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.
Eclipse Aviation and Aspen Avionics last month settled a patent dispute over the AT300 hazard awareness display. Under the settlement agreement, Eclipse dropped a competing patent claim in exchange for 1 percent of Aspen common stock. The VLJ maker had contended that Aspen cofounders Peter Lyons and Jeff Bethel developed the AT300 product while they worked at Eclipse and, therefore, the patent for the product should belong to Eclipse.
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.
It will likely surprise AIN readers to learn that Eclipse Aviation has changed its plans for initial and recurrent pilot training by forming an alliance with United Airlines.
With the Falcon 7X, French-based manufacturer Dassault has cut in half the time it takes it to build the first example of a new top-end business jet. The company is using digital design and construction tools to streamline the assembly process. At the same time, lower development and production costs have a favorable effect on the price of the 5,700-nm trijet, Dassault claims.
Call them what you want–very light jets (VLJs), compact jets, minijets, microjets, personal jets or even Barbie jets–they’re no longer “paper” airplanes. First deliveries of certified VLJs are less than a year away, if Eclipse Aviation adheres to its plan to begin deliveries of its Model 500 next March.