The first truly new Eclipse aircraft to come out of the factory in Albuquerque in almost five years has been powered up and will be delivered to the customer in the fall. The Eclipse 550 is an updated version of the Eclipse 500, of which 260 were built before the company collapsed in 2008. The 550 uses the same airframe and PW610F engines but includes modernized flight systems and optional features like enhanced or synthetic vision, autothrottles, satellite phones and anti-skid brakes. Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland said the milestone achievement sets the stage for a measured return to aircraft production by the company. “This event is another key signal to the world that we continue on our methodical and well-executed plan to reintroduce production and delivery of the Eclipse 550 Jet this year.”
Holland said the market seems to be turning around and the Eclipse, with its base price of less than $3 million, is positioned to take advantage of it. In the past three years, Eclipse has concentrated on essentially finishing the legacy aircraft, which were orphaned to some degree by the collapse of the original company. The refurbished aircraft were called the Total Eclipse. The new aircraft offers several enhancements not available on the older models.