Monday, March 17, 2008

A house divided, against itself...

I've noticed a few common themes on the blog over the past few days. The discussion has been healthy, civil and generally very informative. As time is free here today (it is our National Holiday after all) I sat down and did a little digging.

It must be a year since I had a good look at the Eclipse Aviation web site. Lots of things have stayed the same, but several interesting areas have opened up.

In the 'Ownership' pages, you can order at $1,595,000 and get yourself the "...next production position in Q1 2010" or click the button beside it and "Get your Eclipse 500 sooner through our brokerage service", where you can buy one for $1,379,000. For delivery in Q2, 2009. That's right. Save youself 9 months of waiting and $216,000. Since both aircraft are 'base prices' that would seem to be a 'no brainer'. Unless you are an EAC saleman, trying to tie up a deal on that 'next delivery position' in 2010....

Also in the Ownership section, consider these little jems. "...friction stir welding is approximately 10 times faster than manual riveting..." or the one about PhostrEx, which "... is the first new engine fire suppression system to be approved since 1954." All display the Eclipse mantra, which maintains that technology is the answer to all problems. Finally, "The Eclipse 500™'s aggressive pricing is only possible thanks to a design philosophy emphasizing high-volume production."  Which is fine, if you can get the rate you desire, which our friends in ABQ have failed to do, or even LOOK like they might achieve.

Check out the Partners page. The first one listed is Aerazur who ".... manufactures the de-icing system in Normandy". Thats right, the're the ones who, I'm sure, will be blamed for the delays in getting FIKI. Especially since they are French! Further down the same page, you will note that there are a few "Business Partners" listed. No one will be suprised to see DayJet and Linear Air, but who is OurPLANE and what is the realationship with Vern?

The Con Jet is back on the front page, but is still, offically, just a "...tool for evaluating the emerging single-engine jet marketplace." Mind you, it's got perfromance data, a photo gallery and an invitation to register your interest. Some 'tool', which cost the company lots of hard won dollars and generated enough heat from impatient E500 customers at the lauch to cause Vern to change tack afterwards....

The really funny bit is in the top of Ownership. For a company that seeks to 'darken the skies' to use the following line as an appeal is good. Owning an E500 is "Great for being part of that .0003 percent of the population who can say, “I own a jet.” That's really disruptive. Be one of the many people we need to buy one of our jets, so that eveyone can have one, but you can still boast about how exclusive the club is.

I feel like Groucho Marks on this one. "I would never join a club that would have me as a member"

Have a great St. Patrick's Day. And, if you are flying, stay off the green beer...

104 comments:

Shane Price said...

For the record:-

Bear Stearns bought by JP Morgan for $239 million. This is a quarter of the value of its HQ building on Madison Avenue,. The Fed also had to underwrite the deal to the tune of $30 Billion.

€1.00 buys you $1.59.

Oil is at $112 a barrel.

This is just for background, and not intended to be part of our discussions. It is what it is....

bill e. goat said...

Oil is $112 a barrel, and headed north, I've heard $120 this year, bounded by demand. But that probably depends on how weak the dollar gets, which seems to be an unbounded speculation.

The REAL crisis comes when clean water is $112 a barrel.

And that's about 30 years away, I figure.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Shane,

ourPLANE predates Eclipse and operates King Air C-90's and Pilatus PC-12's - until the Eclipse announcement I had high hopes for them - sorta hesitant now.

They announced a 'partnership' for VLJ's with noneother than LinearAIR in December - both claim fleet orders, so there may be something interesting going on there but I am not sure.

fred said...

shane :

happy day for you and your fellow citizens ...!!

yesterday was a saint-patrick march in moscow , bloodly hell , they are everywhere ...! ;-))

but you seems to be a bit confused on Bear Stearn ...

as a former ojf JPM , i can tell a little secret ... B.S. ( bear stearns , not the other one thu it does not make that much difference ...:-)) ) has been SAVED by JPM ... not bought , words spreads to me , the goal was " not to worry even more all ..."

it is something like a tiny fraction of the value it had not long ago (can't be bothered to dig into matter , smell like a 10th to a 30th ...?!)

on this side of the pond , AirItalia is to be bought for 10 cents a share ,at about a fifth of the previous cotation on stocks exchange ...

if AirFrance/Klm wouldn't have the tax-payers behind them , they wouldn't even think about such risky deal ...

And AirItalia had the Italian tax-payers behind ... which at last just gave-up...

anyone still convince of AirTaxi market in Euroland ?? just NO way it can exist ...!!

fred said...

bill ...

you are right ...!

in Irak , a liter of clean fresh water is about 3 times the one of gas ...!!

120$/barrel is still quite far from estimation made here by some experts ... (180-200 end 2008)

your right , it's all speculation ...

but rumors says Mr putin wants to put back on table a proposition he formulated some times ago ....:
not to accept US$ as payment for oil !

then the said estimation seems reachable ....

Shane Price said...

ColdWet,

Saw that bit with Lineair. What still perplexes me is that they are on the ECLIPSE website as 'business partners'.

Since everything that EAC put out has The Great Raburns' imprematur, and the only other two 'business partners' have established long term tie ups with him personally, I am keen to know what is so special about OurPLANE.

Fred,

Makes sense for Putin to price his oil and gas in Euro's. We (as in us Euopeans) are his biggest customers, and we are getting a deep discount at present.

And another thing.

Why would any European buy an E500 right now? If you were mad enough to pay for one 6 months ago, you are staring at a 'loss' of €125,000, working off a list price of $1,595,000.

If you wait another 6 months, and the dollar hits $1.80, you could have one for €889,000, and 'save' even more of your blushes.

That's it in a nutshell really. Anyone looking at a purchase in Dollars is almost being paid to wait and see how low things can go.

Maybe I should join Gunner and buy an LT. At $2.00 (you never know!) per Euro that would be truly disruptive value...

Shane

gwengler said...

ColdWet,

unless you are talking of a different OurPlane, this one www.ourplane.com does not operate C-90's and Pilatus PC-12's at all. They offer fractional ownerships for SE Cessna and Cirrus. They have one E500; I know the COO and heard an absolute horror story when they picked up this airplne in NM. It took three (!) days until the airplane was ready; promised "options" were not "for free" etc. etc. This deal is actually a private owner who leases the airplane back to OurPlane who then in turn somehow sell fractional ownerships - don't ask me how this works. Anyway, the private owner, while in NM, actually walked away from the deal because he was so disgusted with the Eclipse and had to be pursuaded by the OurPlane people to actually take delivery. OurPlane is expecting a second E500 this year and "hopes that the experience will be more positive" (so the COO to me).

Gerd

David Wihl said...

OurPlane is a fractional outfit, not an operator of PC12 and C-90s. They mostly operate SR22s in various locations around the US and Canada. They claim to have the first fractional EA500, based at HPN (Press Release).

