Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Business Ethics, 101

Yet another vendor is dumped, and the lawyers gather for the usual contract dispute. How many more will be put through the meat grinder that is Eclipse, under the inspired direction of our favourite Collier Trophy winner?

Electromech Technologies, until very recently listed on the Eclipse website as a key supplier, is taking action against Vern to recover their dues. The chosen battleground, using the same legal firm as Hampsons', is that well trodden path to arbitration. Again.

Word also reaches me that that Aerazur, suppliers of key parts of the de icing equipment, might be in the dark about E500 progress towards FIKI. Which strikes me as a little odd. One would think they would be central to the final push for FAA certification. I'm pretty sure that when the airtaxi companies that form the core of Verns' fan club hear this, they will be muttering darkly about promises broken. Unless Aerazur are also set to join Electromech, under the bus.

Sources close to Eclipse tell me that Garmin ARE in 'discussion' with Vern, who HAS requested the G1000. Poor Mr. Raburn is alleged to have been told to, and I quote, 'pound sand' (whatever that means....) on the G1000, but they will extend their involvement in AvioNG. I just hope they get paid cash in advance for their efforts.

Over this side of the pond, we have regulators coming out of every nook and cranny you can possibly imagine, and then another half dozen you can't. We have people to check that bananas are not too straight, and another crew to make sure that they are not too bent. Cheese can only be described in certain ways, ice cream is not what you think it is and don't get me started on dried meats. What this breeds is an imperial detachment at the top of the European civil service, called (without any sense of irony) the Commission. 'They' have all the power, and are invunerable to democratic questioning or the powers of reason.

EASA are very much in the mould of the Commission, so when word reaches me that EASA are not even beginning to think about the remote possibility of looking at the E500 UNTIL everything (and I believe this means what it says) is completed and certified by the FAA, I get worried about the Russians. As a matter of fact, I think the Russian deal is in real trouble, even without all the delays that seem inevitable when Vern is involved.

So, I'll finish my thoughts for today with the following. It's kept me going for more years than I care to remember and allows me to look everyone I deal with, supplier or customer, staff member or contractor, straight in the eye. Doing business is, at the core, very simple.

Only make promises you that can keep. And keep the promises that you make.

Anything else is a con trick.

Have a happy Easter break, and blue skies to you all. 

90 comments:

baron95 said...

Garmin should pay Vern a 5% marketing comission on every G1000 system they sell for turbine airplanes.

Vern/Eclipse is the single most important Garmin sales tool. The Garmin strategic sales team can go to any mannufacturer looking at a Glass solution and say: "Do you want to risk going the way of the Eclipse or use the proven solution".

My guess is that Eclipse position holders are increasingle REFUSING DELIVERY of EA500s without a functioning GPS/FMS solution or the confidence that one is imminent. Therefore Vern, knowing that the Avio NG GPS/FMS is at least a year away is desperate.

Therefore, I predict that Vern will unvail an Avio NG version 1.0.G that will have a Garmin pannel mounted/IFR certified GPS unit integrated to the autopilot. I predict that it will be used for EASA certification and is intended to convince more owners to take delivery and relieve presure on the Avio NG v1.5 schedule creep.

What a f%$#@-up state of affairs.

baron95 said...

On the Electromech issue, I believe this is just another case of a vendor that has incurred significant extra costs for ever changing requirements with poor documentation and is also facing delayed payments because Eclipse is insistent on blaming them.

They finally drew the line in the sand and said no more - to arbitration we go.

So lets recap. The 100 or so jets in the field all need to come-in the the equivalent of a D-check heavy overhaul, airframe/avionics upgrade, to be performed by brand new maintenance centers, with brand new maintenance procedures and brand new maintenance personnel.

They have to:
1 - Replace windows and some actuators.
2 - Do aeromods in manny.
3 - Pull out old Avio and put in the Avio NG HW.
4 - Add the FIKI mods (if they can ever find out what the needed ones are).
5 - Add the Garmin GPS (likely).
6 - Replace the Radar (??? not sure if they'll do that).
7 - Repaint (some)

My guess is that we are talking about 12 weeks for the first birds, decreasing to 8 weeks for subsequent birds to get done, at a cost in parts and hrs of $250K (for the older birds) to $75K (for the newer ones).

This will be an anchor in this company FOR YEARS.

BricklinNG said...

My understanding of the Eclipse contract is that Eclipse can change the specs of the airplane any time but that this triggers a right for the buyer to receive his deposit back. So maybe some buyers are just taking the position that the specs of the delivered airplane are not the specs in the airplane description. This is probably true, since the specs call for FIKI, GPS, autopilot, etc.--all the "IOU" items. If I were Eclipse and a customer said to me, "It's not the airplane as described, I want to terminate", I would just give the deposit back (as long as I had the money). The alternative would be to get into multiple disagreements with customers, saying "the specs were not changed, the missing items are around the corner, you should pay anyway, etc." As soon as a few lawsuits got going, Eclipse's name would become mud to the extent that it is not mud already.

I just wonder how long they can keep going if even half of the items reported here are true--Dayjet is stuck at 28 airplanes, Pogo is No Go, individual customers are refusing delivery and asking for their money back, EASA has not even started thinking about European certification, 100 airplanes are due for extensive retrofits with the first one 5 weeks late and not complete and the president of the company is now trying to get something--anything--to bring the GPS/Navigation/autopilot system up to the level of the equipment routinely found in a Cessna 172.

Gunner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gunner said...

Eclipse has filed two cases in New Mexico courts in the past 3 days. In both cases, they're the Plaintiff.

"ECLIPSE VS COMPOSITE" is a civil filing with Arbitration.

"ECLIPSE VS DOE J ET AL" is a Breach of Contract complaint with injunction requested. In this last, they've filed to have the complaint sealed.

The thick plottens.
Gunner

fred said...

hi ...

happy easter for all...

about Easa = it is a double edge sword : easa process is lentghy AND expensive ...

belive shane on that , anything starting by European ... is diabolicly fussy about everything (except theirs onw fuss )

so it maight be EAC do not have the financial backbone to go thru ...

Or

Easa is not thinking about cert. because financials capacities of Eac are remaining mostly Unknown ...!


but there is one funny aspect = The russians won't raise an eyebrow if Easa hasn't done the paperworks BEFORE ...!!!

sparky said...

Happy Easter everybody.

Maybe i just iss the old days, but aren't we overdo for a statement of amusement.

Wish Ken would have stuck around.

It would seem that it's just about time to start the death pool. Put me down for closure by 30APR08 and the big BK to follow within 10 days.

FlightCenter said...

Eclipse is flying behind the power curve with Avio NG.

No matter how much power they apply, they won't be able to deliver a competitive avionics solution.


Just about the time that they announce that they have certified the Garmin 400Ws to fill the gap for the Avio NG 1.5 unfulfilled promises, Garmin is sure to be announcing another set of new features for the G1000.

Remember that Gary Kelly from Garmin spoke at AOPA on the future of avionics 18 months ago. He said they needed just "a little more time" to get the kinks out of Synthetic Vision.

Honeywell demonstrated their Synthetic Vision PFDs at the same talk.

PC-12s, TBM850s, Mustangs, and Phenoms are likely to have Syn Vis and few other new advanced features a long while before Eclipse delivers on their original promises for Avio.

John said...

Controller Link for SN 142 & 143

Controller is showing SN 142 nearly complete and ready for immediate sale with a bundled training slot. SN 142 was an foreign registration craft (Etric?).

