Eclipse CEO Logs Time in Eclipse N503EA
We wish we could tell
you exactly how Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn described his first flight
in the airplane he has fought so hard to bring to market, the
Eclipse 500. Suffice it to say that he thought it was (in part)
"way cool..." but suffice it also to say that we deleted an
adjective or two that might NOT be fit for family consumption...
Still, there was no mistaking the enthusiasm he brought back from a
quick jaunt to FL300.
As N503EA continues to log time at an ever-accelerating rate,
and the number two test bird, N502EA, finishes high-speed taxi
tests in preparation for a first flight that may be happening as
you read this, Raburn finally decided to see, for himself, what all
the fuss was about.
So Monday, he saddled the littlest twinjet up and headed for the
heavens, despite the fact that was a lousy day for the CEO to get
his first taste of the bird... as the winds were blowing 26 knots
and gusting to 32.
The hour plus flight managed to get some of the flight test
cards filled out, but most of all it told Raburn that his dream was
on the right track and that his little jet had a "heavy jet feel"
that should help transitioning pilots enjoy their birds all the
more. Raburn's flight allowed him to get a solid feel for the
aircraft stability and control profile (good speed stability, and a
pretty short list of tweaks that will eventually be resolved as the
flight test program continues), though Raburn, ever the
perfectionist, couldn't help but nit-pick his plane a bit...
Vern was particularly enthused about the aircraft's landing
characteristics and got what he wanted... "it's a really easy
airplane to land...," a good thing to know with 30+ knot gusts. Of
course, upon disembarking from the Pratt & Whitney powered
Pocket Rocket, Eclipse staffers celebrated the feat by dousing the
boss with a celebratory "Ramp Wash..." giving Raburn's critics what
may be their very last chance to accuse him of being all wet (and
let's face it, any chance to hose down the boss can NOT be passed
up, and the high-spirited Eclipse-ABQ gang didn't let the
There's more, but we
have an interview scheduled shortly that will allow us to tell you
a more complete story... and in the meantime, N503EA may be raising
a few more eyebrows in the next few days -- outside of Albuquerque.
There is, after all, a fly-in going on this week and attendees may
want to keep an eye out Friday morning or so... but that's just a
suggestion. Hint, hint...
And of course, with N502EA getting ready to join the flight test
program in a matter of hours (if it hasn't already...) it's
obviously going to be a busy week for the ever-accelerating Eclipse
program. Stay tuned to ANN for ALL the inside skinny...