Eclipse 500 by the Numbers

 - November 16, 2006, 6:08 AM

Eclipse Aviation has released the final performance numbers for the Eclipse 500, and it meets or exceeds all of the guarantees but one. Critics missed the mark that the very light jet couldn't meet its high-speed guarantee–Eclipse says the VLJ's top speed is 370 knots, well within the margins. And when it comes to useful load, the aircraft will deliver 2,400 pounds, some 200 pounds more than promised. However, the airplane comes up 130 nm short of its 1,280-nm estimated NBAA IFR range (four occupants, 100-nm alternate). In fact, the first 100 airplanes will come up even shorter, with a range of 1,050 nm, according to Eclipse president and CEO Vern Raburn. "Serial number 101 and on will have some kind of aerodynamic cleanup and/or modifications to reach the 1,150-nm NBAA IFR range," he told AIN. Since the original range guarantee wasn't met, customers have the option of canceling their order without incurring any penalties. "So far, only two customers have asked for their deposits back," Raburn said. FAA certification of the Eclipse 500 has slipped beyond the anticipated goal of last month and is now expected in nothing more definitive than "the coming weeks."