Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. 6667) has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of the bankruptcy of the original Eclipse Aviation, with a focus on helping the owners of the 260 Eclipse 500s keep their airplanes flying safely and efficiently and a goal of eventually restarting the EA500 production line.
I’ve been waiting quite some time to fly the Eclipse, a dozen years in fact, since the then revolutionary very light jet (VLJ) was first announced in 1998. The term very light jet–originally coined to describe the Eclipse specifically–came to be applied to a number of small jets, although a precise definition seemed to depend upon an aircraft manufacturer’s marketing department at any given time.
Since buying the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation last year, Eclipse Aerospace has resumed all the modification programs necessary to bring the EA500 very light jet to its latest airframe and avionics configurations and launched campaigns to fix continuing problems. The most recent is a windshield modification that helps dissipate precipitation static.
In a forum at this year’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., Eclipse Aerospace chairman and president Mason Holland pulled no punches with the crowd of some 40 owners who’d gathered to hear the latest details about the company and its progress to complete the list of items necessary to upgrade every Eclipse 500 to Version 1.7. “This airplane has been the soap opera of aviation for the past 10 years,” said Holland.
A proposed Airworthiness Directive for Eclipse 500s would require changes to the electronic flight information system and the airplane flight manuals. The proposed
AD stems from reports of uncommanded changes to the communications radio frequency, altitude preselect and/or transponder codes. The FAA said the AD would “correct faulty integration of hardware and software” on Eclipses.
Eclipse Aerospace has named VNE Jet of Henderson, Nev., the exclusive U.S. Southwest region factory-authorized gold service center for the Eclipse 500.
Eclipse Aerospace has named Boca Aircraft Maintenance located in Boca Raton, Fla., the exclusive U.S. Southeast region factory-authorized gold service center for the Eclipse 500. Boca Aircraft Maintenance will provide maintenance services, parts distribution, airframe, engine and avionics inspections as well as AOG services for the Eclipse 500 within the region.
The Eclipse 500 very light jet has been a business aviation icon for much of its troubled life but the program is still very much alive, according to Eclipse Aerospace co-founder and executive vice president Mike Press.
Eclipse Aerospace started a program dubbed “Total Eclipse,” which allows customers to purchase final-configuration, pre-owned Eclipse 500s directly from the company. The upgraded aircraft are priced at $2.15 million each, with early buyers getting a guaranteed buy-back provision that “can be applied toward a first-year production slot when manufacturing resumes.”
Eclipse Aerospace has located its first Platinum service center in Europe for Eclipse EA500 aircraft service, maintenance and modifications. Located in Istanbul, Turkey, Eclipse Aerospace General Aviation will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul support for Eclipse EA500 operators in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.