Their competition for SR22s is mostly AirShares Elite which only offer SR22s today, but may offer a light jet in the future. (Full disclosure: I leaseback my SR22 to AirShares in the Northeast)

ColdWet said:

NOT the Gameboy TSO, the whole magilla.

Excuse me for not getting the reference right in previous post and hope you get plenty of mishloach manot this Friday.

fred said...

yes , shane ...!

you hit the "alarm" button !

Russky wants to be paid in € for t3 main reasons :

1° there are the N°1/2 of oil export (saudi is supposed to be first , but theirs wells do not seems to lower in quantity since 10 years while they are pumping like mad ... someone you lies about an egg , would lie in font of the world !!)

so they expect to get the best deal for theirs ressources ...

2° € is getting value against RUB because $ is sinking ...

best thing to do for them is to scrap $ from equation !

3° in the next few years , theirs biggest client is probably going to be China ( they won't care about oil at 200$ , they need it ! european can reduce dependancy to oil much faster , we are not develloping!)

but the risk is (for Russians) to be paid with the masses of $ China has accumulated thru the trade deficits (est: +/- 3 trillions $)

at the same time , if $ is out of equation , Rubble can (may be) achieve some kind of stability (technical or politic , i'm sure you heard the term "eurubble" before ...)against € WITHOUT the penalty of strong inflation in Russia (they have enough , already)

which leads to simple aspect :
wait a little you 'll buy your US made plane for a fraction of its price .... the same for real-estate ,i always wanted a penthouse on east-upper-side or greenwich , i just have to wait for an other 12 to 18 months minimum to see some juicy deals (may be) coming ...!

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

Lots and lots of Airplanes

EAC says that they are moving to 2 per day production by 12/31/08 and that they need 600 per year to be profitable. So say they get to 750 and deliver 3750 over the next 5 years. This will be over 12 per million of US population.

So EAC is supposing that there will be 240 of its jets in NY, 108 in GA, 72 in MA, etc. Is this reasonable?

Imagine that EAC stays in business and can produce its jets. How many might reasonably go into residence in your state? Think about it intuitively; perhaps you should assume that Diamond and/or Cirrus will also enter the picture during the 5 years.

In Connecticut, I can imagine a couple of EA jets privately owned at each of Bridgeport, Danbury, Oxford and Hartford and then maybe one each for New Haven, Groton and one or two smaller airports. Add in a couple of charter airplanes and perhaps Conn would support 12 or so. The allotment from 3750 would need to be 42. Where would they go? Who would own them? Could there really be 6 each at Danbury, Oxford, Bridgeport and Oxford?

Even in Florida, where Dayjet resides, the per capita number of 216 seems daunting. If Dayjet keeps all 60 of its present airplanes (the rumored number) busy then there would need to be another 156. Doesn't this seem like a lot? Could you reasonably spread 66 around Wisconsin?

My intuition about Connecticut, if reasoned backwards, would suggest a total volume of 200 per year. I could be wrong (probably am, of course) but I do not think I am wrong by a factor of 3.5.

airtaximan said...

on March 11, Av week published an interesting article about Dayjet...

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/

generic/story_channel.jsp?

channel=busav&id=news/DAY03118.xml

sorry about the goofy link.

Of note:
- 28 planes in the Dayjet fleet....
- 1200 members (same number as a year or more ago)
- looking to open State Capitals as a key
- perhaps considering tailored services for companies with a different model

I'd be interested to hear comments on this article. The guy seems to try to paint a very rosey picture.

I give them credit for sticking with the plane that has so many issues... even admits the downtime.

David Wihl said...

Better link to Aviation Week article

In other news, Pogo's IPO price will be set this week.

BricklinNG said...

I just received word from Hambrecht that the Pogo IPO is being postponed. There is insufficient interest at the present time.

Gunner said...

Bricklin-
I'd be amazed if it were any other way. That's why they used the bid/auction model, I suspect.

Perhaps they might have better luck in Vladivostok.
Gunner

baron95 said...

From the Aviation Week alticle linked above.... some info on actual altitudes being flown by DayJet planes....

"we usually fly between 25,000 and 30,000 feet, below the airlines but above the props,"

and

"Average leg length is running about 300 miles, "shorter than we thought,"

So it doesn't seem like a Diamond-Jet (or similar) being limited to say FL240 or FL250 depending on direction will be at any significant REAL WORLD flying altitude disadvantage.

I'd take a couple of thousand feet lower on one less fan anyday for efficiency.

Also, as I've been saying to flyger and others, REAL WORLD stage lenghts for light jets are really short. If for Day Jet average stage lenghts are 300 300 miles, the median must be somewhere between 200 and 250 miles - lets call it 200nm. That means that half thei legs are less than 200 nm. For personal flying that is likely to be even shorter.

That is why I think that for many pilots, particularly the new GA blood (flying DA40, SR2x, C350/400), the SE fan-jet will be the logical step up. And I do believe that Diamond has the right strategy. Certify to FL250 (simpler, faster, less risky); get the planes out in the field, see how they are used, listen to customers and see if there is a need to certify to FL300 or so.

Just wanted people to keep in mind REAL WORLD utilization data points, vs the theorectical utilization (unrestricted climb/descent to FL410 on very long legs).

I'll getoff that horse now before I get banned or something.

baron95 said...

Shane said... €1.00 buys you $1.59

You do realize that this is a huge positive for Eclipse, right? The plane is built in the USA, largely with US components an/or US$-denominated contracts.

It's a huge negative for some of Eclipse's competitors like EADS/TBM and Pilatus that are in the Euro zone.

What is the catch? The catch is that Eclipse can't execute fo s%#$ and is unable to sell their planes in the Eurozone because they can't seem to get EASA certification.

But seriously, the Euro/Dollar exchange rate may be enough to tank TBM, Pilatus or both. I know EADS hedges aggressively, so they may have some time. I'm not sure if Pilatus does.

baron95 said...

Bill said .... The REAL crisis comes when clean water is $112 a barrel.

You do realize that bottled water is sold for up to $12/gallon in the US right? I.e. water costs 3-4 times as much as gasoline.

(for comparisson purposes, tap water averages about $.02/galon)

Shane Price said...

Baron,

I'll ban your comments about SEJ's when you ban my comments about euro v dollar and the price of oil!

As it happens, I agree with your base premise. If someone wants 'a jet' they will buy the one that suits their purpose, regardless of the number of engines it has. I would be very surprised if we don't see the ConJet pretty soon, as either a final fling or because Ed (and his air taxi friends) really want it.

Think again about TBM and Pilatus. The price of these in Dollars can only go one way. Very simple. Lets say I decided to buy a PC-12 tomorrow. Over here, the price is in Euros. Fine, I go and search out the best offer I can find, in Dollars. 29 on offer at Controller.com, four of which have prices with a high at $2.89 million and a low of $2.595 million. None, I repeat NONE priced on this side of the pond. Every single one is 'make offer'. Just like the 25 on controller that DON'T have a price. Even in Dollars....

