UAV start-up Titan Aerospace of Moriarty, N.M., yesterday named former Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern Raburn as its chairman and CEO. Originally a Microsoft executive, Raburn founded Eclipse, manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 very light jet, in 1998. He stepped down from the company in 2008 before it entered bankruptcy, and it later re-emerged from bankruptcy as Eclipse Aerospace.
Eclipse Aerospace introduced its new safety enhancement upgrade package (SEP) for earlier generations of the Eclipse single-pilot very light jet. The SEP adds significant features such as anti-skid braking, autothrottles (including under- and overspeed protections), an updated flight management system as well as an independent standby display unit with an integrated attitude heading and reference system (AHRS) to provide backup heading and attitude information.
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.
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.
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.
Internationally there is a platinum service center in Istanbul, a gold in Germany and additional gold and silver service centers to come.
Currently Eclipses are certified in 49 countries, and Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland told AIN, “We are in the third quarter for the Eclipse 550 so we’re focused on support.”
Eclipse Aerospace received an amended production certificate (PC) today from the FAA, authorizing the Albuquerque, N.M.-based aircraft manufacturer to do final assembly, test and certification of new-production Eclipse 550s. The original PC granted to Eclipse last year allowed Eclipse to manufacture the EA550 and requisite parts in compliance with FAA-approved type design, but required direct FAA oversight of the flight-test and certification phases.
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.”
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.
Eclipse Aerospace has revealed more details of its $2.695 million Eclipse 550 twinjet to AIN. CEO Mason Holland said that, while the 550 will continue to use the same airframe and engines as the EA500, there will be several cockpit, cabin and system changes.