Eclipse Certification Upheld

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The FAA has upheld the certification process for the Eclipse 500 very light jet but says problems with the trim and fire-extinguishing systems need to be addressed and issues with certification process itself should be tweaked. The agency ordered a review of the certification last month amid allegations by the FAA inspectors involved with the certification that it wasn't done properly. A committee of senior FAA certification experts headed by former Boeing executive Jerry Mack found the certification valid but noted problems with communication and coordination of the process. "This review tells us that while we made the right call in certifying this aircraft, the process we used could and should have been better coordinated," said Acting FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell. "These recommendations will be invaluable as we continue certifying these new types of aircraft."

The review panel says the FAA and Eclipse "should conduct a root cause analysis" of trim, trim actuator and fire-extinguisher problems reported by operators. The other recommendations appear to deal with internal processes at the FAA.