Thursday, July 17, 2008

New voices and a wider audience

A little anniversary took place yesterday. When, by some quirk of fate, you lot 'elected' me by continuing to post on this, the NG version of Stan Blankenship's original blog, I never dreamed that so many headline posts (32) or individual comments (4,738) would flow from that fateful date (16 February) a mere 6 months ago to the day. Thank you all most sincerely for your support and encouragement over this period.

I am delighted with the response so far to the 'Top Ten Shortcomings at EAC'. The idea is that each of you email me your top five and I will collated the results, using that list as the basis for a submission to the DOT Inspector General. That officer is charged with investigating the process by which Vern got his Type Certificate and Production Certificate for the E500, known here as the Fisher Price Jet.

One small word of caution. Although we all agree that Vern Raburn IS pretty much an anchor at EAC, it's too easy to focus on individuals, rather than the specific, non conforming processes or components that the DOT IG will really be interested in. That's what I think we should provide, from our collective perspective.

Although, for the record, Vern is 'winning' by a mile...

So keep those votes coming, headed 'Top Ten Vote' or something similar and I'll do a count towards the end of next week.

We should also welcome many new voices, both those who post directly on the blog, and those who email me on eclipsecriticng@gmail.com Many bring perspectives on, and draw attention to, the darker corners at Eclipse Aviation. Thanks to you all for participating.

I have been aware for some time of at least 3 people who have been unable to extract their deposits from EAC. Recently the 'Geiger Excavating' case blew the lid off the area, and raises some interesting points. Why did Vernicius the Magnificent risk the suit, when a simple $150,000 wire transfer would resolve the issue? After all, he has a huge order book, doesn't he? My view is that he is afraid that giving deposits back now will generate a 'run on the bank' which would provide conclusive proof that the 2,700 orders line is what we always believed it to be. A myth at best and, at worst, a lie to fool the gullible. By forcing customers to use the courts, he delays this inevitable event for 3 to 6 months, if he is lucky.

The inbox provided further insight this past few days into the murky world occupied by those unfortunate position holders referred to by Vern as the 'Die Hards'. Actual aircraft, as well as those yet to be lashed together, can be transferred between victims, sorry, prospective owners, for a very modest fee, by Eclipse Aviation. But there is trouble brewing, even in this, the heartland of Verns' supporters. No one can actually shift these birds at any price right now. As an example, it appears that a recent divorce case in the sunny south east of America listed the value of a fully paid delivery slot at the end of the year as 'nil'.

Oooops...

And another thing. Fred, our resident European and Russian correspondent, posted something that caught my eye. I like his style and complete lack of respect for many of the sacred cows of capitalist culture, so herewith (slightly edited) the bit that appealed to me. It's from the previous thread and was as good a summary of the current state of play as I could wish for.

What is EA500 ?

a big toy

- with a very limited capacity
- a cost of use which is far too much for what you CAN use it for
- only slightly faster than a prop
- far more expensive than a prop (hint for Baron95 :something useless , even at 1 $ , is still too expensive if it useless ! )
- with a range far too short to make a difference
- at a buying price which is a joke
- with a quality of product which is laughable ...
- a service which laughable ...
- from a firm which is laughable ...
- Governed by a guy which is laughable ...
- and perspectives which are laughable ...

one can have all the fallacious arguments of the world to try to justify liking the FPJ ...
(green, efficiency, whatever) but at the end it is ONLY THAT, you like it or you don't like it ...

On rational basis, it is just a NO-GO, a joke, just hopes no one will get hurt in process ...

Well said Fred! Sometimes it helps to have a rational person in the crowd, one who yells 'The Emperor has no clothes', and reminds us what this blog is about.

The press are all over poor Vern now. I get at least one query a day from journalists who find 'us' very easily due to the high profile of our blog. One in particular continues to lead the field and you can read her latest piece here. As usual, Karen (I really should spell her name correctly this time) Di Piazza at CharterX Industry Headline News has dug out a very interesting nugget. Seems the TC for the FPJ is unique in one more way. It was issued to Vern on a Saturday. This begs the question, why the rush? Could it be that pressure was applied from somewhere in the FAA chain of command? I know what I think....

I was away at sea for a few days, and so could not respond in my usual fashion either to emails or the blog. It can be quite exciting on the Med at this time of year, with the Mistral blowing up to force 7 and a sea state that kept me on alert (to say the least...) for hours at a time. In conclusion, don't forget to email those 'Top Ten' votes, fly (or sail) safe and stay tuned for further news of our very own FPJ.

Shane

112 comments:

fred said...

Mr Shane of the green island ...

#so herewith (slightly edited) the bit that appealed to me#

edited ?

ooopps !

i bow in gratefulness in regard to your kindness ...!

but i didn't know the capitalistic culture was represented by sacred cows ...! :-))

Shane Price said...

Fred,

LOL.

I'm really having fun just reading the blog, for the first time in ages. All I was doing with your post was make it more compact and also provide a bit of formatting.

Baron95,

You continue to make excellent points on the FPJ, the market in North America and many other matters. I feel, however, that I must provide a little illumination for the wider readership we now enjoy on the subject of how 'Europe' works.

You are correct in attributing national tax and monetary policy to unelected officials. Almost exactly like it is in the US. You are also correct that European brands continue to build production capacity in the US. But then, US companies have led the way to China and the Far East for everyone.

Oil costs are skyrocketing, in US Dollars, largely due to supply constraints, which affects us all. However, the fact that you get far less for your Dollar is offset here by the fact that we get far more for our Euro.

Don't miss the subtle cultural choices our societies have made. 'We' work to live, and construct our affairs accordingly. 'You' are so keen to worship at the altar of material possessions that I sometimes feel you miss out on the fun parts of life.

Bit like the difference between Fred's Audi R8 and your Mercedes AMG. Yours is all brute force and conspicuous consumption. The R8 is the first time another German company has taken on Porsches' iconic 911, and won on all counts. I know which I would prefer to have in the garage, and I'm driving Mercs for 20 years...

The chances of darkening the skies here with a fleet of VLJ's is zero. There are simply better ways to get around that are faster, cheaper and yes, greener. We don't have lots of empty spaces between our towns and cities, and we move around on high quality roads and railways. There is no vast market here for the FPJ or any of its siblings, even though there are lots of people who could afford to own and run one.

A chalet in the Alps, a nice boat , or even a garage of vintage cars. Now your talking the sorts of things that we want. These are toys we can enjoy with our kids and (much more important) justify to 'she who must be obeyed'...

I look forward to your posts, as I know that many others do as well. I hope you take my comments in the light hearted manner in which they are given.

Bricklinng,

I object! Who said I 'over consumed' Guinness?

I'm Irish so by definition I can't have too much of the black stuff....

Shane

gadfly said...

Shane said:

“'You' are so keen to worship at the altar of material possessions that I sometimes feel you miss out on the fun parts of life.”

For some of us, the work which we have chosen is so much fun, we have difficulty taking what you call ‘time off’ or ‘summer holiday’ . . . that is why, for some of us, retirement has no meaning. Why wait until you’re sixty five to “have fun”?

Sitting at a desk may be hard work, while digging a full basement, with wrecking bar and shovel, may actually be fun . . . done both!

Why not choose something so exciting that every day is a form of relaxation and play. Earning a living is just a side benefit while having fun. And in the end, the man that dies with the most toys . . . dies. And it’s all going to burn.

In the mean time, investing in people has a lasting value, and satisfaction, far beyond a summer holiday.

gadfly

(‘Waxing philosophical!)

gadfly said...

Speaking of work . . .

Helping folks to understand the dangers of flying in an incomplete and INOP twin, or single engine aeromobile . . . now, that’s work, with little reward! At best, we save a few people (the family members left behind) from irretrievable grief, and secondarily, from a bad financial investment.

There will be no reward for success, at best, and maybe repercussions, at worst. But to remain silent is not an option.

Now, that is work . . . and for such I hope there will be a summer, or autumn holiday. In the mean time, careful thought, evaluation, logic, and exposure . . . required by all who have knowledge of the facts and/or technology that has been violated in this thing.

gadfly

(. . . And now we return to the emotional arena of arguments!)

baron95 said...

Shane said ... I look forward to your posts, as I know that many others do as well. I hope you take my comments in the light hearted manner in which they are given.


Shane, I read and post on this Blog, exclusively for personal enjoyment and entertainment. You should know by now that my style is to be a devil's advocate, a provocateur, and exagerate the positions, to instigate discussion. [I am sorry, as it happened the other day with Dave, when at times people take me too seriously and get offended] Other than that hearing oposing positions is what I am after. So your coments make the blog fun for me to read, so no need to apologyse in advance. I also have learned a lot from the posts and links from Flyger, ATM, ASM, Dave, CW and others.

I wish I had more time to research and dig links and spell check my posts to make Gad happy. In the mean time I'll continue to "provoke".

baron95 said...
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baron95 said...
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baron95 said...

I wanted to pass this link along to the blog - has a single sheet info on Eclipse with interesting links;

Zoominfo Sheet on Eclipse Aviation

Dave said...

Here's a european company using the Mustang for air taxis:
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/07/17/225765/farnborough-2008-mustang-sallies-forth-into-blink-air-taxi.html
If you pardon the expression, they seem more grounded. They talk about a [relatively] slow ramp-up and a fleet of 100 in five years (not 1500 like DayJet with DayJet saying they'd take 100 the first year alone). It would be interesting to see how much vapor is in the 180 plane ETIRC/Atasay order...

baron95 said...

And in case you are too lazy to follow the links, here is the profile/background for the "obviously innexperienced" person running day to day operations at Eclipse as the COO...

Peg Billson - Chief Operating Officer Peg Billson is responsible for all areas of operations at Eclipse Aviation, including Engineering, Program Management, Information Technology, Supply Chain Management, and Operations.Billson, who has 25 years of aerospace industry experience, joined Eclipse after an impressive career at Honeywell, where she served as the Vice President and General Manager of Airframe Systems.As the leader of this 3,300-person organization, Billson was responsible for its strategic direction and financial commitments.Billson also served as Honeywell's Vice President and General Manager of Aircraft Landing Systems and Vice President of Engineering for Engines, Systems and Services.Billson also served at McDonnell Douglas Corporation for thirteen years.Her last position at McDonnell Douglas was Vice President of the MD-11, MD-80 and MD-90 programs.Billson has a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from California State University at Long Beach and a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.Billson is an instrument and multi-engine rated private pilot.

baron95 said...

On the R8 vs S63AMG, both are great cars - again different missions. I often need to take 5 people (she who rules + 3 kids). I have not found another car who could take 5, in confort to 60MPH in under 5 seconds (note that is with 5 passengers, not the magazine times). An M5 is close but it is too cramped and that tranny sucks.

Shane, you'll be happy to know that the runner up to the S63AMG was the British Isles Jag XF Supercharged - it was very close and a tough decision. The Jag lost on interior space only.

I did not yet drive an R8, but the thing is a bit ugly with the different color plug in mid-fuselage. Other than that, on paper, it seems to be a wonderful car.

