Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As promised, reports from the Front Line

Too often on the blog we spend time discussing issues of high finance, low dealings and dodgy sales promises. But we must always keep in mind the people who actually work on the aircraft. I speak of course of the EAC line workers, as well as the pilots/owners and their mechanics.

First, from the factory. This snippet might help explain why the aircraft have so many issues in the field.

"The first thing that I noticed at Eclipse Aviation is the almost total lack of training in the tasks that are needed to manufacture an aircraft. Eclipse has a program with the state of New Mexico in which the state pays 44% of a workers wages for 6 months if the person is qualified. Eclipse gets the money and I assume that Eclipse is responsible to train the worker since there are training forms that as supposed to be signed off and turned in. The problem is that the training never gets done and everyone that I have spoken to about the forms say, "What training?". They say, "I am not going to lie to the state of New Mexico and say that I am getting training when I am not getting that training. What should one do? One could lie about the training and risk problems in the future, tell the truth about the lack of training and risk being fired by Eclipse, or just do nothing. Most people chose to just do nothing."

Lets be clear about this. If you don't know what you are doing, how are supposed to do it right? I feel sorry for the line workers who have to put up with this sort of treatment.

These next set of comments come from a mechanic charged with looking after several of the FPJ's. He seems to be rather busy....

"I have followed your top ten list with interest. I would add repeated failures of yaw and autopilot servos. We maintain xxxx aircraft and have changed at least xx different actuators. Some have failed right out of the box. The most recent failure was of elevator trim actuators that left the aircraft with an un-commanded non responsive nose up trim condition leading to an emergency landing."

I asked how many hours his fleet had, to get some idea of hard they were working. He responded:-

"It is hard to rack up the hours when half the planes are usually down for some kind of maintenance squawk. Cockpit side windows and flap actuators on xxxx different planes have been really serious problems. One thing we have noticed that others haven't seen is that in the pylon area there are small doors called VORE doors that are part the air conditioning system. These have little actuator motors that sit inside a little well bumped into a bottom panel. That well will fill with water and cause corrosion on the motors. We have replaced three and have taken to drilling drain holes to alleviate the problem."

Hmmm, I thinks, the VORE doors is a new one (to me), I'd better share it with the blog.

So now you know.

Next a commentary from a 'working pilot' on the various matters around the Brandywine incident. He has some clearly expressed views, which might help other pilots of the FPJ. Note also that this person is positive about the aircraft, just a bit put out by the avionics.

"As many of my fellow Captains will agree, the FPJ has excellent engines and a pretty solid airframe. It's fuel efficiency is downright fantastic. After looking at the list of shortcomings, you guys have hit the nail on the head. The order might be different than somebody who craves function would like, but this does an excellent job of illustrating the many woes.

However, we are having less problems with tires. It has been weeks since I have heard of one blowing, where I work. This plane doesn't need antiskid, spoilers, or any other device to slow it down. All it needs is average piloting skills and better procedures. I have been teaching the others to bring the stick to full up during braking. This puts more weight on the main wheels for better traction. This technique is filtering it's way through the fleet.

I have years of experience of flying into high density airports with smaller transport aircraft. This plane can mix it very well. What limits it are the idiots that came up with the idea that final approach, from the final approach fix, has to be done at Vref + 10 ( about 103KTS). This school of thought comes from flying heavy transports that have a lot of momentum to control. The FPJ is light, and slows down easily when flaps are brought to landing and the power is idle. It doesn't burn up excessive runway either.

If I were to come up with an approach profile for this plane, this is how it would be. Keep the flaps at the takeoff position until short final with the runway in sight {about 200' AGL}. Speed 120 kts. When landing is assured, power idle, flaps landing. The airspeed will slow to Vref easily. Guess what, it's the same as the single engine approach procedure for this plane. I would also like to increase the max flap extension speed to 125 kts, for flaps landing, instead of the 120 we have now. Another plus is that if the pilot has to do a missed approach, the flaps are already in the takeoff configuration. All the pilot has to do is to raise the landing gear, when the plane is climbing at a positive rate.

We all believe that the FPJ can really be something. Piss poor planning, and execution has prevailed. EAC should "stand down" and concentrate on what's important."

So you see, it's not all bad news. The aircraft is well liked, with a good airframe, engines and fuel burn. The avionics are a problem, but we knew that, and the way EAC treats its customers is a big problem. And we have known that for a long time!

Finally, thanks to all who contributed to our Top Ten Shortcomings list, now winging it's way to the appropriate inbox. The debate was useful, and the original idea from Turboprop_Pilot was just the sort of suggestion the blog needs.

As I finish this, many rumblings reach me from ABQ. More later, I'm pretty sure.

Shane

378 comments:

1 – 200 of 378   Newer›   Newest»
Dave said...

Vore (not all caps) is something NSFW, so I'm having trouble finding what VORE is.

Just zis guy, you know? said...

I believe that the air conditioning supplier used low static pressure fans (like on your car) and so the hole for the condenser was going to have to be really big, so they put doors on it. have no idea what VORE stands for.

Also, I believe they changed trim actuation suppliers late in the game. Shocking. I'm sure this and the first supplier both are examples of how bad the industry is.

Black Tulip said...

VORE...

How 'bout Variable Orifice Refrigeration Ejector. Of course, the 'R' could stand for Raburn and many other acronyms are possible.

Dave said...

Also hasn't Eclipse had problems with the autopilot for literally years?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Dave,

The short list is to identify the areas that Eclipse has NOT had problems with for years.

- Raising Money
- Spending Money
- Raising More Money
- Spending More Money
- Raising even More Money
- .... you get the picture

Interesting plea from AvWeb for confirmation of a larger shakeup - what do we know?

Charity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Ivedorne said...

Also hasn't Eclipse had problems with the autopilot for literally years?

Yes - their original vendor, Meggitt, was described as not holding up their end of the deal. Which may be the case. What might also be the case is that Meggitt had the unenviable task of trying to integrate their autopilot into an automation system that STILL isn't finished. At one point ( a couple of years ago ), the then-CEO of Eclipse confessed that he let the "design and development" phase go on too long with AVIO.

( I have to pause for a moment to catch my breath at the degree of understatement embodied in that confession )

Pay at the first window,
DI

x said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whosaidthat said...

I believe that the air conditioning supplier used low static pressure fans (like on your car) and so the hole for the condenser was going to have to be really big, so they put doors on it.

Just zis, the air from the condenser needs somewhere to go to remove all the heat and the wheel well was not enough(EAC design). Keep in mind the system was originally located at the rear of the aircraft (condensers in the pylons)and now the entire unit is squeezed into the nose which brought the CG forward and this had to be done when the engines grew in size. Many applications are design limited on this aircraft.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Interesting plea from AvWeb for confirmation of a larger shakeup - what do we know?

We know that water cooler scuttlebutt is not entirely reliable, though it can convey general sentiment. But we knew that before last week's flirtation with "Dewey Defeats Truman", and didn't let that stop us.

I do find myself wondering about the qualifications of their Chief Accounting Officer though...

This situation calls for a modicum of patience, and a wheelbarrow of popcorn.

McFlurry? Sorry, the machine's broken. Would you like a Tahitian Treat instead?
DI

Shane Price said...

Coldwet,

Interesting plea from AvWeb for confirmation of a larger shakeup - what do we know?

Lots.

But...

The picture is confused, so I'm waiting for more information. At the very least it appears there have been a significant number of 'lay offs', on top of the 190 contractors let go last week.

I'm hearing about FSW shutting down, I'm hearing that suppliers (as usual) are being blamed, I'm hearing that the 'Russian' plant will make the E400, from next January...

So I'm 'hearing' loads. Just not certain what's actually happening.

I feel really sorry for the staff. The place must be alive with chatter, none of which can be very nice to hear.

Will someone at EAC step up and make a statement, please?

Shane

baron95 said...

So ATP pilots flying the EA500 for a (suposedly) commercial fleet need to tought to bring stick back prior to break application!!!!

S#@$!!!! No wonder tires are blowing and runways are being overun.

As I said before, regardless of how bad the E500 design may be, pilots are still going to be the ones causing the accidents 9 out of 10 times.

You best post yet Shane. Factual. Sourced. Ballanced. No hype.

Great input from the ATP pilot.

Please keep this tone and style.

baron95 said...

Make that brake. I'm typing from my PDA - too painful to correct.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Whosaidthat put pen to paper ( or something like that ) and scribbled:
the system was originally located at the rear of the aircraft (condensers in the pylons)and now the entire unit is squeezed into the nose which brought the CG forward and this had to be done when the engines grew in size...

...which raises a question in my feeble [1] mind: that being the case, why are there "small doors called VORE doors that are part the air conditioning system" in the pylon area? Are the evaporator and condenser sections separate, with the former in the nose and the latter in the tail? Does the FPJ use "conventional" electromechanical A/C [2]? Is the industry practice to integrate the two sections in a single package ( which would tend to have nominal beneficial effects on reliability, and on the cost of manufacturing the parent aircraft )?

If I'm reading the situation properly, we have another example of Eclipse finding a way to add steps to manufacturing an FPJ.

[1] While my knowledge on the subject of terrestrial A/C systems could fairly be described as staggering, my knowledge of the systems used in aircraft approaches zero.

[2] For some reason, I was under the impression that turbine aircraft used bleed air for cooling ( and am clueless WRT how they do that ).

Would you like the combo?
DI

airtaximan said...

looks like instead of a combo or happy meal, EC went for a la carte on this one...

Shane Price said...

Baron,

You best post yet Shane. Factual. Sourced. Ballanced. No hype.

Shucks, I'm touched...

Actually, I would make one point. These pilots were trained, by EAC, to land the aircraft in a specific way. So they were only following procedure, as instructed. Remember, most of these guys are ATP rated, so they will do what they are told.

Our man comes along, says that experience with the aircraft points to a different method, and the actual procedure changes. He said that many of the pilots were coming from a 'heavy freight' background, and were used to fighting momentum.

Perhaps it just about timing, as in hitting the anchors after pulling back on the stick?

The healthy thing about 'our' blog is the exchange of this sort of information.

My job is to try and keep Eclipse Aviation Critic NG open, relevant and informative. I also try, hard, to get to the facts. Sometimes I screw up, but at least I'm happy to admit it when I do. I've a difficult act to follow, as the recent review of Stan's original post clearly demonstrates.

So, thank you for your kind words, and keep posing the alternative view.

Shane

gadfly said...

Could the term "Vore" be a corruption or contraction of "Devore"? . . . They were an early supplier of light systems for the little jet, and are known for high-quality sheet metal components on aircraft.

Devore has been a highly respected part of the Albuquerque manufacturing community for many, many years.

gadfly

airtaximan said...

OK, so Shane, IYHO,
what the big news going to be?

Dave Ivedorne said...

No wonder tires are blowing and runways are being overun.

The ATP's commentary is refreshing to read, and it's encouraging to know that new procedures that work are migrating around. Just the same, it seems that anti-skid would be simple and inexpensive to implement. And I'm curious: is the procedure of adding full flaps at 200' AGL ( that he suggests ) consistent with the notion of a stabilized approach?

airtaximan said...

A "stabilized approach" would be to buy another aircraft

Dave said...

I've dug up something on the A/C. Way back in 2002 Eclipse IDed integrating the A/C as a "major task":
Raburn says major tasks include integrating the compact pressurisation and air-conditioning system, and testing the automatic flight-control system. Certification of the EJ22 engine is due seven months ahead of aircraft approval, allowing room for slippage, he adds.

Also in the same article it points out something about the first test aircraft from the infamous 2002 flight that I didn't remember. That aircraft couldn't be used for certification:
Eclipse decided to "descope" the first aircraft to reduce the funding required to reach first flight, which it hopes will attract the additional financing needed to complete certification. The first aircraft was built on production tooling and is "100% type designed, but not 100% conforming", says Raburn. It will be used for around 100h low/medium-speed testing, but the data cannot be used for certification.
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2002/09/03/154209/eclipse-500-takes-to-the-skies.html

Next in 2003 the PW engine required moving the A/C:
By contrast, Raburn said "we're extremely happy" with everything about the Pratt engine and the relationship with a proven engine provider like the Canadian firm except the time frame, which will delay initial aircraft deliveries until 2006 - at the earliest. The Eclipse is now an engine-driven program instead of airframe-driven, Raburn said. The PW610F shipset will be about 160 pounds heavier than the EJ22 engines would have been. Total aircraft weight will rise by 900 pounds. The added weight will necessitate the following changes: moving the engines 9.5 inches forward on the fuselage; moving the vapor cycle air conditioning system components from the wing-root fairing to the nose section; strengthening the wing spar; making small tip tanks standard; and increasing the span of the flaps.
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=businessweekly&id=news/eclipse02253.xml

Seamech provides the A/C:
http://www.airframer.com/direct_detail.html?company=123039
This deal with Seamech apparently dates back to 2004, which is after the problems with the A/C were first mentioned.

This is how Eclipse describes the system:
The Eclipse 500 climate control system features independent zone temperature controls for both cockpit and cabin. A vapor cycle cooling system containing an individual evaporator fan for each zone provides air conditioning. The Bleed Air Supply System (BASS) modules located in each engine pylon manage heating and windshield defogging. Cockpit and cabin temperature settings are selected by the pilot and are automatically regulated by Avio NG.
http://www.eclipseaviation.com/eclipse500/operation/features.php

Shane Price said...

