Eclipse VLJ Production, Improvements And Training Update

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Eclipse Aircraft says its Avio NG avionics package for the Eclipse 500 very light jet is progressing through testing at a pace that is slightly behind schedule, but the system has been flown on one jet. A second Avio NG-equipped 500 will fly later this month. The company believes it has identified and resolved a pitot/AOA system icing problem discovered in testing that resulted in loss of pitot pressure in both the left and right primary flight displays. A new system design has been submitted to the FAA for certification this month. Affected customers can seek retrofits in July. A new design intended to address fatigue cracks found in the outer layer of the windshield and side window has led to increased inspection and replacement intervals (inspection every 300 flights and replacement at 1,500 and 600 flights for windshield and side windows, respectively). The certification for the new window designs begins this month. Physical modifications to the aircraft for enhanced performance continue and certification for those is expected "soon." The first aircraft to incorporate all enhanced performance packages (S/N 39) is still in the production phase. Retrofits of previously completed aircraft will be scheduled beginning in July. Following an announcement at EBACE of a European order for 180 aircraft (120 firm and 60 options), Eclipse Aviation now says its single certified flight training device will soon be installed at Albuquerque, N.M. Training sessions are expected to begin this July, when the company's new training facility at Albuquerque Double Eagle II airport is slated to open. The company aims to wipe out the training backlog "by the end of summer."