Eclipse 500 Upgrades On Track
A letter to customers and investors sent on Monday by Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn says that the Eclipse 500 performance modification certification program has moved into the final stage and is "on schedule" for completion by mid-April. "In addition, the Avio NG development program is making great progress and moving toward the scheduled completion this summer," he adds. Raburn also addresses the very light jet's weight since Avio NG is marginally heavier than the original system, and the performance improvements have added some bulk as well. "While these enhancements have increased weight in the aircraft … full fuel payload and useful load, remain unchanged," he says. Besides the product improvements, "we have made significant progress on weight reductions throughout the aircraft. From the moment we received our Provisional Type Certification at AirVenture last summer, we have had a corporate commitment to constantly improve the Eclipse 500, and one significant area of improvement has been weight reduction." The weights for the final Eclipse 500 configuration with the complete performance modifications (extended tiptanks and drag-reduction mods) and Avio NG are as follows: max ramp, 5,950 pounds (a 79-pound increase); max takeoff, 5,995 pounds (up 75 pounds); basic empty, 3,629 pounds (a 79-pound increase); max fuel, 1,686 pounds (no change); zero fuel, 4,992 pounds (up 116 pounds); full-fuel payload, 714 pounds (no change); and useful load, 2,400 pounds (no change). Raburn emphasizes "that these weight increases will not affect operations … the performance improvements have actually resulted in improvements in virtually all areas of performance, not just in the area of speed and range." The letter does not address which serial number will be the first final-configuration Eclipse 500 to come off the production line, but it does commit to retrofitting airplanes delivered before the switchover.