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May 2006 edition

Partial Eclipse of alloys

Eclipse Aviation, which expects to deliver its first Eclipse 500 in Europe in the autumn, has placed its faith largely in aluminium alloys rather than composites. Eclipse president Vern Raburn cites commercial and production reasons.

The Eclipse strategy is based on low-cost production, the use of friction stir welding (FSW) for high levels of automation and tight control of quality. The 500’s dominant materials are lightweight aluminium alloys with composites forming only some secondary structures and fairings.

Ceo Peg Billson says the VLJs have a high number of machine parts. The use of welding, up to 136m of joins per aircraft, cuts the use of rivets by more than 7,300.

Eclipse believes the a....

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