Eclipse Jet Upgrades Attain STC

** Eclipse 550**

The FAA has signed off on a supplemental type certificate that brings new capabilities to the Eclipse 550 very light jet, the new version of the Eclipse 500 now in production in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The STC adds auto throttles and anti-skid brakes (ABS), reducing the workload for the pilot and enabling the airplane to land in a shorter distance.

Eclipse claims the new anti-skid brake system improves the braking energy and skid control, enabling the airplane to stop in as little as 700 feet on a dry surface. The auto throttle installation, which Eclipse claims is the first one available for a Part 23 certified airplane, connects with the autopilot on the Avio IFMS to reduce the pilot's workload by adjusting the power to maintain a selected airspeed.

The new capabilities can also be retrofitted to the Eclipse 550s and 500s already on the market as a part of Eclipse's safety enhancement package (SEP), as long as they have been upgraded with Eclipse's Avio IFMS. In addition to the ABS and auto throttles, the SEP includes upgrades to the IFMS software and an integrated standby display that presents altitude, attitude and airspeed.

While the ABS system is included with all new Eclipse jets rolling out of the factory, the auto throttles are optional, adding $28,000 to the $2.895 million price tag. The cost of the retrofit depends on the configuration of the airplane.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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