Eclipse 550

Summary

550
N580WC Eclipse 550 LX Airflite (11589064064).jpg
Eclipse 550
Role Very light jet
National origin United States
Manufacturer Eclipse Aerospace (2009–2015)
One Aviation (Eclipse division, 2015–2018)
AML Global Eclipse (service & support, 2021–present, includes Eclipse 500)
Status Production completed
Produced March 2014–2017
Number built 33 through 2017[1]
Developed from Eclipse 500

The Eclipse 550 is a very light jet initially built by Eclipse Aerospace and later One Aviation of Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. The aircraft is a development version of the Eclipse 500, which was produced by predecessor Eclipse Aviation. Like the 500, the 550 is a low-wing, six seat, twin engine jet-powered aircraft.[2] The Eclipse 550 is certified for single-pilot operation.

The aircraft was announced at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in October 2011. The first example was rolled out in March 2013 and the first customer delivery was on 22 October 2013.[2][3][4][5]

In March 2017 the company announced that 550 production would end after four more aircraft were completed, to concentrate production on the new Eclipse 700 model of the aircraft.[6]

In February 2021, One Aviation entered a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation process.

Design and development

One Aviation Eclipse 550 Mockup with systems graphics

The 550 was developed from the earlier Eclipse 500, enabled by Sikorsky Aircraft's investment in Eclipse Aerospace in 2010. It retains the 500's airframe and PW610F engines, but incorporates an improved avionics package, including satellite phones, autothrottles, synthetic vision and enhanced vision systems, as well as anti-skid brakes.[2][3]

In May 2012 the company signed a deal with Sikorsky subsidiary PZL Mielec to have the Polish company build the Eclipse 550 fuselage, empennage and wings, while final aircraft assembly will be carried out by Eclipse Aerospace at their Albuquerque, New Mexico plant.[2][7][8]

The initial price for the 550 in 2011 was US$2.695M and production was intended at that time to be 50–100 aircraft per year.[2] The aircraft achieved an FAA production certificate in April 2012.[9]

In June 2013 the FAA approved the Eclipse 550 for a fatigue limit of 20,000 hours or 20,000 cycles with an unlimited calendar life.[10] In August 2013 it was announced that the aircraft would incorporate autothrottles, new EFIS software, an anti-lock braking system and a high-resolution 3.25" x 4.3" standby display.[11]

In February 2014 the FAA approved autothrottles and anti-skid brakes for the 550. The manufacturer claims the new braking system will stop the aircraft in 700 ft (213 m) from normal landing speeds.[12]

The first customer delivery of a 550 was completed on 12 March 2014,[13] and 10 had been delivered by August. However, sales had been slow, and employees were laid off.[14]

One Aviation received EASA certification for its Eclipse 550 on 18 November 2015, clearing the way for sales of the light twinjet in the European Union and its use for air-taxi service there. The company has deposits from half a dozen European customers awaiting delivery pending certification. Deliveries will begin in January 2016, according to Cary Winter, One Aviation's executive vice president. The only changes required from U.S. production models are to “paint a couple of switches red and change the connector on the door switch,” he said.[15]

In March 2017 the company announced that 550 production would end in favour of production of the new "Canada" model of the aircraft.[6]

Eclipse 700

Eclipse 700 rendering, showing larger wing roots and stretched fuselage with additional window

One Aviation is designing an improved $3.495 million "Project Canada" variant that was planned to have its first flight in 2017. A new wing root section will lengthen its span by 3.8 ft (1.2 m) to 41.7 ft (12.7 m), which will increase the wing area to 163 sq ft (15.1 m2), 13% more, and eliminate the tip tanks to reduce drag. 70 US gal (260 l) more fuel can be carried to reach 321 US gal (1,220 l), and a higher MTOW will increase the useful load to 2,787 lb (1,264 kg), 476 lb (216 kg) more. It was initially intended to use flat rated Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615 engines of 1,170 lbf (5.2 kN) of thrust. NBAA IFR range will improve to 1,400 nmi (2,600 km), and it will cruise at Mach 0.65 (373 kn) at a higher ceiling of 43,000 ft (13,000 m). It will have similar takeoff, approach and landing speeds but will need 24% less runway at takeoff at sea level and ISA+25 and time to climb to FL400 at ISA+10 will be halved. Garmin G3000 avionics suite includes synthetic vision, GFC 700 autopilot, Garmin ESP protection system, LNAV and VNAV, and is ADS-B and RVSM compliant.[16]

In June 2017 it was announced the design would fit Williams FJ33 turbofans instead of the PW615s, derated to 1,200 lbf (5.3 kN) from 1,900 lbf (8.5 kN).[17] This selection follows the possible end of the PW615 production as a backlog of already developed PW610s components for the Eclipse 500 is consumed, and restarting the production line at a low rate and for a short time is uncertain. The production of the 550 could be interrupted as early as in 2017, leaving a gap until "Project Canada" reaches market, which was initially forecast for late 2018 or early 2019, but which was not met.[18]

It is intended that "Project Canada" will be eventually designated as the Eclipse EA700, but it requires an additional investment of US$50 million to complete the development. It will compete with similar light business jets like the HondaJet and the Embraer Phenom 100 and also with high-speed single turboprops such as the Daher TBM 930/910.[19]