I like the stealthy aspects of the S63, though. It is funny, when on ocasion I have had a chance to tangle with an F430, Murcielago or M5 and seeing the horror in the drivers face when they got beat by a near 3-ton sedan ;) Priceless.

Flying a twin turbofan VFR at 2,000 ft into MVY in a summer afternoon for dinner - priceless. Who gives a hoot if it is an efficient altitue or how much carbon you are burning? Flyger may want to fly at FL410. Fred may want to count the carbon attoms and try to tax my ass.

Me, I have my arms around she who matter and enjoy the water rushing by at 250 KTS with the sun setting in the west and the beautiful islands and the coast where America modern history began on the east. Priceless. Even in the Baron at 200KIAS it is not half as bad, but the headsets interfeare with the half mile high activities.

Shane, if you think we are not having fun this side of the pond, come over one weekend and I will show you fun.

The only things I can't help you with is $10/galon gas, warm as piss beer and carbon taxes. We red-necks ain't got those over here.

airtaximan said...

regading Peg Billson...

The company is no better off since she is there... that's for sure.

I don't care what her resume says... have you seen the resumes of many of the company execs..

they all look really good...


and the company looks really bad.

Dave said...

And in case you are too lazy to follow the links, here is the profile/background for the "obviously innexperienced" person running day to day operations at Eclipse as the COO...

You're right - it should be corrected to "obviously incompetent" if she - not Vern - is responsible. Perhaps Vern will throw her under the bus saying she - not he - was responsible for what happened.

gadfly said...

Baron

Please take a rest . . . or at least, back off just a bit. Your comments are much appreciated, but of late you seem to have a “burr” under your saddle (or maybe closer to home).

We’re not too lazy to track down the facts, and your path into the “Honeywell” territory certainly confirms some things that some of us learned, long ago . . . and this is not the time nor place to delve into the dirty laundry of a company that on the surface is believed to be “ethical” and above reproach. But your references to the background of the person, now in the hierarchy of Eclipse, explains far more than most will understand. We’ll leave it at that! (And, for full disclosure, I made tens of thousands with two divisions of the company in question . . . and could have made much more . . . but valued my “soul” at a higher value. And then they went to China . . . almost taking my designs with them . . . one of my minor winning moments.)

But back to you. Continue to be the ‘devil’s advocate’ (actually, he needs no help) . . . and we’ll listen to your thoughts. Birds of a feather do, indeed, flock together . . . describe “one”, and we get an accurate picture of the rest. A ‘Murder of Crows’ lives in the woods behind our house . . . that’s what a group of crows are called . . . and describes the hierarchy of a certain local company in Albuquerque. I like crows . . . I don’t like birds that don’t do what they have promised.

gadfly

(Never paint a picture with a single brush, nor a single color . . . and allow the “paper” to express things that aren’t there . . . the advice of a friend, who is also an accomplished artist in watercolor . . . and you thought that I only knew how to machine a chunk of aluminum.)

baron95 said...

airtaximan said...
regading Peg Billson...

The company is no better off since she is there... that's for sure.


How do you know? Wouldn't Eclipse be much worse off if she were not on board? Would Etirc have invested $100M+ in Eclipse extending its life if Peg was not on board? Would they have delivered 100-odd jets in 1H/2008 without her? Would they have gotten FIKI without her? Would they have cut their losses and gone G400Ws if she were not on board?

Haw can you make such a statement?

And Gad, I, as usual, have no idea what you are trying to say, but trying to cast dark clouds on Peg and Honeywell just to criticize Eclipse is a bit much. Perhaps you believe that every current venture in aviation is bad. Perhaps you forgot how messy and painful the birth of anything new can be. From a child to Learjet to Eclipse to Sweringen to Starship birth and creation are not always tidy and linear.

If Kelly Johnson went to work for Eclipse you guys would also say he and Skunkworks were a bunch of incompetent do-nothings. Shameful.

eclipso said...

If Kelly Johnson worked at Eclipse, there would be NO blog here!!!

Delbert Grady said...

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

IMO, this blog has gone down hill since the disappearance of the Eclipse supporters and faithful. Having a debate without someone to offer another point of view just gets boring after a while. Aside from Baron, there are really no opposite opinions being offered. Not to mention, most of the regular posters were scared away by the lawsuit which is what I think Eclipse was looking to do in the first place. It appears to have worked. It’s just starting to put me to sleep. Too bad because I really liked reading this everyday.

By the way, I also wish I had a dollar for each time someone here predicted that Eclipse is going BK, or TU, or is DOA within the next month, quarter, year. I’d probably be able to buy a Mustang :) It may eventually happen since their business plan is confusing at best but to constantly throw darts at a board and hope one eventually sticks is just as confusing. Money keeps coming from somewhere and even I thought it would have run out years ago and yet here we are. Maybe Vern is what everyone here has already admitted….a master at fund raising (or con man). I think Eclipse may just hang for the long haul if he keeps pulling rabbits from hats and there isn’t some major customer/vendor revolt. The only thing, IMO, that could completely derail this whole thing quickly is this FAA TC investigation. If that has any teeth, I think Eclipse is done. Otherwise, they’ll continue to limp along and hang on by a thread.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…..

Dave said...

I think Eclipse may just hang for the long haul if he keeps pulling rabbits from hats and there isn’t some major customer/vendor revolt.

As long as Eclipse gets outside infusions, they can hang around, but Eclipse was intended to be a company that would actually make money for investors rather than charity. Feel free to challenge to challenge the manufacturing costs versus projected sales versus sales price analysis that has been done...if you think Eclipse is breaking money at their current sale price and manufacturing rate, by all means explain why/how. I'd really like for someone to show how Eclipse could be profitable and right now the Russian plant seems counter to that along with the substantial costs to get a new aircraft model certified and into production. By the way, Vern himself said he Eclipse was near BK and since that time he has repeatedly had to go find new finding due to Eclipse continuing to generate red ink.

gadfly said...

Baron

For the record, I have no knowledge of this “Peg” person . . . she means absolutely nothing to me.

Specifically, I offered to solve a critical problem . . . with a proved system to laminate a stack of printed circuit boards, for a critical Honeywell flight control computer system (formerly Sperry) . . . and because the price was under the estimate by a factor of “five”, we lost the contract . . . they had to spend a certain amount . . . and I, in good conscience, could not charge the estimate. And, to give you an idea of “their approach”, was to clamp a stack of PCB’s on two sides, to achieve a pressure of 15 psi across the entire stack . . . over the entire surface. ‘Most will miss the point . . . but a few will get the picture . . . and this is for a jet that must operate in virtually every position that is conceivable. Now, this is scary stuff, regardless of your position.

Most of your don't care, nor understand . . . but a uniform pressure of 15psi is most critcal . . . a pressure on the edge "bows" the printed circuit boards . . . with maximum pressure on the "edge", and gaps in the middle. And it is this sort of modern education, and understanding, that drives the modern mentallity . . . it is a wonder that pilots and crew, survive even the simplist of operations. Our system was dirt simple . . . putting an even 15psi pressure over the entire surface. Unfortunately, to the "educated", the "experts", is was too simple, too cheap . . . and didn't use up the estimated budget. We would have exposed an entire group as not knowing their own business.

If this seems far afield from the "Eclipse", it really is in "lock step". It all comes down to pride . . . a person who thinks they know everything, is never to be convinced otherwise.

The second event was a machine that I had invented, designed, and manufactured . . . and had been in use for “thirteen years” (with our normal 100% guarantee of performance, with no time limit). . . an “RFQ” was issued, for more of the machines . . . I gave them the price, and then they said they needed the complete CAD layout and design, along with my “quote”. I refused to give them that information. The next thing in the news was that Honeywell, Energy Management Division, on Bluewater Road in Albuquerque had “packed up” and moved to China. Next time you go over to your programmable Honeywell thermostat, think about the machine that put together the device, and calibrated it to set the temperature in your home to “whatever”, each and every morning, before you awake. If you like “71 degrees F” instead of “70F”, at 6:15AM, instead of 6:30AM . . . think of us. And maybe you will understand the problem.

You mentioned Kelly Johnson . . . take a look at one of Kelly Johnson’s early designs . . . the “P38" . . . go back just a little further, and call it the “YP-38" . . . and take a long hard look at two “tear-drop”shaped counter-weights on the elevator . . . something my own father helped design, and began saving lives, after a test pilot lost his life with “elevator flutter” in a trans-sonic dive over Glendale . . . sorry for your argument, but my own Dad was “there”, with Kelly Johnson . . . and went on to invent the cable tension controls that have kept an entire generation alive in flight . . . from the Lockheed Constellation until the present.

But to your credit . . . the things at Eclipse have not even the slightest connection with the things of Kelly Johnson . . . the former generation was a group of geniuses . . . the “thing” in Albuquerque is worse than a circus sideshow. A travesty . . . a farce!

gadfly

(Been there . . . observed that . . . up close and personal!)

Dave Ivedorne said...

If Kelly Johnson went to work for Eclipse you guys would also say he and Skunkworks were a bunch of incompetent do-nothings.

If Kelly Johnson went to work for Eclipse, I would quietly inform law enforcement that Vern had transported a corpse across state lines.

If a miraculously undead Kelly Johnson went to work for Eclipse, he would secretly set about the task of making the FPJ work properly (and without bad-mouthing the entire aviation industry), only to be revealed years after the fact. Johnson is the wrong name to evoke at any rate - his specialty was very limited-production stuff.

Try Donald Douglas.

I'm just saying...
IANAL

Delbert Grady said...

Dave,

I can't see any conceivable way for Eclipse to make money or make any money for investors. That ship has sailed. However, all I was suggesting is that despite us all thinking that someone should stick a fork in it, Eclipse continues to receive "charity" and stay alive. It really doesn’t matter what it was “intended to be” at this point in the game. That ship has sailed as well. It’s about survival. I don’t think Eclipse is much different than any other desperate company. The only difference may be their leader knows how to get money better than others.

I also remember the "hours from BK" claim by Vern so to suggest that it's possible is fine. However, I think several regulars here like to say that they are only weeks away or months or quarters away from BK all the time. Then those days come and go and they make another prediction similar to the first. It's just silly. Sooner or later the BK will happen and they'll probably come and say I told you so. It’s just boring.

All of this is well documented and real and despite that, no vendors have left voluntarily, few customers have left voluntarily, and money comes in from Russia and others. Its insanity yes but it’s also been happening for a while and they continue to have nine lives.

I just don’t think they’re going away anytime soon.

gadfly said...

What silly comments! . . . about inventors, that is! And "bankrupt" . . . this thing was bankrupt (mentally) before it began . . . the "book keepers" just aren't smart enough to figure it out. And, unfortunately, neither are some of the customers.

'Few understand the mind and methods of true inventors/designers . . . and there be few in any given century. At the moment, there seems to be famine!

gadfly

(Pray for rain!)

Delbert Grady said...

“At the moment, there seems to be famine!”

Now that is a silly comment. You can’t just look at the Eclipse debacle and say that innovation is stagnant. There is great development and innovation in Science and Technology. Just because Eclipse has missed the mark doesn’t mean all science has. You’re better than that comment.

Dave said...

