Eclipse 'Greenest' Airplane?

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Eclipse Aviation says it's setting the standard for environmental impact with its Eclipse 500. CEO Vern Raburn told a news conference at the National Business Aviation Association convention that on (his) scale of 30, his company's jet is a perfect 30 in environmental impact. He said he invites comparisons on key indicators of environmental responsibility and he's confident the 500 will prevail. Raburn said that in terms of fuel consumption, emissions, hazardous materials and recyclability, the 500 is "already green." Raburn's also defended his product against critics.

Raburn said the process of creating the company and getting the airplane certified was more difficult than he planned and he accepted responsibility for the various setbacks. But he said the company continues to be the target of unfair criticism. He was particularly upset by the suggestion of a well-known writer in an influential magazine that Eclipse's single-engine concept jet might be safer at lower altitudes than its projected ceiling of 41,000 feet in case the engine fails and isn't able to supply air for pressurization.

"I'm tired of this kind of crap being thrown around by people who ought to know better," he said. In response to a question from a reporter, Raburn said that he no longer makes predictions about production schedules and timelines. "I'm always wrong," he said.