Monday, March 05, 2007


The FAA has issued their Flight Standardization Board Report for the Eclipse. A copy of the report is on the web:

Here are some of the noteworthy aspects:

1. Not Part 135 Certified.

2. No single pilot ops with auto pilot inop, mic inop or remote ID inop.

3. Plane has no functioning DME, therefore no RVSM. This limitation was first reported on this blog and disputed by some.

4. No credit for any other jet time as it applies to the training.

5. Feds have mandated 12 month recurrent training, this is normally a function of the underwriter.

6. SRM and Flight Skills Assessment has to be done by United and MAY be conducted by EAC in the future. What happens with the United fall out??

7. United Airlines "Shrinks" have to evaluate all the applicants after completion of a pysco ( Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test) test!! Again, now that United has gone, what now??

8. The SRM test MUST include a Boeing Simulator test, again, what now with United gone?

9. Training in the L-39 is no longer optional!!

10. All enrollees must have a twin rating.

11. ALL Pilots will be subject to the mentoring program, this is MANDATORY!

12. The FSB went out to EAC in September but"due to aircraft problems" they adjourned until Oct. This with the high utilization jet that will run with the Boeings?? The problems caused the FSB to adjourn for 2 months!!

13. The FSB was only completed on Jan 26th.

14. Cockpit and systems training was completed in an aircraft because there is no CPT!! This after years of waiting.

15. This is part of the AFM " EAC has included a limitation in Section 2 of the EA-500 AFM and on the type certificate data sheet which states, "All pilots operating the Eclipse EA-500 must be trained and qualified in accordance with the FAA Accepted/Approved Eclipse Aviation training program or equivalent FAA Approved training program". Meaning that training is required to fly the plane, not a bad idea, but never seen before in an AFM.

16. The FAA have recommended a minimum of 16 hours in aircraft training. This conclusion was based on the training of the FSB instructors, all of whom were experienced jet pilots with ATP's.

17. The FSB noted that altitude loss if the stick pusher activates can be significant.

18. In a descent they noted that airspeed cannot be maintained unless partial power is applied.

19. If a no flap landing is attempted during the training the FAA inspector or instructor "must be attentive to airspeed and the remaining runway" sounds like it might be a bit of a ground runner?

20. They do not recommend the pulling of any of the ECB's (circuit breakers) because of the integration of the electronics, this might result in the unwanted loss of other systems.

21. There can be no operation of the emergency gear activation, because this necessitates a maintenance event. Probably a nitrogen.

22. The FSB did an evaluation of SN-002, N126DJ and it was found that there are operational restrictions under 14CFR Part 91. It appears that these restrictions are a rate of turn indicator that needs to be added to the panel, the DME.

23. No TCAS in the plane yet!

24. No TAWS in the plane yet!

25. No FIKI.

26. Autopilot has limited functionality.

27. No Standby Attitude Instrument! They have spent $700m and think they are ready for prime time!

28. No functioning radar!

For those of you into comparisons, the Mustang FSBR is also on the web:


mike said...


Gunner said...

Mean spirited nay-sayer.

gadfly said...

The Gadfly apologizes for long history lessons. So as not to bore everyone, the “non students” may choose to tune out now, and go take a long break.

For the two or three that care, here is a short lesson concerning “welding, inter granular corrosion, and high-strength aluminum alloys”.

And a disclaimer: These are only my own opinions, based on many years of designing and working with aluminum, and extensive reading (of all things) “history” and “non-fiction” and “technical data”. My opinions apply to any and all aircraft that use aluminum in their construction. Although I attempt to say everything “correctly”, use “spell checker”, and avoid personal attacks, a careful examination will, no doubt, find some mistakes. ‘Sorry ‘bout that! But let’s work toward keeping aircraft safe.

Here’s the “history part”:

The Japanese invented the type of aluminum alloy that we know as “7075", first used on the famous “Mitsubishi Zero” (A6M). Many/most modern aircraft use this alloy. Few surviving A6M exist today, because they suffered from “inter granular corrosion”.

To avoid this problem, aluminum was coated with “pure aluminum” (Alclad), to provide a barrier to moisture and the impurities in water that cause much of this serious problem. Pure aluminum quickly oxidizes, and provides a non-conductive surface. Another method is “anodizing” (a “hard” non-conducting oxide of aluminum), and yet another, is “alodine”. Since “heating” would destroy this surface treatment, riveting has been the preferred method of fabrication.

