Tuesday, December 04, 2007
In early November I had written a draft post to discuss EASA certification for the Eclipse. EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) is made up of over 30 member countries and can best be described as Europe's equivalent to the FAA.
While it is possible, in some countries under some circumstances, to operate aircraft under U.S. registration, for some period of time, EASA certification is really mandatory if any manufacturer intends to have a presence in Europe.
In the latest Mike Press Newsletter, he touted the fact - "Demand in Europe with the strong Euro continues to pick up and half the sales are now to European buyers."
In Vern's late November letter to the Owners-In-Waiting, Vern predicted EASA certification 2Q '08.
The points I wanted to make in the November draft were but four:
1) Eclipse can't even start the EASA certification until the airplane is completed including Avio NG and FIKI. If the company gets these two boxes checked off by the end of 1Q, as Vern predicts, it will be the first time the company has achieved a published milestone.
The company (Vern) has said, it is only a matter of finding natural ice and demonstrating the functionality of the anti/de-icing equipment.
Not so fast...the airplane could need additional hardware (boots on the vertical?) or modifications to systems to keep the inboard wing leading edge de-iced. This is not a slam dunk, especially for an airplane out-of-the-box that doesn't have an abundance of excess of bleed air or electrical capacity to deal with any further demands.
2) The EASA authorities will go thru the existing documentation and the airplane with a fine tooth comb. While there might be some level of cooperation with the FAA, it has been my experience that there also exists a professional rivalry between the FAA and EASA technical staffs. And there is nothing more the Europeans like to find than something the FAA may have missed. The days of Americans always being right are long gone.
3) Eclipse by their own admission did not understand what it took to get an airplane certified...did not understand what it took to earn a production certificate. Now they want the world is to believe they have their arms around EASA certification and it will be just another walk in the park.
4) One can believe or not believe there was political influence used to expedite the TC and PC. Whatever levers may have been pulled in Washington won't be available in Europe.
Now comes carlos who yesterday offered the following:
I came across this thing published in the summer by easa:
The Eclipse 500 has an unusual design feature with respect to engine control. The engines FADEC’s are electrically powered by the aircraft electrical system instead of a dedicated and independent electrical source on each engine. This means that in case of total electrical failure the engines will maintain the power setting that was present at the moment of the failure. This also leads to the loss of shut-off capability.
Historically, engine control did not rely on electrical power from the aircraft’s electrical system. As it is proposed now, the Eclipse 500 will deviate from this established standard which affects the redundancy in engine control related to power supply. The Eclipse 500 design is, with regard to the failure of generated electrical power and viewed in combination with the subsequent condition, not comparable to existing designs (compared to an aircraft with totally independent, not time limited, engine control, mechanical shut-off means and independent, sometimes pneumatic, standby instruments).
With virtually the same reliability of two electrical generators as on conventional designs, the Eclipse 500 has, in contrast to conventional designs, no dedicated and independent FADEC power supply. The aircraft is thus considered lost after 30 minutes of being on battery power, because:
a. Engine control is lost
b. Engine shut-off capability is lost
c. All instruments are lost
The 30-minute requirement is considered to be applicable to a conventional design and not to a design where these three services are totally dependant on ship’s electrical power. Also it is not considered reasonably possible to safely land the aircraft within 30 minutes from 41000 ft on battery supply, taking into account the time needed to perform the failure procedure, general pilot capability, lost services and ATC environment. Thirty minutes after loss of generated electrical power the availability of the means to shut off the fuel supply is not assured.
This system design is not in compliance with 23.995(a) where a shut-off means is required regardless of failure probability of other systems or time constraints. Furthermore, the fail fixed failure mode of the FADEC in this condition is useless if it is not possible to control and shut down the engine after landing. Therefore there should be a new required standard being defined for an aircraft with a novel design like the Eclipse 500 in order to make sure that the safety level is not reduced. Alternatively, Eclipse Aviation could opt for a design that is similar to existing designs (time unlimited and dedicated FADEC power supply and a mechanical fuel shut-off means).
Eclipse Aviation is required to show that the cited requirements with regard to electrical power supply to the engine controls are complied with and that the redundancy and isolation standards are at least equal to those developed in the past based on these requirements.
Furthermore, Eclipse Aviation must ensure that the essential services(excluding engines), that remain available, allow for flight in IMC for a minimum of 30 minutes and in VMC for a subsequent minimum of 30 minutes more.
If the aircraft is going to be operated commercially, it must be shown that destination and alternate distances are compatible with the provided capacity of emergency electrical power with regard to engine, systems and instrument availability.
Then carlos asked the dynamite questions:
"Does anyone has any idea on how come an airplane with such a limitation can be certified by the faa? or if the people at eclipse came with a solution for this?"
Full text of the EASA document.
Good find carlos, the blog is grateful.