Significant fleet orders were announced today for the Eclipse 500, Citation and Avanti at NBAA 2005. Linear Air of Lexington, Mass., and JetSet Air of the UK have placed firm orders for 15 and 30 Eclipse 500 very light jets, respectively. These transactions bring the Eclipse order book to 2,350 airplanes (1,592 firm orders and 765 options), all secured with nonrefundable deposits, the company said.
An ongoing “supplier problem” is casting a shadow over Eclipse Aviation’s receipt of its first type inspection authorization (TIA) from the FAA earlier this month. The TIA authorizes agency personnel to begin performing onboard aircraft testing of the Eclipse 500 for certification credit. But the supplier problem–which sources say is related to the avionics system–could delay the March certification target for Eclipse’s very light jet.
Cessna, Eclipse and Adam Aircraft are all confident that their respective very light jets will be certified this year. According to Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton, the Citation Mustang is on track for FAA approval in the fall, though he hinted that the VLJ could get its papers a little earlier.
Building a new engine is a huge gamble, but if the timing is right the payoff can be enormous. For Pratt & Whitney Canada, offering the PW600 series to aircraft manufacturers in the early 2000s turned out to be a smart move. Three manufacturers chose the PW600 for their respective very light jet programs–the Cessna Mustang (PW615F), Eclipse 500 (PW610F) and Embraer Phenom 100 (PW617F).
For this year’s look in the crystal ball, AIN added a number of aircraft to the list to reflect ongoing programs more accurately. While many of these aircraft are derivative and not original certifications, they are still new and deserve to be counted.
Eclipse Aviation has further refined the Model 500 very light jet’s design to reach performance goals, according to a customer technical communication sent to buyers on December 4.
These refinements are part of a year-long performance improvement program designed to help the Model 500 reach the promised speed of 370 knots and 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR, 100-nm alternate).
You are sitting in a diner, sipping your fourth cup of coffee, solving aviation’s problems with an old friend, when the idea comes to you in a caffeinated burst of inspiration: a new jet, one that will fill a niche no manufacturer has yet tackled, with safety features, performance, efficiency and comfort that will open new markets and sell like hot cakes around the globe.
Eclipse Aviation is facing further issues in its effort to begin deliveries of its very light jet and sent a 12-page letter to customers November 14 outlining wing-attach fitting and cockpit window cracking problems. Following receipt of FAA type certification on September 30, Eclipse has yet to deliver its first airplane but expects to do so within days, president and CEO Vern Raburn told AIN.
The world of business aviation woke up to a surprise here at the Paris Air Show today with the unforeseen launch of a highly versatile new private jet. The all-composite Grob SPn Utility Jet is both a niche-filler and challenger, offered by its developers as the long-awaited successor to Raytheon’s Beechcraft King Air workhorses and a more-industrious alternative to the emerging crop of light executive jets.
In a letter sent yesterday to Eclipse 500 buyers, Eclipse Aviation outlined design changes to help the very light twinjet achieve promised performance goals. Changes include larger metal tip tanks, which add three gallons to the previously announced 16.5 per side, for a total of 19.5 gallons per tank. Total fuel capacity will be 1,668 pounds, while mtow will remain 5,920 pounds, for a decrease in useful load of 40 pounds.