BricklinNG said...

In June 2007 Eclipse, by Vern's account, was on the verge of bankruptcy. This was avoided by a cash investment reported at $210 million. By early January, 2008 this was gone, about $30 million per month.

Is anything much different currently than in the last 8 months? If number 142 is being delivered presently and 105 was the first in 2008 then the delivery rate is around 15 per month as was the case in the latter months of 2007. Maybe the deposit calling is a little more aggressive, but then reportedly some customers are getting cash back instead of airplanes. There is a new drain to fix up the first 100 airplanes. All in all, the cash flow out can't me much different than it was last year can it?

If this is true than the $100 m from Raoul plus the $30 m from early 60% deposits should last around 4 months. There will need to be more money from outsiders in some fashion around May 1.

Is this thought pattern missing either some significant inflow or is it failing to note a diminution of some significant outflow? If not, then "what's past is prologue."

fred said...

brickling ...


this hémorragia is exactly what is the main problem now ..

and the same reason why Garmin is called for rescue ...

Vern has no choices left , he has to fill-up his bird with something else than avio , or to see customers wanting thiers cash ...

if cash is given , bigger problem occurs :

EAC is left with partially completed aircrafts that are plagued with IOU , bad reputation and economic situation ...!!

if Garmin has anything in brain , they should make Vern pay as much as possible ...

because he has (Vern) no way out !

either pactise with evil dinosaur (Garmin) or see planes getting stacked at ABQ (crunching by the way the simple concept of second market for the E500 and the "huge" order book ) against cash , that is very probably alerady too scarse by now ...

so yes MAY can be a good date , but if Garmin want to make him pay or turn him down , then the whole story is going to be revealled for what it is much sooner ...!!!

FlightCenter said...

Serial number 142 and 143 are two of the aircraft that show on the FAA registry database as complete but still registered to Eclipse Aircraft.

Serial 142 was added to the registry database on 2/26 and serial 143 on 3/6.

airtaximan said...

seems to me like progress.

- new COTS (sorta) avionics supplier

- outsourced production to lower cost center

funny thing is, all the progress is diametrically opposed to the hype we've been fed for the last 11years.

... all this leaves now (right!0 is the problem of the market demand for this little plane, and the forward pricing strategy debacle.

But whats a Vern to do? Describe the product for what it is to meet the market? A cheap jet? He'd get no high tech money. No program. No trophy.

All the backpeddling is very expensive, making the dream of a jet in every garage even further away.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

The two Garmin options sound like

1: Keep AVIONfG and add a pair of Garmin 430's or

2: Gut AvioNfG and replace it with some sort of G1000 set up.

Lets take a critical look at these two options:

How does Eclipse sell botch up number one to the dream weavers who have been justifying eclipses crappy performance buy convincing themselves that the eclipse is revolutionary.

If option number two is the preferred plan, then this will take another two years!

Gunner said...

"Gut AvioNfG..."
Now that's an ironic redundancy.
Gunner

Shane Price said...

Freeedom,

My take is that Vern asked for G1000, but was refused as he wanted it 'integrated with AvioNG'.

I gather that this was a (weak) attempt to hide the fact that he could not see any way to 'finish' NG in the short term.

The idea was to stick an 'AvioNG' badge on the outside, but Garmin refused to play ball. Too much goodwill built up over years of delivering working product, I suppose.

This is based on info from several sources, one of who claims to be on the 'inside'. From their tone, I gather that this individual would rather be 'outside' at this time.

Shane

flyger said...

Eclipse wanted to be disruptive and they succeeded, at disrupting themselves, that is. Just about every new disruptive technology they choose is either gone or hopelessly broken.

Brushless starter/generators: gone.

Williams triple spool engine: gone.

Avidyne Avio avionics: gone.

IS&S AvioNG avionics: maybe gone?

Brushless self rigging actuators: maybe gone?

Combination pitot/AoA probe: AD, fix required.

Friction stir welding: minimal impact on assembly rates, high cost.

I find it ironic that the one area where Vern has any experience, namely software and electronics, is the area that is most screwed up.

Slowly, painfully slowly, the EA500 is being pounded into a very conventional small jet. If they had started with that goal, there would be perhaps a 1,000 flying Eclipse right now and they would be quite the success.

If the Collier committee knew back then what we know now, there would be no chance they get the trophy. Nearly every one of the supposed innovations are fatally flawed.

What a shame.

flightguy said...

The problem was and still is that everyone with any real aviation insite knew this program was a sham. Unfortunately, too many non-aviation types yelled and trumpeted too loudly thereby grounding out the naysayers and critics. It has taken the dreamers almost 5-10 years of repeated failures to begin to realize what everyone on the inside of the industry has been saying for years.

fred said...

flightguy ..

yes !

i come to this story when i started to dream about me flying over clouds from Moscow to Paris in a jet that would be inexpensive , easy to fly , blabla ,blabla , blabla ...

i had only 2 big chances :

1° i came late , so the spoofy was already allmaost gone ...

2° i have a very good friend (with such a high profil into G.A ) who took me by shoulders , shook me quite violently and told me "wake-up !before your dream becomes a nightmare!"


soon , nothing of the qualities (or supposed to be) will be left about this bird ...

may be a nice toy for some passionate , but NOTHING as promised ...!

baron95 said...

I don't think it is accurate to say that Vern/Eclipse were set out to scam people nor to say that they accomplished nothing.

They had a bold idea, they lined up investors and set out to make it into reality. Along the way, their execution was very, very bad, and they were not forthcoming about their problems.

They did manage to build 100 jets in the first 12 months of production, which is quite remarkable for any company, let alone a startup.

The aerodynamics of the plane, despite the attrocious tip tanks, seem to be quite good and hit all performance marks - so they got that part right.

The airframe, despite the larger engines and increased MTOW, seems to be very efficient (i.e. light) compared to other jets.

Did they waste money, failed to communicate their problems to customers/investors/suppliers, pis%#$@ away money, f&^#$up the avionics, etc? YES. Absolutely.

Was it a scam from the get go and they accomplish nothing? NO. That is not true.

Balance guys. It would be better to point some positive items as you point the many negatives. Just make it more credible.

Gunner said...

Agreed, Baron.

It would be hard to believe that Vern never believed the dream. I think he did.

The fact remains that the plane is hardly worth the money being charged. And the promise can hardly be fulfilled for that amount. That, by definition, is a Scam. When it became such is a moot question at this point.
Gunner

stan said...

Don't lose sight of the fact the dream was the google sized IPO and everyone getting rich.

The airplane was a convenient vehicle to achieve the dream.

airtaximan said...

an airplane is only an airplane when its finished

did they accomplish anything? are they finished?

this is the big joke. A lot of folks can say "missed it by that much"...

this plane was a bad idea from the start.. and soon, they knew it.

$779,000 just to be lower price than Sapphire.

the whole Nimbus air taxi thing, replaced by Dayjet... just to have any shot at a 1,000 order form an air taxi xompany.

I think they all knew the reality a long time ago... but some folks spent $500 million or so by then...

.. keep the dream alive, just DO NOT finish the plane. When its finished, its not what was sold, promised or invested in... or "collier-awarded", for that matter.

baron95 said...

airtaximan said...
an airplane is only an airplane when its finished

did they accomplish anything? are they finished?


Yes. No.

