Eclipse 500 Windscreen Cracks Also A Concern

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The memo to customers also identifies another problem seen in the test fleet -- windscreen cracking in the patch holes, where the windscreen attaches to the airframe. Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn said the cracks are only on the outer layer, so they aren't posing any pressurization problems (at least not yet). "However, it is a fatigue issue," he told AVweb, "and they're occurring much sooner than they should." In the short-term, Eclipse will require future operators to conduct a 100-cycle visual inspection to check for any windscreen cracks. Longer term, the company is working on an improved windscreen mounting method, which will be retrofitted to the fleet at Eclipse's cost. "We will have a fix in short order," Raburn promised. The memo also addresses concerns posted on blogs about the very light jet's center of gravity. "As with most small jets, the c.g. is naturally a little aft," Raburn told AVweb. "However, this poses a problem only when there's a 95-pound [sole-occupant] pilot and a light fuel load," implying that few, if any, customers will have c.g. issues with the airplane under normal operations.