As FAA Restricts EA500 to FL300, Eclipse Cries Foul

 - March 10, 2011, 11:04 AM

The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive today for the Eclipse 500 that, as of March 21, would limit its maximum operating altitude to 30,000 feet. This supersedes an existing AD, issued in November 2008, that limited the very light jet to 37,000 feet or below in response to carbon build-up in the Eclipse’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-A engines that could cause engine surges and thus might “result in a necessary reduction in thrust.” Eclipse Aerospace told AIN that it and P&WC are “in the final stages of completing a new combustion liner for the engine to solve the problem and return the EA-500 back to 41,000 feet. We expect that fix to be on the market in approximately 60 days.” Further, Eclipse said the FAA’s latest AD is “too restrictive [and] is not supported by data, and we are seeking a correction before it goes into effect in ten days.” According to Eclipse, data gathered for P&WC on the “isolated engine surge events” led the companies and Transport Canada to agree collectively that the current 37,000-foot restriction be revised to include a time limit of 85 minutes when flying above 30,000 feet, as “no appreciable” carbon build-up has been seen in this time frame above this altitude.