They have 5 major tasks remaining:
1 - Avio NG (to me this is complete when they have the full promissed functionality Avio NG 2.0)
2 - Improve build rate/quality.
3 - FIKI
4 - Retrofit planes in the field to common standard (airframe and avionics)
5 - Adjust costs and sales price for sustainable profitability.

But they have accomplished quite a lot:
A - Basic Airfame, VFR/IFR/Night TC and PC.
B - Factory and tooling.
C - Trained workforce
D - 15 jets/month production rate.
E - Class D Sims and training curricula
F - Maintenance Centers outside NM.
G - Granted Part 135 operating certificates.
H - 100-150 jets in the field.
J - Demostrated ability to raise money in the toughest financial evironment in recent memory.

These things have NEVER been accomplished by ANY startup company before. It is actually quite unbelievable that they have come this far if you ask me.

Look at the Sweringen mess, the Adam mess, the AASI mess. Everyone failed without accomplishing even a fraction of what Eclipse has accomplished.

A ballanced view is needed. Some of the folks here need to calibrate their V1 speeds.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

Look at the Sweringen mess, the Adam mess, the AASI mess. Everyone failed without accomplishing even a fraction of what Eclipse has accomplished.

Agreed. Eclipse had such promise and actually did quite a lot. They sold a dream that we all wanted to be true.

But they were their own worst enemy with some of the decisions that put ego ahead of common sense. That sabotage of the dream hurts for the dreamers.

And that is why the Eclipse critic blog exists. We were all hoping for the dream and it hurts us, personally, to see how it faltered. Just a little more experience injected at the right place would have changed everything. That frustration now vents here daily.

Someone I know called the Eclipse "the DeLorean of the skies". I think that fits very well. Pride and ego brought down that project as well.

David Wihl said...

baron95 said:

J - Demostrated ability to raise money in the toughest financial evironment in recent memory.

While I agree with most of what you said including recognizing some of their achievements, your comment about raising money is 20/20 hindsight. Capital has been raised over a ten year period which includes many ups and downs. We are clearly in one of the down periods and we'll see their ability to raise money yet again when the necessity comes up in a few months.

I assert that raising money has been an albatross and a curse. By not executing efficiently then compensating by searching new money from position holders and new external investors caused more problems than it solved. It forced the company to repeat a pattern of overpromising and underdelivering by setting unrealistic expectations. It let to further waste and loss of efficiency. It has burnt bridges. And most importantly it has crushed their credibility.

Now to accomplish the 5 significant tasks you've listed will require even more capital, and the cycle continues.

While they have accomplished more than any other new jet startup since Embraer*, I suspect that when the history is written their non-accomplishments will far overshadow their successes.

* Embraer is the only new successful jet manufacturer in the last 25 years and they've had huge government support and much more capital than Eclipse.

BricklinNG said...

Dayjet Numbers

I read Dick Karl's article about Dayjet in Flying Magazine. He included a table of prices along with flight lengths (including ground time), noted that Dayjet has 260 employees, the average load is 1.6 passengers and that there are 35% deadhead flights. Separately, Moriarty has kept track of Dayjet hours, currently running a bit over 100 hours per week.

From all of this, I deduced 80 revenue hours per week and with the average of prices stated by Dick I came to an estimate of $1100 per revenue hour. Figuring fuel at $500 per hour, this gives Dayjet a current inflow of $48,000 per week after paying for fuel. So unless there is an order of magnitude change and very deep pockets while the change implements itself, I would think that Dayjet can't keep it up for too long. Those 260 employees alone, with FICA and benefits, must be $260,000 per week. I can't even imagine the rest of the expenses to operate and maintain the airplanes, run the reservation system, rent facilities and (don't forget) pay for interest and principal associated with the airplanes and other capital costs.

Airtaximan or someone who really knows the business may point out some flaw in my thoughts. I hope there is one, for Dayjet's sake and by extension for the sake of Eclipse and all those depending upon Eclipse.

sparky said...

Brickling,

If you wait long enough, Baron will post something along the lines of "hey, let's look at some of the good things Dayjet has done...balance.

Sorry Baron, couldn't help it. while your patting vern on the back think about what you're posting.

They didn't design anything, they took an aircraft and modified it to the point that it is unworkable.

They blatantly disrespected the entire established industry, thumbed their colective noses at everything that had been learned so far with statements about "dinasaur thinking" and generally made an ass of themselves.

They did this with the help of people like yourself, who look at this program and gawk, ooh and ahh at all the right places.

you claim that vern had a great idea at the start. what was it, to mass-produce aircraft and make them cheap. Hell, if I stated that I wanted to outlaw cars and give everybody in the united states VTOL vehicles and then blew over a billion dollars chasing this stupid dream, would you then shastise my critics and say it was a great and noble idea.

Results are what matters, and the result is an aircraft who's list of problems is way longer than any of their accomplishments could ever be.

This thing deserved to die a LONG time ago, and has turned into one of the biggest jokes the aviation industry has ever seen.

Turboprop_pilot said...

sometimes I miss the faithful... (most of the time, I do not)

In today's Wall Street Journal the headline "Loud but Fuel-Efficient: Turboprops Fly Again" points out the revival of turboprops for regional airliners: consume 1/4 to 1/3 less fuel... "analysts say airline's money worries outweigh passenger preference." "..regional jets no longer offer good economics for shorthaul flights.." Ken- what about those whirlly things???

Newer generation turboprops like Bombardier's Q-400 and new ATR models are quieter with active noise cancellation and more comfortable as they can fly higher above the weather.

Since fuel prices are going to be high for a long time with Asian growth and declining oil reserves, isn't the ideal air taxi:

Single engined turboprop
Cheap, strong, simple, easy to maintain construction
Single pilot
FIKIed
Pressurized
Good cabin size for whatever optimum size of average passenger load turns out to be

Not a whole lot like the revolutionary Eclipse, huh? Closer to a pressurized Kodiak?

ATM: what capital cost would be supported by how big a reduction in operating costs?

Turboprop_pilot

airsafetyman said...

"Newer generation turboprops like Bombardier's Q-400 and new ATR models are quieter with active noise cancellation and more comfortable as they can fly higher above the weather."

In the case of something like the Piaggio P-180 I doubt the average passenger would even realize they are in a turboprop, especially when they look down and see themselves overtaking many bizjets.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

I find it ironic that the one area where Vern has any experience, namely software and electronics, is the area that is most screwed up.

No surprises here, just consider who he has running the AAE and S/W show - rejects from Collins in Pomona, neither of them educated in electronics or software, but they give good meeting.

PubGrubber said...

Update from a previous thread.

Been checking the FAA's Preliminary Accident and Incident Reports, not a word on the situation that was mentioned with the little jet. Maybe it didn't happen, or maybe it wasn't reported.

Not quite sure

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The ConJet is making headlines again, latest in the Eclipse Aviation Public Relations Southern Office (Campbell's Aero-News Net).

CWMoR Prediction - Look for ConJet 'go-ahead', using Garmin avionics, at SNF next month. DayJet will be launch customer.

CWMoR stock recommendation - Short GRMN options on futures for April/May - if history is a guide there will be a drop.

CWMoR Prediction - EAC goes for more coin NLT May 31, as early as Tax Day - fails to raise enough - ETIRC takes over.

Recently had a chance to visit some real innovative aircraft with true historical impact, X1-B, X-24, X-15, etc., and I have a mea culpa to make.

