Eclipse Update - Temps Let Go; NTSB On Recent Accident; Status Of Refunds

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Eclipse Aviation has let go about 190 of its temporary workers, the company said in a statement on Friday. "This is not a layoff because it does not affect any direct employees," the statement read. "It is not uncommon for manufacturing companies to hire temporary workers when adapting to fluctuations in production," Eclipse continued. "The reduction in workforce is based on efforts to reduce expenses and be better positioned financially. Eclipse will not be releasing any further information at this time, and will not be conducting interviews surrounding this event." Rumors continue to fly that a major shakeup is in the works at Eclipse, and AVweb is following the developments closely. However, Mike McConnell, Eclipse's VP of sales and marketing has told AVweb the rumors are just that. "Your story today, Shakeup at Eclipse, is an account of rumors that bear no resemblance to the facts," he said in an unsolicited response to our request for information in Wednesday's BizAv email. "We will not react to rumors. As we have said, we are focusing on operational excellence and profitability going forward." Eclipse's Communications Director Alana McCarraher also said specific rumors that we have heard but details of which we have not published yet are not true.

Also, the NTSB has released its preliminary report on an accident involving an Eclipse 500 jet on July 30 in Pennsylvania. The jet ran off the end of a runway while landing in Pennsylvania; the airplane was badly damaged, but the pilot and passenger escaped unhurt. The NTSB said its investigation did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical failures of the flight control system, brake system, engine control systems, or engines, and the wreck was released to the owner's insurance agent.

On Wednesday, AOPA reported that Eclipse has told customers who have requested refunds that they will receive them, with interest, by the end of this year. "A company spokesman said the AirVenture announcement of a new round of funding linked to the departure of founder Vern Raburn caused some position holders to believe they would receive their refunds immediately," AOPA said. "However, sufficient funds to complete the refund payments won't be available until the entire finance deal closes, which is anticipated before the end of the year." Also, modifications that have been promised for the jets that have already been delivered are on hold, pending more funding, except for the installation of flight into known icing modifications, AOPA said.