Federal Aviation Administration Issues Airworthiness Directive for Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet
AD Requires Eclipse 500 Pilot Inspections; Eclipse 500 Fleet Remains Airborne
ALBUQUERQUE, NM . — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) for the Eclipse 500 fleet of aircraft manufactured by Eclipse Aviation. The AD, released late Thursday evening, was issued following an emergency landing performed by an Eclipse 500 pilot on June 5, 2008 at Chicago Midway International Airport. The two pilots and two passengers aboard the aircraft were not injured and the aircraft did not sustain any damage.
In advance of the premature National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) recommendation and the FAA’s issuance of the AD, Eclipse Aviation issued two communications proactively informing all Eclipse Aviation customers and Eclipse 500 operators of the occurrence in Chicago. As of this morning, all fleet operators using the Eclipse 500 already have complied with the AD inspection requirement, and their aircraft are in the air operating normally.
The AD requires a pilot inspection of the thrust quadrant assembly on each Eclipse 500 in advance of the aircraft’s next flight. Contrary to early erroneous reports, the AD does not require that any plane in the Eclipse 500 fleet be grounded. The required inspection of the thrust quadrant assembly can be performed by any licensed pilot and noted in an aircraft logbook. This inspection can be completed in less than 10 minutes. The isolated occurrence stems from an exceedance of certified design limits and Eclipse has instituted a procedure that deals with this condition.
“From this aircraft’s advanced design and development program, to the rigorous FAA certification process it underwent, to the exhaustive customer training program we deliver – the safety of the Eclipse 500 and well being of our customers is always our first priority. We are cooperating fully with the FAA investigation and have communicated everything we know and have learned about this situation to our Eclipse 500 customers and operators,” said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation.
This is the first report of an engine control failure on the Eclipse 500, and the first incident for an Eclipse 500 in more than 18,000 total fleet hours.
As directed by the FAA, Eclipse Aviation has updated the Eclipse 500’s Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) and Quick Reference Handbook (QRH), providing pilot instruction on how to handle a similar event.
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