The EA700's fuselage is stretched by 14 in (36 cm) and its horizontal stabilizer has a greater span. The FJ33 engines provide better hot and high performance with a 75 kn (139 km/h) higher speed and a range of 1,470 nmi (2,720 km). In 2017 it was forecast that the aircraft would be priced at $3.6 million and by July 2017 had received 30 orders, mostly from current owners, who will benefit from a trade-in program. Certification was expected between January and July 2019, provided that One Aviation secured sufficient investment.[20]

Three prototypes are planned: the first, presented in August 2017 and developed from an Eclipse 500, sports an aerodynamically conforming wing and the next, also based on an existing plane, will test the FJ33.[21] The EA700 wing was first flown on an existing fuselage in September 2017.[22]

On October 10, 2018, One Aviation announced it had voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[23][24][25] Citiking International, a Chinese-supported company, then acquired the company; and the acquisition was cleared on March 9, 2020.[26] However, in February 2021, it was reported that those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful and that the company's Chapter 11 reorganization case had been converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation process, with United States-based company AML Global Eclipse LLC maintaining support for all current Eclipse aircraft under the name Eclipse Aerospace, Inc.[27]

Operational history

In 2013, Eclipse planned to submit the 550 for the USAF's very light jet requirement, even though that requirement specified FAR Part 25 certification and the 550 is certified to the less-stringent Part 23.[28]

Specifications (550)

Data from One Aviation[29]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2[30]
  • Capacity: 4–5 passengers
  • Length: 33.5 ft (10.2 m)
  • Wingspan: 37.9 ft (11.6 m)
  • Height: 11 ft (3.4 m)
  • Empty weight: 3,634 lb (1,648 kg)
  • Gross weight: 6,034 lb (2,737 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,000 lb (2,722 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 251 gal
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan, 900 lbf (4.0 kN) thrust each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 432 mph (694 km/h, 375 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 430 mph (690 km/h, 370 kn)
  • Range: 1,295 mi (2,084 km, 1,125 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,456 ft/min (17.56 m/s)

Avionics

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References

  1. ^ General Aviation Manufacturers Association (2018). "2017 Annual Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e Niles, Russ (October 2011). "Eclipse To Resume Production". AvWeb. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b Niles, Russ (19 March 2013). "New Eclipse Powers Up". AVweb. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  4. ^ Grady, Mary (24 September 2013). "New Eclipse Jet To Debut At NBAA - AVweb flash Article". Avweb. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  5. ^ Pew, Glenn (23 October 2013). "Video: Eclipse 550 First Delivery at NBAA 2013 in Las Vegas". AVweb. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Niles, Russ (12 March 2017). "Eclipse To End 550 Production". AVweb. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  7. ^ Niles, Russ (October 2011). "Podcast: Orders Being Taken for New Eclipses". AvWeb. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  8. ^ Niles, Russ (16 May 2012). "Eclipse, Sikorsky Sign Airframe Deal". AVweb. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  9. ^ Pew, Glenn (25 April 2012). "Eclipse Earns Production Certificate". AVweb. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  10. ^ Grady, Mary (12 June 2013). "Eclipse Jet OK'd For Longer Life". AVweb. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  11. ^ Pew, Glenn. "Eclipse Adds Upgrades And One 'First' - AVweb flash Article". Avweb.com. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  12. ^ Grady, Mary (11 February 2014). "FAA OKs Eclipse Upgrades". AVweb. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  13. ^ Grady, Mary (12 March 2014). "Eclipse Delivers First E550 Jet". AVweb. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  14. ^ Finfrock, Rob. "Eclipse Blames Layoffs on Sluggish VLJ Sales " AINonline, 19 August 2014. Accessed: 4 September 2014.
  15. ^ [1]" AINonline, November 18, 2015. Accessed: November 21, 2015
  16. ^ Chad Trautvetter (July 21, 2016). "New Eclipse 'Canada' To Have More Performance, Range". Aviation International News.
  17. ^ Rapoport, Geoff (2 June 2017). "Eclipse Highlights Upgrades For Next Jet". AVweb. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  18. ^ Kerry Lynch (June 2, 2017). "One Aviation To Switch To Williams Engine for 'Canada'". Aviation International News.
  19. ^ Kate Sarsfield (6 June 2017). "One Aviation picks Williams FJ33 to power Eclipse EA700". Flight International.
  20. ^ Mark Huber (July 25, 2017). "One Aviation's "Project Canada" Is Now Eclipse 700". Aviation International News.
  21. ^ Rob Finfrock (August 17, 2017). "One Aviation Unveils Testbed with Eclipse 700 Wing". AIN.
  22. ^ Niles, Russ (3 September 2017). "Eclipse EA700 First Flight". AVweb. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  23. ^ Rob Finfrock (October 10, 2018). "One Aviation Enters Chapter 11 Restructuring". AIN online.
  24. ^ Grady, Mary (10 October 2018). "One Aviation Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". AVweb. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  25. ^ Molly McMillin and John Morris (Oct 15, 2018). "Chinese Investor Rescues Eclipse, to Buy Company". Aviation Week Network.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  26. ^ "US CLEARS BANKRUPT ONE AVIATION FOR FOREIGN ACQUISITION". AOPA. March 12, 2020.
  27. ^ "Court Converts One Aviation Bankruptcy Case to Liquidation". Aviation International News. 2021-02-19. Retrieved 2021-03-04.
  28. ^ "Eclipse Responds To USAF Request for Very Light Jets."
  29. ^ "Eclipse Jet Specifications". One Aviation. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  30. ^ "First New-Build Eclipse 550 to Appear at NBAA Show". Flying magazine. 26 September 2013.

External links

  • Official website