I also remember the "hours from BK" claim by Vern so to suggest that it's possible is fine. However, I think several regulars here like to say that they are only weeks away or months or quarters away from BK all the time. Then those days come and go and they make another prediction similar to the first. It's just silly.

I don't see the silliness in that given the terms in which it happens. Eclipse has repeatedly said its current cash infusion would be its last and then people point out that Eclipse will need more money or go under. I don't see why Vern's very public claims to the press about suffucient funding should go without comment.

I can't see any conceivable way for Eclipse to make money or make any money for investors. That ship has sailed.

What do you mean that ship has sailed?

All of this is well documented and real and despite that, no vendors have left voluntarily, few customers have left voluntarily

And your source for this is???

I just don’t think they’re going away anytime soon

OK, I'm perfectly willing to see your financial analysis that forms the basis of this. People on this board have repeatedly pointed out Eclipse's estimated burn rate and estimated cash on hand and you call that "silly." Shows us a non-silly version of how Eclipse will continue to be a going concern...you even said just a few paragraphs ago that sooner or later Eclipse will file for BK. If you mean some other entity such as ETIRC will take over, I agree and I think many others here agree that Eclipse will continue in some form for the indefinite future, but not in its current form.

Also speaking of silliness, how do I know you're not just joking around with nym from The Shining?

Shane Price said...

Baron95,

Your numbers are almost dead on, if a bit on the high side. I checked my local station this evening, and I can buy 'gas' for $9.20 a US gallon. Took a bit of time to work that out.

It was the 'warm beer' remark that confirmed you had me confused with those poor souls in England though. They pay MORE than $10/gallon, but only because their current PM (and former Finance Minister) knows North Sea oil is running out.

I was wrong about the AMG. Some time ago, I got the impression you were driving an ML65AMG. An S63 is a different beast and a much better car. In part, it's because it's made in Germany, rather than AL. Enough said.

Finally, some of the most fun I have ever had was in your excellent country. If I ever need to enjoy a short burst of activity, I head west. From here, that of course means the US of A. My point was quality of life, in all it's aspects. So, next week, I'm back on my boat, for (another) short break. It's the summer, after all, and work is for people who can't fish...

Shane

gadfly said...

Delbert

You're correct in your comments. There is a "famine" in the field of aircraft design, based on individual innovation.

Does that help?

gadfly

(If the Eclipse is a view of things to come, we are in deep trouble in the field of aeronautical design.)

Dave Ivedorne said...

What silly comments! . . . about inventors, that is! ... Few understand the mind and methods of true inventors/designers

Some people do, though (in surprising ways). A number of years ago, I was in a customer's home and noticed a gold plated round Honeywell thermostat mounted on a plaque (above the laundry tub, of all places). Upon asking, my customer related how he had been in charge of the round thermostat program worldwide for Honeywell, and that the one I noticed was the 10,000,002nd one ever made. When 10-millionth-day came around, they nabbed a few from the production line. The 10 millionth was gold-plated, but turned out greenish. So the 10,000,001st one was plated with a silver metal before it got the gold, and it ended up in the office of the Honeywell Chairman. "Customer" took his home when he retired.

Anyway, the reason I was there, was that he wanted all his thermostats changed, from Honeywell Chronotherm programmable stats to - you guessed it - round ones. After living in the house for almost fifteen years of "putting up with having to out-think his thermostat". Why did he torment himself so, all those years? His neighbor invented the electronic Chronotherm, and only finally had moved elsewhere. Despite my customer's obvious good reasons for wanting the "round" article, his wife forbade him from slighting their neighbor in that way.

Would you like the combo?
IANAL

gadfly said...

Dave

It’s a small world . . . but most of my involvement was tooling to install the “LCD” display in the rectangular thermostats, tooling to calibrate the same thermostats, and machines to clamp/crimp the face-plates into place, quick fix shunts, etc., during a model change/improvement to bring an “old” design, up to a “new” design, while production changes were changed in engineering in Minnesota . . . as well as dozens of other devices for the thermostats, and the many energy management systems, in which Honeywell was then becoming involved. It required constant visits to the plant . . . getting to know and “befriend” a stream of “new” engineers, and finding time to design, innovate, and manufacture the many tools required. (Tools, in this case, are often “one-of-a-kind” mechanisms, that must work “forever”, and yet be almost invisible and safe to the operator . . . often unskilled labor.)

The great thing about all that was the constant pressure to invent new methods and tool design, for many almost crazy designs, and assure that the machines would operate forever on an assembly line. The customer has no patience for the slightest failure . . . yet never shows the slightest approval for solving the most complex puzzles. And then complains about the cost.

Eventually, it becomes too much to keep it all going . . . always dealing with new engineers and purchasing people. But it makes for a great retelling of history, and a long list of successful machines.

gadfly

(Sometimes, I wonder how many of those devices are now in China.)

Delbert Grady said...

Dave,

You keep referring to things Eclipse stated in the past. My point is that in the present, they are still alive and kicking. It doesn’t really matter what any of us think of their order book and financials. Until customers/investors/vendors start jumping ship and leave Vern holding the bag it all doesn’t really matter. Many here seem to get very angry about a company that may or may not be taking advantage of all three. However, these are all people with some level of wealth and if they choose to be taken….who cares? Vern and Eclipse can issue press releases and talk trash in the media all day. Once again, it doesn’t matter unless the big three call him on his claims and vote with their feet.

“What do you mean that ship has sailed?”

After squandering hundreds of millions on an unfinished product and clearly selling the plane at a loss……That means it aint gonna happen….Too much red ink.

“All of this is well documented and real and despite that, no vendors have left voluntarily, few customers have left voluntarily

And your source for this is???”

This blog. I believe I’ve read here that a few customers have decided to bail out and the only vendors leaving were canned by Eclipse (probably ultimately because of Eclipse) I haven’t heard of any calling BS on Eclipse and say’n see ya. I could be wrong since I haven’t followed the program from the beginning.

I don’t have any answers, Dave. Neither does anyone else here. After years of intelligent debate and speculation by many on this blog, Eclipse is still alive. You can look back over the years and see many posts that are nearly identical to those being made today and yet Eclipse is still alive. My whole point is that Eclipse is an enigma and cannot be simply explained using conventional wisdom. IMHO.

baron95 said...

Delbert Grady said...
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

IMO, this blog has gone down hill since the disappearance of the Eclipse supporters and faithful. Having a debate without someone to offer another point of view just gets boring after a while.


Yep. Totally agree. I had to switch from mostly critic to pointing out the (not trivial) Eclipse accomplishments.

Some of the baseless, gratuitous criticism of EVERYTHING related to Eclipse completely demean the Blog. At times I had to say I was embaressed to post here, since I use the same nickname in other, more "evolved" aviation forums.

But then, I enjoy the soap opera and the new role of devil's advocate and I much appreciate the first hand info or considered opinions of people like Flyger, ATM, ASM, 20YR old, dave, TP Pilot, CW, and others, so I stick around.

It is good crowd behaviou research to watch how different people react when comfronted with a differing opinion.

So, stick around DG - every now and then there is stil great info exchanged on this blog.

Re the TC investigation, note that even if it was found that the TC was issued prematurelly or under duress etc, that is a disciplinary matter internal to the FAA.

The ONLY thing that matters now for Eclipse is if the E500 as currently produced IS in compliance with the TC and FAR 23 and the certification MOU with the FAA. If it is E500 is golden, if it isn't then the TC can be revoked till they come into compliance.

Note, though, that I do believe the E500 merits a TC review regardless of how it was first issued.

baron95 said...

DG said ... I also wish I had a dollar for each time someone here predicted that Eclipse is going BK, or TU, or is DOA within the next month, quarter, year.

I wish I had an Euro for each such comment and everytime Fred lost his cool and called Eclipse and others names ;)

I'd be able to buy a Ferrari California - what a beauty!

Dave said...

You keep referring to things Eclipse stated in the past. My point is that in the present, they are still alive and kicking.

It was you who brought up the past specifically about discussing Eclipse's finances and now you say I brought it up? I don't get it.

Until customers/investors/vendors start jumping ship and leave Vern holding the bag it all doesn’t really matter

And how do you know this isn't happening or for that matter that it would even be legal for a vendor to simply walk away and "leave Vern holding the bag"?

However, these are all people with some level of wealth and if they choose to be taken….who cares?

You might choose not to care about taxpayers, but just because you don't, it doesn't mean everyone else does.

I believe I’ve read here that a few customers have decided to bail out and the only vendors leaving were canned by Eclipse (probably ultimately because of Eclipse) I haven’t heard of any calling BS on Eclipse and say’n see ya. I could be wrong since I haven’t followed the program from the beginning.

So you don't actually know. You are aware of NDAs? What makes you think that if this was going on that a vendor/customer/etc could discuss this matter publicly without fear of being slapped with a lawsuit they were likely to lose due to signing an NDA? Because Vern goes to the media all the time doesn't mean that others either can or want to go to the media over their dealings with Eclipse.

Dave said...

Re the TC investigation, note that even if it was found that the TC was issued prematurelly or under duress etc, that is a disciplinary matter internal to the FAA.

I think it depends on the findings. Prior to Karen's article it was covered as something FAA management might have done to as part of pay-for-performance, but in her article she pointed out that Eclipse allegedly pressured the FAA. That might not result in any direct criminal actions, but should any accidents happen with an Eclipse, those findings could be used as evidence in subsequent litigation.

gadfly said...

As a kid, fishing for catfish, perch, crappy, and an occasional trout in one of the five lakes in Hansen Dam near Roscoe, California, was important . . . and if someone trashed the area, it hurt us, personally.

Fishing for brook trout in Mill Creek, out of Lake Lundy, that empties into Mono Lake . . . it was almost “untouched” . . . and the water coming out of the springs along the stream bank tasted better than the Arrowhead Spring Water, that was at one time taken out of the springs in the San Bernardino Mountains. When Arrowhead was bought out and they changed their source of water, the lower quality was instantly obvious . . . and it hurt personally.

When someone, in a sense, trashes aircraft quality . . . something to which many of us have devoted our lives, it hurts, personally.

For the record, I’ll never again go after catfish at Hansen Dam . . . nor for trout in the beautiful stream on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, . . . and maybe never again fly in a Lear, or even a normal jet . . . but I still care about each of these things for the sake of others.

That is much of my motivation for continuing on this blogsite . . . and to bring to light the things that may deprive the next generation from safe and enjoyable flight.

gadfly

(It may be no more than Don Quixote, jousting windmills . . . but for now, it’s the right thing to do.)

Delbert Grady said...

“So you don't actually know.”

That’s true. I have no idea. I never claimed anything I said was fact. Just making some observations based on what I’ve read on this blog and adding opinions based on my knowledge of the industry. Take it or leave it.

airsafetyman said...

