|Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo|
For some background on the Eclipse EA500/EA550 series of Very Light Jet, we refer to our feature article covering the visit to St. Louis by company partners Mike Press and Ken Ross earlier this year:
The EA500, which essentially launched the VLJ class of aircraft, has since been produced as the Total Eclipse from previously unsold production kits. The new production model, the EA550, will be available in 2014 and will include upgrades to the integrated flight management system, the addition of synthetic vision and enhanced vision navigation capabilities, and other internal enhancements. The basic performance of the Eclipse EA550 will mirror its predecessor: flying up to 5 passengers and crew 375kts. at 41,000 feet, using about 55 gallons of fuel/hour for a 1,000nm flight. There are bigger business jets, and there are many that fly faster or farther, but the EA550 will be the leader in its class with a modern support network around the world. Mr. Press added that Eclipse Aerospace will respond to an expected Request For Proposals from the U.S. Air Force for a replacement for the current fleet of T-1 Jayhawk training jets. Press estimated that the EA550 would save the U.S. Air Force 9 million gallons of fuel, or nearly $50,000,000 per year in fuel and maintenance costs over the current aircraft fleet.
The Aero Experience looks forward to further interaction with the Eclipse Very Light Jet as the EA550 becomes integrated into current fleet operations. We are also very pleased to hear that an Eclipse VLJ will be part of Corey Tomczak's St. Louis Flight Solutions fractional ownership program.
The Aero Experience captured the setup of the Eclipse exhibit on the weekend prior to EAA Oshkosh AirVenture 2013 as the VAC Eclipse EA500 VLJ was towed into position:
Another Eclipse EA500 was used for the flight demonstrations: