Eclipse catching up to Cessna…

… in price. Eclipse announced last week that they are raising the price of their original model from $1.65M to $2.15M June 2008 dollars ( story). A Cessna Mustang ordered today would deliver in mid-2011 at a fixed $3.14M (maybe $2.5M in today’s dollars the way that inflation is going). The Mustang is a much larger plane, comes from a company with a history of meeting commitments, and is certified for flight into known icing conditions (i.e., the Mustang is useful for instrument flight).

Separately, Eclipse announced a four-seat single-engine jet that should be very fuel-efficient. They are promising to deliver the thing in “late 2011” for $1.35M (inflation from June 2008). If their company history proves to be a useful guide, the plane will be delivered in 2015 and cost closer to $2M. What about the fuel burn? The company says less than one pound of Jet-A, which is similar to diesel fuel, per nautical mile. That should be just under 10 mpg or about the same as an SUV when you consider that the jet flies in a straight line and doesn’t idle in traffic jams. Not too bad for carrying four people at nearly 400 mph.

More: very light jet comparison

[This price increase comes on the heels of Dow and Kodak announcing increases of up to 20 percent on thousands of products. Loose related to this posting on inflation in the price of luxury items, there is a New York Times story about the struggles of the no longer quite as rich.]

5 thoughts on “Eclipse catching up to Cessna…

  1. “A Cessna Mustang ordered today would deliver in mid-2011 at a fixed $3.14M”

    Just to be sure I understand, if I put a deposit on a Mustang today I will pay the balance on delivery based on $3.14 million in 2011, no quibbling about inflation between now and then?

  2. Jim: You are correct. If inflation is bad enough that $3.14M is only enough to buy a Diet Coke in 2011, you can trade your Diet Coke for a Mustang in 2011; the price in dollars is the price. Presumably Cessna has figured out how to hedge their inflation risk. The other jet companies have much more complex contracts that leave the customer with the inflation risk, e.g., “You will pay us $2.998 million adjusted by the CPI-Q from 1932 to the time of delivery.”

  3. The Eclipse is the ONLY multi-engine turbojet that does not need to meet the single engine climb gradient certification standard.

    Eclipse decided that because their aircraft was under 6000lbs. is should not be held to the same standard as every other certified multi-engine jet. Much to the surprise of everyone the FAA granted them a waiver. (Of course the FAA also fast tracked the certification and tended to re-assign FAA personnel who found fault with Eclipse during the certification process.)

    If you charter one of these you are not much better off than you would be in a Chieftain or a C-414.

    That is to say nothing of the fact that this “jet” is not certified to fly in icing conditions.

    A VMC only “jet” should cost considerably less than the competition.

  4. Favorite avaiation related quote from the article.

    “A year ago, he would have only flown Gulfstreams,” Mr. Sullivan said. “Now it’s moving to the point where he’s flying Beech jets and Learjets.”

    Class envy is not pretty…

  5. The hype behind the eclipse has never made much sense to me. My understanding is that the premise was two-part 1. A new class of inexpensive turbine engines (presumably derived from lessons-learned by the mass production of cruise missiles) mated with modern composite construction would allow for a reasonably-priced small jet. 2. The existence of this affordable jet would fill a market niche as an “air taxi” carrying first-class level travelers with private-jet comfort and convenience.

    Well, I understand that the original engines didn’t materialize, so the aircraft’s not too much more capable than a Columbia. (Isn’t it, in some sense, a Microsoft product?) I never understood the “air taxi” thing. Regional airlines can barely pay their pilots with 30 people in the back, how they were going to do it with 4, I’ll never understand. CEO’s fly in bigger jets, but what company can afford to lose 4 V.P.’s at the hands of a $35,000/year pilot? The whole thing’s a non-starter. Outside of Alaska, when’s the last time you heard of anyone chartering a light plane?

Comments are closed.