Eclipse Aerospace Plans To Sell Jets In 2010

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Eclipse Aerospace expects to complete upgrades to 28 jets acquired as the assets of the former Eclipse Aviation and it plans to start selling them as early as next spring. Mike Press and Mason Holland Jr., the two investors behind the new Eclipse Aerospace LLC, have now hired 60 employees and are back in business in Albuquerque. Eight Eclipse 500 Very Light Jets are currently in the care of the new company, receiving upgrades to their avionics and de-icing systems to the tune of $149,000 each. And Eclipse Aerospace has earned FAA approval for a pilot training program that takes place in the aircraft, as opposed to the simulators used by the former Eclipse Aviation. They've also earned FAA and EASA approval to put owners, operators and repair station personnel worldwide through a maintenance training curriculum.

The resurgent company's progress dates back to August, when Press and Holland acquired Eclipse's assets out of bankruptcy for $40 million. Now, the company's 60 employees are distributed between the Albuquerque facility and a Chicago service station at a balance of about 48 to 12. Eclipse Aerospace has an existing market of 259 Eclipse 500 jets sold before its predecessor's demise. Sales of "new" Eclipse 500 jets will be competing with used jets. The company is already acting as broker for 10 aircraft.