First Forward Keel Assembly Mated To Fuselage
During the first International Eclipse Dealer and Sales Conference held this past Friday in Albuquerque, Eclipse Aerospace announced the official launch of initial production of the new model Eclipse 550 twin-engine jet. Eclipse dealers representing the United States and over 30 different countries were on hand as the management team and Board of Directors for Eclipse Aerospace all signed the fuselage of the first production aircraft, Serial Number 1001. The ceremony continued with the Eclipse production team officially mating the forward keel assembly to the fuselage.
Now armed with an established supply chain, a new FAA production certificate, and a certified airframe, Eclipse is officially back in production with deliveries beginning in 2013. Eclipse plans initial low-volume production with the first aircraft taking approximately 12 months to complete as the balance of the production line is re-tooled and validated during the process. Full production for an estimated 50 to 100 aircraft per year is expected in 2014, paced by market demand. The base price of the Eclipse 550 twin-engine jet is $2,695,000 (2011 value).
Mason Holland, CEO & Chairman of Eclipse Aerospace commented “New production of the Eclipse Jet, that was the ultimate goal of EAI when we started the process two and a half short years ago. The excellent team at Eclipse Aerospace along with our strong supply chain partners have brought us back into the production market. I am simply humbled by everyone’s efforts!”
In addition to the new production announcement, Eclipse also announced the official roll out of the Eclipse International Dealer organization. Eclipse Dealers from around the world representing over 30 countries attended and signed agreements for the purchase of new Eclipse 550 Jets slated for delivery in 2014 and early 2015.
Eclipse opened the order book for the 550 at the NBAA Convention in Las Vegas last year, and the FAA granted a production certificate in April of this year. Enhancements will include expanded aircraft computer systems and integrated avionics package, which will now support features such as Synthetic Vision, Enhanced Vision, dual-mode FMS, TAWS, TCAS-1, ADS-B, on-board color radar, Radar Altimeter, and iPad data entry integration. In addition, Eclipse Aerospace will become the first in its industry to offer Auto-Throttles as an option for the Eclipse 550.
The Eclipse 550 will be powered by the same Pratt & Whitney PW610F turbofan engines used in the EA-500, which collectively produce 1,800 lbs. of thrust. This gives the 6,000 lb. Eclipse Jet a maximum cruise speed of 375 knots and an IFR range of 1,125 nm with a full fuel payload of 700 lbs. Like the EA-500, the Eclipse 550 will have a maximum service ceiling of 41,000 ft and a cruise fuel flow of only 59 gallons per hour. (Images: Top, Mason Holland announcing production. Bottom left, Eclipse workers begin first production aircraft. Bottom right, Mason Holland inspects first production start)