Eclipse Aviation sent an email to its remaining employees late in the day on Feb. 24, ending an effort by the company’s chairman and CEO, Roel Pieper, to buy the firm out of bankruptcy.
The email said that the board of directors will support a group of creditors who have asked that the courts liquidate the company as quickly as possible. In its filing, the Ad Hoc Committee of Secured Noteholders applied to the Delaware bankruptcy court to convert the ongoing Chapter 11 filing and subsequent sale of Eclipse to a subsidiary of ETIRC Aviation to a Chapter 7 liquidation.
According to the note-holders’ claim, financing for ETIRC’s purchase of the assets has fallen through. Every day that goes by reduces the asset pool that will be available for them, they stated. “The debtors are administratively insolvent and expenses continue to accrue, thus eroding the limited values that are available for distribution to creditors,” their document says.
The board’s email confirmed the note-holders’ claim, saying: “Despite the efforts of many people at EclipseJet Aviation and ETIRC to obtain necessary funding to close the purchase of the assets of Eclipse Aviation, the closing of the sale transaction has stalled and our company is out of time and money.” It adds a touch of gratitude to the remaining 850 employees who won’t see another pay check. “All of the executive management team at Eclipse gives you our most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your tenacity and perseverance in trying to deliver this dream we know as the Eclipse 500. We gave it one heck of a try. We are sorry that it came to this today.”
The message was signed by Eclipse executives Mark Borseth and Michael McConnell. Not appearing was the signature of Pieper, who fired Eclipse founder Verne Raburn, filed for bankruptcy protection shortly thereafter, then tried to buy the assets with mysterious foreign – rumored to be Russian – money that never materialized.
So ends Raburn’s remarkable creation of the revolutionary airplane that led to an entirely new aircraft type, the Very Light Jet.