NBAA: Eclipse buys avionics for first 50 aircraft in production

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Eclipse Aerospace has announced a purchase order for 50 avionics systems from Innovative Solutions and Support (IS&S), featuring a newly-released standby flight display.

The order, which includes options for up to 300 follow-on orders, moves the revived and upgraded Eclipse 550 closer to being delivered, a milestone still on track for July 2013, says Mason Holland, Eclipse chief executive.

The company wants to deliver up to 18 aircraft by the end of 2013, then ramp up the next year to 50 deliveries, he adds. Holland and other investors salvaged Eclipse after it went bankrupt with a model assuming a rapid production ramp to hundreds of aircraft, and that is a mistake the new owners wish to avoid.

"We don't want to grow too fast," Holland says. "That's our challenge."

Eclipse Aerospace inherited substantial inventory from its predecessor's liquidation, so deliveries of fuselages from Sikorsky's PZL Mielec factory in Poland can be phased in over 18-24 months, Holland adds.

In July, Eclipse Aerospace signed a similar purchase agreement with Pratt & Whitney Canada to ship PW610F engines in support of aircraft deliveries in the second half of next year.

The Eclipse 550, priced at nearly $2.7 million each, will feature the IS&S Avio flight deck upgraded with auto-throttles and the new stand-by display.

"The new functionality added to this aircraft takes it to a different level," says Shahram Askarpour, president of IS&S.

By adding the left-seat display as standard, the pilot can use the multi-function display to show a large format map showing both approach turns and step-down charts, Holland says.