Eclipse Aviation is a small aircraft company that was formed in 1998 but officially launched in 2000. It is located in Albuquerque in New Mexico. At the time of inception, the firm had more than 200 employees, 125 of whom were engineers. Since its formation, the firm has remained a leader in this highly competitive market. The three components that stand out the most from the Eclipse business model include customer value, capabilities, and connected activities (Hamel 102).
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At the time of its inception, Eclipse Aviation faced stiff competition from not only actual but also potential competitors. The established firms consisted of big names in the industry such as Bombardier, Cirrus Design Corporation, Lancair, Adam Aircraft, Safire, and Honda Motors, some of which had been in operation since the early 1980s. These operators of smaller aircraft have three distinct types of customers namely: fractional ownership operators, charter flight operators, and commercial airlines. Keeping in mind the stiff competition in the industry, the CEO of Eclipse was determined to create the world’s most inexpensive personal aircraft without undermining its quality. This was achieved with the development of Eclipse 500. The design, creation, and choice of materials for this aircraft were done through the maximization of the four fundamental elements of airplane performance namely: thrust, drag, weight and lift. Eclipse Aviation has been able to stay abreast of its competitors by offering great value to its customers. The firm guarantees its customers of a refundable deposit if the performance specifications of Eclipse 500 were not realized at a price lower than 5% greater than the originally quoted price. By late 2002, the demand for the Eclipse 500 was greater than had originally been anticipated. The order book reached a high of 2,072 orders (Davis, Garceau, Gonzalez-Maartens, Huebner, & Mannucci 281). This order book was the greatest in the history of the single jet aviation industry. This achievement was realized thanks to the value the firm provided to its customers.
Eclipse Aviation’s greatest capability lies in the engines of its Eclipse 500. The engines have indeed been described as a disruptive technology in the small aircraft industry. The engines were developed as a means of fulfilling the price and performance assurance the firm promised to its customers during the early years of its inception. The engines enable the Eclipse 500 to have a range of 1,300 nautical miles, attain cruising speeds of 408 mph, and a cruising height of 41,000 feet. The capability of these engines has made it hard for industry observers to believe that an engine of such a small size could have so much strength (Pederson 150).
To provide great value to its customers, Eclipse Aviation engaged in a strategic collaboration with leading manufacturing companies such as the Avidyne Corporation, British Aerospace Systems Aircraft Controls Inc., General Dynamics, and Williams International. All these firms were established in the production of innovative products and systems used in the aviation industry. The strategic collaboration with these firms has enabled the firm to produce its innovative jet at a significantly lower cost than other players in the industry. For instance, Eclipse 500’s avionics and operating systems are fully computerized and have digital displays rather than analog displays, a feature that has enabled the firm to save on costs. As the CEO, Raburn, states, “You couldn’t get this functionality for much less than $1 million if you went to the OEMs,” (Davis et al. 281).
Davis, Sarah, Michael Garceau, Victor Gonzalez-Maartens, Jeff Huebner, and Gonzalo Mannucci. Eclipse: The Next Big Thing in Small Aircraft. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, n.d.
Hamel, Gary. Leading the revolution: How to thrive in turbulent times by making innovation a way of life. Harvard: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.
Pederson, Jay. International Directory of Company Histories, volume 87. California: The University of California Press, 2008.
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