Eclipse Delivers First E550 Jet

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The first customer for an all-new Eclipse 550 jet took delivery today in Albuquerque, the company said in a news release. The 550 is an advanced version of the original six-seat jet, with upgraded systems throughout, and new features such as auto-throttles, anti-skid brakes, and high-resolution cockpit displays with faster processing speeds. "This is an exciting day for Eclipse Aerospace and for general aviation," said Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland. "The Eclipse 550 is a 'game-changer' aircraft that fits in the new value-driven economy, attracting operators looking for an advanced jet aircraft with excellent performance and economic efficiencies that allow for maximizing every travel dollar."

The aircraft is assembled in Albuquerque from parts manufactured around the world. Holland told AVweb airplanes ordered today would be delivered within six months. He expects to deliver about two aircraft a month, and the jet is sold out for about the next six months. "It's a ramp-up year for us, but we're pleased," Holland said. "We're feeling like 2014 is going to be a nice steady year for us." He said the company can scale for deliveries from 1.5 to 10 airplanes per month. The 550 will be on display at Sun 'n Fun and the company will have a presence at Aero Friedrichshafen. The second delivery also will take place this week, Holland said, to a customer based in Chile. The Eclipse 550 can fly at altitudes up to 41,000 feet for up to 1,125 nautical miles, with a maximum speed of 375 knots, while burning 59 gph of jet fuel in cruise. It sells for $2.9 million.

AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli went for a flight last year in a Total Eclipse, the factory-remanufactured version of the original jet; here's the video.