FAA Emergency Directive Targets Eclipse 500

Business Jet Traveler » August 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008 - 5:00am

During an encounter with wind shear at Chicago Midway Airport on June 5, the pilot of an Eclipse 500 pushed the thrust levers (throttles) forward with enough force to cause a software error that locked both engines at full power. Unable to slow the airplane for landing, the pilot elected to shut down one engine for the subsequent landing attempt. When he did, the thrust on the working engine dropped to idle and became unresponsive to thrust-lever inputs, resulting in a hard landing that blew out both of the airplane's main tires. No one aboard the airplane was hurt, but the incident prompted an FAA emergency airworthiness directive on June 12 requiring inspections of the thrust levers in more than 200 in-service airplanes. Nearly all of them had completed the checks at press time, with similar anomalies uncovered in two aircraft, according to Eclipse Aviation. The company is working on a software update to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

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“"Many years ago, our company founder, Al Conklin, sold a new twin-engine business aircraft to a very successful entrepreneur. He had established a bit of a rapport with the individual and, after the sale, asked him straight out, 'How can you justify the cost of this airplane?' His reply? 'What is the cost of a divorce?'"–David Wyndham, president, Conklin & de Decker”

-David Wyndham