One Aviation chairman Alan Klapmeier said his company's new Eclipse Canada project will likely eventually replace the Model 550 in the production line-up. "It's likely that the 550 goes out of production," he said at AirVenture yesterday. However, the company will still offer the EA550 as a remanufactured aircraft. "Those used airplanes are the future SEs," he said, referring to the company's Special Edition program that currently remanufactures Eclipse 500 models. Last year Klapmeier said the company sold eight SEs.
While Klapmeier would not commit to a firm timetable for the new $3.595 million larger and longer-range Eclipse jet announced last week, he said it likely would be available in two to three years, but stressed "there is no schedule."
"But we do feel very good about the task," Klapmeier said. "The root section of the wing gets two feet added on either side. So we are rebuilding the existing wings that we have in inventory to do that. The engines will sit on the same engine beams, but they are a little bit heavier so there will be some changes there. And obviously with the avionics and systems there will be some changes there. Each of these is relatively easy. It's no big deal. It's relatively easy compared to the task of designing an airplane." Klapmeier said the new airplane will use the same production line and tooling as the EA550.
The new model features updated avionics, new engines and more range—to 1,400 nm. However the fuselage remains unchanged. Klapmeier called it a "substantially better value" than the EA550. One Aviation is taking $100,000 deposits on the new larger Eclipses at AirVenture. For a limited time—until August 5—One is also offering new EA550s now to Canada deposit holders with guaranteed "zero depreciation" trade-in values.
While Eclipse intends for that aircraft to be powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615 turbofan engine, Klapmeier acknowledged that the company does not currently have a contract with PW&C to supply the engine. He acknowledged that the engine's extra weight over the EA550's PW610 does create some center-of-gravity issues that need to be resolved, but overall said that the engine's added thrust will deliver much faster time to climb and superior high-and-hot performance compared to the EA550.
He also said that it is his preference to offer the Canada project aircraft with a choice of avionics packages, either the a Garmin G3000-based system or a package from IS&S, because "I like the idea of competition."
Klapmeier said that while One remains "very excited" about the development of its Kestrel single-engine turboprop, the company has shifted resources from that program to support the Eclipse Canada project and that Kestrel had "shifted to the right."
"For now Canada is what we are paying attention to, and we are very excited about it," he said.