What is disturbing to me is the circus atmosphere and suspension of common sense when people who should know better start touting this airplane. It is, essentially, a two-pilot, four-place machine that doesn't even have all the bells and whistles to perform that limited role with assurance. Add to that these fantastic claims of hundreds of jets being ordered by this Spanish company or that Turkish company and it all becomes a bit much. The Eclipse web site is now featuring the single-engine jet again - as a prelude to Oskosh, no doubt. Let the huckstering and fleecing of the sheep begin again. Honestly, If I were an EAA member I would demand an end to the shyster snake-oil salesmen at the convention. It's supposed to be a membership organization, right? Right? In your dreams, maybe.

fred said...

baron95 :

you wish you had an € each time i've lost my cool to buy a california ?

sorry to say , i don't wait for such to happen , i just go to car dealer and offer me me what i want ... despite the 2 to 4 months of vacation i am rewarding myself every year ...! ( i am actually 47 and decided i would be retired when in between 48 and 50 , why ? to enjoy life , to unplug from civilization if i want , or go an other time around with a sail-boat ... yep shane , you're fine in sailing ... i've got myself a 52 feet , guess not a lot know what it is to come back to harbor , just to see some work-slave asking you WHY they couldn't reach you on the phone and to answer with disdain "may be i run out of battery ..." )


the point you intentionally miss :
it's a cultural difference , nothing else !

no one is better , but i prefer the idea of having a last thought with my terminal breath in the form of all the fun and things i've done or seen , instead of wishing in vain i would have spent more time with the ones i like ...!

once again , not a question of who is right and who is wrong ...

as , on subject , everybody is right and wrong at the same time , if not doing EXACTLY what they want to do themselves ....!!!

i don't give a damn about Eclipse (in fact , i should start by what i give a damn for , so much faster this way ...)

i wrote it before :

when i see whoever writing total misconception of place they don't have a clue about (as ""the way EA500 is going to be a success in E.U for air-taxi" or " we have (insert your own fantasy number here) orders from European customers" )

it is in my temper to warn gullible to wake-up , and if they have any doubt , to come to see by their OWN eyes ...

that's why i write what i think ! i almost pity peoples who have vision in only two colors (as in friends or foe , black or white) life is in an infinite shades of colors ...

so rest assured about me "taxing you ass" as i care about it as much as my last year pair of socks ...

but i will never let you pass if , even in a provocative manner , your portray something in a wrong way from a place you don't know ...!

it is valid for the "russian" money invested in EAC by Etirc , because no one is sure enough the said cash has ever existed ...

the F***G lies i have been able to read about EAC and its connection in Russia ( just to give a hint : this week end , i am invited for diner into a Russian minister family home ... so i can more or less tell you who have got connections and who is spreading shit ...)

and all kind of misconceptions based on fact "some" are so busy making cash , they won't spend the time to go to see for themselves by themselves what is truth...!


but i MUST thank you for the link you provided ...

i can read "Revenue = 36 millions $"

which represent less than 10 (ten) days of projected production in Ulyanovsk plant ???

or

about 20 planes ...

we are very far from darkening the skies , with that pace ...

and i don't really see how a bank (a real one , not one mounting crazy scheme to dry-out their customers) would lend or raise 100 Millions $ for building a plant working 10 days and finish ...

or some 3 years of actual revenue (Russia is not USA , quite difficult to get freshly printed notes on any idea ... there !)

as a conclusion : i know you are to going to say "bla bla bla , we don't know what is the plan !"

yes we don't know what is the plan , in general ...

if you accept this , you have to accept as well that MAY BE there is NO plan at all ...

but the lie of week35 is going to be pushed out of the way by the lie of week36 and so on ...

julius said...

baron95,

interesting links about ECA ("funny" zoominfo; CV of Peg Billson)!

But they tell more about you!

There are lots of "zoominfo"s in the internet stating that the "baron95" company earns 1M $, or 2M $ etc. and if the "baron95" company pays it may improve the "information" - not really new...

About Peg (I don't know her - perhaps she is (now) really though ...)
we are talking about the head of the fish which is smelling!
Why do you want to change the theme?


The toy (FJP) has a max tire ground speed of 139 knt (less than a Ferrari) and the tires blow?
How do you taxi/roll a FPJ at typical landing mass and 135 knt?

The Midway incident revealed two major deficits at EAC which might stem form a last century understanding of software:
- Every software change is a major event which must be traceable during the lifetime of the aircraft. "Minor" errors might result in a catastrophe.

- Short messages (merely replacing the announciator panel) are not state of the art. There must be also long readable messages as in the manuals ( imbedded help functions!). You only need the manual when you loose the screens!

Perhaps VR should ask his boss Roel
for help although he might have forgotten everything!

Dave said...

DayJet takes a government-paid trip to europe with the FL governor:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/content/business/epaper/2008/07/18/0716visitfla.html
Much safer for them to travel that way than in one of their own aircraft.

airtaximan said...

baron,
perhaps you and I should hed to the middle east and help out there?

Peg was in no way involved with Etrick... I think someone posted here that scheme was hatched in 2003 and then there ws a name change... he's Vern's buddy just like Ed is Vern's buddy.

But, you are correct, how do I know she was not instrumental in makng the "good decisions"? I don't...but, she has been there through most of the BS... and,

they still have no business case for the e500. I posted a chart of cost prices for the plane, at various volumes on the last string... and put it up for debate - I have no inside info ont he costs, that is for sure, but, using the Mustang for sanity of pricing and volume... it would appear that two things are obvious regarding the e500:

1- they are raising the price and there for lowering the volume... and Vern's already admitted he loses money on every plane, so he rasied the price to $2.15... at this price, the volume is falling. There's a spirall going on, and once volume falls due to this price increase, the same money-losing cost factors in. This sorta proves that the plane is conventional when it comes to cost - just priced below cost, to attract customers... and this seems to remain constant, even at 400 planes, or 150 planes per year.

My term for this is DOA.

2- at a price anywhere near a "normal" market price for this plane, there's a very, very small market, if any. By normal, I mean that had they not just under-priced the plane, the "value" is not there, all things considered.

My term for this is DOA.

*** if someone selects the e500 for a fleet of taxis, and can make it work, perhaps it will live on. This will be a weird decision given the payload range and mission, which in my opinion will lose almost always to a prop...see Satsair... see the fleet of 135 prop planes... see the trends in commercial aviation regarding props coming on strong.

Anyhow, its just how I see it.

I wish someone would mark up my cost numbers, someone with more experience...

To me the two factors make for DOA.. missing the market with a design that inherently competes (and loses) with props and the cost-volume dynamic that seems to be conventional, and nothing based on the technology revolution that was "sold" comared to the dinosaurs.

Dave said...

1- they are raising the price and there for lowering the volume... and Vern's already admitted he loses money on every plane, so he rasied the price to $2.15... at this price, the volume is falling. There's a spirall going on, and once volume falls due to this price increase, the same money-losing cost factors in. This sorta proves that the plane is conventional when it comes to cost - just priced below cost, to attract customers... and this seems to remain constant, even at 400 planes, or 150 planes per year.
My term for this is DOA.


Here's Vern on it previously:
Vern Raburn: Absolutely. And, let's face it, certainly in the last thirty years, the primary engine of innovation in aviation has been the Department of Defense. For military contracting, which is all cost-plus, and that flows, from the Boeings, from the Lockheeds, from the Northrops, all the way down to the smallest vendor who's got thirty employees. Cause everybody does it the same way. They all do it on a cost-plus basis because the whole organization runs on a cost-plus basis.
And everyone's incented to just be inefficient. They're rewarded for it.
Aero-News: But that also drives the mechanism whereby unit costs go up and up and up, and quantity purchases go down and down and down...
Vern Raburn: Absolutely. It's called price elasticity.
Aero-News: And it becomes a spiral. It feeds itself. Because the unit price got so high that people can't justify buying so many. And that reduction in unit deliveries drives [unit] costs higher, as the fixed costs are imposed on a smaller base....
Vern Raburn: You ultimately reach a point of sort of minimal stability. Meaning, you can build thirty or forty airplanes a year, year in and year out, and you can keep raising the price. It doesn't matter how inefficient you become, there's always thirty or forty idiots that'll go out and buy one.

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=1782fa3a-9205-4bd6-aca3-e0b458aafa57&Dynamic=1&Range=MONTH&FromDate=08%2F30%2F2005&ToDate=09%2F30%2F2005&Category=%2Findex.cfm

So I guess Vern is leaving it to a few dozen idiots to buy his plane.

To me the two factors make for DOA.. missing the market with a design that inherently competes (and loses) with props and the cost-volume dynamic that seems to be conventional, and nothing based on the technology revolution that was "sold" comared to the dinosaurs.

The Eclipse factory comes across as very inefficient. Eclipse built themselves up based on being efficient at 500-1500 units per year at the ABQ factory and for the product their making, they seem to have way more costs per unit than Cessna even though Cessna turns out less per year. For Eclipse I don't think there is a breakeven equilibrium point where Eclipse will have a price/volume that will result in all the costs being covered. There's not a large enough market for Eclipse at $0.9M (or $1.2M that Vern likes to call the real original price) to get the volume (and this is assuming Eclipse could manufacture them 2+ per day) and Eclipse's unit costs are too high for the sales volume at $2M+.

airtaximan said...

a little irony, here... Dave

One could believe that his real production volume based on orders is around 40 per year, for 20 years... that's 800 units...a number we're comfortable using here for "real" orders...

I can't even imagine spending north of $1B and ending up with a plane that is so mismatched to the market, so impossibly unprofitable.

I know this can be debated to death, but its about how I see what occured here.

PS. to say that they can make another plane and another, in a fmaily of planes... I would ask, what competency have you shown that provides a sustainable advantage?

Raising money?

ThisWillHurt said...

N875NA, s/n 18, is a 2007 Eclipse 500 operated on the Part 135 certificate, CJ6A959H, of North American Jet Charter Group, LLC in Wheeling, IL.
Date: 17-Jul-2008 Time: 10:00PM

Event type: Incident Highest injury: None Mid air: No Missing: No
Damage: Unknown
Summary: AIRCRAFT AFTER LANDING, DISCOVERED LEFTSIDE AFT BODY FAIRING MISSING, ROCKFORD, IL

fred said...

atm


you are being naughty ...!

Vern has shown some qualities :

1° raising money
2° entertain the whole industry
3°saying things even him does not believe
4° giving a incentive job to lawyers
5° taking everybody for "dinosaurs"


all "Positive" quality absolutely related with aircraft industry ...

still , they are the first to "achieve" so much in so little time ... ;-))

Dave said...

I can't even imagine spending north of $1B and ending up with a plane that is so mismatched to the market, so impossibly unprofitable.

I believe WebVan is a good case study in explaining what is happening with Eclipse:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webvan
Eclipse is the WebVan in the Sky.

PS. to say that they can make another plane and another, in a fmaily of planes... I would ask, what competency have you shown that provides a sustainable advantage?
Raising money?


Actually I think adding the Frankenjet gives Vern a ready-made excuse for continuing to be unprofitable. He can cook the books to show the FPJ is "cashflow positive" and claims the new new thing will have loads of orders to justify a production rate Eclipse hasn't even achieved yet. Nevermind that the FPJ when it was around the same price of the Frankenjet didn't show that kind of demand.

Dave said...

