Keeping its promise, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation flew the first Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-powered Eclipse 500 certification flight-test aircraft at 10:16 a.m. MST on December 31. The milestone marked the beginning of a 15-month testing program that will involve seven test airframes and culminate with planned FAA certification in March next year.
Very light jets
Pratt & Whitney Canada recently reached the rated takeoff thrust of 1,350 pounds in sustained ground runs of its new PW615 turbofan engine, which will power the Cessna Citation Mustang. Cessna expects to receive the first engine shipsets early this year. Certification of the engine is planned by the end of 2005, and Cessna expects to certify the Mustang in the third quarter of 2006.
According to Aviation Technology Group, the assembly of its Javelin demonstrator prototype is progressing rapidly at Soloy’s facilities in Olympia, Wash. The test aircraft is currently being fitted with systems, in preparation for first flight early this year (a delay of one quarter from original estimates). Before Thanksgiving, the company completed structural testing on the prototype’s wings.
Embraer has named Elliott Aviation an authorized service center for the Phenom 100 and 300. The agreement includes routine inspections, scheduled and unscheduled airframe, engine, avionics and other systems maintenance and repairs. The company has facilities in Moline, Ill.; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis; and Omaha, Neb.
Delivery of the first Eclipse 500 very light jet happened on either Dec. 31, 2006, or Jan. 4, 2007, depending on how you count. Eclipse Aviation received its first certificate of airworthiness from the FAA on the last day of 2006 and announced that it had delivered its first airplane by the end of the year to co-owners David Crowe and fractional share/management firm Jet-Alliance. But it held a formal delivery ceremony on January 4.
After an extended gestation period and months of uncertainty about first delivery, Eclipse Aviation delivered its first production very light jet (VLJ). When the FAA awarded an airworthiness certificate for the first production Eclipse 500 in the closing hours of last year the Albuquerque, N.M.-based tyro airframe manufacturer immediately initiated a virtual “delivery” in which the co-owners completed the documents via fax.
Despite delays, which as of publication have seen only one of the new Eclipse 500 VLJs delivered, a niche market is doing business in sales of position numbers. According to one aircraft broker, around 100 of the airplanes have changed hands at a profit of $150,000 to $500,000 depending on how low the serial number is. Michael Press, president and CEO of Single Pilot Jet Management in St.
Scottsdale Ariz.-based fractional operator JetsAmerica is scheduled to take delivery of its first Eclipse 500 by the middle of next month, according to company chairman and CEO Brandon Carlson. The company offers quarter-share turnkey ownership in the new very light jet. A one-quarter share will equal 200 hours of real flight time; Carlson says owners won’t be penalized for taxiing or empty repositioning flights.
Pogo, a planned very light jet (VLJ) air-taxi operation launched in 2004 by former American Airlines chairman and CEO Robert Crandall, moved its schedule forward by one year and now expects to launch in June next year instead of in June 2009, likely using the Eclipse 500. A company official told AIN that Pogo has launched another funding search, this one to raise $35 million.
In preparation for introducing its A700 very light twinjet late next year, Adam Aircraft has teamed up with Chicago-based JSSI to offer owners an hourly maintenance plan.