Eclipse To Begin Deliveries "Very Soon"
Even while it was basking in the commendable glow of finally earning full FAA type certification for its Eclipse 500 VLJ on Sept. 30, Eclipse Aviation faced the daunting prospect of transforming itself from a product development company into one that actually has to manufacture that product. The company, saying it used "technologies and business practices forged in the technology industry" to develop the new airplane, now must find ways to translate that "new-tech" way of thinking into actually rolling those airplanes out the factory door. When will the first delivery occur? Eclipse isn't saying, but AVweb can go out on a limb to say it will probably be next week, either during or shortly after NBAA's annual meeting and convention concludes in Orlando. The first aircraft will go to a private individual, David Crow. The second one will go to DayJet, the start-up "per-seat, on-demand" operator, which will initially focus its efforts on city-pair markets in Florida and the southeastern U.S.
The Sept. 30 granting of a full type certificate -- Eclipse received a provisional type certificate in July -- includes FAA approval of the aircraft throughout its full operating envelope, including single-pilot operation, day/night VFR/IFR, plus reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) certification of all Eclipse 500s. Additionally, the FAA has qualified the aircraft to noise levels well below Stage 4 limits. For its part, Eclipse says its manufacturing line is tooled and designed for high-volume, low-cost production. Over the next few years, Eclipse says it will shift its focus to fulfilling over 2,500 orders customers have already placed for its jet. The Eclipse 500 features a maximum cruise speed of 370 knots, can carry up to six occupants and has a 1,125-nm range. Look for it coming soon to an airport near you.