Sept-Oct 2008 On The Radar
|The TBM 850 may have a |
composite fuselage in its future
ECJ Is A “Go”! Eclipse 500 Goes To Russia
It’s no longer the ECJ (Eclipse Concept Jet); it’s the “Eclipse 400,” and Eclipse Aviation officially launched the aircraft at its 10th anniversary celebration. The four-place (1+3 or 2+2) Eclipse 400 is first being offered to customers of the six-place, twin-engine Eclipse 500, who can receive a $125,000 discount until 2008 EAA AirVenture begins, when order books will be opened to the general public with a $1.35 million price tag. The V-tail Eclipse 400 features many parts and systems identical to those on the 500. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney 615F, the Eclipse 400 cruises at 330 knots at 41,000 feet, where a fuel burn of less than one pound per nautical mile is expected. Deliveries of the Eclipse 400 are expected in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Eclipse has received U.S. permission to export the Eclipse 500 and components to Russia. Additionally, the 500 has become more valuable here: As of June 2008, the aircraft will cost $2.15 million. Advancing manufacturing costs and slower-than-anticipated production ramp-up are the reasons. The company wrote, “The Eclipse 500 is still priced below today’s current entry-level jets while delivering fuel burns that are half that of similar VLJs, the industry’s lowest overall direct operating costs and total aircraft integration levels unmatched by comparable aircraft.” Get additional information by visiting www.eclipseaviation.com.
EADS Socata Composite Fuselage Program
EADS Socata has officially launched its FusComp (Fuselage Composites) program, a manufacturing study of a composite fuselage prototype to test the vacuum liquid-resin infusion (LRI) process and new materials. The design of this proof-of-concept program is based on the TBM 850 “very fast turboprop” (VFT), the company’s flagship pressurized business turboprop.
Other technical partners in the program include Sicomin, Aerovac Systems France, ENIT Tarbes engineering college, Tarbes University Technology Institute and the Jean Dupuy high school in Tarbes, France.
Vacuum LRI is based on the molding of high-performance composite parts by infusing liquid resin on the fibers (glass, carbon or aramid) instead of prepreg fabrics molded in autoclaves. Its main advantages are the use of cheaper material, a more flexible industrial process technology and quicker manufacturing times.
The FusComp task force will involve up to 50 people, including partners, teachers and students. The four-year, 9.2-million-euro venture includes a two-year definition project and a parallel second team’s definition and development of the new industrial process. First parts are expected in 2009, and a prototype fuselage should be ready in 2011. Visit www.socata.eads.net.
New Cabins At Mountain Air
Mountain Air, a private fly-in community in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is now offering a collection of rustic cabin homes. Offered in three- and four-bedroom plans, the “Cabins at Waterfall” feature stacked stone fireplaces, covered outdoor decks and a chef’s kitchen with stainless-steel appliances. The neighborhood is adjacent to Mountain Air’s Creekside Park, which features a hiking trail along a mountain stream, trout pond, picnic shelter and outdoor furniture constructed by a local artisan. To learn more, read “On A Heading For Home” from Pilot Journal July/August 2008. The opening photo spread (on pages 70–71 in the print edition), provided by Mountain Air, shows the community’s dramatic 2,875-foot runway, at an elevation of 4,910 feet. For more, visit www.mountainaircc.com.