Analysts Fear for Eclipse’s Future; AAI Suspends A700 Certification Effort

Eclipse, the self-proclaimed standard bearer for the very light jet (VLJ), appears to be in dire financial straits; and an attempted financial comeback by Adam Aircraft has apparently come up short. Reports from two aviation-oriented think tanks-the Teal Group and Forecast International-predict that Eclipse will cease production of its Eclipse 500 twinjet before the end of next year. The company's most recent round of financing came last summer, at the cost of company founder Vern Raburn's job. Similarly, Denver-based Adam Aircraft was forced to shut down earlier this year and stop development of its A700 twinjet. AAI Acquisitions, a Russian-based finance group picked up the pieces and recommenced work on the certification program, but the collapse of the Russian stock market has eroded investment capital availability there and needed additional funds have not been forthcoming. AAI reports it still intends to certify the A700, but notified employees that flight testing and other certification activity was to be suspended.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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