I recant my previous support for Eclipse having won the Collier Trophy - I was wrong, AIAA was wrong - the pretender WeeJet pales in comparison to the birds that really changed how we travel, it is not fit to carry the DC-3's jockstrap or walk the same ground as the 707 or C-172.

Perhaps the Collier can be reclaimed in the coming year, I hear Epic is a candidate.

FlightCenter said...

The FAA has updated their "in process" website, not only for Eclipse but for all aircraft manufacturers.

The FAA has now retroactively posted data for 18 Eclipse 500 aircraft transactions as far back as 25 Feb 08.

FAA records show that Eclipse has delivered 36 Eclipse 500 aircraft so far in the first quarter of this year. For comparison purposes, Eclipse delivered 50 aircraft in Q4 07.

At this rate, Eclipse will deliver approximately 150 aircraft in 2008.

I've updated the Eclipse 500 Delivery Data to reflect the latest from the FAA.

Eclipse also sold serial #76, which had been in use as a demo aircraft.

FlightCenter said...

The FAA shows that serial #145 is the highest serial number Eclipse 500 that has been delivered.

The new owner registered that aircraft under the corporation name of Total Eclipse LLC.

A bit optimistic...

Yet to be delivered, according to the FAA website, are serial numbers 128, 136, 137, 138, and 140 through 144.

There were no records of any new DayJet aircraft deliveries.

WhyTech said...

"Closer to a pressurized Kodiak?"

Sound like a PC-12 to me.

gadfly said...

Back in about September 2002, the “ghost” of Reichsmarschall Hermann Ernst Goering could have repeated his famous statement, “The jig is up!” . . . after the little jet-bird fluttered, briefly, around the skies above ABQ . . . about 4,000 feet off the ground . . . and shortly thereafter, “deposits” ($) were claimed out of the escrow account . . . and a little while later, it was announced (“admitted”, “confessed”, . . . you choose the best word) that the plane did not really fly as promised, and needed different engines, etc., etc., etc., etc., and so forth.

It all happened so fast that the “drive-by” media didn’t even “get it” . . . but there it was for all to see . . . that the “Emperor” had no clothes. Almost six years later, “some” are still discussing whether or not the emperor is still properly attired.

Amazing!

gadfly

(Of course, almost six decades earlier, the “Reichsmarschall” was having difficulties with jet engines that didn’t quite meet expectations, just when the end was in sight. A little study will show that in neither case were the engines at fault! History is such monotony . . . repeated over and over and over and . . . ! And just for the record, a few of us “got it” and began to view the little jet, and the “emperor” in full glorious splendor. (Gag!))

flyger said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

CWMoR Prediction - Look for ConJet 'go-ahead', using Garmin avionics, at SNF next month.

Great, the Florida Dept of Revenue can assess it use tax while it is there.

Or maybe for Eclipse, it should be called a "useless tax".

CWMoR Prediction - EAC goes for more coin NLT May 31, as early as Tax Day - fails to raise enough - ETIRC takes over.

Rumors are that ETIRC already has controlling interest, or at least controls a voting block that does.

flyger said...

FlightCenter said...

The new owner registered that aircraft under the corporation name of Total Eclipse LLC.

A bit optimistic...


Now that's funny!

baron95 said...

sparky said...
Brickling,

If you wait long enough, Baron will post something along the lines of "hey, let's look at some of the good things Dayjet has done...balance.


So you don't have to wait, here it goes... As a startup company, DayJet has:
1 - Hired and trained 260 ppl.
2 - Obtained a Part 135 operating certificate.
3 - Taken delivery and put into commercial operation a fleet of a few dozen jet aircraft (prob faster than any other company in history, but I don't have time to check that).
4 - Developed an integrated quotation, reservation and dispatch system for air taxy.
5 - Defined a new per-seat air taxi mode.
6 - Started generating revenues with paying customers.

Now, you can point out all the DayJet shortcomings - and there are many - some are probably even fatal.

But there is no need to look unballanced by trying to pretend they accomplished nothing. That is just as silly as pretending they've done everything right.

They did this with the help of people like yourself, who look at this program and gawk, ooh and ahh at all the right places.

You must be confusing me with someone else. I have been skeptical of Eclipse from the get go. I am totally shocked that they've come this far. I thought they were dead when the FJ-22 proved to be a dud.

David Wihl said...While they have accomplished more than any other new jet startup since Embraer*, .... Embraer is the only new successful jet manufacturer in the last 25 years and they've had huge government support and much more capital than Eclipse.

Embraer is a decades old company that worked up the ladder from props to jets in a methodical way. It was a terribly run company until it was privatized and got professional managers running it. Now, a great company, but certainly not a start up Jet company.

The only other kind of startup company to successfully build over 100 biz jets is, of course LearJet - and they went through a very convoluted history as well.

I assert that raising money has been an albatross and a curse.

Exactly right. Eclipse needs to be put through the ringer of Ch11 to erase some customer and vendor contracts, get rid of Vern, etc. Then, with a clean sheet and new management they have a chance.

fred said...

baron...

"J - Demostrated ability to raise money in the toughest financial evironment in recent memory."

i think you're a "little wrong" on this ...

the tough times only occured recently !

before the credit market was "flooding" the whole world with cheap credit ...

in that period , credit became so cheap that any one with more than half a gram of brain could see :

having a credit was less expensive than having savings ...

which is exactly the case again !

if interests rates are lower than inflation , you "gain" by having credit ; you loose by saving !

so in that precise case = it is NO wonder to raise money ...

sorry !

as for now , they have to rely on shadowy source of cash , which is not exactly what i would call a good sign of achievments ...

as for others points :

as you probably a movie is finished when you can read "the end" on the screen ...

up to now , in both ways , no one has seen it ...

they trained so many peoples = worthless if they don't keep them !

factory and tooling : read some earleir posts stating it looks more like a mess ...!

produced 100/150 aircrafts ! : how many are really finished ?

for others points : a simple thing can erase the whole lot = with what money are they going to keep it real for long enough to make it safe ?

i agree with you , they manage to do some achievments ...
but as for boiling water , reaching the point is difficult , keeping it boiling is the most difficult part of challenge ...

anyone interested by a plane which has been good for a few minutes ?

i don't think any one is able to take his familly in a flying piece of something , on the fact "it has been some achievments !"

EAC was probably not a scam from the beginning ...
but look at the tracks , never done enough to complete but always did enough to keep the flame burning ...
how do you call this ?

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
airsafetyman said...

The source of funds for the next round of financing has already been written on the wall: fleece the gomers out of their money by taking deposits on the single-engine jet. Kick-off will be at Sun and Fun next month. As usual, fear (We might get left out!) and greed (We can buy two positions and sell one!)come into play. Dentists are most welcome.

Shane Price said...

NZ,

Believe me, 'they' are hitting the inbox here (eclipsecriticng@gmail.com) with several items in the past few days.

1. Garmin 400's will be factory fitted until the Total Eclipse All Singing All Dancing Disruptive AvioNG is 'completed'. Eventually....

2. IS&S are pretty close to being dumped. Had the nerve to ask for 'final' specs on the aforementioned AvioNG. The cheek of them! Asking Vern a question like that, no wonder he's mad at them.

3. Several questions reach me about Mike Press and the 'resale' of the latest serial numbers. Why does he have S/N 142 for sale and who was it originally intended for? The spec is high, so the 'word' is that a private buyer rejected it for good reason.

Further incoming from staff and suppliers, but you only asked about the customers, so I'll keep that lot for another posting.