N875NA, s/n 18, is a 2007 Eclipse 500 operated on the Part 135 certificate, CJ6A959H, of North American Jet Charter Group, LLC in Wheeling, IL.
Date: 17-Jul-2008 Time: 10:00PM

Event type: Incident Highest injury: None Mid air: No Missing: No
Damage: Unknown
Summary: AIRCRAFT AFTER LANDING, DISCOVERED LEFTSIDE AFT BODY FAIRING MISSING, ROCKFORD, IL


So if its $1500 an hour to charter a plane that is falling apart, how much does it cost to charter a plane that isn't falling apart?

Ceri said...

I think we're in danger of crediting Vern with too much control. What's happened to Eclipse clearly isn't what he would have intended, at any stage. No question, he'd prefer to have started shipping jets 5 years ago and in far larger numbers. Everything he does now is to me symptomatic of a CEO who is scrabbling madly to try to stay in the game. I don't believe for a second he has a long-term plan at this point: it's all about month-to-month survival. His motivation is: (a) not to be seen to have been wrong; and (b) to keep the high status that goes with running a 'disruptive' technology company. All he can do now is hang on for the ride and keep trying to bring in money. I've seen the same thing happen in companies I've been involved in: the idea of giving up and admitting you were wrong is anathema, and hanging on until the last possible means of survival has been exhausted is the only palatable option. There's huge cognitive dissonance between how Vern sees himself (successful technology entrepreneur) and the reality of Eclipse's current position. He won't (and most people aren't capable of this, IMHO) resolve that dissonance himself - an outside agency (bankruptcy or a takeover) is the only way it will happen.

Shortform: he's not Machiavelli, he's a schmuck who's trapped in a dream that's become a nightmare.

gadfly said...

To keep these incidents straight, we’ll refer to the “Rockford Event”.

Question: Is it quicker to send out a search party for the missing fairing? . . . or have Eclipse come up to replace it?

gadfly

(Did the missing piece have a return address, with postage guaranteed?)

Shane Price said...

Ceri,

Shortform: he's not Machiavelli, he's a schmuck who's trapped in a dream that's become a nightmare.

Nice analysis. Can I add one small rider, please?

Vern knows what he is about. Taking money on a promise, keeping a customer waiting EIGHT YEARS and then forcing same loyal 'Die Hard' into court to recover their cash is not the work of a schmuck, but of a con artist. Mr Raburn deserves no sympathy. He has earned my contempt.

The irony of this is that I came looking for an aircraft and found Stan's blog through a Google search. That was a year ago. This morning, just for laughs, I searched 'Eclipse Aviation'.

This blog is listed just below EAC....

And while your at it, look at the Wikipedia entry, which is bang up to date and has the 'Midway Incident' as well as the DayJet implosion.

On the 'panel falling off', my guess is that someone is not checking the Phosterx properly. This stuff will rot pretty much anything it comes in contact with (per the 'Eclipse Flyer'), and this is s/n 18, after all.

Shane

Orville said...

Gad said - (Did the missing piece have a return address, with postage guaranteed?)


Awesome - they should 'brand' all the parts with that!

baron95 said...

Shane said ... So, next week, I'm back on my boat, for (another) short break.

I hope you have lots of fun - get an HSDPA or Satellite connection to stay in touch.

I trust you know that my comments were just a fun poke. I have many fond memories of the British Isles and the old continent. And diversity is great - too bad the world is becoming so "americanized" everywhere.

And so that you know, some of the top vehicles on my list all come from Europe or European designs:

1 - Best Personal turboprop: TBM850-Garmin.
2 - Best 5-pax large Sedan - S63AMG.
3 - Best mid-size sedan: Jag XF Supercharged.
4 - Best 2+2: Ferrari California
5 - Best Twin Turpoprop: Piaggio Avanti II
6 - Best SUV: MB GL550 (I so hope they made an GL63AMG)

So I hope they keep up the good work. Looking forward to drive the upcoming 7-series this fall and the new 5-series next summer. The new XJ in 2010 should be a stunner also.

Dave said...

On the 'panel falling off', my guess is that someone is not checking the Phosterx properly. This stuff will rot pretty much anything it comes in contact with (per the 'Eclipse Flyer'), and this is s/n 18, after all.

This is what is so disruptive about Eclipse. It only costs 1/10 the price to maintain:
Low maintenance costs—The PhostrEx fire suppression system is much less complex than Halon systems and is designed to be maintenance-free for 10 years. After 10 years, you simply remove and replace the PhostrEx agent's canister. By contrast, most Halon systems require periodic maintenance. The 10-year, no-touch PhostrEx fire suppression system is expected to offer overall lifecycle costs just one-tenth those of traditional Halon systems.
But then you have to pay 10X as much to fix what the supposedly money-saving device damaged. S/N 20 also reported a leaky phostrex bottle earlier this year.

S/N 18 had reported an incident back in March that was probably not a pleasant customer experience:
AC EXPERIENCED A PITCH TRIM MALFUNCTION ON TAKEOFF ACCOMPANIED BY A WARNING MESSAGE. AN EMERGENCY WAS DECLARED AND THE AC WAS RETURNED TO BASE. PROBLEM WAS DUPLICATED ON THE GROUND. AFTER TROUBLESHOOTING, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT A REPLACEMENT ACTUATOR SHOULD BE INSTALLED. AFTER INSTALLING NEW PART, DEFECT STILL EXISTED. FURTHER TROUBLESHOOTING REVEALED THAT THE CONTROL TUBES CONNECTED THE ACTUATOR TO THE CONTROL SURFACE WERE NOT SIMILARLY ADJUSTED. THIS CONDITION CAUSED A BINDING OF THE SYS MECHANICS AND THE SUBSEQUENT FAILURE. WHEN THE CONTROL TUBES WERE SIMILARLY ADJUSTED, THE SYSTEM OPERATED CORRECTLY ON GROUND AND IN SUBSEQUENT OPERATIONAL CHECK FLIGHT. (K)

Dave said...

And so that you know, some of the top vehicles on my list all come from Europe or European designs

The asians also make good cars. Though their cars are better on the lower end than the larger cars.

Dave said...

Here's Eclipse's MSDS on Phostrex:
http://www.phostrex.com/pdf/PhostrEx_MSDS.pdf
Eclipse begins by giving their customer service number as their emergency number and they end the MSDS saying Eclipse wont be held liable for what happends with Phostrex. Clearly Eclipse cares about their customers and believes in their product.

fred said...

ceri :

#Everything he does now is to me symptomatic of a CEO who is scrabbling madly to try to stay in the game. I don't believe for a second he has a long-term plan at this point: it's all about month-to-month survival.#

i agree 1000% !

i would say it is week by week survival ... but that's personal opinion ...! ;-))

i've heard some pretty weird stuff coming from the russian front ...
looks like even locals starts to be pissed off ...!

if i can get hold of something checkable , i will be delighted to post !

it seems the plot is unveiled , the russians are "strange sometimes" (even to me ...) but they forgot to be stupid ...!

seems the bank who was supposed to cash the Ulyanovsk trauma is starting to ask serious questions about reliability of project ...

they don't seems to be really impressed by the achievements to date ...

bloody ruskys !!

ps: shane , quite funny we came to the story on about the same terms ...

Dave said...

Here's a military analysis of Phostrex:
http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA329386&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
If you read it carefully, there's some real gems in there. The first nuggest was that we find out that a lab assistant was out of work for months after exposure to Phostrex and subsequently in the animal tests the military did, Phostrex wasn't exactly pleasant for the animals involved. We also learn that the test had to be set up a special way to remove water vapor due to the reactivity of Phostrex.

TBMs_R_Us said...

Baron95:

1 - Best Personal turboprop: TBM850-Garmin.

You got that much right! :)

Dave said...

Here's an older comment from Vern that I found:
The subject then turned to the recent increase in price on new Eclipse Aircraft, now set at $1.295 million. Raburn was forthright. "We've always priced our aircraft based on cost. In the last year, Alcoa Aluminum has become a monopoly and the thing that happens with a monopoly is they screw their customers. We pay $4.50-$5.00 per pound of aluminum and get about fifty cents per pound back on recycling." According to Raburn, each aircraft requires approximately 16,000 lbs. of aluminum, of which 700 pounds are actually used on the airplane.
http://www.aero-news.net/news/commbus.cfm?ContentBlockID=29162936-20aa-4b22-819b-be8975b7fadb&Dynamic=1

Orville said...

Can anyone see the sun?!? There's a total of 14 Eclipses flying right now - and the sky has been blackened!

Funny thing is - it can't be a "total eclipse" - cuz I keep hearing the little plane isn't done yet. Guess that means it's just a "partial eclipse".

Shane Price said...

Baron95

My issue is not technology. In fact, I am the leading (some would say only) Irish printing and publishing technologist.

No, I'm under a strict embargo when we go to sea. She who must be obeyed has laid down a very strict rule. If I want to maintain the happy position that marriage grants, I have to leave all my comms gear on shore.

Sorry...

I'm not sure a GL63AMG would be a good idea. Are you familar with the concept of 'roll oversteer'?

Finally, I'm veering between the G1000 TBM850 and the Pilatus NG. I have a friend with the former and am very impressed, but the PC-12 is an SUV in comparison and I like my toys on the large side.

Shane

baron95 said...

Dave said... she pointed out that Eclipse allegedly pressured the FAA.

And what is wrong with that? Eclipse is presuring the EASA now (privately and publicly) to move on already with the certification. All mannufacturers pressure the FAA. Just like all drug companies pressure the FDA. If they didn't nothing would be approved in less than a couple of decades. It is up to the FAA to issue a TC only when they are convinced the aircraft comforms with the appropriate regs.

People thing there is something wrong with pressuring regulatory agencies. There is nothing wrong with it - it is done all the time.

Right now, Eclipse is telling EASA: "Gives a list of your concers or questions of issue the damn TC already". Very appropriate pressure. You don't wanta regulatory agency to take its sweet bureaucratic time while it impacts your revenues.

baron95 said...

Ceri said ... All he can do now is hang on for the ride and keep trying to bring in money. I've seen the same thing happen in companies I've been involved in

Great observation Ceri - I share that view. Vern, for the past few years, has probably woken up every morning with simply a list of fires to put out that day to make things look just a pealing enough to bring the next investment tranche in. He is not thinking long term, if the production rate is sustainable or not. Etric comes in and says here is $100-oddM if we have rights to build it in Russia, he says yes. Next.

baron95 said...

She who must be obeyed has laid down a very strict rule.

I'm not sure a GL63AMG would be a good idea. Are you familar with the concept of 'roll oversteer'?

Finally, I'm veering between the G1000 TBM850 and the Pilatus NG.


Obbey her.

MB's traction and ESC software will take care of any roll oversteer. Besides, going from 382 horses to 518 horses is not such a big jump for a 6-ton vehicle ;)

Re the Pilatus, I don't consider it a personal airplane. Too big and too slow. And I believe that G1000 will rule personal GA. Any avionics shop will be able to work on it, parts will be all over the chain for an easy swap, etc. If it aint G1000 it aint that good.

Dave said...

People thing there is something wrong with pressuring regulatory agencies. There is nothing wrong with it - it is done all the time.

