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Thu, Mar 02, 2006

Eclipse Begins Production On First Customer Eclipse 500

Customer Lends A Hand "Building" His Jet

Earlier this week Eclipse Aviation celebrated a major milestone as it began building the first Eclipse 500 jet that will be delivered to a customer.

As a crowd of employees gathered to witness the initiation of production, the first customer, David Crowe, stepped up to engage the friction stir welding of one of his future jet's cockpit side panels and to drill window attachment holes in the cockpit frame.

Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation president and CEO, joined Eclipse employees to observe the production start -- as well as to watch Crowe help begin assembly of his jet.

"This is another very exciting day at Eclipse because this is all part of the process of becoming a successful and enduring company," said Raburn as he watched Crowe begin the friction stir welding of the cockpit panel. "We couldn't be happier than to be building this Eclipse 500 for Mr. Crowe -- thank you David, we really appreciate your faith and confidence."

Mr. Crowe will receive his Eclipse 500 this summer, shortly after the anticipated FAA certification of the Eclipse 500 in late May. Sources at the company told Aero-News that Crowe's visit was a boost to the Eclipse team members who had a firsthand opportunity to see his enthusiasm for their efforts.

"It's beautiful," said Crowe as he finished drilling the holes on the cockpit. "It takes some pretty special people to have the dedication to carry through a project like the Eclipse 500. Folks who work here are not just punching timecards -- I can feel that every time I visit."

Eclipse is continuing Eclipse 500 flight testing as the company moves aggressively towards FAA certification in late Q2 of this year.

As was reported by Aero-News, the company was recently honored for the development of the Eclipse 500 by the National Aeronautic Association, which awarded Eclipse the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy for the "greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America."

Additionally, Vern Raburn was also honored in Singapore last week by Flight International with the Aviation Excellence Awards -- Publishers Award as "leading a revolution in private and business aviation."

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com

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