Roel Pieper’s European Technology and Investment Research Center (Etirc) has filed for bankruptcy, ending Etirc Aviation’s once-lofty plans to distribute Eclipse 500s in Europe and Russia and build an Eclipse assembly plant in Russia. Etirc announced plans to become an Eclipse distributor and help companies operate air-taxi networks two years ago.
Last month, the Alfred E. Mann Living Trust filed a complaint against Etirc Aviation and Etirc chairman and CEO Roel Pieper, seeking more than $10 million plus interest and expenses. According to the complaint, Etirc and the Mann Living Trust agreed last November “to each provide $10 million in funding to…Eclipse Aviation” following Eclipse’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
A group of Eclipse 500 owners and Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) today announced the signing of a non-binding letter of intent under which HBC’s service network would provide maintenance and upgrades for Eclipse Owners Group (EOG) members. The two parties are now negotiating a “definitive binding agreement,” according to an EOG statement.
As the liquidation process for the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation drags on, four groups have announced proposals to buy those assets and restart product support and, in some cases, production for the orphaned Eclipse 500 very light jet. No date has been set for the asset auction by the Delaware bankruptcy court.
A group of experienced former Eclipse Aviation workers appears to have launched a company called Eclipse 500 Services to provide maintenance for Eclipse 500 very light jets. The company’s contact information lists an Albuquerque, N.M. telephone number but provides no information as to the identity of the principals.
As the liquidation process for the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation drags on, four groups have announced proposals to buy those assets and restart product support and in some cases production for the orphaned Eclipse 500 very light jet. There may be Chinese interest in bidding on the Eclipse assets, too.
Eclipse 500 owner Mike Press and deposit-holder Mason Holland on Friday launched a new company called Eclipse Jet to bid on assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation, restore Eclipse 500 product support and eventually return the very light jet to production. “Many of the owners are my personal friends, whom I’ve introduced to Eclipse and sold them their aircraft,” said Press.
UT Finance has asked the bankruptcy court overseeing the liquidation of the assets of Eclipse Aviation to allow it to take possession of the 28 Eclipse 500 very light jets that were operated by bankrupt air-taxi operator DayJet. UT Finance–a division of United Technologies and sister company of engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada–along with Eclipse and Bank of Utah loaned money to DayJet Leasing to buy the 28 jets.
Yesterday a judge verbally approved the motion to convert Eclipse Aviation’s bankruptcy from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, which means the company’s assets will likely be auctioned to the highest bidder. Phil Friedman, CEO of Wichita-based Harlow Aerostructures, has formed New Eclipse Acquisition to bid on the assets and, if successful, work with suppliers to provide maintenance support and avionics and other upgrades.
With VLJ manufacturer Eclipse Aviation facing Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings, an organization is needed to provide support to owners of the 259 Eclipse 500 jets in the field.