Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Truth is often stranger than fiction

Couple of items from the inbox, which (to say the least) worry me slightly.

Several reports reach me about the FAA and Eclipse. The first concerns FAA "Supplier Control" audits, recently held at Eclipse. Seems no one in ABQ was too bothered about measurement of incoming parts. Except the FAA, who appear to have found not one but a whole load of non conforming items. Remember, its Eclipse who determine what 'conformance' is, since they provided the suppliers with the original specs.

It gets worse.

The local FAA office has (allegedly) been told to route all Eclipse reports through Washington, where 'someone' is 'filtering' any damaging or disruptive elements out.

The outcome? Sloppy procedures in Eclipse go on, and (it appears) FAA types, as well as concerned aviation professionals, get very unhappy. Mad enough to contact me, anyway....

And another thing.

If the bits don't fit together too well, they tend to fall off. I got this in the past 24 hours, have been unable to confirm it (I do live in Ireland, after all....) but thought people should be aware of the issues that are at stake. Apologies in advance if it I'm wrong, but when aircraft safety is at risk, I think it's worth reporting it.

A friend of a flight instructor reports the following incident from a taxi way @ Boca Raton, FL:

The weather has gotten bad so everyone was lined up waiting for IFR filing and clearance. I was in an Piper holding behind Eclipse Jet who was number one for takeoff. After receiving the IFR instructions, reading them back, the pilot in the Eclipse was given the OK to taxi on to runway. As power was applied the turbines spooled up and the aircraft started moving. As the aircraft creeped along making its turn to align itself with the runway heading, all of a sudden a loud crash was heard as the ENTIRE ENGINE NACELLE came shooting off across the runway landing way off in the grass! The student I was instructing asked in all seriousness, "is that supposed to happen?" I laughed and said "No."

The Eclipse pilot apparently sheepishly asked for a taxi back to the FBO. I wonder how many "slight" issues like these have been seen in usage of the grand Eclipse Jet.

Now, I don't know about you but if it's true, that story sure scares the hell out of me...

119 comments:

David Wihl said...

(continuing from the previous discussion thread)

To the VLJ skeptics: I agree that "darkening the skies" is silly hyperbole, but let's look at some of the VLJ numbers.

Cessna will produce about 100 Mustangs in 2008, only the first full year of production. That makes it the best selling jet, by volume, that Cessna has ever produced. In 2007 according to GAMA, Cessna made 87 XLS and 78 CJ3, the previous best selling lines. Taking a swag, in 2009 Cessna will produce 150 Mustangs and about 400 of all other models combined. That's a lot of new jets. This isn't smoke and mirrors - these are real sales, with real deposits to a real company. Production of the Mustang is sold out into 2011.

Let's look at Embraer. They sold 36 Legacy 600s in 2007. By 2011, they should be producing 100-150 Phenom 100s per year. That's a huge jump in unit sales. The production of P100s is sold out until 2012.

So from just these two models alone, the Mustang and the P100, in 2011 there will be about 300 new jets coming on line each year. That's a lot of new jets. To contrast, 2007 was a record year with 1138 total jets shipped to the GA market, which was a huge jump of 28% over 2006. Assuming a conservative 5% growth of non-VLJ jet sales, just these two models could be 300 out of a total 1700 jets delivered in 2011

So irrespective of what happens to Eclipse, there will be a lot of new light jets flying around.

Shane said...

For the record, reported this morning by our 'national' broadcaster, RTE:-

Oil prices struck a record high of $109.20 per barrel today after the dollar hit a new all-time low against the euro.

The euro reached a record high of $1.5495 in European trading.


As I've said before, the suppliers to Eclipse who are based in Canada (engines), Japan (wings) and the UK (various) can't be a happy bunch of campers.

Likewise, the customers who bought into the E500 'idea' when oil was well south of this point.

Shane

airtaximan said...

I don't think there are many VLJ skeptics.... just eclipse skeptics.

Its not hard to imagine that a less expensive jet will sell... alot.

It is hard to imagine the eclipse business model based on more than 500 eclispes a year just to break even.I personally think there's so much fuzzy math in that number, its gotta be more like 1,000, realistically - given the money spent and the piled losses.

So, the Cessna s and Embraers of the world, together with the
Diamonds and Cirruses may draw comments regarding preference/technical matters.

Eclipse draws skepticism regarding viability, air taxi (no other company bases their existence/viability on a new air taxi model or company) and low pricing based on a mythical demand number. OK, Skepticism regarding their plan, viability and integrity, given their bloated claims and arrogance for 10 years.

eclipso said...

Because some think the FAA cannot be put in a pocket (for a price, I'm sure), all it takes is a look at what just happenened at Southwest in Dallas. I happen to know the whisle-blower that pointed out the FAA's neglect in entering the missed inspections at Southwest. Now he is getting threats and the FBI is involved. Havin been in ABQ whe the FAA was ther, it was apparent the inspectors there had integrity and were NOT going to let things like this happen. Then, out of nowhere, the was a certificate....you KNOW they have to have someone in D.C in their pocket or this contraption (EA500) would have NEVER left the ground.

Turboprop_pilot said...

I am going to look into a Freedom of Information request for FAA memos and e mails regarding the dealings with our little aviation company in the SW. There is so much that doesn't make sense with the FAA's history of being stern but fair. There is a great book lurking within this long unfolding tale!

Turboprop_pilot

airsafetyman said...

"....you KNOW they have to have someone in D.C in their pocket or this contraption (EA500) would have NEVER left the ground."

I really would like for someone to explain why the Dayjet operating certificate is managed out of the Washington Dulles FSDO? Perhaps after a serious mishap we can read the answer in a legal deposition from Mz. Marion Blakely.

any said...

Shane and fellow bloggers, keep up the good work. I have been following this blog for about 3 months now. I read a comment the other day about the middle management at Eclipse is arrogant and unreasonable. Don’t be naive enough to believe this is isolated to the middle managers. Vern and Peg are behind every decision at Eclipse. They have tried to insulate themselves by installing several layers of bureaucracy but the truth will come out eventually. If you don’t believe me look at Enron and now Southwest

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

You guys need to chill on the Southwest issue - it is much ado about nothing.

From the Southwest blog:

"Let me assure you, first and foremost, that no one is more passionate about the safety of our Customers and Employees than we are, and it is important for you all to know that the situation being reported in the media was never and is not now a safety of flight issue.

The FAA has issued what is called a “letter of penalty” to Southwest Airlines regarding one of many routine, redundant, and overlapping inspections of our fleet. The specific inspection in question involves an extremely small area in one of many overlapping inspections designed to detect early signs of skin cracking on our aircraft.

In March 2007, Southwest Airlines discovered a missed inspection area, disclosed the information to the FAA, and promptly reinspected all of our potentially affected aircraft.

The FAA approved our actions at that time and considered the matter closed as of April 2007.

The Boeing Company, which manufactures all of our aircraft, also supported our aggressive compliance plan, and has issued a statement confirming that we acted responsibly and, more importantly, that the safety of our fleet was not compromised."


Takeaway is that both the FAA AND the OEM agreed that what Southwest was doing OK, the whole thing was stirred up by Inspectors who apparently did not agree with FAA and Boeing that Southwest's approach was acceptable.

Further, Southwest itself made the issue known to FAA, corrected the issue once it was identified.

The missed-inspection issue occurred about a year ago.

I would strongly recommend against looking at this issue and trying to draw any comparison to the issue reported out of ABQ - it is apples and oranges.

Now if it were several AI's or Southwest Inspectors who were aware of the FAA and Boeing position, and they still thought this was an issue I might lend some weight to it, but sounds to me like the left hand (FAA Inspectors) may not have known what the right hand (FAA and Boeing) was doing.

I always place more credence on the opinion and statements of the guys actually doing the work day in and day out.

Shadow said...

From today's AINalerts:

First Major-damage VLJ Returns to Service

The first very light jet to suffer major damage, Cessna Citation Mustang S/N 049, returned to service on February 29 after enduring the collapse of its left fuel tank and two broken wing spars on a December 19 ferry flight. According to the FAA, the twinjet received “substantial damage” during the flight from Cessna’s Independence, Kan. factory–where owner Spectator Grupa of Croatia took delivery of the aircraft earlier that day–to Allegheny County Airport (AGC) near Pittsburgh for a planned fuel stop. The crew, a Spectator Grupa pilot and a contract ferry pilot, heard a bang at 18,000 feet during the descent into AGC, which was followed by a left-engine low fuel pressure warning. They then noticed distortion on top of the left wing and heard a second bang. The crew continued the descent and landed safely at AGC. FAA inspectors found that Cessna workers inadvertently blocked the left fuel tank vent with adhesive vinyl, which covered the Croatian registration numbers while the aircraft carried a temporary N-number. This blockage prevented the inflow of air to replace fuel drawn from the tank by the engines, and the tank deformed. Cessna technicians disassembled the twinjet before trucking it to the Independence plant, where new wings were installed at Cessna’s expense.

David Wihl said...

Pictures of the busted Mustang wing here.

A little more explanation here including a link to the FAA report.

No NTSB report yet for some reason even though it certainly exceeded $25k of damage.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Sorry to be the barer of (old) bad news.

This is the first REPORTED major damage to a VLJ - or the first damage to a customer operated VLJ.

Eclipse had a a gear-collapse during early flight test many years ago that tore up the wing tip, actuators and flaps - the plane was down for weeks.

They also had a gear-up landing a few years back that ground through the belly skin, ripped off antennas, scraped the radome, both pressure bulkheads and did other damage.

Both times were company planes with company pilots as I recall, the second time with one of the guru guys who now helps other people take delivery and 'manage' their purchase or so I have heard.

Yet another series of ignominious firsts for the 'disruptive' OEnM in the 505.

Just keeping it real.

wiz-kid said...

And it was not friction stir-fried!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EclipseOwner387 said...

From previous thread! Thank you whytech! Good info..

bill e. goat said...

Uglytruth,
Thanks for your observations.

