The Little Jet That Can
Plane and Pilot, by Bill Cox
The Eclipse 500 is back, and this time, they've done it right
The world looks different from 41,000 feet. Climb to nearly eight miles above the sea, and you'll note some dramatic changes compared to the view at lower altitudes. For one thing, the perpetual haze layer that plagues so much of the U.S. often becomes thicker and more opaque. If you look up rather than down, you'll see a dark-cobalt sky, not the solid black the astronauts report on their journey to orbit, but a deep navy blue.
You're virtually alone at this altitude. Many airliners can operate at FL410, but only after burning fuel load down for several hours. There are a number of corporate jets that can top 41,000 feet, but all are far more expensive than the Eclipse. Contrails are nearly always below you rather than above.
The Avio NG flat panel display before me suggests we're cruising at 340 knots at this high station, well above most other traffic. As if in confirmation, a twin-jet contrail crosses our path 4,000 feet below. In the distance, I can see the snow-white spine of the Sierra Nevada reaching up for us and falling five miles short. Today's ride is in Mason Holland's Total Eclipse demonstrator, a fully completed version of the Eclipse 500, the primogenitor of the very light jet. In truth, the Eclipse created the VLJ market, and today, there are something over 250 of the type in the sky.
View the complete article and Plane & Pilot's site HERE.