Full explanation, from the original source of what VORE stands for.

I see from comments that the term VORE door is causing some confusion, VORE stands for Variable Outlet Ram Exhaust. This is a door or valve that controls the outflow of ram air over the Bleed Air Supply Subsystem or BASS module. Basically engine bleed air flows through a heat exchanger and the VORE door controls the flow by limiting the exhaust flow. The Vapor Cycle System (very similar to a car system) mounted in the nose provides conditioned air on hot days and the BASS system (mostly in the pylon) provides conditioned air on cold days. So there are essentially two air conditioning systems on the FPJ. The BASS system is better at supplying warm air and the VCS obviously cold air. In flight at altitude the VCS system is usually not needed. The VCS system also has doors and we have changed several actuators on those.

Hope this clears things up.

Shane

Shane Price said...

Dave Ivendorn,

Again, in the interests of clarity

I was just looking at the comments by the bloggers.

200' AGL is consistent with the Decision altitude on most precision approaches. It is just a configuration change based on a stabilized approach. It is also based on the published single engine approach and landing procedure, as well as our company circling approach procedures. Which are basically the same.

This might further clarify any confusion that I might have created.


Isn't this blog a wonderful thing? Complex technical discussion, reduced to simple and understandable elements.

Even I'm beginning to understand some of this stuff...

Shane

Shane Price said...

ATman,

OK, so Shane, IYHO,
what the big news going to be?


Big.

Just don't know (and have no real way to be sure) how big. But if you were to push me, on a scale of one to ten, I'd have to say....

Eleven.

I'll give you a hint. I've had 28 emails in the past 6 hours. None of them make any effort to predict the long term future of Eclipse Aviation Corporation.

Please understand that I normally work through a tip off pretty hard, by cross checking stuff before I make a comment. My problem now is not lack of information, it's TOO MUCH information.

Shane

eclipso said...

Shane said:

Big!

...and it's going to get much bigger...VERY soon

whosaidthat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Ivedorne said...

Full explanation, from the original source of what VORE stands for...

Makes perfect sense, and a nice overview. Thanks! ( The summer months allowed me to forget that "heating" is also a part of "air conditioning". )

200' AGL ... is just a configuration change based on a stabilized approach.

More perfect sense ( DI slaps himself in the forehead. Sniffing too much R-410a is probably dulling "his" mind. )

Grande or venti?
DI

whosaidthat said...

...which raises a question in my feeble [1] mind: that being the case, why are there "small doors called VORE doors that are part the air conditioning system" in the pylon area?

Dave, I'm sorry, the condensers were in the wing to body fairing and the heat exchangers are in the pylon and it is there that you have VORE doors.

Niner Zulu said...

This plane doesn't need antiskid, spoilers, or any other device to slow it down. All it needs is average piloting skills and better procedures.

With all due respect to the author, the Eclipse DOES need something. I'm not sure what, but I've landed heavy airplanes on short runways, long runways, hot runways, icy runways, too fast, too slow, heavy on the brakes, no brakes, flaps, no flaps - whatever - and I've never blown a tire.

Haven't met any other pilots in 25 years of flying that have either.

I think this is a problem that is pretty unique to the Eclipse.

For what it's worth, I heard a rumor that there is a new tire coming for the Eclipse this fall. We'll see. I'll be surprised if the company is still around that long.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

In 22 years of GA flying I have only had one tire blow in countless landings. Heavy, light, fast, slow, only one.

And that was the result of a seized caliper - lots of fun that one.

Clearly either the recommended procedure is bad, or the plane is hard to land according to the procedure.

Neither reflects well on Eclipse as designer, manufacturer or trainer.

TBMs_R_Us said...

Throwing out full flaps at 200 agl is a fine procedure in visual conditions, assuming the pilot knows how the aircraft changes attitude, airspeed, et al when that is done. But doing it in instrument conditions with low minimums wouldn't cut it. Good opportunity to blow the glidepath and end up back in the soup.

On a TBM in IMC to low minimums, we are trained NOT to change configuration, but just go ahead and land with take-off flaps. No problem when you've got that reversible-pitch prop to slow you down. But in an FPJ, I don't know what they train, but it sure isn't going to be to change configuration at minimums.

flyjets said...

http://www.aopa.org/aircraft/articles/2008/080813eclipse.html

News from EAC.

Dave said...

News from EAC

Eclipse claims that refunds will come much later. However, Eclipse said they were "briefly delayed" in giving refunds:
“We have been briefly delayed in tendering customer refunds,” the spokeswoman told AIN. “All refunds are expected to be issued shortly following the close of the financing round.
http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/eclipse-aviation-in-cash-conservation-mode/

Eclipse is disruptively re-defining the meaning of 'briefly delayed'

gadfly said...

Many years ago, we needed a quote on a certain type of machining . . . and contacted a local supplier. The company that we contacted mentioned the company in question . . . and I pursued the subject, learning more than I had bargained. It seemed that a “dog and pony show” was scheduled, with an incomplete aircraft that would be shown to potential buyers, in “mock-up” configuration.

We discussed the payment history of Eclipse (which even then was not good), and the need for the services of this company. It seems that Eclipse needed some very large blocks of aluminum, to use as “counter weights”, to stuff into the nose cone . . . cut to shape, to fit in the enclosed space . . . to keep the jet from falling on its “fanny”. Evidently, the engineers had not properly calculated the CG of the jet, . . . and even without the two engines installed, it had dropped on its tail.

Enough weight must have been stuffed up front to get through the show . . . and I hope the local company got paid promptly for saving Eclipse’ bacon. But on the back streets of Albuquerque, it was then obvious that all was not well at the little bird factory.

Today, this anecdote is hardly worth a mention . . . but it demonstrates that the “trend” was established long ago . . . and seems to continue.

gadfly

flyjets said...

Another song and dance by EAC in an attempt to not meet their obligations.

Refunds will be made "if" not "when" the funding round is completed.

Highly unlikely, IMHO.

Shane Price said...

9Z,

For what it's worth, I heard a rumor that there is a new tire coming for the Eclipse this fall. We'll see. I'll be surprised if the company is still around that long.

The 'new tyre' exists. It's a variant of another Michelin already certified etc etc. It will just take a little time for EAC to work through the stock of 5,400 of the original type.

You know, to put onto those '2,700' aircraft they had orders for.

On the topic of the refunds, I note the careful use of words. Refunds have moved from a specific date, to 'next Tuesday' to when the funding round closes.

Now it's IF the funding round closes.

I'm pretty sure that even when the depositors get a judgement against EAC, the money will be very hard to extract.

Shane

flyjets said...

Shane, can you send me your email address?

Thanks.

gadfly said...

9Z

You must be thinking of the new Anasazi brand Santa Fe commemorative wheel and tire . . . with wood spokes, an iron rim, . . . and “run flat” capabilities.

gadfly

(Mud flaps optional, at extra cost!)

20yearmechanic said...

Dave said...

Vore (not all caps) is something NSFW, so I'm having trouble finding what VORE is.
\

VORE = Vented Orifice Access Doors/panels found on the upper side of the Pylon. Vented for cooling, and yes, the fix was to drill 2 drain holes in the bottom area for proper drainage. It was a fix that came out on a NCR about 3 months ago.

20 YM

Shane Price said...

Flyjets,

eclipsecriticng@gmail.com.

But remember, as I really do live in Ireland, I'm in GMT. Which means I am hitting the sack right now. Will catch up with this in the morning.

Shane

WhyTech said...

"Haven't met any other pilots in 25 years of flying that have either. (had a blown tire)"

I have. The PC-12 has a similar issue. It is very easy to inadvertently apply some pressure on the brake pedals due to the position of the pedals in relation to the seat and seat height; perhaps more of an issue for taller pilots.

I experienced my only blown tire in more than 40 years when landing a PC-12 in a ripping left cross wind: left wing down, lots of top rudder and right foot just a bit too high on the pedal resulting in some brake application. With the light load on the right tire due to the left wing down, tire skidded easily and eventually blew out. Absolutely no kind of feel or audible feedback that the tire was skidding.

A PC-12 fractional operation with 30 or so acft flying 800 hours each per year tells me that this in not at all uncommon. He said that the ATP's, however, usually take out both tires, not just the downwind tire! ;-) They keep a supply of tires mounted and inflated at the ready. Their chief pilot (40,000+ hours) says "there are those that have and those that will."

IMHO, the PC-12 would benefit from anti-skid it is too easy to lock a brake under some conditions.

TBMs_R_Us said...

WhyTech,

Don't you guys use reverse prop to brake on landing instead of the brakes? TBMs land and taxi to park with only brakes right at the end of taxi, all the rest with the prop. Of course, if you hit the brakes accidentally that's a different problem.

airtaximan said...

anfrom AOPA:

"The second shift at the plant was shut down for two days because of a parts problem, but it is up and running again."


really...

Dave said...

really...

That had me scratching my head. Is there something the 2nd shift does that the first shift doesn't?

WhyTech said...

"Don't you guys use reverse prop to brake on landing instead of the brakes?"

Of course. But, not until the airplane is planted on both wheels. My point was that the shape of the rudder/brake pedals and the angle at which the pilots foot meets the pedal makes it easy to have some brake applied without being aware that this is happening. As in my example with a strong crosswind, its too easy to apply brake unintentionally while applying top rudder for crosswind correction.

x said...

Interesting comment on landing distance and speed by a EA pilot

vova_k said...

My PC12 instructor (very experienced guy !) told me to keep feet on lower half of pedals for rudder control during landing and touchdown. I decided I’m smarter one and can keep whole foot on pedal if I’m careful enough, so very soon I had a flat spot on a tire (and it was NOT a difficult landing). Since that I’m following advices of more experienced people :)

Shane Price said...

TBMS-r-us, Whytech.

Responses from 'working pilot' as follows:-

Tell TBM driver that I used to do this (reverse prop on landing, ed) hundreds of times, for years in IFR conditions. Conditions where 2400' RVR was the norm.
I did this in accordance with company standard operating procedures, without even being equipped with an autopilot and did it all single pilot. I'm an old "freight dog", that flew Beech Turboprops, small and large.

Tell Niner Zulu that, what this plane needs, is a properly trained pilot. EAC has the worst training available. This plane likes good "stick and rudder" techniques that one should have learned in primary flight training. The EAC training is a prime example of ignorance, breeding more ignorance.


I should note that this pilot has been a consistent (and harsh) critic of the EAC training program. From other pilots, it would appear that EAC are still handicapped by conflicting priorities and are not sure what they are doing. For myself, it must be a tad difficult for the training people to keep track of the 'current' aircraft since there are now so many variants in the field, as well as the pipeline.

Shane

airsafetyman said...

Why would you not put anti-skid on the airplane when almost all cars and even high-end motorcycles are equipped with it? Another odd thing, we used to run a Navajo which specifies 70 pounds of tire pressure in each main. The Eclipse is 2,000 pounds lighter and has to have 100 psi tires? What gives?

WhyTech said...

"The Eclipse is 2,000 pounds lighter and has to have 100 psi tires? What gives?"

Its the tiny size of the wheels/tires. The load capacity of the tires is related to the pressure IIRC.

PC-12 tire pressures are 65 psi for 10,500 lb airplane, but tires are huge (relatively speaking).

FlightCenter said...

"Also hasn't Eclipse had problems with the autopilot for literally years?"

Dave Ivedorne said...
Yes - their original vendor, Meggitt,

Actually the original autopilot vendor was BAE Systems.

In Jan 2004, Eclipse announced the selection of S-Tec (who at the time was owned by Meggitt) to replace BAE systems as the supplier of the autopilot for the Eclipse 500.

Meggitt then sold S-Tec to Chelton in 2007 for $38M.

Chelton has an interesting relationship with Eclipse. They were selected as the 2nd FMS vendor for the E500 and then were relatively quickly replaced when Eclipse chose to use Garmin 400s as their FMS.

Chelton has since reorganized the team that was supplying the FMS to Eclipse and moved them from Idaho down to S-Tec's facilities in Mineral Wells, TX.

So the folks at Chelton have a very warm spot in their heart when they think of Eclipse.

It is a small world.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Okay, I was going a little nuts waiting on the big news from ABQ.

I needn't have worried - I think I figured out what the deal is:

They've fixed the FPJ. Completely. All the problems sorted themselves right out.

We've known for a long time that the biggest blunder in the development cycle was not redesigning the wing when the Williams engines didn't work out. The other problems cascaded from that.

In a shocking revelation, it turns out Vern's ex-wife was developing just such a wing - a stir-fried version of the wing on the Supermarine Spitfire - in her garage.

Oh, and they'll be renaming the company to Ellipse...

I'll just grab me coat and be going,
DI

Black Tulip said...

Is this a Total Eclipse or a Partial Eclipse? Should we view it through welding goggles?

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

Update/correction from 'working pilot'

There is a correction that needs to be applied to my last comment.

Reverse thrust is never used until after the nose wheel touches down. It is suicide to use it in the air, on any Beech Turboprop.

I don't want to cause any undue liability to anybody including Beech.


