, the company finally revealed the name for what had long been referred to as “The Jet,” now called the Vision SJ50. The first flight took place on July 3.
Bend, Ore.-based Stratos Aircraft yesterday revealed its intention to build an all-composite single-engine very light jet, dubbed the Stratos 714, with 1,500 nm range at 400 knots. Aerospace engineer Carsten Sundin and entrepreneur Michael Lamaire founded Stratos to build a four-seat jet with greater speed, range and weather capabilities than are currently available in this market segment.
Eclipse Aviation in late May launched the Eclipse 400, a single-engine jet that will be a close relative of the Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ) prototype revealed last July at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The announcement was made at the company’s E-rrival customer event in tandem with news of a price increase for the twin-engine Eclipse 500 very light jet (see page 58).
Eclipse Aviation announced last month that it received certification from India and Australia for the Eclipse 500 very light jet. These certifications, which were issued on the basis of bilateral agreements between the FAA and the individual countries, allow customers to register and operate their Eclipse 500 jets in India and Australia.
Eclipse Aviation this afternoon officially launched its single-engine jet program. The Eclipse 400, first revealed last July at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., as the Eclipse Concept Jet, was announced today at the company’s E-rrival customer event in Albuquerque, N.M. Eclipse is now taking orders for the $1.35 million jet single only from Eclipse 500 customers, who will also get a $125,000 discount if they place an order by July 25.
Eclipse Aviation received permission from the U.S. and Canada to export the Eclipse 500 and its Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F engines to Russia. “This is the next step in establishing an assembly facility in Ulyanovsk, Russia,” the company said at EBACE.
June 30 was a critical date for Nimbus Jets, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., startup that last December agreed to buy 1,000 Eclipse 500 jets (a sale valued at nearly $8.4 billion) for a proposed nationwide air-taxi service. That date was the deadline by which Nimbus owed Eclipse Aviation deposits in the amount of $11.7 million, or 20 percent of the estimated price for the first two-year delivery commitment of 70 aircraft.