Eclipse Aviation Reveals Single-Engine Eclipse Concept Jet
Leading VLJ manufacturer to use new concept aircraft to explore and evaluate single-engine jet market.
OSHKOSH, WI— This morning at EAA AirVenture, Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world’s first very light jet (VLJ), unveiled an innovative new concept aircraft. The Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ) is a single-engine turbofan powered, V-tail aircraft that Eclipse will use to conduct market research on the emerging single-engine jet category. Until today, Eclipse’s concept jet had been kept completely under wraps, with very few of the company’s employees aware of its development.
The ECJ was flown into Oshkosh last night and was taxied to the Eclipse Aviation booth this morning by President and CEO Vern Raburn. The jet will remain in the Eclipse booth throughout the entire show, along with a full-scale ECJ interior mockup display. The ECJ is the result of an aggressive just over six month development schedule from design to first flight. Initial design kicked off in mid-January of this year, with first flight occurring on July 2. To date, the aircraft has accumulated just under 30 flight hours. The ECJ has flown at speeds up to 250 knots and altitudes up to 25,000 feet and successfully demonstrated gear and flap operation since its very first flight. The ECJ has also conducted initial flutter testing, pre-stall testing, engine restart, and other flight envelope expanding test points.
Eclipse’s ECJ program is designed to help the company analyze demand trends within the growing single-engine jet marketplace, and gain customer insight on potential future aircraft products and designs. The initiative is modeled after the automobile industry’s concept cars, which showcase advanced styling and technology to assess customer reactions to new car designs which may or may not eventually be produced and gauge the potential market size.
“The Eclipse Concept Jet will allow us to obtain real, quantifiable data that looks objectively at this developing category,” said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. “While today we have no production plans for the ECJ, we are constantly evaluating markets for future Eclipse products. As evidenced by the Eclipse 500 in the twin turbofan segment, our sole focus is the design and manufacture of aircraft that drive significant improvements in customer value and hence, create or expand very large markets. We are anxious to reveal the potential of this emerging category, and our opportunity to add real value to it.”
The ECJ is estimated to cruise at a top speed of 345 knots and its service ceiling will be 41,000 feet, yet needs no more than 2,200 feet of runway to take off or land. The aircraft’s range is estimated to be 1,250 nautical miles. A unique element of the ECJ’s aerodynamic design is its empennage, which features an external mounted engine pod and V-Tail vertical surfaces that create exceptional aerodynamic, weight, and operational benefits.
The ECJ shares a number of design elements with the Eclipse 500. Common to the ECJ and the Eclipse 500 are the wing assembly minus the tip tanks, which includes the ailerons, the fuel system, main landing gear and actuators, flaps and flap actuators, wheels and brakes. The nose assembly is also common to both aircraft and includes the nose landing gear assembly, landing gear doors, forward pressure bulkhead, air conditioning and oxygen supply.
The ECJ also features Eclipse’s Avio NG system. The all-electric ECJ design delivers full Avio NG functionality, including aircraft computer systems, flight control trims, autopilot, electrical power distribution, FADEC, air data, AHRS, landing gear and flap actuation. Leveraging Avio NG’s Total Aircraft Integration™, all of the ECJ’s major system components are controlled and managed using Avio NG – exactly as they are on the Eclipse 500.
Building off the foundation provided in Avio NG, the ECJ is presented with one primary flight display and one multifunction display. Additional primary flight instrumentation requirements are currently being studied for inclusion in the ECJ flight deck. The sidestick controlled ECJ is also presented containing very similar instrument panel layouts as the Eclipse 500. A new concept panel has been created for the thrust console, which includes a rotary knob thrust lever with thrust position lighting, retractable pilot keyboard, and single push button engine control. A concept overhead panel includes exterior lighting controls and a LED lit panel with the intent of showing passengers specific flight parameters such as groundspeed, heading, and estimated time enroute.
The sleek interior of the ECJ takes its design cues from high-end sports car manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari and Jaguar. Styled in black, orange, and grey leather with brushed metals throughout, the passenger cabin features a bench seat with integrated armrests, and fold-over capability to access the internal baggage area. The bench seat also has a vertical-tracking capability, allowing for a large amount of flexible leg room. Both rear passenger seats have access to 110V power plugs, cup holders and integrated MP3 player plugs for audio entertainment. Access into and out of the cabin is provided through one left side door, allowing simple entrance to flight deck and passenger seats. External baggage is available in the tail of the ECJ, which has the capacity to hold up to three full sets of golf clubs or skis.
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