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The forthcoming Eclipse 500 very light jet is unusual in that it costs relatively little for a microjet, around $1.5 million for orders placed today. Because jets of a similar size tend to cost about three times as much to buy and operate, the Eclipse microjet is expected to bring down the cost of air taxi service and corporate jet ownership. Plus, unlike many of its rivals, the Eclipse can fly into smaller airports--it's believed to have been the first jet ever to land at San Carlos Airport located just south of San Francisco. San Carlos' runway is 2,600 feet long, and the Eclipse requires just 2,155 feet for takeoff and landing in normal sea level conditions.
Eclipse 500 cockpit
The Eclipse 500 has one of the most advanced avionics systems in the sky. Pilots call this concept a glass cockpit. The heading indicator, communications and navigation radios, and vertical speed indicator are all digital. The Eclipse's so-called Avio Total Aircraft Integration system also includes a GPS moving map with a full-color display of weather in the vicinity. This should be no surprise: Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn is a Microsoft alum, and Bill Gates is a large investor.
The interior of Eclipse's microjet. The Eclipse 500 is awaiting certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and initial deliveries are expected this summer. Expected customers include corporate travel, air taxi service and private owners.