The End of Eclipse Aviation?

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12 years

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Note: in the USA, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is for reorganization and a Chapter 7 petition is for liquidation.
Eclipse Noteholders Seek Chapter 7 Bankruptcy KOAT-TV Channel 7, Alburquerque, NM POSTED: 4:04 pm MST February 24, 2009 UPDATED: 9:36 pm MST February 24, 2009 "I'm so sorry for all of this and for taking you through this. May all of you take care and be safe." - E-mail from Eclipse vice-president to staff, 2/24/2009 Struggling jet maker http://www.eclipseaviation.com/ sustained another setback Tuesday as senior noteholders filed a motion in federal court to convert the jet maker's bankruptcy proceedings to Chapter 7. Such a move usually leads to liquidation of a company's assets. Eclipse spokesman Keith Spondike confirmed the filing but cautioned the effort remains subject to a judge's approval. He said more information is expected Wednesday. Eclipse filed for Chapter 11 protection in November. The noteholders' decision suggests Eclipse hasn't been able to complete its planned $188 million sale to European-based EclipseJet Aviation International Inc., an affiliate of ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l . Spondike said, "something obviously changed, but I don't have the details." Peter Mitchell, Director of Economic Development for Albuquerque, said the announcement was "a disapointment to the city. We can't change what happened, but we need to use our existing resources to address the issue." Earlier Tuesday, Action 7 News received an e-mail from an Eclipse employee signed by a company vice-president that read, "Bad news. The note holders have filed a motion with the court to take us into Chapter 7. This means you need to check our website for the details on when to come back and pick up the stuff you have left. E-mail will shut down Wed. at 5 p.m. I'm so sorry for all of this and for taking you through this. May all of you take care and be safe." The state invested $19 million in Eclipse -- $14 million in equity and $5 million in secured debt. Don Harris is a city councilor, but by trade he's a bankruptcy lawyer. "What this means is that these creditors have obviously lost faith in the management of Eclipse," said Harris. "We gave it one heck of a try. We are sorry that it came to this today." - Memo from Eclipse management to employees, 2/24/2009 Chapter 7 allows the company to sell what it can to pay these debts off. In a memo written by Eclipse general manager Michael McConnell to employees, he states, "this action is being supported by the directors of Eclipse." In the memo, McConnell refers to the hoped-for sale of the company to EclipseJet Aviation and writes, "the closing of the sale transaction has stalled and our company is out of time and money." McConnell closed the memo on a regretful note. "We gave it one heck of a try," he wrote. "We are sorry that it came to this today." According to Harris, with the approval of a bankrupty court judge, Eclipse could sell everything it owns piece by piece and close shop completely. "It is conceivable that someone may buy these assets, including that plant here in Albuquerque and reopen operations in Albuquerque," he said. "I don't know how likely that is. It's not necessarily over for Albuquerque and Eclipse, but its certainly not looking good." As city councilor, Harris also said that based on the way the city has treated and invested in Eclipse, it should send a messages to other companies that Albuquerque is a place to start and grow a business.
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16 years 2 months

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Sad news as they seemed to have found a niche in the market that others only clicked on to a couple of years later. The Eclipse seemd to hold a lot of promise and I would have loved to see them succeed
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14 years 11 months

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A piece in Aviation Week said the FAA may pull the Type certificate all the Eclipse aircraft since they won't have any factory support. (I don't know how that would differ from other certified types that don't have factory support ...you can still use a Stinson for commercial purposes, for example...other than it holds jets to a much higher standard). It's also bad news for owners of the planes that don't have the latest upgrades, something the company promised to do. Without those upgrades, their usefulness is limited. Not a good thing for a biz-jet. I'd hate to be making payments on one. The banks will still want its money regardless of its airworthyness or certification. Wonder if some will show up as "Experimental"? Okay for owner-pilots, not good for charter use.