Shane

fred said...

shane , hope you're well and safe !

talking about Mpress : the reading of his newsletter is really a piece a wordsmithing ...!! :-)

"Eclipse has finally made it with a rash of announcements at the end of 2007 and a major announcement on January 14th 2008. When I say “Eclipse has made it”, I mean they are now financially strong enough to get into full rate production and they have resolved most all of their technical issues"


EAC has made what ? new pink gogles ?

" It appears now they are ready to produce between 400 and 500 airplanes in 2008"

Wow , i am impressed ...

"They also should be able to resolve the last remaining technical issues by mid-year and be well on their way to profitability."

it is what i thought : With EAC , good news NEVER last very long ...

"Prices on the secondary market are starting to go up as owners now are willing to wait before selling at rock bottom prices"

this is a perfect example of a sentence where the first few words contradict ending words ...

"Of course there is still a lot of work to be done and European EASA certification will keep them busy for the next six-months."

Cessna took less than 6 months for mustang ... are they sure they started yet ?

"There are still issues with the supplier base ramping up to the higher rates"

+

"Eclipse is working with their suppliers and helping those that are having problems"

+

"This is typical on a new production line, where there may be one or two key suppliers that just cannot ramp up as fast as everyone else"

= little suggestion : stop changing specs with direction of wind , stop changing suppliers ...
unless , you want to blame it on furnishers (which is exactly what is stated here !)

then come te prediction of production ...
very good piece of masterworks ...

now they are at 20 per month (sic)
after 2nd quarter = 30 per month
end of 2008 = 2 a day ....!!!

i just wonder where the shift to Ulianovsk is taking place ???

it took them 10 years to be late on production , now they are supposed to change continent , mentallity, working env. , working language , customs services , and lots of others things ...

still no impact on forecasted production ??

dream on !!

fred said...

following the lecture of Mpress newsletter ...:

i have shown the said newsletter , part stating Mr Putin backing , to a good friend of mine (his job is ONLY to be head of presidential security , sorry , couldn't get hold of restroom baboushka ...:-)) )

i don't know why , but he is still laughing ...!!
before bursting into laugh , he added "do they know , he is going to be gone soon ,"

less funny , he finished by " i am going to make sure Mr president see that with his own eyes ...otherwise , he would probably NOT believe it ...!

we're in for nasty weather ...!

Shane Price said...

Fred,

Yes thank you, I am much refreshed after a great Easter break.

However, you are wrong on one small point, my friend.

As my grandparents found out, when travelling in Russian during 1936 (and again in 1974), the 'restroom baboushka' knows everything!

So, your pal will have to check with the baboushka before he can be sure who knows what....

Joke.

Seriously, I will be very interested to hear what comes of your enquiry.

Shane

flyger said...

"Eclipse is working with their suppliers and helping those that are having problems"

As in "Thanks for being an excuse for our mismanagement, but don't let the door hit your backside on the way out!".

FlightCenter said...

BAE had the temerity to ask Eclipse for final specs 18 months before the aircraft was forecast to have its TC, the first time. What was worse, they expected Eclipse to pay for the cost of the engineering change orders that Eclipse was making in real time.

Eclipse refused to pay. BAE refused to play. Bye, bye. Neither party was happy with the relationship.

According to the IS&S conference call two quarters ago, IS&S asked Eclipse to pay for change orders. According to the IS&S conference call last quarter, only about 1/3 of the requested amount was paid to IS&S.

Is IS&S close to being dumped? Probably not. It is interesting that Eclipse paid any NRE to IS&S at all. It tells you how much they need IS&S.

Shane, What you describe sounds like the results of the normal Eclipse / vendor relationships we've come to expect. Bluster, threaten, issue change orders, accuse, demand performance by unattainable dates, stone wall, and if that doesn't work stop payments.

Besides, what alternative to IS&S does Vern have?
Go with the G1000?

Switching engines set the program back 26 months. Switching to the G1000 could take just as long.

Eclipse would experience many more problems beyond just delays if they switched avionics.

Think retrofits.

On top of that, Garmin won't be asking Eclipse for final avionics specifications. If Garmin chose to supply Eclipse with the G1000, they would be supplying Eclipse with the G1000 final specifications, not the other way around.


It would be very similar to the relationship between Garmin and Eclipse today.

"What don't you understand about the specifications of the 400W? The complete specifications are up on the web. No - we're not changing it."

fred said...

shane...

i understand your humor about "babouska" that's why i refered to it...!! :-)

ok , so for the one not "lucky" enough to know :
baboushka= grand-mother ! but in the soviet times , you could find them anywhere , mainly they were the tenant of "social order" the one sitting all night long on the floor of your hotel , handing the key to get in , or making sure the "dievouchka" (young girl) you picked-up for the night had the ear of local communist delegate ...! :-))

the last remnants of such can be found today in the Moscow-Metro , they are supposed to watch the mechanic stairs , they look like domestic dragoon (without the smoke) , if you do anything wrong , they'll shoot you with a glance , making your blood to freeze ....:-))
yes asking for direction when lost IS something wrong !!!

ok , the guy i was talking about said something in russian i couldn't really catch (sorry)

it was either pathetic or pathologic liar !!

by the way , the matter has been turned down by someone else ...

this someone was Mr Kudrin , who is not in charge of the toilets , but only minister of finances ...

may be , i should have asked the babouska in the first place ???

definitely , shane , thanks for advices on russian customs ... ;-))

mountainhigh said...

Earlier it was reported that Eclipse initiated two lawsuits. One was against J DOE, et al.

Does anyone know who the J DOE defendant might be? Customer, investor, vendor, whistleblower, competitor, media? (I think we'd already know if it was against Stan or Shane)

Inquiring minds want to know.

Gunner said...

MH-
Both are Breach of Contract cases. Poor Eclipse. Several other parties have attempted to screw them over.

Seems to me that Eclipse is more often a victim than the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

"Oh no, not God Bless Eclipse but God D@mn Eclipse for not delivering what it promises, God D@mn Eclipse for lying about vendor issues, God D@mn Eclipse for tossing technology, vendors and employees under the bus.!"

Rev. ColdWetMackarelofReality

Gunner said...

You left out the part about the Critic Blog attempting a public lynching. And the part where we intentionally injected the Jet with wing spar and windshield problems. Not to mention the fact that Eclipsky's move to Russia is just our chickens coming home to roost.

Yep, this train has left the station. Somebody, please try to radio ahead and let them know they forgot to lay the tracks.
Gunner

Shane Price said...

Mountain,

Relax, its not me, anyway!

Vern will have a hard time getting a hearing in Ireland. Irish judges are a bit like Irish bookmakers.

They spot a chancer a mile off....

Fred,

Your remarks about Soviet era hotels is scary. That is EXACTLY how my own grandmother descirbed the baboushka at the end of each landing. On their second visit (1974) Marion had to collect the bath stopper from the 'dragon' and return it after use.

Flight,

Vern did ask for the G1000, but was refused. However, reliable sources tell me that the 400's will be fitted shortly. Without ANY modification specified by Eclipse.

The only small thought that entered my own head when I heard about the G1000 request was that it might have been for the Con Jet. Especially when I see Captain Zoom promoting it again on his web site.

Shane

David Wihl said...

Kudos to Garmin for turning Vern down for the G1000. Sign of good management.

FlightCenter said...

There is no need or place for political commentary on this site.

