Overview & History
The official name for the Eclipse 500 is the Eclipse Aerospace EA500. The Eclipse 500 is the aircraft that created the Very Light Jet (VLJ) category of aircraft. VLJ aircraft are small, lightweight and nimble.
Deliveries of the Eclipse 500 began in 2006 and ceased in 2008. Deliveries ended after this two-year period due to a lack of funding. The company entered bankruptcy in November 2008.
However, in August 2009 Eclipse Aerospace bought out the assets of Eclipse Aviation. Following on from this, Eclipse Aerospace announced a newer version of the Eclipse 500 called the Eclipse 550.
Despite only being delivered to customers for two years, Eclipse Aviation was able to produce 260 aircraft. An extremely high number considering its short delivery window. The Eclipse 500 is a distinctive aircraft with a unique wing shape and single pilot capability.
Due to being a Very Light Jet, the Eclipse 500 is perfect for customers who are looking to fly with just one or two other people, with minimal luggage on a short flight.
The most similar aircraft to it that is currently available is the Cirrus Vision Jet. An aircraft that is perfect for owner/operators and small groups, just like the Eclipse 500.
Eclipse 500 Performance
The Eclipse 500 is powered by two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan engines. Each engine is capable of putting out 900 lbf of thrust.
This gives the aircraft the ability to cruise at up to 370 knots and fly up to an altitude of 41,000 feet. As you would expect, short-field performance is highly impressive. Take-off distance comes in at just 2,345 feet, with a minimum landing distance of 2,250 feet.
The maximum range of the aircraft is 1,125 Nautical Miles (1,295 Miles / 2,084 KM). While these were the official numbers given for the aircraft at the time by Eclipse Aviation, the reported range does vary. We have seen the maximum range vary from 570 Nautical Miles to 964 Nautical Miles.
Furthermore, the size of the aircraft’s weight plays a vital role in its performance capabilities. Therefore, even just a few extra bags on board will drastically reduce the aircraft’s range. Therefore, if you are planning on flying the Eclipse 500 be sure to pack light.
Eclipse 500 Interior
One of the most notable features of the Eclipse 500 is the toilet. Or rather the lack thereof. At the time of introduction, the only general aviation jet on the market to not feature a toilet. This was somewhat controversial at the time. If you needed to relieve yourself during flight, the only option was to provide your own container.
However, in today’s world, the lack of a toilet isn’t all that surprising for an aircraft of this size. Since 2006 VLJs have gotten bigger. In fact, one could argue the case that the VLJ category doesn’t truly exist anymore. Therefore, the aircraft that we today consider to be Very Light Jets – namely the Cessna Citation M2, Embraer Phenom 100EV, and HondaJet, all have the space for toilets.
Considering the size of the aircraft, not having a toilet is the compromise that had to be made. Following on from the Eclipse 500 the Cessna Citation Mustang hit the market just behind it. The Mustang had a mild improvement over the Eclipse by featuring an ’emergency’ toilet. This space between the cockpit and passenger cabin didn’t have a solid door, rather a removable privacy curtain. Additionally, the Cirrus Vision Jet also followed suit by eliminating the toilet.
Ultimately, one must conclude that if you want to fly on a truly small jet aircraft, a lack of a toilet is a compromise that you have to accept. Plus, most flights of the Eclipse were expected to only be 40 to 80 minutes in length. A duration that most people should be able to withhold going to the restroom.
Forget About the Toilet, What About the Rest of the Cabin?
Moving on, the lack of a toilet really sets the tone for the rest of the cabin. Seeing as the interior space only measures 4 feet 2 inches tall, 5 feet 2 inches long and 4 feet 8 inches wide, there isn’t a lot to do with this space. There is enough space for 4 passengers to sit. Technically the aircraft can seat 5 passengers, however, one passenger would be sitting in the cockpit right hand seat. The rest of the cabin features three seats in its typical configuration.
Thanks to deliveries starting in 2006, the Eclipse 500 has a pleasing, modern cockpit. The aircraft features the Avio Avionics Suite. This is a highly integrated avionics system that serves as the basic systems architecture. The system interfaces with almost every aircraft function.
The glass cockpit features two Primary Flight Displays (PFDs) and two Aircraft Computer Systems (ACS). These are considered the pillars of the avionics system.
Eclipse 500 Operating Costs & Fuel Burn
The direct operating cost of the Eclipse 500 is estimated to be around $1,030 per flight hour. This comes in at roughly $300 more than the Cirrus Vision Jet and just below the Cessna Citation Mustang. This rate factors in fuel burn, maintenance, crew, and operating fees. The annual fixed costs for the aircraft are estimated to be just over $200,000. This results in a higher operating cost than the competition – i.e. the Mustang and the Vision Jet.
The fuel burn per hour of the Eclipse 500 averages 59 gallons to 68 gallons per hour (GPH). The Vision Jet, despite having just one engine, has an average fuel burn of 68 – 80 gallons per hour (GPH). Additionally, the Cessna Citation Mustang burns an average of 95 gallons per hour (GPH). However, in some cases, a fuel burn of 60 GPH has been documented.
Thanks to the popularity of the Eclipse 500 during its production years there are plenty of aircraft available for charter. And thanks to its low fuel burn charter prices are very reasonable.
The estimated charter price for an Eclipse 500 is $1,700 per flight hour. Naturally, however, prices will vary depending on availability, fuel prices, ground fees, and more. To view all the factors that affect the price of a private jet charter, read this article.
Eclipse 500 For Sale & Price
The original base list price for the Eclipse 500 was $2.5 million. However, since deliveries ended in 2008 new examples can’t be purchased.
Pre-owned examples are currently sitting in the $700,000 to $1 million price range. This places the aircraft at a much lower price point than pre-owned examples of the Cirrus Vision Jet and the Cessna Citation Mustang.
If you are looking for a pre-owned example for sale, we recommend checking out Controller here.