August 20, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Eclipse Aviation is now Eclipse Aerospace, following the approval by a federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware of the sale to an Eclipse owners group. There remains an adversary hearing to deal with two remaining issues, but the sale will not be reversed.
The hearings concern objections to the sale by the simulator supplier. Until that is resolved the new firm will not be able to offer simulator training. There were also objections by customers with airplanes on the production line at the time the firm went bankrupt, called “work in progress” or WIP. That issue will also be dealt with at the adversary hearing.
Titles to the company and type certificate are in the process of transferral, but the company should be back in operation Sept. 1. None of the former executives of Eclipse will return to the company. The firm will conduct a CEO search.
Mike Press of Eclipse Aerospace said the company will begin hiring employees needed to complete the aircraft design, and provide service and upgrade the 259 existing Eclipse 500 aircraft. Only three of them had all the systems promised by the factory at the time of delivery. Eclipse Aerospace bought a Chicago-area service center that will do repairs and upgrades. A top priority is getting the few Eclipse 500s that are grounded for lack of parts back into the air.
A decision on whether to resume Eclipse 500 production will not occur for six to 18 months, Press said. “We’re going to start slow,” he said, adding that he hopes to have the Albuquerque, N.M., plant open to service aircraft by the end of September. A key question on the minds of Eclipse owners is the cost of newly manufactured parts. “We have to talk to suppliers first,” Press said.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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