Eclipse Certification Hearings, The Aftermath

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Formal ramifications from a Sept. 17 congressional hearing that heard criticism of the FAA's certification of the Eclipse 500 from Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel may be few, but that doesn't mean the issue is going quietly into the night. A recent take on the events remains critical of the hearing's direction, stating the DOT IG believes the hearing's focus was "mainly on the FAA's actions rather than the safety of the Eclipse jets." The article, published Friday in New Mexico Business Weekly, points again to Scovel's belief that the problems and concerns raised by FAA inspectors during the certification process were granted a pass, allowing Eclipse to save fixes for a later date. It states specifically that, regarding the Eclipse flight software, "the FAA issued a design certificate even though Eclipse's software supplier had only completed 23 of 65 required tests." Of deficiencies that remained unresolved upon the FAA's April 10, 2007, award of a production certificate to Eclipse, 13 today remain as unresolved, according to Scovel. Following the hearing, the FAA's position on the matter is clear: The Eclipse 500 aircraft are fully deserving of certification and completely safe.