With Eclipse in Bankruptcy, Owners Await Auction

Business Jet Traveler » April 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - 5:00am

Although Eclipse Aviation, maker of the Eclipse 500 very light jet, is undergoing Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy proceedings, the judge in the case has yet to set
a date for the auction of the company's assets. Eclipse delivered 259 jets before going bankrupt, and so far two groups have emerged with plans to bid on the assets and rebuild the support structure for those jets as well as eventually put
the Eclipse 500 back into production. A possible third group backed by Chinese investors may also be interested in Eclipse's assets. 

One group that has publicly stated its goals is the Ad Hoc Committee of Eclipse Customers. Its priority is supporting existing Eclipses, according to spokesman and Eclipse owner Randall Sanada, also chairman of Westlake Village, Calif.-based Jet-Alliance. Future production is also planned, although Sanada feels the Eclipse 500 would have to sell for close to $2 million to be competitive.

Another group, New Eclipse Acquisition, is headed by Phil Friedman, CEO of Wichita-based Harlow Aerostructures. If Harlow's group successfully bids, he plans to work with suppliers to provide maintenance support and upgrades for Eclipse 500 owners. Friedman hopes to be able to put the Eclipse 500 back into production by 2011 at a price of about $2.4 million.

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““When I made the film The Invention of Lying, they gave me a private jet for getting back and forth between New York and London. I thought, ‘I will never use it’ but I ended up using it every weekend. You turn up, right, and the airport is completely empty. I mean, there’s just someone at the desk and then the pilot, who says, ‘Are you ready to go?’ and you say, ‘Don’t you want to see my passport?’ and he goes, ‘Oh yeah, I suppose I’d better.’” ”

-—actor and comedian Ricky Gervais