Eclipse Aviation Releases Final Eclipse 500 Performance Numbers

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Eclipse Aviation last week confirmed the industry's worst-kept secret -- it wasn't going to achieve FAA certification of its very light jet (VLJ) by its self-imposed target of June 30. In a June 25 statement, the company formally announced the delay and, as predicted, said "continued supplier delays have pushed the schedule back." The company said it was close to certification -- very close -- but that major milestone would have to be pushed back a few weeks. “We are on the verge of achieving FAA certification, and are thrilled to be gearing up to begin delivering airplanes to our customers,” said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse. “While the majority of our certification program has been completed, we have faced ongoing supplier delays to obtain TSOs for their systems that have pushed back our projected late June certification by another several weeks." In the bargain, however, Eclipse reminded industry its airplane would be the first VLJ to achieve FAA certification and used the opportunity to announce final performance numbers for the new jet.

According to the company, the Eclipse 500 will offer a maximum cruise speed of 370 knots, a stall speed of 69 knots, a useful load of 2,400 pounds, a two-engine climb rate of 3,314 fpm and a range of 1,125 nm (with four occupants, NBAA IFR reserves, 100-nm alternate). Although the announcement didn't include single-engine rate of climb, the company's published performance numbers include a 708 fpm value with one engine turning and one burning. Admitting that speed and range are slightly off the numbers his company predicted in 2003, Raburn added that useful load and rate of climb performance will exceed previous estimates. But, that's not all. “Our customers will be getting a stellar aircraft, and one that features significant upgrades that exceed their original expectations,” commented Raburn. “These include a major engine enhancement, unprecedented aircraft integration, airline-like reliability, an unmatched training experience and an unrivaled product support plan that will set a new standard for general aviation."