Eclipse 550 Light Business Jet

Eclipse 550 is a twin-engined, low-wing light business jet designed and manufactured jointly by the US aircraft manufacturers Eclipse Aerospace (EA) and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (SAC) to operate in domestic and international air routes. It is derived from the Eclipse 500 business jet. About 50 to 100 aircraft will be produced a year.

SAC purchased a minority stake in EA in February 2011. A service level agreement was also reached between SAC and EA in the same month. As part of the agreement PZL plant, a subsidiary of SAC supplies wings, fuselage and empennage for the Eclipse 550.

Eclipse Aerospace unveiled the Eclipse 550 at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in October 2011. The aircraft production started at EA’s Albuquerque facility in New Mexico in June 2012 and the production certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was received in March 2013. The first delivery was made in March 2014.

Design of the light business jet

Eclipse 550 was designed by modifying the Eclipse 500. It utilises the same airframe, engines and integrated glass cockpit as those of the Eclipse 500.

A number of new features such as upgraded avionics, improved cabin interiors, side stick controls, advance microprocessors, full authority and digital engine control (FADEC), autothrottles, synthetic vision and enhanced vision systems are incorporated in the Eclipse 550.

Flight deck of the Eclipse 550

The flight deck of Eclipse 550 accommodates two crew members. It is equipped with two LCD simpatico primary flight displays, a multifunctional display and a navigational display to show the data pertaining to navigation, flight instrumentation, fuel and engine to the pilot.

Cabin of the American-manufactured light business jet

The spacious cabin of the Eclipse 550 business jet can carry six passengers in a tandem seating configuration. It is equipped with leather seats, an Iridium phone, onboard oxygen generation systems, LED lightings, cabin pressurisation system and Wi-Fi-based cabin entertainment system.

The cabin is 3.67m long, 1.42m wide and 1.27m high.

Avionics suite for the Eclipse 550

"The Eclipse 550 is powered by two PW610F turbofan engines, each rated at 950lbf of thrust."

The avionics suite installed in the Eclipse 550 includes an automatic direction finder, radar altimeter, stormscope, an attitude and heading reference system and traffic collision avoidance system.

Innovative Solutions and Support (ISS) was contracted in October 2010 to supply Avio dual integrated flight management system (IFMS). A supplemental type certificate for the IFMS was obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in March 2011.

The IFMS minimises the workload of the pilot by acting as a virtual co-pilot. It centrally controls the avionics, engines, fuel systems, flaps, landing gear, cabin pressure and temperature.

The synthetic vision system installed in the aircraft will render the pilot with a clear understanding of the flight conditions by using terrain obstacle, geo-political, hydrological and other database information.

Other avionics encompass automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), wide area augmentation system, an iPad data entry integration system, distance measuring equipment, global positioning system, terrain awareness and a warning system and onboard colour weather radar.

Eclipse Aerospace awarded a contract to Curtiss-Wright Controls in August 2013for the supply of Aircraft Computer System (ACS) for the Eclipse 550 aircraft. The ACS enables advanced control and monitoring of aircraft systems. Deliveries are expected to be completed by 2016.

Engines on the Eclipse 500

The Eclipse 550 is powered by two PW610F turbofan engines, each rated at 950lbf of thrust. The engine is designed and manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada.

"Eclipse Aerospace unveiled the Eclipse 550 at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention."

It is equipped with a single-stage high pressure turbine, dual stage compressor, reverse flow combustor and Hispano-Suiza FADEC to minimise propeller noise by optimising the output speed.

The engine inlets are incorporated with engine bleed air ice protection.

The length and diameter of the engine are 1.06m and 0.35m respectively.

The Eclipse 550 features a tricycle type landing gear comprising two main wheels and a steerable nose wheel.

The main wheels retract into wings and the nose wheel resiles into front fuselage section.

Performance of the jet

The Eclipse 550 can climb at the rate of 17.4m/s. The maximum and stall speeds of the aircraft are 694km/h and 128km/h respectively, while the range is 2,084km. The service ceiling with a single engine is 10,668m, whereas the maximum altitude is 12,500m. The take-off and landing distances of the aircraft are 742m and 850m respectively.

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