Pilot Error Blamed In Eclipse 500 Gear-Up Landing

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As AVweb reported last week, Eclipse Aviation Corporation's fourth FAA-conforming flight-test aircraft, N505EA, experienced a gear-up landing on Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Albuquerque International Sunport. There were no injuries to the two pilots aboard the aircraft, which was landing at the conclusion of a test flight. The company said the incident resulted from pilot error -- Eclipse did not name the crew -- and that no aircraft mechanical or electrical problems contributed to it. The flight-test aircraft was attempting to land on Runway 3. Subsequently, the aircraft was towed back to the company's hangar shortly after the event. Eclipse is still evaluating the aircraft, but initial reports indicate the damage to N505EA is repairable. The company currently has four other flying aircraft in flight testing. “We are very thankful that no one was hurt and pleased that the aircraft will fly again,” said Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn. “Due to a sturdy and well-built design, the Eclipse 500 can withstand events like this without injuries or catastrophic damage. We are evaluating the damage to the aircraft, but are confident that we will demonstrate how easily a friction stir welded structure can be fixed.”