In a surprise announcement here yesterday, Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. 1526) said that it had reached an agreement "in principle" to make a substantial minority investment in Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. 6667).
In a surprise announcement here today, Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft (Booth No. 1526) said that it had reached an agreement “in principle” to make a substantial minority investment in Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. 6667).
Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. 6667) has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of the bankruptcy of the original Eclipse Aviation, with a focus on helping the owners of the 260 Eclipse 500s keep their airplanes flying safely and efficiently and a goal of eventually restarting the EA500 production line.
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.
Since buying the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation last year, Eclipse Aerospace has resumed all the modification programs necessary to bring the EA500 very light jet to its latest airframe and avionics configurations and launched campaigns to fix continuing problems. The most recent is a windshield modification that helps dissipate precipitation static.
Eclipse Aerospace announced that two campaigns to fix problems with the EA500 very light jet are bearing fruit. To meet FAA certification requirements, the EA500 requires a special chemical that has to be applied to the windshield to dissipate precipitation static. A modification replaces that cumbersome process, which has to be done every eight to 12 months, with a thin carbon strip bonded to the windshield and the airframe.
In a forum at this year’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., Eclipse Aerospace chairman and president Mason Holland pulled no punches with the crowd of some 40 owners who’d gathered to hear the latest details about the company and its progress to complete the list of items necessary to upgrade every Eclipse 500 to Version 1.7. “This airplane has been the soap opera of aviation for the past 10 years,” said Holland.
Eclipse Aerospace has named VNE Jet of Henderson, Nev., the exclusive U.S. Southwest region factory-authorized gold service center for the Eclipse 500.
Eclipse Aerospace has named Boca Aircraft Maintenance located in Boca Raton, Fla., the exclusive U.S. Southeast region factory-authorized gold service center for the Eclipse 500. Boca Aircraft Maintenance will provide maintenance services, parts distribution, airframe, engine and avionics inspections as well as AOG services for the Eclipse 500 within the region.
The Eclipse 500 very light jet has been a business aviation icon for much of its troubled life but the program is still very much alive, according to Eclipse Aerospace co-founder and executive vice president Mike Press.