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Sat, Apr 09, 2005

Eclipse 500 N503EA Reaches FL300

After getting battered by unusually inclement winter weather and a series of minor (but no-less-annoying) teething pains, the Eclipse 500 test program is now proceeding swiftly and making up for lost time. By the end of February, the first Eclipse 500 conforming prototype had flown 14 flights, encompassing some 13.6 hours of flying, and 37 to 39 hours of engine run time on the aircraft.

That was then... with the weather more recently giving them a break and the flights becoming "virtually trouble-free," N503EA has now expanded its altitude envelope to 30,000 ft! Better yet, in the last week alone, N503EA conducted 13 test flights, bringing the total flights to 32, and the total flight hours to 37.6. Better yet, in late March (right after an ANN visit that showed a great deal of progress on the remaining test vehicles), N503EA received a cosmetic makeover and now sports a spiffy painted exterior.

A test flight that took place during a recent ANN visit yielded some interesting observations... the PW610Fs start quickly and with a minimum of cajoling, the take-off acceleration seems pretty impressive and the beast makes VERY little noise. Since it's going to be (primarily) a small field bird, this fact alone will make the E-500 a welcome neighbor at many fields that have been eschewing jets at virtually every turn. From our position at the ABQ airport, it was obvious that the noise signature is going to make this bird a good neighbor.

A second Eclipse is due to fly any day and if you keep an eye on ANN for the next few days, we might have a few more surprises to share with you. More info to come...

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com

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