Eclipse Flight Testing Moves Forward

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As AVweb reported Monday, Eclipse Aviation Corporation on Saturday rolled out its first certification flight test aircraft equipped with two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW610F turbofan engines. Eclipse 500, N503EA, is scheduled for its first flight by Dec. 31, 2004. Vern Raburn, Eclipse president and CEO, said, "Over the coming months, we will have five test aircraft flying as well as airframes for static and fatigue testing. The Eclipse 500 remains on track for FAA certification in March 2006." The new airframe joins four others: N502EA, to be used for FAA certification flight test, with a focus on aerodynamics and structures; N504EA, also to be used for certification testing, with a focus on avionics and electronics; and N505EA and N506EA, both of which are beta test aircraft, for accelerated usage testing. The company first flew an Eclipse 500, N500EA, in August 2002. Since then, Eclipse has been manufacturing pre-production aircraft.