Fair enough, on a matter of safety its better to as clear as possible, and I'm happy to oblige.

Shane

Shane Price said...

Dave Ivendorne, and the rest of you holding your breath...

Latest from ABQ. News is expected tomorrow, Friday, after the 'evening TV news watershed' of noon local time.

Speculation as to what may happen continues across a wide number of fronts, but that's all it is.

Speculation.

However, several sources tell me that parts of the factory, including FSW, are in a state of 'suspended animation' with no visible activity. I'm not saying they have shut down (I'm 4,070 nm away, and my eyesight is not THAT good) but that something is in the air.

As has happened before, the 'unexpected' has become standard issue around here.

We shall see.

Shane

WhyTech said...

"Reverse thrust is never used until after the nose wheel touches down. It is suicide to use it in the air, on any Beech Turboprop."

I am told that Beech test pilots tried this on a B200 King Air and came very close to losing the acft.

I recall a Saab 340 incident where the pilots who routinely selected Beta mode as an "air barke" got a bit too much and overspeeded/flamed out both engines, doing substantial damage to the engines, but performing a successful dead stick landing to an airport.

All of my turboprop training (B200 & PC-12)has stressed NEVER select Beta or reverse in flight.

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

what ?

they close down the FSW thing ?

if they keep going this way , and remain open , soon they will be lore dinosaurish than the dinosaurs ...;-)

on the comment (of shane?) that the E400 could be produce in Russia next january ...

what i've heard is that they are getting nowhere ...

and even if they could do it ( in a factory which is still to be build !!) what for ?

the main location for customers stupi... , sorry, kind enough to have chosen the E400 are mainly located in USA (anyway no one anywhere else want the Eac products , it seems !)

with what kind of cert.? FAA ? before any official from USA are allowed to come to nit-pick the nose , a long (very?) would have passed (especially now , i have heard some words about situation even me was embarrassed to hear!!)

so the situation would be :

produced in Russia without Faa cert. ...

arriving in USA (How?) from Russia ...

with customs and Govt on both sides trying to play dirty ...?

couldn't be worse !

Dave said...

couldn't be worse!

This is Eclipse we are talking about, so never underestimate how bad things could get.

x said...

The Mannco FPJ, S/N 165 flew into Albuquerque on 8/8. Has not left, first visit to ABQ since April. The Gulf IV that is the main Mann bird is blocked on FlightAware.

Dayjet 153 made an unusual flight late last night, from Boca arriving Dallas Texas 3AM local (Dallas was a diversion from the submitted Louisiana destination).

S/N 222 (a company craft or a possible linear lease?) left Philadelphia today and is headed west. S/N 222 was at KLOM the night of the runway overrun on the short KLOM > KOQN hop. It stayed at KLOM 7/30-8/6.

Just zis guy, you know? said...

Just zis, the air from the condenser needs somewhere to go to remove all the heat and the wheel well was not enough(EAC design). Keep in mind the system was originally located at the rear of the aircraft (condensers in the pylons)and now the entire unit is squeezed into the nose which brought the CG forward and this had to be done when the engines grew in size. Many applications are design limited on this aircraft.?

I knew everything had been shoved into the nose. I remember being surprised to see that at Osh a few years ago and commenting at the time what a bad idea it was and how much the aero guys must hate having air inlets up there.

I went to Seamech's website but it doesn't appear that they're a real company. Everything is renderings of things and then there is one page with pictures that look to be different camera angles on the same room (http://www.seamech.com/comp-phoenix.htm). Are these guys on any real airplanes? This appears to be the only jet they have equipment on. This lack of experience could also be the source of some of Eclipse's problems. Maybe they should have talked to people used by Learjet or Beech or Gulfstream or Cessna or Dassault. Of course, then they probably couldn't have met their $750,000 price target.

I assume http://www.seamech.com/prod-vcs.htm shows the Eclipse system?

airtaximan said...

I expect a good announcement tomorrow:

Main points:
1- FSW is shut down - it was such a fast and successful process, that while the assembly floor only produced around 250 e500s... the FSW plant produced enough parts for all 2600 jets. It will be reopened when the assembly line catches up
2- the company has received its second funds in the current financing round which is sufficient to take it to cash positive. TRANSLATION - it received $2... $1 in the first money in this round to positive cash flow -now another dollar.
3- E400 will not be produced, and the price of the e500 is going back to $1.5M - anyone paying a full, non-refundable deposit to EAC for the e500 will get preferential delivery positions, and the aircraft will be in the latest configuration. Of course, the deposit is 80% of the purchase price, and its non-refundable. There is a 10% off price break for anyone who asked for a refund, to now take this offer. It ends at midnight, tonight.
4- the maintenance operations have all been outsourced to a little facility in Canada. No, we're no closing... they are just conveniently closer to our new partners, in Russia.

"More on" this later... and I do mean Moron.

fred said...

airtaxi ...

#There is a 10% off price break for anyone who asked for a refund, to now take this offer. It ends at midnight, tonight.#

you should know this style of marketing by now ...

the right words are = it will end at midnight , yesterday ! ;-)

Shane Price said...

Does anyone love Robert Redford's movie about Watergate, 'All the Presidents Men' as much as I do?

Anyway, there is a scene which takes place in 'Ben Bradlee office' where they are watching the then Vice President Spiro Agnew issues a rather vague statement about the Washington Post's story on the break in.

After the TV clip, Ben (played so well by Jason Robarts) turns to the room and says

'That's a non denial, denial, if ever I saw one'

Well, herewith EAC's attempt...

****MEDIA ALERT****

Today, Eclipse Aviation® confirmed that the executive management team is working diligently to develop a plan to achieve operational excellence. We are evaluating every aspect of the company and we will announce a plan to profitability by the end of the month. Eclipse also confirms it has no intention to move its production facilities outside of the United States in contrast to some current media speculation. Eclipse will not be releasing any further information or conducting interviews surrounding this media alert at this time.

No one in the 'media', SAID anything about 'moving to Russia'

I'm the only one to say Russia in the past few days, and that as an aside. There must be loads of people reading the blog inside EAC.

Could this be as result of having little else to do?

None of their senior managers will tell them anything, and now the media have been told, officially, to leave EAC alone.

I wonder why?

Shane

Dave said...

Today, Eclipse Aviation® confirmed that the executive management team is working diligently to develop a plan to achieve operational excellence. We are evaluating every aspect of the company and we will announce a plan to profitability by the end of the month.

Haven't they been doing that for 10 years? What makes them think a month will change things?

Eclipse also confirms it has no intention to move its production facilities outside of the United States in contrast to some current media speculation.

But this says nothing of ETIRC's facilities. The elephant in the room is that Eclipse along with ETIRC has been rather public about the russian factory, which is most definitely a production facility and supposedly would be for producing Eclipses. That is of course unless there are no plans for the Russian factory and it was only a ruse.

airtaximan said...

"Eclipse also confirms it has no intention to move its production facilities outside of the United States"

move production facilities.. Hmmm...

Step-1 = close ABQ
Step-2 open Rusia

Nothing moved...

I guess they could have stated:

"EAC will continue to produce the company's products in the US, and will not produce the companies products outside the US"

but they didn't

Dave said...

Nothing moved...
I guess they could have stated:
"EAC will continue to produce the company's products in the US, and will not produce the companies products outside the US"
but they didn't


With Eclipse you just have to parse everything they say. Their comment made no sense on its face given the already publicized Russian plant.

uglytruth said...

"There must be loads of people reading the blog inside EAC.
"

Sorry but they can't read the blog till they get home. They monitor the web usage like you can't believe.

Sad they have to come here to learn what's going on in their own company and their future.

TBMs_R_Us said...

Eclipse also confirms it has no intention to move its production facilities outside of the United States in contrast to some current media speculation.

The blog has now officially achieved the status of media.

Dave said...

Kenneth Ross (of NAJC) now has another charter company:
http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/spectrum-aeronautical-nets-fleet-order-from-starfish/
It wont be using the FPJ.

Shane Price said...

Dave,

I suspect that, pretty soon, none of the 'airtaxi' samurai will be promoting their use of the FPJ.

Just a hunch, you understand.

Shane

gadfly said...

“Media/Medium” (plural and singular forms) . . . so many rules to learn! Too bad we were not all required to learn Latin. As one student declared, “Latin killed the Romans, and now it’s killing me!”

“Eclipse Aviation in Cash Conservation Mode”! Too bad we haven’t all watched the bathtub razor scene in the “God Father” . . . as in, ‘What’s the difference between hot and cold water?’

Throw in a few ice cubes, and you’re in the “life conservation mode”. But if you’re making a movie, raw film costs a bundle, and it becomes more important to the “true” investors to achieve the “cost conservation mode” . . . so “hot water” helps the blood flow faster, and we can get on to the next event.

It’s no longer a question of “The End” . . . every major movie achieves that goal, even if it is in four parts. We all have this dark wish for Al Pacino to make the silent scream on the steps of the opera house . . . and to eventually slump over in the garden in Sicily, as the dog wanders off in disinterest. (I like dogs!)

gadfly

(“The Godfather” was a true classic. Too bad we cannot say the same for the little bird.” But in either case, the end is certain, ice cubes or a hot bath . . . mach nichts.)

DEPOSITOR825 said...

Ulyanovsk, la Russie - Etric est le fait de fermer efficace des opérations d'Éclipse dans les États-Unis et le fait de transférer la production en Russie. Etric a été en mesure d'acquérir l'Aviation d'Éclipse pour les centimes sur le dollar. Aucun du passif en incluant des dépôts, l'avion retrofits ou les paiements aux vendeurs insignifiants ne sera transféré à la nouvelle compagnie opérante. Les sources anonymes croient qu'avec les conditions économiques actuelles il n'y a plus une place de marché avec un VLJ dans les États-Unis.

gadfly said...

. . . 825

It makes no difference if everthing is transferred to Russia, minus the debit . . . they end up with nothing of real value. And even if they cannot be held accountable, for the liabilities back in the US of A, they still have "nothing".

As far as the technology transfer (my French is next to "zero"), there is no real technology to transfer.

And the "Ruskies" still end up with nothing. Dealing with the land of the goose, to the north . . . that's something else again . . . you'll need to speak with the folks at "P&W". And even they may have second thoughts about a technology transfer . . . what with things down in Georgia . . . and I don't mean "Atlanta".

gadfly

(And then again, I took a chance and tried to translate from Frog to Limy . . . !)

Dave said...

Ulyanovsk, la Russie - Etric est le fait de fermer efficace des opérations d'Éclipse dans les États-Unis et le fait de transférer la production en Russie. Etric a été en mesure d'acquérir l'Aviation d'Éclipse pour les centimes sur le dollar. Aucun du passif en incluant des dépôts, l'avion retrofits ou les paiements aux vendeurs insignifiants ne sera transféré à la nouvelle compagnie opérante. Les sources anonymes croient qu'avec les conditions économiques actuelles il n'y a plus une place de marché avec un VLJ dans les États-Unis.

Rough translation: Ulyanovsk, Russia - Etric is the fact of closing effective operations of Eclipse in the United States and transferring the production in Russia. Etric was investing to acquire Eclipse Aviation for pennies on the dollar. None the liability by including deposits, plane retrofits or the payments with the unimportant salesmen will not be transferred to the new operative company. The anonymous sources believe with the current economic conditions it there more one place on the market with a VLJ in the United States has.

Anonymous said...

Pics or it didn't happen.

gadfly said...

Dave

Yes, I missed the fine points . . . but maybe not too bad on the "spirit" of the thing, for someone who almost failed highschool Spanish, but for a last minute deal I made with the teacher.

gadfly

(Had she failed me, I would have had to take her class a second time . . . she gave me a "D", which was below "C" level, qualifying me for Submarine Duty . . . give it thought . . . you'll get it!)

Dave said...

Yes, I missed the fine points . . . but maybe not too bad on the "spirit" of the thing, for someone who almost failed highschool Spanish, but for a last minute deal I made with the teacher.

I hadn't seen your post when I made mine.

gadfly said...

Dave

It really don't make no difference, no how . . . but my guess was an attempt to finger out the language and whatever the man was saying. In fact, at first, I thought it was some new form of Chinese, Latin, or Swahili . . . 'much I know! But you soon came to the rescue.

'Last night, I squashed a few snails in the garden, by the fish ponds . . . and that jogged my memr'y. And I says to myself, I says, "That man is speaking in escargot!" . . . and the rest was easy.

gadfly

('Buzzing off!)

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

ETRICK, aptly named months and months ago by yours truly... is clearly barking out of both sides of its mouth... or shall I say globe?

Over here - "don't mind the rumors... of the blogsters... we won't be shutting the ABQ lights"

Over there - "we're coming with nothing but the good stuff... the bad stuff we're leaving behind in the good Ol US of A".

Pretty bold BS... better than even Vern if you ask me.

The whole factory is at issue, the product, transfer, even good old American tax dollars and equity investments in this media (blogger?) frenzy.

Pretty sad. At least Vern was American. The new guy is pissing on us, and lying all at the same time.

Confiscate his passport, until we have some evidence he isn't shutting down the plant.

I know, Gadfly is going to correct me - shutting down the plant IS American!

I stand corrected!