There are plenty of other forums available if that is what you are looking for.

This blog is the Eclipse Aviation critics blog. Let's keep our comments to GA, VLJs, Eclipse and other related topics.

Thank you.

Gunner said...

Oy.

Shane Price said...

Gentlemen,

The Rev. Wright has had saturation coverage on every American news channel for the past 10 days, although is seems like 10 weeks....

The fact that very few of us on this side of the pond either know or care what was said (in a church, by an elderly preacher, several years ago) is more to the point.

I should also add that I believe recent remarks on the blog were of a lighthearted nature, reflecting the general good feeling during this, the spring time of the year.

However, I agree with FlightCentre. Let us all try and stay (mostly) on topic.

To that end, did anyone else notice what Fred seems to have just written?

The Russian Finance Minister has given ETRIC's plan the thumbs down. Which would appear to mean no Eclipski 500, at least in the short term.

Sorry if I picked it up wrong Fred, but it was spread over two posts, so I'm just not 100% clear.

Shane

Shane Price said...

FlightCentre,

You said:-

It would be very similar to the relationship between Garmin and Eclipse today.

"What don't you understand about the specifications of the 400W? The complete specifications are up on the web. No - we're not changing it."


Sources tell me that that is almost exactly what has happened. Especially the bit about 'not changing it'.

Shane

Gunner said...

Shane-
Sincere apologies if I'm a bit lost here. I assume FC was referencing your off-topic digression regarding your Grandmother's travels and Russian baboushka tradition.

The Reverend Wright comments were, after all, very much directed to the topic of Eclipse and how Eclipse handles public scrutiny. Is parody by analogy to be discouraged? Must the analogies be internationally recognized?

Personally, I didn't mind the baboushka sidetrack. (I've also gotten a few great chili recipes here, while learning one helluva a lot about Eclipse, VLJ, TurboProps, Aircraft Design and Aviation Manufacture). If we're to have rules other than those that define polite conversation and mostly aviation topical, I think I missed the memo and would truly appreciate a listing of the do's and don'ts.
Gunner

Jake Pliskin said...

flightcenter, you've let plenty of other political commentary escape over the last year without being offended, why now?

bill e. goat said...

I don't think Gunner's comments were out of line, and indeed was a good observation of a general political topic of late, so let's not dwell on it.

I also don't think FC's request was out of line, and I think it was meant as a general comment, so let's not dwell on it either.

(I've been more political than most in the past, and appreciate the patience I was granted from both L and R leaning folks. I've been keeping trying to keep quiet on that for a while, what with the elections coming up).

bill e. goat said...

Fred,
I did enjoy the discussion of shakey Russian financial support. I've been pondering early posts about when Eclipse will have to "go to the well" again.

I've conceded the point (made several months ago by Gunner), that the bottomless "Mann Hole" of funding has dried up. Unfortunately for our friends in ABQ, the more I think about the ETRIC, the more it smells...fishy (no offense to CWMOR).

I have developed a gut feel that Vern is playing out of his league- he's a professional fund raiser, who's been feeding on reputable investors. But now he's trying to feed on a preditor, rather than a prey, IMHO- I don't see how it can work out to Eclipse's advantage.

fred said...

shane , billy and all...

sorry about the baboushkas ...

i thought it would amke more stuff for peoples knowing what did look for me more like a private joke on things not every body have or can know ... as not every one is supposed to know about facts of life and history on this side of world ...!

generally speaking , most peoples have strange misconception of what is russia , TODAY ! (most rely on rumors or facts from 10 to 25 years ago)

shane , good pal , i am sorry to correct you on a little detail :

Alexeï did not state about NO funds for Eclipski ...

he just comfirmed what the other guy told on what is rumor spread around by some ...

as Mr Putin or Russian Govt behind EAC or Etirc is 100% total B.S. !

his exact phrasing was " if i tell you Mr bush goes every evenning to the Bronx , N-Y , to help blacks grand-mothers to cross the streets safely , would you believe me ?"

sorry for the believers , but to think that one of the 2 or 3 most important guy on earth now can be interested in the fate of the little bird is ...:

comical ...
way out of normality ...
a little over the top ...

please insert any terms ....

as Mr k. Alexéï said " if we were to buy anything ... we would have bought Cessna , at least they have something to sell ...them!"

on the oulyanovsk front :

Sergueï Morozov , an other guy not taking care of the restroom (he is only the governor of area ) said that the plant , supposed to be used by EAC is going to be busy up to 2015 with building Tupolev TU 214 and Iliouchine Il-476 together with modernizing of Antonov An-124-100...

i don't see any mention of E500...
but it seems the said plant is going to be quite busy for sometimes and that the little bird is not going to get all the attention it deserve ...

which is probably some kinds of neglecting one of the most important aspect of things here = Ego !

fred said...

billy chèvre , ouuppss , sorry , goat ! ;-))

don't worry , i liked your point of view on "money well"

can I just point out one thing ?
(i take your silence for a yes ;-) )

up to now the russian origin of the "money well" is only such as said by peoples who lied on :

finances ...
time ...
order...
profitabilty...
completion ...
furnishers...
relations with others ...
just about anything they could lure others with ...


so what credts do you give to the "russian" origins ??

Shane Price said...

Gunner,

Yours were the 'springtime' comments I referred to. I actually enjoyed the parody.

You ask about 'rules'. We are all adults here, so there is really only one.

Personal abuse is not on, directed at each other or at named 'real' persons who are not in a postion to respond. Generally you can take this to mean 'workers' at Eclipse or their suppliers.

Otherwise, it's a blog. Have fun, learn something, share interesting news.

Goat,

Agreed. I think politics is a bit boring, especially at election time. Which, these days in the U.S., seems to last 2 years out of every four.

Do you guys ever get tired of it?

Don't answer! It was just a rhetorical question....

Fred,

Thanks for clearing that up. My fault for mis reading. A classic case of taking one and one and making 64...
I also note the delays to the Superjet. Seems to me that Russian aviation has enough problems, without importing another one.

Shane

fred said...

shane ...

you do already a great enough job here to believe you need any apologies for anything ...!

who's fault was it :
mine or yours ?
doesn't matter !
as long as we can correct each others when needed ...

(believe me , if there is only thing i've learnt = truth does NOT exist as it solely depends on the way you look at things )

it is a fact of life : there will be ALWAYS more into 2 heads than in only one !

BassMaster said...

t

smartmoves said...

I have been "lurking" on this blog since Stan started the original. I now have a question...can someone tell me exactly (in quick summary) what is missing from the Ecollapse500 if you take delivery today. Feel free to name TSOs that are missing. Why do I ask? A buddy of mine is patiently waiting in line for his bird, and is adamant that almost everything works. Eg - he assures me the aircraft can fly IFR - but I know you can't legally fly IFR with a handheld GPS - so how does this work? Maybe I am out of date with the fixes...

Of course his only source of truth is direct from the company - I have not let him in on this blog yet becuase I dont want to ruin his positive demeanor - IOW he is a grown man and I dont want to see him cry...S

smartmoves said...

PS:...is someone keeping a list of the major outstanding items somewhere???

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Smartmoves:

You can legally fly IFR in the states with little equipment. If your route is only defined with VOR's, and your departure and arrival weather is good enough to allow non precision VOR approaches, you could fly IFR with a minimum of one VOR (I am not from the states, so you might need a single back up also. Correct me guys)

In the real world, getting an IFR clearance from any airfield likely to support a jet, to anywhere worth flying to will require area navigation (Mandatory in the upper airspace of Europe, don't know about your area). Eclipse doesn't do area nav.

