Florida-based DayJet has become the first air-taxi operator to take delivery of Eclipse 500 very light jets, with the arrival of its initial aircraft from the Albuquerque-based manufacturer.

Sources say that Eclipse 500 serial numbers 2, 6 and 7 were due to be delivered to DayJet last week, marking the first of 239 jets the company has on order. Although Eclipse Aviation confirms that serial number 2 has received its certificate of airworthiness, it declines to say whether the other two aircraft have completed certification, or when deliveries will take place. The company handed over its first two aircraft to private customers, the first in early January and the second in mid-March.

DayJet president and chief executive Ed Iacobucci says he will need eight to 10 Eclipse 500s to begin for-hire operations, a number he had hoped to acquire this quarter. Eclipse confirms the first DayJet aircraft are not certificated for Part 135 work as a required third attitude and heading reference system has not yet been approved. The company says this will be added as a supplemental type certificate before DayJet begins customer services.

DayJet's early aircraft will also have to be modified later, at Eclipse's expense, to incorporate performance enhancements now being finalised. In a 26 March letter to owners, Vern Raburn, president and chief executive of Eclipse, said the performance modification programme had "moved into the final stage this week" and would be completed by mid-April. Raburn said the modifications, extended tip tanks and drag reduction tweaks, as well as the recently announced switch to the Avio NG avionics suite, would increase the aircraft's overall weight but would not affect "full fuel payload and useful load".

Source: Flight International