Eclipse Receives Production OK from FAA

 - April 26, 2012, 4:13 PM

Charleston, S.C.-based Eclipse Aerospace announced yesterday that it has received a production certificate from the FAA, green-lighting production of the Eclipse 550 very light twinjet. The approval was granted after the agency determined that the company’s manufacturing processes and quality systems meet all federal regulations.

“Armed now with a fully certified aircraft, a certified production process and an established supply chain, Eclipse is well positioned to re-introduce the Eclipse Jet to new production,” said Cary Winter, the company’s senior vice president.

Deliveries are expected to begin by the middle of next year. The new model 550 is based on the Eclipse EA-500 developed by Eclipse Aviation, which went bankrupt in 2008. Its assets were acquired by a group of investors in 2009 with the stated goals of providing support and upgrades for the existing fleet of 260 Eclipse 500s, as well as eventually restarting the production line.

The new 550 features upgrades such as autothrottles, synthetic vision and a redundant flight management system.

UTC subsidiary Sikorsky purchased a share in the company last year, but during the parent company’s first-quarter financial results conference call yesterday said it will not be investing further in Eclipse. “We are not in the light jet business if you will,” said Gregory Hayes, UTC’s senior vice president and CFO. “We’re in the aftermarket business supporting the airplanes that are out there.” UTC subsidiary Pratt & Whitney Canada makes the Eclipse’s PW610 engines.