Eclipse Aviation Confident in Outcome of FAA Special Certification Review
VLJ leader welcomes independent investigation; Eclipse 500 certification process one of the most rigorous in FAA history
ALBUQUERQUE, NM.- Eclipse Aviation®, manufacturer of the world’s first very light jet (VLJ), said it will cooperate fully with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) special certification review. Eclipse is confident the review will find that the Eclipse 500® was in full compliance with all federal regulations at the time of its certification, and that all FAA testing was completed with the highest degree of thoroughness, accuracy and integrity.
“Without a doubt, this special review will uncover what we already know - that the Eclipse 500 marks the safest new airplane introduction into service in 20 years,” said Roel Pieper, Eclipse Aviation’s CEO. “Customer safety has always been a priority at Eclipse, and we look forward to this investigation dispelling any inaccuracies about the certification of this airplane for once and for all.”
Eclipse 500 the Most Tested Part 23 Aircraft in Decades
With more than 5,000 test hours on six test aircraft, the Eclipse 500 is the most-tested Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 23 (general aviation) aircraft in decades. The average number of test hours for a general aviation aircraft is 1,100 hours.
Beginning in 1999, Eclipse worked with the FAA to ensure the Eclipse 500 complied with every FAA regulation from initial design to certification. Many steps were taken, including:
* Eclipse worked with specialists from 10 different FAA Aircraft Certification Offices (ACOs) and cross-functional FAA departments.
* The company was among the first to follow the FAA Certification Process Improvement (CPI) program. Detailed FAA involvement in a certification process is a hallmark of the CPI program.
* The CPI program allows the FAA to focus on safety-critical or unique design features as they are being created. Eclipse shared these and the preliminary design concepts of the Eclipse 500 with the FAA.
* The Eclipse 500 exceeded FAA requirements during static testing. The aircraft’s static tests included finding limit loads - the highest loads the aircraft would ever expect to experience - as well as ultimate loads (1.5 times limit loads). The airframe met all test points on the first test; a testament to the structural integrity of the Eclipse 500.
Since certification, Eclipse has delivered 245 aircraft, accumulated more than 32,000 total fleet hours and completed 20 months of customer shipments. When compared both to general aviation averages and the experiences of Eclipse Aviation’s direct competitors, Eclipse’s safety track record is unprecedented for a new FAR Part 23 aircraft.
Stringent Safety an Eclipse 500 Hallmark
The Eclipse 500 was built to deliver exceptional safety performance. The jet’s standard safety features rival those of aircraft costing millions more and include: autothrottle, color weather radar, a dual-redundant flight management system with sophisticated aircraft performance computer; “smart” electronic checklists, and an intelligent crew alert system. The state-of-the-art Eclipse 500 cockpit is designed for safety through the redundancy of vital systems and its sheer ability to reduce a pilot’s workload. To ensure availability of critical flight data, the Eclipse 500 is equipped with redundant, high reliability, solid state electronic sensors and displays.
For added safety and reliability, Eclipse designed Avio NG exclusively for the Eclipse 500 Jet®. Avio NG provides Total Aircraft Integration™ through integral, redundant computer systems and advanced data and power distribution systems. More than just an integrated avionics and instrument suite, Avio NG expands integration technology beyond the cockpit and applies it to the entire aircraft. Aircraft systems - including avionics, engine operation, fuel system, flaps, landing gear, cabin pressure and temperature, and many more - are centrally controlled by Avio NG. Avio NG significantly reduces pilot workload by simplifying tasks, generating useful information, managing systems and assisting in troubleshooting.
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