...And Did It While Burning Less Fuel
Few would describe Eclipse Aviation as a "humble" company. While
it's true the Albuquerque, NM-based planemaker has had to eat crow
lately on its production promises, there are indications the
company is working out the bugs, and growing into its fighting
weight... while producing a capable little plane in the
Hence, it was with the mindset "it ain't bragging if you can do
it" that Eclipse told ANN Thursday of its recent accomplishment:
setting a National Aeronautic Association (NAA) performance record
that, for the moment, distinguishes the Eclipse 500 as the
industry's fastest jet aircraft weighing 10,000 pounds or less.
The Eclipse 500 beat the existing US national speed record for
VLJs on October 7, 2007 on a flight from New York (Westchester) to
Atlanta (Peachtree-Dekalb), with a new record time of one hour, 55
minutes, and eight seconds (1:55:08), averaging 393.32 miles per
hour (341.79 knots). Eclipse notes the previous record holder -- a
Cessna Citation Mustang -- set the record on September 22, 2007,
flying the same route in two hours, 23 minutes, and 44 seconds
(2:23:44), averaging 318.87 miles per hour (277.09 knots).
The NAA requires the record to be broken by at least one percent
to qualify. Eclipse says its plane, flown by company Senior Fellow
Don Taylor, exceeded the previous record time by 20 percent...
while using approximately 25 percent less fuel that the larger
Using actual aircraft data, as well as data obtained from the
Citation Mustang's flight planning guide, Eclipse says the Mustang
used 1,330 lb (198.5 gal) cruising at FL400, while the Eclipse 500
used 987 lb (147 gal) cruising at FL320.
"Upon reviewing the
previous record, I was extremely confident that the Eclipse 500
could defeat the speed, but more importantly, we could use
significantly less fuel while going faster," said Eclipse CEO Vern
Raburn. "So two weeks later we flew the same route with the Eclipse
500 using at least 50 gallons less fuel than the Mustang and
beating the time by about 27 minutes.
"With oil prices climbing, we are proud to offer the Eclipse 500
as the most efficient VLJ to move travelers from Point A to Point B
on a quick, affordable and convenient basis," Raburn said.
The NAA announced a new record class exclusively for VLJs (Class
C, Aeroplanes, Very Light Jets) in the summer of 2007. The group
defines a VLJ as a jet-powered airplane with a maximum gross
takeoff weight of 10,000 pounds or less, holding a standard
airworthiness certificate, and capable of carrying four or more
passengers. (This definition is of note, as Cessna's own
classification of its Mustang fluctuates between "very-light-jet"
and "light-jet," dependent on circumstances --
Each year NAA tracks dozens of new world and national aviation
record attempts from numerous companies, certifying new records as
the official record keeper for United States aviation and ratifying
them with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the
world air sports federation.