Tuesday, September 16, 2008

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing on FAA's Rush to OK Eclipse 500 Jet: Will the Committee Hold the FAA's Feet to the Fire?

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on Sept. 17, at 10 a.m. EDT, regarding the Federal Aviation Administration's issuance of its type certificate (TC) granted to Eclipse Aviation Corp. for its Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ). The event can be viewed live at http://transportation.house.gov.

The committee, chaired by Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., ordered the Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office to investigate whether the FAA should’ve issued the TC on Sept. 30, 2006, after an unprecedented grievance was filed on behalf of FAA-employed engineers and test pilots, who were responsible for validating compliance of the Eclipse VLJ. According to the grievance, FAA management awarded Eclipse Aviation with the TC for its airplane without allowing aircraft certification engineers and flight test pilots to properly complete their assigned certification/safety responsibilities. According to media reports, former Eclipse personnel will testify before the committee, validating that the VLJ was not safe to fly at the time of certification.

The engineers and test pilots’ concerns were partially vindicated on June 5, 2008, when an Eclipse 500 landing at Chicago's Midway Airport experienced uncontrollable, maximum power on both engines during the approach to land. Skillful piloting saved the lives of the four on board, after the plane’s computer that controls the engines experienced a condition it was not programmed to handle—uncontrolled maximum engine thrust on landing, and one engine rolling back to idle position, after the pilot-in-command and copilot got the plane back up in the air, as they were running out of runway.

In a move to obscure the thrust of Oberstar's investigation, the FAA last month initiated a 30-day review of the Eclipse 500. While a complete investigation of the Eclipse certification process would take a year, this investigation was limited to specific areas related to known problems brought forth by Eclipse operators since the aircraft entered service. The team looked at whether these issues were raised during the certification process, and if any of the issues are currently a safety threat.

Despite the narrow scope and brief time allocated for this investigation, on Sept. 12, Robert A. Sturgell, acting FAA administrator, issued a statement: "The team found that the airplane was certificated in accordance with safety regulations…” Further, her said, “This review tells us that while we made the right call in certifying this aircraft, the process we used could and should have been better coordinated."

However, the DOT’s IG’s office began its investigation after the FAA refused to hear the grievance formally, choosing to ignore documented safety issues.

In a related effort to influence the hearing, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson traveled to Washington on Sept. 3 to meet with Oberstar. Richardson's office issued the following statement: "We will emphasize the state of New Mexico's commitment to Eclipse Aviation and highlight the pivotal role that Eclipse has played in our efforts to create high-wage jobs. As a former congressman, I know how important it is to hear directly from communities that benefit from the presence of companies like Eclipse."

Richardson failed to address the safety issues. He failed to mention the alleged breakdown of protocols within the FAA of allowing unfettered hands-on experienced professionals to determine whether a new design was safe or met the intent of FAA regulations. He also failed to mention whether he had a hand in influencing the FAA to accelerate its issuance of the TC to Eclipse.

Meanwhile, Eclipse has admitted to being a cash-strapped company that recently laid off nearly 40 percent of its work force, halted aircraft production, refuses to return position holders' deposits, albeit lawsuits mounting, and is betting on the recent "FAA special review team audit" to clear its name, so it can continue its 10-year history of broken promises—delivering non-completed aircraft. Currently, the company is seeking additional funding to continue operation and open an additional production facility in Russia. Eclipse has burned through more than $1 billion; however, the company is seeking an additional $200 million to $300 million so it can produce aircraft.

Contacts

Eclipse Aviation Critic NG
http://EclipseCriticng.blogspot.com
E-mail: eclipsecriticng@gmail.com

468 comments:

1 – 200 of 468   Newer›   Newest»
Shane Price said...

Another first for the blog!

This headline post is being circulated on business news services over the coming hours, so expect it to crop up in 'interesting' places.

Thanks much to the group who helped put it together. You know who you are, and why your assistance was so welcome...

Shane

airtaximan said...
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airtaximan said...

Shane:

I would add Sturgell's reaction to the investigation - that Part 23 certification regulations and processes need to be changed (as opposed to EAC or the E500) in order to address (the list of) known problems/safety issues with the aircraft.

Perhaps this is not the right woring, but the message is loud and clear:

"yes, the plane was certified according to FAA rules"

- AND -

"YES - now these rules have to be changed in order to ensure safety"

IMO, this was the only way the FAA could exornorate itself from the accustions of the workers who were impeded from doing their jobs by EAC while admitting that safety issues remain with the aircraft.

