Eclipse Flight-Test Program Accelerates

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Eclipse Aviation earlier this month announced reaching new milestones in its efforts to certify is Eclipse 500 very light jet by March 2006. According to the company, Eclipse conducted successful engine inlet icing tests for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F destined to power the twinjet, fulfilling these FAA requirements for the aircraft and its power plants. The tests were completed in Canadaís National Research Councilís approved icing tunnel located in Ottawa. Meanwhile, one of several Eclipse flight-test aircraft, N503EA, recently expanded the aircraft's flight envelope to 25,000 feet. In early April, the aircraft amassed 15.0 hours in 10 flights, almost half of its 33 total flight hours to date. Eclipse also is bringing along other examples in its five-ship flight-test fleet. The company said it had completed initial engine testing and low-speed taxi tests on its second certification test jet, N502EA. That aircraft subsequently flew for the first time on April 14, giving the company two aircraft actively engaged in airborne certification tests. The aircraft, which was piloted by test pilots Ed Grabman and Brian Mathy, successfully completed all tests, including handling qualities at various flap settings, flap and trim operations, cabin pressurization and electrical system testing. The flights were conducted in a designated test zone located south of Albuquerque, N.M.