On December 20, Eclipse Aviation announced that it had received FAA certification of the Avio NG avionics and systems control suite for the Eclipse 500 VLJ.
The City Council of Albuquerque, N.M., has approved a $45 million industrial revenue bond package to help Eclipse Aviation deliver on its Eclipse 500 very light twinjet. The Associated Press reported that the deal will give Eclipse a property tax abatement worth more than $777,000 over 10 years.
In a December 13 amendment to Pogo Jet’s S-1 registration statement for its initial public stock offering, the company provided more information about its planned very light jet (VLJ) charter service. As it has said before, Pogo will use Eclipse 500s in a whole-airplane charter service headquartered at Westover Municipal Airport in Chicopee, Mass.
Eclipse Aviation has accelerated its production schedule for the Eclipse 500 very light jet by seven months and announced plans for its customer-support network, an in-house program that would ultimately include seven centers. That would place a shop within one-and-a-half hours’ flying time from any U.S. Eclipse operator’s home base, the company said.
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.