Contents of the email notice sent to E500 owners.
Thanks to several owners who contacted me to share this. I was preparing a posting from pilots and owners, but thought this was more important. Please note I've edited out only the reference to the conference call that took place earlier today, simply to shorten it a bit.
Subject: Eclipse Aviation Updates Avio NG with Dual Garmin® GPS 400W Units
We began 2008 - our tenth year - with the news that we had made history by becoming the fastest general aviation jet aircraft manufacturer to produce its first 100 airplanes. This achievement was quickly followed by the expansion of our partnership with ETIRC Aviation to extend the global reach and impact of the Eclipse 500®. Since that time, we have received certifications for two Level D Full Motion simulators and our Part 142 pilot training program. We also celebrated the opening of the Eclipse Service Center at the Albany International Airport in New York.
We've had a busy first quarter building 55 airplanes – that's 54% of last year's total production in 25% of the time. The rest of 2008 is shaping up to be equally exciting. I'd like to share a major item we are currently finishing development on for you.
Avio NG Integrated with Garmin GPS Technology
This summer, we will update Avio NG Total Aircraft Integration™ to include dual Garmin® GPS 400W units. Once integrated with Avio NG, the Garmin units will enable us to deliver updated Avio NG capabilities this summer, with all of the functionality commitments we've made to you available by the end of this year.
The GPS 400W units provide enroute and terminal GPS navigational guidance with autopilot coupling and Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) capabilities for Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) approaches. The units also offer integrated navigational source selection and flight path overlay integrated on Avio NG's navigational displays.
The GPS 400W units enable delivery of Flight Management System (FMS) functionality, when they are combined with the Eclipse 500's integrated performance computer, weight and balance tools, and moving map features. These integrated functions provide the navigational capability for private and commercial operations worldwide.
We expect FAA-certification of the new Avio NG configuration this summer. This certification will occur as an amendment to the Eclipse 500 type certificate. Aircraft with the integrated GPS 400W units will be delivered shortly after certification is received. At our own expense, Eclipse will retrofit every in-service Eclipse 500 with the dual GPS 400W units during Avio NG retrofits already scheduled or planned. Customers with Avio NG-equipped aircraft will receive the GPS 400W retrofits, as well, and at no cost.
Integration of the Garmin GPS 400W units is a low technical risk. Similar installations on European customer aircraft have been successful, and an Eclipse 500 flight test aircraft outfitted with the Garmin GPS 400W units is currently undergoing in-flight developmental testing for certification purposes.
The pilot and co-pilot keyboards (if installed), were originally designed as a secondary input method for future FMS functionality. Installation of the GPS 400W units now eliminates the need for keyboards, allowing the GPS 400W units to be located below the Primary Flight Displays (PFD). Avio NG will also no longer include remote-mounted GPS units. The dual COM/NAV/GPS antennas will be replaced and upgraded with Beta 3 capability, enabling future operational capabilities for NextGen technologies. It is important to note that for those of you with Garmin GNS 430 and GNS 530 series experience, the GPS 400W has 100 percent of the FMS capabilities of a GNS430/530 but without the radio and navigational functions (already installed with Avio NG).
Future functionality including electronic checklists linked to crew alert messages, XM weather integration on Avio NG's digital moving map, enhanced performance management, and more will be provided as future software updates. The file attached to this e-mail includes an image of the Eclipse 500 flight deck with the GPS 400W units and a schedule outlining when the additional Avio NG functionality will be released.
Eclipse will retrofit all in-service customer aircraft with the GPS 400W configuration at no charge to affected customers. The plan to accommodate the various retrofit configurations is well underway. We are adding additional capacity to our service center network to accelerate the retrofit process. A detailed schedule outlining our plan for upgrading all of the various configurations of aircraft will be published by June 1, 2008.
The inclusion of dual Garmin GPS 400W units into Avio NG now represents the final and permanent Avio NG configuration for the Eclipse 500. We will no longer pursue our own custom FMS solution. The GPS 400W represents a low technical risk solution that enables expeditious delivery of essential functionality to your aircraft. We are extremely excited about our expanded partnership with Garmin, the leading GPS provider in the world, and we are proud that they now perform an integral role on the Eclipse 500.
Optional Equipment Change
We've received many requests to combine two of our optional equipment packages. Beginning immediately upon certification of the new Avio NG configuration, Eclipse will combine the Part 135 and co-pilot packages and offer them as one Commercial Operations Package.
The combined package will include:
A third independent Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) system;
40 cubic-foot oxygen tank to replace the standard 22 cubic-foot tank;
A co-pilot quick-don oxygen mask;
Second handheld microphone;
Three AC power outlets; and
Passenger briefing cards.
The Commercial Operations Package will be offered at $29,995 USD and weigh approximately 17.3 pounds. Retrofits of the new package into existing customer aircraft containing the previous Part 135 and/or co-pilot package will also be available.
Conference call details deleted from here by Shane
We are committed to delivering your aircraft with the functionality and capability that we have promised. Integrating the GPS 400W devices is just one of the ways we remain committed to our vision of providing you with the best in performance, innovation, and value.
President and CEO