All Eclipse Test Aircraft Flying Now...

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Eclipse Aviation last week announced the first flight of its fifth and final flight-test aircraft, N506EA. The aircraft is the company's fifth conforming flight-test aircraft and the second of its two beta test jets under the Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ) development program, which the company says is still on track for certification next March, followed closely by customer deliveries. Eclipse says N506EA will be used extensively for function and reliability testing under accelerated usage conditions. “We now have all five of our FAA-conforming flight test aircraft in various stages of flight testing and will be building flight hours at an unprecedented rate over the coming months,” said Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn. “This fleet of test aircraft will allow us to meet our goal of achieving FAA certification for the Eclipse 500 early next year and delivering jets to customers shortly thereafter.” The company says its flight-test fleet has accumulated nearly 300 flight hours as of late August, reached a maximum speed of 285 knots, a stall speed of 67 knots and a service ceiling of FL410. Additionally, static airframe testing will be completed in the coming weeks. N506EA will be showcased on static display at upcoming trade shows including the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association Expo in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 3-5, and the National Business Aviation Association Convention, presently still scheduled for New Orleans, La., Nov. 15-17.