Again, the market will decide. IF the U.S. tanks, then yes, TBM and Pilatus will suffer.

But not as much as Eclipse.

Shane

Copernicus said...

To the readers of this site, the "NO GO POGO" news may be of so little surprise as to be hardly worthy of comment. Its significance to Eclipse however, and all those who are depending on Eclipse must be enormous.

Pogo struck me as being the most attractive proposal that could be made for building an air taxi business around the actual and hoped-for characteristics of the VLJ. In brief POGO was going to use the low VLJ capital cost, low VLJ operating cost and relatively high volume of traffic to have a fleet of airplanes criss crossing the skies of the East, minimizing deadhead legs and maximizing efficiency. The plan was put together by dedicated, ethical people without flash or hype and the effort was lead by Bob Crandall, a real A Grade individual in the aviation world. Part of the appeal was to offer an escape from the nightmare of airline travel to a new cadre of customers whose employers or pocketbooks would not have afforded such an escape at the rates charged by airplanes costing twice as much and flying half their time empty.

If POGO and Crandall can not raise money to support this idea then who can? Doesn't the withdrawal of POGO signal the end of the idea of hundreds and hundreds of VLJs opening up the skies in a whole new manner? There are those who said the whole idea was nuts from the beginning but the view of capital sources is what counts and, even though they gave a thumbs up to Dayjet a while ago, the capital markets gave a thumbs down today. Perhaps Dayjet's lackluster kickoff was a factor in this.

Vern once said that the air taxi orders were great, but EAC could still succeed without them by following a path of higher price and fewer units, targeting more owner/operators and small companies. Well, today is the day to shift. The price needs to go up to about $2.4m for new customers and $2.2 for existing. Unfortunately, EAC can't just raise the price across the board because too many depositors would then ask for their money back and the cash call would drain the treasury. If EAC still gives existing depositors a discount, then they can hope that the depositors will perceive a value in their positions so they won't bail but rather hang on either to get the airplane at an advantaged price or to sell their position to someone else at a profit. This may be a long shot, but it also may be the only shot.

Gunner said...

Well said, Copernicus. All of it.

The problem that Eclipse has is that the plane simply isn't worth $2.4 Mill. This started out as a sub-million promise when many jumped on board. To price this plane anywhere near the Mustang is the Kiss of Death. OTOH, to continue to price it well below the cost of manufacture is the Kiss of Death.

Then again, selling control of the company to bottom feeder capitalists using Russian dollars is probably the Kiss of Death also.

Now that I think about it, building a business plan that requires a 600 plane per year break-even was probably the Kiss of Death also.

I wonder if Vern is "feeling the love" yet?
Gunner

airtaximan said...

wcsyc

(VLJ insiders joke, not a typo)

David Wihl said...

Given what's going in the markets right now, it's a tough time for anyone to raise an IPO, so the idea may not be completely dead - just delayed. If I were considering an investment, I'd wait to see how DayJet and Eclipse look in the next six months. Since DayJet's and Pogo's territories do not overlap at the present time, I would not worry about missing a timely opportunity.

Considering how much they've spent so far planning the IPO, I can't imagine that they would abandon it completely given the external factors.

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

Niner,

Its' always amazed me how the English can laugh at disaster.

Vern must realise that his goose is cooked. Look again at that list of suppliers and check how many are outside the Dollar area.

These people are getting paid in Dollars and getting screwed....

or

Vern is paying in Euro's, Yen or whatever and HE is getting screwed.

Does not matter which way it is.

Think. If The Great Raburn actually does get his rate up, someone (probably Vern) is WORSE off...

Shane

airtaximan said...

"If I were considering an investment, I'd wait to see how DayJet and Eclipse look in the next six months."

this has been the attitude of many, from 6 months ago, and 6 months before that, and 6 months before that... well, you get the picture.

I admire the power of positive thinking, but the LAST thing anyone wants to do is invest in an airline guy for a new business model using GA. Easpecially someone who is so far off the mark they plan on using eclipse.

- is the plan so fragile that paying some more for a real jet, from a real company is not possible? If so, the plan is so thin, its probably too thin for any reasonable investor.

Lets examine some simple math... suppose they were planning on 1200 hours of operation a year like Dayjet. Another million or so, financed in a fleet arrangement could cost $100,000 a year MORE than eclispe. Lets say the average trip is one hour, and give them 25%empties. So you have 900 operating revenue hours.

That's $111 more per hour. $111. I said, $111. ($34 per seat, if you dare)

Increase fuel burn - small potatoes compared to a plane you cannot even use 1200 hours a year - (heck, at least one could operate the Mustang 1200 hours... Dayjet never uses but 1/3 of their fleet at a time... should tell you something)

Give them $100 more per hour on fuel burn... that another $33 per seat.. or 100 per hour.

So, $211 more per hour to use the Mustang instead of the eclipse. REALLY.

Anyone want to say the eclipse is less to maintain, or they have a fuel program, or its lower cost to insure, train or anything else.. I say more Vern BS.

So, Crandall made a decision to use eclipse which makes him look really silly.

Were they not so confident that they claimed they were going to reveal the IPO share price? I guess he's just like Vern - over promise, make excuses, under deliver...

Sorry, I think anyone who chooses Eclipse for air taxi is crazy. Its a good sign they are too willing to take risks, believe fairy tales and make the wrong decisions...

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

airtaximan said:

Sorry, I think anyone who chooses Eclipse for air taxi is crazy. Its a good sign they are too willing to take risks, believe fairy tales and make the wrong decisions...

To further your argument, Pogo was planning to use the Eclipse 2000 not 1200 hr/yr according to their last S-1.

So why did the investment bankers even take it this far?

For the record, I too am skeptical of POGO. Waiting six months would be a rational choice for an investor who had the least amount of interest. Just not me.

airtaximan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MetalGuy said...

Eclipse Aviation just unveiled their new $850,000 business jet this past weekend. In the Wall Street Journal's coverage, they note:

When Eclipse announced its plans in 2000, most people in the aerospace industry gave it no chance of succeeding. After repeatedly encountering skepticism, the Eclipse design team, which includes about 180 engineers, coined an acronym to describe their reception: WCSYC (pronounced "wick-sick), for "We couldn't, so you can't."

Well, someone had to clarify it...Red pin-on buttons if I recall correctly?

airtaximan said...

thanks Metalguy...

I think it now stands for:

"We Can't So You're Crying" - to position-holders

"We Can't So You're Canned" - to suppliers

baron95 said...

AT said ... So, $211 more per hour to use the Mustang instead of the eclipse. REALLY.