Seriously, man I'm going to laugh my butt off if this guy actually shuts ABQ and says he's moving to Russia... what a farce!

Dave said...

"After further consideration of this position, I have decided not to accept it. As a result, I have no further relationship with Eclipse Aviation either domestically or internationally."

"Après moi, le déluge" is what he said under his breath. It should be interesting to see how things turn out in the end.

Ceri said...

Rough translation: Ulyanovsk, Russia - Etric is the process of effectively closing Eclipse in the United States and transferring production to Russia. Etric acquired Eclipse Aviation for pennies on the dollar. None the liabilities, including deposits, plane retrofits or debts to suppliers will be transferred to the new company. The anonymous sources believe that in the current economic conditions there is no longer a market for a VLJ in the United States.
"

airtaximan said...

"After further consideration of this position, I have decided not to accept it. As a result, I have no further relationship with Eclipse Aviation either domestically or internationally."

I guess he found out the office was at a health spa?

Dave said...

Over here - "don't mind the rumors... of the blogsters... we won't be shutting the ABQ lights"
Over there - "we're coming with nothing but the good stuff... the bad stuff we're leaving behind in the good Ol US of A".
Pretty bold BS... better than even Vern if you ask me.


Actually Vern had previously said something similar. He had said domestically that he wouldn't offshore, but when he was international, he said he'd be stupid not to offshore.

Pretty sad. At least Vern was American. The new guy is pissing on us, and lying all at the same time.

Vern is an American, but he did piss on us and lie.

Seriously, man I'm going to laugh my butt off if this guy actually shuts ABQ and says he's moving to Russia... what a farce!

That probably is his plan, but he'll see that he gets nowhere. These tech guys with the huge chip on their shoulder.

Dave said...

None the liabilities, including deposits, plane retrofits or debts to suppliers will be transferred to the new company.

So this was either a license sale or asset sale (rather than sale of the business). If Eclipse does go BK before long, that whole deal could be cancelled by the BK court if the court thinks it was a bad deal...then again, I think Roel bought a white elephant.

TBMs_R_Us said...

If they do transfer all of the "value" to the Russians, we can all have a hearty laugh! Maybe the Russians will make a go of it, and there will be FPJs flying all over the country -- even Siberia with that FIKI stuff. They'll show us a thing or two!!

airtaximan said...

Dave:

Besides, the product is MOOT... but,

The license agreement is a terrific way to circumvent all the stuff you are thinking.

A BK court would be nuts to say, nope - you can't produce this thing and pay us a royalty...

The timing was quite some time ago, and there is probably a case for some revenue coming to EAC from this - IF you think there's a market for the plane.

My guess - they lower the price, promise to finish the plane, and produce it in Russia - take orders... deposits... and do an IPO somewhere... BEFORE they deliver many more planes.

This was, afterall, THE PLAN... right?

gadfly said...

"Après moi, le déluge"

Loose translation:

“Someone jiggle the handle, or get the plunger . . . I’m only wearing loafers.”

And it wasn’t “under his breath” . . . he was screaming!

gadfly

(And leave the plant open . . . this may become a tourist attraction . . . a museum of how not to build a bird. And sell admission until the $20,000,000 plus is paid back to the taxpayers of New Mexico. Governor Bill and Vern can work off their time, as guides and custodians.)

Dave said...

A BK court would be nuts to say, nope - you can't produce this thing and pay us a royalty...

I'm thinking that the royalty was already paid rather than it being recurring revenue and I also think that Roel hasn't been acting in the best interest of Eclipse since he became Chairman and especially since he became CEO, but even though I think he screwed Eclipse I think in so doing he screwed himself.

My guess - they lower the price, promise to finish the plane, and produce it in Russia - take orders... deposits... and do an IPO somewhere... BEFORE they deliver many more planes.
This was, afterall, THE PLAN... right?


That was Vern's plan in the US and that's probably Roel's plan in Russia. I expect they'll meet with the same results.

Dave said...

And leave the plant open . . . this may become a tourist attraction . . . a museum of how not to build a bird. And sell admission until the $20,000,000 plus is paid back to the taxpayers of New Mexico. Governor Bill and Vern can work off their time, as guides and custodians.

...and Mayor Chavez can be the mascot representing wasteful bribed politicians who don't do their jobs.

TBMs_R_Us said...

acting in the best interest of Eclipse

It's becoming murkier and murkier exactly what that is!

Dave said...

Amid unconfirmed reports that founder and former CEO Vern Raburn wants nothing more to do with the company and will not accept a post promoting the airplane internationally, Eclipse Aviation is essentially asking the media to stop asking so many questions about its future.

Eclipse - the biggest media hound - now complains about being hounded by the media. Too bad. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

So first on Wednesday Eclipse's sockpuppet said this:
In an email to AVweb on Wednesday, Eclipse spokeswoman Alana MaCarraher had this to say: "To answer your question... we have heard nothing about shutting down our current operation and moving to Russia. We are still moving forward with our plans to open a facility in Russia, but we do not plan on shutting down any of our facilities here in Albuquerque."

But then on Thursday Eclipse via press release said this:
Eclipse also confirms it has no intention to move its production facilities outside of the United States in contrast to some current media speculation.
http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/EclipseHitsBackAtSpeculation_198600-1.html

So Eclipse is only generating media speculation and they're creating confusion as well. If the sockpuppet also wrote the press release that would mean on Wednesday Eclipse was going forward with Russia but on Thursday Eclipse changed their mind. Alternatively it could be the sockpuppet kept on the dark not being aware what the top brass is up to. Eclipse is only generating more questions rather than more answers. By the way, if Eclipse doesn't yet have an operational plan but Russia is going forward, wouldn't that mean that shutting down ABQ is a distinct possibility to reach what they consider to be a solution?

Dave said...

Here's more confirmation that Vern is getting out of Dodge. This quotes from the same email as ANN but appears to give it in full. The introduction to it takes a dig at Vern:
Vern's Total Exit
Posted by William Garvey at 8/14/2008 6:37 PM CDT

When he announced his departure as CEO of Eclipse Aviation at EAA's recent annual gathering, Vern Raburn said he would continue to be associated with the program as vice chairman of the company's largest investor. Well, after two weeks of reflection, he's had a change of heart. It seems if he can't run the show, he doesn't want to watch those who do.

What follows is an announcement he transmitted Thursday evening:

"Two weeks ago at AirVenture, I announced my departure from Eclipse Aviation, a move that was required by the investors to pave the way for a new round of financing. I also announced that I would become vice chairman of ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l., one of Eclipse’s investors and a key player in the proliferation of very light jets in Europe and Russia. After further consideration of this position, I have decided not to accept it. As a result, I have no further relationship with Eclipse Aviation either domestically or internationally. I will, however, continue to stay close to the aviation world through my participation on the boards of ICON Aircraft, EAA and the Museum of Flight in Seattle. In addition, I will also continue to serve on the Board of the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation. I’ll be in touch with my friends in the media when I determine what my next venture will be."

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/business_aviation/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3A2f16318d-d960-4e49-bc9f-86f1805f2c7fPost%3Ab34616e1-ad70-42b4-a1f6-061ae29517f2

I'd say quoting an email from Vern coming from two separate source so far is a confirmed report as to Vern's intentions. Eclipse after a decade in the media can't just suddenly decide to shut the media off at will for a month.

Jim Howard said...

Identical email reported on Aviation Week blog:

Vern's Total Exit

easybakeplane said...

I am shocked that Vern would allow such old technology as vapor cycle air conditioning on his high tech jet! (Perhaps it had something to do with having NO spare bleed air from the original engine)

------------------------

BTW, if this whole story ends in the next month or two like some people have estimated, I would like to nominate Spectrum aircraft as the next subject of this blog. It has: 1. (in)famous windbags Austin Blue and Brian Barents involved in the management 2. Quoted absolutely outrageous performance figures. 3. Already pushed aside it's original design to certify a bigger plane. 4. Stated they're using 'new' composite technology that will change aircraft building as we know it! 5. Shamelessly stolen their design cues from 30-series Learjets!

AvidPilot said...

Though nominated, I will not run...

Good. One thing that I will support Vern on whole-heartedly. It's one thing to be responsible for screwing people right and left. It's another thing to be a sap, just one more puppet of the new CEO responsible for screwing people right and left.

The blog has now officially achieved the status of media.

And why not? The mainstream press has pretty much achieved the status of "useless". Aeronews.net is the perfect example of the media sucking up to who whomever pays them the most money. Blogs make no money. The biggest problem with blogs is that there is a lot of garbage that must be filtered through (similar to advertising, I suppose...).

Shane Price said...

Captain Zoom is annoyed with us, and does not want anyone to quote him here.

This is fine with me, all he has ever done is recycle Vern's drivel.

So, in future, I will ask anyone who posts anything from ANN to reword it in such a manner that a) it's better written (that won't be hard) and b) no mention is made of him or his 'mouthpiece' web site.

Thank you all, in advance.

Shane

fred said...

guys ... guys...guys ... !

i leave you for the time to fly from point A to point B ...

and you start to speak french ???

the disease must be spreading ! ;-))

(gad : your french is excellent , i can offer you a crate of burgundy wine , after the third bottle =you'll sound like a local ... at the end of crate , it may even happen that we would understand each other ... ;-))) )

for me the story is simpler :

"a liar lying in liar-land"

explain:
vern touted the mega-orders and uttermost qualities of the bird ...

roel touted about the mega-multi-millions (Zimbabwe)$ he could put in the story ...

at the end , they both understand:

a) vern = roel doesn't have all the cash of the world and no high-top-notch buddies in russkii-land to make thing happen with a blink of eyes ...

b) roel= vern has exagerated the value of something which is nearly worthless and the thousands of thousands orders are to be counted in hundred (if you take out all ed's one !)

now the 2 buddies (V+R) are going to reach the sour part of their relationship ...

ABQ = it is working , but badly and there isn't enough workload to justify investing for lowering production costs ...

ULYA : everything is remaining to be built , without even the smallest justification (in term of orders !) just at the time the Russia/USA relation is going sour ...

and in both case , there is the left over liabilities (upgrade , retrofits and warranty ) to be assumed ... (costing mucho mucho !)

so Vern is leaving the boat (easy after to say , i was not the CEO at the end = termination of EAC is not my reponsibility )

Roel is closing everything , going to canada by one of the small road where border-control are next to inexistant , and then take a plane to ??? , bye , gone , liabilities ? what's this ???


Poor (only affective term) Monsieur Gunner , you were looking for us NOT to talk about business ...

and we still do ! ;-)

WhyTech said...

"Though nominated, I will not run..."

I am not at all surprised. IMO, there was never any intent on anyone's part that Raburn play a substantive role at Eclipse going forward. This was likely all posturing to give an impression of some measure of management continuity. The title Vice Chairman is often used an an ejection seat for execs who have been told to get out of Dodge.

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

Easy there, Easybakeplane. Your notes on Spectrum are distorted.

1) Brian Barents isn't involved in Spectrum. And when you refer to windbag, you probably mean Linden Blue, the former head of Beech and now head of General Atomics. Austin (Linden's son) hasn't been involved in aviation long enough to be classified as a windbag, at least not yet.

2) They claim these numbers because they've spent 25+ years developing innovative production techniques first that will allow lower aircraft weights and what you call "outrageous performance numbers." I'm in no position to say if they'll achieve them, but why not let them try? Linden is spending much of his own money on Spectrum projects, so he can do whatever he wants, IMO.

3) Spectrum didn't push it's original design (the S.33) aside. They built an S.33 prototype and flew it for about 40 hours before it crashed due to crossed controls. The accident was deemed a maintenance error (controls were misrigged during a modification). Spectrum had to go back to square one to rebuild a prototype and decided at that time to do the larger S.40 first and then the S.33. Perhaps the market indications changed and they were just trying to build first what customers wanted. That's a novel idea.

4) Spectrum never stated that they're using new composites. However, they are using new production technology for composite designs. It doesn't use a honeycomb core since it has a geodesic (sp?) internal structure. Any engineers on here that can comment on this type of design?

5) I'll let Bombardier Learjet handle this one. If they want to sue for design infringement, have at it. But have you noticed that Bombardier hasn't done so yet? That might tell you something.

Sorry to get off track of the FPJ, but I couldn't let EB's comments stand. And, no, I don't work for Spectrum or any of its suppliers.

Black Tulip said...

Vern sez, "I will also continue to serve on the Board of the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation."

Gadfly, as an Albuquerque businessman, this must come as a tremendous relief.

airtaximan said...

me thinks, someone told Vern and Pieper, that with Vern as Chairman of ETRICK, the "company with the license to produce the jet(s)..." this could be "perceived as" insider dealing and provide ammo for BK courts to cancel the agreement.

So vern goig to be making flying boats, now...like Howard Hughes? - IIRC, with his X-wife and the former FAA administrator, and Esther Dyson, and Bruce Holmes from NASA and Dayjet? Right?

Ya think Ed and Roel feel left out?

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

ETIRC is a "defence and
security solutions company"?:
http://www.avon-rubber.com/corporate/press/2007/MoUforTurkishSupply.pdf

flyger said...

Shane Price said...

Captain Zoom is annoyed with us, and does not want anyone to quote him here.