Just because everyone does something, it doesn't mean it is alright. I guess you haven't followed litigation as much as I have, but I was being precise in how this could come back to bite Eclipse...the pressuring could be used in a civil litigation case if there was a subsequent accident with Eclipse. As you point out with the FDA as an example, I'd say your example actually proves my point. Drug makes are taken court all the time and what went on during the regulatory process is frequently used as evidence by the plaintiff. If there was documentation or witness testimony to show that Eclipse was aware of Problem X, but glossed over it and then after certification a fatal incident occured due to Problem X, I can assure that the plaintiff's attorney would use that in the case. Having certification from the FAA doesn't provide immunity from subsequent civil litigation but rather it provides a paper trail that could aid a plaintiff in civil litigation pertaining to safety.

Here actually is an FDA example that makes a good parallel potentially to the FAA employees who complained:
While Graham [an FDA employee] and FDA drug reviewers who preceded him have complained that some of their drug safety cautions fell on deaf ears within the agency, attorneys hoping to sway juries have snagged those internal memos and reports.
http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2005/02/03/trial_lawyers_turning_to_fda_experts/

Baron, if Midway had been a fatal accident, do you not think that would have ended up in court? If it was in court, don't you think the plaintiff's attorney would look for any and all documentation and reports related to the FADEC, etc? If some plaintiff's attorney treated documentation created during the regulatory process as somehow offlimits, they should be disbarred!

julius said...

baron95,

FAA and EASA do not "reward" a company with a TC - they simply "agree" or "disagree" to the company's proposal.
It is their task - not more!
They are actually mediators. If FAA or EASA fail to review the design and the production of an aircraft the insurance companies will do it or must do it.
(Small hint: Think about the rating agencies like Moody etc.
They rewarded a product with "AAA" and finally it turned out to be junk but the customers could not go to court...)

mountainhigh said...

Gadfly,

Thank you for mentioning there is a dirth of true inventors/designers in aviation today. And yes, they are rare.

Gad, there are one or two but they work quietly and passionately in what some might call "garage shops." Therefore, they are not noticed and probably won't be recognized for their contributions to aviation for many years.

And they are not connected with EAC or any of the companies run by promoters or high-tech "gurus." Therefore, any mention of these folks belongs on another forum.]

forest said...

Delbert,

It would be a shame if the previous posters were scared away by the SLAPP lawsuit. I'm not sure that is the case. Some have most likely changed their screen names and continue to post.

I know others are quite busy getting ready for Oshkosh. Anyone who is exhibiting doesn't have much time for blogging.

gadfly said...

mountain high

Back in olden times, some of the greats would never allow someone else to test their designs, until they had proven them safe. Igor Sikorsky is the first to come to mind . . . and many others.

gadfly

baron95 said...

Dave, putting pressure to "move expeditiously with the review" instead of taking their sweet time with it has no bearing in litigation. Having an FAA TC has no bearing on litigation.

If there is an accident with injuries, there will be litigation. If a feature of the plane is deemed by a judge or jury to have cause the accident, it matters little if it was in compliance with a TC or not.

The only thing other than that tha has relevamce is if/when Eclipse was aware or should be aware of the problem and what they did about it.

Again, putting pressure on regulatory agencies to simply do their jobs is perfectly fine and should be done.

If the IRS is late with your refund, I bet you you´d be putting pressure on them.

If your building inspector is being slow in approving your home renovations, you'd be putting pressure on that office, calling the mayor, etc.

That is all fine and expected. I~d consider Eclipse, a VC funded startup, remiss if they didn't put all the pressure they could put and do the same with the EASA.

airsafetyman said...

"If a feature of the plane is deemed by a judge or jury to have cause the accident, it matters little if it was in compliance with a TC or not."

I believe there are two questions here: 1. Was the accident airplane in conformance with the TC? 2. Was the TC awarded by undue influence. If the answer is only 1. then it is very difficult to find fault with the manufacturer. If the answer is 2.then the FAA (we taxpayers) as well as Eclipse are in for huge judgements. Criminal actions (as well as civil suits)are not out of the question for the parties involved.

airsafetyman said...

"Again, putting pressure on regulatory agencies to simply do their jobs is perfectly fine and should be done."

I would wager a lot that EVERY FAA person assigned to the program was busting his butt to get the airplane certified. They WERE doing their jobs to the utmost of their ability and WERE doing their jobs by refusing to sign off on an incomplete airplane.

John said...

DayJet Utilization - July 12-18
Most unusual flight pair of the week was tail 146 which flew to Macon on 7/11, stayed on ground there until 7/16 when it made its single flight for week to KGNV. The 'mothballed' craft 134 had flown to Macon from KGNV on the evening of 7/15. It returned to KGNV a couple of minutes behind tail 146.

Craft .. July 12-18
141 .. 25:42
142 .. 18:15
145 .. 13:54
161 .. 13:38
148 .. 8:34
163 .. 7:13
150 .. 7:12
160 .. 6:02
153 .. 4:42
162 .. 4:12
131 .. 2:36
130 .. 1:44
134 .. 1:43
139 .. 1:11
146 .. 1:10
109 .. 1:04
132 .. 1:04
110 .. ..
115 .. ..
116 .. ..
119 .. ..
126 .. ..
135 .. ..
136 .. ..
147 .. ..
152 .. ..
156 .. ..
158 .. ..
Grand Total .. 119:56

depart2 .. July 12-18
KBCT .. 19:04
KGNV .. 14:48
KJAX .. 8:49
KSRQ .. 8:18
KPNS .. 7:03
KAPF .. 6:53
KOPF .. 6:15
KMAC .. 5:43
KAND .. 3:42
KTLH .. 3:36
KORL .. 3:35
KSAV .. 3:22
KLAL .. 3:11
KDTS .. 2:55
KPIE .. 2:52
KBFM .. 2:24
KJZI .. 1:55
KTHA .. 1:50
KHXD .. 1:24
KAVL .. 1:17
KGPT .. 1:15
KAGS .. 1:13
KEYW .. 1:12
KBHM .. 1:12
KFMY .. 0:57
KVLD .. 0:56
KDAB .. 0:54
KOCF .. 0:53
KISM .. 0:51
KLEE .. 0:50
KMLB .. 0:40
KPBI .. 0:05
KMCN .. 0:02
Grand Total .. 119:56

airtaximan said...

"Summary: AIRCRAFT AFTER LANDING, DISCOVERED LEFTSIDE AFT BODY FAIRING MISSING, ROCKFORD, IL"

Soon, EAC will issue a customer communication, stating that the fairing is a known problem. They have been working a fix. They know it only happends on the ground.

Proper pre-flight inspections will now require special attention to the fairings. If inspected properly before every flight, there is no safety issue with the fairings.

And, yes, anyone who thinks pressuring the FAA to issue a TC is a good idea, remember that pressuring was allegedly done to circumvent proper testing...

- does anyone think the fairing is a design problem and or quality (system) problem?

Anonymous said...

baron95 said...
Again, putting pressure on regulatory agencies to simply do their jobs is perfectly fine and should be done.


The "job" of the FAA is to insure compliance with the FARs, not rubber-stamp everything. According to the men who were there, they were not allowed to do their jobs.

"...the faa awarded the Eclipse Aircraft company with a type certificate (TC) for the Eclipse 500 aircraft... without allowing the aircraft certification engineers and flight test pilots to properly complete their assigned certification/safety responsibilities."

Grievance

I know I wasn't there. Were you? Are you accusing these men of lying?

Dave said...

Dave, putting pressure to "move expeditiously with the review" instead of taking their sweet time with it has no bearing in litigation. Having an FAA TC has no bearing on litigation.

What is your source for that quote. I re-read Karen's article and I'm not seeing your quote referenced in regards to Eclipse pressuring the FAA. Unless you are aware of some other source, we are not aware of the nature that Eclipse was pressuring. Also I said evidence could be obtained from the certification process and I showed that with the FDA since you gave the FDA as an example.

If there is an accident with injuries, there will be litigation. If a feature of the plane is deemed by a judge or jury to have cause the accident, it matters little if it was in compliance with a TC or not.

Where did I say that compliance with the TC mattered?

The only thing other than that tha has relevamce is if/when Eclipse was aware or should be aware of the problem and what they did about it.

Thank you. That was my point. Like I said before, anything that came up during the FAA type certification could be used against Eclipse in court. That was why I talked about "Problem X."

Again, putting pressure on regulatory agencies to simply do their jobs is perfectly fine and should be done.

You are assuming the nature of the pressure.

If the IRS is late with your refund, I bet you you´d be putting pressure on them.
If your building inspector is being slow in approving your home renovations, you'd be putting pressure on that office, calling the mayor, etc.
That is all fine and expected. I~d consider Eclipse, a VC funded startup, remiss if they didn't put all the pressure they could put and do the same with the EASA.


With all this you are making an assumption of the nature of the pressure. There are both legal ways and illegal ways to pressure someone along with ways that can be used against you in court in a civil matter. I wouldn't give Eclipse a blanket pass on their actions unless you are certain you know what their actions were.

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

baron ...

pressure on Easa ?

i don't know how works the Faa (and don't want to know) ...

but on this side , something called responsibility can occur real fast ...

so lets say Easa accept the pressure , without reporting it (1° mistake !) grant a cert. without the work on Fpj they ask (2° mistake) ...
what are chances something not good happen (high, regarding the reliability) some others are going to look for culprit ...
Peoples who signed-off on behalf of Easa , are first in line !

they loose their jobs , if not worse ...

jobs with which they enjoy a quite high standards of living ...
so what is the chance they do it ? to me : NONE !
(would you accept to take your family in an Amg if the vendor tell you "it's cheap but there is no breaks !" ?)

on a second thought : don't you think this is what going on in FAA ? they want to pull the blanket ...
so it is going to be a moment where some are going to have to give answer on the How and Why

difficult answer but they have to be given ...!

something which is the advantage of the inconvenience of Easa system ...

too many different countries involved to have a pass ...
always one which is going to disagree on not reporting the blunder ...to blame someone else !

once again , it is the same mistake : believing that what can be going on well in US , can be used anywhere on earth ...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Baron, I have to tell you that you are completely wrong about the potential impact that the TC investigation and TC compliance in general would have in a lawsuit.

All REAL OEM's provide training to employees about what NOT to put into e-mails, inflammatory language about 'if we don't fix this it will kill somebody' and the like.

These things would come out during discovery and would be so damaging you cannot easily calculate the costs.

The FAA is in a difficult position, on the one hand they are charged with ensuring aviation safety, and on the other with promotion of aviation as a business.

My experience has been that most FAA folks are reasonably competent and work hard - many don't want to rock the boat - so small things are let go on agreement that they will be fixed. It is this mutually trusting arrangement that concerns me about Eclipse.

Eclipse is very proud of not being like the REAL OEM's. Yes, the real OEM's will put as much legitimate pressure on the authorities to get something certified as they feel comfortable trying - but they will not and typically do not cross the line.

Witness the latest focus on inspection oversight to see what is happening with FAA's relationship with the operators as an example.

What is alleged in the complaint is that the TC was issued on a Saturday (literally unheard of), with MANY open issues unresolved, and allegedly with several significant issues on the table, now we learn including FADEC design.

Hello Midway.

If FAA is treating Eclipse like everyone else, or worse yet, with some favor, and Eclipse is willing to go further in terms of pressuing the FAA, their own DER's, and having PMI's removed from the program it paints a wholly different and non-innocent picture.

