Eclipse Rolls Out Certification Model 500

 - November 3, 2006, 4:27 AM

On December 11 the first Eclipse 500 certification flight-test aircraft, N503EA, rolled out from the start-up manufacturer’s Albuquerque, N.M. facility. Though the very light jet emerged from the plant with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan engines, one was a “flight on ground” engine that was swapped out about a week later with an airworthy powerplant before the first flight, which was “imminent” as of December 22. Eclipse said that by summer it will have five Model 500s flying–three flight-test iterations and two “beta test” aircraft that will each log 1,000 hours of function and reliability testing before any airplanes are delivered to customers–as well as airframes for static and fatigue testing. Certification of the Eclipse 500 is slated for March next year.