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