Eclipse Calls For Transparency ... Aggressively

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Citing the fall of Enron, Tyco, Pharmalat and Martha Stewart (and with all the competitive zeal of a presidential campaign), Eclipse Aviation Tuesday announced what may be both a timely and popular shift in philosophy. "At Eclipse, we have pondered how to provide increased transparency," wrote President and CEO Vern Raburn, whose company once upon a time withheld from anyone but its investors its production process and order numbers while also seeking orders for its then non-existent jet (a practice not so uncommon in the industry). Rayburn says of Eclipse, "like all companies without a product on the market, we have to make claims that can only be confirmed in the future, when our product is available." Tuesday, Eclipse declared, "Let Me Show You Why What I Say Is True," and labeled its competition -- specifically Adam, Avocet and Safire -- as "new companies [in which] transparency has been sorely missing." Raburn cited instances in which Adam, Safire and Avocet made highly public promises about development and certification timetables and failed to deliver.

Eclipse, of course, knows something about missing development targets, thanks to its engine problems a year ago, and claims a new feature of its Web site will end any mystery about how its program is proceeding. As of yesterday, Eclipse has pledged to provide "a completely unprecedented window into a development and certification program for a new aircraft." The company's Web site now offers a new section called "Track Our Progress" (accessible from this page). The new section lists "over 200 tasks and milestones (a subset of our 3,000+ item Master Schedule) that we must achieve from now through the FAA Certification of the Eclipse 500 in early 2006 and JAA Certification at the end of 2006."