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Mon, Jan 01, 2007

Eclipse Aviation Delivers First Customer Eclipse 500

Company Kicks Off An Aggressive Delivery Schedule

Talk about taking it down to the wire... Eclipse Aviation, promising to start deliveries of the Eclipse 500 VLJ before the end of the year, beat the skeptics with but a few hours to spare.

Eclipse delivered its first customer aircraft Sunday, New Year's Eve, at its headquarters in Albuquerque, NM. Ramping up to fulfill the backlog of more than 2,500 aircraft, the company already has 37 additional aircraft on its production line in various stages of assembly. Seven of these aircraft have completed final assembly and are being prepared for delivery.

Eclipse will hold a formal delivery ceremony at company headquarters in the coming days... after the city of Albuquerque digs out from record snowfall (evidence of which you can see in the bottom photo).

"For many years, the promise of this day has fueled the passion and perseverance of everyone associated with Eclipse," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. "Today, as we deliver the first Eclipse 500, our dream of opening up the world of private jet travel to a new realm of customers has become a reality."

The first customer Eclipse 500 was delivered to co-owners David Crowe, a private owner, and Jet-Alliance, a shared jet ownership company in Westlake Village, CA. While Crowe plans use his time with the jet primarily for recreation, Jet-Alliance will be using it to serve the needs of their growing list of co-ownership clients.

"Although the vision of an affordable jet may have seemed like a risky investment to some back in 2000, I never doubted this day would come," said Crowe. "With my Eclipse 500, I’ll not only have convenient access to my favorite places and hobbies, I’ll have a lot more time to enjoy them."

Crowe entered a partnership to co-own his Eclipse 500 with Jet Alliance. Their arrangement is a fitting example of the Eclipse 500’s appeal to both private owners and a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this major event in aviation history by accepting co-ownership with David Crowe of the very first Eclipse 500," said Randall Sanada, president and CEO of Jet-Alliance. "The Eclipse 500 creates wonderful new alternatives for traveling and owning a jet aircraft, and our clients have been awaiting this day just as eagerly as we have."

With new facilities and team members in place, Eclipse is poised to begin ramping production rates. The company is leveraging advanced manufacturing methods not traditionally used in aviation to dramatically increase manufacturing efficiency. These include proven automotive manufacturing techniques such as moving assembly lines and robotics. The company’s current facilities are designed to support the production of approximately 1,000 aircraft a year, or four aircraft per day.

Sunday's delivery announcement comes exactly two years to the day -- in fact, almost to the very minute -- after the first PW610F-powered Eclipse 500 flew in the waning moments of 2004. All the more reason for Eclipse personnel to celebrate the New Year...

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com

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