Orville said...

Good blog post up at AVwebInsider - along with some interesting comments.

Deep Blue said...

Could one or more of the bloggers who has studied the certification issues post them in summary form? That is, what exact items are in contention (during cert and currently); this would help the discussions. Thx.

There seems to be at least five broad issues:

1. The certification process/management

a. at FAA
b. at EAC
c. bewteen FAA and EAC


2. The degree of manufacturing compliance with, or modification to, certification plan/spec

3. The degree to which Part 23 may be a viable platform for turbo-jet aircraft

4. External influence that may have been applied to the process, standards and timing of certification

5. What remediation efforts may be applicable, both to the EAC aircraft proper and to future general cert management

airtaximan said...

DB,

"3. The degree to which Part 23 may be a viable platform for turbo-jet aircraft"

I made this error in thinking as well... although by reading Sturgell, you could easily forget that Citations are cert PArt 23... without any problem and they are bigger, heavier jets.

As CWMR points out, this is more a comment on EAC's apparent shift in the way they worked with the FAA (I am being polite) as opposed to the holes in the FAR PART 23.

Strugell points out the areas where the process is lacking... one could easily attribute this to EAC and the E500 cert instead of the FARs. They chose not to.

Capiche?

Shadow said...

Ironically, the Eclipse/FAA hearing will be held at the Rayburn House Office Building. (I'm well aware that Vern's last name is spelled Raburn).

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

Monsieur Shane , thanks for the quality of your service to us ...

the real issue of the matter being "what is going to happen IF( or when)FAA is found guilty of giving a cert. in a light manner ?

or , in a more straightforward way : where the wish for truth is going to end , and where some are going to cover their a** or face the blame for failing their duty ?

TBMs_R_Us said...

IF( or when)FAA is found guilty of giving a cert. in a light manner

Don't hold out great hope that any such thing will occur. This is happening in Washington DC after all. And, even though he was a pud when he said it, it is "silly season". Even if Oberstar were to declare something negative about the FAA, you could well expect the next press release from the FAA to declare that everything is in order. And on it would go.....

It would be nice to think that the US government would actually do something righteous in this situation, but that certainly isn't a pattern that's been evident. Checks and balances? Sure. It's been aft of CG for so long, no one remembers what balance looks like.

Dave said...

There's been two more court cases filed against Eclipse. Both are related to Eclipse breaching their contract by not giving refunds...

x said...

Dayjet Utilization, Sept 7-13
week .. .. Sept 7-13
161 .. .. 22:55
148 .. .. 19:05
160 .. .. 13:13
156 .. .. 12:29
162 .. .. 8:43
152 .. .. 8:18
153 .. .. 8:10
163 .. .. 6:01
146 .. .. 5:58
147 .. .. 3:48
139 .. .. 3:28
150 .. .. 2:38
158 .. .. 2:00
135 .. .. 1:42
136 .. .. 1:07
134 .. .. 1:04
109 .. ..
110 .. ..
115 .. ..
116 .. ..
119 .. ..
126 .. ..
130 .. ..
131 .. ..
132 .. ..
141 .. ..
142 .. ..
145 .. ..
Grand Total .. .. 120:39

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

In hopes that this thread gets the scrutiny it deserves from our Public Servants, I want to repeat a bit of what I said previously about the FAA Special Certification Review findings.

My objection to these findings is that the certification process, the delegation process, the DAR process all are intended to function with an experienced FAA team, backed up by good managers -working IN CONCERT with an ethical, focused and reasonably experienced OEM working in GOOD FAITH.

That is how the system works, it is much more like a partnership than folks not inside it understand.

My issue is that it is my belief that Eclipse acted in BAD FAITH, perhaps intentionally, perhaps due to incompetence but regardless, they behaved in ways that the FAA was not prepared to deal with. Eclipse did this by stacking the decks with inexperienced people, especially in the EFIS/Avionics design, as well as with the other electrical items - oddly enough the areas they have had the most trouble with.

So now it is being suggested the FAA needs to rewrite AC 23.1309 because of the failures of Eclipse to live up to its' part under the partnership approach, NOT because there are inherent issues with the regulations or the guidance materials - THAT is my problem.
Keeping it simple, my issue is that it appears that the FAA is being blamed for Eclipse's failure to play fair, failure to use and listen to experienced personnel, failure to put safety ahead of all other concerns, failure to plan, failure to execute.

