Eclipse Aerospace has received an amended production certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration, paving the way for the company to perform final assembly, testing and certification of the Eclipse 550 very light jet.
The original production certificate granted to EAI last year allowed Eclipse to manufacture the EA550 and requisite parts in compliance with FAA-approved type design, but required direct FAA oversight of the flight test and certification phases.
"The amended PC now allows EAI to not only manufacture the EA550, but also to flight test and grant airworthiness certificates for the aircraft under EAI's FAA-approved quality system," says the company, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
"Manufacturers are typically required to build their first group of aircraft under the supervision of the FAA," says Eclipse chief executive Mason Holland. "We have 550s moving down the production line, and armed with our full green light from the FAA for final assembly and test, we are on our way to delivering jets this year."
The first of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-powered twin-jets will be handed over in the third quarter.
The five-seat EA550 is a modernised and upgraded version of the legacy Eclipse 500, complete with a dual Avio integrated flight management system, synthetic vision, enhanced vision, auto-throttles and anti-skid brakes.
The EA550 is pitched against the Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation Mustang.