You might not be familiar with the name Mechtronix Systems, but representatives from the Montreal company nonetheless predict you may soon find yourself strapping into one of their full-flight simulators for recurrent or transition training–and saving a significant amount of money in the process.
Marking an important milestone on the Eclipse 500’s development path, Meggitt last month delivered the first flight-ready autopilot hardware to Eclipse Aviation in Albuquerque, N.M.
The prospect of marginally qualified pilots hurtling through the rarefied atmosphere of the flight levels in very light jets and promoting fear and loathing in the heavy-metal professionals–which is how some people view the imminent advent of the “Volksjet” era–has been a topic of lively debate of late, and no surprise to Eclipse Aviation founder, president and CEO Vern Raburn.
Beyond the merriment that the very light jet is coming to market, the insurance industry is preparing to drop the curtain in the final act.
It’s an unusual fact that, unlike just about any other marketable items, very light jets (VLJs), alcohol and tobacco share one unique characteristic. Even if you have the money, the seller can refuse to sell them to you if you’re not qualified. What’s more, those qualifications are all based on time, measured in years for would-be drinkers and smokers, and in left-seat hours for would-be VLJ pilots. Of course, this is as it should be.
Eclipse Aviation’s fourth conforming flight-test aircraft, N505EA, which made a gear-up landing on September 4 at Albuquerque International Sunport, will be repaired and back in the air by the end of this month, according to a company spokesman. The two pilots on board were not injured during the accident, and Eclipse said the cause of the belly landing was pilot error.
Albuquerque, N.M.-based start-up manufacturer Eclipse Aviation said its six-month-old JetMatch program has “more than exceeded our expectations.” JetMatch “facilitates partnerships” in new Eclipse 500s via a password-protected message board on the company’s Web site. An Eclipse spokesman said the service has thus far resulted in two matches for the $1.295 million VLJ.
“This is the largest turnout we’ve had in the 50 years we’ve been holding the Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar,” Ed Williams, Flight Safety Foundation’s (FSF) chairman, told the more than 370 attendees in his opening remarks.
Williams urged everyone in corporate aviation to become a media source in their community. “We must counter the public’s negative image of corporate aviation as being a perk or toy of the rich.”
GE Honda Aero Engines, though it has yet to announce an airframe application for its engine, continues to develop its HF118 1,700-pound-thrust turbofan. The company validated durability and performance enhancements on rig tests held in March at Honda’s facility in Japan.