Air-taxi operators and potential operators used a recent VLJ forum, “Business Models for VLJs and Light Jets,” to outline their plans for using the new class of jets to offer point-to-point service.
Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn acknowledged in a customer/investor update dated June 10 that there is a lengthy wait between delivery of new Eclipse 500 VLJs and pilot training. “Unfortunately,” he wrote, “we did not adequately plan our staffing levels and have thus fallen behind schedule.”
Eclipse Aviation will open its first factory-owned service center in Gainesville, Fla., tomorrow. The Avio NG avionics system is behind schedule, according to a June 10 Eclipse customer/investor update, but the new avionics have been installed in a flight-test 500 and powered up. Flight testing should start later this month, according to Eclipse.
It’s been more than seven years since Vern Raburn launched the Eclipse 500, a small, low-cost very light jet that he predicted would bring “disruptive technology” to aviation. At the time, the model 500 was to sell for $775,000 (in 2000 $), have a 44-cents-per-mile direct operating cost and be powered by tiny Williams International EJ22 engines. Certification and deliveries were expected in 2003.
As of mid-May, Eclipse Aviation had begun construction of Eclipse 500 number 62, and numbers 15 and 16 had received their certificates of airworthiness, according to Michael McConnell, Eclipse vice president of marketing and sales. Number 14 was delivered during the week of May 7.
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’s announcement of a 180-airplane order yesterday signaled the launch of a very light jet (VLJ) air-taxi operation that will be based in Turkey. The Eclipse 500 order–including 120 firm sales and 60 options–was placed by Eclipse Eastern European distributor Etirc Aviation and is Eclipse’s largest European order to date. The Eclipse order book now stands at just under 2,700 airplanes.
Eclipse Aviation announced at EBACE that it has won an order for 180 Eclipse 500s from a single customer. Eastern European-based Etirc Aviation Europe, a sales, service and support company, had previously ordered 40 Eclipse 500s for sale in Eastern Europe.
Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn did not wax eloquent with regard to the Avio NG (next generation) avionics upgrade program for the Eclipse 500, other than to say that the company is moving ahead with the project and that the first of two Avio NG-equipped test aircraft will be finished this week.
Eclipse Aviation (Booth No. 202) has finalized details of the training program for its new very light jet (VLJ), revealing partnerships with two pilot training companies. Flight Simulation Co. (FSC) of The Netherlands and Higher Power Aviation, Inc. (HPA) of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, will work with Florida-based simulator manufacturer Opinicus Corp., in providing an FAA-approved training curriculum for the Eclipse 500.