Eclipse 500 Gets Provisional FAA Certification

 - November 14, 2006, 8:33 AM

Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation, was flanked by some 200 company employees this afternoon at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., to announce provisional FAA certification for the Eclipse 500. “We have proved all the naysayers wrong,” he said. This marks the first agency approval for a very light jet, though the current certification is with “significantly reduced avionics functionality,” according to Raburn. He further revealed that Meggitt had “tremendous” problems getting the autopilot ready and said he expects the twinjet to receive full type certification late next month that will allow day/night, VFR/IFR, single-pilot and RVSM operations, as well as the start of Eclipse 500 deliveries to customers. Eclipse also said it will change the tip tanks from composite construction to aluminum, increasing their fuel capacity from seven gallons to 19.5 gallons per side. The NBAA IFR range at high-speed cruise with the original tip tanks is 1,055 nm, but increases to 1,125 nm with the new tanks. However, Raburn said, “We guaranteed 1,280 nautical miles and we’re not going to meet that.” On the plus side, the small jet’s high-speed cruise is now 370 knots, and Eclipse holds orders for more than 2,500 copies of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-powered twinjet. The PW610F received Transport Canada approval this morning, with FAA certification expected within three weeks.