Pubgrubber,
Thanks for your observations.
---------------------------
Just kidding. But really, thanks to both.

PG is a long time contributor, from my reading, and I've valued his insights very much, so I think he has a good read on the forest- maybe Uglytruth just saw a few bad trees while he was there, or perhaps good trees in bad situations.

(Or something like that...).
---------------------------
ExEAC,
"EAC stated they must build 450 AC this year and if they do not it will be the suppliers fault. Hmmm, EAC doesn't pay and parts for 450 AC don't show up. I wonder how that's the suppliers fault".

It's all very, ah, simple.

The most likely cause of not making enough planes is not raking in enough progress payments. Because they aren't making enough progress. Because they aren't raking in enough progress payments.

(Or something like that... :)
----------------------------
FC,
"Anyone here have some eyes on the ramp at ABQ? Are there 18 aircraft sitting on the flight line, waiting to be delivered?"

Could this be the Dayjet-destined airplanes, possibly on hold due to cash flow problems at DJ ???

bill e. goat said...

ASM,
"And Ms. Marion Blakely, the head of the FAA while all this horsemanure was going on, and who pencil-whipped the TC herself, has bailed".

Goat:
I think our chum Mouse (say, where is the squeeky one lately?) said that Pete Domiinici, the senior Senator (R) from NM, leaned on the FAA administrator pretty hard.

It would be nice if the Albuquerque Journal did some...Journalism (hey, who am I kidding), and reported on this.

There is some corrobrating evidience supporting this sort of corrupt behavior from Domenici:
Pete Domenici

"Prior to the 2006 midterm election Domenici called and pressured then-United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico David Iglesias to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved at least one former Democratic state senator.

"When Iglesias said an indictment would not be handed down until at least December, Domenici said "I'm very sorry to hear that" — and the line went dead.

"Iglesias was fired a little over one month later by the Bush Administration.

"A communication by a senator or House member with a federal prosecutor regarding an ongoing criminal investigation is a violation of ethics rules.

"...Domenici has denied trying to influence Iglesias, and has hired lawyer K. Lee Blalack II to represent him.[12]

"According to the Justice Department, Domenici called the Department and demanded Iglesias be replaced on four occasions".
-----------------------------
This does excuse lack of personal integrity or grit from our senior administration officials though (hey, who am I kidding).
Marion Blakey

Impressive resume, but...(too often the case with impressive resumes...):

"She is scheduled to become president and Chief Executive Officer of the industry trade association, Aerospace Industries Association, on Nov. 12, 2007.

"She came under criticism for accepting a job as head of the trade group which frequently lobbies for the aviation industry on government spending and policy.

"Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) represents firms her agency oversaw and awarded contracts to during her five-year tenure.

"It raises some pretty serious ethics questions," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

"Scott Amey, general counsel of the Project on Government Oversight, said Blakey's actions fit the public's "worst fear" of government".

bill e. goat said...

Regarding Marion Blakey, and the AIA: I thought it odd that Cessna did not object, as they (besides the general public) were the most damaged by the "pass" Eclipse was given.

But, I guess Cessna decided to let by-gones be by-gones, for the sake of expediency (and picking up an "effective" lobbyest, I suppose).

"Ain't no saints" in big business, perhaps.
-------------------------------
Speaking of lobbyists, and unseemly affairs, Boeing protested the USAF Tanker contract today, which had been awarded to Northorp-Grumman/EADS.

Which had been awarded to Boeing, until Northorp-Grumman/EAD protested.

Which had been awarded to Boeing, until a procurement scandal, involving lobbyists, cancelled the deal (temprorarily).

Which had been awarded to Boeing via lease, until John McCain (who is currently accused of romantic liasons with a lobbyist) cancelled the deal (temprorarily).
-------------------------------
An example of how, ironic, irony is...

"Considering the bitter fighting between (Boeing) and Northrop Grumman over the tanker contract, how about calling it the KC-45 "Lobbyist"?
Tanker

bill e. goat said...

Make that "does N-O-T excuse lack of personal integrity or grit from our senior administration officials..."

(I've got to hire a better proof reader...Wonder if Andrew Broom is available ? :)

(Haven't heard much about the new Minister of Propaganda at the 505)

airtaximan said...

G600
$60 million
big and fast

eclipso said...

Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the
villagers that he would buy EA500s for $100000 each. The villagers seeing
that there were many EA500s around, went out to the flightline, and started
getting them.
The man bought thousands at $100000 and as supply started to diminish, the
villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now
buy at $200000. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started
catching monkeysgetting EA 500s Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to
their hangars. The offer increased to $250000 each and the supply of EA 500s
became so little that it was an effort to even see a EA 500, let alone
get it
The man now announced that he would buy EA 500s at $500000! However, since
he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy
on behalf of him.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers. "Look at all
these EA 500s in the hangar that the man has collected. I will sell
them to you at $350000 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell
them to him for $500000 each."

The villagers rounded up with all their savings and bought all the
EA 500s. Then they never saw the man nor his assistant, only EA500s
everywhere!

Now you have a better understanding of how the smoke and mirrors work in ABQ

uglytruth said...

After thinking about it I guess instead of using crayon I could have said “The AC was not designed with any thought at all of ease of manufactur, assembly time or mass production” would that be more politically correct?

Stan Blankenship said...

From the Wichita paper this morning:

Hawker Beechcraft isn't interested in designing its own very light jet to add to its product line.

But "if a VLJ comes available...I could see a VLJ complementing our lineup.

Hawker Beechcraft chief executive Jim Schuster said Tuesday in a conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results.

Gunner said...

Good to see you here Stan.

As to Hawker, I don't blame them. Look at the price tag to Cessna for Columbia.
Gunner

Gunner said...

Oooooooh, how about if Hawker bought Adam? The design could be Deja Vu....all over again!
Gunner

Shane said...

Gunner,

Would the A700 be a better bet with THREE engines?

That way, it might go fast enough to offset:-

1. The range. You might ask what range, but I'm too polite.

2. The looks. Butt ugly springs to mind. Ooops, I'm supposed to be polite.

3. The price. Enough said.

Shane

agroth said...

For those that are interested, Gulfstream will be doing a live webcast of their product announcement tomorrow. 9:00 AM EDST. You might want to go to their website ahead of time to make sure that your browser has the right plug-ins.

http://www.gulfstreamlive.com/

Andy

Shane said...

ColdWet,

CNN 'breaking news'

'Southwest to ground 41 planes'

The planes were grounded “to determine whether they should go through further safety inspections,” said spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger.

I wonder why...

Shane

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Thanks Shane,

Before I tell why I think this is happening, maybe you could hazard a guess as to why a company who relies on people's trust in their maintenance practices might take such a public stance after a potentially damaging story?

How many other planes do you suppose SWA, or UA, or AA or DL might have down for Mx and inspections today? Should CNN report on each of those?

How about planes which may have been slightly damage by a baggage cart or a caterer truck? Where are the camera crews?

Sorry my friend, I see this as journalistic malpractice, which is unfortunately normal practice when the drive-by media reports on aviation.

If they want a real story about fraud or incompetence in aviation we all know where they ought to focus their attention and although geographically similar to SWA, it is a different area code and a much smaller plane.

Stan Blankenship said...

Busy morning, sorry I left out the third paragraph:

The Wichita planemaker, however, isn't interested in aquiring the design of bankrupt Adam Aircraft's A700 very light jet.

"Based on what we know right now, it's probably not a good fit," Schuster said.

gadfly said...

If the introduction of this last thread was serious, some of us are “hanging by the thread”, wondering if somewhere out there on “e-Bay” there is an engine for sale . . . “low time, and (like a French rifle) only dropped once”.

Comments?

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

Uglytruth,
"I could have said “The AC was not designed with any thought at all of ease of manufactur, assembly time or mass production” would that be more politically correct?"

Don’t worry (too much) about PC here. I thought you were saying it wasn’t very well designed, but it sounds like you’re saying it wasn’t designed with manufacturing concerns as a priority, so thanks for the clarification.

It does seem odd, that if high volume were the goal, that manufacturing engineering would have been a low priority. But I take it Uglytruth’s observations are correct, and that is probably partially the reason manufacturing goals are not being met.

(The other part is that the goals were set by an idiot).

Pubgrubber says the airplanes can "flow well", if there are no changes, but I suspect the design is so "fluid" that "no changes" is a rare situation.
-----------------------------
ATM,
I think I’ve figured out Gulfstream’s naming scheme.
G450 ($45.0 mil)
G550 ($55.0 mil)
G600 ($60.0 mil)

No?? :)
-----------------------------
Stan,
Thanks for the news about Hawker-Beechcraft, and their considerations regarding the VLJ arena.

I’m like Gunner, and the Adam products came first to mind. Shane notes perhaps the Adam is a substandard performer (although I do think the interior room would make the Adams a nice offering to fit between the Baron and C90GT).

Since the E-500 was sort of initiated as a "Bonanza with two small jet engines" (my quotes, and perception), then maybe it would be a logical addition to the HBC lineup. Still, I’d think HBC would want a true six-seater, at a price of around $2.25 M.
-----------------------------
Shane,
I suspect SWA might be doing a "pre-emptive" Public Relations strike, showing that they are pro-active regarding safety. I agree with CWMOR, they seem to run a pretty good ship (I’m less aware regarding the other carriers mentioned).
-----------------------------
Fred and Shane,
"Over here" (versus, "over there" :), oil prices seem to have gone up, say 30 percent or so, while the dollar has declined 30 percent or so, versus the Euro. I’m curious, how has this affected fuel prices in Europe? Thanks.

Shane said...

ColdWet,

I am still interested in the 'why' bit. What caused Southwest (agreed, a good outfit) to ground 41 aircraft, at this time?

I think someone in the FAA might be feeling a bit of pressure. New broom at the helm and that sort of thing.

Any ideas yourself?

Goat,

Upward pressure.... Retail prices up by 20%, at least here in the Emerald Isle.

Gad,

No one has called me a liar yet, but neither has it been confirmed by another source. Anyone we know from that part of the world, who could ask around in Boca Raton?