Considering how much stuff he lifts almost verbatim from other sources, then tries to parlay it off as something original that he found, this strikes me as hypocrisy. I'm tired of the "first reported in ANN" lies and the self aggrandizement that pervades his web site.

Shane, you should not attempt to police a request from Capt Zoom by monitoring other people's posts. If you even imply that you are somehow responsible for what others post, you become a target. The benefit of the blog is that all the "Does" are responsible for their own posts. Period.

If Capt Zoom is unhappy, he can post in the blog himself, you don't have carry his message. He can't take a little of his own medicine? Too bad, I say.

Dave said...

Raburn resigned from Microsoft after he got a bad review:
At Microsoft, Gates willingly delegates authority, but he's fussy about how it's used. Vern Raburn resigned in 1982 as president of Microsoft's Consumer Products Group after Gates decided "he was not doing his best work."
http://www.businessweek.com/1989-94/pre88/b30501.htm

Raburn could have been a billionaire now if he hadn't had a temper-tantrum and sold all his Microsoft stock, so instead he's left with getting bones from other Microsofties - Bill Gates giving him charity and Paul Allen letting him play with his money since Raburn lost on his chance to have his own. I doubt however, that with Vern's latest tantrum that he'll lose out in billions from Eclipse stock.

Dave said...

Shane, you should not attempt to police a request from Capt Zoom by monitoring other people's posts. If you even imply that you are somehow responsible for what others post, you become a target. The benefit of the blog is that all the "Does" are responsible for their own posts. Period.

Shane is doing the right thing as the moderator of this blog.

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

Dave,

pls delete your "hey, hey..." post

Unless I miss the point, its pretty bad karma.

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

for, me...pls delete.

Dave Ivedorne said...

So vern goig to be making flying boats, now...like Howard Hughes?

Icon has built ONE flying boat. Same as Howard Hughes.

So, yeah, like Howard Hughes...

Would you like the Ground Effect Breakfast?
DI

Dave said...

for, me...pls delete.

Deleted per your request.

Dave said...

Icon has built ONE flying boat. Same as Howard Hughes.

But Vern says there will be HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of them. Vern's big problem (perhaps an intentional thing he does to raise more money) is that he automatically takes 100% ownership of the market in his forecasts as if there wont be any competitors. One day Light Sport aircraft may darken the skies with such large numbers, but it wont be ICON alone in the skies if such a thing were to occur. Aircraft are nothing like software - you can't monopolize an industry by making airports incompatable with aircraft that aren't your brand.

airtaximan said...

thank you.

There was a time when some EAC supporters refered to a crash that killed a test pilot at another company developing a jet, in defence of EAC....

Just about everyone took offense.

We've been pretty good about keeping the comments clean of bad Karma regarding this sort of thing.

I am sure everyone here wants nothing but a 100% safety record for all planes, and respects the delicate nature of such comments.

Again, thanks

airtaximan said...

Dave,

that's a very insightful comment about foreclosing the competition due to compatibility issues...

I think Vern tried some of this logic on his investors, with the "rights" to the engine, the proprietary avionics, FSW, and the high cost to enter the jet-maker market.

Most of this is in the garbage by now, and I see the ICON airplane more akin to the SEGWAY than a real transportation solution, or even a realistic option for the RV market.

I'm sure the market analysis lists boat, SeaDoo, JetSki, WaveRunner, ultralights, sport planes, and homebuilts to justify the HUGE market. Also, there are 19,000 runways, strips etc in the US alone - guess how many lakes there are?

It's going to be funny to watch this "project" over the next few years.

"Hello... yes, Vern..Vern Raburn"
click
"Hello - I'm not calling about my air taxi, its about the flying boat..."
click

Dave said...

I think Vern tried some of this logic on his investors, with the "rights" to the engine, the proprietary avionics, FSW, and the high cost to enter the jet-maker market.

Unfortunately the only thing proprietary about the engine is that it is controled by HAL with a funky FADEC; the avionics are now second and third rate instead of being the best in general aviation; FSW is questionable as to how beneficial it is in cutting costs.

I was just crunching the numbers of the 600 hours per unit that Masefield quoted. I don't think Eclipse ever actually believed that. If Eclipse was to make 1000 per year they'd need less than 300 factory workers and if they made 1500 per year (the max they've said), they'd need less than 450 factory workers. If Eclipse had 1500 factory workers (out of the 2100 total workers claimed) making units at 600 hours per unit, the factory would be turning out 5200 units per year. This would point to Eclipse from the very beginning not believing what they said as all along they've talked about this staffing figure...in fact Eclipse has talked about having 3000+ staff. Having a factory staff of 1500 turn out 1000 units per year works out to over 3000 hours per unit, which is 5X Masefield's figure.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Fuji Heavy Industries ( who rivets and stir-fries FPJ wings for the Greater Albuquerque Incomplete Aircraft Works ) has announced their intention to produce a line of business jets under the Subaru brand. They describe them as being comparable to the CJ series of Citations. No word on any stir-frying that might be involved in their construction.
( sorry, couldn't find a link - from this week's AWST )

I can hardly believe that they're squandering all the hard-earned brand recognition that using the name 'Nakajima' would afford them. They probably realized that such a move would result in the aircraft being referred to as CJ Zeros.

Climb Mount Hiitaka?
DI-san

gadfly said...

Dark Blossom

Vern sez, "I will also continue to serve on the Board of the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation."

That just gets added to the list of reasons we’re moving the business out of Bernalillo County. And you’re correct: It will bring tremendous relief!

gadfly

(fred . . . Thanks for the complement, but my “French” begins and ends with “Chevrolet Coupe”. The rest is cheating, using the internet translators, and adding some imagination . . . nothing more.)

(DI . . . “arigato gozaimasu”)

fred said...

by the way :

if depositor825 could be kind enough to tell where he found the comment in french , i would be grateful ...!

weird kind of french ...!!

not (99% probability ) written by someone using this language on daily basis ...
too many words missing and order of sentence is not correct ...!

so dave do not apologize for "rough" translation of something looking like already "rough" stuff ...!

fred said...

gad : do itashi mashté , sama gad !

it is not really a problem ...

but offer for burgundy remain valid , that the best way to learn one of my languages ... ;-)))

Beedriver said...

The new Vern light sport seaplane is also a fiasco.

Do not put your money down until you can actually fly one.

It will be interesting to see what happens. it has only flown one very short flight. there was no information I could get on the actual empty weight of the aircraft, since A major driver for the project is Vern Rayburn who is a past master of creating hype and taking deposits and not delivering one should be careful They should have spent the money they spent on the show to develop an actual flying prototype that met specs. I have learned that there are lots of people that can create a flashy prototype but fail when forced to actually do what they promised.

I think it will be very difficult to add all the extra weight to do folding wings etc. and still qualify for light sport with a reasonable useful load and meet the price target.

Bill

gadfly said...

fred . . . I was last in the Land of the Rising Sun in 1957 . . . so my Nipponese is mighty rusty.

But even then, the Japanese quality was far beyond the stuff being produced out at the ABQ bird farm. This is an embarrassment to everything I know of quality, even in Albuquerque.

gadfly

(We never had to be concerned about the Japanese quality of work on the systems of our Submarine, in the shipyards at Yokosuka.)

Dave said...

I think it will be very difficult to add all the extra weight to do folding wings etc. and still qualify for light sport with a reasonable useful load and meet the price target.

Seeing how Vern treated the FPJ, he'll just ditch the safety gear and other important items in order to hit the performance targets. The Plastic Goose depositors will find out that their aircraft took four times as long to get ready than as predicted, it costs twice as much for half the functionality as promised if Eclipse is any indication as to how the Plastic Goose turns out.

Black Tulip said...

No extra weight is required if the wings only fold up once - just before the end of the very last flight. Oops... bad karma.

gadfly said...

At lunch, most recently, with a long time friend, the conversation turned to the Eclipse. He and a business partner had visited Oshkosh when the first mockup was shown. It was obvious to them at that time that something was “rotten in the state of Denmark”*.

The last time I had flown with him was in their little “Learjet” . . . and asked him what they now owned: A Dassault Falcon 200 . . . life is rough!

It doesn’t take all day for people who are truly savvy in aircraft design to figure out something like the little bird . . . and it shouldn’t take all day to figure out the “Plastic Goose”, as history seems to be repeating itself. I just hope they don’t try to build it here, and test fly it on (or “in”) the Rio Grande.

gadfly

(On second thought, they could do it here, and call it the “Mud Hen”.)

*Shakespeare "Hamlet"

Dave Ivedorne said...

The new Vern light sport seaplane is also a fiasco.

Not intrinsically. Vern's participation is certainly a large, smelly albatross around its neck ( not to be confused with ... well ... you know... )

It will be interesting to see what happens. it has only flown one very short flight.

Did it get out of ground effect? ( I'm just thinkin' of that whole Howard Hughes analogy. Vern's already had to testify before Congress, right? )

A major driver for the project is Vern Rayburn who is a past master of creating hype and taking deposits and not delivering one should be careful

I've ... heard that...

I think it will be very difficult to add all the extra weight to do folding wings etc. and still qualify for light sport with a reasonable useful load and meet the price target.

I found the Icon intriguing and attractive ( possibly attractive enough to purchase ), but am extremely skeptical that it could have adequate range / payload / interior space - and still meet LSA requirements. The LSA part is irrelevant to me - though I imagine that the cost of certifying it otherwise would put an immediate stop to the project. I'm least concerned about it hitting a particular price point. But the Icon, as advertised, would fulfill one particular mission for me that I'd really like to be able to fulfill.

Doesn't matter anymore, since I learned that Vern's involved - wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

Gear up for water landing,
DI

baron95 said...

EB said ...BTW, if this whole story ends in the next month or two like some people have estimated, I would like to nominate Spectrum aircraft as the next subject of this blog.

How about telling us which startup company has a shot of successfully designing, certifying and delivering a new design very light GA jet?

Are you that intent in pointing out the obvious? That these are high risk endeavors and that few if any will succeed? Are you that enamored with the idea that the least expensive complete very light GA jet on the market today costs $3.0M and they only build 100/year? Is that what you wish for the future of GA jet aviation?

How about starting a positive jet GA blog for a change?

Dave Ivedorne said...

Aircraft are nothing like software - you can't monopolize an industry by making airports incompatable with aircraft that aren't your brand.

In an amusing turn of irony, it turns out that in Eclipse's case, the aircraft have compatibility issues with airports that aren't in Albuquerque, Albany, or Gainesville - FPJs certainly seem to be tethered pretty tightly to those locales.

"You are not free to move about the country,"
DI

Dave said...

Are you that enamored with the idea that the least expensive complete very light GA jet on the market today costs $3.0M and they only build 100/year? Is that what you wish for the future of GA jet aviation?

Flying is a rich person's sport and especially so with jets. Aside from money issues, I don't think everyone who can pass a driver's test should be flying a jet or prop so it is an inherently smaller market. Ferraris and the like are an inherently small market and I think there's nothing wrong that not everyone has one in their garage.

airtaximan said...

baron:

I like the way you think - I mean, dream.

Seriously, what more do you need to see that the dream was just that - a dream?

1) many industry leading folks and companies involved in the program
2) a ton of money flowing
3) all the time in the world
4) friends in high places to smooth out the rough patches like TC and PC

etc...

and, it still didn't work.

Know why?

I think I do - but perhaps I'm wrong...

There are many established companies in aviation, industry veterans with a lot of experience, imagination, contacts, credibility and human and capital resources at their disposal... and unless you believe in an industry wide global conspiracy, they probably would have cracked the code on the private-jet-for-the-masses
long before Vern Raburn came along.

Likewise, established operators would have seen the cheapo-air-taxi solution years ago. It didn't take Ed and Peiper and their bands of merry computer-farmers to figger that one out.

So, we know that all the talent, money and time in the world cannot produce a VLJ that will sell enough to have a low enough price tag to make a difference.

Until someone figures (yes, I CAN spell this) out how to make "everyone" a safe airplane pilot, the jet for the masses is a hollow dream.

Until then, if you can afford Jet-A and jet training, you'll be spending $3M for your jet. On a financed basis, that a cool $100k per annoum more than a $2M jet.

If you care more about the $100k than your life... which is pretty much how I asses the decision to purchase an e500 - you shouldn't be flying any jet. IMHO.

PS. Baron, by YOU I don't mean "you".

airtaximan said...

Dave:

are you me? just more focused and to the point?

LOL

baron95 said...

EA500 OQN complete preliminary report is now on the NTSB site at
http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20080807X01174&key=1

Shane, usable runway at OQN was 3,097 feet, temperature was 28c, winds were calm, altimeter was 29.75 with a 1% down slope on the direction used.

Can your EA500 pilot contributors, please look in the flight manual and tell us what was the Vref and landing distance under those conditions. The plane was topped off before leaving LOM for the short flight with two aboard. I'd assume max landing weight, unless they want to run the numbers with say 300lbs for pax+bags.

Just wondering how much margin was there to begin with.

flyjets said...

"Bill is very good at evaluating situations as they change," says Vern L. Raburn, a former Microsoft executive who is now chairman of software producer Symantee Corp. As Microsoft grew, for instance, Gates brought in professional managers to help run it. Adds Raburn: "He learned at a young age that you've got to give up power to get power."
http://www.businessweek.com/1989-94/pre88/b30501.htm

Quote from Vern, regarding Bill Gates. Ironically, Vern never followed his own advice.

