Eclipse 500 Retrofit Plan Unveiled
Now that the Avio NG avionics have been certified, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation is ready to tackle the promised upgrades for in-service Eclipse 500s without the updated avionics suite, new wing de-ice boots, aerodynamics modifications and other “minor upgrades.” In a posting on the Eclipse 500 Owners Club Web site, Eclipse vice president of ownership experiences John Ricciardelli said the first aircraft to be retrofitted (S/N 28) is now undergoing validation and verification of the modifications at Eclipse’s Gainesville, Fla. maintenance facility. The exterior modifications to S/N 28 began in late December and are expected to take 28 days, according to Ricciardelli, while the Avio NG upgrades are scheduled to start next Monday and conclude by February 8. Once the procedures are verified and validated, Eclipse will issue a Service Bulletin and will then begin modifying the rest of the fleet by lowest to highest serial number at its Gainesville; Albany, N.Y.; and Van Nuys, Calif. facilities. The company expects to reduce the modification time to 18 days and have the entire fleet retrofitted by early next year. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman said Eclipse is about halfway through icing tests for its very light twinjet.