Eclipse 500 upgrades announced yesterday by Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace promise to bring long-pledged safety equipment and performance capabilities to the original very light jet. The new Safety Enhancement Package (SEP) will also remove the last of the “INOP” stickers present in Eclipse 500 cockpits since the former Eclipse Aviation delivered its first customer aircraft nearly seven years ago.
DayJet founder Ed Iacobucci died last Friday after a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer. After he left Citrix Systems, the software maker that he co-founded, in the early 2000s, Iacobucci started laying the groundwork for per-seat, on-demand charter operator DayJet and placed an order for 239 Eclipse 500s in May 2005. DayJet started operations in October 2007 but ceased flying 11 months later.
Eclipse Aerospace received FAA approval for the extension of the service life of the Eclipse 500 and 550 to 20,000 hours/20,000 cycles with unlimited calendar life. According to the company, the life extension will provide the typical Eclipse Jet owner with more than 50 years of operation at typical usage rates, as well as improved airframe residual value.
Eclipse Aerospace announced late last week that it received FAA approval to double the life limit on existing Eclipse 500s and new-build Eclipse 550s to 20,000 hours/20,000 cycles. Cary Winter, senior vice president of engineering for the Albuquerque, N.M.-based company, said the extension “validated the strength and superiority of” the friction stir welding process used to assemble the aircraft’s fuselage and wings.
The Eclipse 500 received type certificate validation from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) this week, and the first very light jet from the Albuquerque, N.M. aircraft manufacturer has been exported to South Africa by National Airways. This marks the 46th country in which the Eclipse is certified. Orlando, Fla.-based SimCom has also been approved as the Eclipse simulator training provider by the SACAA.
Eclipse Aerospace has arrived with an aircraft on static display for the first time at EBACE. The manufacturer is represented by its official European distributor, UK-based Aeris Aviation (based at Branscombe Airfield in Devon), which is offering demo flights in the Eclipse 500 very light jet during the show.
Eclipse Aerospace powered up the first production Eclipse 550 very light jet at its Albuquerque, N.M. facility, the company announced yesterday. An Eclipse spokesperson told AIN the process entailed “a normal power on of both [Pratt & Whitney PW610F turbofans] and all aircraft systems.”
While the business aviation industry greets each morsel of positive economic news with cautious optimism, continuing financial indecision made 2012 another depressed year for turbine aircraft deliveries, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), which released its year-end delivery totals last month. Last year general aviation reached a milestone of sorts, according to GAMA chairman Brad Mottier. For the first time, he noted, shipments to North American buyers in all three airplane segments–jets, turboprops and pistons–dipped to 50 percent.
Since when is an Emergency AD used to ground an aircraft fleet, as it has been in the case of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner? First off, let me be clear that if anything good can be said of the Boeing Dreamliner nightmare it’s that no one had to die before the FAA would take definitive action to ground the 787 until its battery fire problems could be investigated properly.
The U.S. Air Force is gathering information to help it decide if a very light jet (VLJ)–typically a jet with a maximum takeoff weight below 10,000 pounds–could replace its fleet of Raytheon T-1A Jayhawk trainers. The service conducted similar market research in 2006.