Federal Officials To Investigate Eclipse Jet Safety

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The Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General is investigating a complaint that the FAA certified the Eclipse E500 jet "despite safety concerns raised by the engineers and test pilots," USA Today reported on Tuesday, citing "congressional officials." A briefing on the report is expected "within weeks," according to Jim Berard, spokesman for the House Transportation Committee. Questions about the certification process were raised in October 2006, when the National Air Traffic Controllers Association filed a grievance with the FAA alleging that the type certificate was issued by FAA managers over a weekend and safety issues raised by staffers were not addressed. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told USA Today that the FAA stands behind its certification of the jet, and Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn said the airplane is in "complete and total conformity" with federal regulations.

He added that he believes the issue is just a dispute between workers and management at the FAA.