It is dumb to operate in hard IFR without redundant independant systems. Unfortunatly the Eclipse standard only has GPS and VOR. The synthetic DME's are GPS signals.

GPS is cool, but with an expected reception strength of around 5 x 10-17 watts on a single frequency, you can see how you can jam a hell of a lot of airspace with a low powered jammer. The German government create a civilian market for such devices by implementing truck road user charges based on GPS data.

Having real DME's, and even ADF gives you options and safety. Eclipse doesn't do DME.

To be able to schedule reliably to get to a destination east of about Yuma, your need a weather radar and approval for flight into known icing. Eclipse doesn't do weather radar and Eclipse doesn't do FIKI.

You have to be very skilled/current/open to risk to fly single pilot in hard IFR without a good autopilot. The owners reports would indicate that the eclipse autopilot is happy to fly in still air, but tends to hand over control in turbulence. Eclipse doesn't do good A/P.

To practically use an aircraft, you don't want it sitting in maintenance. Unfortunately, if you get a 2007 or 2008 Eclipse, you are also getting a promise that sooner or later, you get to park the bird in maintenance "for a limited time" to be upgraded to what you ordered in the first place. When that will happen and how long that will take? Eclipse doesn't do schedules.

Of course we critics think the best reason to not buy an eclipse is because they are headed for Enron style implosion and bankruptcy, and supporting half finished jets afterwards will become a nightmare. Eclipse doens't do stable business plan.

I liked your quote, "Of course his only source of truth is direct from the company"
My only source of health food is Dunk'n Donuts!

mirage00 said...

Of course we critics think the best reason to not buy an eclipse is because they are headed for Enron style implosion and bankruptcy, and supporting half finished jets afterwards will become a nightmare. Eclipse doens't do stable business plan.

Actually this board was founded on the opinion that this bird would never fly and if it by some chance it does, it would never meet performance specs. Both opinions were wrong, so now we are stuck looking at the financials.

Just trying to keep it real.

I remain amused

double 00

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill e. goat said...

Hi M00,
Welcome to "Shane's Place" (your first visit perhaps? I haven't been as active as I'd like either)

"so now we are stuck looking at the financials".

Yes. And ???

mirage00 said...

Hi M00,
Welcome to "Shane's Place" (your first visit perhaps? I haven't been as active as I'd like either)

"so now we are stuck looking at the financials".

Yes. And ???


Thanks for the welcome.

to answer your question

Yes and.... "this too, shall pass"

I remain amused

double 00

Shane Price said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BricklinNG said...

It shall pass, yes, but the question is exactly how it shall pass.

From the perspective of the AIRPLANE, the means of passing does not really matter. As long as the airplane has its issues solved and is ultimately produced, delivered and supported by a profitable, credit worthy company, then the airplane will be a success.

From the perspective of depositors, employees, airplane owners, vendors, lenders and shareholders, the means of passing matters a lot. If Eclipse Aviation, as we know it today, somehow becomes financially solid then that is one method of passing. If the deposits, accounts payable, debt funds, shareholder funds and employee arrangements all get wiped away in a court proceeding and the airplane's home gets moved to Wichita or Toulose then that it a very different method.

But if you are only saying that airplane production and support will one day be somehow normalized then you are probably right. It's just that thousands per year into a revolutionized air transport arrangement of inexpensive small jets is not at all likely. One or two hundred per year to owner/operators and a few to air taxi outfits, that could happen.

Shane Price said...

Mirage00,

Welcome back. Hope you find the blog as amusing as you always have.

Goat,

Correction(s).

One, this is not 'Shane's place' it's OUR blog. All of us...

Two, if it 'belongs' to anyone, then that has to be Stan.

Three, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, a co-moderator Stateside is welcome to join the party, anytime.

Smartmoves,

Welcome and thanks for the well thought out posting.

I'm pretty sure that there would be a real issue with compiling a full list of what is 'missing' since Eclipse have been pretty good at changing what an E500 is.

I would venture to suggest that the state of the E500 is less of a problem for your pal than the current conditions at the company.

The inbox here is filling with savage stuff from a) customers b) suppliers and c) staff. It's safe to say that all of these people would prefer to put their Eclipse experiences into a box marked 'learn from this and don't repeat the mistake'.

And then bury the box...

I will be putting together a posting shortly. It won't make easy reading for your friend.

Shane

baron95 said...

Smartmoves said... can someone tell me exactly (in quick summary) what is missing from the Ecollapse500 if you take delivery today.

For a plane rolling out today, the major item missing, and the one with the highest risk is of course the Avio NG avionics. That translates into:
- No FMS
- No Area Navigation
- No integrated weather radar
- No enroute VNAV
- Imcomplete and reportedly erractic autopilot
- Not enough equipment to fly IFR in some countries/airspace (not presently an issue in the US)

In addition to Avio NG, also missing is:
- Final FIKI equipment and FIKI certification.
- Innability to fly in visible moisture above the freezing level in most cases.
- sub-par fit and finish
- enough certified full motion sims so your friend can be properly trained

In my mind, I'd say the avionics is THE ISSUE for Eclipse. FIKI is second.

If your friend has a 2H08 delivery, with contracts at a good price, then he may as well wait it out, take delivery then sell. There are enough EA500s flying (close to 150) to insure continuing support regardless of what happens to Eclipse Aviation.

If he has nothing else in other than the initial deposit and gets a progress payment call, tell him to walk and pick one up in the resale market if he really wants one.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I am curious why so many out here think that if Eclipse goes Tango Uniform tomorrow that there will be 'enough of a fleet' to warrant support?

At what cost?

With what tooling for parts?

With who completing the incomplete software?

With who completing the incomplete FIKI certification?

Gaining certification of complex software code and FIKI are not easily achieved and rarely as STC's or add-on's.

If Eclipse bellies up before the design is complete the fleet will not just be orphaned, there will be one or two hundred two-ton lawn ornaments, gate-guards and book-ends.

The barrier of entry that has resulted in Eclipse wasting somewhere well north of a decade and $1B US will not magically go away when, not if, EAC gives up the ghost.

Diamond just announced FIKI on the DA-42, how long did that take?

Glad to see one of the Faithful has the guts to show up - it has been downright calm, respectful and fact-filled around here, maybe now we can get some more ridiculous newspeak assertions of nothing to see here, with Eclipse servicemark words like 'deliveries', 'certified', 'orders' and 'success' being bandied about with reckless abandon just like th good old days.

Tailwind said...

Hey Coldwet,

Eclipse is not going Tango Uniform. Support is not going to be an issue.

And yes, there were many statements by the A&Ps on this board that the plane would never fly, be certified, be mass produced etc. etc. etc.

As was said - the last few months have been talking primarily about financials. Oh that reminds me, several of the A&Ps on the board also said that Eclipse would be out of business by the end of Q108

Just keeping it real

Tailwind aka Ringtail

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Since the blog did not start until a year and half ago I think we can dismiss the baseless charges that said bloggers said the plane would 'never fly'.

There are many, myself included, who are incredulous that it has been 'certified' in its current status, but that is not the same thing.

Eclipse has failed to certify, build, or deliver even one copy of the plane they promised, after 10 years and $1.X Billion and that is a fact.