Now the “fabrication part”:

Many aluminum alloys “can” be safely welded . . . (1xxx, 3xxx, 4xxx, 6xxx, and possibly some other series). But the higher strength alloys, such as 2xxx and 7xxx series cannot be successfully welded, except under very carefully controlled conditions. The FSW method, is no doubt an attempt to overcome the serious problems of heating these high-strength alloys. Raising the temperature, by whatever means, may affect the critical strength of the base material. Most of that strength was achieved by earlier heat-treating, “soaking” the material at about 914 F, then “aging” the material at about 347 F. . . . the “T651" in the number as in “7075-T651" tells us that the alloy achieved it’s strength by heat treating and the method used). (Aluminum melts at about 1,220 F, so you can understand the critical boundaries that must be maintained. Unlike steel, aluminum does not change color as it approaches the “melt temperature” . . . it simply “goes liquid”.) In heating, the “surface treatment” will be compromised, and allow moisture and contaminates to invade the interface between the joined surfaces, and begin the chain of events that will attack the crystal structure within the metal.

My guess is that the “FSW” method localizes the change in strength of the alloy, and the damage to the surface treatment. Riveting, of course, avoids most of these problems. Every method of fabrication is a compromise.

And the “practical part:

The A6M “Zero” was designed and built under the expediency of a war, that Japan felt they could win in short order. The “fighter” was not required to last for decades. And it didn’t . . . almost none exist today, primarily due to “inter granular corrosion” (and of course, the effects of the P-38's, P-40's, F6F’s, and some “Corsairs”).

An aircraft operating in a dry climate like Albuquerque, may suffer little over the years. But operating in and out of coastal cities, where “salt water” and “rain” is abundant, the possibility of entrapment of water and salts inside microscopic cracks is sure to set up dangerous conditions. You will need to study subjects like “cathodic” and “anodic” conditions.

When I got my “A&P” license, I had to know how to look for and identify the symptoms of this type of corrosion . . . it is not something that can always be seen on a “pre-flight-walk-around”. It’s usually hidden down in dark places that cannot be readily seen through an inspection port with a flashlight. And if it’s in a joint . . . it’s discovered when things start breaking.

It is no doubt these facts that have caused the “dinosaurs” to avoid using the “FSW” until such a time that these problems can be avoided, or completely controlled. If Elcipse has solved these many problems, then truly this alone is worth much more than the minor potential of the little jet taxi.

“Professor Gadfly”

Maybe next time, we’ll take a look at “aluminum sheet”, the difference between “T” and “H” after the alloy number, and what happens when the surface of sheet aluminum is removed, as in “chemical etching” and conventional machining.

Now, the others may return to the lecture hall and continue their discussion, and I’ll go get some lunch.

Green-or-Red said...

Take a tour of the facility and find the following. There is NO 7075 used in the primary structure. All skins that are FSW are 2024 with the exception of upper wing skin that is 7475. The frames are 2024. Stringers are either 2024 or 7055. All material combinations have been static and fatigue tested, thus reducing the pre-mature risk of failure in service. Also, I believe that there is NO use of clad material in the various combinations that are FSE'ed.

HotDog said...

Eclipse Aviation Partners with World-Class Suppliers to Deliver

Next-Generation Avio Total Aircraft Integration System

VLJ leader and established avionics suppliers team up to advance the revolutionary Eclipse 500

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — March 5, 2007 — Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world’s first very light jet (VLJ), and leading avionics suppliers Innovative Solutions & Support, Inc. (IS&S), Chelton Flight Systems, Garmin International, Honeywell, PS Engineering, Inc., today announced a partnership to produce “Avio NG,” the next-generation Avio system for the Eclipse 500. Avio NG, an improved version of the Eclipse 500’s Avio Total Aircraft Integration system, has been in development for many months and is scheduled for production and delivery this summer. In keeping with a customer-centric focus, Eclipse will retrofit all Eclipse 500 aircraft with Avio NG by the end of 2007, ensuring a homogeneous Eclipse 500 fleet.

