Eclipse Receives Production Certificate, Moves On To Training

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Multiple announcements from Eclipse last week publicized the company's new training partners, delivery from the FAA of Eclipse's production certificate (the company may now issue standard airworthiness certificates for its production aircraft) and questions regarding earlier issuance of its type certificate. In February, Eclipse announced that aerodynamic refinements (larger tip tanks and aerodynamic refinements) made to the aircraft would be standard on aircraft delivered in mid-April and beyond. (We'll soon find out if all aircraft produced now will adhere to the "B model" configuration with which Eclipse says all its aircraft will ultimately conform.) With its production certificate awarded in the last week of April, Eclipse can begin delivering toward a goal of about 400 aircraft this year. As for training, United Airlines and Eclipse last month parted ways, which would have seen United training Eclipse 500 pilots. Now, Flight Simulation Company (FSC) of The Netherlands and Higher Power Aviation (HPA) of Dallas-Fort Worth have joined with Eclipse in working with simulator manufacturer OPINICUS Corporation of Lutz, Fla. FSC will provide Eclipse's FAA-approved course content and HPA's flight instructors will conduct FAA-approved flight training. "Collectively, this team will work closely with Eclipse to deliver the comprehensive and rigorous Eclipse curriculum that was approved by the [FAA] earlier this year," Eclipse said. Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn added, "We look forward to joining forces with these respected organizations to create an entirely new generation of safe and highly-proficient jet pilots." According to Eclipse, "The Eclipse 500 training program is comprised of a multi-phase curriculum, including an initial flight skills assessment and supplemental training if required, self-paced computer-based study, emergency situation training, a type rating transition course, post-certification mentoring as well as recurrent training. The training curriculum was developed using Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) and Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) principles."