Eclipse Comes Clean on Confounding Problems

 - December 15, 2006, 10:59 AM

Eclipse Aviation is facing further issues in its effort to begin deliveries of its very light jet and sent a 12-page letter to customers November 14 outlining wing-attach fitting and cockpit window cracking problems. Following receipt of FAA type certification on September 30, Eclipse has yet to deliver its first airplane but expects to do so within days, president and CEO Vern Raburn told AIN. The limited functionality of the Avidyne avionics is not causing the delay, he added. The primary cause is that Eclipse is working to obtain FAA production certification by year-end, and the agency is inspecting freshly produced Eclipse 500s with a view toward conforming with production certification requirements. Raburn added that flight-test airplanes have a “no-flight limitation” while an incorrectly installed wing aft attach fitting bushing is modified. “We have found no evidence of this condition on production aircraft,” the customer communication stated. Prematurely cracking cockpit windshield and side windows caused Eclipse to issue new inspection and replacement intervals of 50 and 100 flights, respectively, for windshields and 50 and 250 flights for cockpit side windows. Eclipse is working on a fix to bring those intervals back to normal levels.