VLJ Market Shaping Up

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Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom told reporters that by 2008 the company should be stir-welding about 1,000 of the six-place twinjets each year (the order book is now 2,400 strong) to fill a demand that could see 15,000 very light jets (VLJs) in the air by the end of the decade. "It depends on what the market bears," Broom told The Associated Press. Aviation consultant Michael Boyd said he predicts there will be a "stampede" of customers for the very light jets that are soon coming to the market. Cessna hopes to have ready for customers its Mustang (and Adam its A700) by year-end. All this while one new contender (currently flying its research prototype, the Spectrum 33) already has plans to vault the revolutionary field to the next level of performance economy and comfort. Meanwhile, back at Eclipse, CEO Vern Raburn told those at the ceremony the first bit of welding and drilling "is all part of the process of becoming a successful and enduring company." Raburn later told The Associated Press he considered it the "beginning of a whole new era in aviation." While the June 30 and Sept. 29 dates still loom, company officials are confident the production line will keep moving and that the roughest part of the road lies behind. "...we're pretty confident that any changes will be minor," Broom told The Associated Press.