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Sat, Mar 07, 2009

Eclipse 500 Owners Unite To Explore Bid For Assets

Urge All Owners To Contact Group ASAP

Owners of Eclipse 500 jets -- essentially orphaned since the manufacturer entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy this week -- have united to explore the acquisition of the assets of Eclipse Aviation.

"Since this week's conversion of the Eclipse Aviation bankruptcy to Chapter 7, there have been various announcements regarding the formation of entities to acquire the assets of Eclipse Aviation and provide ongoing service," the group states. "Many of these proposals are shortsighted and place undue burdens on an already overtaxed customer base."

For the moment, Eclipse 500s remain legal to operate, so long as the planes are kept airworthy by the standards put forth by the FAA and the manufacturer. However, as Eclipse isn't shipping parts anymore, doing so will become increasingly problematic unless a new company is in place to handle service matters.

Furthermore, at present there exists no fully-complete Eclipse 500. All 259 planes delivered were owed some form of upgrade by Eclipse Aviation, including changes to avionics, the addition of equipment necessary for flight into known icing conditions, and aerodynamic modifications. Owners of the very-light jets delivered before Eclipse folded agreed to take possession of their aircraft, on the condition Eclipse would later upgrade their planes, as needed, free of charge.

To keep their planes flying, the Eclipse Owners Group is looking for full control of the serviceability, modification, and long term reliability of the aircraft by either acquiring the assets of Eclipse Aviation themselves, or partnering with an entity that will assure the owners of the same. The group claims other recently-announced bids for the company propose to exploit the "captive" market Eclipse owners represent, by charging substantial fees for upgrades and service to their planes.

"These surcharges amount to multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars," said David Green, a member of the Eclipse Owners Group. "If someone gets control of Eclipse assets with this type of business plan, they could significantly reduce the value of Eclipse 500 aircraft because of exorbitant direct operating costs for ongoing maintenance and upgrades."

"There is a great and immediate need for an owners organization that allows us to control our own destiny as a group," said Randall Sanada of Jet Alliance, Inc., a customer that has both taken delivery of Eclipse aircraft and also has deposits for future orders. "By providing a united front, the owner-led organization will be able to economically support the existing fleet of aircraft."

Currently, members of the Eclipse Owners Group and owners throughout the country are in meetings to discuss the next steps in the process. All Eclipse owners are encouraged to contact the Eclipse Owners Group at EclipseOwnersGroup@gmail.com to be part of the process.

"Let's all unite, and as a solid cohesive group we will be able take control of our Eclipse future and be able to fully utilize our aircraft without being held hostage by others," said Green.

FMI: www.eclipse500club.org

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