Essentially, AC 23.1309 is supposed to be re-written because the FAA failed to account for the possibility of a totally incompetent and possibly dishonest and manipulative OEM in the partnership for safety approach that has worked extremely well for decades.

The issue was and remains Eclipse's inability to plan or execute. The Function & Reliability testing issue, which is essential for uncovering infant mortality failures BEFORE the planes hit the field, was obviously a joke - the customers have ended up being test pilots – that is not an FAA failure – Eclipse failed to adequately test the systems and software but made representations that it had. The problem is not related to generic development and certification of complex systems, it is Eclipse’s utter failure to do it successfully.

Making the FAA responsible for Eclipse's total and abject failures is misplaced.

Part 23 need not be changed, for VLJ’s in general or for Eclipse specifically. Eclipse needs to meet the actual requirements.

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

Sorry. posted the comment early. Will wait for tomorrow.

Beedriver said...

the answer I am intereste in is how the fact dealt with that Eclipse had to have the cert to get the down payments and as a result it seems that there was intense political pressure on the beaurocrats in Washington.
The FAA must be able to act properly and not be subject to political pressure. it seems that in most situations the FAA does a good job but with Bush breathing down their necks things seem to have gone to pot.
I hope that issue is investigated thourghly.

Beedriver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baron95 said...

Eclipse SN 82 Auction

Is this left over on Eclipse's web-site or is there really an auction going on for SN 082?

airtaximan said...

CW,

the FAA chose not to blame itself or anyone for the obvious safety concerns it brings out in the report.

I think they made a choice to handle it - from now on, the FARS will account for the kind of behavior exhibited by EAC.

Much of what the FAA does is reactionary.

My amazement is the creativity with which the report/Sturgell acknowledge the safety issues, and also state that EAC was properly certified - what else could they say? We (the FAA) do such a bad job, we let 240 planes that should not have been certified fly around for a year?

I don't think so.

To me, it was a big admission of failure, no matter who is to blame - the plane has serious issues, and the FAA would like to firm up the process/regs/guidelines so that no one can ever certify a plane this way again.

Since the system of trust/experience/safety was broken, the new system will attempt to deal with this.

How am I doing?

baron95 said...

Kick-em while they are down: Diamond takes a jab at Eclipse and shows them how to design the throttle-quadrant

F.A.Q. – Page 13 – of August D-jet Flyer

Q. How does the D-JET’s design prevent a potential extreme throttle-sticking situation, such as the one that
led to a recent publicized FAA emergency airworthiness directive for another very light jet manufacturer?

The D-JET throttle and related FADEC system have been designed to prevent that kind of over-accelerated thrust situation.
The D-JET’s Williams FJ33 engine’s thrust is controlled by a FADEC that modulates thrust based on a power setting demand
communicated as a voltage discrete signal in the throttle. The voltage discrete signal is generated by a dual channel rotary
variable differential transformer (RVDT) within the throttle assembly that is energized directly by the FADEC. The RVDT is a more
exact though more expensive approach than using a simple potentiometer for this application. The voltage is proportional to the
angular position of the throttle lever – as the throttle lever is pushed forward, higher voltage is output from the RVDT.
The throttle makes use of detents in the throttle movement to encourage and enable the pilot to position the lever positively within
one of four angular ranges that, in turn corresponds to a particular voltage that is interpreted by the FADEC as a power level
command: idle, max-range cruise, max-speed cruise, or take-off.
The D-JET throttle is designed so its physical movement cannot exceed the extreme detent positions below idle or beyond takeoff.
These physical constraints therefore prevent the FADEC from communicating a “shutdown” command or out-of-range error
voltage signal to the engine at all times.
The RVDTs are keyed into the correct position during assembly within the throttle housing body. Each throttle assembly will be
acceptance-tested in production to validate that RVDT output voltage is within specifi cations. When the system is installed in
the D-JET aircraft, acceptance test procedures will verify the FADEC is reading the throttle position correctly and that information
is interpreted and communicated by the FADEC to the Garmin display correctly.
Fully Aft Stop Postion – past detent
but within the idle power fl at range
Middle of travel
Hard mechanical stop machined into
housing for the throttle assembly, prevents
over-rotation of throttle lever relative to the
housing body in either aft or forward positions.

baron95 said...

