April 2, 2013
By Jim Moore
The Eclipse 550 will include interior updates to the same airframe as the Eclipse 500 shown here.
Eclipse Aerospace announced March 28 a final FAA clearance to complete assembly and commence certification testing for the new Eclipse 550.
The development, following the first engine start in March, means the Albuquerque, N.M., firm remains on track to begin deliveries in the third quarter of the first Eclipse twin-jets produced in years.
Eclipse Aerospace has gained final approval to assemble and test the Eclipse 550 for certification testing. Photo courtesy Eclipse Aerospace.
“Manufacturers are typically required to build their first group of aircraft under the supervision of the FAA,” said Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland, in a news release. “The fact that every new Eclipse 550 will be delivered under a full FAA Production Certificate speaks volumes about our team and our systems.”
Eclipse Aerospace Inc. was launched in 2009 when owners banded together to purchase the remnants of Eclipse, which declared bankruptcy after producing 259 aircraft—not all of which were completed by the time the money ran out. The new company focused first on completions and support of the fleet, and announced the 550 in 2011.
The new model will incorporate a dual Avio IFMS avionics suite, with available options including synthetic vision, enhanced vision, auto-throttles, and anti-skid brakes. The company is optimistic the market will respond to the jet’s capabilities, and a price tag south of $3 million with standard equipment. The company forecasted demand of 50 to 100 aircraft per year by 2014, depending on market conditions, when the 550 was announced.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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