Eclipse Jet is one of the firsts in the Very Light Jet (VLJ) category and among the most popular owner-flown jets in the world. It is an affordable jet with a performance of a top-class jet that displays an impressive economy and luxury. Eclipse Jet being the world’s most economic twin-engine jet is exceptionally fast that makes private jet travel affordable for business and private communities alike. Eclipse Jet has shattered the illusion that only super-rich people have the access to private jet services. The Eclipse series of personal jets include Eclipse 500 and Eclipse 550 jets. The 6-seater Eclipse 500 and Eclipse 550 aircraft can give the optimum range, performance, and comfort for the clients, reducing the frustration and stress of travel logistics.
Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet
The Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet is a small six-seat American jet delivered in 2006 developed from Williams V-Jet II. It was originally manufactured by Eclipse Aviation that sought to revolutionize the aviation industry by changing the scale of aircraft production. They had the motives of benefitting from the economics of designing, building, and supporting the airplanes by selling the airplanes in unprecedented volumes of thousands per year cutting the manufacturing costs and retail price dramatically. The initial price of the aircraft was the main reason behind the sensation of the Eclipse jet. The design and performance details make Eclipse differ from other jets; such details that had never been approved by authorities in a jet. Receiving provisional US FAA Certificate in July 2006, the first Eclipse 500 was delivered in late 2006.
The Eclipse 500 introduced a radically new category of jets called the Very Light Jets. The aircraft has two lightweight Prat and Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan engines. The aircraft is constructed of conventional aluminum with spars, stringer, rib frames, and clip components and the jet has equipped wing and horizontal tail pneumatic de-icing boot.
Eclipse 500 performance
As performance is the very essence of Eclipse jet, Eclipse 500 has the maximum cruise speed of 370kt and a 3424-ft rate of climb per minute. The owner can soar up to the maximum altitude of 41000 ft whether the weather is stormy, clear or windy, etc. The jet is designed to operate from different types of runway-paved, grass, or dirt. In terms of ramp appeal, it has a classic look, twin-engine looks more like a military or business plane.
Inside Eclipse 500 jet
Eclipse 500 jet, as an economical and luxurious six-seat twin turbofan jet, has a sound-proof cabin and is fitted with Dukes IC cabin pressure control system and LED lighting along with power outlets and wood trim and table. The cabin dimension comprises 12.3 feet long and 4.7 feet wide and 4.2 feet tall with maximum configuration seating of 4. Four seats are leather club styled. The aircraft doesn’t have a lavatory. The baggage capacity varies according to the passenger number and jet configuration.
Twin-engine Eclipse 500 Jet has a PhostrEx engine fire suppression system certified by FAA. The wing tanks can carry 699 kgs of fuel for jet flying.
The Eclipse 500 aircraft is fitted with a glass cockpit with an integrated avionics package. The multifunction display fitted in the cockpit controls the fuel, electrical, de-icing, lighting, and pressurization system.
Eclipse Aviation in 2008 had intended to produce a single-engine jet Eclipse 400 that was to be the world’s most fuel-efficient jet powered by a PW615F engine, that had the projected maximum cruise speed and was scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The financial failure of Eclipse Aviation halted the production of Eclipse 500. But the Eclipse 550 Light Business Aircraft manufactured by Eclipse Aerospace and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation entered the service with its first customer delivery on 22 October 2013. The low-wing six-seat twin-engine Eclipse 550 jet is certified for single-pilot operation and boasts an improved avionic package. The new Eclipse 550 was powered up offering several enhancements that were not available on the older models. The refurbished aircraft also called the Total Eclipse had the base price of less than $ 3million and was centered on essentially finishing the legacy aircraft.
Eclipse Aviation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008 following the lack of funding. In 2009, the company entered the lengthy Chapter 7 liquidation procedure that confirmed Eclipse Aerospace as the new owner. In October 2011, Eclipse Aerospace announced the development version of Eclipse 500 i.e. Eclipse 550 that would replace the production of 500 models.
