Eclipse: A Sad Day for GA

9:16 AM

Cut this any way you want, blame it on the suck economy, piss and moan if it makes you feel better. But with the reports coming out of Aero-News Network about one of the industry's most tenacious makers finally reaching the end of their line, GA has taken a huge step backwards:

ANN: "The following memo has just been sent out to affected employees and associates of Eclipse/EclipseJet/ETIRC, et al...It is reproduced unedited.

We are very sad to report unexpected news today. Despite the efforts of many people at EclipseJet Aviation and ETIRC to obtain necessary funding to close the purchase of the assets of Eclipse Aviation, the closing of the sale transaction has stalled and our company is out of time and money. Given the dire circumstances in today's global marketplace and the lack of additional debtor-in-possession funding, the senior secured creditors of the Company filed a motion today in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to convert the Chapter 11 case to a Chapter 7 liquidation."
As usual, ANN is all over this story, and you really need to go here and read the remainder of this reporting by their staff. Another site reporting the news is Aviationweek.com.

I don't think I will get much argument from anyone when I say that as aviators, we all were hoping for Eclipse to succeed. They were innovators, hanging ten off the nose of a shortboard riding the wave we call Very Light Jets. Without Eclipse pushing hard in their early days trying to deliver a sub-million dollar twin jet, would we have seen a Cirrus SJ-50 Vision, a D-Jet or a PA-47 Piperjet? My .02 cents:
The demise of Eclipse has been viewed by many as a certainty for years, but I held out hopes they could pull off a recovery. I feel for the owners of the jets they did manage to build, and have to wonder what will become of their bird's resale value when the entire company that built the jet is history. Where will you get parts? Is there even service available? And those poor position holders who's jets were reported to be still on the assembly floor when the factory was shuttered? You can be assured they are about as fried about this whole situation as anyone can be.
There is plenty of fallout from Eclipse going Chapter 7...starting with the 800 people who were "permanently laid off" as it was stated. Wordsmith that any way you want, but they were fired, canned, shown the door. They join millions of other Americans who now must fight a daily fight to stay out of the homeless shelter, seeking honest employment in a job market that is overflowing with talent. Then there are all the position holders who had lavished actual deposits on Eclipse, only to see their money vaporize as a sinking ship fought to keep from slipping below the surface of a very turbulent sea.

Yes, these are historic times in GA, and not for the right reasons. Will 'We the People' be able to turn this country around, and get people buying airplanes again? Will the ramps at our FBOs again fill up with bizjets looking to buy 1000s of gallons of Jet-A? These are questions that won't be answered in the first half of 2009 – and maybe not until 2010 – and we should not view the Eclipse liquidation as a sign things are worsening. The writing has been on their wall for a while now, this was inevitable.

Sad, but inevitable.

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