BAE Systems is out and a number of new suppliers are in, according to Eclipse Aviation officials, who announced the signing of long-term contracts with six additional vendors for the avionics and digital automatic flight controls on the Eclipse 500 after reshuffling the original supplier team.
On the heels of the termination of a training contract with United Airlines (a mutual agreement the companies said), Eclipse Aviation said it is “currently in negotiations” with a new training partner for the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet.
Shipments of general aviation aircraft last year increased significantly over 2005, resulting in record highs in billings and in business jet deliveries.
Eclipse Aviation and United Airlines have “mutually agreed to terminate their pilot training program,” according to Michelle Burns, manager of training development for United’s flight training division. In 2004 Eclipse and United announced that the airline’s training division would provide screening for Eclipse pilots and type rating training.
One week after revealing that Avidyne’s involvement in the program has ended, Eclipse Aviation today named a number of replacement suppliers for the Eclipse 500’s Avio avionics system.
While it is normal for a start-up to experience teething troubles, Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn conceded in letters sent last week to Eclipse 500 customers that his company has had “far more challenges than we anticipated.” For some time, serious problems–what Raburn calls a “perfect storm”–have plagued virtually every aspect of development, design and production of the very light twinjet.
VLJ developer Eclipse Aviation announced last week that its relationship with avionics supplier Avidyne has ended. Eclipse plans to announce shortly which companies will supply components for the Model 500’s Avio integrated avionics system. AIN has been told by a source close to the process that Honeywell will be sharing the job with another specialist, thought to be Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S).
Eclipse Aviation’s fourth conforming flight-test aircraft, N505EA, which experienced a gear-up landing on September 4 at Albuquerque International Sunport, will be repaired and back in the air by the end of October, according to a company spokesman. The two pilots on board were not injured during the accident, which Eclipse said was caused by pilot error.
Shipments of general aviation aircraft last year increased significantly over 2005, resulting in another record high in billings and an all-time high in business jet deliveries.
Scottsdale Ariz.-based fractional operator JetsAmerica is scheduled to take delivery of its first Eclipse 500 by the second week of March, according to company chairman and CEO Brandon Carlson. The company offers quarter-share turnkey ownership in the new very light jet. A one-quarter share will equal 200 hours of real flight time; Carlson says owners won’t be penalized for taxiing or empty positioning flights.