ALBUQUERQUE (AP) -- An Albuquerque aviation manufacturer whose very light jet aircraft was harshly criticized for a mechanical problem said Tuesday it will upgrade its software to prevent any further engine problems.
The Federal Aviation Administration, in response to an urgent recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board, ordered the immediate inspection of throttles on Eclipse Aviation Corp.'s Eclipse 500 plane earlier this month after one aircraft made an emergency landing in Chicago. The two pilots and two passengers were unhurt; two landing gear tires were flattened.
Eclipse determined that the engine failed when the aircraft's throttles were pushed beyond its FAA-certified design limits. Company president and chief executive Vern Raburn said Eclipse plans to increase the range limit of the throttles to prevent the fault condition, pending approval from the FAA.
The changes will be administered through a software update to all Eclipse 500 owners and operators, he said.
"One of the advantages to having such a technologically advanced aircraft is that we can quickly isolate the cause of an incident and then rapidly deliver a solution to our customers via a universal software update," Raburn said in a news release.
Raburn said an analysis of more than 12,000 hours of flight data from its fleet of Eclipse 500s found that two other aircraft had experienced similar faults. He said Eclipse is working with the NTSB and FAA to fully understand the condition and put the necessary design improvements in place to safeguard its customers and fleet.
"While this tells us there is an extremely low probability of this fault happening, we are moving very aggressively to ensure it will not occur again," he said.
The FAA's emergency order called for the inspection of all Eclipse 500 aircraft throttles and replacement of malfunctioning ones before each plane is flown again.
The FAA order also required that operators immediately insert the aircraft's flight manual new emergency procedures for dual engine control failure.
Raburn said Eclipse has updated its manual and quick reference handbook to provide pilots with procedures on how to handle a similar incident.