Eclipse Aviation’s next two FAA conforming Eclipse 500 very light jets, N502EA and N504EA, have completed wing-mate and are standing on their own gear as they approach their first flight tests later this quarter.
The two will join N503EA, which has been running flight tests since Dec. 31, to complete the Eclipse 500 FAA certification flight test fleet.
A fourth conforming aircraft, N505EA, which will be used in a unique “beta test” program, will be on its own gear by the end of February, according to company officials. “The most recent wing mate was completed in less than 15 minutes on Feb. 10, and we have opportunities to reduce that time even further,” said Rod Holter, VP Operations.
N503EA has expanded its flight envelope to 72 knots through 230 knots, up to 3g, at altitudes up to 17,500 feet, the company reported. Pilots have tested flight controls, fuel, electrical, pressurization, landing gear, flaps, engines and other systems. They have cycled the landing gear at speeds from 88 knots to 200 knots and tested emergency gear extension through the same speed range. The electrically actuated flap system also has been tested at various settings and at speeds up to 200 knots. Tests of flutter, longitudinal, lateral and directional stability and control, climb performance, and airspeed calibrations also have been run. A flight test telemetry system, unique to Eclipse, enables engineers on the ground to monitor flight parameters in real time while collecting an astonishing four gigabytes of data per flight hour.
Ultimately, the Eclipse 500 test fleet will include seven aircraft. Three will be used for certification testing, one for static tests and one for fatigue tests. In a general aviation industry first, Eclipse also is building two “beta test” aircraft, dedicated to function and reliability testing. They are scheduled to accumulate 1,000 hours each prior to first customer delivery.