Avio NG delivers significant enhancements providing next generation digital avionics with demonstrated airline reliability and systems capability unparalleled in the very light jet segment. These enhancements include:

· Improved reliability achieved through:

o EFIS software that has been similarly deployed as level A software

o Higher Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rates for Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multi-function Display (MFD) hardware

o Use of hardware systems that have been used primarily in Part 25 airplanes

o Improved systems architecture and design

· 768 x 1024 resolution PFD displays and 1440 x 900 resolution MFD display

· Enhanced digital audio and Communication Navigation System (CNS) functionality

· Improved growth capability for future “next generation” avionics functionality

“We are excited to partner with such highly-reputable avionics companies by our side,” said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. “These suppliers have proven to be great partners to premier companies in almost every segment of aviation. Their established track records and superior capabilities will allow us to provide our customers with the Avio we always promised. We are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with each company.”

The proven, air transport-quality components provided by these suppliers will enable Eclipse Aviation to deliver on its promise to provide unmatched avionics functionality that significantly reduces pilot workload by simplifying tasks, generating useful information, managing systems and assisting with troubleshooting. Changes to the Avio user interface will be minimal, providing customers, pilots and mechanics with a seamless transition that will require little to no new training.

Eclipse Aviation will continue to serve as the systems integrator for the overall Avio NG system, but has employed a best-of-breed strategy for the Avio NG partners. Each supplier has deep expertise in the specific Eclipse 500 component they will provide.

Replacing the Avidyne displays, IS&S will provide hardware and select software for the Eclipse 500 PFDs and MFD for Avio NG. IS&S is a high-performance international avionics supplier to civil, military, business and commercial markets. Prior major contracts awarded to IS&S have included the flat panel display systems for the Boeing B737, B757, B747 and B767; legacy Cessna Citation aircraft; and the Pilatus PC-12.

IS&S chairman and CEO Geoffrey Hedrick stated “IS&S is honored to be part of the revolutionary Eclipse 500 program. We look forward to delivering reliable and cost effective displays to Eclipse Aviation, allowing the Avio Total Aircraft Integration concept to become a reality on the Eclipse 500.”

Additional new suppliers for Avio NG are:

Chelton Flight Systems – Avio NG will also include a flight management system (FMS) provided by Chelton Flight Systems. This FMS has been proven in multiple aircraft installations starting more than 6 years ago and now has flight guidance algorithms for all of the ARINC 424 published path segments. The core of the FMS has been written and certified to level A standards in prior releases. The guidance functionality provided includes GPS-based lateral aircraft control, along with vertical navigation (VNAV). The Chelton FMS will be integrated into Avio NG, presenting the pilot with a consistent user interface. This full-featured RTCA/DO-229C capable flight management system includes capability to create, save, store, recall, reverse, and edit flight plans by waypoint or airway, the user will be able to create custom waypoints, add or delete waypoints from an active route, specify parallel track operation, and more.

Garmin International – Dual remote mounted Mode S Enhanced Surveillance transponders are provided by Garmin’s GTX 33 and GTX 33D. These IFR-

certified, Level 2, solid-state Mode S transponders offer expanded capability including optional diversity capability.

Honeywell – Avio NG uses the new Honeywell Primus Apex KTR 2280 Multi Mode Digital Radios (MMDR), consisting of digital VHF Navigation receivers (VOR, LOC, GS), and an optional ADF receiver. Each MMDR includes one transmitter and six receivers, capable of 8.33/25 kHz channel spacing operation and simultaneous monitoring of two VHF communication frequencies. The KTR 2280 is seamlessly integrated into Avio NG, providing users with radio management capability through the PFDs and MFD. Honeywell also provides safety sensors for Avio NG including the industry standard RDR 2000 Weather Radar System and the optional KGP 560 Terrain Awareness System (TAWS).

PS Engineering – The digitally controlled audio system for Avio NG is provided using PS Engineering’s PMA500 remote audio control system. The PMA500 interfaces with Avio NG for radio and navigation audio selection, intercom and mode control, and has an integrated marker beacon receiver. The audio control panel includes split transmit capability, hi-fi stereo in-flight entertainment inputs, and IntelliVOX®, a patented squelch protocol that completely eliminates manual intercom squelch, adjusting dynamically to cockpit sound conditions.

