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Fri, Jan 05, 2007

Eclipse Makes It Officially Official: N508JA Now In Owners' Hands

Crowe, Sanada Presented With Keys During Thursday Ceremony

While Thursday's formal delivery ceremony at Eclipse Aviation's headquarters was just that -- a ceremony, as the actual delivery occurred December 31 -- it was a gratifying occasion for management and staffers at the Albuquerque, NM-based very-light-jet manufacturer.

"This aircraft represents the end of the development era for Eclipse," Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn told attendees inside Eclipse's delivery hangar. "We are now a company. We have a transaction. We give Dave an invoice and Dave gives us money."

"Dave" is David Crowe, the co-owner of tail number 508JA, along with Westlake Village, CA-based fractional ownership company Jet-Alliance.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Crowe kissed the keys after receiving them from Raburn. The Carlsbad, CA resident says the Eclipse 500 is the easiest aircraft he's ever flown.

"It is a dream to fly. There's no interference for the panel," Crowe said, regarding the jet's sidestick controls. "It's more logical for the pilot. You get what you need right in front of you."

"Before today, only the wealthiest of families and the largest of companies could seriously consider the idea of private jet ownership," Jet Alliance CEO Russell Sanada said. "With the delivery of this first Eclipse 500 and the affordable shared ownership model of Jet-Alliance, owners can participate for less than $100,000."

Eclipse currently has five more planes readying for customer delivery; they're just waiting for the FAA's signoff on each frame. Another 34 planes are now on the production line, in various stages of completion. Once the company receives its production certification from the FAA, those numbers are expected to swell dramatically.

Good thing, too... as Eclipse still has over 2,000 other customers waiting for their planes.



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