Albuquerque, New Mexico-based One Aviation yesterday unveiled the first of three planned prototype aircraft, each testing components for its Eclipse 700 (aka “Project Canada”) variant of the Eclipse 500. The first aircraft, built from an experimental Eclipse 500, sports an aerodynamically conforming version of the new aircraft’s larger wing design.
One Aviation CEO Alan Klapmeier told AIN the decision to fly the new wing on an existing airframe represents “the lowest-risk approach, at the lowest cost and the best schedule to learn most about the new wing.” He would not provide a target date for the prototype’s first flight.
The 700's wing is based on the Eclipse 550 wing planform, and the most noticeable difference is a nearly four-foot wingspan extension. The inboard section has received aerodynamic tweaking to reduce parasite drag, and the intersection of the wing strake has moved outboard to provide increased fuel capacity that, in addition to enabling a projected NBAA IFR range of 1,470 nm, negates the need for the wingtip-mounted fuel tanks seen on the Eclipse 500/550.
“Reusing as much as practical off the 500/550 helps constrain cost and schedule,” Klapmeier continued. “Most of the outer wing panel starts life as a 500/550 wing.” The wing fitted to N990NE is not a production-conforming structure and has not yet been fitted with the upswept winglets planned for the EA700.
Using one of the former Eclipse Aviation prototypes allows One Aviation to use the “several racks of [test] instrumentation already onboard,” Klapmeier added. The company plans a similar approach on further aircraft mounted with the Eclipse 700’s Williams FJ33-5A turbofans and its Garmin G3000-based avionics.
“We intend to do a series of developmental prototypes before reaching what we consider a full EA700 prototype,” he stated. That new aircraft will also feature a 14-inch fuselage stretch for greater cabin and baggage volume over the Eclipse 550.