Eclipse Adds Upgrades And One 'First'

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As part of the Eclipse 550 certification process, Eclipse Aerospace now has available a new "safety enhancement" package offering new or existing owners upgrades from brakes to multifunction displays, plus one "industry first," the company has announced. According to Eclipse, the addition of autothrottles as part of the new safety package marks a first within the very light jet category. The package, which also includes new EFIS software, anti-skid brakes, and a standby display, is built on the Eclipse Avio IFMS avionics suite, so existing owners must have upgraded (or must upgrade) to that package before they can consider the new enhancements. 

Eclipse CEO Mason Holland says offering the upgrade to existing jets "shows our commitment to the continuing support" of the Eclipse jet. The upgrades bring a new high-resolution 3.25" x 4.3" display to the cockpit, which presents standby information. The new EFIS software reduces button-pushing and presents full-size terminal charts with Vertical Situation Display, according to the company. It also provides fuel timing to each waypoint, E-Chart overlay on the active waypoint and other features that Eclipse believes will reduce pilot workload and improve situational awareness. The Eclipse jet in June earned an expanded airframe lifetime limit of 20,000 hours/20,000 cycles with an unlimited calendar life. That means that a jet flying 400 hours per year is now FAA-approved for a 50-year lifetime, with proper maintenance.