News Comes As Tail Vendor Sues Company For Failure To Make
ANN REALTIME UPDATE
11.14.07 1611 EST: In reference to the Hampson law suit
detailed in this story, ANN reached Eclipse CEO and President Vern
Raburn (still making his way back to NM from Dubai), who expressed
some dismay at Hampson's actions.
Citing a number of problems (that ANN has been aware of previous
to this date) Eclipse has experienced with this vendor, Raburn
stated that, "It's a shame that Hampson resorts to obfuscation
and lawsuits when the fact of the matter is that they haven't done
what they promised."
Raburn detailed a number of shortcomings in the working
relationship between Hampson and Eclipse and indicated that the
company had to expend significant resources in order to use the
compondents provided them by this vendor.
"We spend way too much time fixing what should have been done
right to begin with," added Raburn.
On Wednesday, Eclipse Aviation announced a 12-plane deal with
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Flight Academy, the first ab initio
training customer for the Eclipse 500 -- as closer to home, one of
its suppliers filed a lawsuit claiming they haven't been paid for
parts supplied for the very-light jet.
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Flight Academy will take zero-time
pilots and trains them in Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA).
Students will start their training in a Cirrus SR22, progress to an
Eclipse 500, and finish with a type rating in a multi-crew jet
transport aircraft. DAEFA plans to train thousands of candidates to
fill the shortage of airline pilots in the Middle East, Europe,
India, and North Africa.
Deliveries are slated to begin in 2008, according to the
"We are extremely excited that DAE Flight Academy will be using
Eclipse 500s for its innovative flight training program," said
President and CEO of Eclipse Aviation Vern Raburn. "We see
tremendous future growth and sales in the ab initio training market
for international airlines. The Eclipse 500's built-in
reliability combined with the highly-advanced Avio NG total
aircraft integration system makes this an ideal training aircraft
for the new ICAO Multi Crew Pilot License (MPL) and a great tool to
prepare for the airline training."
DAE University plans to open the Flight Academy in March 2008 in
the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah at the site of a former air force
base. It will be the first school of its type to use the Eclipse
500 and the program will offer a 12-month course starting every
month with up to 400 students in training at any given time.
Dr. George H. Ebbs, president and CEO of DAE University, called
the Eclipse 500 "a perfect fit" for the program.
"This aircraft offers tremendous value considering that it is a
highly-reliable, twin engine VLJ with advanced electronics and
tightly-integrated systems, at a very low cost," said Ebbs. "We
want to offer our students the best education available and prepare
them to become successful airline pilots. We believe Eclipse's very
light jet is the best choice to help us achieve this goal."
The news wasn't entirely rosy for Eclipse on Wednesday, however.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Eclipse has been sued by U.K.-based
Hampson Aerospace, alleging Eclipse failed to make required
payments for empennage assemblies produced at Hampson's facility in
Grand Prairie, TX.
A spokeswoman for
Eclipse told ANN she could not comment on pending litigation, but
added Hampson remains a supplier for Eclipse.
Hampson has been an Eclipse vendor since December 2003.
Last month, the company earned the contract to provide empennage
assemblies for the upcoming HondaJet.
The suit was filed Tuesday in state district court in
Albuquerque... and raises more eyebrows regarding the planemaker's
current state of affairs.
As ANN reported, last month
Eclipse laid off an unspecified number of workers -- said to
be between 100-150 employees, mostly temporary hires -- reported by
multiple outlets as due to delays in ramping up to full-scale
production of the Eclipse 500. To date, the planemaker has
delivered fewer than 100 aircraft -- far fewer than the estimated
1-2 planes per day the company originally forecast.
Rumors of Eclipse's financial solvency were furthered last week,
when Pennsylvania-based financial firm Boenning & Scattergood
remarked Eclipse may need more money -- and soon -- to continue
"Our due diligence suggests that Eclipse Aviation has not yet
reached the one plane per day production mark, and the company may
be forced to seek an additional round of financing to make it
through the remainder of 2007," said the report, according to the
Those statements came as the firm downgraded its rating for
shares in Eclipse vendor Innovative Solutions & Support,
stating production ills will likely affect IS&S's revenues this
quarter. IS&S is the primary vendor for the second-generation Avio NG avionics
system in the Eclipse 500, which will replace a system
originally produced by avionics maker Avidyne.
An Eclipse spokesman told the Journal the suggestion the
planemaker would need more money to last through 2007 was
"absolutely untrue," and asserted the company was not in financial