FAA Mandates Upgrade To Eclipse Avionics

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"Uncommanded changes" to radio frequencies, altitudes and transponder codes by the electronic flight information systems in some Eclipse jets have been reported, the FAA says, and an Airworthiness Directive issued this week mandates upgrades to the system. The AD affects approximately 168 aircraft in the fleet, the FAA said, and depending what kind of system the airplane has, the fix could cost as little as $770 to $1,670, or as much as $249,950. The FAA said it has "no way of knowing" how many airplanes would need each type of upgrade. In a statement sent to AVweb on Wednesday, Eclipse Aerospace said the AD is related to a three-year-old Service Bulletin originally issued by Eclipse Aviation. "Eclipse Aerospace has verified that 90 percent of the fleet has previously complied with the service bulletin," the statement said. "By issuing this AD, the FAA is ensuring that the other 10 percent of the fleet complies ... Eclipse Aerospace supports the FAA's adoption of this AD and encourages all remaining operators to comply with its requirements."

Eclipse Aerospace, based in Albuquerque, took over the type design from the former Eclipse Aviation in 2009. The entire fleet comprises 260 airplanes. Eclipse Aerospace has been providing service and support to the fleet, and has bought back and refurbished some of the airplanes and is reselling them as the "Total Eclipse." The company has also been working to upgrade the fleet to meet its original operating targets.