The Eclipse 500 very light jet on display at EBACE was not transported from Albuquerque, we have been reliably informed. It flew from Eclipse Aviation’s base via Montreal, Canada; Greenland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Manchester, UK; Friedrichshafen, Germany; and Cannes, France.

Since arrival in Europe during April it has given 45 demonstration flights to prospective customers, according to Eclipse’s vice-president marketing and sales Michael McConnell. After EBACE, the aircraft will spend a week in Geneva, then fly to Oxford, UK, then Venice, Italy, finally returning on 16 June to Albuquerque.

Airports have praised the aircraft’s quietness, says McConnell. It is measurably quieter than a piston single, he says, and a UK-based customer who has flown the aircraft told Flight International that it is also quiet internally – a “no-headset” environment. He says the handling is simple, and pulling back the power on one engine produces hardly any asymmetry. In fact, he comments, the engines are so quiet that you cannot tell if an engine is throttled back without looking at the gauges.

But experienced pilots may be the only ones that notice how quiet it is. McConnell admits: “What we have learned from the flight skills assessment and from our customers is that the transition to jets, while it is not hard, does take a commitment, and some of our customers may not have fully realised what’s involved, so there are some areas that we are changing so as to give them the best possible skills.” The real issue is “how you fly a jet airplane in Class A airspace”, he says. To date, 67 students have completed the company’s emergency situations training.

Source: Flight Daily News