Eclipse Completes Fatigue Testing of Eclipse 500

 - April 7, 2011, 10:15 AM

Eclipse Aerospace has completed fatigue testing of the Eclipse 500 and is in the process of getting this data together to submit to the FAA, company executive vice president Mike Press told AIN at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-in last week. Once this data is submitted to the agency, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse will seek to increase the Eclipse 500’s lifecycle limit from 10,000 to 20,000 cycles. Asked about how the friction-stir welds on the Eclipse 500 airframe held up in the fatigue testing, as well as in actual fleet operations, Press said there have been no corrosion or structural issues found thus far. In fact, he noted, NASA coupon testing indicates that friction-stir welding is “three times stronger than a riveted joint, so it’s a very strong bond.” As for sales of the Total Eclipse, Press said he saw “a lot” of interest in the upgraded aircraft at Sun’ n’ Fun. With its new partner Sikorsky, Eclipse “is doing all the planning and getting the suppliers online” so the company can restart building new Eclipse 500s, Press said. “We’re confident that we can get back into production.” No date has yet been set for restarting production, however.