Sikorsky Aircraft has completed a minority equity investment agreement with Eclipse Aerospace that was first announced at NBAA 2010 in October. The deal provides Eclipse with "some extra investment dollars to work with," Eclipse CEO Mason Holland told AVweb on Wednesday, but he said the two companies agreed not to release details of the amount. But even more important, Holland said, the deal gives his young company access to Sikorsky's established supply chain, parts-distribution system and engineering talent. The deal will have "immediate impact" on current Eclipse owners, Holland said, in enhancing the "strength and support of a global network," but it also means an "accelerated time frame" for getting the E500 back into production quickly "as soon as the market demand is there."
Mark Cherry, a spokesman for Sikorsky, said the management team at Eclipse "shares with Sikorsky a passion for quality products and a customer-first commitment." He added, "We are pleased to make this equity investment and look forward to providing global support to Eclipse as it works to re-start production of its twin-engine very light jet." Eclipse Aerospace, based in Albuquerque, N.M., provides engineering, service and support for the fleet of roughly 260 Eclipse jets that were built by the original company. The company also sells low-time, refurbished, fully equipped Eclipse jets with a "tip to tail" one-year factory warranty. Sikorsky Aircraft, based in Stratford, Conn., manufactures the Black Hawk helicopter and other aircraft. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., which is also the parent company of Pratt & Whitney Canada, the manufacturer of the jet engines used by Eclipse.