DayJet, which plans to start per-seat, on-demand operations using Eclipse 500s in November, yesterday unveiled its five initial DayPorts (service cities), all of them in Florida: Boca Raton, Gainesville, Lakeland, Pensacola and Tallahassee. DayJet chose these cities because each represents a “strong and growing local economy and business environment that is underserved” by airlines.
Eclipse Aviation said it will not make its anticipated “late June” certification of the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet, citing supplier issues. The company disclosed Sunday that “continued supplier delays” will push back FAA certification “by another several weeks.” For the last few months the company said it has been plagued by supplier problems, blaming them for preventing a previous certification target of March 31.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has started running the PW617F engine. This is the latest member of its 900- to 1,300-pound-thrust PW600 family and is set to power Embraer’s Phenom 100 very light jet. The new turbofan was run for the first time on June 29, P&WC president Alain Bellemare told Aviation International News exclusively on the eve of the Farnborough show, saying that the engine was “going well”.
Eclipse Aviation has released the final performance numbers for the Eclipse 500, and it meets or exceeds all of the guarantees but one. Critics missed the mark that the very light jet couldn't meet its high-speed guarantee–Eclipse says the VLJ's top speed is 370 knots, well within the margins. And when it comes to useful load, the aircraft will deliver 2,400 pounds, some 200 pounds more than promised.
Eclipse and its Swiss customer Aviace have entered litigation over the delivery of 112 VLJs. Aviace sued the manufacturer early this month for breach of contract for allegedly refusing to deliver the aircraft ordered in 2002. The Swiss company was one of the earliest large customers for the Eclipse 500 very light jet and was established to launch a low-cost air taxi business. Both parties declined to comment while in litigation.
On Saturday, Eclipse Aviation received FAA type certification for the Eclipse 500, nine months later than originally planned when the company announced in early 2003 that it would have to modify the design due to switching from the Williams EJ22 turbofan to the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F.
The market for very light jets (VLJs) will be worth $2.52 billion over the next five years, according to a new study by UK-based consultants PMI Media. The report predicts six VLJ designs making it into service: the Adam A700, Cessna Citation Mustang, Diamond D-Jet, Eclipse 500, Embraer Phenom 100 and HondaJet.
A federal judge in Albuquerque, N.M., Friday denied Aviace’s plea for preliminary injunction against Eclipse Aviation as part of the Swiss firm’s lawsuit alleging Eclipse violated a March 2002 sales contract. The suit accused Eclipse of wrongly canceling the order for Aviace’s first Eclipse 500 and declaring the initial deposit on that aircraft forfeited.
Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation, was flanked by some 200 company employees this afternoon at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., to announce provisional FAA certification for the Eclipse 500. “We have proved all the naysayers wrong,” he said. This marks the first agency approval for a very light jet, though the current certification is with “significantly reduced avionics functionality,” according to Raburn.
From very large to very light jets about to crest the horizon, Pratt & Whitney Canada engines power some of business aviation’s most exciting designs. Anticipation and optimism are whetting the appetite for information not only about the airplanes, but also the engines that will propel them and the systems that will guide them. The NBAA Convention, as usual, serves as the venue for digesting a year’s worth of news.