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Wed, Jan 02, 2008

Eclipse Completes 103 Planes In First Year Of Production

Hits 100-Mark Faster Than Any Other GA Jet Aircraft Manufacturer

It's not as many as company officials had hoped for... but it's still a record. Albuquerque, NM-based planemaker Eclipse Aviation rang in the New Year with the announcement it has produced and certified 104 Eclipse 500 very-light jets since December 31, 2006.

That makes Eclipse the fastest general aviation jet aircraft manufacturer in history to produce its first 100 airplanes... and by a substantial margin. Eclipse states the fastest ramp-up to 100 aircraft before now was achieved by Cessna, which reached 100 Cessna Citation 550 aircraft after approximately 18 months.

"We're transforming how jets are built, and how people travel," said Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation president and CEO. "It's an audacious goal, and one that stretches us every day to go beyond what seems possible."

After a tumultuous 2007 for Eclipse -- which saw, among other difficulties, the replacement of Avidyne as the provider of Eclipse's proprietary Avio avionics suite, an Airworthiness Directive that briefly relegated the little jet to VFR-only flight, the layoff of approximately 100 employees, and a lawsuit filed by vendor Hampton Aerospace -- the company appears to be heading into 2008 on an upswing.

As ANN reported, Eclipse received FAA certification for the first phase of the Avio NG avionics suite in late December, and the planemaker says it's nearing its goal of producing one aircraft per day.

"Day-to-day setbacks are inevitable, but the reality is that we have created a new aircraft category and are bringing a new breed of jet to market at a rate never before seen in general aviation," Raburn said.

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com

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