Business & GA, CNS

Eclipse Aerospace Taking Orders for New 550

By Tish Drake | October 20, 2011
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Photo courtesy Eclipse Aerospace

Eclipse Aerospace is reviving its very light jet product, and taking orders for its new twin-engine aircraft, the Eclipse 550.

The company, at last week’s National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) annual event in Las Vegas, said the Eclipse 550, with a base price of $2.7 million, will have the same airframe and Pratt & Whitney engines of the original Eclipse 500, and will include enhanced avionics systems from Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S), of Exton, Pa.

Eclipse said it expects to make 50 to 100 per year with deliveries in 2013.

“We’re thrilled to be taking this positive step forward in Eclipse history,” said Mason Holland, CEO and chairman of Eclipse Aerospace. “We expect a robust customer response based on the support we’ve received from current Eclipse owners, our suppliers and the aviation community in general. Ultimate production and production levels will be driven by overall market demand, and we couldn’t be more excited or optimistic.”

Eclipse Aviation, founded in 1998, developed, manufactured and delivered about 250 Eclipse 500s before a lack of funding shutdown the company in 2008. Eclipse Aviation has filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. The company was purchased by a group of investors, rebranded as Eclipse Aerospace. Earlier this year, the company secured a minority stakeholder in Sikorsky Aircraft.

The 550 includes expanded aircraft computer systems and integrated avionics package, which will 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 offer Auto-Throttles as an option for the Eclipse 550.

“Eclipse is in a place all to itself. First, the cost to operate an Eclipse Jet is significantly lower than the next closest jet in our class. Couple this with the low purchase price entry point for the Eclipse 550 and you have a winning combination,” Holland said.

IS&S will provide its Vantage avionics suite for the production model Eclipse 550, supplying its Primary Flight and Multi-Function Displays as well as the Integrated Flight Management (IFMS) and Electronic Flight Bag System. IS&S is also providing its Vantage Premier avionics suite for the Eclipse 500.

Photo courtesy Eclipse Aerospace

IS&S said it expects this multi-year agreement to generate revenue in excess of $25 million in addition to the revenue from the ongoing retrofit upgrades of the existing Eclipse 500 fleet of some 260 aircraft.

The IFMS features include coupled WAAS/LPV approaches; RNP compliance to DO-236B with 0.1 nm precision; fully coupled Flight Profile Performance Based VNAV; auto throttle controls; and dual IS&S Beta 3 GPS receivers.

“We are pleased to have been chosen to partner with Eclipse Aerospace for the supply of the cockpit avionics for the 550. The Vantage Premier avionics suite is one of the most advanced cockpits available on any aircraft,” said IS&S President Roman Ptakowski.

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