51.9 F
Gilroy
June 21, 2024
music in the park san jose

First of its Kind

John Benson only read about the newly designed Eclipse 500
– dubbed the silent jet. Now he will finally see the creation in
person at the South County Airport.

This is the first in the world. There are other companies that
are developing the small jets, but this is the very first one to
ever come out of production,

said Benson, who is the general manager for Magnum Aviation.
By Betsy Avelar

San Martin – John Benson only read about the newly designed Eclipse 500 – dubbed the silent jet. Now he will finally see the creation in person at the South County Airport.

“This is the first in the world. There are other companies that are developing the small jets, but this is the very first one to ever come out of production,” said Benson, who is the general manager for Magnum Aviation.

The Eclipse 500 is the first of a new class of aircraft called “very light jets,” or VLJ. It is much smaller, costs less and makes less noise than traditional corporate jets.

Very light jets employ one pilot and weigh less than 10,000 pounds, even though they are powered by two engines, each about the size of a washing machine. Two to six passengers can enjoy the ride on this $1.5- to 4-million jet. Most corporate planes cost at least $4 million.

Although the airport in San Martin can only accommodate propeller-driven aircraft, Benson said that the VLJ is ideal for the small airport and is allowed to fly in and out.

“Usually a jet needs much more room, more runway to run and take off, but this jet is designed to land or take off in far less room,” said Benson.

Several years ago, Dave Crowe co-owner of Magnum Aviation at the South County Airport made a deposit for the unfinished jet. He was the first to recently receive this Eclipse 500.

But Crowe will not be the only one with this new jet.

Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation is only one of the companies developing VLJs. The Federal Aviation Administration has estimated that as many as 5,000 very light jets will be in operation within 10 years.

The company has a number of heavy-hitters on it’s board of directors, including Harold A. Poling, chairman of Eclipse Aviation Corp., who is a retired CEO and Chairman of Ford Motor Co., Brian Barents, the former president and CEO of iconic aircraft maker Learjet, and Kent Kresa, chairman emeritus of Northrop Grumman Corp. The company’s president is Vern Raburn.

The privately held company also has impressively deep pockets. Its board also includes Brandon Jones, a partner in Polygon Investment Partners, a New York- and London-based hedge fund with more than $1.35 billion in assets under management.

Eclipse uses automotive manufacturing techniques such as moving assembly lines and robotics and can produce 1,000 jets a year, or four a day.

To this point, specific plans for the jet are not clear, but according to Benson there are future plans for it. He mentioned that after the showing Tuesday, the plane will travel all over the country.

The jet will be on display to the public Tuesday 1 to 5pm, where people may see the interior and exterior of the plane.

“I cannot wait, when I hear a call on the radio that it’s coming in, everybody’s going to run out there and watch it land,” said Benson. “It’ll be quite a sight.”

Betsy Avelar attends Gavilan College and is an intern at The South Valley Newspapers. Reach her at 847-7216 or

[email protected].

Please leave a comment

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

SOCIAL MEDIA

10,025FansLike
1,165FollowersFollow
2,589FollowersFollow