Shane

gadfly said...

Shane

'Funny things happen to the best of aircraft. This one, however, is worth special merit . . . should it all be confirmed.

Shane, I, like you, await with bated breath!

gadfly

(Did you know that the meaning of "Boca Raton" is "Mouth (of the) Rat"? . . . sounds more "romatic" in a foreign language.)

any said...

RE-Coldwetmacker…Comments about investigating fraud and incompetence I don't know all the details behind what happened with SWA but I will say they have an excellent reputation and I believe they will do the right thing.

As for the other company that is HQ close to SW can anyone say: (with a straight face)
1-They have a good reputation?
2. They have integrity (look at all the commitments they meet :))?
3. They are interested in doing the right thing-(making a quick $)?

I would not have any reservations about flying in one of their 737s. But you couldn’t pay me to fly in one of the “game changers”.

Turboprop_pilot said...

I e mailed a friend (with a Meridian) based at Boca and he had not heard of the incident to a Dayjet. He is always around the airport and would know of it if true. Probably an urban legend.

Turboprop_pilot

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

BEG nailed it IMO.

This is SWA 'proving' they are serious about safety.

If you read the original report, the 'missing' inspections have already been completed for all effected aircraft, and the report was given to FAA, by SWA, about a year ago.

It appears an FAA Inspector felt he/she was ignored and used the Federal Whistleblower rules to show his/her displeasure. This is like using a 50lb sledge to drive a finish nail.

Might just be me and my jaded side but I think this story will turn out to have more in common with the witch hunt against Bob Hoover than a genuine safety issue.

uglytruth said...

The front page talks about “Several reports reach me about the FAA and Eclipse. The first concerns FAA "Supplier Control" audits, recently held at Eclipse. Seems no one in ABQ was too bothered about measurement of incoming parts. Except the FAA, who appear to have found not one but a whole load of non conforming items. Remember, its Eclipse who determine what 'conformance' is, since they provided the suppliers with the original specs.”

The door surround has an upper and lower half that is Stir Welded to the side skin and the belly skin. The door surround parts would not match all the time (formed wrong and / or welded in the wrong location) and shims had to be made bringing production to a crawl because when the skins were in place no one could get in and out of the AC because they were making door surround shims. There was no QC or inspection on incoming parts. They would weld the parts in place and hope that down the line that things would match up. They were fixturing off the wrong side of the part to keep the door opening a consistant width. One afternoon I tried matching parts that were in stock before they were welded and I only came up with a few good matches. I asked about inspecting parts before welding. Suggested making go - no go gages so only good parts would be used. I was told that would put them behind in production and “that’s just the way it works”. I suggested matching the parts before welding but that was early enough in the process line, flow rates and AC specific parts (belly skin to side skin) were not working out well. Also the door side skin took almost twice as long to rivet all the supports in.

I just hate a mentality of we don’t have time to fix it right, we don’t have time to fix it now, shame on the supplier for providing parts that aren’t perfect, but they always leave it to the guys on the floor to fix things. Then I was in a meeting and they talked about having special teams for NCR’s. They had to document material etc…. I suggested a cart on wheels with tools for making shims on the spot. They put the tools in the other building. The tools they ordered were pathetic at best. A nice band saw and belt sander……for wood.

MagicSky said...

Just a thought.... If EAC is not paying their suppliers can't 3 suppliers force them into bankruptcy? I know the company has cash flow problems, but after an infusion from ETRIC or Gates or someone else, would that not be an opportune time for the vendors to try to recoup some of their money? Wouldn't a judge freeze their "assets" until the whole thing was sorted out?

Also, I cannot understand how some of the long time employees justify remaining with EAC. In the beginning there was the promise of stock in a company that could possibly go public. Everyone was dazzled by dollar signs. But that option has long been exhausted.

In addition, EAC's work environment and polices are extremely unrealistic, unreasonable and abusive. The commitment expected from Vern and Peg leaves no time for a personal life. Both Peg and Vern have gone through divorces in the past few years. Many other employees have had similar experiences - choosing between family and career. I really don't know how people tolerate the incredible stress of always being behind the eight ball year after year after year. What could be the motivation for these folks to burn and burn? How long before they crash and burn for real? Or worse one of their unsuspecting "lucky" customers who actually obtain a plane.

Is Vern so good at hyping the company that even those who know better can't see the light? I can't decide if Vern is greedy and evil or just delusional. Whichever the case, the willing suspension of disbelief reigns supreme in ABQ. This company elevates denial to new and staggering heights. How long before their long suffering employees are shocked by the overwhelming surprise of the obvious? The man and woman behind the curtain are obviously powerful, cunning, baffling and dammed scary!!!

I remain astounded!

Shane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Plastic_Planes said...

Magicsky said:

Also, I cannot understand how some of the long time employees justify remaining with EAC. In the beginning there was the promise of stock in a company that could possibly go public. Everyone was dazzled by dollar signs. But that option has long been exhausted.

I certainly don't speak for all, but most of us weren't in it for teh cash. I wanted to be part of a young organization breaking teh paradigms and creating something new and exciting. When I first hired on, that's really what it was. It was exciting to watch the first flights of the early test aircraft as they lifted off for the first time. Unless you've seen it, you don't know how addicting that is. I can sometimes imagine how the Wright brothers felt when their plane flew into the sky the first time.

Then it became a business. And an ugly one at that. Yes, it is a difficult place to work. Demands are high, personal lives are put on hold. The stress can be a killer. But no one is being held against their will (I certainly wasn't). There are lots of opportunities in the aviation sector right now for talented people. In spite of all the stress and long hours, it was hard for me to walk away from Eclipse. I joined up with another start up aviation company and alked right in to another frying pan. Perhaps it's why ER docs do what they do. High stress, but great rewards for those who stick with it. Many ER docs burn out, too.

Uglytruth:
I just hate a mentality of we don’t have time to fix it right, we don’t have time to fix it now, shame on the supplier for providing parts that aren’t perfect, but they always leave it to the guys on the floor to fix things. Then I was in a meeting and they talked about having special teams for NCR’s. They had to document material etc…. I suggested a cart on wheels with tools for making shims on the spot. They put the tools in the other building. The tools they ordered were pathetic at best. A nice band saw and belt sander……for wood.

This exists in every aviation company today - big and little. I have been n manufacturing for almost 25 years (most of it in aerospace) as an IE, ME, process engineer and planner. The best way to make change in any company os to make change. Lots of ideas, very little action. While at Eclipse I had lots of ideas and implemented lots of actions (some of which you have hinted at as being wrong), and let me say if you don't get out on the floor and fix things, you'll lose every time. It's easy to stand back and see everything wrong. Sometimes you just have to put your head down, earplugs in, and get out there and fix things.

Just this man's opinions

P_P

Shane said...

Tuboprop_pilot.

Thanks for this.

Anyone with a confirmation, one way or the other? I now have a claim/counterclaim situation and feel the need to resolve the matter.

Shane

uglytruth said...

Plastic_Planes I tried and they sent me packing. Lots of employees told me they wished they could do what I was doing. I know I'm not the only one with ideas. I just tried to help the employees do their jobs easier. I've done that my whole life. The first time I got something done the guy looked me in the eye and told me point blank "you won't be here long, you got something done". Others saw getting something done as being pushy or a threat. The first week I was there I was told of the "contractors rule" or the three C rule "Chaos Creates Cash". That's just not me. I get stuff done.

BricklinNG said...

SN 469 6 Month Deposit Call

As relayed to me by a reader of the owners' site, the holder of SN469 is looking for a buyer and noting that his 6 month deposit is being called on 5/15/08 for November Delivery. So this airplane would be starting production 6 months from now (mid Sept.) for November delivery. The last report was that number 170 was at the start of production so for 469 to start production in 6 months means that approximately 300 airplanes, 50 per month, will need to move through in the next 6 months. How likely is this? Since the rate recently has been 15-20 per month, how can the AVERAGE over the next 6 months be 50? Unless the rate zips instantly to 50, a month or two at 20 will require the later months to be at a rate of 60 or 70. Would anyone be sufficiently confident of this to stake $1 million on it? Evidently, 469 would prefer someone else to step up in his place.

Or, perhaps, Eclipse telling 469 to expect November delivery is a sign that some of the fleet airplanes between today's deliveries and 469 will not actually be delivered as originally envisaged. Maybe there are some orders going on "temporary hold". That could mean that customer 469 would get an airplane in November, but it might be a lower serial number because an earlier customer had taken a pass on delivery or otherwise asked for a delay.

Anyone have ideas about this?

Anyone been in touch with Hambrecht over how the POGO public securities sale is going?

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

http://www.gulfstreamlive.com/


The new G650...about 25 miniutes long

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

So brand G throws down the gauntlet, biggest, fastest, longest.

If they pull this off, and there is no reason to beleive they will not pull it off, this plane appears to be able to be all things to all people - truly impressive spec's, the cabin of a big jet, the speed of the Citation X, the range of a Falcon 7X and all wrapped up in that elemental Brand G style (luv the big windows).

Damn impressive, good luck to the crew in Savannah, y'all just bit off quite a bit - here is to you delivering.

sparky said...

Good lookin bird. As i understand it, they're gong to be using a few new manufacturing techniques.

Of the these is using adhesives on the main fuselage skin attachments. No rivets, supposed to cut down on the time to complete each section. Not sure how new this is, seem to remember hearing about this on a different airframe, but can't remember which. any help out there?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Piaggio P-180 I believe has many large bonded skin sections - the airframe is built outside in, the reverse of more conventional construction.

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

Regarding bonded composites, Cessna Citation III had quite a bit, way-back, circa 1978.
Citation III

Seems like there were some light piston singles back then with bonded structure too, can't remember which ones...
------------------------------
Regarding that SWA stuff:
I read the transcript of the CNN article, looks like SWA broke the rules. Maybe by 30 months, maybe by a week. But, rules are rules.
CNN transcript re: SWA

I'd heard the buzz about the structural cracks, I didn't know they had been delinquent regarding the rudder inspections too- that's a hot button issue for me- I was disgusted Boeing drug their feet on that one for years (while the FAA sat on their hands).

