Eclipse fixes windshield, engine issues

 - September 29, 2010, 7:01 AM

Since buying the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation last year, Eclipse Aerospace has resumed all the modification programs necessary to bring the EA500 very light jet to its latest airframe and avionics configurations and launched campaigns to fix continuing problems. The most recent is a windshield modification that helps dissipate precipitation static. The second addresses Airworthiness Directive 2008-24-07, which limits maximum altitude to 37,000 feet, 4,000 feet lower than the originally certified service ceiling.

To meet FAA certification requirements, the EA500 requires a special chemical that has to be applied to the windshield to dissipate precipitation static. The modification replaces that cumbersome process, which has to be done every eight to 12 months, with a thin carbon strip bonded to the windshield and the airframe. This creates a conductive path, according to the company, “which acts as a diverter to dissipate potential precipitation static under certain flight conditions.” The windshield strip modification costs $19,950 for parts and labor.

AD 2008-24-07 limits the EA500 to a maximum pressure altitude of 37,000 feet because of “several incidents of engine surge” of the jet’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-A engines, according to the FAA. Carbon buildup on the static vane during high bleed flow conditions caused the surge problem. Eclipse Aerospace has completed the final design and is testing the modifications and expects certification by year-end, allowing EA500 operators to fly more efficiently at the 41,000-foot maximum altitude for which the jet was originally designed. Pricing for the engine mod has not yet been decided, according to Eclipse, but it will be covered under warranty for buyers of a refurbished Total Eclipse.