Eclipse Aviation officials are crowing that one of the company’s Eclipse 500 VLJs set a New York-Atlanta speed record for its class on Oct. 7 – beating by nearly 28 minutes the record set only two weeks earlier by a Cessna Mustang.
Furthermore, the Eclipse did it on 25% less fuel than the Mustang: 987 pounds versus 1,330 pounds, according to Eclipse officials.
The record-setting pilot was Don Taylor, senior fellow and former chief test pilot at Eclipse Aviation.The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) performance record “distinguishes the Eclipse 500 as the industry’s fastest jet aircraft weighing 10,000 pounds or less,” the company’s announcement said. The record is for NAA Class C, Aeroplanes, Very Light Jets.The record-breaking flight was between Westchester County Airport (HPN) near White Plains, N.Y., and Atlanta’s Peachtree-Dekalb Airport (PDK). Flying at an average speed of 393.32 mph (341.79 kts), the Eclipse covered the ground in one hour, 55 minutes and eight seconds. The Mustang’s Sept. 22 flight over the same route had been at 318.87 miles per hour (277.09 knots) in two hours, 23 minutes and 44 seconds. The NAA requires a record to be broken by at least 1% to qualify.
“Upon reviewing the previous record, I was extremely confident that the Eclipse 500 could defeat the speed but, more important, we could use significantly less fuel while going faster. So two weeks later we flew the same route with the Eclipse 500 using at least 50 gallons less fuel than the Mustang and beating the time by about 27 minutes,” said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation.
The NAA created a new record class for VLJs just this past summer, defining a VLJ as “a jet-powered airplane with a maximum gross takeoff weight of 10,000 pounds or less, holding a standard airworthiness certificate, and capable of carrying four or more passengers.” As the official record keeper for United States aviation, the NAA tracks dozens of new world and national aviation record attempts each year, certifying any new records and ratifying them with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the world air sports federation.