Not sure what the whistle-blower thing was about, or why it came up now. I don't think it was a case of whistle-blower grandstanding though. (Sounds more like someFAA footsoldiers thought the FAA management was becoming too cozy with the airlines. I think the NTSB would VERY strongly agree with the footsoldiers).

SWA does have an impeccable record, and the folks I've known there are very conscientious, and justifiably proud, and aggressively proactive to maintain their airplanes as well as the exemplary safety record.

But, rules are rules.

bill e. goat said...

For those who didn't follow the 737 rudder saga
Seattle Times 737 rudder series

This was from 1996. There was some journalism back then.

It would be refreshing if there was more of it now. It is difficult for the editorial (and, advertising) department to run articles critical of "the home team". (Even more so, when there are corrupt Senators pullling strings). It really would be nice if the ABQ Journal ran an article on the NM state, and ABQ city, government concessions to bring Eclipse to town. Sort of a down-side of the glamor and hype.

But, also report on the jobs created by Eclipse, and local suppliers. (I suspect it has been a tremendous plus to the citizen/employees and related businesses in the area. It would be interesting to see it quantified though: jobs created, and to see the hard numbers on tax breaks and incentives).

Gunner said...

On a side note, didn't someone around here suggest a year ago that the D-Jet engines would be upgraded for power. Oh, yeah, I did. Pretty much a no brainer, given the borderline payload that early in the certification cycle.

Anyway, here y'all go:
""D-JET to get higher-thrust Williams FJ33 engine
Diamond Aircraft has selected a newer, higher nominal thrust engine in the same Williams engine family for the
D-JET – the FJ33-4A-19.
The engine’s advantages include several technological advances that result in better bleed air handling and
improved specific fuel consumption. With a 1,900-lb nominal thrust versus 1,564 lbs for the originally planned
FJ33-4A-15, the ‘FJ33-19’ also offers a potential future performance upgrade path for the D-JET. Williams
International’s accelerated development schedule of the FJ33-19 has made it viable to proactively launch D-JET
deliveries with this engine rather than reactively introducing it at a later date in response to competitive pressures.
“The FJ33-19 engine is the perfect match for the D-JET, offering the latest technology and a potential
performance and utility upgrade path for delivered aircraft that the current engine just doesn’t allow. While
making this change now rather than later means that initial deliveries will now be in Q2, 2009, we are confident
this is the right choice and in the interest of all D-JET customers, as it ensures one configuration and maximum
resale value for all delivered aircraft,” said Peter Maurer, President of Diamond Aircraft.
Diamond will deliver the FJ33-19-equipped aircraft to current position holders at the contracted price; however,
the company announced that a price increase for future orders is expected shortly.
“The FJ33-19 is the very latest in turbofan engine technology and offers unique features never before available on
a smaller turbofan engine,” explained Matt Huff, Vice President of Business Development at Williams International.
“We are pleased that our accelerated development schedule for this engine now makes it feasible for Diamond to
launch with the FJ33-19, instead of introducing it after initial aircraft deliveries. Every D-JET customer will now
benefit from technological advances, such as the built-in pre-cooler and new compressor technology.”


Gunner

flyger said...

Gunner said...

On a side note, didn't someone around here suggest a year ago that the D-Jet engines would be upgraded for power. Oh, yeah, I did.

Did you note that the new engine is 1,900 lbs thrust? That's more than the total thrust of the Eclipse (1,800 lbs). Being limited to FL250, it will also burn a *lot* more fuel than the EA500.

The same or more thrust, more fuel burn, less altitude capability, less redundancy. Why buy an SEJ if it has no advantages?

agroth said...

On a side note, didn't someone around here suggest a year ago that the D-Jet engines would be upgraded for power. Oh, yeah, I did. Pretty much a no brainer, given the borderline payload that early in the certification cycle.

Gunner,

Nice prediction. I remember when you first said it. I was just getting on here to mention it because I saw the story at Aero-News.Net.

airsafetyman said...

On the Southwest Airlines issue, there are several AD notes relating to the inspection of the 737 fuselage structure. Some are fairly recent. They all are repetitive inspections and several require removing paint and sealant to get to the area being inspected, so they are not quickie maintenance actions. The one thing the ADs all seem to have in common is the phrase "if cracks are found, repair before further flight".

eclipso said...

Having worked the DFW area for several years, I personally know the whisle-blower in the SW case. He is a "by-the-book" inspector which is a good thing, however, HAS been known to be a bully by using his authority. Knowing several folks at Southwest, I believe this to be an isolated incident, and coming from the QA world, there is nothing wrong with having a working relationship. I think it all comes down to integrity, be it the FAA, QC, or politician...just my opinion

Shadow said...

Wonder if Vern will heed this lesson from Phil Condit (following excerpt from the Puget Sound Business Journal):

About how he feels about so abruptly dropping his Boeing persona, after 38 years with the company: You are not your title. One reason that some people have trouble letting go is your fame, your recognition, that's the CEO of Boeing. If you begin to think that's who you are, if that title no longer applies to you, who are you? I love good wine, I like to travel and see things, I love to teach -- that can be who I am, I don't have to carry that other persona.

Gunner said...

Flyger-
I can't answer your question until I see actual performance data, real world. It's a reasonable question, I think. OTOH, Diamond is not exactly famous for gas guzzlers. Neither is it infamous for vast over-hype.

Given that, and the fact that they're continuing with the program and people are buying the plane in the [realistic] numbers Diamond requires, all I have to say is:

"What's not to like?"
;-)
Gunner

David Wihl said...

Gunner: "What's not to like?"

Well, how about a fuel burn at 25,000' that's pretty close to the twin engine fuel burn on the Mustang at 41,000'?

Or how about engineers who make a significant engine change less than a year before promised delivery date? (Wait - I've heard that somewhere before). Either the engineers don't know what they are doing or don't have the sophisticated tools to model flight characteristics without using the real plane.

BTW, the Cirrus Jet is planning to use the same 1900 lbs -19 engine.

Gunner said...

David-
I know Cirrus is using the same engine. I knew that a year ago when I clearly stated that Diamond would probably move up to it, once it was certified.

Fact is the new engine is dimensionally the same as the original, so I've no problem with the changeout a year prior to certification. It's comparatively minimal.

Look, I'm not defending Diamond as the savior of the VLJ concept. Simply providing news that they've upped the HP. Whether that aircraft is destined for success or failure remains to be seen. But to even compare Diamond to Eclipse is a REAL apologist stretch.

As always, YMMV.
Gunner

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

D Jet Summary

So the D-Jet accepts a limit of 25,000 ft which grants the benefits of less capital cost and simpler, easier operation but at a cost of a high fuel burn, is that it in a nutshell? This site and its predecessor have seen a discussion about the pressurization rules which basically mandate 2 engines above 25,000 ft, To gain maximum fuel efficiency one must go above 25,000 ft. so there is a natural divide. The Mustang takes the more expensive, more fuel efficient path and the D-Jet takes the less expensive, less efficient path. One costs $3 million and the other costs $1.5 million. D-Jet puts forth a range of 1300 miles and relatively low, like 300 pph fuel burn, but this is at 240 kt. So maybe you can take your penalty in the form of slow speed instead of high fuel burn.

All airplanes are compromises. At least Diamond is an ethical, creditworthy company and the choice offered is clear. In a world where a Mirage costs $1.2 m, a Meridian is over $2.0 m and a Mustang is $3.0 m or more, the D-Jet at $1.5 m should find a place in the market.

Gunner said...

Funny how traditional values can become cutting edge once revolutionary becomes pure hype. Take Diamond as an example. Here's a company that offers a purely mainstream new product, with only reasonable performance at a price that's totally believable and a breakeven that's pretty much understandable.

Maybe they'd have been better off promising to be the only logical choice for the first time jet buyer. They haven't.

And THAT'S pretty "cutting edge" in context of what has washed over us from ABQ these past few years.
Gunner

KeepingItReal said...

Diamond Aircraft the savior of general aviation, trustworthy and forthright.

Is this the same company that still has a purchase agreement on its web site promising certification within 3 weeks? I guess Eclipse is not the only one shipping Kool-aid.

Gunner said...

I think the last post proves my point. Either you're Eclipse Aviation or you're no different from Eclipse Aviation.

Those who can, do; Those who can't, point fingers as they move to Russia.
Yawn.

Gunner

KeepingItReal said...

Mouse – looking for a job
Gunner – Promoting D-Jet-NG
Stan – Checking employment ads

Got to admit. It’s amusing.

flyger said...

Niner Zulu said...

While I would prefer to own a Mustang, Diamond has made a very compelling case for the Djet (and so has Cirrus, for their single engine jet). It's a far less demanding aircraft to own than a twin jet, both from a training, proficiency, insurance and purchase price standpoint

You are applying piston rules to jets. Twin jets are not very "demanding" because of having two engines, not at all list piston twins. As to insurance, no one knows that yet. Hull losses for SEJs might be much higher than the twins because an engine out is far more serious.

Now the Mustang is more expensive, but it is quite a bit larger so they aren't really in the same class. An Eclipse is not significantly more expensive and is a twin jet.

Also, factor in the liability cost for the airframe and engine maker. An engine out is a nuisance in a twin, a lawsuit in a single.

(Note: I consider the least expensive twin jet to be the Mustang. Eclipse doesn't count until they prove they can produce a fully-functioning jet and actually make a profit. It doesn't appear either of these events will happen anytime soon.)

Then the Djet has to live by those rules, too, so it doesn't exist yet, either. If we wait until everyone can make a profit, then we will be waiting a lot!

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

Like watching Senator Obama's minions attempt to turn attention from Jeremiah Wright to Pat Robertson....and anyone else "in the way" of their dream.