Couple of comments.

1 - $200/hr for air taxi, while not huge, is also not insignificant.

2 - Chosing the Mustang is a false choice. Cessna has never entertained making Mustangs in the numbers that Day Jet and POGO and the likes are talking about. If you read their stated business plan, it is dependent on getting lots of VLJ in service very fast. Only Eclipse was delusional enough to think they could deliver many hundres of jets/year. And even now, with all their problems, they are still delivering air taxi jets much faster than Cessna and Embraer ever will. So, like it or not the Air Taxi NG industry is married to Eclipse.

My personal opinion?

VLJs will be successful in the air taxi industry as every other plane before them - when they are used and come on the secondary market 8-12 years down the road. That is how it has always been. Very few, if any, use brand new turbines in the air taxi business - impossible to make money.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

Also, as I've been saying to flyger and others, REAL WORLD stage lenghts for light jets are really short. If for Day Jet average stage lenghts are 300 300 miles, the median must be somewhere between 200 and 250 miles - lets call it 200nm. That means that half thei legs are less than 200 nm. For personal flying that is likely to be even shorter.

That's like watching New York taxi cabs travel an average of 5 miles per fare and saying that's the way the average car owner drives.

Also, consider that all the data is skewed because DayJet flies only between a limited number of pretty close DayPorts. You *can't* actually fly their airplanes a long way!

But see what you want from the data, it won't change anything in real life.

baron95 said...

And by the way.... the problem with Eclipse is not so much their wacko biz plan - it is their innability to execute.

Just ask yourself. What if they had changed just a few basic decisions: Using a proven engine (FJ-33 family) and proven avionics (G-1000).

They'd have still had the cracking windows, FIKI certification issues, but no endless avionics vendor replacement, no airframe redesign for the bigger engine, etc.

They could potentially had delivered 200 jets in 2007 and deliver 400 in 2008.

But we will never know - they screwed up execution so badly that they are going into a graveyard spiral.

baron95 said...

Flyger said ... Also, consider that all the data is skewed because DayJet flies only between a limited number of pretty close DayPorts. You *can't* actually fly their airplanes a long way!

Very true. It is just that - one data point.

By the way, the real world range of an EA50 with part 135 operating certificate reserves, 2 pilots+passangers, with actual weather, winds, ATC climb/descent restrictions, etc is probably more like 600-700nm, not the idealized 1100 nm people think. It is not like you can do more than regional (e.g. southeast) flying on the thing anyway.

David Wihl said...

baron95 said:

And even now, with all their problems, they are still delivering air taxi jets much faster than Cessna and Embraer ever will.

Can you substantiate that? It's unclear how many planes Eclipse is actually delivering right now. On a related note, rumor is now that Mustang deliveries are two or more months behind.

So, like it or not the Air Taxi NG industry is married to Eclipse.

That's what DayJet, Linear and Pogo all claim now. None of these guys are so stupid as to not keep an eye out for alternatives. They may be overly optimistic and have too much faith in The Vern, but not stupid.

VLJs will be successful in the air taxi industry as every other plane before them - when they are used and come on the secondary market 8-12 years down the road.

Again, can you back that up? You are basically saying that the depreciated cost of the airplane makes this business workable. However, a new Mustang or P100 is already close to the price of depreciated older, larger jet but has significantly cheaper per hour operating cost, especially when you factor in maintenance and initial warranties. When passenger load factors average under 2, like DayJet, PlaneSense (PC12), Avantair (Piaggio), why wouldn't these new 4 PAX jets, especially the P100, be viable?

airtaximan said...

rtaximanbaron,

if as you contend its not the whacky business plan, just poor execution...

1- had they used the FJ33... they would have a bigger, more expensive to own and operate aircraft, like the other higher poewered VLJs. Airframes are "matched" to engines... so, the only part of the eclipse model that would be left would be "hyping air taxi", "forward pricing" and "losing money"

2- read what Wihl wrote - some folks are already looking at spending $211 more per trip and using larger, more capable planes. If you are counting $211 as important for air taxi business models, this is really scary.

3- there are companies like OXjet who have $billions of Bombardiers and Cessnas (all new) on order for their "taxi" business... I think you are wrong about older planes being the only viable taxi planes.

BricklinNG said...

Don't forget that Pogo originally chose Adam over Eclipse, saying that the advantages of a larger cabin, more carrying capacity and lav made the Adam a much more desirable platform for its business than the smaller Eclipse. Pogo only shifted to Eclipse out of necessity when it appeared that Adam was going nowhere. So Pogo saw the tradeoffs mentioned above in the Mustang comparison and did not select Eclipse. Now that Pogo's financing has failed, is Pogo taking Eclipse down with it or is it the limitations of the Eclipse that are taking down Pogo? Or maybe is it just mutually assured destruction?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Interesting Job Postings on the Eclipse website.

More than 10% of the open positions are Service Engineering related, nearly 20 positions - ALL opened within the last 3 weeks. Hmmmmm.

Several Engineering Experimental Flight Test Mechanics, also recent postings. Hmmmmmm.

Sarbanes-Oxley Manager - FASCINATING.

Export Compliance Manager - Hmmmmmmmm.

These are positions that should have been identified and filled months ago.

The Service Engineering positions are especially fascinating, mostly avionics, structures and stress. Hmmmmmmm.

2 dozen Service Engineering slots, more than a year and 120 or so planes AFTER initial delivery should be a source of concern - that is a staffing more appropriate for a much larger and stable fleet - simply too much for a hundred or so aircraft.

Do we have a status on the first Avio NfG retrofit?

FIKI?

Avio NfG 1.5?

Just some fun things to consider on a bright Tuesday.

FlightCenter said...

No news from the FAA this week.

The FAA registry database was unchanged from last week.

It still shows 132 Eclipse 500 aircraft completed, of which 18 aircraft are still registered to Eclipse. Mustang data was unchanged as well.

The FAA "in process" website seems to have ground to a halt. There are no records listed for any documents submitted to the FAA from Eclipse, Robinison, or Cirrus, during the month of March. (Those are the only ones I checked.)

So this looks like an FAA issue, not an Eclipse issue.

I searched for DayJet aircraft as well. The FAA records do not show any new aircraft delivered to DayJet. I haven't seen any evidence on flightaware that DayJet has taken delivery of a new batch of Eclipse 500s either.

Post a comment to the blog if you see or have seen a DayJet call sign that is higher than DJS162.

Gunner said...

FC- You've probably posted it a dozen times, but I can't locate it. Can you give us the URL for the In-Process Website?

Thanks much-
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

Cold Wet,

Serial #28 (N963JG) flew to Gainesville on Oct 22nd.

That is the last flight on record at flightaware for that aircraft.

There are no records that show that it has departed GNV at this time.

I would have also expected to see a press release from ABQ when the first retrofit was completed.

