Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Inerview With Eclipse Aerospace Co-Founder Mike Press Part 2: Coming Aboard Eclipse Aerospace

By Carmelo Turdo
Mike Press, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of the current Eclipse Aerospace, is staking his well-earned reputation on the success of the rejuvenated EA500/550 series "personal jets."  When the fledgling company began gearing up to produce one of the first very light jet models, Press was in line to be the first owner-operator of the EA500 jet, serial number 4, for use in a training role.  He purchased the rights to the early production positions of the jet, and became the largest volume broker of very light jets with his company, Single Pilot Jet Management.  He would eventually become an investor as the company arose from early financial collapse in 2010, and he is now part of the leadership team.  
Mike Press has almost 50 years of experience in aviation.  He was a highly decorated U.S. Air Force combat fighter pilot, flying 480 combat missions in Vietnam.  He served as the 65th Aggressor Squadron Commander at Nellis AFB, Nevada in the early 1980s and in senior leadership positions where he managed foreign military sales for Europe and Asia.  Following his retirement from the U.S. Air Force as a Colonel, Press served as a senior director of Northrop Grumman Corporation from 1995-2005 and ran the field office supplying Boeing military production in St. Louis.  He was involved with the sales and marketing of the early Eclipse EA500 product from 2005-2007 before the financial collapse of the company in 2008.  By then, 260 aircraft were sold, yet at 85% complete as promised for delivery.  The new company, Eclipse Aerospace, was born in late 2009 through the financial investment of Press and Mason Holland, and later as a partnership with Sikorsky Aircraft of United Technologies in early 2011.  Production of the new model, the EA550, will commence in 2013.

More detailed accounts of the Eclipse personal jet, and the rise, fall and rebirth of the corporation behind the plane can be found in the recent book, The Great Eclipse, now available for order on demand at and other booksellers. 

Next in this series: the EA500, Total Eclipse and EA550 products

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