Eclipse Says, "Show Me The Money"

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Now that it has dealt with its engine-replacement predicament, Eclipse Aviation has moved on to deal with another part of its jet program that always requires attention: fundraising. The Albuquerque-based manufacturer needs a total of about $300 million to move its Eclipse 500 jet through the FAA certification process. Eclipse has already raised $238 million of that. "We are just starting another round of funding," Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn told the New Mexico Business Weekly this week. "I'm pretty optimistic right now. A lot of people want to invest, but until we could nail down a new engine it would have been stupid for us to try to raise more money." The newly selected Pratt & Whitney PW610F jet engine is still under development. The engine will reportedly provide 900 pounds of thrust, and will enable the jet to fly at 375 knots, 20 knots faster than its original advertised speed. Raburn expects Pratt & Whitney to spend millions of dollars developing the PW610F. The switcheroo has also added two years to Eclipse's overall development program. Eclipse 500 deliveries are now scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2006.