Right now, we are only 5 weeks behind the original retrofit completion date, which was scheduled for February 8th.

The retrofit project will take a huge amount of energy from that shrinking pool of quality folks at Eclipse.

We've still got two weeks left in the quarter and Eclipse is late on new aircraft deliveries and on retrofits.

It will be interesting to see where Eclipse puts their resources.. on getting new aircraft delivered or on getting retrofits completed.

For most CFOs that decision would be a no-brainer.

FlightCenter said...

Here are the FAA links. The first is what I call the "in process" website. It tracks document submissions to the FAA.


FAA REGISTRY
Document Index Inquiry


Type in Eclipse in the Party Name field.


FAA Aircraft Registration Database

Both of these sites are usually updated by around 10AM on Monday mornings unless there is a holiday.

Gunner said...

10-Q
Gunner

Shane said...

I know why the FAA can't update the web site.

All their folks are tied up doing SouthWest 737 inspections.

OK, that's my (bad) joke for Paddy's Day, 2008.

It will also act as 'prior warning' for April 1st.

You have all been warned....

Anyone with something suitably goofy, mail it to the usual address, eclipsecriticng@gmail.com. A pint of Guinness (in my local pub) awaits the best one(s)...

Shane

baron95 said...

david Wihl said.... Can you substantiate that? It's unclear how many planes Eclipse is actually delivering right now.

Fair point - no I can't. The only thing we can say is that Eclipse has delivered more VLJs to Air Taxi companies than Cessna/Embraer up to now, and has demonstrated an ability to build som15 VLJs/month in the recent past, and we have Air taxi companies on reccord saying they'd be taking delivery of more EA500s soon.


David Wihl said ... However, a new Mustang or P100 is already close to the price of depreciated older, larger jet but has significantly cheaper per hour operating cost,

Older/larger Jets? The air taxi industry, I am afraid, is based on used piston twins, and some turboprops - The Piper Chieftain is the main stay of part 135 air taxi - it is not even presurized. Now, I know that this is starting to change, and some PC12s, used CJs and used King Airs have been joining the fleet. But if you think the typical air taxy equipment is a fan-jet, you are mistaken. These may just be the ones getting the press.

What you and AT perhaps failed to take into account in your calculations is depreciation. Like anything else, if you buy a $4M jet, fly it for 5 years and sell it for $2.2M, it cost you an addition $1,000 per day - that is right per day per plane. Every single day. $30K/month. That is tough for the airtaxi industry - that just means that your first trip on each airplane each day is only to pay depreciation.

In contrast, if you bought a 1980Chieftain for $500K 5 years ago, you probably would be seling it for $500-600K today (assuming you maintained it prperly). That is zero depreciation costs.

There is no way a fleet of Mustangs or EA500 can compete with a fleet of used Chiftains or 414As/421C part 135 air taxi on all in (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, maint, etc) costs. It may be a 5 to 1 advantage. That is the meat of part 135 air taxi market.

sure there are part 135 Hawkers and CJ2s - but that is the exception.

airtaximan said...

"to build som15 VLJs/month "

GONG!!!!!!

It took them almost 2 years of production to deliver 100 planes -

Its more like 2-5 planes a month. all things considered.

airtaximan said...

precisely my point for 2 years..

"There is no way a fleet of Mustangs or EA500 can compete with a fleet of used Chiftains or 414As/421C part 135 air taxi"

Or even a SR22...

Which all compete for the missions Ed admits are shorter than even he expected.

Jet are used in taxi service for longer trips. VLJs are not good for this.

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

I now see the real story...

"Serial #28 (N963JG) flew to Gainesville on Oct 22nd.

That is the last flight on record at flightaware for that aircraft.

There are no records that show that it has departed GNV at this time."



Gad, Coldwet, or anyone..

possible they keep delivering the same plane, fly it to Gainsville, disassemble it, truck it back to ABQ, and assemble and paint it again?

Explains why Dayjet did/did not receive another batch of planes...

Explains how eclispe did not pay suppliers, and can still"deliver" planes

Explains the need for a lot of "service techs"

Explains why Dayjet only uses 8 planes at a time, eventhough they have 30

Explains WHy so few eclipse's are flying

Explains why the retrofits are taking so long...

Just a thought.
;)

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

On to good news:
Heller was heard today. I suspect the tide is about to slowly roll out. First case in 70 years, and the last one was an absolute travesty of logic.

Dellinger was reduced to positively muttering to himself. He should buy an Eclipse position.

Happy Day for America.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

I know, the VLJ craze will be in full swing with the "economic downturn" in the US.

Folks wil abandon their larger jets, and use VLJs to fly from LA-NY, or from NY-Miami, or from....

OH wait... you cannot really fly these planes cost effectively with passengers on board for any of these trips...

OK, they will replace their CAR trip with these planes... and not use the props at half the price...

NOW I SEE.

PS. funny comment the other day, regarding the delta cost of Eclipse-VLJ to much larger VLJ at $211 being significant... while no one thinks the 50% delta from VLJ to Prop is significant in favor of the props for these missions.

Amazing

ExEAC said...

yet another major supplier is about to bite the dust on the Eclipse program...stay tuned.

FlightCenter said...

Who has a hunch on which "major" supplier is at risk?

ISSC seems to be feeling good. They started buying back their own stock when it hit a low of $7.73 after declining from a high of $29 after the Eclipse announcement. They are now back up to $10. Low probability.


FIKI continues to slip. The "we are looking for ice" story is getting quite old. Perhaps a vendor issue can be the new story to explain the delay.

Aerozur for de-ice boots?
Anything is possible, but this one is not likely. If they announce another vendor here, that would push FIKI out more than a year. Eclipse really can't afford to incur that much anger from current customers.

Avio NG 1.5 was promised to be released in March. I'd bet a Euro to a penny that there is no chance Eclipse will meet that date. Where will the blame be placed?

Chelton - The FMS supplier?

Chelton / S-Tec - The autopilot provider?

Crossbow - Some folks have blamed the autopilot issues on the noisy AHRS from Crossbow. Crossbow and Chelton have not had the best working relationship in the past. Although Crossbow probably does not make the cut as a "major" supplier.


The inability of Eclipse to meet their production numbers has been blamed many times in the past on vendors' lack of quality control.

Fuji? The relationship with Fuji has been rocky. The weak dollar, the low production numbers, the amount of rework, the cost of inventory, the discovery that Hampson got a contract with guaranteed payments, the requirement to swallow a deluge of change orders probably all have Fuji wanting to renogiate their contract - at the very least.

Hampson - Speaking of Hampson, neither party can be all that enthusiastic about a long-term relationship with the other. But Hampson would hardly qualify as "another" major supplier.

What is your vote?

Black Tulip said...

The most important raw material for Eclipse has been cash. The major suppliers have been investors and depositors. Any chance that either will bite the dust?

