Eclipse Production Begins (Slowly)


The first Eclipse 550 will be produced over the course of 12 months concurrent with retooling and validation of the production line that will create it, but the next jets will be built faster, Eclipse Aerospace told its dealers Friday. Following the first jet’s 12-month production cycle, the second aircraft is expected to emerge from the line about two months later, followed by a third, 30 days after that. Eclipse is targeting a production capability of more than 50 aircraft per year in 2014, depending on market demand. Eclipse says deliveries will begin in 2013. The rough delivery framework wasn’t the only announcement relevant to Eclipse shipments.

Eclipse also announced the Eclipse International Dealer organization. That organization represents 30 countries worldwide and the dealers have inked deals to purchase new Eclipse 550 jets. It’s expected that dealers will start seeing those jets in 2014 and 2015. The Eclipse 550 is based on the original Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet, but offers upgraded systems including auto-throttles, enhanced vision systems and redundancy for the flight management system. The company’s management team and board of directors all signed the fuselage of the first production aircraft, Serial Number 1001, at a dealers’ meeting Friday.