Eclipse Aviation has rung in a cheery New Year with the announcement that it produced and certified 103 Eclipse 500s last year, of which it delivered all but a handful. Though the number fell short of the company's production goal of about 200 airplanes for the year, Eclipse claims it has delivered its first 100 airplanes quicker than any other general aviation jet manufacturer in history.
It beat Cessna's record of 100 Cessna Citation 550s delivered in about 18 months.
Though production levels are yet to reach one aircraft per day, company sources affirm that they will deliver ''hundreds'' of Eclipse 500s this year.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico-based aircraft maker is also due to deliver the S/N 105, the first Eclipse 500 equipped with the Avio NG avionics suite. The delivery will be made two weeks after it obtained FAA certification for the upgraded avionics system, which provides increased avionics functionality, including a third AHRS, Skywatch HP, Class B TAWS, DME, ADF and Mode-S enhanced transponder.
The Eclipse spokesman said the company expects to add moving map, GPS and other avionics functions over the coming months.