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Very Light Jets
Fuel Western Investment

    In fact, any area serious about retaining and growing its aerospace cluster would do well to put measures of this sort in place, because competition for aerospace jobs is intensifying. States competed vigorously for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner assembly facility, which in the end went to existing Boeing facilities in Washington State. But smaller projects get
plenty of attention, too, especially from areas seeking to establish themselves as aerospace centers. The Four Corners states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona are a case in point.
      "We were very thorough in our site-selection process, working with many states around the country," says George Bye, chairman and CEO of Aviation Technology Group (ATG), which chose the Front Range Airport in Adams County, Colo., as the site for its manufacturing facilities. ATG, based in Englewood, Colo., produces the Javelin, a military-looking very light jet (VLJ) that seats two people. Alabama, Texas and New Mexico reportedly were among the states in the running.
      Also based in Englewood is Adam Aircraft, which is producing two twin-engine light aircraft, the A500 and A700. The company occupies office and manufacturing space in Englewood and Pueblo, Colo., and a manufacturing and testing facility in Ogden, Utah.
      VLJs are an increasingly important subset of the aerospace industry with several manufacturers working on aircraft prototypes that will eventually supply air-taxi service providers, individuals seeking entry to the biz-jet market at a lower cost point and other niche aviation markets.
      Eclipse Aviation is based in Albuquerque, N.M., where it is developing the Eclipse 500 VLJ; several prototypes are in various stages of flight testing. In August, Eclipse Aviation finalized a training partnership with Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute to prepare students for careers in aviation manufacturing.
      "We are on track to start delivering Eclipse 500s to customers in early 2006 and will need to increase our team with many qualified manufacturing employees over the coming years," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation, at the August 23rd announcement. "Eclipse is bringing modern manufacturing processes to aviation, and we are working closely with ENMU-Roswell and TVI to help students develop the progressive skill sets needed for these positions."
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