Are we about to witness the emergence of a new powerhouse name in general aviation? Only time will tell, after Eclipse Aerospace, maker of the Eclipse 550 very light jet, and Kestrel Aircraft, currently in the development phase of the K350 single-engine turboprop, announced they are joining forces under the umbrella of ONE Aviation.
The newly formed company was announced yesterday, on the opening day of Aero Friedrichshafen, an international general aviation show taking place in Friedrichshafen, Germany, from April 15 through 18.
Alan Klapmeier, who formed Kestrel and previously led Cirrus Aircraft to its success together with his brother Dale, will head ONE Aviation as its CEO. He said he sees the Eclipse 550 as a good step-up airplane for his Kestrel customers, once the turboprop becomes certified.
His first official act as CEO of the new company is to increase the production rate of the Eclipse 550, which has averaged one airplane per month in 2014. Eventually he hopes “to build a suite of general aviation products.”
“I believe that our current, as well as our future, customers will appreciate Alan’s vision and his prior experience in leading the design, development and production of one of the world’s most successful aircraft programs,” said former chairman and CEO of Eclipse Aerospace Mason Holland, who will continue as chairman of ONE Aviation.
In addition to having one leadership team, the business operations, supply chain, marketing and sales teams from Eclipse and Kestrel will be combined under ONE Aviation. Aside from that, the two companies will continue to operate as separate business units at their current locations in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Superior, Wisconsin; and Brunswick, Maine.
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