Eclipse Aerospace received FAA approval for the extension of the service life of the Eclipse 500 and 550 to 20,000 hours/20,000 cycles with unlimited calendar life. According to the company, the life extension will provide the typical Eclipse Jet owner with more than 50 years of operation at typical usage rates, as well as improved airframe residual value.
Friction stir welding
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.
EADS Innovation Works is reviewing options for the materials Airbus could use on an airplane to replace the A320eo in 2022. The competition between metal and composites remains intense, prompting EADS IW boss Yann Barbaux to advise against betting on a full-composite airplane, now designated the A30X.
Eclipse Aerospace announced at last month’s NBAA Convention that it is resuming new-build production of its iconic very light twinjet, newly dubbed the Eclipse 550. At the show, Eclipse began taking orders for the new jet, which sells for $2.695 million (2011 $). The company expects to produce 50 to 100 Eclipse 550s per year once production resumes in 2013.
Eclipse Aerospace has completed fatigue testing of the Eclipse 500 and is in the process of getting this data together to submit to the FAA, company executive vice president Mike Press told AIN at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-in last week.
Aluminum specialist Alcan (Hall 2 Stand B19) is developing new alloys and new processes to better compete with composite materials, the proportion of which has been steadily increasing in airframes over the past decades. At Voreppe in France, Alcan Engineered Products (Alcan EP) has a major research-and-development (R&D) center to devise and test these solutions.
Eclipse Aviation displayed a new mockup of its redesigned Eclipse 500 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., last month, but first flight of the genuine article has been pushed back 30 days (to next July, rather than June) and certification pushed back six months to December 2003.
Under a bowl of scorching blue New Mexico sky, Eclipse Aviation rolled out the first Eclipse 500 at its Albuquerque facility on July 13–one big step toward confounding the skeptics who insist the startup company will never be able to deliver a certified six-seat twinjet at the promised price of $837,500. The next step will be first flight, possibly before you hold this magazine in your hands.
Eclipse Aviation is committed to becoming, in the words of its founder, president and CEO, Vern Raburn, “The Ford Motor Company of business aviation.” To that end, it plans to attain an annual production capacity of 1,500 Eclipse 500 very light jets by 2009, using advances in production technology reminiscent of the mass-production assembly line and interchangeable parts innovations with which Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile industry
With the Falcon 7X, French-based manufacturer Dassault has cut in half the time it takes it to build the first example of a new top-end business jet. The company is using digital design and construction tools to streamline the assembly process. At the same time, lower development and production costs have a favorable effect on the price of the 5,700-nm trijet, Dassault claims.
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