ExEAC said...

The supplier in question is the landing gear and flap actuator supplier...Electromech.

Black Tulip said...

Are those components important? How 'bout a fixed-gear no-flaps Eclipse? The type rating check rides would be simpler.

David Wihl said...

Fixing the gear, nixing the hydraulics, and removing the flap motors would solve some of those lingering pesky weight issues.

airsafetyman said...

"The supplier in question is the landing gear and flap actuator supplier...Electromech."

How can you possibly screw up systems that have been around since way before the DC-3? Did Vern decide to reinvent "actuators" this time? I am sure "Avio NG" will be perfect right from the start, however.

John said...

VLJPLanet Day Jet Thread

This link leads to a Jan-March departure table with average flight duration. Filtered for short hops and training loops.

I am maintaining the "Day Jet Utilization" Posts on the VLJPlanet forum. It is not being used for other discusssion, but permits HTML tables, so is useful for data purposes.

Shane Price said...

John,

I would be happy to set you up with a spreadsheet, simlar to the one FlightCentre uses for the delivery data, and link that to the home page here.

Email me at the blog address if you would like to proceed in this fashion.

Not that I've anything against VLJplanet....

Shane

airtaximan said...

thanks John..

lets see:

1186 hours for 26 planes (their fleet) or so in three months... did I get all this right?

183 hours per plane per year...

Am I missing something?

John said...

26 + week cumulative hour table

Link to Cumulative Hour Table

This is comprehensive cross-tab of all flight aware flights for DayJet. I grouped all pre-September 20th flights into a single "pre" epoch.

I did this to look for a pattern in maintenance downtime, and see if planes were approaching the 300 hour inspection.

I don't see a regular hourly maintenance downtime in the data. The flight aware data might be missing some usage, or the maintenance interval has not yet hit.

Tailwind said...

Gunner said:
On to good news:
Heller was heard today. I suspect the tide is about to slowly roll out. First case in 70 years, and the last one was an absolute travesty of logic.

Dellinger was reduced to positively muttering to himself. He should buy an Eclipse position.


And the Faithful Ringtail agrees - God Bless America

The United Staes Constitution copyright 1791 "All Rights Reserved"

What part of "Shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

RT

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Electromech - They were a identified years ago as a problem. One Electromech engineer thinks he is God's gift to electronic actuators. They redesigned the landing gear with an inferior processor to save space (and not have the feedback the CPU needs to know where the landing gear is in its travel). Yup, another bandaid to get the airplane out the door. Don't worry though, there will always be plenty of time to do it right, as long as the rubes ugh, unsecured investors er, buyers keep up their progress payments.

RAD3 said...

I recieved my copy of the April issue of "FLYING" today and what do I see but an article by Dick Karl about taking a DayJet flight. The article isn't up on the FLYING website yet so here's some stuff that jumped out at me.

>Pilots make 50K/yr.
Departed Lakeland for Boca
>Seats comfy. With 2 pax leg room execelent. Air cond. comfy. Cabin quiet enough for normal conversation.
> 40min. flight. Climb to FL170 then begin descent.
Land Boca to check out operation center.
>260 employees (this is early Jan.)
>35 % of all flights dead-heads
>1000 members
>Ed says "Speed of Eclipse allows deviations for weather without loseing a lot of time" (!!!)
>Pilots need 3000 hrs, 1000 PIC, 500 PIC turbine
>As of early Jan DJ has taken del. of 28 planes(Isn't that the same number given as fleet size in the new AvWk article?)
>Pilots say dispatch reliability is "improving". Issues are usually "electrons"(WHAT a surprise!)
>DJ "in another round of financing"
Boca back to Lakeland
>Saw FL200, 318knts true, 600 lbs/hr.


DR. Karl ends the article with "Will it work?" "this could be hard, but I wish them luck."

Comments?

thebigriper said...

Electromech - Not the best actuator house out there. Not the worst either though. Hard to say why the two companies are parting ways but it is probably about pay or performance. One asked how you could screw up systems that have been around for so long - answer is trying to get too fancy with the systems to get them to do more things. These are not the simple systems that are on the DC-3. Fault is on Eclipse for designing a system (or the spec) that is too complex and on Electromech for taking on more than they can handle. There are vendors out there that can design the systems that Eclipse wants but they cost more; for good reason. Sounds like a catch 22 - use cheap vendors and they can't get the job done but use the right vendors and you can't hit the price point for the volume. Expensive lessons.....for some.

flyger said...

airsafetyman said...

Did Vern decide to reinvent "actuators" this time?

Yes! In fact, he did!

It's been so long that you forgot that one of the touted "features" of the Eclipse was "smart actuators" that would "self rig". They also used brushless motor designs.

Here is the excerpt from the Eclipse white paper on maintenance:

2.4.4 Smart Actuators

Smart actuators are utilized on the Eclipse 500’s landing gear, flaps, trim, and autopilot. Unlike ordinary actuators, smart actuators have the ability to communicate within an avionics data bus system and are microprocessor driven and software controlled. This capability reduces maintenance costs and downtime by enabling health monitoring and facilitating troubleshooting. Smart actuators improve overall system reliability by regulating the operation of the actuator to limit acceleration of the pushrods, preventing overload.

Smart actuators also have self-rigging capability unlike ordinary actuators that typically require a series of rigging pins to establish a known position for the actuator pushrod to be adjusted. Smart actuators are delivered to Eclipse pre-adjusted. Once in place the actuator measures internal parameters such as actuator current or motor torque to determine output force or moment being produced. Self-rigging significantly reduces the time required to replace an actuator and return an aircraft to service.

Reliability of smart actuators is increased by utilizing brushless motors (see Section 2.4.3), resulting in MTBF rates of up to 28,000 hours.


Part of the same misguided idea was tried on the starter generators. They tried brushless but eventually gave up and standard brushed SGs are now installed.

airsafetyman said...

"..smart actuators have the ability to communicate within an avionics data bus system and are microprocessor driven and software controlled. This capability reduces maintenance costs and downtime by enabling health monitoring and facilitating troubleshooting."

Thanks Flyger. Another solution in search of a problem. In my entire lifetime of messing about in aviation I can't recall any significant problems with removing, replacing, troubleshooting, or adjusting actuators on any military, airliner, business, or personal aircraft I have been involved with. It is a non-issue. Vern has an uncanny ability to include useless and/or unworkable components (Avio NG, "virtual" circuit breakers, "bring it up on the MFD if you think you might need it" stand-by flight instruments) and leaving out things (anti-skid, thrust reversers, ground flaps, ground spoilers, anti-ice, de-ice, proven weather radar) that might make the airplane functional.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Brushless stepper motors and their use in actuators were not invented by or for Eclipse.

Self-rigging is also not new, and only provides real gains when compared to micro-switches and hydraulics.