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12 years

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A white knight rides in -- on an uphill path:
'New Eclipse' Aims To Rebuild Brand, VLJs Aero-News Network (via AOPA) Fri, 27 Feb '09 Analysts Doubtful That Can Happen As ANN reported, a Tuesday memo from Eclipse Aviation execs to remaining employees informing them that the company's bankruptcy was moving from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation, noted that the move had the approval of the company's directors. A later press release confirmed the company would not fight the change. Albuquerque business bankruptcy attorney Bill Davis tells the Houston Chronicle that makes approval of the move to liquidation a near certainty. "When there's a motion to convert and the company is not contesting, it's 99 percent certain the case will be converted." Reaction to the news of Eclipse's demise has been mixed. Economic development officials in New Mexico and general aviation industry groups are understandably disappointed. But Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia, a consistent critic of the Eclipse business plan, was blunt. "There are a lot of people who choose to believe in Santa Claus at a surprisingly advanced age," he said. "There's a great chance that people will learn from this and there will never be such an awful program again. That's the only up side." Despite Aboulafia's comments -- or perhaps because of them -- there appears to be at least one entity willing to attempt to bring Eclipse back from the ashes of its own demise. On Thursday, aerospace executive Phil Friedman announced his plans to bid for the assets of the defunct company, under the auspices of his company New Eclipse Acquisition LLC. "I have been studying the Eclipse situation for over a year," said Friedman, currently CEO of Harlow Aerostructures LLC in Wichita, KS. "It is sad that the company has ended up in bankruptcy, but I believe there is an excellent business opportunity going forward if managed correctly." If awarded Eclipse's assets, Friedman says he plans to spend the first two years updating the existing active fleet of 259 Eclipse 500s to current type-certification levels, in order to optimize service and support and to "restore the brand." Friedman also hinted at plans to upgrade the Avio NG avionics suite, and reducing manufacturing costs. "We will be charging customers to bring their aircraft up to the latest certification level," he continued. "Our business plan assumes some of the customers will not be able to afford the upgrade. Our sales representatives will work with these customers at no charge to find new buyers who will have the means to pay for the upgrades. In providing this service, and with a business plan that translates into the New Eclipse becoming a company with a profitable long term future, we will be supporting the investment that the existing owners have made in their aircraft." Friedman says it is his objective to bring the aftermarket price of the Eclipse up to the $2 million range. New Eclipse also plans to finish and sell seven new aircraft on the production line that are about 95% complete, though he did not elaborate on how 21 other planes now sitting on the assembly line -- in various states of completion, and with deposit money already collected from customers -- would be distributed. Peter Reed, a former Chief Financial Officer at Eclipse for seven years, is part of Friedman's team and has actively participated in developing the New Eclipse business plan over the past several months. One thing seems certain: Friedman -- and anyone else who may attempt to rescue Eclipse -- has an uphill fight ahead of them. Doug Royce is an analyst for Forecast International Incorporated, who last year predicted Eclipse's collapse and even the timing with considerable precision. He observes, "There are too many better investment options than investing in business aircraft when there's a major downturn in the business climate."

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I believe that the Swift owners club followed a similar course some years ago.
Intellectual Property Is Eclipse 500 Goal Mar 11, 2009 Aviation Week (via AOPA) Fred George Tuesday evening [10 March 2009], David Green, president of the Eclipse 500 Owners Club, initiated a conference call to as many as 150 Eclipse jet owners during which he and a core group of supporters proposed formation of "NewCo", a non-profit cooperative venture that would bid on the intellectual property of Eclipse Aviation at the upcoming Chapter 7 auction sale of the company's assets. Green's group believes it would be impossible to support the aircraft without rights to the aircraft Type Certificate, computer software and other proprietary data. By acquiring such intellectual property, NewCo would be able to provide ongoing support for the aircraft at the lowest possible cost, Green's group claims. If a for-profit company were to acquire the intellectual property, it could charge "exorbitant fees for access to service and upgrades." Such fees would decrease the resale of the aircraft dollar for dollar, Green claims. If NewCo were to succeed in buying Eclipse's intellectual property, it would partner with an outside aviation firm to perform work on the aircraft, charging labor at going market rates, but providing parts at cost. Green's group believes it must raise $10- to $20-million to be a viable bidder, requiring an initial investment of $150,000 per airplane on the part of each owner who choses to participate in the cooperative. In addition, another $12- to $14-million would be required to support the organization's engineering activities during the first year, if an MRO partner cannot be found. The total first year investment could be in the range of $35-million.