Final Eclipse Paperwork Imminent, Also

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The FAA people involved with aircraft certification will be busy during the next few weeks. In addition to the Adam Aircraft A500 piston twin, Eclipse Aviation's Eclipse 500 VLJ, which received provision type certification during last month's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, is likely to get its full certification, also. Back in July, Eclipse CEO and President Vern Raburn told the throngs his company expected to receive full certification -- except for known icing and some of the avionics' software -- by the end of August. But well-placed sources tell AVweb that it's likely Eclipse will miss that self-imposed deadline. Instead of coming in under that wire in the next 24 or so hours, Eclipse now believes full FAA certification -- again with the above-mentioned caveats -- will be achieved sometime in September. Regardless of whether the company makes it over the certification finish line in September, or even by close of business tomorrow, you can bet your next fuel bill that the Eclipse 500 will be certified in time for a major splash at the upcoming NBAA convention, scheduled for Oct. 17 through 19 in Orlando, Fla.

It's hard to say which feature of the Eclipse 500 is most responsible for the delays, but vendors evidently share some of the blame. Eclipse's autopilot won't have full certification when the "provisional" moniker is lifted and the composite-material tip tanks -- which failed to pass the FAA's lightning-strike tests -- caused delays, too. They'll be replaced with metal ones, something else that's holding up the paperwork.