Eclipse Aviation has signed a long-term supplier contract with Compass Aerospace for structural components and subassemblies for its Eclipse 500 very light jet.

The Albuquerque, New Mexico-based manufacturer awarded the contract, potentially worth around $400 million, to Compass for cockpit, fuselage and door subassemblies to be delivered over the next six years. The contract is thought to be the largest subcontract in the history of Santa Ana, California-based Compass and builds on two years' co-operation with Eclipse, says Compass chief executive John Reimers. Compass is currently supplying the structural components and assemblies for Eclipse's pre-production certification-test aircraft and expects to ramp up production in 2005 achieving full-rate production levels in line with Eclipse's schedule. Work will be performed at Compass's facilities in Wichita, Kansas and Kent, Washington.

Vern Raburn, Eclipse president and chief executive, says Compass joins a list of "world-class suppliers" working to deliver an orderbook of "more than 2,100" Eclipse 500 jets, as well as future orders.

Meanwhile, Eclipse released the first module of its five-CD self-study pilot training programme and revealed that it has acquired an Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross for use in upset recovery training.

Source: Flight International