You want amusing? Now THAT'S amusing.
Gunner

easybakeplane said...

gunner said:
"I think the last post proves my point. Either you're Eclipse Aviation or you're no different from Eclipse Aviation.
Those who can, do; Those who can't, point fingers as they move to Russia. "

As to your first sentence, I think we are seeing more of the 'forgiveness is easier than permission' Marketing and Product Development these days, with the problem reaching all the way to the top (I'll eat my hat if the G650 can fly the guaranteed mission they have described) I could provide even worse examples...

As to your second sentence, don't forget those well known companies that are planning on moving large parts of their production lines to countries like Mexico and China.

What do you owner/operators think about a plane 'built' in another country and 'assemblied' in the USA and called 'FAA certified'?

baron95 said...

flyger said... Also, factor in the liability cost for the airframe and engine maker. An engine out is a nuisance in a twin, a lawsuit in a single.

Here we go again. All the talk about the theoretical safety advantages of twin-fans vs single-fans, which are not supported by experience.

There is no issue insuring a TBM850 or a PC12, both single engine prop-jets with more seats, bigger hull value, higher operating altitude, much higher MTOW, etc.

Why the heck would there be ANY problem insuring a single enjine fan-jet, that is 1/2 the MTOW of the prop-jets, 1/2 the seats of the PC12, 1/2 to 1/3 the price?

What happens when you replace the prop in front of the jet engine with a fan, other than increased reliability?

What is all this talk about fan-jet in flight stoppages?

Number one reason for twin fan-jet in flight failure: fuel exaustion due to mismanagement. Invariably afects both fans.

Number two reason: fuel starvation, due to fuel contamination, freezing, uncomanded roll-backs. Often afects both engines like in the BA 777 accident at LHR.

In addition, engine failure of single engine propjets and twin fan-jets is a very rare incident. most of these planes buy the farm because of improper IFR procedures, weather and RLOC. Not engine failure.

So, if single engine turboprops are safe enough to insure and have a great accident reccord, and fan-jets are much more reliable than prop-jets, and engine failure is not a significant consideration anyway, why do you insist in saying these planes would be uninsurable and the OEMs will have higher liability?

I don't get it.

Like it or not, MANY SR22, C400, D40/D50 pilots currently comfortable flying single piston planes, will be attracted to the very things you decry. 25K limit, single engine fan and will buy these planes if they are ever made.

Let the market work. Competition is good. Not only between companies, but also between concepts. Let there be single engine piston and multiengine piston. Let there be single engine jet props and multiengine jet props. Let there be single engine fan jets and multi engine fan jets.

Of all the VLJ planes proposed, only the Cirrus Jet and the Eclipse ECJ attract me as a personal plane.

I'd feel comfortalbe jumping on them to fly simple missions like HPN-MVY. Using a Mustang for that trip is just too much extra hassle. For that mission, the Mustang would not even get to the flight levels. Fuel burn for the ECJ or Cirrus Jet would be a small fraction of the Mustangs.

Many, many people will be flying 100, 200, 300 nm missions in the East Coast and Europe where you'd not get above FL250 for more than a few minutes if at all. So also, please stop with the inneficiency talk of the FL250 restriction. It does not come into play for MANY, MANY very typical personal VLJ missions.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

What is all this talk about fan-jet in flight stoppages?

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20041216X01999&key=1
http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20021101X05421&key=1
http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20030429X00591&key=1

In the above cases, hull losses were significant. Had the airplanes had two engines, it wouldn't even be in the NTSB database.

And don't get me started on Cessna 208 in flight shutdowns. Many, many of those.

Number one reason for twin fan-jet in flight failure: fuel exaustion due to mismanagement.

Prove my point! Without mechanical failure to bring it down, all that is left is things that uniformly affect both engines.

Didn't find one PC-12 or TBM 700/850 that had fuel exhaustion, found 3 that lost power for mechanical reasons. Seems the ratio is *different* for a single, huh?

In addition, engine failure of single engine propjets and twin fan-jets is a very rare incident. most of these planes buy the farm because of improper IFR procedures, weather and RLOC. Not engine failure.

I counted three engine failures out of 20 total accidents, or 15%. Not the majority, but not trivial percentage either.

So, if single engine turboprops are safe enough to insure and have a great accident reccord, and fan-jets are much more reliable than prop-jets, and engine failure is not a significant consideration anyway, why do you insist in saying these planes would be uninsurable and the OEMs will have higher liability?

I didn't say they would be uninsurable, they will be, at a higher cost than a comparable twin jet.

OEMs will have higher liability loads, particularly the engine makers. With a twin, they get more revenue and less liability. With a single, they get less revenue and much more exposure. Which do you think they want?

Like it or not, MANY SR22, C400, D40/D50 pilots currently comfortable flying single piston planes, will be attracted to the very things you decry.

Yes, like you, they will apply piston think to jets and end up with a costly, slow, less safe, and weather limited airplane. After a while, those compromises will take the luster off SEJs.

The key fact is that piston singles and piston twins operate in the same air. Twin jets and single jets do not. Thus the single is crippled from using the efficient higher altitudes.

Let the market work.

Oh, it will. And the pigs will get slaughtered.

I'd feel comfortalbe jumping on them to fly simple missions like HPN-MVY. Using a Mustang for that trip is just too much extra hassle.

A Cessna 182 would work nearly as well, too. Nobody buys a jet for that mission.

Many, many people will be flying 100, 200, 300 nm missions

Then they shouldn't have bought a jet of any kind. If the airplane can do 800nm in 3 hours, then people will do that. Those will be the missions that define jet ownership and value.

Copernicus said...

Flyger,

Your points are valid. Nobody would question your thesis that a twin engine jet flying at 41,000 ft is a better article than a single engine jet flying at 25,000 feet.

But step back and make a commercial comparison rather than a strict engineering type comparison. If Diamond can put its proposed jet on the market at $1.5m, may it not have some success where the spread is a Mirage at 1.2 or a Mustang at 3.0?

If a friend were to invite you over for a burger and a beer would you take a pass because it was not Beef Wellington and Chateau latour? Or maybe does the burger have its valid place in the food world, despite its gastronomical limitations?

bill e. goat said...

Keepingitreal and Copernicus,
Since St. Patrick's Day is a few days away, could Keepingitreal please make that some green KoolAid (or something more "spirited") to go with my burger?
Thanks.
:)

Stan Blankenship said...

KeepingItReal said...

Stan – Checking employment ads

KIR - Only in your dreams

My company has been working on the G650 for over two years. If the truth be known, I would bet the first chips cut on this project were cut in my shop.

We have been a Gulfstream supplier for over 15 years and it was a no-brainer to no-bid several Eclipse tooling packages.

Just keeping it real,

Stan

FlightCenter said...

bricklinng and 9Z,

In January, Eclipse announced that they would produce 455 aircraft during 2008. Since they had produced 100 aircraft by the end of 2007, that would mean that they intended to deliver serial number 555 by the end of this year.

At the same time Eclipse stated that they would not achieve 2 per day production rate until December 08.

Delivering serial #469 in November 08 is consistent with both of those statements.

However, Eclipse has not been able to meet their stated production plans so far in Q1 and in fact are producing aircraft at a lower production rate than they achieved in Q4 2007.

That makes it extremely unlikely that either serial #223 will be delivered in May or that serial #469 will be delivered in November.

Eclipse will have to triple their Q4'07 production rate starting in May to be able to deliver #469 in November.

flyger said...

Copernicus said...

But step back and make a commercial comparison rather than a strict engineering type comparison.

It's not engineering, it's economics. If you could fly a 310 for the same price as a 210, wouldn't you do it?

Compare an EA500 with a Djet. Same engine thrust (actually, Djet slightly higher). So short hops are basically the same cost in either. Long trips are better in the EA500 since it can fly higher.

Given a choice between an EA500 and a Djet, I'd take the EA500 every time.

The Mustang is in a different class than either the EA500 or Djet, so comparing those fuel burns is like comparing a Honda Civic and a Hummer.

For the $2000 hamburger, it really makes no difference which airplane you take. They both suck at that mission, but you don't care, and they end up costing about the same.

Lastly, there has never been a single engine passenger jet certified in the US. Gulfstream tried with the Peregrine back in the 1980s (killed due to limited market response, never made it to certification). Now there are suddenly four contenders (in order of sanity): Djet, Cirrusjet, PiperJet, Conjet. Why now? If the economics have always existed, why hasn't anyone done it before?

The SEJ craze is just on paper right now. Tell me when they get them certified and start deliveries. Then reality will set in.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Funny to see VLJ proponents using the same arguments against SEJ's that the 'dinosaurs' among us used against the Eclipse specifically, and VLJ's in general.

The irony is delicious.

The market changes fellas. For a long time the experimental market did not provide 4 seat or complex aircraft - and yet now Van's is selling as many RV-10's as they can make, there are hundreds of Bearhawks under construction, hundred's of Lancair IV and IV-P's are already flying, and one of the highest performance most advanced turboprop aircraft in existence is a kitplane.

The point being that what may not have been succesful 20 or 30 years ago might be the right combination today.

I am really laughing, this is funny on several levels.

Gunner said...

CWMoR-
Great insight there.

I think the issue comes down to a numbers game. If you have your head in the clouds (pardon the pun) and have come to the conclusion that success requires sales of 500-1,000 or more a year, then I agree with the previous posters: the D-Jet is an utter failure in the making. But, then, so is the Mustang.

If, on the other hand, you go back to a more paleolithic benchmark, like P-R-O-F-I-T-A-B-I-L-T-Y, there's room for all sorts of permutations to be "successful".

Diamond has never claimed 500 D-Jets per year as a [conservative] break-even. Can they find 150 buyers that accept the D-Jet tradeoffs? 200? 225? 250?

Personally I don't know, but I do know they've never needed to tout Eclipse-Like numbers.

It just seems that, even among those of us who don't believe the Eclipse hype, it has washed over us so long that some of it has stuck. As a result, you have Bloggers unconsciously making the same types of arguments as a Ken Meyer: that one size fits all and each design will make sense to everyone or no one at all. Ken had to make that argument, because he desperately need a growing Order Book to fund own Ponzi position.

