Home Today in History aviation First flight of the Eclipse 500 – 26/08/2002

First flight of the Eclipse 500 – 26/08/2002

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The Eclipse 500 is a marketing name for the Eclipse Aerospace EA500, a small six-seat American business jet aircraft originally manufactured by Eclipse Aviation and later upgraded and sold by Eclipse Aerospace.

The Eclipse 500 became the first of a new class of Very Light Jets when it was delivered in late 2006. The aircraft is powered by two lightweight Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan engines in aft fuselage-mounted nacelles.

Originally Eclipse selected a pair of Williams International EJ-22 engines (a production variant of the FJ22/FJX-2) for the Eclipse 500, but as the aircraft’s weight increased, performance was not satisfactory. Pratt & Whitney Canada agreed to participate in the project, and modified the design of their PW615 engine, designating it the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F. The prototype Eclipse 500 first flew with the Williams engines in 2002.

Production of the Eclipse 500 was halted in October 2008 due to lack of funding and the company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 25 November 2008. The company then entered Chapter 7 liquidation on 24 February 2009. After a lengthy Chapter 7 procedure, Eclipse Aerospace was confirmed as the new owner of the assets from former Eclipse Aviation on 20 August 2009 and opened for business on 1 September 2009. In October 2011 Eclipse Aerospace announced a new version of the aircraft, the Eclipse 550, which replaced the 500 in production, with deliveries starting in 2013.

In April 2015 Eclipse Aerospace was merged with Kestrel Aircraft to form One Aviation.

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