Eclipse 500: Still just one flight logged

 - May 7, 2008, 7:04 AM

At press time Eclipse Aircraft had flown the first Eclipse 500 very light jet just once–on August 26–pending the return of both engines from manufacturer Williams International of Walled Lake, Mich. Citing problems with engine accessories, fuel metering and starters, Eclipse sent both EJ22 turbofans back to the manufacturer not long after the first flight. On October 22 the right engine was back at Eclipse’s Albuquerque, N.M. base, but the left engine remained at Williams. An Eclipse spokeswoman noted that the company had put air beneath the tires on seven occasions, however, during high-speed taxi tests–once before the August 26 first flight and six times since, before the engines were shipped to Michigan. Eclipse officials declined to provide AIN with the empty weight of the airplane, less its test gear. The target empty weight is 2,700 lb.