Eclipse won't fail because the plane doesn't sell. It will fail because the plane doesn't sell ENOUGH. Diamond, Cirrus and others don't suffer from the same volume constraints. They're after profitability, not notoriety.
Gunner

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

baron95 and flyger,

On the subject of what airplane individual owners will pick to fly from HPN to MVY (or similar missions of range between 100nm - 300nm).

I have to agree that fuel efficiency isn't the primary consideration for individual owners in the selection of aircraft for that type of mission.

However, I have to disagree with the notion that jets should never be selected for 100nm, 200nm or 300nm missions. If that is the case, why are so many regional carriers flying CRJs or ERJs on those types of missions?

On a summer day at MVY you can see a lot of heavy iron on the ramp that flew less than 100 or 200nm to get there.

Why? Emotional decisions often outweigh the output of a spreadsheet analysis when selecting an aircraft for a mission.

Large segments of the population just plain feel uncomfortable flying in an aircraft with a propellor. For the rest of the population who are comfortable flying a prop, there is a certain cachet and a clear preference to flying a jet if at all possible.

If this isn't important for the owner, it is often very important to family, friends and other passengers.

That supports Baron95's position that plenty of single engine piston owners and even a reasonable number of Meridian class owners will be very attracted to stepping into a single engine jet for these types of missions.

You can see the results of emotional and rational decision making by looking at what aircraft flew into MVY in the last 24 hours. There is a pretty wide range.


Someone flew a CJ1 in from Caldwell, NJ to MVY this morning.

Someone else flew a Sovereign to MVY on a round trip from Norwood, MA.

There is a Piaggio in from HPN.

A 208 just landed from Bridgeport, CT.

A Mooney came in from Westover.

The majority of the rest of the under 300nm flights to MVY were a bunch of Cape Air flights (C402s).

It looks like there is plenty of room for a few SEJs in the mix.

airtaximan said...

Baron,
Many, many people will be flying 100, 200, 300 nm missions in the East Coast and Europe where you'd not get above FL250 for more than a few minutes if at all....

I agree, I just ask, why not use a prop? No significant time savings, pretty much same level of comfort.

Just don't get it, espcially for the taxi business.

(people prefer jets... those same folks pretty much hate small planes, period, so the wee-jets will not make them customers.)

airtaximan said...

flyger:

"A Cessna 182 would work nearly as well, too. Nobody buys a jet for that mission."

except Dayjet

airtaximan said...

FC,

there are more Q series bombardier props being sold to regional carrier than jets, today - things change...

I would think that all the business jets that you refer to in your example were bought for other missions, and not for the example mission you cite.

Unfortunately, when you own aircraft, you often use them for missions better suited for another plane. Planes cannot be all things to even one owner...

My issue is the air taxi: the only way the taxi market is transformed is if MORE peopel are attracted to flying in air taxis. The cost is the greatest factor, here.

I do not think the prop vs jet is a driving issue, for anyone willing to get on a tiny little plane (jet, or prop) and fly in messy air.

Price is. Little jets have zero advantage compared with little props for this mission... especially on price.

Just my opinion

flyger said...

FlightCenter said...

However, I have to disagree with the notion that jets should never be selected for 100nm, 200nm or 300nm missions. If that is the case, why are so many regional carriers flying CRJs or ERJs on those types of missions?

They have other airplanes for the long trips, a personal user has one. That user will judge the value of the airplane based on the "hard" trips since they all can do the easy ones about the same.

The airlines find they can run RJs about as cheaply as turboprops, so they do. There is also better customer acceptance of a jet.

I admit the limitations of personal SEJs are not readily apparent because many of the buyers are "piston thinkers". But after the airplanes get into the market, they won't hold resale once those limitations (and lack of true economic advantage) over a twin is realized.

If you asked people would they prefer a one or two engine spaceship, then they might understand what it is they are buying.

Gunner said...

Flyger-
By your logic, all "piston thinkers" should probably "trade up" to the Cessna 340...or down to a 172.

Fuel efficiency is a factor in purchase decision. It's hardly the only factor, except for those who are stretching the financial envelope to buy in the first place.

Were it all about fuel cost, owners of all GA Aircraft would be making Go-NoGo decisions based on "Do I really NEED to make this trip?" For the most part, we don't so that. Flying is an expensive hobby, past time or convenience. Fuel is hardly the overriding expense, even at today's prices.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Until your time is legitimately worth $1K an hour or more GA will never make economic sense compared to airlines guys.

When we make the decision to buy a plane we may go through a lot of justifications and math but it is biased.

Personal aircraft, regardless of their capability are purchased for personal reasons - freedom, prestige, control over schedule, fear of crowds - pure and simple.

This is true for a C-150, a C-340, a Malibu, a Mustang, PC-12, etc.

The value proposition is about our time, our time freedom, our ego - nothing more.

The cost of entry into aircraft ownership, even for truly simple GA planes, will buy a LOT of airline tickets - add in mileage programs, mileage credit cards, etc., you need to NEED to travel mid to long distance several times per week to begin to justify a plane.

I travel from my current consulting gig to my home every few weeks for $200. I cannot drive it for that, and could not fly it in any plane I am likely to own. Pure and simple.

I would enjoy it more, but unless I NEEDED to make that trip more than once per week it will not make economic sense.

Adding in my ridiculous earnings helps but even that only goes so far to justify it in pure economic terms.

I will own a plane because I want to, not because I can justify to my accountant or my wife that it will make economic sense.

baron95 said...

Flyger said ... But after the airplanes get into the market, they won't hold resale once those limitations (and lack of true economic advantage) over a twin is realized

What is the economic advantage of a Mercedes E550 over a Toyata Camry? None. It costs a lot more, burns a lot more gas, costs a ton more to insure, etc. Yet, thousands are sold each year.

When it comes to personal items, it is never a purely economical decision. Individual GA owners are not airlines. Individual GA ownership for personal leisure use is NEVER EVER an econonomically rational decisions. All of us here, that own planes for personal leisure use know that.

People spend $20K on paint jobs for airframes that are worth $30K. They spend $50K on avionics updates on frames that are worth 75K all the time. They know they will never get a finantial return on that. But it provides incredible emotional return.

Getting your first plane. upgrading it, taking your GF or wife on a flight to MVY for a sunset dinner. Buying your first jet. It is not $$$ and cents.

Coldwet said .... Personal aircraft, regardless of their capability are purchased for personal reasons - freedom, prestige, control over schedule, fear of crowds - pure and simple.

Exactly that. On top of that, if you have a single engine fan-jet, when you go to the airport, you know that the engine will start and run 99.9% of the time, you don't have to annoy and scare your passengers by doing mag checks and prop cycling before take off.

The new piston twin market collapsed. The reality is that all new personal GA blood (owners that can afford to fly) is going into single engine pistons. A single engine jet at 2x-3x the cost of an SR22 or C400 is the perfect upgrade path. The only barrier being the stupid type rating standards - forcing these pilots to get a ATP-like type rating for a plane with a MTOW of less than 5K lbs is ridiculous, when they can fly a B200 King air withour one.

Fix that and the SE Jets will take off.

Why now for the SE Jets?

Advanced in materials (composite). Advances in small turbofans. Advances in avionics (integrated G1000-class pannels with vertical profile navigation). Aging of the GA fleet. A slew of well off pilots that got into GA on SR20s, 22s, C350s, C400, DA40s that has no stomach to flying an old B90 or C500 or want to spend $3M for a twin fan. These are all new phenomena.

Is SE fan jet a niche. Yes. Absolutely. Can it be an enjoyable (for owners) and profitable (for OEMs) niche? Yes. Is it a shoe in? No.

Lets watch. Either way, it will be 10 years before these things are in the market in the proper configuration (which in my book include at least enhanced vision systems to make IFR flying as easy/safe as VFR).

airtaximan said...

Does anyone know how many people can afford a $1.5 million plane?

How many have type ratings in high performance singles and twins, so they could trade up?

Its a pretty small number no matter how you cut it. When you take out all the folks that will not sell theor pro to go to a jet, and take out the folks that will pay more for a larger jet, when they want one...

flyger said...

baron95 said...

What is the economic advantage of a Mercedes E550 over a Toyata Camry? None.

But what happens if the Mercedes and the Camry are the same price, use the same fuel, but the Mercedes goes faster, goes more often, is safer to go in?

Not too many Camrys are going to be sold that way.

Gunner said...

Flyger-
You're back to the same tired argument when you argue price. It comes down to, "Why own an SE D-Jet for nearly the same price of a twin EA-500?".

The answer has been simple for many of us to whom this was not a mental exercise but an actual, signed-the-check decision:

Because we don't trust the only comparably priced twin alternative to the Diamond or Cirrus offerings: the EA-50X. We don't trust it for safety, cost-efficiency, reliability or longevity; because Eclipse has yet to demonstrate that it can actually deliver even ONE fully functional plane of any type. And because it looks like the FIRST fully functional EA-50X may well come out of Russia some years from now.

Compare that track record to Diamond or Cirrus.

I swear, the last time I heard this kind of an argument, Ken Meyer was active here. I give you credit for FAR more common sense than this, Flyger.
Gunner

gadfly said...

Thanks, Gunner, for bringing things back on track.

Rich man, poor man, pilot, passenger . . . ‘don’t make no never mind . . . the plane needs to deliver its human load, safely, in all conditions, over and over for as long as it’s in service. So far, Eclipse hasn’t demonstrated its claims . . . its many promises, with a single aircraft on a single flight, let alone the many years of a normal airframe lifetime.

Now, carry on with your discussion!

gadfly

(In truth, a long dark shadow has been cast over the “integrity” of the FAA in all this . . . the Eclipse part is understandable, considering its management and history, . . . but the FAA? One thing, for sure, the skies have been darkened by this little bird!)

Gunner said...