Consider the big picture, price, schedule, functionality, stunts to claim escrow monies and force progress payment from hapless customers. THAT is the ethos that appears to drive this company - money first, all other things second.

gadfly said...

airtaximan

"- does anyone think the fairing is a design problem and or quality (system) problem?"

There was probably a screw loose somewhere . . . and also on the plane!

gadfly

(You could see that one coming.)

baron95 said...

Annonymous said... The "job" of the FAA is to insure compliance with the FARs

The job/goal of an FAA employee is to collect their pay and bennefits, under very protective union work rules, while doing as little as possible, with as little stress as possible.

The job of the executives of a private company that depends on the FAA doing their work in a timelly manner is to apply all legal presure to make sure said employees move off their asses.

Capiche?

baron95 said...

Dave said... With all this you are making an assumption of the nature of the pressure.

I am most definetelly not making any assumptions. The folks on this blog are making an assumption that the pressure was "wrong, fraud, unethical, crimial, etc".

I have no idea what pressure was applied. All I am saying is that putting pressure on the FAA is explected, and good practice to get things done. Karen, Ms know nothing about aviation, and this blog jumped to the conclusion that putting pressure on the FAA is wrong, farudulent, etc..

I'm just providing some mature counterpoint (not the idealistic high-school view of the world).

Again, unless Eclipse did something illegal, like bribing an FAA official, just putting pressure by calling their bosses, all the way to the President, if they had access, is perfectly fine. I'd do the same.

baron95 said...

CW said ... These things would come out during discovery and would be so damaging you cannot easily calculate the costs.


Tell me ONE thing that would come out during the TC investigation that would not come out during discovery tomorrow, if there were an accident and a lawsuit was filed. One thing.

I rest my case.

P.S. If Eclipse has a half-ass decent CIO, they'd have a reccord retention/cleaning policy that would have erased all emails and non-essential documents from the TC time period by now anyway.

At my company, you need special approval to retain documents and emails past 6 months and are encourage to delete all records when further use becomes "unlikely" even before the 6 months. And we are not the most aggressive of them when it comes to reccord retention.

Shane Price said...

What we have to keep in mind are the NTSB comments after Midway, when they raised serious concerns about the relative 'youth' of the systems that failed.

Now we have a 'BODY FAIRING MISSING' after a landing on S/N 18.

Couple that with the repeated tyre blowouts, the CAS messages that pop up at random, and the general poor in service record of the FPJ and you have to wonder how anyone in their right mind would put an air taxi business together with this flimsy kite.

Shane

baron95 said...

CW said ... so small things are let go on agreement that they will be fixed. It is this mutually trusting arrangement that concerns me about Eclipse.


I share that concern. I am convinced that at the time of the provisional TC many such things were listed but let go, and some probably remain at the time of the full TC grant. Things like Avionics SW matturity tests, etc.

I have great doubt about Eclipse's ability to stay on Q (for quality) 100% of the time.

P.S. It is not like the FAA has no control over the "passed on" little items. They still had to sign off on each airplane after the original TC until they were satisfied enough to grant the PC, even then they have their audits.

By the way, that is when having someone like Peg on staff makes a difference. I'd say many FAA types right now have little respect for Vern. But they may take Peg's word for things.

Dave said...

I am most definetelly not making any assumptions. The folks on this blog are making an assumption that the pressure was "wrong, fraud, unethical, crimial, etc".

No, you're inventing quotes for your strawman. That's the second non-existent quote in this thread that you've done.

I have no idea what pressure was applied. All I am saying is that putting pressure on the FAA is explected, and good practice to get things done.

Again, if you don't know the nature of the pressure, you can't say that it was a good practice. You say you're not making assumptions, but yet you make one in the next sentence after saying you're not. Myself and others here have said that depending on what the pressure was about, that could be used against Eclipse subsequently in a civil trial and there are also other areas that are potentially criminal.

Karen, Ms know nothing about aviation, and this blog jumped to the conclusion that putting pressure on the FAA is wrong, farudulent, etc..

No, besides myself others have said that it depends on the nature of the pressure as to what action could be taken. It is you who have jumped to the conclusion that what Eclipse did was a good practice even though you don't know what exactly Eclipse did. People have responded to your blanket statements by giving examples.

Again, unless Eclipse did something illegal, like bribing an FAA official, just putting pressure by calling their bosses, all the way to the President, if they had access, is perfectly fine. I'd do the same.

Now what was that you were saying about high school? This isn't a binary thing where either you are carried out in handcuffs or it is just fine. A business can do many things that aren't going to send those involved to prison, but they can nonetheless end up with civil judgments against them and their previous actions used as evidence in a civil court.

Shane Price said...

Would anyone who is having problems getting money out of EAC please contact me at

eclipsecriticng@gmail.com

As I said in the 'headline post' it seems that getting your money back from Vern is next to impossible in the past few weeks. More and more position holders want out, and can't seem to get their deposits returned.

I would be happy to put such people in contact with each other. I also have the address of one of the few lawyers in ABQ who is prepared to take on Vern....

Shane

Shane Price said...

A comment from the inbox.

I don't think it's fair to even think about Peg Bilson being in the same league with such individuals as Kelly Johnson, Jack Northrop, Ed Heinemann, The Wright Brothers, or even Bill Lear.

Since the late 1960's, engineering institutions have insisted on training their students management skills without a great emphasis on drafting.

My father worked for Kelly, and Ben Rich. He was somewhere near the top of that hierarchy. Each of the mentioned individuals had the ability to put their ideas on paper. An engineer that couldn't put it down on paper is worthless. My father used to tell the new engineers under him to go to the local JC and take up drafting again. He also knew that computers were going to be the tool of the future, and that there is a great advantage for engineers if they would take up that subject.

It takes 5 years of experience for an engineer to develop the skills to excel.

Also, each of the above mentioned luminaries have the ability to produce their aircraft in great numbers. In the case of the Skunk Works, except for the "Black Projects" they produced aircraft in great numbers also.

Unfortunately, most aircraft are designed, built and manufactured by committee. According to Kelly, "Nothing ever stupid will come out of a committee, nor will anything brilliant."

It behooves any aspiring engineer, or anybody in the aircraft industry to read the below mentioned book.

"More Than My Share of it All" Written By Kelly Johnson with Maggie Smith copyright 1985.


Seems to me that the FPJ is a classic example of 'design by committee'....

Shane

Dave said...

Tell me ONE thing that would come out during the TC investigation that would not come out during discovery tomorrow, if there were an accident and a lawsuit was filed. One thing.
I rest my case.


You actually prove mine. As I said since the beginning and I provided links related to drug litigation since you brought up the FDA, a lawyer would use witnesses and evidence related to the type certificate. A lawyer would do much of the same work as a TC investigation, just after a TC investigation has been done the evidence has already been obtained and that makes it easier. Additionally, if there was any prosecution/fines/firings/etc over the certication after the investigation, that would be used as supporting evidence by the plaintiff's lawyer. The report from the NTSB depending on what was said in it could also be very valuable to a plaintiff's attorney.

P.S. If Eclipse has a half-ass decent CIO, they'd have a reccord retention/cleaning policy that would have erased all emails and non-essential documents from the TC time period by now anyway.

Depending on what was destroyed, that could be a criminal violation of Sarbox.

At my company, you need special approval to retain documents and emails past 6 months and are encourage to delete all records when further use becomes "unlikely" even before the 6 months. And we are not the most aggressive of them when it comes to reccord retention.

Then you are playing Russian Roulette. If there's others who are more aggressive, then they're loading up the chamber with more bullets. Pre-2002 that would be just fine, but now regulations have changed...and in such a way where we are not just talking about losing a civil judgment, but document destruction can be prosecuted as a felony under SarBox.

airsafetyman said...

Baron, my experience in working with the FAA in several different positions is completely at odds with your viewpoint. In working with the FAA they want to see compliance with the intent of the regulations and compliance with the letter of the regulations. If there is a disagreement it is up to the FAA official to go to his supervisors for clarification and to report back to the operator or manufacturer on the descision. In my experience this has always been done with mutual respect on all sides and a genuine interest on the part of the FAA to help the operator. Calling in your congressman or senator is incredibly bush league and will only result in the god-awful mess Eclipse finds itself today with respect to the FAA and EASA. A lot of the FAA inspectors I have worked with have 20 or more years of experience in aviation before they started working for the government and know EXACTLY what they are doing and are incredibly hard-working. If some wealthy amateur from the computer world blows off their experience and advice in developing essentially a very simple airplane he can only expect a lot of needless self-inflicted grief.

airtaximan said...

the pressure was apparently apllied to stop inspectors from completing safety related testing on the plane and providng a TC before the testing was successfully completed... if memory serves...

this is the only thing one should care about, not what kind of pressure or at what level...

Ecklipse thought it was a good idea to obtain a TC BEFORE the FAA safety related testing was successfully accomplished.

This to me, is a big deal - the kind of thing that results in the inability to control the engines, or fairings falling off...

baron95 said...

Dave said ... Then you are playing Russian Roulette. If there's others who are more aggressive, then they're loading up the chamber with more bullets.

Company document retention policy is written in accordance with SOX. There is nothing in SOX that requires employees to retain non-required documents for any period of time.

Policies that delete old emails automatically are virtually bullet proof. The only required safeguard is the ability to stop deletion when there is a related subboena, legal action or notice of investigation.

Any company, these days, that does not have a record retention/destruction policy is the one that is playing Russian roulette.

In addition, I have a simple directive to my team (some follow it better than others) - No sensitive information may be communicated to external parties via email.

baron95 said...

AT said ... Calling in your congressman or senator is incredibly bush league and will only result in the god-awful mess Eclipse finds itself today with respect to the FAA

I don't know who they called or how they pressured the FAA, but can you immagine what would happen to Eclipse if the FAA had taken say another year or two to agree to the TC?

It is not semantics, you know. EACH AND EVERY EXTRA DAY that Eclipse had to wait for the TC cost them business, opportunity, money and possibly would have cost the survival of the company if it had gone for long.

baron95 said...

AT said ... Ecklipse thought it was a good idea to obtain a TC BEFORE the FAA safety related testing was successfully accomplished.

This to me, is a big deal - the kind of thing that results in the inability to control the engines, or fairings falling off...


Extremely unlikely that ANY EA500 was delivered to a customer without the FAA being completely satisfied it was in compliance with FARs and certification MOUs.

As I said before, besides giving the TC, the FAA had to sign off on each and every individual aircraft for months till they got their PC, and even then retained QA inspection/auditting rights.

The FAA has proved its independence issuing an emergency AD even though Eclipse disagreed with it. If the FAA had ANY safety of flight concern about the Eclipse they can immediately ground the entire fleet with an emergency AD or TC revocation.

Anonymous said...

baron95 said...
The job/goal of an FAA employee is to collect their pay and bennefits, under very protective union work rules, while doing as little as possible, with as little stress as possible.


This statement shows your obvious ignorance of the men (and women) who work at the FAA. Certainly, there are some who behave like this but the majority do not.

I suppose the grievance was filed so they could do "as little as possible, with as little stress as possible"?

