Eclipse 500 VLJ -- A "First" For Russia

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The first Eclipse 500 to be produced at the Russian Aviastar complex located at Ulyanovsk, Russia (the hometown of Vladimir Lenin), will also be the first foreign aircraft produced in that country, according to a report by Russia Today. Russian production of the Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ) is scheduled to begin next year now that Etirc Aviation, a Dutch investment company, has become Eclipse's largest shareholder. The Russian Aviastar aircraft complex will now be supported by $100 million in new investment, according to Russia Today, and Etirc's investment paves the way for building a second plant at the Ulyanovsk facility. Etirc expects the Russian facility to produce up to 500 jets per year beginning in 2009.

Eclipse CEO and president Vern Rayburn told Russia Today, "Russia is an economic nation, a nation that's really growing rapidly, economically. It's one of the most exciting places in the world." He added, "It's very easy for us to tap into."