Eclipse Aviation selected Opinicus of Clearwater, Fla., to be the exclusive supplier of flight-training devices and simulators for the Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ). The first Eclipse 500 simulator is scheduled to be delivered to Eclipse training partner United Airlines Flight Training Center in Denver early next year, coinciding with the expected FAA certification of the VLJ.
Forecast International predicts that nearly 10,900 business jets worth $141 billion will be manufactured between this year and 2014. “Between 2005 and 2014, Cessna, Bombardier and Eclipse Aviation will lead the market in unit production,” said Raymond Jaworowski, the Newtown, Conn. firm’s senior aerospace analyst.
Eclipse Aviation’s fourth conforming Eclipse 500–and the first of its two beta-test jets–joined the flight-test fleet last month. As the company’s certification program advances, the two beta-test aircraft will be tested under accelerated usage conditions to ensure reliability and functionality before first customer deliveries next spring.
If giant airshows such as Paris, Farnborough, Asian Aerospace and Dubai–even NBAA– represent business aviation’s economic engine, then EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., (July 25 to July 31) measures the pulse of flying’s human side.
Halon fire-extinguishing agents have been used for many years to protect valuable electronics, oil and gas production facilities, military systems, aircraft and other critical operations. The Army Corps of Engineers developed Halon (short for halogenated hydrocarbons) in 1948 as a less toxic but highly effective alternative to methyl bromide.
At press time, FAA type certification continued to elude Eclipse Aviation for its very light jet, while Cessna confirmed speculation that it would be first to certify a VLJ when its Citation Mustang received Part 23 type certification for everything but known icing on September 8 (see page 1).
An ongoing “supplier problem” is casting a shadow over Eclipse Aviation’s receipt of its first FAA type inspection authorization earlier last month for the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet. The supplier problem–which outside sources say is related to the avionics system–could delay the March certification target for Eclipse’s very light jet. Eclipse at press time was meeting with the unidentified vendor in hopes of quickly resolving the issue.
In late December Eclipse Aviation confirmed that a supplier problem has delayed certification of its VLJ from next month to late in the second quarter. Despite the setback, at press time Eclipse said its five flying test aircraft have amassed more than 1,000 flight hours in just over 750 flights.
Eclipse Aviation won the National Aeronautic Association’s 2005 Robert J. Collier Trophy for achievement in aeronautics. The 95-year-old trophy, one of aviation’s most prestigious awards, will be presented to the company “for leadership, innovation and the advancement of general aviation” in the production of very light jets, specifically, the Eclipse 500.
A day after Teal Group lead analyst Richard Aboulafia was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying the nascent very light jet (VLJ) market has the potential for a spectacular flameout, Eclipse Aviation founder and CEO Vern Raburn fired back by calling the oft-quoted (some might say over-exposed) market forecaster’s comments “ignorant and stupid.”