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.
Light aircraft fractional provider OurPlane last week took delivery of the first Eclipse 500 that will be operated under Part 91K fractional aircraft ownership rules. The very light jet, Eclipse 500 S/N 066, is based at SheltAir at Jacksonville International Airport for a corporate customer. According to OurPlane, this event marks the launch of the company’s nationwide fractional VLJ aircraft service.
Airplane programs traditionally began in one of two ways: either as a conceptual design, such as the Eclipse 500, which the manufacturer used to drum up deposits for future sales; or as a proof-of-concept prototype (POC), which is basically a full-size flying model airplane designed to show off the design’s attributes, and whose would-be manufacturers are also seeking deposits.
Eclipse Aviation surprised the crowds assembled for the opening of this year’s EAA AirVenture show with a new four-place single-engine Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ). While unveiling a mockup of the ECJ fuselage, Eclipse COO Peg Billson mentioned the jet’s 345-knot maximum cruise speed, 41,000-foot maximum altitude and 1,250-nm range with IFR reserves.
Eclipse Aviation surprised the hordes assembled for the opening of this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show with a new four-place single-engine Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ).
Eclipse Aviation’s announcement of a 180-airplane order at EBACE signaled the launch of a very light jet (VLJ) air-taxi operation that will be based in Turkey. The order was placed by Eclipse Eastern European distributor Etirc Aviation, which will also be responsible for helping Eclipse obtain Turkish certification of the Model 500.
Eclipse Aviation selected two companies-Higher Power Aviation of Dallas and Flight Simulation of the Netherlands-to run the model 500 VLJ pilot training program. Flight Simulation will oversee the Eclipse 500 training program, and Higher Power instructors will train U.S. pilots at Eclipse's Albuquerque, N.M. headquarters and eventually at Eclipse's new training facility at nearby Double Eagle II Airport.
After selling what it claims is 2,100 Eclipse 500s at between $837,500 and $950,000 apiece, Eclipse Aviation has increased the price on new orders for its very light twinjet to $1.175 million (all prices in June 2000 dollars). First flight of the six-seat aircraft powered by its intended production engine–a pair of 900-pound-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofans–is scheduled for December 31.
Given their current predicaments, Eclipse Aviation and Sino Swearingen share some similarities. Both start-up OEMs have found the money and overcome the adversity to earn type certificates for their jets despite major setbacks and industry naysayers.