Eclipse 500 Update: Oh Yeah, That Other Airplane

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Eclipse held its second press conference of the week at EAA AirVenture on Wednesday morning to talk about the Eclipse 500 very light jet program, but CEO Vern Raburn is clearly still enamored of his brand-new single-engine Eclipse Concept Jet. "The response to the ECJ has just been spectacular," he said, in opening the conference. "It has far, far, far exceeded our expectations." The most common reaction from pilots who climb into the cockpit of the mockup, he said, is, "They say, 'This is the airplane I always wanted.' It elicits a very emotional response. It's staggering." Raburn then went on to update the progress on the Eclipse 500 twinjet. New copies of the 500 now on the assembly line will be delivered with a new color weather radar system made by Japan Radio Company, instead of the now-former Honeywell system. The JRC system will be more accurate and more reliable, he said. Also, Raburn said S/N 00038 will be auctioned off online via eBay, and whoever places the winning bid can take the jet home the next week, as soon as they deliver the check. Bidders must place a refundable deposit of $5,000. The auction opens at July 30 at 11 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. on August 10 (Eastern Time).

The auction will provide an opportunity to buy an Eclipse 500 without having to wait until 2009 for a delivery position. "We'll let the market decide what that could be worth," Raburn said.