Eclipse develops mods for engine, windshield

 - October 13, 2010, 9:40 AM

Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. 6667) has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of the bankruptcy of the original Eclipse Aviation, with a focus on helping the owners of the 260 Eclipse 500s keep their airplanes flying safely and efficiently and a goal of eventually restarting the EA500 production line.

Eclipse Aerospace purchased the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation and opened the company’s doors a little more than a year ago. Since then, Eclipse Aerospace has resumed all the modification programs necessary to bring the EA500 to its latest airframe and avionics configurations and launched campaigns to fix ongoing problems.

Two of those campaigns are bearing fruit. The first is a windshield modification that helps dissipate precipitation static. The second addresses Airworthiness Directive 2008-24-07, which limits maximum altitude to 37,000 feet, 4,000 feet lower than the originally certified service ceiling.

To meet FAA ­certification requirements, the EA500 requires that a special chemical be applied to the windshield to dissipate precipitation static. The modification replaces that cumbersome process, which has to be done every eight to 12 months, by bonding a thin carbon strip to the windshield and the airframe, which creates a conductive path that, according to the company, “acts as a diverter to ­dissipate potential precipitation static under certain flight conditions.” The windshield strip modification costs $19,950 for parts and labor.

AD 2008-24-07 limits the EA500 to a maximum pressure altitude of 37,000 feet because the model experienced “several incidents of engine surge” of its Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-As, according to the FAA. Carbon buildup on the static vane during high bleed flow conditions caused the surge problem, the agency said.
Eclipse Aerospace has completed the final design and is testing the modifications and expects certification by the end of the year, allowing EA500 operators to enjoy more efficient flying at the 41,000-foot maximum altitude for which the jet was originally designed. Pricing for the engine mod has not yet been decided, according to Eclipse, but it will be covered under warranty for buyers of a refurbished Total Eclipse.