Eclipse Aviation founder and CEO Vern Raburn is convinced Europe will be fertile ground for his Eclipse 500 very light jet, in spite of critics who say the airplane will struggle as an air taxi in the restrictive operating environment on this side of the Atlantic.
Eclipse founder, president and CEO Vern Raburn likens the potential for the mass air-taxi market that he envisions to the network effect that took hold as e-mail gained its burgeoning following.
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.
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.
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.
The Cessna Citation Mustang on Friday became the first of a new segment of aircraft known as very light jets (VLJ) to be fully FAA type certified. Its Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F powerplant was FAA certified on the same day. According to Cessna, the type certification (TC) includes approval for the following operations: single-pilot, day, night, IMC and RVSM.
Three of the major players in the very light jet (VLJ) arena appeared before the Senate aviation subcommittee to address concerns that the new breed of aircraft will present insuperable challenges for the ATC system. Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton; Eclipse Aviation president Vern Raburn; and DayJet founder Ed Iacobucci took their case to Capitol Hill. Joining them were two top FAA officials and an aviation consultant.