After rising from the ashes of bankruptcy in 2009 and following substantial minority investment by Sikorsky late last year, Eclipse Aerospace announced at NBAA 2011 today that it will restart production of the Eclipse very light jet in 2013.
Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland said the company is currently building two refurbished Total Eclipse jets a month and still hopes to eventually start up a new aircraft production line. “We’ve got pretty good throughput now,” he said, adding that the company’s top priority is supporting the 260 aircraft that came off the production line at the original Eclipse Aviation before it cratered into bankruptcy in 2008.
The FAA has cleared all Eclipse 500 very light jets to return to a maximum certified service ceiling of 41,000 feet, contingent upon the installation of recently recertified combustion liners. Eclipse Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney Canada worked together to resolve carbon buildup on the static vanes of a limited number of P&WC PW610F engines.
Sikorsky Aircraft president (and Eclipse 500 owner) Jeffrey Pino shed more light on the company’s investment in Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace, including the possibility of restarting production of the EA-500 very light jet, last month at the Paris Air Show. “We’re good at working with supply chains, driving them down in cost, positioning things in the market [and providing] good aftermarket support,” Pino told AIN.
Eclipse Aerospace received FAA approval for its newly redesigned PhostrEx fire-suppression system canister on the Eclipse 500. The new, all-welded canister stores contents at a lower pressure, resolving the leakage problems the original design encountered. The improved PhostrEx canister was tested extensively and consistently met all design specifications, Eclipse said.
Sikorsky Aircraft president Jeff Pino shed more light on the company’s investment in Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace, including the possibility of restarting production of the EA-500 very light jet, during a meeting this week at the Paris Air Show. “We’re good at working with supply chains, driving them down in cost, positioning things in the market [and providing] good aftermarket support,” Pino told AIN.
Eclipse Aerospace has completed fatigue testing of the Eclipse 500 and is in the process of assembling the data to submit to the FAA, company executive vice president Mike Press told AIN. Once it submits this data, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse will seek to increase the Eclipse 500’s lifecycle limit from 10,000 to 20,000 cycles.
AIN met up with Eclipse Aerospace executive vice president Mike Press last week at the Sun n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Florida, to get an update on the Eclipse 500 program. Press reported that things are going well at the Albuquerque-based company since its rebirth after bankruptcy two years ago.
The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive for the Eclipse 500 last month that, as of March 21, would limit the airplane’s maximum operating altitude to 30,000 feet.
The FAA is superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for the Eclipse EA-500 with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-A engines. The existing AD requires operators to limit their maximum operating altitude to 37,000 feet. The new AD would restrict maximum operating altitude to 30,000 feet.