Albuquerque, New Mexico - September 28, 2008 – Last week Eclipse Aviation announced financing by the Russian State Bank to build a factory in Ulyanovsk, Russia to assemble the Eclipse 500 Jet. CEO Roel Pieper said, “Today we are pleased to provide details on our new and exciting Russian venture.”
The plant manager for this state-of-the-art facility is newly-hired Vladimir Kochoff, a retired Russian Navy Admiral. “There has been some little confusion about the relationship between Albuquerque and Ulyanovsk and I would like to mostly clarify this here, now today,” said Kochoff.
“Eclipse has described how the components of the jet will be packaged in a ‘kit’ and sent to Russia for final assembly. Our crack team of Russian specialists travelled to remote Northern New Mexico to somewhat finalize the details. They found that the reusable shipping container and shipping costs to transfer the kit halfway around the world were very expensive.” stated Kochoff.
“We eliminate those costs by spending a few more hours, completing the aircraft and we fly the ‘kit’ to Russia,” he continued. “The sky will finally be darkened by the Eclipse. If you step outside your house in Bangor, Maine at six o’clock every evening, you will see two or three contrails – those are Eklipse-Kits on their way to the homeland.”
“At the Ulyanovsk factory is where the real work begins,” said Admiral Kochoff. “Russians read news that aircraft had problem with fasteners so we took action. First the little plane does not look very Russian with too many flush rivets so we drill all those out and replace them with button head rivets. Now it look beautiful. Also no global airplane should have English fasteners so we replace with metric screws and bolts. We pick the closest size and you just have to turn the screwdriver or wrench harder.”
“We also read about many, many problems with Avio avionics. This does not surprise us if you would know the meaning of the word ‘avio’ in the Russian language. We replace all of this with tried and proven Russian electronics. This also improves the operation in known icing in cold Russian winter as the vacuum tubes provide useful heat.”
Kochoff continued, “We tinkered with the engine controls to expand the range for fuel usage for economical operation. Since trans-fats have been banned in many United States cities we see Eclipse operating costs coming way down, but it also is difficult to find good French fries in States. I set the FADEC myself and, if it is a liquid composed mostly of carbon and hydrogen we can go.”
“Finally, Russian government has asked us to add hard points under the wing so external stores can be carried. They are sending some Eclipse jets to Georgia but we do not know why.” concluded Kochoff.
As some of you will no doubt have realized, Black Tulip has been writing again. I really like the bit about 'vacuum tubes', as I've done quite a lot of work myself with 'valves' and can attest the heating benefits they bring to a cold workshop.
Can I also thank you all for your kind words over the past week. My next post will now benefit from a lighter touch, as my mood this week was a bit dark....