Why Wait? Eclipse Jets Ready To Fly Home

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"We'll take other airplanes as trade-ins -- and if a customer has a deposit on another jet, we'll take that in trade, too," Eclipse Aerospace President Mason Holland told AVweb at EAA AirVenture on Thursday. Holland flew into the show in his own Eclipse jet, but it was parked off the field at an FBO -- quite a different kind of presence from the original Eclipse company, which occupied a sprawling space right in the center of the show. Holland is selling what he calls the Total Eclipse, refurbished and upgraded lightly used jets from the original fleet of 260 airplanes. "Forty percent of the fleet has been upgraded now," Holland said, in just 10 months of operation. He has hired 145 staffers in Albuquerque and plans to re-start production as soon as the market demand returns.

Holland said he has restored service and support for the fleet, and has four service centers, in Chicago, Boca Raton, Nevada, and Albuquerque. In addition, Eclipse-trained mechanics can be found in just about every state in the U.S., he said. Besides bringing the fleet up to where it was supposed to be when deliveries began several years ago -- with FIKI, autopilot, and fully functioning systems -- Holland said the company is continuing to develop upgrades. New cabin options are in the works, he said, with new entertainment features and communication systems. Holland said the company will have more of a presence at the NBAA show coming up later in the year.