There will be more to the Electromech story than we see right now - perhaps a lot more.

airsafetyman said...

"These are not the simple systems that are on the DC-3."

Perhaps they should be? Would it be impolite to point out that the "Douglas Racer" is still going strong, and that the landing gear still goes up and down just fine, with nary a CPU in sight. The de-ice boots work, too!

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

Hiltonhead all the way to Opa Locka at FL300, huh?
So much for the argument for efficiencies of the high-flying Eclipse over SE counterparts.
Gunner

Afterburner said...

Good morning all. Interesting, Vern and N528EA spotted at the Garmin hangar yesterday. Theories?

Black Tulip said...

Maybe Vern dropped in to personally update the database on his trusty Garmin 496.

baron95 said...

The issue is not the technology or the vendor. The issue is that Vern et al, did not undertand the concepts of planned incremental product improvement and risk management.

They tried to eat salad, maincourse and dessert all at the same time and before the food was even cooked. Now they have indigestion.

You don't start a brand new aerospace company, to design a brand new airframe, using non-existent engines, non-existent avionincs, and incorporating an untold number of bleeding edge components and processes.

Why not use a proven engine, proven avionics, proven start/generators, proven dumb-actuators, proven and conservative boots.

Get it certified and out of the door. Then have an upgrade path to incorporate advancements.

The thing that is surprising to me is that, this is how the software industry works - how could Vern completely misjudge the risks, schedule creep, integration and testing complexities, etc. Any project manager in the SW industry worth a penny would have sounded alarms.

Incredible really.

David Wihl said...

baron95 said:

You don't start a brand new aerospace company, to design a brand new airframe, using non-existent engines, non-existent avionincs, and incorporating an untold number of bleeding edge components and processes.

Sounds exactly like Honda, except for the G1000 avionics. While Honda has the financial depth to be a long term player, I can't imagine how they will make their currently forecast certification dates.

how could Vern completely misjudge the risks, schedule creep, integration and testing complexities, etc. Any project manager in the SW industry worth a penny would have sounded alarms.

Unfortunately this has become all too common in software as well. How many years late was Vista? 7 years of R&D for the results? Even a solid product like SQL Server 2005 was two years late on a three year project.

Afterburner said...

baron 95 said:

"Get it certified and out of the door. Then have an upgrade path to incorporate advancements."

Unfortunately, in the case of Eclipse the first part is exactly what happened, the second part is yet to be seen.

burner

baron95 said...

David Wihl said...Sounds exactly like Honda, except for the G1000 avionics. While Honda has the financial depth to be a long term player, I can't imagine how they will make their currently forecast certification dates.

Company: Eclipse = New; Honda = 50 years, global company

Engine/Airframe Prototype: EA500/FJ-22 = never successfully flown/tested together; Honda Jet/HF120 = flown together for years

Avionics: Eclipse = never certified, multi-vendor components; Honda = proven single-vendor integrated system

Attitude: Eclipse = arrogant, we will put the established vendors aout of business; Honda = we are coming in to learn, we don't know enough, we will need a partner (GE), etc.

I'd say it is a night and day comparisson.

baron95 said...

Afterburner said... Unfortunately, in the case of Eclipse the first part [certification] is exactly what happened, the second part [improvements] is yet to be seen.

I beg to differ. Until Eclipse certifies an airplane that conforms with the contractual datasheets and is usable, they haven't done s$@#.

To me, the status of Eclipse is the same as if they have said: We don't have a workable engine yet, so we wil certify it and deliver the first units with a piston engine and upgrade later.

This is a fanjet in 2008. To me, at least, having no GPS navigation, not FMS, a flaky outpilot, a tack-on portable GPS, no FIKI, no Radar etc, is just as bad as not having an Engine.

I think Eclipse is about 18 months minimum from a fully compliant certification.

Gunner said...

"I think Eclipse is about 18 months minimum from a fully compliant certification."

And I think THIS Eclipse Management Team is an eternity away.

In the long run, we'll get 'er done.
Vern Raburn (Loosely paraphrased)

"In the long run, we're all dead.”
John Maynard Keynes
Gunner

airsafetyman said...

"Good morning all. Interesting, Vern and N528EA spotted at the Garmin hangar yesterday. Theories?"

Yep. Avio NG is toast. He is dropping the whole mess in Garmin's lap for whatever they charge or require to install and integrate the Garmin 1000 avionics suite.

Gunner said...

ASM-
Is that tongue-in-cheek or do you have info to that effect?
Gunner

Afterburner said...

ASM-

Interesting theory, but do you think Garmin will “bite”?

Seems in the past Garmin shied away. Could it be they didn’t believe Vern’s lofty volume projections, or they didn’t want to take on such a high level of customization? I guess only those in Olathe truly know. What would be different this time around?

It would appear that Garmin has been very successful in gaining meaningful volume as the G1000 is the same basic system regardless of the aircraft, 172, Mustang, TBM850, C90, etc. Vern (and Don) have always wanted their own, highly customized, tightly integrated avionics and aircraft management system. They have lured smaller avionics manufacturers by offering NRE and promises of volume that would significantly increase the manufacturer’s bottom line. This seems to be counter to the Garmin model.

Would Vern have to swallow his pride and take a “normal” avionics system designed by “seasoned industry professionals”? That hardly seems like “disruptive technology”.

burner

John said...

N528EA is in Boca Raton today. It left Garmin world headquarters last night and arrived KBCT after 11 pm local.

SN# 128 N528EA also had a visit to Boca Raton on 3/13. It arrived from the DC area (Manassas) SN#82 was their the same day and went back to Oklahoma. N528EA did not visit Gainesville, and no Dayjet flight went KGNV to KBCT on 3/12 or morning of 3/13

Flightaware shows a Hawker 800 that flew from ALBQ to Olathe on Tuesday. It is owned by a national charter company. No other ALBQ to Olathe (or vice versa) routes show up other than the Eclipse. The Hawker 800 also flew to Florida on morning of 3/19 (destination Winter Haven, PBI and Orlando)

421Jockey said...

The detective work here is fantastic! If only George Bush had all of us working for him, we would have found OBL years ago, and the war would be over.

On a more mundane note, then Eclipse / Garmin relationship has already been agreed to. Not a G1000 repalcement for NG, but support for NG near it's current form. With that information and the knowledge of what is currently missing from NG at this time, this group of detectives should be able to figure it out from there.

Ex-421

airsafetyman said...

It was a wild guess. I don't think Garmin would be interested in putting their odd bit in an Avio NG system which is (with apologies to George Tennant) a slam dunk to fail. Garmin does have the capability of going through the mess, keeping what interfacing components they can and replacing those they can't.

Gunner said...

421-
Thanks for shedding light on this. Unfortunately, I'm more confused than ever by your statement, "but support for NG near it's current form".

