For the first time in more than four years, new aircraft have emerged from the former Eclipse Aviation final-assembly facility in Albuquerque, N.M. Two unfinished airframes left on the assembly line when that company declared bankruptcy in November 2008 were recently completed by the resurrected company, Eclipse Aerospace, and outfitted as factory-new Total Eclipse twinjets.
Very light jets
This formation of 27 Eclipse light jets was part of a larger group that descended on Branson Airport in Missouri for the Eclipse Owners Club Fall Fly-In last month. Forty-three of the twinjets met up in what was one of the largest gatherings of the same model private jet ever to land on a field at one time. Eclipse Aviation built 261 of the EA500s before it went bankrupt in 2008. Eclipse Aerospace, which acquired the company’s assets, announced it has restarted production with deliveries of the updated Eclipse 550 expected next year.
Cessna Aircraft brought a fuselage mockup of what it describes as the basis for a new series of light jets to the NBAA Convention this week in Orlando, Fla. The airframer is seeking customer input on the design as it begins to narrow down specifications for an eventual product launch. New this year at its NBAA booth, Cessna is also offering a virtual-reality simulation of several of its aircraft, which allows guests to immerse themselves in the cabins and instantly change various features.
Eclipse Aerospace took an important and large step toward resuming new production of its light twinjet yesterday. The company placed a production order Innovative Solutions & Support (Booth No. 4331) for the initial 50 of 300 shipsets ordered of the Eclipse 550 Avio integrated flight management system (IFMS), which includes dual FMS, autothrottles, synthetic vision, integrated Taws and enhanced vision system (EVS). The IS&S suite also features electronic circuit breakers, radios, transponders and radar.
Embraer’s Legacy 500 program is gathering pace as the new midsize business jet is prepared for its maiden flight.
This week at the NBAA Convention, Embraer Executive Jets is displaying a complete Legacy 450 cabin and cockpit mockup for the first time. The mid-light Legacy 450, which is expected to enter service in 2015, is designed to carry up to nine passengers and have a range of 2,300 nm with four passengers at Mach 0.78. The interior on display, which was designed in partnership with DesignworksUSA, features a stand-up cabin with a flat floor.
Embraer Executive Jets is expanding its Melbourne, Fla. campus. Already home to a Phenom 100 and 300 assembly plant and a state-of-the-art customer center, Embraer has begun construction on a 67,000-sq-ft engineering and technology center announced earlier this year.
It’s been a bit more than three years since Eclipse Aerospace was awarded the assets of bankrupt Eclipse Aviation in August 2009, not quite enough time, perhaps, to fully separate conversations about the former from the mixed record of its predecessor, but Mason Holland, CEO of Eclipse Aerospace, told AIN the company is weary of “Phoenix rising from the ashes” stories and declared it has made considerable progress updating a
Honda Aircraft has started the production line for its $4.5 million HondaJet entry-level twinjet. A handful of initial customer aircraft are scheduled to be completed next year. Honda expects FAA certification of the HondaJet’s GE Honda HF120 engine (2,095 pounds of thrust/5,000-hour TBO) in the middle of next year and aircraft certification in 2013.
GE Honda Aero completed water-ingestion testing on the HF120 engine that powers Honda Aircraft’s HondaJet in early September. The tests were done in one of GE’s Peebles, Ohio test cells and are just one of many the HF 120 has passed during a busy year as the engine nears FAA certification.