Claiming that Williams International did not meet its “contractual obligations” and is “significantly behind schedule” in development of the EJ22 turbofan for the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet, Eclipse Aviation on November 27 disclosed it has dropped Williams and is negotiating with “two Fortune 100 engine suppliers.” Eclipse 500 certification is expected to be delayed significantly.
Eclipse Aviation will partner with Global Aerospace to provide aircraft hull and liability insurance to owners of Eclipse 500s. “While it is too early to set premiums, Global expects insurance premiums for the new Eclipse 500 will be similar to those for existing aircraft,” said Eclipse officials.
Eclipse Aviation introduced an in-house mandatory training program for customers of its Eclipse 500 very light twinjet that includes pilot qualification and supplemental training by the University of North Dakota aerospace department. Jet-transition and type-rating courses will be provided free of charge with each Eclipse 500 purchased. A mandatory type-training admission evaluation will cost between $500 and $750.
At press time Eclipse Aircraft had flown the first Eclipse 500 very light jet just once–on August 26–pending the return of both engines from manufacturer Williams International of Walled Lake, Mich. Citing problems with engine accessories, fuel metering and starters, Eclipse sent both EJ22 turbofans back to the manufacturer not long after the first flight. On October 22 the right engine was back at Eclipse’s Albuquerque, N.M.
A scheduled meeting on October 24 between Eclipse Aviation and the JAA will mark the first step of the European certification process for the Eclipse 500 superlight jet. “This meeting will be an informal one,” a source at the French civil aviation authorities told AIN. The first official action will be Eclipse’s application for JAA certification.
Dr. Carl Chen, former chairman, president and CEO of AASI, suddenly replaced Jack Braly less than a week after the NBAA Convention last month as president and CEO of Sino Swearingen, developer of the long-delayed SJ30-2 business jet.
The resilience of general aviation was never more in evidence than at EAA’s AirVenture in late July, when an estimated 750,000 airplane buffs made the annual pilgrimage to east central Wisconsin for the 50th time.
Eclipse Aviation announced that it will partner with underwriter Global Aerospace Underwriters to provide hull and liability insurance to owners of owner-flown Eclipse 500s.
While most business jet manufacturers rarely announce how many airplanes they have built before providing quarterly shipment numbers to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Eclipse Aviation announced last month that it had delivered 45 aircraft in the first quarter. (“Delivered” airplanes have a bill of sale, the buyer has paid and signed the acceptance papers.)
Eclipse Aviation is breaking new ground again, but this time it’s in the California courts.