Ceri said...

Baron, you've already got a rep for blaming the pilot, so I'll post this quotation:

"Skid marks which matched the landing gear geometry of the accident airplane began approximately 868 feet west of the displaced threshold, and continued for about 2,229 feet until they left the paved portion of the runway"

Landing a little long, maybe? (of course, no way of telling how much runway was used before the skid marks started).

Dave Ivedorne said...

How about starting a positive jet GA blog for a change?

Baron, there's already one online, right here. Signing up for it ain't cheap, but members get a Reality Distortion Field for no extra charge.

On a more serious note, this one's pretty good, and so's this one.

Would you like the combo?
DI

Dave said...

Can your EA500 pilot contributors, please look in the flight manual and tell us what was the Vref and landing distance under those conditions. The plane was topped off before leaving LOM for the short flight with two aboard. I'd assume max landing weight, unless they want to run the numbers with say 300lbs for pax+bags.

There's a comment from an FPJ owner here on that crash. The pilot thinks there will be incidents:
http://discussions.flightaware.com/viewtopic.php?p=58087&sid=fac49107f0d8bfa3877c26c846410c15
The pilot then reports on a rumor that Eclipse is developing an anti-skid system and says that he hopes it is true.

rlal said...

Re The Brandywine incident: The NTSB report makes no mention of the running engine which had to be shut down by firefighters using foam. Anyone care to confirm whether this media account was correct/incorrect?

Dave said...

Here's pictures of the incident. The first picture is the father and his daughter and the others show the foam being sprayed:
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?brd=1671&dept_id=662684&pag=1020&newsid=19880422&cpe=~~26~~28NB~~2AWZ~~27~~2D~~0A&barnd=9472

WhyTech said...

"How about telling us which startup company has a shot of successfully designing, certifying and delivering a new design very light GA jet?"

They all have a shot. Probability of success is 10% or less.

As many of us have stated here ad naseaum, it's the market, stupid (paraphrasing a well known statement, not calling B95 stupid). Until the man in the street can routinely safely fly a jet for transportation without attaining and maintaing ATP skills, it aint likley to happen.

stan said...

There is a Baron95 who frequents -

www.airliners.net

On Jan 3, 2007 posting on an Eclipse thread, he wrote:

For those looking for a convinient place (not a great place mind you) to find these items, look here (reader discretion advised - the writer does seem to have an ax to grind with Raburn):

http://www.eclipseaviationcritic.blogspot.com/

baron95 said...

Dave said ... Aside from money issues, I don't think everyone who can pass a driver's test should be flying a jet or prop so it is an inherently smaller market.

That is just it! You are content having artificially high prices due to limited competition and supply. Ferraris are sold for substantially more than the cost to build, because supply is kept artificially tight and the brand valuable. It is not because Ferrari/Fiat could not build more for a lower price, it is a market niche decision: high price/exlusive brand. BUT, Fiat (who owns/controls Ferrari) also builds cars starting at $10K all the way up the Fiat/Lancia/Alfa/Maserati/Ferrari line (haven't checked the latest ownership structures).

On the other hand, in the ight GA airplane market we have huge distortions and artificial prices, because of limited supplies and restricted competition.

Can you imagine Toyota one day deciding "We will not build any more entry level cars" and exit that market for a decade? That is what Cessna (the then GA market leader) did in 1985. Can you then imagine Toyota reentering the market with exactly the same products it had a decade earlier?

Sure it is easier to manage Ferrari, building 2,000 cars/year knowing that each is sold before you produce than managing Fiat having to cover a broad line with many ups and downs, some products tanking others doing great, etc.

Sure it is easier to managet EADS/TBM selling just the TBM850 than with the TB10/TB20 line in the mix.

I just don't think that light GA is doomed to be like that forever, and I think we should encourage all that attempt to change the status quo, even though we know that most if not all will fail.

In 1950 a light GA plane (Bonanza) used the same technology and had basically the same speed as a popular airliner and biz aviation DC-3s, Beech 18s and the like.

60 years later, the GA plane is using the same airframe and propulsion system, while the biz aviation (not to mention the airlines) are two generations ahead. That is a sad state of affairs.

Even though I don't like their design choices, I am rooting for Diamond to overcome their weight and performance issues and start deliverying good performing SE jets at a price point that is half that of the Mustang.

If that planes rolls out at $1.5M or under and performs reasonably well, Diamont would have, overnight (discounting the Eclipse mess) lowered the fully functional GA jet entry price by half.

Hopefully the FAA will wake up and not require an ATP type rating on the plane in 5 or 10 years time.

Then we'd have a change in the industry. Maybe (longer shot) Cirrus will also be successful.

Maybe they both will bump their operating altitudes to 30Kft in time, getting even better.

Maybe SVS systems and TWAS in those planes will come close to eliminating CFIT accidents, and insurance rates will come down.

Who knows. The point is, we can never find out what is possible if it is not tried.

Encourage people to try even if you know the chances to succeed is slim.

BricklinNG said...

I understand that the Cirrus jet has a significant weight issue presently--about 300 lb full fuel cabin load--and that Cirrus is working feverishly to improve the situation. If true, then the Diamond, which seemed less appealing than the Cirrus in Oshkosh static display, might actually be a much better choice by being better balanced in its performance. Do any posters here have any insight on this?

WhyTech said...

"Encourage people to try even if you know the chances to succeed is slim."

Yes - this is what makes progress happen. Most will fail, but a few usually succeed to join the dinosaurs in whatever the industry might be.


One would hope that these efforts are conducted with integrity. Just finished reading "The Smartest Guys in the Room," the story of Enron. Deception and fraud from beginning to end. We dont need more of this in aviation.

Dave Ivedorne said...

The NTSB report makes no mention of the running engine which had to be shut down by firefighters using foam. Anyone care to confirm whether this media account was correct/incorrect?

Rlal, I suspect it's true, considering the ubiquity of that aspect of the crash being reported. It wouldn't necessarily have to be included in NTSB's report, as it is likely unrelated to the sequence of events that led to the crash ( engines were likely "stuck on" at idle, and as a consequence of - rather than causal to - it ).

IIRC, the pilot reported that the panel went dark before he tried to shut them off.

It could well be that the seats are capable of withstanding 26G or whatever's called for, but one important wiring harness disconnect or FRU slot only capable of 4G - which is disturbing in its own way - after which the Fadecs did what they're programmed to do.

( Not quite the same, but related - see the Cessna Tactical Attack Plane Speed Boat Thingy in action. )

Would you like that runway basso or troppo corto?
DI

Dave said...

That is just it! You are content having artificially high prices due to limited competition and supply.

In what you quote from me I was speaking of intelligence...that just because someone can drive a car, it doesn't mean they should be flying jet. Also with Ferrari I was speaking of the class of high end sports cars, not just one company. A jet is beyond the cost of even that. It is something for rich people who have intelligence beyond the minimum amount to pass a driver's test. You could give someone a jet for free and between the insurance and JetA costs, they'd have to have a six figure income to actually fly it 500 hours per year...and that was if they lived in their hangar and didn't pay rent! Eclipse puts 500 hours per year costing over $200K:
http://www.eclipseaviation.com/files/pdf/Economics.pdf

Encourage people to try even if you know the chances to succeed is slim.

I'm not discouraging people, just I'm pointing out the obvious that aviation is a rich person's sport. Take the ICON where if everything promised comes to fuition that prop plane is about as expensive as a MBZ CL class car...not something that the average joe could afford even if it was their primary and only vehicle.

There's no "artificial" limits just aviation takes more precision than cars and unless you own your own personal oil well in the middle east, you've got to have a hefty income if someone gave you a jet for free, so the price of jets doesn't change that.

flightguy said...

B95,

I would agree that we in the industry should encourage to push the limits of technology, in a safe measure. With that said, no one should pronounce their dreams and fantasy as truth. Many here wanted the Eclipse to succeed, but were not at all impressed with the deceipt and alleged lies that consistently were found to be exactly that under the light of day.

JMHO

gadfly said...

Cheap aircraft for the masses would sure provide some great video on the evening news . . . the CHP, performing a “pit maneuver” a couple thousand feet over the “I-5" during “rush hour” (in other words, 24/7).

The little bird definitely needs ABS on the main gear, or it will never sell in Orange County at the Tustin/El Toro New&Used Jet Mall.

gadfly

(Before long, “In-N-Out” would have new branches at every airport, selling “Double-Double-Animal Style” with an order of flies to go. And the need to shut down an engine? . . . why bother, it’s a “fly through”.)

baron95 said...

Bricklinng said ... If true, then the Diamond, which seemed less appealing than the Cirrus in Oshkosh static display, might actually be a much better choice by being better balanced in its performance.

I wish that were so, but the reality is that the D-Jet is on the wrong side of the more power, more fuel, more weight curve. The plane was substantially as in 800lbs+ overweight from what I gather, so diamond had to up the MTOW, and the runway performance and cruise were bad, so they had to up the power, etc.

You HAVE TO think of the D-jet as an alternative to the Meridian. It will be slightly faster, but with lower range, a smaller but better layed out cabin, a bt more fuel burn, similar full fuel payload. Lower prive tag, better avionics, and of course being a jet are the selling points.

Just like a Mustang compares to a TBM850, the D-jet compares to a Meridian.

I'm really surprised at how much troble Diamond has had in meeting basic performance targets for their two latest planes the DA42 and D-Jet. It is like when they stepped out of their glider like singles, they couldn't get performance out of the planes and they came out extra-heavy on top of it all. I hope they can recover, but I am not too optimistic.

gadfly said...

It must be Friday . . . with everyone standing (sitting) around, waiting for the latest news from ABQ. It’s difficult to stay focused on a target that keeps moving. For a crew of workers, with little experience, but high hopes . . . it’s their future, and that of their families.

A “rich man” gets ticked, has a tantrum, walks away . . . comes back . . . and declares his intent. A company that promised early on, to be open . . . at least they willingly accepted millions of dollars, and the gracious invite, from taxpayers that hardly know the difference between a jet and a stage coach (a little hyperbole here) . . . have kept their present and future intents virtually a secret. Sure, they don’t know, but they could at least “share” that info with some country folks that have put up a rather large sum of money, and welcomed them into our community.

Silence!

Every morning on the way to work, there is a “power line” over the off ramp from I-40 to Central (“Old 66"), and I usually count between 12 and 20 pigeons . . . and say to myself, “All the usual suspects are present!” This morning, there wasn’t a single pigeon present. Do they know something I don’t?

At Eclipse, we know that “one of the suspects” is missing. What about the rest?

And so we wait!

gadfly

(Birdy, birdy, in the sky . . . dropped some whitewash in my eye . . . I’m sure glad that cow’s can’t fly. Our shop is almost directly under the flight path of aircraft taking off to the east, and turning left (north) to head out north or west. ‘Haven’t seen any of the little birds of late.)

BricklinNG said...

Well, then, Baron95 perhaps the Diamond DA50 will be a winner in its space, being the ultimate single derived from glider heritage. They are going to pressurize it so it looks like reasonable value at $700k or so, going 200+ kt with 5 seats at up to 25,000 ft. The Mirage is almost double in price. I don't know who would buy a $600,000+ Cirrus or a $1.3 m Mirage if you could get a pressurized DA50 for $700,000. The DJet would be nice at $1.5 m and 300 kt., but if you could go 200+ for half the price and 20 gph vs. 80, the choice might be tempting.

baron95 said...

Well, we face the very real prospects that, in the next 12 months:

1 - Eclipse implodes for good, either way there is no way they can deliver a full jet with SVS avionics, etc anytime soon.

2 - Diamond puts the D-jet project on hold. They are facing horrendous cash drain right now. They have dozens of planes built that had no engine to put in them. They are facing a massive crash course in engine certification and warranty claims and a costly D-Jet reengine. Somthing has got to give. It could be the D-jet.

3 - Piper runs out of funds to certify the Piper Jet.

4 - Cirrus, also facing a bit of sales slowdown and cash crunch, postpones or significantly slows down the Cirrus Jet program.

That will leave us all with no GA Jet below $3M for the foreseable future.

Sad to even think about it.

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

That will leave us all with no GA Jet below $3M for the foreseable future.
Sad to even think about it.


If that actually does happen I think much of that will be because of Eclipse by doing a very high profile flame-out it will scare investing money out of aviation.

airtaximan said...

Baron,

to be clear,

"artificial" relates to the dream
"limits" are reality

It is a big mistake to dismiss the lmits in aviation as "artificial": price/production realities regarding GA aircraft need to be respected as the laws of supply, demand and the marketplace. These are real.

My preference is to deal with companies that are as conservative with these realities, as they are with quality and safety and new technology. Its a cultural thing.

The belief that these "realities" are somehow "artificial" could lead someone to "forward price" (artificially deflate) a little jet plane in development - based on the DREAM there is a large enough market to justify a thousand planes produced a year and a resulting lower cost. Again, the reality of volume/cost or supply and demand.

In our recent case, it was basically a tall tale (backed by a neophyte air taxi friend placing a huge order, masked as a smaller order) or a dream, that turned out to be the linchpin of the failed business plan, and for many, a nightmare.

