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Eclipse Jet Aircraft

  1. Eclipse Jets

    A new class of jets emerging on the horizon is the VLJ, which stands for Very Light Jet. The characteristics of this new breed of jet aircraft include a weight of 10,000 pounds or less and are single seat piloted. They usually have twin engines, automated cockpits, occupancy for five or six passengers, the ability to land on 3,000 foot runways, and cost approximately half the price of even the economic business jets. In VLJ jargon, this classification also includes monikers such as light jets, micro light jets, mini-jets, and microjets.

    The VLJ buzz started with Eclipse Aviation as a large contender. In fact, the concept of VLJs was initiated in 1998 and the term was relegated specifically to the Eclipse light jet. In early 2006, Eclipse reported contracts for an astounding 1500+ of their Eclipse 500VLJ. The Eclipse 500, a six-seater including pilot, received “type” certification from the FAA in September 2006. At that time 2 jets were in service and 23 more under construction, and Eclipse Aviation had taken orders for more than 2,000 of these economic commuters.

    Eclipse Aviation ran into problems, mostly management and financially related, that led to the 2008 bankruptcy and cessation of production at the Albuquerque, NM plant. However the creation of Eclipse Aerospace in 2009 was the beginning of a new lift-off to accommodate the private jet and business jet client. Mason Holland and Mike Press, both EA500 owners, and both with superlative resumes, bought the company out of bankruptcy and began the revival of the collapsed corporation, realizing it was the company that failed, not the concept nor the product. At that time, there were 260 EA500 airframes whose owners Holland assured would remain pleased with their plane and the new team. Rebranded as the TE500, the New Mexico plant re-opened with many of the former employees returning to the lines to update and recreate the ideal small jet that was economic both for purchase and operating. Subsequently, more than 160 of these original EA500s so far have been FL410 FAA certified and are in use.

    The Eclipse Aerospace Inc.’s Eclipse rebirth has seen several successful milestones. Sikorsky Aircraft became a minority partner (42%) for worldwide sales and service. Subsequently, United Technologies, which owns Sikorsky, and EAI agreed that the Sikorsky subsidiary PZL Mielec will build the fuselage, empennage, and wings. In April, the FAA issued a production certificate. The new product has evolved as the Eclipse 550 Very Light Jet. Assembly on the first E550 has commenced by the 120 EAI employees at the re-tooled plant at the Albuquerque International Sunport with delivery expected in 2013 after the 12 – 14 month construction has been completed. Eclipse Aerospace is anticipating production of 50 – 100 jet aircraft in 2014.

    The Eclipse 550 Very Light Jet includes features such Auto-Throttles, Synthetic and Enhanced vision, and redundant flight management systems. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW610F turbofan engines, the Eclipse jet will cruise at 375knots with an IFR range of 1,125nm. The maximum service ceiling will be 41,000 feet with a fuel flow of an economic 59 gallons per hour.

  2. Eclipse Aviation 500 Jet​
  3. Eclipse 500 Jet