Eclipse 500, Citation Mustang in Tight Race

 - August 18, 2006, 5:54 PM
It’s going to be a photo finish between the Eclipse 500 and Cessna Citation Mustang in the race for full FAA type certification (TC). Yesterday, Cessna completed the 150-hour function and reliability testing, the last major hurdle before TC. The Wichita manufacturer is still trying to complete a 45-minute icing test so the very light jet will be certified from the outset for flight into known icing, but finding natural icing conditions is difficult during the summer. Meanwhile, Eclipse is hoping to get the TC for the Eclipse 500 by August 30, a little more than a month after receiving provisional certification (the FAA said this provisional approval “signifies its intent to certify the aircraft soon”). According to Eclipse, certification will include day/night, VFR/IFR, single pilot and RVSM operations, though the aircraft’s initial avionics functionality will be limited. FMS, moving map, weather radar and GPS WAAS functions are expected to be available in October, while autothrottle, e-checklists, TCAS, TAWS and satellite weather software won’t be ready for another six to 12 months, Eclipse said. Flight into known icing approval is expected by year-end.