AvWeb: New VLJ - $50-75M to get TC/PC and 30-50/year volume

... I had an oh-by-the-way conversation recently with the CEO of another company developing its own jet....I got him to agree to nod if I got close to guessing the right amount. So I started at $200 million.

"Are you ^&%$#&* me," he replied. What? Too low? No, way too high. Really? Eventually our cat-and-mouse guessing game lead me to the conclusion that this company is expecting its jet to require between $50 and $75 million to certify to the point of an approved aircraft and a production certificate. I asked if the company had a volume forecast in mind and, of course, it does, but he wouldn't say what it was. My guess is it's between 30 and 50 a year.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ouch Baron, that is going to leave a mark!

ATM, you are correct - I did not think they would take responsibility onto themselves but really, they are not responsible.

The system is built on checks and balances but its' foundation is one of trust on the part of the FAA that their partner in safety, the OEM, is trying to meet the regulations in good faith.

I am still holding out hope that Oberstar's investigation will uncover if undue pressure was applied (I believe it was) AND that there are areas of significant concern based on the complaints of the FAA staff originally entrusted to determine the airworthiness of the plane, as well as the obscene number of Service Difficulty Reports, but I am not holding my breath.

airtaximan said...

Baron, I know you are just joking, but I am sure designing a robust, accurate and safe TQ was no mystery to some folks at EAC.

Designing it for cost and weight required a little trading...

You get what you get.

airtaximan said...

Baron,

The LOWEST budgetary numbers for design, development and TC & PC for new jets is $275M - this was the number thrown out by Embraer, IIRC, for both the Phenom 100 and 300.

- I believe this did not include contributions from risk sharing partners or supplier arrangements where they pay a share of the cret cost... but I do not know.

$137,500M per plane is considered very inexpensive.

Shadow said...

Wandering minds want to know what's in the SCR's redacted copy.

baron95 said...

That is so classy - Maybe Eclipse can learn how ot relate to competitors, vendors, customers...

baron95 said...

airtaximan said...
Baron, I know you are just joking,


AT, I wasn't joking - that was in the Diamond August newsletter/flyer. I thought it was bad form to make a marketing point based on an almost fatal incident from a competitor, but that is just me.

airtaximan said...
Baron,

The LOWEST budgetary numbers for design, development and TC & PC for new jets is $275M -


Hey, you don't have to convince me. That number, in the $250M range, works well for established companies and straight forward designs. $750M is the round number for the G650 and Cessna Columbus.

For a start-up, that will make more mistakes and has to build the factory, hire the people, build the sales and suport organization, HR, etc at the same time, I'd say double those figures.

For Eclipse you double it again and then some to account for Vern's Ego and world dominance aspirations.

I was just posting, for your amuzement, what the AvWeb reporter reported with a straight face (keyboard).

Apparently, people never learn.

Incidently, I believe the company in question was Epic.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

FYI,

turns out that Roel is quite the sailor:

http://www.sail-world.com/news_printerfriendly.cfm?Nid=48841

baron95 said...

Oh, AT, You know of course that the D-jet has a 25% lower weight budget for components than the EA50due to its much lower MTOW, right?

But of course that design is seriously overweight. I was told by a D-jet depositor that Diamond is begging Williams for more thrust in the F-33s. Even the -19 might not be quite enough. And this is for a jet that only needs to get to FL250.

Which makes me even more concerned about the SJ50 - that plane has an even bigger cabin, a lot more structure with the necessarily huge V-tails, a history of heavy airfames (unlike Diamond) and still on the same -19 engine. At least Cirrus has more time on their hands to get maybe a -22 variant from Williams when it is ready. If not, it is PWC617 and/or FJ-44 time - which will be a weight spiral they'll be pressed to contain.

OTOH, I hear that Piper is very close to weight budget - but that was from a Piper salesman ;)

Fascinaing next couple of years. Future of personal jets being played in front of our eyes, with all the glory of the Internet to spew information, disinformation, speculation, expert opinions...

How cool is that?

Dave said...

turns out that Roel is quite the sailor

Yes, that's why I've been critical of Roel for playing around while his company is in need of hundreds of millions. He doesn't exactly seem to be taking Eclipse seriously despite Eclipse having Going Concern issues.

baron95 said...

clipse_deep_throat said...
turns out that Roel is quite the sailor:


What a shock it must be for this blog!!! The moronic, clueless, cheating Pieper can actually field a boat, a crew and dominate a competitive sailing series.

Wow!!! That can't be.

