Thursday, February 28, 2008

Things can only get better

The blog email ( is beginning to hum with incoming from employees in ABQ, working huge numbers of hours and having real world concerns.

- They have been told of an upcoming FAA audit, during which they believe (rightly or wrongly) serious issues will come to light.

- The company appears to be hiring outside contractors to do the modifications to existing aircraft. Internally, staff believe that this is because no one with an A&P ticket will risk it by 'signing off' on these earlier units.

- The fourth Director level responsibility for Supplier Quality Assurance in
 12 MONTHS has departed recently.

- Chaos is a word used to describe working conditions in the plant. Ok in a sweet factory, but...

- A staff member pointed out that they did NOT complete 100 aircraft in 2007, as 23 were 'mostly complete' in 2006. Just another example of the 'BS' (his words, not mine) attitude of the company to the facts.

That's the area for the next big problem. Staff morale would appear to be on a downer. I for one can understand it. They are working all the hours they can, trying hard to ramp production and then Vern pops up to announce a new factory in Russia.
Not an example of inspired leadership....
Tell me I'm wrong, but my heart goes out to some of these guys (and girls, for all I know) who seem to love their career but have real worries about what Eclipse management are tasking them to do.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Future for Eclipse?

Thanks to Bricklinng for this masterful business plan. It should give the long suffering shareholders in Eclipse some hope for the future.

You had an interesting idea to sell Eclipse reality clothing at Oshkosh, but it's not as simple as T shirts. The following is more apt. First we must rent two separate booths.

At the first booth, have pictures, samples and an associated web site showing the Eclipse Jacket with all kinds of novel pockets, zipin/zipout insulation, floatation feature, etc. The article must be attractive and something that most everyone would think is novel. There will not be any actually on hand, but you can order one at the show for $150.00 as follows:

1. Put down a $15 non refundable deposit and get a position number and we will advise you when your jacket is 6 months away from being produced.

2. At the 6 month advisory point (we will unilaterally declare this), you will send in another $75.

3. On delivery, after the 6 months, you pay the remaining $60.

Note that after the show, our price will go up to $200.

Will will disclose that about 100 people have gone through the 3 step process above and that the time following 6 month notice was actually a year and a half and that when the jackets were delivered they had no insulation, zippers or sleeves, but you can wear them as vests (sort of). We are committed to adding the missing pieces as soon as we get them in ourselves, at no further cost. You have our full faith and credit on this promise.

At the second booth, we will have some of the partially-completed jackets available for sale on consignment from their owners. We will also have some contracts with position numbers attached available for sale. So if you want to have a jacket and just be waiting for the promised improvements or if you want a low position number like 200 or 300 instead of number 2700 (the highest number sold to date) then you can buy one of these. The partially-done jackets will go for $170 and the position numbers will go for $20 or $105 depending on whether or not the 60% has been paid.

Disclosure at this booth will be that 1700 of the 2700 jacket orders are from Jacket by Day Ltd., a Canadian company that hopes to put them at various points around the arctic to be used by anyone going outdoors in the winter. The users will reserve and pay by credit card over the internet and pick them up and leave them off at designated locations. Since only 10% of people in the arctic go outdoors at any one time, this sort of arrangement will be great and save everyone a lot of money and will be an improvement in outdoor protection. HOWEVER, be advised that our cost on the jackets is really volume sensitive so that if the arctic jacket company does not succeed and the 1700 orders evaporate then our cost will go from $140 per jacket to $210 and we will never make any money and may not then be able to deliver on any of our promises to anyone.

Thanks again, Bricklinng, you have something there for the good people at Eclipse.

On another note, are the FAA onto something with quality control down ABQ way? Rumblings reach this side of the pond, and I would be interested to learn more. You can reach me on the 'official' blog email,

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What is it with all these 'plans'?

While the rest of the world is focused on Singapore, Eclipse Aviation choose today to announce (again) 'plans' to build another factory.

There are still some hurdles to cross, as it appears that 'final agreement is expected within the next few months'. Vern and an E500 were dispatched to deepest Russia to host the press conference which provided us with this gem.

A few questions cross my mind.

Before he builds another factory, would Eclipse resources not be better spent of finishing the plane he has?

Part of the press release mentions a 'special free trade zone', which will be established for Eclipse. Why?

The stated purpose of this plant is to supply the growing market in Europe for the E500, without any reference to the number of orders they have in the area. '2,700' continues (as it has for years now) to be the magic number for total sales. Where are the extra sales?

Just asking....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Old Chinese curse

"May you live in interesting times"

For the past 10 years, Vern Raburn has followed his own, unique, star. He sought solutions to problems that others had already solved and as direct result burned through more money than any similar startup. By a factor of 10. The E500 he currently offers is still incomplete, with those lucky enough to possess one facing I.O.U's for critical items like F.I.K.I., AvioNG and 'fixtures and fittings' too numerous to mention.

The general economic background to this is also important. In the past few months several aviation companies bringing similar 'new technology' approaches have stumbled or fallen. Colombia and Adam Aircraft are recent casualties. The small glimmers of good news, like that from Diamond, have relied on public money. In this case, the Canadian's have offered funding to support production of The Jet in London, Ontario.

Talking of public money, the British have just had to nationlize Northern Rock, as they were unable to find any banker to take on the liability. Soc Gen in France seems to be heading for a nasty period over its own rogue trader. The Dollar continues to slide against other major trading currencies and the Fed is running out of points to cut off the prime lending rate.

So, will Vern be able to ramp production to the point where Eclipse can make enough money on current spending to stay afloat. More important, will enough REAL orders come along to support another visit to the equity markets? Based on patterens over the past year or so, that must be coming in the next 90 days.

Interesting times, for sure.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Its time for Eclipse Critic NG!

After many months of effort, and several temporary homes across the interweb, the truly dedicated have decided....

.... not to move at all!

Yes, fellow followers of Stan, it's safe to come out of the cold.