Eclipse Marks Successful Maiden Flight Of Third Eclipse 500 Jet


Meanwhile, Eclipse is not letting any grass grow under its feet. The company last month announced the first flight of its third Eclipse 500 VLJ. The aircraft, N504EA, is the second to join the company’s flight-test fleet in the same month. With three VLJs now in active flight testing, Eclipse says it “continues to demonstrate rapid progress toward FAA certification,” presently scheduled for the first calendar quarter of 2006. During its first flight, N504EA reached an altitude of 16,800 feet and 170 knots. The airframe is being used for testing of the Eclipse 5000’s electrical system, displays, communication and navigation system, autopilot system, the radar and the datalink systems. Like Eclipses first two flight-test aircraft, N504EA is a fully equipped production prototype. According to Eclipse, N504EA took off from the Albuquerque International Sunport at 2:10 p.m. local time and flew a one-hour test card. The aircraft, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW610F turbofan engines, was piloted by test pilots Brian Mathy and Ed Grabman and successfully completed all tests, including handling qualities at various flap settings, flap and trim operations, cabin pressurization, avionics, and electrical system testing. Eclipse says its flight-test fleet has accumulated more than 40 flight test hours since April 1, as the pace of testing continues to accelerate.