Eclipse Aviation Advances Certification Test Fleet

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There's a lot of mating going on in aviation this month. In addition to Cessna putting the wings on its first Citation Mustang, Eclipse Aviation last week announced its next two Eclipse 500s, N502EA and N504EA, have completed wing-mate and are standing on their own landing gear. These two aircraft will join N503EA, which has been in flight testing since Dec. 31, to complete the Eclipse 500 FAA certification flight-test fleet. A fourth aircraft, N505EA, which will be used in Eclipse’s beta test program, will be on its own gear by the end of this month. Meanwhile, the first conforming Eclipse 500, N503EA, continues its flight-testing regime and now enjoys a flight envelope expanded from 72 knots to 230 knots, up to 3 g and altitudes up to 17,500 feet. Flight-tested systems include fuel, electrical, pressurization, landing gear, flaps and engines. Additionally, N503EA has conducted flutter testing; longitudinal, lateral and directional stability and control; climb performance; and airspeed calibrations. Eclipse's flight-test instrumentation and telemetry system enables engineers in a ground station to monitor aircraft parameters in real time while collecting more than four gigabytes of data per flight hour. “The most recent wing mate was completed in less than 15 minutes ... and we have opportunities to reduce that time even further,” said Rod Holter, Eclipse VP of operations. “With one test aircraft flying and six more in production, we are making excellent progress down the manufacturing learning curve as we prepare for volume production of the Eclipse 500.”