Eclipse 550 was first delivered in the market in 2013 that set the standard for the tiny jet market. Eclipse 550 has evolved into the jet it was always intended to be. It can travel at a speed of up to 685 km/hr with a range of 2084 km (1295) miles. Although small, it has a quick take-off roll. The Eclipse Jet 550 is one of the most fuel-efficient jets on the planet. Although upgraded to 550, the essence of Eclipse has never changed i.e. the efficiency. It retooled the Avionics platform to incorporate more power. The improved avionics package along with the host of standard and optical improvements made it the most advanced light jet of its time. The new features added to the original design include:
- Dual (Redundant) IFMS
- Auto throttles
- RVSM Certified
- Synthetic vision
- Enhanced vision
- Color Radar
- Traffic Alerting System
- Radar Altimeter
- Part 135 package
- Integrated Standby Display Unit
- ADS-B Out Enabled
- ADF and DME
- Iridium Phone
In April 2015, Eclipse Aerospace and Kestrel aircraft joined together in the conjunction with a new infusion of funding into a new company called One Aviation to benefit from the synergy forces. Eclipse 550 is the key product line of One Aviation and the mature, safe, efficient and reliable version of the original Eclipse 500 and unique in the market as being powered by two engines making it easier to fly by the pilots/owners.
The Eclipse Special Edition, the key product of One Aviation (the parent company of Eclipse Jet) came up in 2015 with the goal of simplifying aircraft ownership and providing clarity, convenience, and simplifying the buying process. The Eclipse 550 Jet includes the features of a dual Avio integrated flight management system, anti-skid brakes and refurbished interior, etc.
Specialties of Eclipse Jet 550
Following are some of the special features of Eclipse Jet 550:
- Suite Luxury
The Eclipse 500 has a comfortable and ease of travel interior that is ergonomically designed to relax and sit back along with enough space to hold luggage.
- The simplified task of flying
The Avio system in Eclipse 550 provides the ultimate control by reducing the no. of switches and dials in the cockpit. The easy-to-use synoptic page for each aircraft system has made piloting the Eclipse Jet safe and easy.
- World-Class service for modern travel
Any city within 1125 miles is now easily accessible by Eclipse 550 which can accommodate 5 passengers without the need for refueling within such distances.
- Stimulate power
The lightweight and compact PW610 turbofan engine is designed with simplicity consuming less fuel and having low-carbon emissions that make it easy and economical for maintenance. The engine is equipped with FADEC to reduce the workload of pilots demonstrating outstanding performance and dependability.
Eclipse Jet safety records
Eclipse Jets are designed to be single-pilot jet and has streamlined the safety features that heighten the weather, traffic awareness. The Avio system capabilities allow enhanced situational awareness and display and control of aircraft systems. The advanced flight management system is also featured in the Eclipse avionics system.
Price of Eclipse Jet
Eclipse jet is cost-effective and far less expensive than most turbo-prop engine aircraft. Eclipse 500 is about $2.49 million and $ 2.9 million for Eclipse 550.
The turbulent history of Eclipse Jet
On February 21, the nearly six-year run of Mexico-based One Aviation came to an end with the sale off of Eclipse 500/550 program to AML Global. So, AML Global has once again resurrected the sales and support for the Eclipse jet fleet and around 260 Eclipse aircraft have been maintained support by AML.
Eclipse’s now two-decade-long saga has witnessed several bankruptcies and subsequent restart efforts along with four company name changes. The high cost of airplane development, slow development, and lack of capabilities of near competitors led to the largest business failure of Eclipse in general aviation history. Although low-price was Eclipse Jet’s fantasy business plan, it was more crucial to obtain the low cost. Now, AML Global has accorded the top priorities to stabilize the past and maintenance situation for current Eclipse Jet operators and strengthen the vendor relationship. Despite the probable end of Eclipse, it continues to fly. The primary challenge for the new company will be to raise the existing Eclipse fleet and soar up the company’s partnership with vendors and support providers.
Wrapping things up
Only Eclipse owners will know how convenient and delightful it is to fly this technologically advanced light jet that has really changed the way the world perceives general aviation aircraft.