He must have a PWC610 engine hidden and FSWelded in the hull spinnng a propeller underneath the boat. That must have been his reason to invest in Eclipse - obtain an engine small enough to hide from the officials.

baron95 said...

And I hear this is getting close to a deal....


EADS has announced that it has opened exclusive negotiations with DAHER, a diversified company that dabbles in nuclear energy, the automotive sector, defense and industry along with aerospace, to sell its Socata division. Although Socata is best known in GA circles for its high performance TBM-series turboprop singles, the company also makes parts for Airbuses and that seems to be where the crux of the deal is at this time.

Dave said...

What a shock it must be for this blog!!! The moronic, clueless, cheating Pieper can actually field a boat, a crew and dominate a competitive sailing series.
Wow!!! That can't be.


You're right. It is unbelievable that Roel would spend his time trying to win some game rather than spending his time keeping Eclipse afloat. Good job Roel - you were the captain of the SS Eclipse as it sank, but you did win a boat race! Roel winning that boat race should make position holders wanting refunds and suppliers wanting to get paid so much happier seeing how seriously he takes being the captain of the SS Eclipse.

gadfly said...

baron

“ . . . and FSWelded in the hull spinnng a propeller (underneath) the boat”
Now, that is actually a worthy application of “Stir Fried Welding” . . . using an alloy that is not subject to inter-granular corrosion, etc., . . . since folks that build “boats” have long ago figured out which alloys can be welded, and which cannot.

Maybe it’s because the folks that establish the specs on the boat must also put their lives on the line by sailing them.

Now, please, continue with your logic . . . piloting a boat is the equivalent to running a company and includes a knowledge of managing people and manufacturing issues connected with aircraft.

gadfly

(Hey . . . Maybe I’m as old as Abraham or Job, but I’m still learning . . . until my Creator takes me home. ‘Ain’t this a blast!)

TBMs_R_Us said...

EADS has announced that it has opened exclusive negotiations with DAHER, a diversified company that dabbles in nuclear energy, the automotive sector, defense and industry along with aerospace, to sell its Socata division.

Baron,

This was announced a few months ago. It isn't to sell Socata, but to sell a majority interest to Daher, with EADS retaining less than 50%. One reason is to provide funding for a new twin turbine aircraft Socata wants to develop. It's unclear whether it's a twin turboprop or a twin jet. The number I heard for development is $200M. That does make the $70M figure seem ridiculous.

The rest of the deal would entail more Socata-Daher aerostructures business with Airbus. Socata already builds the Falcon 7X fuselage, Eurocopter fuselage, the A380 lower nose assembly, and other Airbus composite structures. TBMs represent about 50% of Socata's revenue, and continue to have about a one year backlog at $3.1M, turning out 1 per week.

gadfly said...

Here’s a question:

If you were Roel, and invested a few million dollars into this thing, and had just dumped the former “head”, what would you do?

Make your own list . . . my list would be wrong to most who have an opinion.

The questions and possibilities are endless . . . yet almost all will be wrong . . . the possibility of saving this “thing” is remote at best.

But the thing does exist . . . so what is to be done? Make an effort to save it? . . . Send the guilty to prison? . . . attempt to rescue the many workers who bought into the promises? . . . Attempt to get deposits returned to those who placed their orders? . . . Complete the promised upgrades for those who ordered complete aircraft?

Sure . . . you can come up with any number of clever scenarios, but the bottom line seems to be that everyone who has ever “touched” the little jet will come away with a financial loss, a gain in wisdom, and a firm commitment to never repeat the experience.

‘Hopefully, the FAA will be thoroughly investigated . . . and be made to fully answer to their behavior. And that will happen soon . . . jah?

gadfly

( . . . I understand that a farmer has taught his pig to fly.)

WhyTech said...

"turns out that Roel is quite the sailor:"

So is RP the sailor, or is it the captain/crew bought with RP's money?

baron95 said...

TBM said ... TBMs represent about 50% of Socata's revenue, and continue to have about a one year backlog at $3.1M, turning out 1 per week.

Really? The entire TBM 850 backlog is only about 50 orders? I didn't know that. It is not a very comfortable position in aviation. Somehow I had the impression they had a couple of hundred orders backlog. Wow!!!

Re the Daher deal, I know it was announced a while back - I just heard that it is now close to being finalized, but my info is that EADS would retain a minority interest only, not 50%. But that is info from a friend that does not have any direct insight on the deal. So who knows.

But only 50 orders in the backlog? Wow!!!!

baron95 said...

