WELCOME BACK ECLIPSE AND ITS POTENTIAL AS A CATALYST FOR AVIATION INNOVATION

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ARTICLE: Back to the future

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An aircraft originally born with great hope and even greater hyperbole now seems to be relaunched from a more solid base. This AOPA article provides detailed analysis of the Eclipse’s renaissance and the story is encouraging. The differences between the new technical and financial platform of Eclipse 550 and the efforts to resurrect the Commander 112/114, Luscombe, Taylorcraft, Tiger and other formerly bankrupt OEMs are impressive.

The author documents that the 550 includes equipment missing from the earlier denominated 500 version, that the old Type Certificate provided a substantial regulatory base, that Sikorsky’s shareholder status in the new venture brought great reservoirs of manufacturing and supply chain management and that the upgrade of the new bird’s avionics has added great value. All of these changes, according to this AOPA writer, should result in a successful sales profile for the new Eclipse.

The original Eclipse’s economics and operational parameters inspired many exciting uses of that innovative aircraft. Among those interesting opportunities was the use of the 500 as a vehicle that would bring low cost, geographically dispersed Part 135 services to a segment of individuals with a high level of disposable income. The FAA authorization for new air carrier start-ups requires navigation of the tortuous regulatory path and the agency recognized that new Part 121 start-ups might benefit from 3rd party assistance. JDA was found competent to provide such support to new Part 121 start-ups through JDA’s CertAssure™ program which JDA also uses to support new Part 135 start-ups.

Good luck Eclipse, with our hope that the innovation of the 550 is a catalyst for new operators!

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