Eclipse certification on target

Eclipse Aviation took delivery of its first flight-ready autopilot from Meggitt in September, passing another milestone along the path to certification.

Although the company did not meet its goal for test flight hours as of late September, in part due to the gear-up landing of N505EA, CEO Vern Raburn remains confident that the Eclipse 500 will be certified, on schedule, by the end of March.

Autopilot flight tests will be conducted using N506EA. The Meggitt S-Tec autopilot uses three mini-computers rather than one central computer to control the “smart” servos of the digital automatic flight control system. It communicates with the central avionics system through a networked data bus.

Although Eclipse will build customer airplanes during the final quarter before certification, first deliveries of production autopilots are scheduled for April. The autopilot is one of the last systems installed, Raburn said.

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