FAA Eclipse certification was 'right call'

September 12, 2008

An FAA-appointed team that reviewed the agency’s certification process for the Eclipse EA500 found the very light jet was subject to the proper safety regulations—but the FAA should improve its policies and internal communications.

“This review tells us that while we made the right call in certifying this aircraft, the process we used could and should have been better coordinated,” said Robert Sturgell, the FAA’s acting administrator. “These recommendations will be invaluable as we continue certifying these new types of aircraft.”

Jerry Mack, a former Boeing executive, headed the review team that looked into certification of the EA500’s trim, flaps, cockpit displays, and stall speeds. The team made six recommendations that the FAA said it will adopt, including improving communication between the responsible FAA offices.

The FAA is currently evaluating certification applications for eight VLJ types.