By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief
Although a lot of news about Eclipse in recent months has focused on various delays in the production and delivery of its aircraft, the company says it has produced its "first 100 airplanes faster than any GA jet aircraft manufacturer in history." In a news release, in which CEO Vern Raburn describes the effort as "audacious," the company notes that it "has produced and certified 104 Eclipse 500s since December 31, 2006." Cessna held the previous record, building 100 Citation 550s in about 18 months, it says. Eclipse's claims have to come with some caveats, however.
For instance, as far as we know, the aircraft has not been certified for flight into known icing. Also, only one of the first 104 aircraft is equipped with the Avio NG package that was certified on Dec. 20. The other early aircraft will be retrofitted with the system. Raburn touched on the well-publicized setbacks in the release. "We're transforming how jets are built, and how people travel," he said. "It's an audacious goal, and one that stretches us every day to go beyond what seems possible. 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."