Apparently I gave you too much credit. I would have expected such a condescending comment from reverend Ken.

airsafetyman said...

"..can you immagine what would happen to Eclipse if the FAA had taken say another year or two to agree to the TC?"

I can't imagine how building a dead simple small jet could have consumed so much time and money. The FAA did not make the Williams engine choice, or the integrated Avidyne nightmare - Eclipse did.

fred said...

legal pressure ???

i thought a firm with a good product had nothing to fear ???

that if a legal process was not "ideal" the democratic essence would correct it ???

seems to be related more to lobbying ??

(hint : if you see a lobbyist , don't think twice : shoot first ,then ask questions !!)

airtaximan said...

the FAA issued a TC to Eclipse, maker of the six-place VLJ “without allowing FAA aircraft certification engineers and flight test pilots to properly complete their assigned certification and safety responsibilities” “There were known concerns with the aircraft’s engines--its FADEC (full authority digital engine control) software, and the possibility that a pilot could lose the ability to control engine thrust"

airtaximan said...

Baron:
"Extremely unlikely that ANY EA500 was delivered to a customer without the FAA being completely satisfied it was in compliance with FARs and certification MOUs."

I would agree that at some level somewhere "the FAA" signed off on the plane.

There were people at the tobacco companies and FDA who thought it was OK to say there are no health risks associated with cigarettes... until the truth came out...

Examples with "the FAA" exists as well...

But, notwithstanding the serious nature of the issue, I'm tired of it, becasue the reality is the plane in question is DOA... no profits, no where near the market size/volume...

When someone asks "what would have happend to EAC if it took another two years..."

- it has, the plane is not finished two years later, there are millions in mods and retrofits to come
- they have lost tons of money, lost money on every plane... are not even close to B/E... hiking the price to $2.15M... just to try to make it look like they can make money someday... delaying this loss?

DOA

Dave said...

Company document retention policy is written in accordance with SOX. There is nothing in SOX that requires employees to retain non-required documents for any period of time.
Policies that delete old emails automatically are virtually bullet proof. The only required safeguard is the ability to stop deletion when there is a related subboena, legal action or notice of investigation.
Any company, these days, that does not have a record retention/destruction policy is the one that is playing Russian roulette.
In addition, I have a simple directive to my team (some follow it better than others) - No sensitive information may be communicated to external parties via email.


IANA but the email comment is why I had mentioned Russian Roulette. Its not just having a document retention policy that matters, but having one that is SOX compliant. What brought about SOX was Arthur Andersen's complaince with their own document destruction policy. Email is considered a business document like any other business document and deleting all emails automatically would put you at odds with your own document retention policy for other types of documents...not that being at odds matters in and of itself, just I would highly recommend talking to a lawyer who specializes in SOX about your automatic destruction of email to be sure that part of your document retention policy is compliant with SOX. I believe whatever policy you have it would/should be consistent as the law views all business documents the same regardless what format they are in. In the pre-SOX world automatic email destruction was perfectly fine, just now you've got to be very careful. I believe a lawyer will tell you that just as you manually set aside other types of business documents, you should do the same thing with email.

Dave said...

It is not semantics, you know. EACH AND EVERY EXTRA DAY that Eclipse had to wait for the TC cost them business, opportunity, money and possibly would have cost the survival of the company if it had gone for long.

Eclipse despite being first mover was moving second with actual product available in the market. Cessna delivered their VLJ first. I'm not really a strong believer in first mover advantage, but it was highly embarassing for Eclipse given the high amount of publicity they've had.

Dave said...

The FAA has proved its independence issuing an emergency AD even though Eclipse disagreed with it. If the FAA had ANY safety of flight concern about the Eclipse they can immediately ground the entire fleet with an emergency AD or TC revocation.

This is just me speculating, but that AD was issued in the post-Blakely FAA. It wouldn't surprise me if Blakely had done things that weren't quite kosher and not just with Eclipse.

fred said...

dave :

#but it was highly embarassing for Eclipse given the high amount of publicity they've had #

no , it is not they "Had" it is they "Have " ...

in any document issued by EAC , in any press release , one can read "Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world's first very light jet (VLJ) "


i wrote it before :

just laughable !!
is it called ostrich's safety policy ?

(when predator are around , just stick your head deep in the sand , if you don't see predator ; they won't eat you ... ;-))) )

fred said...

Email destruction policies ??

gosh ...

where are you gone in the land of ever-suspicion ???

may be i am a bit too old-fashioned , but i don't send confidential stuff over internet ...

and still believe the best way to shelter yourself , in the first place , is to NOT get into unknown waters ...!

julius said...

Baron95

Extremely unlikely that ANY EA500 was delivered to a customer without the FAA being completely satisfied it was in compliance with FARs and certification MOUs.

I think it's just the opposite.
As far as I understood the Midway incident shows that under certain circumstances the functions of the throttles are changed: left throttle to right engine etc.
Someone said that this is against FAR rules.
Furthermore this "superfluous" feature was not described in the manuals.
Because of the AD this part is at least corrected.
I think the sims do not have this special features! Is it tested and approved?

About emails:
Emails are now accepted as normal letters or faxes.
So they must be handled like letters and archived.
Now the company must organize the storage of business emails i. e. not on local PCs etc. This is a big advantage for all users and the admins of the mailbox system.
Normally emails are deleted because they use too much space (copies to “whom it might concern” with all attachments…).

ChickN said...

Since it's been a slow Sunday evening.... From a prior post Gad said:

"Dupont Nomex cloth (aluminized). Cover the inside with an airtight bladder (of Nomex), rather than the outside . . . use the fuselage like hoops on a barrel, to maintain the shape and strength . . . extremely light-weight . . . throughout the delta T ranges and pressure cycles . . . you’re 90% there, and aren’t relying on the aluminum skin for the seal, nor hoop strength. And you gain a second benefit with its fire resistance, and cooling principle in emergency, with almost no weight increase.

Toss around the idea . . . and think inside the box, as it were. It’s like a submarine or Dirigible turned inside out. And from personal experience, I know it works."

Gad, you think so far out of the box I can't even find your box. However, not to burst your bubble, er, dirigible as it were, how do you address the fuselage penetrations? Where the wire bundles and control cables and hydraulic tubes enter and exit? We use tons of gloppy goo (doncha just love that technical jargon?)but it's still not enough. And you can't use that on control cables. They've got to move freely. Plus the outflow valves aren't commanded shut until after the cabin altitude climbs to a certain point. (And I admit, I can't remember what that is. 10,000 feet, I believe.) So you've already lost that much before HAL kicks in.

gadfly said...

ChickN

Remember, I said “90% there”, not 100%. But boots for control cables, and external channels for the cables and wiring harnesses . . . and bulkhead pass through seals, are nothing new.

If we could pass electronic cables through the hull of a submarine a half century ago, and all the many free sliding mechanisms, with a delta p, of 44psiG per hundred feet of sea water, don’t you think we can keep a differential pressure seal at under . . . what? . . . six or eight psiG?

And speaking of control cables . . . someday when the honor roll is no longer on the carpet (as it were), we may openly discuss the subjects that have been a part of my life . . . for most of it.

These are not things you throw at an existing design, but lay out as critical, for the crew and passengers, before (and not after) you add the minor things like wings, engines, fuel tanks, and tail feathers.

All in due time, my friend . . . it’s all been thunk through, long ago, but without the wherewithal ($) to make it happen.

gadfly

(And now back to the mud slinging event . . . in progress!)

AvidPilot said...

Word on the street is that many, possibly all, of the people who asked Eclipse to refund their money have not yet received a refund.

Some of their calls to "Customer Care" have been met with long hold times, and in some cases no human at the other end.

If this isn't a nightmare, I don't know what is.

AvidPilot said...

Oops - I see Shane has already hit on the topic of no deposit refunds.

Oh well, it bears repeating...especially to the people who are owed money!

gadfly said...

A comment or two from “the fly”:

As we begin a new week of commentary, our comments may gain serious attention if we refrain from insults directed at a person.

Once, I worked for a brilliant man who chose to break the law and was put in prison for his actions. He deserved the punishment, and paid a high price. But he had a family, and a son . . . who had to live ever after with that shadow over their lives.

The man has been dead for many years . . . but the son and family live on. It gains little to “kill a man” before his time. It’s better to allow the events to play out . . . and allow those who survive to “learn” and do better, or suffer the consequences, without our help.

This entire fiasco will play itself out, soon enough, and it is a rich source for sarcasm, dark humor, and ridicule, without going after individual character.

‘Enough said to those that will “get the point”. For the others, there are not enough words.

gadfly . . . “the preacher”

(We look forward to new and clever ways, to go after the “fiasco”, without going after the people, who may truly be trying to do their very best.)

gadfly said...

A bit of perspective:

Various of us attempt to design, or contribute to the design, of the perfect flying machine. And as I sit at my computer, watching a “mystery” on PBS, a flying machine, not more than the size of a pinhead, buzzes in confusion, just a few inches below the quartz lamp that lights my desk. My first impulse was to snatch it out of existence . . . and then I remembered my last comments: “allow the events to play out”.

This tiny creation of God has a job to carry out . . . to do whatever it takes to assure another generation of this tiny, marvelous, minute, flying contraption . . . with flight controls, far beyond anything conceived by man. Does he have something to prevent “Bug Roll”, maybe a “stall warning”? "whether (or not) radar". . . probably all that, and a hundred others . . . and, for a fact, I know his “ceiling” is above 7,100 feet . . . because that’s where I’m sitting.

My big question, believe it or not, is: Does that microscopic bug have “wash in” at its wing tips? And, No, I’m not curious about whether or not it has an “anti-lock braking system” . . . nor double panels . . . but I do wonder if the display is in “full color” (I suspect it is).

gadfly

('Stupid bug . . . 'sittin' over there watchin TV.)

Shane Price said...

Sorry to cut short this thread, but another matter has come to my attention.

In other words, new post is now up.

Shane

mike said...

baron95 said...
Annonymous said... The "job" of the FAA is to insure compliance with the FARs

The job/goal of an FAA employee is to collect their pay and bennefits, under very protective union work rules, while doing as little as possible, with as little stress as possible.

The job of the executives of a private company that depends on the FAA doing their work in a timelly manner is to apply all legal presure to make sure said employees move off their asses.

Capiche?



Well, I was there that week the original FAA inspector's were working, top notch guys; one of them is/was on the NTSB board(one of the grievance filers). I haven't posted in awhile, but do read advidly.

I remember the FAA inspector's left that week, and most of us in flight test were given the weekend off; which was rare. That monday EAC announced to all of us that the FAA came down from DC and the aircraft was given the blessing.

I never saw any of those DC inspectors, nor did any of my counterparts for the most part. We were all really surprised to say the least.

The comment about the FAA inspector's is not much appreciated. I thought they were doing a great job pointing out all the faults of EAC's little can of garbage. They just weren't allowed to finish or examine the aircraft like it should have been. Hence the call for the DC guys.

Despite my opinions of the FAA inspector's, I know I wouldn't set foot on an E500.

Matter of factly, I would ask Vern to fly one at stall speed and demonstrate recovery for us. Let's see how innovative he is.