October 22, 2007 Eclipse Aviation has set a National Aeronautic Association (NAA) performance record to claim the title of the industry’s fastest jet aircraft weighing 10,000 pounds or less with its twin-engine Eclipse 500. The aircraft averaged 393.32 miles per hour (341.79 knots or 632kph) to beat the existing NAA record on October 7, 2007 on a flight from New York (Westchester) to Atlanta (Peachtree-Dekalb) that took just one hour, 55 minutes, and eight seconds. Not only was the record broken by a margin of 20 percent, but the jet flown by Don Taylor, Senior Fellow at Eclipse Aviation, used approximately 25 percent less fuel than the Cessna Citation Mustang which set the previous mark on September 22, 2007.
This new U.S. national speed record was set in the NAA record category of Class C, Aeroplanes - Very Light Jets (VLJ). Eclipse created this category with the manufacture of the world’s first very light jet - defined as a jet-powered airplane with a maximum gross takeoff weight of 10,000 pounds or less, holding a standard airworthiness certificate, and capable of carrying four or more passengers.
The previous record holder, a Cessna Citation Mustang set the record on September 22, 2007, flying the same route in two hours, 23 minutes, and 44 seconds (2:23:44), averaging 318.87 miles per hour (277.09 knots). Using actual aircraft data as well as data obtained from the Citation Mustang’s flight planning guide, the Mustang used 1,330 lb (198.5 gal)cruising at FL400 while the Eclipse 500 used 987 lb (147 gal) cruising at FL320. “Upon reviewing the previous record, I was extremely confident that the Eclipse 500 could defeat the speed, but more importantly, we could use significantly less fuel while going faster. So two weeks later we flew the same route with the Eclipse 500 using at least 50 gallons less fuel than the Mustang and beating the time by about 27 minutes,” said VernRaburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. “With oil prices climbing, we are proud to offer the Eclipse 500 as the most efficient VLJ to move travelers from Point A to Point B on a quick, affordable and convenient basis.”
Back in July Eclipse unveiled the new Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ) - a single-engine turbofan powered aircraft which shares a number of design elements with the Eclipse 500 but is distinguished by its external mounted engine pod and V-Tail design.