1. Some words from the 'users'. Tyre wear is a real pain. Regular reports reach me of costly replacements with 'hidden' extras, often after less than 100 cycles. The cost is suggested as 'extra landing fees' in one report, which is ok if you fly long distance, but could build up to serious money on short hops. The transponders are acting very strangely. Sometimes they switch off, other times they change ID for no reason. One tip is to ditch the keyboard, but if it was this simple, Eclipse should issue advice to that effect. Looks like people will have to wait until the G400w's turn up. One aircraft has also suffered, badly, in what was claimed to be very light turbulence, and afterwards was compared to a '30 year old Lear'. Not a pretty sight and yes, I have seen the pictures. No wonder there are some outrageous insurance quotes for the FPJ, even for pilots who have lots (think 'airlines') of experience.
2. Staff are, to put it mildly, unhappy. More management changes, now almost on a weekly basis, and the ongoing general lack of leadership. Suppliers being blamed for parts not showing up on time or in the quantities 'ordered'. This is according to Vern and his merry band, but the troops suspect they know the real story. We are talking about adults, after all. Managers are still pushing for extra throughput and then fail to meet unrealistic weekly targets. In an attempt to make the magic 'one per day' they have filled up the service centers with re-work. What happens then, naturally, is that owners end up spending money hiring techs to call out, instead of getting service in the assigned locations. The phrase 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' comes to mind.
3. Strange things are still happening in the supply chain. Reports reach me about key suppliers, some of whom are getting big orders. At the same time others are sitting around counting the paperclips and waiting for ABQ to call. What confuses me is a lack of balance in the order patterns. There is a strong smell of old fish (no, ColdWet, not you...) about this whole arena and I'm feel someone else is 'under the bus' without even being told. Again. Expect the standard press release soon from Vern, slating the 'failed (fill in blank here) vendor' and trumpeting the 'world class' company that has replaced them. I suppose it's just Vern's way of keeping everyone on their toes.
4. General comments include, on the plus side, they are about to ship s/n 200, several of the earlier birds have had their aero mod's, and the AvioNG upgrade (without the G400w) program is making progress. On the 'downside' FIKI is still grinding away with no real end in sight, EASA is not even being talked about anymore and several sources calculate a burn rate in the $20 million per month range. Controller.com lists 65 FPJ's for sale, many of them actual aircraft for a change, and a number of the newer listings make statements like 'priced to sell' and 'owner motivated to do a deal'. Some are cheap enough to tempt even me.
Forget I said that, it was a moment of weakness prompted by the strength of the Euro. Speaking of which, one Euro buys you $1.56 and oil hit $127.82 earlier today. That's more than double what it was this time last year.
So, there you have it. An attempt, and a very superficial one I admit, to give you all a short report on the current state of our very own FPJ program. Enjoy your weekend, care for your family and friends, get that grass cut or do whatever it is that keeps you moving forward.