In The Works: Eclipse 500

 - February 5, 2007, 5:20 AM

Eclipse Aviation last month announced that its next two FAA-conforming Model 500 very light jets, N502EA and N504EA, have completed wing mate and are standing on their own gear. These two aircraft will join N503EA, which has been flying since December 31, later this month, rounding out the Eclipse 500 FAA certification flight-test fleet. A fourth aircraft, N505EA, which will be used in Eclipse’s beta test program, was expected to be standing on its own three legs by the end of last month.

Meanwhile, N503EA has expanded the flight envelope from 72 knots to 230 knots, up to 3g and altitudes up to 17,500 feet. The pilots have tested systems including flight controls, fuel, electrical, pressurization, the Avio avionics suite, landing gear, flaps and engines. Additionally, the aircraft’s electrically actuated landing gear has been cycled at speeds from 88 knots to 200 knots and the emergency gear extension has been tested through the same speed range.

The Eclipse 500’s electrically actuated flap system has also been tested at various settings at speeds ranging from 72 knots to 200 knots. N503EA has conducted flutter testing, longitudinal, lateral and directional stability and control, climb performance and airspeed calibrations.

Eclipse said flight tests are progressing so rapidly because of an advanced instrumentation and telemetry system that enables engineers in a ground station to monitor aircraft parameters in real time while collecting more than four gigabytes of data per flight hour.