Eclipse 500 Obtains Type Certification
On Saturday, Eclipse Aviation received FAA type certification for the Eclipse 500, nine months later than originally planned when the company announced in early 2003 that it would have to modify the design due to switching from the Williams EJ22 turbofan to the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F. Eclipse blamed the latest delay on the aircraft’s Avio avionics system, which first was plagued by supplier changes and vendor delays (namely Avidyne and Meggitt, according to Eclipse) and now technical problems holding up full certification of several major systems. The TC clears the Eclipse 500 throughout the full operating envelope for single-pilot, day/night and IFR/VFR operations and group RVSM approval, but not yet for flight into known icing. Software updates for the Avio’s FMS, moving map, weather radar and GPS WAAS functions are expected to be available this month, while autothrottle, e-checklists, TCAS, TAWS and satellite weather functionality will be added over the next year via software updates. The Citation Mustang on September 8 became the first fully FAA-certified VLJ.