BassMaster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baron95 said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...
I am curious why so many out here think that if Eclipse goes Tango Uniform tomorrow that there will be 'enough of a fleet' to warrant support?

At what cost?

With what tooling for parts?

With who completing the incomplete software?

With who completing the incomplete FIKI certification?


I take it that this is a serious question, not a rethorical one, right?

Aerospace is littered with airframes from companies that are out of business being supported just fine.

If, as you say, Eclipse has no value, then anyone (lets call it EclipseNG) should be able to pick up the assets (TC, PC, tooling, factory, backlog, unfinished airplanes, parts in inventory, etc) for $1 free and clear. [note that I don't believe this - I am on reccord saying that Eclipse assets would fetch $200-300M - just using your logic]

Now, if you are a current owner of one of the 200 or so the recently orphaned EA500 [lets say liquidation happens around SN200 and you paid $1.5M for it], how much would you pay EclipseNG to keep your plane from becoming a lawn ornament? $100K/year parts and service? Multiply that by 250 and it is $25M/year - not bad for a new co, huh?

On top of that I go to the NM government with the "I'll restore jobs" story, get a few more investors, etc, and suddenly I have say $200M working capital.

To answer your other questions:

FIKI - FIKI has been added as an after market STC to many, many airframes the size of the Eclipse by TKS, and others. It is not an issue. There is no magic there.

Avionics: For $250K you can park your king air with the very complex avionics (AC inverters et all) and come out 3 weeks later with a Garmin G1000. Again, not an issue. Besides, if you take Avio NG as it exiss today and add a pair of Garmin 500s you are in very decent shape. Again, non-issue. Avionics upgrade is done all the time.

You have to understand some basic fact. 200 EA500s in the field represent a $300M investment by owners. People would not hesitate to spend 10% or even 20% of that per year to keep that asset usable, vs parking it out. So believe you me - there will be someone there to serve that $30-$60M/year demand. Why is that so hard for you to accept? It is a basic supply and demand problem.

Name one airframe that has 200 copies in the field that is unsupported?

Want a good example. Look at Aerostars. A fleet that has less than 10% of the value of the Eclipse fleed. Machen (IIRC) bought the TC and now as www.aerostaraircraft.com provides full support, upgrades, and even rebuilds new Aerostars.

Aerostar owners are now much, much happier than they were when Ted Smith, then Piper were factory-supporting the type.

Look at Sierra industries. They'll get your old runpout C500 citation, and put new wings, new engine type, new avionics, increase range, speed, etc. All from an STC supplier. Try to get that from Cessna.

And this is to say nothing about the Russians, which would pick Eclipse assets in an instance. If not them, then some Indian company or Taiwanese company or Gulf company. It is 100% certain that some one will be supporting EA500s.

Where did you get the idea that only the original factory can support an aircraft?

You seem to be a well informed guy, perhaps you should really look at how the GA industry works.

Six Romeo said...

IIRC, Ken (using his original moniker) said he wouldn't return until he received his new born baby jet. Just noticed his 340 listed on controller. Maybe we'll get an unbiased... I mean uhm-biased report from him soon.

airsafetyman said...

"It is 100% certain that some one will be supporting EA500s."

The sooner the better, because Vern and Co. sure aren't doing it now!

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

B95,

We will have to agree to disagree then. The barriers to entry for the airframes you mentioned were significantly lower than what would be the case for the WeeJet IMO and that is why I don't believe there will be support.

Also, those other airframes did not have the burden of a truly integrated central avionics system that the WeeJet has.

TKS on a piston is not comparable to a bleed air de-ice for a turbine aircraft that cruises at .8M or so, and once again there is that pesky all-controlling HAL to deal with.

This airplane is NOT like other airplanes, in construction or avionics, and that is why I believe it will be difficult if not impossible for some outside party to just swoop in and collect pieces post BK and magically support a plane that a staff of several hundred engineers with a Billion plus dollars was unable to complete.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Baron 95 - good post, I like your reasoning and well supported arguments, although I disagree with you.

I think the bad mistakes made by Eclipse in the name of "disruptive technologies" will at least be a significant extra hindrance to someone easily doing anything useful with the TC.

FIKI - FIKI has been added as an after market STC to many, many airframes the size of the Eclipse by TKS, and others. It is not an issue. There is no magic there.
Don't forget in all your cases you bring in, that you are talking about changes to airframes which have certification basis locked back in the 60's. The changed product rules will in most cases not require a significant raise of the cert basis. The cert basis for the Eclipse 500 is FAR23 amm 55

Avionics: For $250K you can park your king air with the very complex avionics (AC inverters et all) and come out 3 weeks later with a Garmin G1000. Again, not an issue. Besides, if you take Avio NG as it exiss today and add a pair of Garmin 500s you are in very decent shape. Again, non-issue. Avionics upgrade is done all the time.
Luckily Beechcraft didn't integrate the FADEC into the HSI of the King air. The B200 cert basis is FAR 23 Amm9 (1965). You can do an avionics upgrade without recertifying: the engine control system, the electrical system, the pressurisation system, the stall warning system, The landing gear warning system, and parts of any other system which has a CB. Have you read TCDS Note 5? Have you ever seen an equivelent note in another TCDS?

You have to understand some basic fact. 200 EA500s in the field represent a $300M investment by owners. People would not hesitate to spend 10% or even 20% of that per year to keep that asset usable, vs parking it out. So believe you me - there will be someone there to serve that $30-$60M/year demand. Why is that so hard for you to accept? It is a basic supply and demand problem.

Name one airframe that has 200 copies in the field that is unsupported?.

This is a strong argument. We critics did seriously underestimate dumb rich peoples ablity to be bilked by this outfit, so we never thought they would get to 150 or so partially finished, sort of delivered aircraft. You are correct that the more in the field, the bigger the incentive to support them.

Want a good example. Look at Aerostars. A fleet that has less than 10% of the value of the Eclipse fleed. Machen (IIRC) bought the TC and now as www.aerostaraircraft.com provides full support, upgrades, and even rebuilds new Aerostars.

Aerostar owners are now much, much happier than they were when Ted Smith, then Piper were factory-supporting the type.


Don't forget to figure into your calculations that the Aerostar was a finished product, built with conventional technologies which any structures engineer in Wichita could design for, and no requirement for fatique and damage tolerance. It was not a flying IOU with a new and novel technology (Stir fry welds) certified against FAR 23.573 (Fatique and damage tolerance - which was only added to FAR 23 at amm 45). Changes and repairs to the airframe of the EA500 are not trivial from an engineering perspective.


Look at Sierra industries. They'll get your old runpout C500 citation, and put new wings, new engine type, new avionics, increase range, speed, etc. All from an STC supplier. Try to get that from Cessna.
To me this is the most likely outcome. Eclipse owners will be faced with a 1-2 million dollar STC which strips AvioNfG and installs a standard G1000, a complete rework of the electrical architecture, and include removing the PW610F-A, and replacing them with PW610x-x engines, with convention FADECs ($$$). At the same time a TKS system will be installed. The company which performs this STC will take three years to get it certified, and the result will likely have some pretty ugly limits, usablity and interior compromises.

In the mean time a large proportion (probably like 100%) of the Eclipse fleet will be grounded with U/S systems which no one supports.

I think trying to support the fleet in the current configurations, will prove almost impossible.

I wouldn't expect the current and past venders to bend over backwards (they have so far been holding their ankles).

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Looks like the cold fish and I were on the same wavelength while writing our comments.