Eclipse Aerospace is on track to resume production of the Eclipse 550 twin jet with deliveries beginning in 2013, company officials said April 25. The company has received its production certificate for the aircraft from the FAA.
News reports about Eclipse financial backer United Technologies Corp. (UTC) and subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft Co. had suggested Sikorsky wouldn’t support additional investments in Eclipse. But Eclipse CEO Mason Holland said Sikorsky is providing key personnel, expertise, and financial backing, and the company remains on track to resume Eclipse deliveries next year.
“With the assistance of Sikorsky personnel, Eclipse continues advancing the Eclipse 550 to full-scale production,” Holland said. “We continue to support fielded aircraft, sell Total Eclipse aircraft, and build the Eclipse 550 new production order book with initial deliveries planned for 2013.”
The original Eclipse corporation was launched with great fanfare and high expectations that very light jets (VLJs) would revolutionize air travel with reliable, low-cost, single-pilot jets. The firm based in Albuquerque, N.M., delivered its first aircraft in 2006 but struggled financially and was liquidated in 2009 after producing 267 aircraft.
Eclipse Aerospace bought the assets of the original company and has been providing new parts and service for the existing fleet since 2009. The company has always intended to restart the production line with an updated aircraft and says it’s nearing that goal.
“We have 91 percent of the supply chain in place to restart production,” Holland said. “We’re ready to get this thing off the ground again.”