Four years after reviving the brand and production system, Eclipse Aerospace celebrated the formal delivery of the first EA550 very light jet to a customer.
“We’re announcing not only that this is our first delivery, but our next delivery we can actually sell and fill in March ,” says Eclipse chief executive Mason Holland. “So we’ve got them lined up.”
Eclipse handed over the jet despite the two-week shut down of the US government, which closed the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification and aircraft registry offices.
“We’re not letting the government get in our way,” Holland says. “We’re plowing through. We brought the plane here while the government was closed. You can always get a little love if you ask nicely. People use the FAA sometimes as an excuse. Most people are very accommodating and they do everything they can, but they have limited resources, too.”
Eclipse CEO Mason Holland. Image credit: Billypix
The FAA work stoppage, however, did put a damper on the customer’s post-delivery plans. Although formally in possession, the customer will not be able to fly the aircraft for at least a few weeks.
“There 21 different STC’s [supplemental type certificates] on this aircraft,” Holland says. “Of the 21, 18 of them were certified the day before the government closure. We had three left to go. It’s going to take us about antoher three weeks to clear those.”
Eclipse Aerospace, however, has completed all the development testing and flight testing to obtain the remaining STCs, and submitted all the paperwork to the FAA.
“It’s just now getting the FAA stamp of approval on it,” he says.
The STCs include one for the EA550s air conditioner, and another for the brakes. A third is a software upgrade that is necessary to accommodate both of the other two systems. As a weight-savings strategy, the Eclipse twinjet has an integrated avionics system.
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