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Fri, May 30, 2008

Eclipse Aviation Intro's Eclipse 400 Single-Engine Jet

Current Customers Have First Shot At Orders

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 05.30.08 1430 MDT: They're gonna do it. Eclipse Aviation announced Friday at the company's 10th Anniversary "E-rrival" owners gathering the single-engine Eclipse Concept Jet will be brought to market... and, those customers will have the first shot at reserving their own jets.

Now rebranded the Eclipse 400, the four-seat aircraft is slated to enter the marketplace in late 2011, with a price of $1.35 million in June 2008 dollars. Eclipse notes that's anywhere from seven percent, to 107 percent, less expensive than other SEJs currently under development.

"Ten months of quantitative and qualitative Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ) research has convinced us that this is absolutely the right airplane for the emerging single-engine jet market," Raburn said. "The ECJ has elicited a tremendous emotional response from current and potential customers alike – people just love this airplane. We are excited to formally add this new aircraft to the Eclipse Aviation product family."

Going against the established norm for most single-engine jets now under development, Eclipse intends to certify the 400 to FL410 -- 16,000 feet higher than the maximum service ceiling for Diamond's D-Jet and the Cirrus "the-jet," and 6,000 feet higher than Piper aims for its PiperJet.

Those higher operating altitudes pay dividends in fuel usage, however. At an estimated 330 knots, the environmentally-friendly Eclipse 400 and its single Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F uses less than one pound of fuel per nautical mile -- making it the world’s most fuel-efficient jet aircraft. Eclipse aims for a full-fuel payload of 580 lbs, with a maximum IFR range of 1,250 nautical miles.

Eclipse will offer first dibs on placing deposits on an Eclipse 400 to current Eclipse 500 customers, as a reward for sticking with the Albuquerque, NM-based planemaker through difficult times.

Those customers will also receive an exclusive $125,000 discount off the final delivery price, provided their deposits are placed prior to July 25, 2008. Deposits from all others will be accepted starting at EAA AirVenture in July 2008.

Which, perhaps, begs the question -- will the Eclipse 400 strip orders from the slightly larger Eclipse 500... as owners (and late-position holders) crunch the numbers and determine they can do just fine with just four seats, and one engine, at a substantially less-expensive price? Stay tuned.

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com

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