By Graham Warwick in Washington DC

Eclipse Aviation has received provisional certification for its Eclipse 500, the first very light jet (VLJ) to obtain US Federal Aviation Administration approval, but will not begin customer deliveries until it obtains full type certification, expected by 30 August.

In concert with certification, Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Eclipse announced it had closed a $225 million convertible debt offering to fund growth including aircraft production and aftersales support. The loan can be converted to equity when Eclipse conducts its expected initial public offering. Also tied to certification, the company announced agreements with three financial institutions to provide customer financing for the $1.52 million Eclipse 500.

Provisional certification includes operational limitations that will be worked off over the coming weeks. Full type certification will allow single-pilot, day/night visual and instrument flight rules, reduced vertical separation minima operations throughout the aircraft's flight envelope, Eclipse says. Final performance figures include a 370kt (685km/h) maximum cruise, 41,000ft (12,500m) ceiling and 2,080km (1,125nm) NBAA IFR range with four occupants.

Source: Flight International