Aero-TV Profiles The Futuristic ECJ Program (Part 1 of 3)

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The Surprise Unveiling of 2007: The ECJ Concept What a year! 2007 was an amazing combination of so many go...
The Surprise Unveiling of 2007: The ECJ Concept What a year! 2007 was an amazing combination of so many good and bad things... but for sure, there was NO end of excitement. If there was a "reveal" of the year, it HAS to have been the first sight of the super-secret Eclipse Concept Jet program... which only Eclipse, ANN and a few others knew ANYTHING about until the opening morning of Oshkosh 2007. Eclipse Aviation -- and company CEO Vern Raburn, in particular -- certainly have a flair for the dramatic. At a kickoff press event early Monday morning, before the gates opened at AirVenture 2007, the planemaker took the wraps off a concept model of its Eclipse Concept Jet: a single engine, four-passenger, slightly futuristic-in-appearance V-tailed aircraft intended to test the waters in the emerging Personal Jet category. But the planemaker didn't stop there. A line in Chief Operating Officer Peg Billson's speech describing the concept model -- an offhand remark about "flight testing" -- was drowned out by the unmistakable (muted) scream of a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan, as the living and breathing ECJ made its debut. The crowd applauded as the tent flaps opened to reveal the aircraft, with a grinning Raburn in the left seat (and company test pilot Terry Tomeny in the co-pilot's chair.) As the engine spooled down, Raburn emerged from the plane, and adopted his best "cool test pilot" pose. The industry was stunned. Now... for the first time, is a three part series about some of the behind the scenes events that took place to make this happen... including the first flight... which ONLY ANN as there to shoot, air-to-air. The whole program was wrapped in the utmost secrecy, so we were priveleged to be let in as the program got underway. The ECJ cruises at a top speed of 345 knots and its service ceiling will be 41,000 feet. The aircraft's range is estimated to be 1,250 nautical miles. A unique element of the ECJ's aerodynamic design is its empennage, which features an external mounted engine pod and V-Tail vertical surfaces that create what Eclipse terms "exceptional" aerodynamic, weight, and operational benefits. The ECJ shares a number of design elements with the Eclipse 500. Common to the ECJ and the Eclipse 500 are the wing assembly minus the tip tanks, which includes the ailerons, the fuel system, main landing gear and actuators, flaps and flap actuators, wheels and brakes. The nose assembly is also common to both aircraft and includes the nose landing gear assembly, landing gear doors, forward pressure bulkhead, air conditioning and oxygen supply. The ECJ also features Eclipse's all-electric Avio NG system, controlling aircraft computer systems, flight control trims, autopilot, electrical power distribution, FADEC, air data, AHRS, landing gear and flap actuation. All of the ECJ's major system components are controlled and managed using Avio NG, just as they are on the Eclipse 500. Eclipse has not yet made an official decision as to whether or not they will produce the ECJ... but the extraordinary interest in this efficient, exciting airplane (the extent of which even surprised Eclipse) convinces all of us at ANN, that there may be yet another bit announcement in sore for next Oshkosh. Until then, stay tuned... as always ANN will keep you up to date on all things aviation (including the Eclipse!), every day, 24/7. FMI: www.eclipseaviation****, www.eclipseconceptjet**** Copyright 2008, Aero-News Network, Inc., ALL Rights Reserved.