Eclipse Announces Road Trip, Picks Northeast Service Center

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Eclipse Aviation said this week it is launching a national tour -- its first -- to showcase the company's Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ). For the tour, Eclipse will take one of its prototypes, N506EA, to a series of seven cities during November. At those stops, the "FAA-conforming VLJ" will be on static display and Eclipse will host a reception at selected sites. In addition to the just-announced November tour, Eclipse said it plans to visit additional cities later this year and in 2006; the specifics will be announced later. Meanwhile, Eclipse also said it has chosen the Albany (N.Y.) International Airport (ALB) as the site for its new northeast factory service center. The to-be-built state-of-the-art maintenance and service center is one of seven planned by the company; previously announced locations include Albuquerque, N.M., and Gainesville, Fla. Construction of the Eclipse Aviation hangar at ALB is expected to begin in the spring of 2006, with completion later in the year. The facility will be built just south of the existing Million Air Terminal. A $1.5 million state grant will be used to assist the airport in building the new hangar and providing the additional infrastructure and runway access that will be required. To no one's surprise, the company says its planned Eclipse 500 road trips are designed to allow potential customers to get "up close and personal" with the airplane. Presently, Eclipse says it remains on track for FAA certification during the first quarter of 2006, with first customer deliveries scheduled to begin shortly thereafter. Additionally, Eclipse's scheduled November tour stops will be taking advantage of the two major aviation trade shows to be held in Florida that month: AOPA Expo, in Tampa, Nov. 3 through 5, and the NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention, in Orlando, Nov. 9 through 11. The other locations, which will include a static display and reception from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., are: Mercury Air Center, Dekalb Peachtree Airport (PDK), Nov. 12; Wilson Air, Memphis International Airport (MEM), Nov. 14; Million Air, Addison Airport (ADS), Nov. 16; Trajen FBO Network, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Nov. 18; and Piedmont Hawthorne, San Antonio International Airport (SAT), Nov. 20. The events in Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio require an RSVP to Eclipse, so interested parties should register via the company's Web site. Additional tour dates will be announced in the future through that site.