Eclipse Responds To Inspector General Report
Although the congressional panel that met in Washington on Wednesday said the issue wasn't Eclipse, but the FAA's allegedly inadequate oversight and flawed procedures, Eclipse Aviation has issued a "fact sheet" in response to the inspector general's testimony and other matters that arose at the hearing. The fact sheet, which is posted at an Eclipse Web site called eclipsefacts.com, disputes several statements made by the inspector general. It's not true, Eclipse said, that problems with the jet's tires occurred because they were designed for landings on soft fields. The tire supplier failed to meet durability standards as promised, Eclipse says, and a change in tire type is pending. Also, Eclipse says it's not true that EASA has declined to certify the EA500 to fly in Europe -- that certification is now in the works and is expected within 60 days. Eclipse notes that a statement was made at the hearing that one pilot who flew for Eclipse's largest customer [DayJet, which flies all the jets with two-pilot crews] "lacked the confidence that the aircraft could be operated safely by a single pilot." Eclipse says this is hearsay and "selectively choosing a single pilot to push the agenda of changing the Single Pilot certification of the Eclipse 500." However, the inspector general's report also states that the FAA Flight Standardization Board determined, prior to FAA certification, that the aircraft required a two-pilot crew.
Eclipse also said that the results of the FAA's Special Certification Review confirmed that the Eclipse 500 is safe and was properly certified. "The Eclipse 500 is one of the safest and most tested aircraft ever introduced into the market," the statement says. "The safety record reflects relatively small incidents and no injuries or fatalities. This safety record is a testimony to the fact that the aircraft was certified correctly following FAA established procedures, testing and certification requirements."