Eclipse Aerospace started production of its new Eclipse 550 on June 1, marking a new chapter for the very light jet which pioneered the market.
Based on the existing EA500 design, the 550 model features the same basic fuselage, wing and Pratt & Whitney Canada 610F engines but benefits from a number of cockpit enhancements, including auto-throttles, synthetic vision and a redundant flight management system.
“New production of the Eclipse Jet, that was the ultimate goal of EAI when we started the process two and a half short years ago,” said Mason Holland, CEO and chairman of Eclipse Aerospace. “The excellent team at Eclipse Aerospace along with our strong supply chain partners have brought us back into the production market, I am simply humbled by everyone’s efforts!”
The first E550 is expected to take 12 months to produce and will be delivered in mid-2013, with the company focusing on initial low-rate production. It is expected that output will rise to 50-100 aircraft per year during 2014 dependent on market demand.
The original EA500 first flew in 2002, with the first production example delivered in 2006. Following a series of groundings over safety issues, then producer Eclipse Aviation was forced halt production in 2008 and entered liquidation a year later. Eclipse Aerospace took over a number of assets, and since 2010 has been offering refurbished EA500s to the market, before announcing last year its plans to bring the aircraft back into production as the upgraded E550.