GREAT feature article in March Twin&Turbine by Dave Siciliano. He's a P-Baron owner who describes HIS experience in trying to trade up to a VLJ. Not at all typical of every buyer, but a wonderful insight into every owner's thought process (the only difference from one to another is the budget).

Gunner

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

Gunner said...

Compare that track record to Diamond or Cirrus.

Not to put too fine a point on that, but their track record at delivering jets is, uh, zero so far.

The Eclipse is not actually that poor a technical design. It has it problems (mainly avionics IMO) that I wish were fixed, and it is yet to FIKI, but I'd take an EA500 every day of the week over any of the SEJs.

The big question about Eclipse is business viability. If they can stay in business and get production up, then the technical issues can eventually be solved. There is nothing fatally wrong with the overall design, other than the avionics redundancy is lame.

Djet and the others look better because they don't exist yet. Which is ironic since you claim they have a better track record.

baron95 said...

airtaximan said...
Does anyone know how many people can afford a $1.5 million plane?

How many have type ratings in high performance singles and twins, so they could trade up?


A lot more than the few thousand individuals that have bought and either fly or co-fly planes such as the CJ/CJ1/CJ1+ at $5M a pop, or the PC12/TBM850 at $3-$4M a pop or the Meridian/Jetprop Malibu at $1.5-$2M a pop or a Baron G58 at $1.3M a pop.

What is needed is support. IF and it is a big IF the OEMs come up with handholding programs, the FAA relaxes the ATP-level type rating and the SE fanjets come in the $1M-$2M there can be a market for a few hundred a year.

Not a few thousand, but a few hundred perhaps growing to several hundred as things like enhnaced vision 0/0 autolanding etc becoe available in the next 10-30 years.

The fact of the matter is that there is no alternative to flying the HPN to MVY weekend mission (and several others like that) other than GA. And enough individuals are motivated enough and have enough disposable income to buy factory new to fly it. Then after 10-15 years, about 5-10 times as many will buy used to fly the same mission. And the market is established. A small one, but a potentially healthy one.

And every consumer market segment must have alternatives above (EA 500 and mustang) and below (SR22, C400). That is just the way it is.

Right now, the gap is just too wide between the couple of thousand D50XL/SR22/C400/Matrix/Malibu/Mooney planes being sold every year and the 300 Mustangs/EA50/PC12/TBM850/Phenon sold for personal use.

Right in the middle will fit the SE fanjets. With all the limitations that flyger correctly pointed out (flying at less efficient altitudes, in the soup at times, slower, slightly higher real risk of engine failure accidents, etc).

Not every one can drive a brand new E550, but enough people can drive a brand new C300 and a used E350 to make a market.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Flyger, the point about likelihood of success stems from the fact that Diamond and Cirrus delivered a combined 1,181 aircraft last year, nearly 28% of ALL deliveries according to GAMA.

And each and every one of those 1,181 deliveries actually do all the things they said they would, when they were actually delivered.

Kind of amazing, disruptive even.

Gunner said...

Thanks ColdWet. I'd have thought the implications of my statement were clear. I'm a bit dismayed that Flyger missed the obvious.

Flyger-
How 'bout we just agree to disagree, OK?
Gunner

flyger said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Flyger, the point about likelihood of success stems from the fact that Diamond and Cirrus delivered a combined 1,181 aircraft last year, nearly 28% of ALL deliveries according to GAMA.

Not one of which is pressurized, turbine, or goes over 200 knots. More "piston think".

Building a jet is very different and piston experience might actually be detrimental. That's already happened with their choice of a single engine and significant crippling of the airplane.

The market will sort it all out, eventually. If there are enough seduced piston pilots to buy one, then the will have at least an initial flurry of sales. But I don't think it will last when the true economics are made plain.

airtaximan said...

The fact of the matter is that there is no alternative to flying the HPN to MVY weekend mission (and several others like that) other than GA.

... and for most, GA means flying someone elses plane.. in this case, a Baron, 421, or Caravan. Or if you want to get ripped off, fly someone's e-500 they have under management with one of the guys flogging THIS as a solution.

amazing.

Yes, many will buy these planes, if the companies can remain around and supported by unsuspecting investors long enough to remain in business... but there is not nearly enough market for all these planes, and all these manufacturers. No way, unless its a solution for the general public for the missions you refer to...

and its not - the props are.

airtaximan said...

http://www.airtransportinc.com/Plan
YourFlight/tabid/377/Default.aspx

looks something like this

airtaximan said...

"Not one of which is pressurized, turbine, or goes over 200 knots. More "piston think".


... if the shoe fits...

the mission you refer to IS a piston mission...

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

Oy!
Yep, I sure would prefer that the guys from Cirrus and Diamond started out by failing several times at computer software before they tackled jet aircraft production.

At least THEN they'd have a proven track record in aviation.

What was it we heard from Eclipse recently? Something about the experienced aviation pros in the company having "held them back", wasn't it?

Unbelievable.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Flyger said:

"Building a jet is very different and piston experience might actually be detrimental."

Tell that to Cessna, who makes more pistons AND more tuebine powered aircraft than any other single company.

Cessna delivered 805 pistons and 469 turbine aircraft. That 1,274 performance accounted for 30% of all deliveries including BBJ's, Gulfstream, ALL deliveries reported to GAMA.

This is not about 'piston-think', it is about nearly two decades of engineering experience, all in turbines by the way, speaking for myself at least. This is about having an understanding of engineering principals and the market.

The point is, again, that Cirrus and Diamond have track records, spanning the same time Eclipse has been existence.

The difference is that during this same time they have delivered thousands of aircraft that are fully functioning compared to zero for Eclipse.

Thousands of technically advanced aircraft.

Thousands of aircraft which introduced new construction methods and advanced avionics.

Thousands of aircraft which are supported by worldwide infrastructure.

The problem for certain folks is that when the only tool you have (or believe in) is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

The VLJ is no more a panacea than the SEJ - they are outgrowths of what the tea-leave readers believe they see the market wanting.

Unlike Eclipse, Diamond and Cirrus have demonstrated the ability to produce fully functioning aircraft, at a price point and production rate that yields a profit.

flyger said...

airtaximan said...

the mission you refer to IS a piston mission...

I didn't refer to any "piston" mission. People are going to choose which airplane based on the long flights, not the short ones. So I am saying the shoe definitely doesn't fit.

flyger said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Tell that to Cessna, who makes more pistons AND more tuebine powered aircraft than any other single company.

And two separate, really separate, divisions that do that. The interaction between them is nearly zero.

Regardless, Cessna developed the requisite knowledge for both product lines. That's not quite that same leaping from a single engine non pressurized fixed gear piston airplane to a pressurized jet. In Cessna's case, they progressed through piston twins, pressurized twins, military jets, and then business jets. No such progression is evident here for Diamond, Cirrus, and even Piper.

flyger said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Cessna delivered 805 pistons and 469 turbine aircraft. That 1,274 performance accounted for 30% of all deliveries including BBJ's, Gulfstream, ALL deliveries reported to GAMA.

Ask yourself why the most successful GA manufacturer of all time is not lifting one finger to build an SEJ? Or, ask yourself why *no* existing jet maker (except Eclipse, naturally) is doing anything to build an SEJ. Not one of them.

Perhaps experience counts for something, huh? Maybe the rookies are going to learn an expensive lesson.

gadfly said...

Until Eclipse fulfills their promises, there is no “game’ . . . it’s all a sham, a card trick, a manipulation of mirrors and smoke. Argue anything, everything, until you are all blue in the face . . . until Eclipse comes up to the minimum level of their claims, it’s all an illusion.

Yesterday, I ate at a restaurant called “The Owl Cafe” . . . you’ll find it on Eubank Blvd. near “I-40" . . ‘claims to be in “Owlbuquerque” . . . cute! They have credibility . . . at least you can go there and get the product that they offer on their menu. You eat what they offer, pay the price . . . and give the waitress a tip. It’s all so simple . . . you walk out satisfied, having received the value of your puchase.

‘Would that everything “purchased” in “Owlbuquerque” gave that same value for the price paid . . . and you actually were so pleased that you would leave a 25% or 30% tip.

gadfly

(‘Maybe everything would be OK, if Eclipse offered “Hatch Green Chili” with the “Stir Fried Welds”.)

baron95 said...

AT said ... ... if the shoe fits...

the mission you refer to IS a piston mission...


And the mission to go to the grocery store is a Toyota Corola mission. Yet, plenty of people choose to do it in a MB S550 or a Cadilac Escalade at much greater cost and inneficiency.

Plenty of high net worth individuals would not be caught dead in a Corola and would not be caught dead in a piston plane when there is a simple and less dauting alternative. It has nothing to do with $$$ and cents, nothing to do with the best plane for the job. It has to do with wanting a jet, because they want a jet. That is that. And just like twin piston and twin prop jets virtuall ydisapeared from the personal flown market, a SE-fan jet will be accepted quite nicely.

baron95 said...

FLyger said ... Ask yourself why the most successful GA manufacturer of all time is not lifting one finger to build an SEJ? Or, ask yourself why *no* existing jet maker (except Eclipse, naturally) is doing anything to build an SEJ. Not one of them.

Why for 30 years all the turboprops were twins, and now single engine turboprops outsell twin turboprops and in the personal-flown market have virtually 100% market share?

Why Beech/King-air, the king of turboprops is missing out on the TBM/PC12/Meridian/etc market?

Why virtually all GA turboprop planes were presurized for 30 years, and yet since it was launched the unpressurized Caravan had great success?

Why did every one dismissed the C500 as a toy a "near-jet" when it was launched 30 years ago?

Why until this century all high-performance piston singles were retractable gear and two fixed gear models SR22 and C350/400 took over the market in 5 years?

Simple. People feel comfortable and tend to continue with what they know.

If Cessna had not launched the Citation 500/525/510 families, the lowest cost jet would be $8M, require two pilots, have a MTOW of over 15Klbs.

