It might be considered an honor for an established business jet manufacturer to get a visit from either President Bush or Senator John Kerry during this election year, but it was high praise indeed for start-up Eclipse Aviation to get visits from both presidential candidates.
The payment dispute between Eclipse Aviation and Eclipse 500 empennage assembly supplier Hampson Aerospace seems to be resolved for now, according to a recent court filing. On November 13, Hampson filed a lawsuit against Eclipse Aviation in the New Mexico Second District Court for failing to pay “in accordance with the schedule and under the terms set out” in a contract.
Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn told customers in a letter sent Tuesday that the company has missed its high-rate production goals and as a consequence “our need for capital has increased.” Eclipse is asking existing customers to help raise about $30 million in short-term funding by each putting up a $625,000 deposit in exchange for a fixed aircraft price of $1.25 million.
We’re now in year two of the great “onslaught” of the very light jet, and soon these small two- and one-engine turbine-powered airplanes will be “darkening the skies” and “clogging up traffic” at airports all over the world, if some predictions are to be believed.
Eclipse Aviation has released more information about its planned flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) program, which the FAA recently approved. The company has not revealed the regulatory basis of the approval. The FOQA program will gather data from Eclipse 500s for analysis by Austin Digital, a software company that works with many FOQA equipment manufacturers and airlines.
Eclipse Aviation signed a contract with Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) of Japan for the manufacture of complete wing assemblies for the Eclipse 500 very light jet. As part of the long-term agreement, Eclipse also licensed its friction-stir welding process to FHI for use in the wing assemblies, as well as other potential applications within FHI’s manufacturing operations.
Litigation filed last month by Eclipse 500 empennage assembly supplier Hampson Aerospace in the New Mexico Second District Court against Eclipse Aviation quickly turned into yet another public feud between Eclipse and one of its suppliers. Eclipse’s previously publicized battles include those with former vendors Williams International, BAE Systems, Nordam and Avidyne, among several others.
Personal jets, mini-jets, ultra-light jets, very light jets. The category has many names and now many contenders. But no company has yet brought a very light business jet to certification and production. Several programs that have been displayed over the years at past NBAA conventions, such as the Alberta Phoenix FanJet and Century Aerospace Century Jet, are now “on the shelf” and may stay there forever.
Eclipse Aviation has placed a second Eclipse 500 very light jet, S/N 082, on the auction block. The online eBay auction began yesterday at 11 a.m. EST and will conclude at 8 p.m. on November 29. Bidding began at 95 percent of the aircraft’s retail value of $1,844,804.30, and bidders must pre-qualify with a $5,000 refundable deposit. The aircraft will be ready for customer delivery early next month.
On Tuesday, Eclipse 500 empennage assembly supplier Hampson Aerospace filed a lawsuit against Eclipse Aviation in the New Mexico Second District Court for failing to pay Hampson “in accordance with the schedule and under the terms set out” in a contract.