ATC Grumbling Spurs FAA To Issue Eclipse AD

 - July 31, 2007, 9:17 AM

As Eclipse Aviation awaited FAA approval at press time of a new-design pitot/angle-of-attack probe to prevent a freezing problem that occurred during three test flights, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive in final form, effective at the end of June. The AD restricts Eclipse 500 operations to day VFR, no IFR flight plans allowed. Before the AD was issued, operators had been able to file an IFR flight plan but had to remain in VMC. Air traffic controllers, according to the FAA, said that allowing Eclipse pilots to file and fly IFR but requiring them to avoid IMC imposed an undue workload on controllers. The AD is an interim move, the FAA said, and the agency will consider terminating the VFR limitation after Eclipse modifies the pitot/AOA probe and the FAA approves the change. Eclipse expects to complete fleet retrofit by early next month.