Despite a halt in production of nearly four years and the bankruptcy of its original developer, the fleet of Eclipse very light jets could soon grow again after Eclipse Aerospace was awarded a production certificate from the FAA.
Eclipse Aerospace is outsourcing manufacturing of airframe structural components for the new Eclipse 550 very light jet to PZL Mielec, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. UTC is the parent company of Sikorsky, which is a minority owner of Eclipse.
Charleston, S.C.-based Eclipse Aerospace announced yesterday that it has received a production certificate from the FAA, green-lighting production of the Eclipse 550 very light twinjet. The approval was granted after the agency determined that the company’s manufacturing processes and quality systems meet all federal regulations.
“Armed now with a fully certified aircraft, a certified production process and an established supply chain, Eclipse is well positioned to re-introduce the Eclipse Jet to new production,” said Cary Winter, the company’s senior vice president.
North American Jet Charter Group (NAJ) recently received FAA approval to use the Eclipse EFB iPad aboard its Eclipse 500s on Part 135 flights. This electronic flight bag approval gives pilots the option to use Foreflight or Jeppesen en route and approach charts, as well as paperless versions of general operating manuals and minimum equipment lists, which are all stored and referenced through the iPad interface.
Other than seeing a ramp full of stored ex-DayJet Eclipse aircraft in 2008 after the collapse of the Florida-based air-taxi firm, it’s rare now to sight more than a couple of the type together at an airport–unless you happen to pass through Henderson Executive Airport near Las Vegas, Nev.
Eclipse Aerospace released a flight-planning and in-flight reference iPad app called Eclipse Quick Reference Application (QRA) yesterday. The app for the Eclipse 500 very light jet includes a weight-and-balance flight-planning tool, interactive flight checklists and performance planning tools. Eclipse QRA can also pull up digital copies of the aircraft flight manual and the aircraft maintenance manual, complete with updated downloads of temporary revisions and other customer communications.
GE Aviation, while it may still be associated largely with commercial and military powerplants, has been focusing its gaze on the business aviation market over the past several years.
Shawn O’Day, head of the company’s business and general aviation marketing, told AIN that although business aviation has historically been a segment of opportunity for GE, it is an area where the engine and systems maker sees potential. In fact, the company signaled its intention to expand its business and general aviation footprint at last year’s Paris Air Show.
A new 10-hour jet card is available from broker Magellan Jets. The card costs $34,950 and imposes no daily minimum flight times, federal excise taxes, positioning charges within the base service area, blackout dates or fuel surcharges. The card includes 10 hours in an Eclipse 500 very light jet for flights in the Northeast U.S.
Gulfstream Aerospace expects to receive provisional type certification (PTC) of its wide-cabin G650 this year–possibly by the end of this month–followed by issuance of the full type certificate early next year. Deliveries will begin in the second quarter of 2012 “as we said years ago,” said Gulfstream president Larry Flynn.
Eclipse Aerospace announced at last month’s NBAA Convention that it is resuming new-build production of its iconic very light twinjet, newly dubbed the Eclipse 550. At the show, Eclipse began taking orders for the new jet, which sells for $2.695 million (2011 $). The company expects to produce 50 to 100 Eclipse 550s per year once production resumes in 2013.