Building a new engine is a huge gamble, but if the timing is right the payoff can be enormous. For Pratt & Whitney Canada, offering the PW600 series to aircraft manufacturers in the early 2000s turned out to be a smart move. Three manufacturers chose the PW600 for their respective very light jet programs–the Cessna Mustang (PW615F), Eclipse 500 (PW610F) and Embraer Phenom 100 (PW617F).
Very light jets
For this year’s look in the crystal ball, AIN added a number of aircraft to the list to reflect ongoing programs more accurately. While many of these aircraft are derivative and not original certifications, they are still new and deserve to be counted.
Eclipse Aviation has further refined the Model 500 very light jet’s design to reach performance goals, according to a customer technical communication sent to buyers on December 4.
These refinements are part of a year-long performance improvement program designed to help the Model 500 reach the promised speed of 370 knots and 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR, 100-nm alternate).
Eclipse Aviation is facing further issues in its effort to begin deliveries of its very light jet and sent a 12-page letter to customers November 14 outlining wing-attach fitting and cockpit window cracking problems. Following receipt of FAA type certification on September 30, Eclipse has yet to deliver its first airplane but expects to do so within days, president and CEO Vern Raburn told AIN.
In a letter sent yesterday to Eclipse 500 buyers, Eclipse Aviation outlined design changes to help the very light twinjet achieve promised performance goals. Changes include larger metal tip tanks, which add three gallons to the previously announced 16.5 per side, for a total of 19.5 gallons per tank. Total fuel capacity will be 1,668 pounds, while mtow will remain 5,920 pounds, for a decrease in useful load of 40 pounds.
It was no big secret before this year’s NBAA Convention that Piper would be announcing plans for a single-engine jet, and indeed Piper did unveil its PiperJet on October 17. At the time, Piper had not yet selected an engine manufacturer. Early last month at the AOPA Expo in Palm Springs, Calif., Piper revealed that a Williams International FJ44-3AP will power the PiperJet.
A day before Honda Aircraft formally announced that the HondaJet will use the GE-Honda HF120 engine, Spectrum Aeronautical announced that its new all-composite midsize Freedom S-40 jet will be powered by the HF120, at a thrust rating of more than 2,000 pounds. The stand-up-cabin Freedom will cruise at up to 435 knots, and fly 2,200 nm at up to 45,000 feet. Certification and entry-into-service is set for 2010.
Honda Aircraft and Spectrum Aeronautical both announced at the NBAA Convention that they will use the GE-Honda HF120 engine in their new business jets.
Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TAM) has concluded an agreement with Oregon-based Epic Aircraft to license-build the Epic Jet and market it in East Europe. The all carbon fiber aircraft powered by two Williams FJ33 engines is scheduled to begin flight trials in the first quarter of next year, leading to certification in mid-2007.
The new Eclipse 500 very light jet isn’t physically here in Singapore but its U.S. manufacturer is convinced that it has a bright future in the Asia/Pacific region. “If the show had been even two or three months later we would have brought an Eclipse 500 for the static display but the big issue right now is time available for flight testing.