About Avio NG

Designed by Eclipse Aviation exclusively for the Eclipse 500, Avio NG provides Total Aircraft Integration through integral, redundant computer systems and advanced data and power distribution systems. Avio NG applies integration technology to the entire aircraft, including avionics, engine operation, fuel system, flaps, landing gear, cabin pressure and temperature. The cockpit features two PFDs and one MFD, which are controlled by selection keys and knobs on the displays or by a keyboard at the pilot position. The PFD and MFD provide the pilot with high-resolution display of all flight parameters, engine and system performance data, and total system control.

EclipseBlogger said...

Gadfly, I hope you weren't referring to me. I enjoy your posts, but I don't always have the time to read several screens of column. When I don't have the time, I usually do go back and re-read them. I was only responding to Cabbie' question and that I may have missed something due to the usual length. I'll buy lunch the next time I'm in ABQ. I'd love to hear some stories of the days in the tin can.

HotDog said...


Gunner said...

Well that should solve many of Eclipse's problems. And all by summer, no less.

gadfly said...

Red or Green

Thank you for the excellent information. Please note that almost all aluminum alloys can suffer from inter-granular corrosion. The two alloys that you mention (7475 and 2024) fall into the categories that are "most" susceptible to inter-granular corrosion.

Back in “olden times”, 24ST was the high-strength alloy of choice (later to be called: 2024 under the newer identification system). 2024 was used on most aircraft until the jet age, when the “7xxx” series was used, being stronger than the 2xxx series.

The reason I used “7075" in the “lecture” was simply a “guess”, but all alloys within a category of “7xxx” or “2xxx” share most of the trace elements within their respective series, with more or less added to fine tune the alloy for various applications. I believe you will find the basic principles to be accurate. And I thank you for “fine tuning” my education on the construction of the little jet.

Here’s a comparison:

7075-O (ie: annealed condition, as it would be if brought close to welding temperature) has a ultimate tensile strength of about 14,000 psi.

7075-T651 is about 73,000 psi
7475-T61 . . . 67,000 psi
2024-T351 . . . 42,000 psi

“Alclad” is normally only applied to “7075" and “2014". But “oxide coating” can be applied to most other aluminum alloys, provided they can be put into the “bath”.

Reference: “ASM” Metals Reference Book

How many outside of New Mexico would know the implication of “Red or Green”? . . . I always order “green”, whether “hot” or “mild”. And prepare at least two sacks roasted from Hatch, each fall. Hey, maybe dipping the aluminum in the same tub with the roasted chilies would prevent further corrosion . . . Naw! . . . it would eat the rivets right out. I can see it now, a warning label in the “baggage compartment”: DO NOT TRANSPORT HATCH GREEN CHILI IN THIS AIRCRAFT!

Post Script to “EB” . . . I would count it a privilege to have lunch with you, and show you our small facility. Any honest person wants this story to continue on, not end, but with a successful theme . . . and no-one getting hurt. Please check this out:


SRMach5 said...

Ken, oh ken....where art thou Ken???

Planet eX said...

One of the things that caught my eye in the FSB was the mention of simulators. Estimate by the FSB is by the end of the year. Didn't Eclipse say sooner?

a37pilot said...

If EAC is going to deliver 11 more aircraft in Q1(I assume that they will count the one delivered aircraft as having been delivered in Q1) shouldn't we expect to see another delivery about Wednesday or Thursday. Any news on this?

twinpilot said...

What do they mean by:
"18. In a descent they noted that airspeed cannot be maintained unless partial power is applied."

What descent angle are they using? Do you mean to tell me if you have a double engine failure it won't fly? Doesn't make sense.

Stan Blankenship said...


Yes, and about one every two days after that.

Perhaps the same guy that made that forecast was the same one predicting a wrap-up of the avionics change by summer.

Planet eX said...

twinpilot said...
What do they mean by:
"18. In a descent they noted that airspeed cannot be maintained unless partial power is applied."

What descent angle are they using? Do you mean to tell me if you have a double engine failure it won't fly? Doesn't make sense.

Drops like a rock unless it's being pushed along by the engines?

mouse said...

TwinPilot and Planet-X,

I guess like the old 4 engine propliner joke, the plane keeps going slower and slower as engines fail, so the passenger jumps to his/her feet and shouts; "someone get this thing on the ground before we get stuck up here!"

The EA-500 is so efficient that without power it will fly all day, and you need at least 50% of the power to force it back to earth... It's an ABQ "lighter-than-Air feature that Vern has created. Since ballons already have this rating Eclipse is calling it their "Full of Hot Air" feature...