It's official: Eclipse launches single-engine sibling for EA-500

 - July 7, 2008, 11:48 AM

Eclipse Aviation in late May launched the Eclipse 400, a single-engine jet that will be a close relative of the Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ) prototype revealed last July at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The announcement was made at the company’s E-rrival customer event in tandem with news of a price increase for the twin-engine Eclipse 500 very light jet (see page 58).

“Ten months of quantitative and qualitative Eclipse Concept Jet research has convinced us that this is absolutely the right airplane for the emerging single-engine jet market,” Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn said. “The ECJ has elicited a tremendous emotional response from current and potential customers alike. People just love this airplane. We are excited to formally add this new aircraft to the Eclipse Aviation product family.”

Since the launch, Eclipse has been taking orders for the $1.35 million jet only from Eclipse 500 customers, who will also get a $125,000 discount if they place an order
by July 25. At press time, the Albuquerque, N.M.-based manufacturer had accumulated orders for more than 100 of the single-engine VLJs. Deposits from all others will be accepted starting at EAA AirVenture later this month, though without the discount opportunity.

The four-seat, V-tail Eclipse 400 will cruise at 41,000 feet and be powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615 engine, a higher-thrust derivative of the Eclipse 500’s PW610F. However, the airplane’s 1,450-pound-thrust PW615 engine will be derated to 1,200 pounds of thrust to allow for longer TBOs.

According to Raburn, the jet single will share the wings and many systems of its larger sibling, though he refused to provide a specific percentage of this commonality. And while the Eclipse 400 is expected to look like the ECJ, the production airplane won’t share its all-composite fuselage. “We anticipate the Eclipse 400 having a friction-stir-welded aluminum fuselage and, for supporting strength of
the upper-mounted engine pod, a composite empennage,” Raburn told AIN.

Preliminary specifications of the four-seat VLJ include a max cruise speed of 330 knots and a 1,250-nm NBAA IFR range.

First flight of a production-conforming Eclipse 400 is slated for 2010, with certification and initial deliveries expected in the fourth quarter of 2011.