Are you in a position to explain?

BTW, are you getting any time in on the EA-500?
Regards-
Gunner

sparky said...

I'm not sure what the relationship is going to be with Garmin, but I had heard that IS&S was going under the bus.

Can't see Garmin even remotely wanting to try to work with all of the other vendors to try to patch together a system when they've got their own fully functioning piece of equipment readily available.

Sounds like more trouble than it's worth. I guess they figure that when (not "IF") the deal goes south, everybody's so used to hearing about the umpteenth supplyer that couldn't perform that it's not really bad PR anymore. Hell, it seams like being a member of an exclusive club to be dropped by eclipse.

As for the servo's being a little more advanced than they needed to be, doesn't it fit with eclipse's SOP to re-invent just about every damned piece of equipment that get thrown into the mix.

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

Sparky-
Regarding the servos and related items:
The more I hear from knowledgeable industry people, like some of those here, the more embarrassed I become for defenders like our friend Ken.

It's becoming more and more obvious that this was NEVER about building a value-proposition. From jump it was about an upstart wanting only to prove to experts that EVERYTHING they did could be done better, cheaper and faster. It was done completely on OPM, with less regard for the Investors and Depositors than for the established competition Vern wanted so desperately to one-up.

The embarrassment is Moller monumental.

The Russian endpoint is Moliere farcical.

But the grandiosity is pure Vern....and simply brethtaking.
Gunner

Shadow said...

Wasn't the Eclipse 500 that was flown to Dubai fitted with a Garmin GNS 430 or 530?

airsafetyman said...

Garmin doesn't make everything they interface with. They might be able to make a system work, if left alone to do it. You would also need to make one avionics package standard, with a pilot's and copilot's PFD and a dedicated standby attitude indicator. As it is now, with the long lists of options that can be taken or not taken, the permutatations probably run into the thousands if not tens of thousands of possible configurations. The ONLY options should be the external paint color and the color of the leather seats, at least until they get their production numbers ahead of schedule.

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

Sparky,
"I'm not sure what the relationship is going to be with Garmin, but I had heard that IS&S was going under the bus".

Well, my faith in the blog is restored. Seems like in January, Mouse, or ExEAC, or Sparky, or somebody, said another big switch was a-comin'. After waiting for several weeks for the juicy details to spew forth, I was a bit perplexed that nothing was forthcoming.

Guess Eclipse is even getting late with their delays lately (ah, so to speak). Anyway, I suspect we are starting to see the details of those January hints emerging now (??).

Just in time for, The Quarterly Stunt Parade.

bill e. goat said...

Interesting posts regarding Vern's shadowy activities...

AfterVerner (oops, Afterburner- sorry:),
"Vern and N528EA spotted at the Garmin hangar yesterday".

BT,
"Maybe Vern dropped in to personally update the database on his trusty Garmin 496".

421Jockey,
"Not a G1000 repalcement for NG, but support for NG near it's current form".

ASM,
"I don't think Garmin would be interested in putting their odd bit in an Avio NG system"

Gunner,
"Unfortunately, I'm more confused than ever by your statement, "but support for NG near it's current form"."

Sparky,
"Can't see Garmin even remotely wanting to try to work with all of the other vendors to try to patch together a system when they've got their own fully functioning piece of equipment readily available".
----------------------------
I agree with each of the above statements, so...I'll take the bait. (Better to take the bait, than to get one's goat, IMHO...):

?? Garmin is coming out with a customized 496 with an Eclipse Logo, something with a tag line:

"The VR special, for those who don't have a clue...(about where they are)"

:)

airtaximan said...

"Why not use a proven engine, proven avionics, proven start/generators, proven dumb-actuators, proven and conservative boots."

simple:
Can;t rasie money from tech guys based on tried and true vanilla aerospace principles. Look at the VLJ graveyard... some better concservative designs priced realistically never made the grade with the financing community (probably for good reason)... seems like Cessna and Embraer had the approach you describe (plus years of expereince) tied up. How to compete?

Over promise, under price... sound familiar?

High tech promise for high tech disruption for getting high tech money. See Al Mann and Bill GAtes for your money, plus a bunch of taggers along, then Pieper - the last high tech guy in...so far. Even Ed is high tech.

Funny thing is, all this VLJ air taxi crapola is really just a low cost solution, not high tech.

From a technical standpoint, they should have done what you say - but of course, no one would have bought in... the tech guys bit.

So its a BS tech story, when in fact its become a puny twin jet, with a littl market and one huge friendly order.

BUT, they did pull together $1.XYZ billions with the tech promise... now they have to convert it to the Russian made low cost tiny-jet it really is. COTS, outsourcing and jettison the tech.

10 years and a trophy later... and its back to the drawing board... to try to get to what the market needs... lower cost.

Bambazonke said...

Any bets that the Garmin contribution to the saga will be to add two 430;s into the panel of the SB, and this will buy some time for the next promise. In the meantime IS&S will go the way of the other suppliers that have failed to meet Verns lofty mental masturbations.

Heard from a credible source today that a number of owners have arrived to pick up their SB's and found the list of IOU's too long to accept and have walked away from their positions. When they send a letter of demmand threatening legal action Eclipse refunds their money..

MetalGuy said...

The rumor with the Eclipse/Garmin is that they will be delaying their home-brew FMS and mount a simple Garmin 400 series navigator where the keyboards used to be (same configuration as the European setup I believe).

OMG, you mean to tell me you can’t develop a certified FMS in 14 days?

This is one majorly screwed up avionics program that has cost a fortune to re-invent over and over and over again entirely based on the arrogance of those involved. At some point you fire the idiot in charge. Or keep him on and continue shelling out the hundreds of millions. Whatever.

Gunner said...

Welcome back, Bamba. Hope you stick around.
Gunner

Troglodyte said...

Replacing Avio with the G1000 package is, as has been pointed out several times on the Blog, difficult to conceive of with respect to the redesign and recertification of many of the systems tied in to Avio and controlled via the MFD, such as the electronic circuit breakers, gear, etc. Seems unlikely to me in less than a couple of years. Garmin appears to be very risk averse with respect to getting into situations where they are set up for failure. Can anyone name an airframe with G1000 avionics that didn’t make it into production? (OK, I think that I can name one).

Seems much more reasonable that they are going to provide a 400/500 series unit or units to bail Eclipse out of what seems a horrible FMS mess. Maybe they can even connect to the autopilot. Meggitt systems were designed to work, and work well, with Garmin input.

--Trog

WhyTech said...

"Vern has an uncanny ability to include useless and/or unworkable components (Avio NG, "virtual" circuit breakers, "bring it up on the MFD if you think you might need it" stand-by flight instruments)"

This is "why tech" in its purest form! (A play on hi tech - do it because you can - maybe, in the case of Eclips.)

WT