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Sat, Sep 02, 2006

Eclipse Aviation Expects Full Cert Shortly

Awaits Final FAA Testing Of Avio

It's coming any day now... that's the word from Eclipse Aviation, which had expected full FAA certification of its $1.5 million Eclipse 500 very-light-jet by the end of August.

Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn told the Albuquerque Journal the company has completed almost all of the stipulations to the company's provisional certification, which was awarded July 27 at Oshkosh AirVenture 2006. As Aero-News reported at the time, per the FAA the company needed to swap the original jets' composite wingtip fuel tanks with aluminum, after the composite tanks failed a lightning test.

That's been accomplished, according to Raburn... but still to come is final FAA testing of the Avio system that is the heart of the Eclipse 500 avionics suite.

"We're done except for one last thing," said Raburn, adding Avio supplier Avidyne has suffered software development delays.

Meanwhile, Eclipse continues to ramp up production, in anticipation of delivering customer aircraft as soon as full cert is awarded. A few customer aircraft are already assembled... with another line of the small planes just now beginning construction.

Even after full certification is awarded, some features will still be unavailable on the planes -- such as GPS navigation, weather radar and other systems. Those will be delivered within six months to one year after the first planes are delivered, according to Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom, and will be retrofitted to those planes already in service.

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com

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