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Fri, Apr 15, 2005

As Predicted: Eclipse 500 Touches Down at Lakeland

First FAA Conforming Very Light Jet Makes Cross Country Flight to Annual Aviation fly-In

As ANN predicted just days ago, Eclipse Aviation's first Eclipse 500 certification flight test aircraft, N503EA, flew more than 1,300 nm (1,500 miles) to attend this year's Fly-In in Lakeland, FL.

The Eclipse 500 landed this afternoon (Friday) at Lakeland Regional Airport in Florida. The pioneering very light jet (VLJ) will be on display from April 15 to April 17.

The Eclipse 500, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW610F turbofan engines, left Eclipse Aviation headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico Thursday afternoon. The crew flew the Eclipse 500 at 25,000 feet in a pressurized, shirt-sleeves environment with the gear and flaps retracted. They reported an average cruise speed of 270 knots.

The aircraft overnighted in Longview, TX then made a stop in Tallahassee, FL before arriving at its destination at Lakeland, FL on Friday. The Eclipse 500 is on display at the Eclipse Aviation pavilion.

The aircraft was flown to Sun 'n Fun by pilot Bill Bubb, who has been flight testing N503EA at Eclipse's Albuquerque headquarters since late last year. After today's flight, Bubb commented that the aircraft continues to be a pleasure to fly and that the flight to Sun 'n Fun was completely uneventful.

"We are proud to continue to lead the market in the development and testing of the world's first VLJ certification fleet, and it is a pleasure to provide Sun 'n Fun attendees with an opportunity to take an up-close and personal look at our first test aircraft," said Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn. "As the only manufacturer with two FAA conforming very light jets in simultaneous flight testing, we continue to make excellent progress toward FAA certification early next year."

N503EA has been in certification testing since December 31, 2004. N502EA, which remains in Albuquerque in flight testing while N503EA appears at Sun 'n Fun, flew for the first time April 14 in a flight that lasted one hour and thirty minutes. N503EA testing is focused on mechanical systems, while N502EA is being used to test aerodynamics and structures.



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