The prices for parts and planes and service rendered in GA reflect the supply and demand side. Many people work all day long evaluating technology, markets and strategies to lower the prices and overall cost to operate these planes.

The fact remains, the large market as described by Vern and EAC was only a dream. Back in 2001 they knew it - there was not enough demand then, so they fabricated Nimbus and then Dayjet for the magical order book...

...because the reality was clear - there was not a large market for this plane.

Dave said...

The fact remains, the large market as described by Vern and EAC was only a dream. Back in 2001 they knew it - there was not enough demand then, so they fabricated Nimbus and then Dayjet for the magical order book...
...because the reality was clear - there was not a large market for this plane.


That is what is so unfortunate and why I'm rather relentless on criticizing Eclipse/Vern/Ed/etc. I'm all for new businesses and commerce, but I personally can't stand dishonesty and I also see how much damage is done in the business world when execs engage in serious lying. Even with the DayJet and Nimbus orders aren't themselves problems, but Eclipse acting as if they already have guaranteed revenues in the billions - if Eclipse would have said that they have many orders, but many are speculative and might not pan out, then it is entirely different. Now with the DayJet order Eclipse has gone into self-parody by trying to keep the illusion alive.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Baron I disagree with your pessimistic outlook.

I agree Diamond is at most risk right now thanks to Thielert but I also think they have the weakest offering in the bunch.

I think Piper and Cirrus will both be fine - there simply are very few planes that can take off with full seats, bags and fuel and as pilots we are all used to that - in fact, the planes that CAN do that are the exception not the rule.

I remain hopeful for the future.

gadfly said...

The subject still remains “Eclipse Aviation”.

The word that describes it is “hyperbole” . . . “high-PER-bole-ee” . . . exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis.

The little jet may be defined as “hyperbole” . . . an exaggeration of the facts, for the purpose of selling something to the gullible, not to be confused with “Gulliver”, who traveled to a distant land, not unlike New Mexico . . . a land of little people, with King William (Bill), the “Left”, and a local mayor, “El Martin of Chavez de la Ciudad de Albuquerque”, . . . benevolent leaders who would support something of which they had little understanding, yet were considered too small to be of any problem, when the time came to return to the outside world of the “giants”, a people of average understanding, sometimes described as “street smart”.

The problem is that sometimes “little people” have a tendency to “believe” the “hyperbole” . . . actually, basing their future, and that of their families (over 1,800 at last count) on the unbelievable stories, from the “most benevolent giant” from another land . . . a mysterious place of “micro softness” . . . a land in which reality is changed merely by changing a few lines of something called “bits” and “bytes” . . . and if it doesn’t work the first, second, or seventeenth time, a few more changes will make everything perfect. (And in the dark of night, updates will mysteriously appear . . . updating problems that were at earlier times unforseen . . . fourteen appeared in the last few nights . . . making everything perfect in the land of XP-Pro.)

Well, there you have it. Everything is under control. The land of “Lilliput” on the eastern bank of the mighty Rio Grande, flowing with the beautiful color of “milk chocolate” (with a slight reddish tint . . . think “Adobe”), has everything under control.

gadfly

(In other words, we haven’t a clue!)

Dave said...

Baron I disagree with your pessimistic outlook

I think it all depends on where the economy (both the US and world) go. I think it will take some time still for the US economy to recover from the hangover caused by excesses. Oil seemed to be dropping, lifting stocks, but if something isn't going on in the ME, then now it appears that Russia could cause oil to go up by causing a legit fear that it could invade former provences (some of which are very oil rich) and the threat of wars in oil rich regions could be disruptive to oil prices.

baron95 said...

By the way that was not a prediction or outlook. It is just one of many possible outcomes. But the fact that it is even within reach of coming to pass is disturbing.

AT - I'm with you, I like conservative planning also. Having said that, we will NEVER trully know the market for a $1.3M fully functional SEJ with good support until someone builds, sells, supports one.

Since that price point is 1/2 the price of any other jet it is trully a disruptive experiment. It is possible that a 1/2 price, 2/3 utility plane sells less, a bit more or significant more than a full utility plane at twice the price. No one knows for sure.

Eclipse thought it would sell 5x more than the Citation family. Diamond thinks they'll see twice as many as the Mustang. Cirrus is simply saying they don't know.

No one knew how well a plastic plane with a parachute from a startup company would sell vis-a-vis Piper, Cessna, Mooney, Beech. Now we know. Even though it had until recenty the worst avionics and the worst safety record it still outsold them all. And how come no one ever thought of producing the highest selling configuration: Turbocharged, high-performance, singe engined, FIXED GEAR before.

Sometimes it is the underdog that pushes the industry. Do you remember how unreliable a BMW was and how appaling the Mercedes dealearship experience was in the US before Lexus showed up?

Do you remember how cozy the king air world was before TBM and Pilatus came in with fast trurboprop singles? Again a configuration, that didn't even exist before.

Lets hope Diamond solves its problems, that Piper doesn't try to put too many Malibu bits on the Piper jet, that Cirrus is capable or certifying a new airframe in less than 10 years that took them with the SR series, that Honda decides to stay in the game, etc. Lets even hope the E400 is designed and built properly.

But that is all this is - hope. I don't have a high degree of confidence on any of these propositions at this time.

airtaximan said...

we will NEVER trully know the market for a $1.3M fully functional SEJ with good support until someone builds, sells, supports one.

not true... but that's a really long post!

I don't suppose you think the plane makers just throw darts at a board to select a denominator...do you?

I can promise, its not 1500 planes a year... and that was the dream.

;)

gadfly said...

‘Just a suggestion here:

The original invite to this party was to be in honor (or “dis-honor”) of the “coming out” of the little bird, commonly known as the “E500", and later it’s little sister, the “E400".

Of late, the discussion has covered almost every other subject. Now granted, the debutante’s father has of late, left the scene altogether. Yet there she stands in all her “glory” . . . and all the “guests” to this party have treated her as if she were not even present. (Who in the world knows the “mother” . . . an enigma.)

The poor thing is not even fully dressed . . . and we could say it was a “Coming Out Party Costume Malfunction” . . . with various “In-Op” tags all over her outfit . . . otherwise “quite stunning” in white, with pop-rivet sequins.

But the least we can do is to focus our discussion on “her” . . . for better or worse. After all, she “is” the reason for which we meet . . . almost daily.

gadfly

(Poor thing . . . the term, “Old Maid” is no longer politically correct . . . unmarried sister has also come into disfavor. "Elderly Aunt?". ‘How ‘bout “unclaimed blessing”? . . Of course, you’d have to re-define “blessing”. ‘Maybe a “blessing in disguise” . . . very disguised!)

TBMs_R_Us said...

Gadfly,

Truth be told, "she" is too well known now to be very interesting, little tramp that she is. Perhaps we've all grown a bit bored with her, and are lusting after someone new.....

Dave Ivedorne said...

Big Dreams vs. Hyperbole & Fraud

Remember that commercial where the guy asks, "Where's my flying car? I was promised flying cars. I want my flying car"?

Well? Where is it? With apologies to this knowledgeable fellow ( with an axe to grind ), "Flying cars can be no better than their engines. The flying car is a design looking for an engine". Ten years ago, the same was true of VLJs. Heck, thirty years ago, as a bicycle mechanic, I thought of the VLJ - so did, I'm sure, tens of thousands of others. But the engine wasn't there. ( I didn't think of Air Taxis to sucker would-be investors with, though. Sigh... )

Back to flying cars...
Dozens of folks have forwarded designs for flying cars, and probably a quarter billion private dollars have been invested in pursuit of that dream. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it ended up in the hands of one guy. And that isn't going so well.

The money Paul Moller attracted prevented this ( equally improbable ) idea - or any other - from attracting the development dollars needed to even find out if the various ideas could work.

If I read Baron's plea for "supporting the dreamers" correctly, we should all consider the nobility and entrepreneurial drive of Moller, and ignore him selling stock without registering it with the SEC and making numerous unsubstantiated claims about the Skycar's performance. Because if it wasn't for Moller, we wouldn't have $100K flying cars.

Likewise with VLJs. What are there, more than a dozen pseudo-credible VLJ designs out there? And upwards of a couple billion private investment dollars anted up on their potential success? Problem is, the vast preponderance of that money ended up in Vern's hands, short-changing the others. How did he do it? Hyperbole, to be sure. And based on attracting those investment dollars by misrepresenting his order book and capabilities, fraud too, IMHO.

Apparently I'm missing something. I should be praising Eclipse's willingness to dream BIG, because without all of the subterfuge they've engaged in; without their contempt for the aviation industry they rely upon for their fragile existence; without their willingness to break promises to deposit holders, investors, and the general public; without their spoon feeding "user fees" FUD to the airline industry; without their pushing dangerously incomplete aircraft out the door, we wouldn't have a sub $1M jet option available to us today.

Silly me.

airtaximan said...

Folks,

she's a transvestite.

- Look all dressed up from the outside
- Not at all what you expect, when you get down to it
- once you understand it for what it really is, the allure is really only there for a few risk averse small segment of the market
-its a lot more (weird) and high maintenance than you thought
- you really don't want to bring this into your family

OK... someone please laugh at this - its my best attempt so far at humor!!!

C'mon!

That's funny right there - I don't care who you are!!

CW... c'mon

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Tranny plane - funny!

eclipso said...

Now that's funny right there

MagicSky said...

Yep,

Pretty funny!!

Anybody know anything about staff layoffs?

MS

Dave Ivedorne said...

she's a transvestite...

...you really don't want to bring this into your family
.

Not to mention putting family members into ... um ... "her".

-----------------------------------

Who in the world knows the “mother” . . . an enigma

If Vern was the father, wouldn't Ed be the "mother"? Nah, it's got to be the investors - they're the ones who got wined, dined, and ultimately scr**ed at the start of the whole "process".

( ducks & runs )

Dave Ivedorne said...

This comment from the end of November 2006 by poster "Vmc" on the original blog rings as true today as it did back then:

The future of EAC is dependant on a solid leader who is more concerned about safety and longevity than public perceptions and IPO. A historical point of interest if I may; When EAC moved all of their engineering staff from Walled Lake to ABQ in October of 2001, the design was in an embryonic state and the engineering staff was, for lack of better terms, poorly managed. VR's answer? Dismiss 23 of the ~97 engineers on staff, many of which had just sold their homes in MI and committed to EAC with the infamous "crossing of the line" acceptance offer. Those fired may or may not have kowtowed to management, and they may have actually expressed opinions of concern or difference that could help shape the 500 into something better than it is today.

Mr. Pieper, I hope you're paying attention, that your intentions are honorable, and that your bank account is flush. I wish you luck.

"Making airplanes is HARD".

DI

Dave said...

BusinessWeek via the AP now confirms that Raburn is gone:
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D92IVGOO0.htm
Yet after a decade of being a media whore, Eclipse suddenly has decided it doesn't want to talk.

I AM NOT VERN said...

It has come to my attention that Captain Zoom has a very interesting background. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in his past history do a Google search for "Zoomland Captain Zoom". I'll not provide a link as you will need to do the research yourself. Any links you find may lead to websites that may or MAY NOT present truthful information. That will be for you to decide.

baron95 said...

dave I. said ... Likewise with VLJs. What are there, more than a dozen pseudo-credible VLJ designs out there? And upwards of a couple billion private investment dollars anted up on their potential success?

That is just it. I don't see any. By my definition of a VLJ as a personal jet, less than 6,000lbs MTOW. What is out there.

The ONLY trully credible, ow risk offerings the Mustang and Phenom 100 are way too big, way too heavy, way too thirsty, way too expensive to be a personal plane.

D-Jet, Cirrus, EA400 design-wise would fit the bill, but of those, only the D-jet is any where near certification, and it has problems.

So there is really NO personal jet design out there that is credible enough for me to put a deposit on one. Not one. And that after 10 years of pursuit. Very sad state of affairs if you ask me.

easybakeplane said...

Let me apologize in advance to Gadfly and any others who might be offended by my 'off topic' remarks that are to follow...

--------
Responding to Shadow

1. It was a late night when I made my last post, and yes I meant Linden Blue, CEO of Spectrum Aeronautical LLC (and vice chairman of General Atomics) and I also mixed up Aerion and Spectrum when referring to Ret. Gen. Barents (ex big wig, Learjet and Galaxy)

(Ever notice all the strange a/c company names? Why not Bluejet or Raburn Aviation?)

2 & 4. Although the 'new' composite design sounds interesting, there is more to making a certifiable a/c than primary structure ( and 'new' FibeX TM composites are their words, not mine)

3 & 5 (For the sake of Gadfly's blood pressure I will pass on any additional comments on these issues)

--------

Baron, one word of advice for a successful entry level jet; don't make it out of composites...another word of advice for future a/c makers, FAA certification isn't cheap

------------
One final comment to Baron and others; I didn't start contributing to this blog because I have a problem with Vern or Eclipse Aviation, but because I don't like people (self serving idiots?) impuning the aviation industry, ripping people off or killing people in the process of trying to design/market/sell/fly aircraft that are 'disruptive'.

I would go on, but I'm afraid I would be removed from the Honor Roll.

