Joins Wright, Hughes, Yeager... Not Bad!
When Eclipse CEO Vern
Raburn calls the ANN hotline, it's usually to announce something
big... and the call E-I-C Jim Campbell received from
Raburn this afternoon was no exception.
In an exclusive phone call Thursday, Raburn told Aero-News
that his company has won the 2005 Robert J. Collier Trophy,
considered the most prestigious award in aviation. Eclipse Aviation
Corporation was awarded the trophy "for the greatest
achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America."
The 95 year-old trophy will be presented to the company "for
leadership, innovation, and the advancement of general aviation" in
the production of very light jets -- specifically, the Eclipse
The award is administered by the National Aeronautic Association
(NAA). With the award, Eclipse joins such distinguished company as
past winners Orville Wright, Howard Hughes, Chuck Yeager, Scott
Crossfield, the crew of Apollo 11, and SpaceShipOne.
Announcing the 2005 winner, NAA President and CEO David Ivey
said the selection committee's criteria included recognition of the
rich heritage of the Collier Trophy, and "the spirit of
entrepreneurship, technical innovation, and the impact on American
aviation," exemplified by the Eclipse 500.
Led by Eclipse's founder, president and CEO Vern Raburn, Eclipse
is applying innovations created in the technology industry to drive
down cost, increase performance, improve safety, and spur a new
type of air travel-the air taxi.
Innovations to the Eclipse 500 including friction stir welding,
the PhostrEx fire suppression system, electromechanical actuators
and digital electronics with integrated software.
Perhaps the company's greatest contribution is making jet
technology available to a larger segment of the population.
With an acquisition cost one-third of today's small jets and the
lowest operating cost per mile of any jet, the Eclipse 500 provides
the lowest jet costs ever achieved. As a result, almost 2400
Eclipse 500's are on order.
In an endorsement to the Eclipse nomination, Microsoft founder
and Eclipse investor Bill Gates said: "True to the spirit of
excellence and advancement that the Robert J. Collier award stands
for, I believe the Eclipse 500 represents the best of aviation's
rich past -- and its bright future."
The award presentation will be Monday, May 15, at the Ronald
Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
ANN is planning to bring you more on this story, including
Vern Raburn's reaction to the news, on Friday's Aero-News Daily