One Aviation on Friday achieved the first flight of its Eclipse 700 testbed aircraft, an experimental Eclipse 500 fitted with an aerodynamically conforming version of the planned aircraft’s larger wing. In a company Facebook post, One Aviation test pilot Jerry Chambers reported that during the 1.3-hour flight the aircraft “felt very solid, a testament to the engineering and build teams.”
N990NE is the first of three planned testbed aircraft to test specific components for the Eclipse 700, a larger version of the Eclipse 500 featuring a new wing for increased performance and fuel capacity and a 14-inch fuselage extension. According to the company, subsequent testbeds will be developed for the Eclipse 700’s Garmin G3000-based avionics and Williams FJ33-5A powerplants.
The September 1 flight came eight years to the day since Eclipse Aerospace took over operations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to handle maintenance and upgrades to approximately 260 aircraft manufactured by the former Eclipse Aviation. The company introduced the “Total Eclipse” refurbishment program and later resumed new aircraft manufacturing with the Eclipse 550.
In April 2015, Eclipse Aerospace merged with Kestrel Aviation, developers of the K350 turboprop single, to form One Aviation. The new company announced “Project Canada,” which later became the Eclipse 700, last year.