The frenetic single-engine jet market got more crowded on May 30 when Eclipse Aviation announced that it plans to bring to market the Eclipse 400, a single-engine jet based on the concept airplane unveiled at EAA AirVenture last summer.
The announcement was made to a group of Eclipse 500 customers in Albuquerque, N.M., coinciding with the company’s tenth anniversary.
The four-place 400 will be priced at $1.35 million in June 2008 dollars. The company expects certification and deliveries by late 2011. It will be powered by a Pratt & Whitney PW615 engine, making 1,200 pounds of thrust, derated from the engine’s max thrust of 1,450 lbst. With that, the airplane is expected to have a max cruise of 330 knots, about 10 knots slower than projected last summer. Range is projected at 1,250 nm with IFR reserves.
“People love this airplane,” especially noting the economics of the small jet, said Eclipse President and CEO Vern Raburn.
It is projected to burn just 210 pounds per hour (about 26 gallons) at a long-range cruise speed of 256 knots. It will be certified to 41,000 feet, higher than any of the other single-engine jets under development by Cirrus, Diamond, and Piper.
The 400 will have significant airframe and system parts in common with the twin-engine Eclipse 500. The company is offering positions on the 400 only to Eclipse 500 customers until late July when the public will be invited to place orders.
Look for the 400 concept jet on June 7 at the AOPA Fly-In and Open House in Frederick, Md. Raburn said the development program will cost the company about $150 million.
Eclipse Aviation also announced a $450,000 price increase—a 26.5 percent jump—for its model 500 very light jet, raising the price to $2.15 million.
Raburn said the price increase was necessary because the company has not been able to ramp its production rates up fast enough to begin making a profit. “I’m losing money on each aircraft today,” he said.
Noting that while the production rate is increasing, the company will not anytime soon reach a rate that will make it profitable without the price increase. Customers who choose not to pay the higher price can get a refund of their deposits; some will undoubtedly opt instead for the new Eclipse 400 single-engine jet.
The 200th Eclipse 500 will be delivered this weekend.