The new Eclipse twin-engine jet, the EA700 ‘Project Canada’, has taken its first major step forwards with the first flight of the proof-of-concept aircraft.
Experimental test aircraft N990NE was modiﬁed to test the new wing shape being used for the EA700 model currently in development. The test aircraft retains the EA500 fuselage, engines, and stabilisers, but has had the wing modiﬁed to match the length and shape expected of the EA700 wing.
Changes to the wing include an overall 4ft increase in wingspan and reshaping of the inboard wing airfoils and planform. The expected shape of the production EA700 wing tips have not been included in this modiﬁcation, however.
“This is a key milestone in the path to making a very good airplane a great airplane,” said Alan Klapmeier. Klapmeier, one of the founders of Cirrus Aircraft, started One Aviation to produce the Eclipse jet and develop the Kestrel 350 single-engine turboprop.
The test ﬂight lasted approximately 1.5 hours. Handling qualities were evaluated during transitions between all conﬁgurations. Manoeuvring and basic aircraft ﬂying qualities were evaluated at altitudes up to 15,000ft. The plane performed ﬂawlessly and all test condition results were as expected.
“The aircraft felt very solid,” said Jerry Chambers, Chief Test Pilot. “A testament to the efforts of the engineering and build teams.”