Technology moves. Consumers evolve. Tastes evolve. The new breed of GA pilots are not ex-military or retired airline pilots like in the decades after WWII. The new breed is a Mercedes/Lexus/BMW/Porshe driving, type-A, high achieving individuals. They want no-hassle experiences. Piston ain't it. Heavy jets ain't it. SE propjets, SE fan-jets, very light (less than 6K lbs MTOW) twin-fanjets might be it in some combination.

That is the bet. It is a bold bet. But that is how the world progresses.

David Wihl said...

airtaximan said...

Does anyone know how many people can afford a $1.5 million plane?

Many of you are asking if there is a market for a SEJ. The market is already established. Cirrus has sold 400 positions of "The-Jet". These positions cost $100,000, are unsecured, and have virtually no performance guarantee. The fact that Cirrus sold so many tells me that:

- The Klapmeier brothers have enormous credibility with the thousands of current SR2x owners (myself included)

- The market already exists - end of debate. While some of these positions are speculative, and some will drop off as real price and performance is announced, there will be many more signing up when the real plane moves towards certification (and Diamond stumbles some more).

- There is a clear gap in the market between a turbocharged SR22-G3 and a new TBM, or Mustang. There are very limited choices in the market for a new, credible $1.5M plane.

ColdWet said:


Ask yourself why the most successful GA manufacturer of all time is not lifting one finger to build an SEJ?


Cessna has missed previous large opportunities. Cirrus is the best example of an innovative manufacturer crushing Cessna at a market it owned for years, namely the 4 person, IFR-capable single engine piston. Cessna is a conservative company that continues to exist because it takes few risks. Pelton has changed some of that but innovative is rarely used to describe Cessna. Either a) they are simply missing the opportunity, or b) they do have something under development but are being quiet about it, like the long rumored single engine pressurized turboprop to compete with the TBM/PC12 (not the Caravan obviously).

With the Mustang, Cessna has clearly decided to continue to address owner/operators and be skeptical of the Air Taxi market pursued by Eclipse and Embraer. This is still very much an open question. Either they will miss another opportunity or save considerable R&D expense. They are choosing their standard modus operandi - the "Sure Thing" route.

airtaximan said...

Why did every one dismissed the C500 as a toy a "near-jet" when it was launched 30 years ago?


remember, they sell around 100 a year on average.

The market for the $1.7 million eclipse plane is shares with about a dozen other manufacturers, who can mostly all afford paying more... for a differnt plane.

The market is probably a lot smaller than you think, unless there's a "revolutionary" new market... the invented air taxi market that's been around for 50 years.

The greatest difference between eclipse and the others, is eclipse mis-priced its plane, based on high rate production.

They have around 1,000 orders (700-800 maybe) plus Dayjet and Pieper (who now owns the company - how funny is THAT?)

Cirrus and Cessna, as well as Embraer, priced their planes based on the existing market... counting on 100-200 planes a tear.

Like I said, the market is pretty small compared to the thousands and thousands needed to sustain the like of eclipse...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

David, the quote you attribute to me was actually Flyger.

I believe Cessna to be THE best managed aerospace company in America, quite probably the entire world - I would place Diamond a close second, then Hawker-Beechcraft, Cirrus and Bombardier, Piper, Mooney, etc.

Eclipse is a clear last place finisher, behind most of the kitplane companies, even those similarly struggling to stay open.

I don't believe Cessna 'misses' opportunities so much as it very carefully measures the cost of entry, the potential return on that cost, and whether or not it is in either an area they have great competency in or want to be competent in.

For the record, Cessna is one of the few companies I have had no dealings with - this is my opinion based on two decades of observation.

Across the entire piston line, Cessna delivers 300-400 more planes per year than Cirrus, yes some are the 'lowly' 172 - but even they still are IFR capable 4-seaters with glass cockpits.

The point that Flyger seems to be missing is that markets evolve, tastes evolve, capabilities materials avionics and engines evolve.

As I said before, it is cracking me up to see die-hard Eclipse proponents using the same arguments that certain 'dinosaur' critics have used to explain why the VLJ in general, the Eclipse specifically, will fail.

Why do people buy Ferrari's or bi-turbo V-12 Brabus Mercedes' instead of a Malibu or an Accord?

Airplanes are NOT about cost, they are about emotions. Cost becomes a factor only for people who are stretching to acquire what their emotions lust for - like a certain C-340 pilot who reportedly wants his and hers jets but can't afford to buy a proper, fully functioning jet from a reliable and trustworthy OEM.

Comparing the Eclipse to any real, fully functioning jet from a reliable and trustworthy OEM is like comparing a promised car from a third-world car maker to an AMG CL65 - sure they both take you to the grocery store, but beyond having an engine and four wheels they are not comparable - they will certainly not provide the same experience.

To all but those blinded by their emotions and jet-jock fever, the Eclipse is not comparable to anything from the real OEM's.

Cirrus, Diamond, Piper, get credibility because they deliver what they promise, day in, day out, for decades, across a very broad level of preformance, capability and cost. Something Eclipse has failed to do since its' inception nearly a dacade ago.

Cirrus changing the engine is a perfect example - it is dimensionally identical to the -15, the -19, it probably only changes flight test plans, a few reports, etc. Not a wholesale redesign of the plane, not requiring 20% more fuel, not delaying the project by more than two years, etc.

The snowball for Cirrus will be far less than that Eclipse experienced.

The premise of the pro-Eclipse argument is fatally flawed, as Eclipse is NOT delivering what they promise, they have NEVER delivered what they promised.

Cirrus, Diamond and Piper have the benefit of the doubt because they have collectively delivered thousands of fully functioning aircraft, and they support them each and every day.

They get benefit of the doubt because they are honestly identifying what their planes are and are not.

They get benefit of the doubt because they are building realistic business cases for their investment based on real world costs and real world volume.

In short, they have track records of success, not a trail of broken promises, missed schedules, blown budgets, and rushed delivery of partially functional incomplete preemie jets.

baron95 said...

The whole point about bringing up the SE-fan jets, is that the EA500 will get squeezed between the Mustang and the Phenom above and the SE fan-jets below.

It will be a tight squeeze. If Eclipse had executed well (deliver completed planes on schedule on price-point) they'd be doing great and might even had pre-empted the SE fan jet. But their failure to execute has left the door wide open for competition.

To their credit, even Eclipse saw the writing on the wall and started a SE fanjet project.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Flyger said:

"Building a jet is very different and piston experience might actually be detrimental."

I disagree with that. There are four aspects of the business that an aviation company has to master to have a technically successful model:

Design
Certification
Production
Support

Design:
If your company already has successful complex FAR-23 aircraft , the design step up to a FL250, M0.6 single engine jet is not going to be a revolution. You will have some new systems you never had before (The air inlet system for example) , but the concept of balancing the trade offs to optimize for your mission will already be well established. Note that the basic Eclipse airframe design is quite conservative. It was in the Avionic and systems design where the amateurs got to make the decisions.

Certification:
A company who has already certified a couple of aircraft and derivatives to FAR-23 understand the game. Especially if they have done FIKI before. An experienced company goes into a project understanding where they are breaking new ground, and have a certification plan in place (or at least ideas) before they commit to risk. Eclipse would seem to have had no idea that you need the ability to shut off the engines after a complete electrical loss and that Standby instruments are mandated for commercial ops. In turns of FIKI, the constant "will be finished on Tuesday press releases would indicate they are doing some major trial and error, trying to work out how it is done.

Production:
There is no significant difference in production between a jet and complex piston. Maybe a few parts of more exotic materials, but these are likely to be vendor parts anyway.
The companies which are producing a few hundred piston A/C per year went through a lot of pain to get there. They built one a month, and things worked. Then they ramped to one a week, and the systems broke down, so they learned and changed, Then they went to one a day, and the systems again broke down, so again they learned and changed. The problem that Eclipse has is that they tooled and ordered for what they thought was going to be about 2/day from the start. I bet they have a shed somewhere full of stuff that they ordered cause they thought they needed it, but turns out they didn't. Whereas the other companies ironed out the stack up of tolerance problems at 1/week or less, Eclipse must have had huge scrap and rework rates due to the huge volume of Rev 0 parts initially ordered. Rework is a killer to a production system.

Support:
The experienced piston manufacturers have a stable support network, but they also know how painful continued airworthiness is. They should have in place mechanisms to do it once, do it right, even if you take some initial pain. Eclipse has written IOUs on a level which even a Boeing or GE's finance group would cringe. This is an area where the automotive manufacturers are way ahead of aviation. A car company building a thousand cars a day make damn sure shoddy work and problems don't leave the building.
I wonder how easy it is to get a maintenance slot at an eclipse shop (theres two currently right?) when the Avio Ng updates are getting stuck, not coming out and tying up resources.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Off-Topic (sort of):

Congratulations to the team at Aspen Avionics for achieving TSO certification of their EFD 1000 EFIS product.

Despite the distraction of an attempted IP grab and suit with Eclipse, they developed and certified a very clever new retrofittable EFIS system in less than 2 years - way to go!!

Very, very cool system.

airtaximan said...

"The whole point about bringing up the SE-fan jets, is that the EA500 will get squeezed between the Mustang and the Phenom above and the SE fan-jets below."

and... how big is this market?

REMEMBER: eclipse's business DEPENDS (like the diapers) on huge volume... HUGE.

How long before everyone wakes up.

PS. the argument that the market IS big does not help Eclipse one bit - they need the entire BIG market plus plus plus to get even close to profitability.

Never never land.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Aspen Avionics TSO - At the end of the article they have a a dead link where you can get a copy of the TSO letter.

I would be interested whether they only have TSO approval for Generic Display (we call this the game boy TSO. It is the only TSO Sandel ever met with their HSI, which is why it was never legally installable in Europe). For a PFD you have to meet all the TSO's of all the different instruments you display, plus the display TSO.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

FJT,

The Aspen TSO approval can be found at http://www.aspenavionics.com/pressdownloads

In short, they received certification under TSO-C2d, TSO-C3d, TSO-C4c, TSO-C6d, TSO-C8d, TSO-C10b, TSO-C106 and TSO-C113.

NOT the Gameboy TSO, the whole magilla.