An Eclipse Jet Just For Veterans

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Eclipse Aerospace unveiled a specially painted Total Eclipse jet and presented it to the Veterans' Airlift Command at EAA AirVenture this week. The jet was donated by an anonymous patron, and Eclipse then contributed more than $500,000 worth of upgrades to convert the airplane into "one of the finest Total Eclipse aircraft ever produced by EAI," the company said. "The airplane will initially go to work in the Chicago area," Eclipse CEO Mason Holland told AVweb at Oshkosh. "But it won't really be based anywhere. It will go wherever it's needed." Eclipse pilots around the country have volunteered to fly it on missions in support of wounded veterans and their families, Holland said.

"The VAC is one of the greatest organizations we have heard of with regards to supporting our returning troops," Holland said. "It is a privilege and honor to be giving our troops and their families a lift." The VAC will support the operating costs of the jet through donations and fundraising, Holland said. In other Eclipse news, Holland told AVweb at the show, the Total Eclipse jets -- which are the original Eclipse 500 fleet with upgrades -- are expected to sell out by the end of this year, and new production airplanes are on track to start deliveries next July. "We have dealers in over 30 countries now, and the airplane recently was certified in Brazil," he said.