Eclipse Aerospace Inc. received a production certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration to produce an upgraded version of the Eclipse 500 very light jet.
The company, which bought the assets of Eclipse Aviation Corp. out of bankruptcy in August 2009, announced last fall that it would begin producing the new Eclipse 550 in 2013.
The upgraded version includes features not built into the original jet, such as auto-throttles and more powerful avionics to provide enhanced vision.
The 550 is based on the original Eclipse platform, which already had a “type” certificate from the FAA. But the company needed a production certificate to launch manufacturing operations for the 550, said Senior Vice President Cary Winter in a news release.
“Armed now with a fully certified aircraft, a certified production process and an established supply chain, Eclipse is well positioned to reintroduce the Eclipse jet to new production”, Winter said. “Earning our FAA production certificate means we have successfully built a reliable, high-quality manufacturing process, and are well positioned to expedite aircraft deliveries.”
Since acquiring Eclipse Aviation’s assets, the new company has been upgrading the fleet of 260 Eclipse 500 jets with new avionics systems, while brokering the resale of newly refurbished aircraft.
It began accepting orders on the Eclipse 550 last fall, with first deliveries expected in 2013. The new jet will sell for $2.7 million, up from $2.15 million for the original version.
Eclipse spokesman Chad Elkins declined to disclose the number of orders received to date for the Eclipse 550.
Elkins said Eclipse plans to hire more employees as it moves into production of the new jet. The company employs 120 at a facility at the Albuquerque International Sunport.
Source: Kevin Robinson-Avila http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2012/04/25/faa-grants-production-certificate-for.html?page=all