News From ABQ
Flightfollowing provided the following:
Many of you have been asking how the Performance Improvement Program is progressing. We are pleased to inform you that we have demonstrated that we have exceeded our performance guarantees of speed and range. Last week we flew N505EA with production quality performance modifications and achieved a maximum speed of 372 KTAS and a maximum NBAA IFR range of 1,156 nm. We are currently completing the FAA certification program such that aircraft delivered in mid-April 2007 will come with these improvements.
As background, please recall the following:
In June 2006, we notified our customers that the Eclipse 500 was not going to meet the performance guarantees we originally announced following our move to the P&WC PW610F engine. We predicted that through a modification plan, there would be two different performing Eclipse 500s delivered to customers. The early customer aircraft (approximately the first 100) would have a range of 1,055 nm (with four occupants, NBAA IFR, 100 nm alternate) and maximum cruise speed of 360 knots. Subsequent customer aircraft would be aerodynamically modified to demonstrate a higher maximum cruise speed of 370 knots and a range of 1,125 nm (with four occupants, NBAA IFR, 100 nm alternate).
Shortly thereafter, we revealed a detailed performance improvement plan that included the extended tip tank, a tail bullet refinement and engine nacelle refinements. At that time, we continued to anticipate that very early customers would only receive the extended tip tank. Our customers urged us to consider the ramifications of producing two versions of the Eclipse 500 with different levels of performance.
We listened to your concerns, and they were valid. In late 2006, we decided to retrofit all customer aircraft with all of the performance improvement modifications, thus ensuring that all customer Eclipse 500s will be the same with equal performance.
After making these decisions and announcements, we put our noses to the grindstone and started designing and flight testing our performance enhancements. We are happy to tell you that a number of recent Performance guarantee demonstrations have shown our ability to achieve our performance numbers of a max speed of 370 knots and a range of 1,125 nm with a slight margin.
Maximum Cruise Speed Demonstration
On Wednesday January 24th, N505EA completed a test flight to verify maximum cruise speed after the implementation of the performance modifications described above.
Three conditions were demonstrated at altitudes of 33,000, 32,000 and 31,000 feet. Autopilot altitude and heading hold were engaged for each test point, with engines set at Maximum Continuous Thrust (MCT). Each condition was maintained for 3 minutes, or until a stable airspeed was observed.
Demonstrated Speeds (averaged over test point):
Speed (KTAS) Temperature Weight (pounds) Altitude (feet)
371 ISA -5 5,406 33,003
371 ISA -7 5,344 32,002
372 ISA -7 5,290 30,999
Please note that the current guarantee is for a maximum speed of 370 knots at ISA and 4,950 pounds. When the above data are normalized, we meet our maximum cruise speed guarantee.
Actual Range Demonstration
On Thursday January 25th, we conducted a nonstop flight from Albuquerque, NM to Gainesville, FL. The flight originated from the Albuquerque International Sunport (KABQ), with a single continuous climb to 41,000 feet. N505EA then proceeded on a nearly direct course to Tallahassee (KTLH), shot a missed approach, climbed to 25,000 feet, flew direct to Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV) at economy cruise setting, descended to 5,000 feet, held for 5 minutes, and ended with an approach and landing at Gainesville. This flight was a total distance of 1,333nm and we landed with 205 pounds of fuel remaining.
GPS flight track of range demonstration flight.
The chart above shows the specific range for this long-range trip. This test indicates that your Eclipse 500 is likely to have a specific range of just over 1 nm per pound of fuel when cruising at the Long Range Cruise (LRC) power settings.
These speed and range demonstrations validate the Performance Improvement Plan modifications, and indicate that the production Eclipse 500 will exceed the committed performance as follows:
Performance Commitment Demonstrated
Speed 370 knots TAS 372 knots TAS
NBAA Range (100 nm alt) 1,125 nm 1,156 nm
An important fact to remember is that although we have exceeded our targeted performance guarantees, we are not changing the guarantees. You will most likely see better then "book" performance in your aircraft due to the better then forecasted improvements. But we are not guaranteeing the increased performance.
We are proud of the entire engineering and support teams who have worked diligently to achieve this milestone.
We trust you will find this information of interest and helpful in following the development and delivery of your Eclipse 500.
Ken McNamara and the Eclipse Team