Eclipse Aerospace announced this week that it has started up the engines on the first production Model 550 very light jet, the new version of the Eclipse 500, production of which ceased when Eclipse Aviation was forced into bankruptcy in November 2008.
The two Pratt & Whitney PW610F engines that power the Eclipse 550 collectively produce 1,800 pounds of thrust and are the same type that powered the original Eclipse jet.
“What a great accomplishment by our entire team at Eclipse,” said Mason Holland, CEO of Eclipse Aerospace. “This event is another key signal to the world that we continue on our methodical and well executed plan to reintroduce production and delivery of the Eclipse 550 jet this year.”
While the engines have now been powered up, Eclipse doesn’t plan on taking the airplane to the skies until its paint and interior are completed, which is expected to happen within two months. The company said it is on track to deliver the first airplane by the third quarter and plans to deliver 10 to 12 airplanes by the end of the year. Production is then scheduled to ramp up to two to three airplanes per month in 2014 and 2015.
The Eclipse 550 will be equipped with the Avio integrated flight management system, the delays in development of which was a contributing factor to the demise of Eclipse Aviation. Customers will also be able to choose such luxuries as autothrottles, synthetic vision, enhanced vision, satellite phones and anti-skid brakes.