Eclipse Aviation has delayed US certification of the Eclipse 500 very-light jet from 31 March to late in the second quarter because of supplier delays, including a slip in one major vendor’s deliveries.

Eclipse refuses to name the errant supplier, but industry sources say it is Avidyne, which is developing the pilot interface for the aircraft’s Avio integrated avionics system.


Delays in delivery of production-conforming equipment are pacing certification. “We are waiting for final ‘red label’ equipment,” says Eclipse chief executive Vern Raburn. “At this stage it is one supplier, although we are watching a couple of other vendors closely.” Because the Eclipse is such an integrated aircraft, he says, the delays are having a ripple effect on testing required to complete certification.

The impact on customers will be limited to the first two quarters of deliveries, Raburn says, and the company expects to be back on schedule by the end of 2006. “We have a pretty conservative [production rate] ramp for the first few months. We will catch up with this pretty rapidly,” he says. Most of the initial aircraft will go to individual buyers, but the start-up of DayJet’s Eclipse air-taxi service will be affected “by a maximum of a month”, he says.

Production was to start this month, but Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Eclipse will hold off until February, Raburn says. Meanwhile, the company aims to use the additional time for flight testing originally planned to take place after initial certification.

Raburn says there are still some lingering concerns with the unnamed supplier’s ability to meet the revised schedule.


Source: Flight International