Eclipse to start deliveries in March 2006

Eclipse Aviation is slated to deliver its first Eclipse 500 in March 2006. “Eclipse is on the verge of becoming a real company,” said CEO Vern Raburn, who explained that a “real” company is one where customers hand over money and the company delivers products. “Until then, you’re playing at being a company.”

That first customer will get the airplane for $995,000, as will another 159 first buyers. The price has gone up to $1.295 million for current orders, Raburn said, largely due to a recent increase in the price of aluminum.

The company also unveiled a new service called Jet Complete, which takes care of all scheduled maintenance — everything but fuel and tires — for a basic $115 per flight hour fee. For an additional $94 an hour, unscheduled maintenance can be included. That includes engines, airframe, avionics – and a guaranteed 24 hours or less return to service.

Also unveiled was a new fire suppression system called Phostrex. Using a newly patented dispersal system, the new chemical is about one tenth the cost of Halon and the entire system, installed in the Eclipse 500, weighs only 1.6 pounds compared to nearly 20 pounds for the equivalent Halon system, said Raburn.

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