WhyTech said...

"So there is really NO personal jet design out there that is credible enough for me to put a deposit on one."

Free advice (and worth the price): dont put a deposit on any acft that isnt certified, in series production, with at least 100 flying, and with the prospect of adequate long-term support. Hasnt the Eclipse fiasco taught us anything? I simply dont understand these folks who are rushing to throw money at new designs from unproven companies. As Eclipse has shown, its not necessary to tie up millions for years to get one, and certainly not prudent to do so given the long and highly visible history of such ventures.

x said...

Dayjet Use August 9-16

Tail 134 shows some gaps (local loops from Palm Beach), may be on private flights. Tail 153 made an odd flight to Dallas late at night.

Tail .. Aug 9 - 15
152 .. 13:00
139 .. 11:12
145 .. 10:55
142 .. 8:40
150 .. 8:36
147 .. 8:23
146 .. 8:20
148 .. 7:42
153 .. 6:38
156 .. 6:33
141 .. 5:04
158 .. 2:49
163 .. 2:13
134 .. 1:52
116 .. 0:59
130 .. 0:59
160 .. 0:43
109 ..
110 ..
115 ..
119 ..
126 ..
131 ..
132 ..
135 ..
136 ..
161 ..
162 ..
Total .. 104:38

baron95 said...

Wytech said ... dont put a deposit on any acft that isnt certified, in series production, with at least 100 flying,

I would have no problem putting a deposit on a Phenom 100, a Cessna Columbia, a G650 if those met my mission and means and the contractual terms were reasonable. None.

Newness of the design has nothing to do with it. Soundness of the company and confidence in their execution is the key. Airlines, which do a lot more due dilligence than any of us routinelly place multi-billion dollar orders for airliners that are not even designed and are 5+ years from certification( e.g. 787, A350).

The problem is that the prospects (both performance and viability) for the personal jet designs out there are simply very poor.

Shane Price said...

Baron,

Sorry for the delay. I, like most of us here, has a business to run (in my spare time...) and it took a little time for 'working pilot' to respond as well. Anyway, here goes:-

One of your bloggers (Baron 95) was asking about the EA-500 landing distance.

The airport is at 466' at a temp of 80 degrees F or about 27 degrees centigrade.

Using the landing performance charts for the above conditions with no wind, over a 50' obstacle, the numbers are:

At 5415 lbs.3450' for a dry runway.

At 5000 lbs. 3207' for a dry runway.

This is for the original TC aircraft. Since the ETT is heavier, the distances are even longer. As one can tell, there isn't much margin for safety. There are no figures for wet runways. They are longer, as one might surmise.

There appears to be a big question about the decision making on the part of the pilot.

Under part 135, we couldn't legally use this airport.


I'm happy that we can get this level of discussion on the specifics of the FPJ. I will shortly make another comment, bringing everyone up to date with what the 'inbox' is telling me.

Shane

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

Brief summary of the 'state of the union' at EAC.

1. Vern, as we all know, went to great lengths to publicly cut ties with EAC on Thursday. This was just on two weeks after taking up the offer of a vague role as VP 'International something-or-other'.

My guess, he was told he would not get paid off in the manner he expected and had an instant tantrum. The reason he was told to get lost? No money, for such indulgences.

2. SP2/FSW and SP11 are "ghost towns" with the second shift already at home, waiting for a recall they presume won't come. Most of the first shift are in the same position. Roel/Peg/Mike (hereafter RPM) issue regular emails telling people they are planning everything and instructing them to talk to no one. The NDA threat was issued again...

My guess, RPM are looking at everything, but are doing as little as possible and hoping to get extra funds from someone, possibly Al Mann or one of the other original investors.

3. Everyone has been told to cut back. Vending machines have been installed, waste is being examined carefully, no travel can be done without a counter signature from RPM and second or even third tier suppliers are getting orders they never expected.

My guess, CASH is truly king. Only the most urgent supplies are being ordered, preferably from people who will still give credit. This suggests that the funding round is not going as well as RPM hoped.

3. Sales and marketing is under a major microscope. This is one area where a company in difficulties will seek to make instant cutbacks, as it's easy to do.

My guess, RPM will grant someone else exclusive sales rights for North America, and use this as an excuse to fire the salespeople and cease advertising, abruptly.

4. There are as many as '100' FPJ's in various locations, parked up and waiting for the famous 'upgrades'. New production has practically ceased, as have sales in the secondary marketplace.

My guess, RPM will announce that they cannot afford to honor the original promises (made by the recently departed founder) and are now offering to do the upgrades at x per plane, payable in advance. To achieve the fastest possible turnaround, they have 'slowed' current production to make 'room' for the upgrades.

There you have it, maybe not as brief as I promised, but at least it's bang up to date.

And some advice for RPM.
Just send me the emails direct, it saves time. At this stage, more of your staff believe what they read here, so you will get your message across faster.

For myself, I offer the following. What you are doing is tantamount to 'cruel and unusual punishment', on both yourselves and your employees. Tell everyone what your plans are, now. Your staff have families who depend on them, and need to start making decision about their future. Keeping them hanging on 'to the end of the month' won't wash anymore.

Believe me, been there, done that, got the T shirt.

Finally, and sincerely, best wishes to everyone at EAC. I know you are all trying your best to extract the company from difficulties which are not of your making.

Shane

WhyTech said...

"I would have no problem putting a deposit on a Phenom 100, a Cessna Columbia, a G650 "

My tolerance for unnecessary cost and hassle is lower than yours. If history is any guiide, even these acft will have their share of teething problems that owners will have to put up with. However, given the companies behind these acft, there is reason to believe that these problems will be mostly corrected in the fullness of time.

airtaximan said...

baron,

you are looking for a lighter, smaller, lower cost plane to call a VLJ... actually, its called a prop.

;)

tough to compete with a prop for the shorter missions which are a fact of life for the "smaller planes".

airtaximan said...

Since BusinessWeek finally reported Vern departure... perhaps someone can research all the reporting done by Rich Karlgaard (Kaarlgard?) at Forbes...

IIRC, he promoted Vern and eclispe over the years, as if he had a lot of his own money involved. I am nt saying he did - it was just remarkable to me how one-sided his promotional pieces were, guised as reporting.

WhyTech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shadow said...

Easybake, fibeX is just a composite fabrication technique. Spectrum is using Toray, I believe. And it's not pre-preg -- the automated fibeX machine dispenses the resin while it lays up the composite material.

Dave said...

IIRC, he promoted Vern and eclispe over the years, as if he had a lot of his own money involved. I am nt saying he did - it was just remarkable to me how one-sided his promotional pieces were, guised as reporting.

He's one of those rant-for-rent guys. I don't believe he has any of his own money tied up in Eclipse, but by his own admission they've paid him to give speeches:
One of the sponsors of my Albuquerque speech was Eclipse Aviation, which makes the world's first very light jet, the Eclipse 500. Presto: Arrangements were made for me to fly the Eclipse 500 from this airstrip in Hayward, Wis., to Albuquerque. There I'd give my luncheon speech then remount the Eclipse 500 for another flight to New Orleans.
http://blogs.forbes.com/digitalrules/2008/07/beating-america.html

Dave said...

My guess, RPM will grant someone else exclusive sales rights for North America, and use this as an excuse to fire the salespeople and cease advertising, abruptly.

Watch these guys self-deal and sell it ETIRC but they get jobs there (like how Vern got offered) while everyone else gets the pink slip. It will then be ETIRC (rather than Eclipse) that offers to do paid retrofits and has the worldwide rights to manufacture the FPJ. Roel's paying around $100 million might not be such a bad deal. ETIRC will then probably want to flip it.

Not that I think people should violate their NDAs, but I don't see how Eclipse's latest round of sabre-rattling could be taken seriously as they have neither the time nor the money to go off suing their own employees.

WhyTech said...

"There appears to be a big question about the decision making on the part of the pilot."

Well ... duh! Given the 3347 ft published length and 3450 ft (dry runway) AFM landing distance, wet runway, 50 ft width, etc, this would seem an understatement. And this guy is an ATP with multiple type ratings? Must be Superpilot.

gadfly said...

It sounds like the judge has told the defendant(s), “Be here at the gallows, first thing Monday morning at sunrise . . . and bring your own rope!”

gadfly

(Oh yeh, there will be a work day, teaching carpenter skills on Saturday at the “Company Potluck” . . . bring your own hammers, saws, and nails . . . and plenty of wood beams.)

Dave Ivedorne said...

All -

I need to put a myth to rest, out of apprehension that I may have contributed to its existence in the first place:

The runway at Brandywine was not wet.

When I said that the news photo "depicts wet conditions", I was simply wrong - it is a small, low resolution photograph. The radar track does, on the other hand, show spotty rain showers moving through the area. At the time I wrote that, I was looking at a six-hour loop with decent resolution. At this time, the best one I can find is smaller, in the radar archive for July 30th here.

This was spotty rain showers, *not* Hurricane Camille, folks.

Putting a dagger into the chest of any Wet Runway Myth are the photos Dave provided us yesterday. They're low angle, good resolution, and taken within an hour of the crash. The road is dry, and it is mere hundreds of feet from the runway. Anybody wish to venture that the runway's wet? Not me.

Pull around to the second window,
DI

airtaximan said...

Dave:

I have heard reports that there was a very small local shower spotted- a little just outside the plane, but most of it was inside the plane....

WhyTech said...

"The runway at Brandywine was not wet."

I stand corrected. However, still not a brilliant display of aeronautical decision making. A safe landing possible? Perhaps. Landing here in the EA500 a good idea? IMO, no - all margins seem nearly (or more than) used up. AFM numbers are typically close to the best possible with a test pilot who knows the drill precisely. No allowance for unforseen glitches. I'd think more than twice about landing an EA500 on a 50 ft wide runway regardless of length, given the history of tire problems. But all of this is after the fact - easy for me to say!

TBMs_R_Us said...

So there is really NO personal jet design out there that is credible enough for me to put a deposit on one. Not one. And that after 10 years of pursuit. Very sad state of affairs if you ask me.

Baron,

At the risk of stating the obvious, a large part of the problem is that EAC sucked all of the available funds out of the market just like a fire sucks out all of the oxygen from a burning house. Well over $1B in investment capital, plus all of the deposit funds. It's fair to say that the market is "once burned, twice shy". Your lament is right on, it is a very sad state of affairs. But, let's place the blame where it truly belongs!

Given the state of affairs, we may not know for a very long time if a certificated jet aircraft weighing less than 6000 pounds and costing less than $2M is achievable.

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

established manufacturers have money, resources etc.. to build whatever they see fit to build... this does not require a new under-funded company.

There's a reason the manufacturers are producing the planes they are - singles, heavier vljs, eyc...

If there was a buiness case for the e500, an established company would buy the company for nothing today, and produce the plane.

I think any real hard look reveals that although a few people want such a plane at $1.5M or so... most people are either happy with a prop for this mission, or can afford a real jet from a real company for $3m.

I think the OEMs know this. I think someone missed the market... dreaming about taxi planes replacing cars.

I think there are a lot of people with a lot of experience looking for new models and products to build for aviation - everyone seems to forget this. Its an OLD industry, not a new one.

For flying low, and short missions with limited payload, the prop cannot really be beaten. They know this. Except for a really small market... of say Doctors?

PS, if Vern was the only game in town (big dream, big mistake) I bet he would have a lot of customers. Cessna and Embraer and Diamond ate his lunch. They seemed to have made better products for the real market. He missed it.

baron95 said...

Shane's EA500 Pilot contact said ... There appears to be a big question about the decision making on the part of the pilot.

You think???!!!???

The calculated distance was 3,200-3,450 ft depending on the weight. I'll use 3,400, as the plane was likely pretty close to max landing weight. Now we add compensation for wet runways. In most planes it is 10% of ground roll, lets be generous and add just 200 ft (I don't think the runway was soaking wet). Then we add compensation for the 1% down slope, another 200 ft.

So we now have an ATP rated pilot with multiple type ratings, landing a plane that requires approximately 3,800 ft of runway on a runway that has 3,097ft usable lenght. On top of that, the PAPI was INOP and NOTAMed as so.

On top of that, the pilot believes it is OK to be a bit high, then "dip" then cross the threshold a bit fast.

He (and his daughter) are INCREDIBLY LUCKY that there were no obstructions at the end of that runway, no fance before the road, and soft bushes and light fance after that.

It is beyond me why pilots attempt such things. What was he thinking? The breaks on the EA500 are supper effective, the tires are awesome, I am "da man"?

The thing is, the FAA will suspend someones certificate for busting 300ft of altitude, but they almost never do it in a case like this.

P.S. Having said all that, I give the pilot the benefit of the doubt until all facts are collected, investigated and a determination of prob cause (if possible) is made. It just ain't looking good for his decision making with the knonw facts.

P.S. #2 - Shane, thanks for providing the factual info and for your (again fact filled) report on EAC.

Shane Price said...

ATman,

For me, you're bang on the money. Not only did Vern the cash arsonist burn through a mountain of money, he squandered the one thing none of us can make more of.

Time.

10 years, messing around. Changing engines, avionics, suppliers and staff.

The man was the real problem with this program. Even the manner of his departure lacked grace or style.

Shane

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