Gad said... the bottom line seems to be that everyone who has ever “touched” the little jet will come away with a financial loss,

I'm not so sure.

I think PWC made out ok. Without Eclipse, they'd have delivered only about 200 engines in the PWC600 family to Cessna/Embraer up to now. With Eclipse they delivered an additional 500 engines!!!! That is huge in terms of ramping production, bringing costs down, smoothing inventory, etc. And now, just as Eclipse winds down, Embraer and Cessna are winding up - so volume should stay about even. I'd say Eclipse has been "great" for PWC - really icing on the cake.

Avidyne, IS&S and other probably made out ok as well. They used Ecliipse's contracts to further their product lines.

So, other than the investors and depositors, I think most others made out ok.

TBMs_R_Us said...

The entire TBM 850 backlog is only about 50 orders?

That's my educated guess. As far as I can tell, that level of backlog is pretty constant. In other words, they haven't had any difficulty selling all that they produce every year for several years. But those are real orders, with real deposits. A significant portion of them are 700 owners upgrading to 850s.

Maybe this sheds a little light on something else often discussed: The great majority of TBM buyers are owner-operator-pilots. The population of owner-operator-pilots for a $3M aircraft isn't very large. Some Mustangs are going to this type of owner, but not many. For more expensive aircraft, it's even smaller. For instance, there are very few owner-operators of PC-12s. They do exist, but it's much harder to get insurance.

This leaves me wondering how large the total population of potential buyers is for the SEJs. If these turn out to be boutique businesses, it will be very difficult for any of them to make it. We're back to the point that the total order book for even the Eclipse at $1.5M, taking out the airtaxi and speculator bs, evidently was only a few hundred orders.

airtaximan said...

"I think PWC made out ok."

Yes, I am sure there were COD

funny statement - one thing we know is these guys OWE a ton of money. Everyone THINKS they made out OK, until the final payment evaporates. Its just like the whole Ponzi - the music stops - THEN you count your losses....

Black Tulip said...

Baron95 wondered,

“The entire TBM 850 backlog is only about 50 orders?”

Don’t know what business you are in, but how would you feel about a backlog of $150,000,000.00 or so. The orders just seem to keep on coming, and Socata has not been troubled by an Internet blog detailing the sad state of the TBM.

airtaximan said...

BAron,

"Hey, you don't have to convince me. That number, in the $250M range, works well for established companies and straight forward designs."

NOPE, its half that - becasue the embraer number is for two planes....

Also, I do not see any bad form in the Diamond newsletter - nothing compared to the BS spewed from EAC over the years - in fact, like I said - its common knowledge in the industry, unless your basic design parameter is low cost and weight compared with reliability and safety.

Thats the point.

Buy whatever plane you wish, but know that at EAC even on a simple design point, all safety concerns took a back seat to cost and weight.

x said...

CEO of ISSC, EA's AvioNG maker shown the boot
Has this been reported? It occured on Thursday, 9/11

airtaximan said...

BT,

the TBM backlog is normal. Mustang said they had 250 or so deposits after 4 years of marketing to their owners and the world...

EAC stated they sold 2700 planes - this was simply a fabrication. A unmber made up of BS deposits with no money, Dayjet orders for 1430 planes with zero credibility and the like.

Perhaps they had 400 inidividuals, who were taking gambles ona few positions, in addition to the BS fleet orders.

I think they had 350 or so REAL (equivalent to the TBM numbers) orders. Of those, there are around 100 for sale on Controller, and 10o that were sold off before the plane was certified.

Do the math... it aint pretty

I AM NOT VERN said...

Here is how you report progress to your customers. This is an email that Cirrus SJ50 Jet position holders received today.

Dear Cirrus Vision SJ50 Position Holder,

I just thought I would send you an update on how flight test is progressing on the SJ50 Verification aircraft. Some of you were able to see it in person at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the USA, last month and I have been able to show it to many of you in person at our factory in Duluth, Minnesota.

After Oshkosh, we were able to retrofit the landing gear doors to the jet and refly the prior flight test points and also expand the flight envelope. The flight and handling qualities have been superb! We have flown over 36 flights including up to Flight Level 250 and to its maximum cruise speed.

We were very pleased to see that the airplane surpassed our max cruise speed goal by a small margin. However, this aircraft does not have the known ice deicing system installed yet and this could have an effect on cruise speed.

While the flight test results are very good so far, the purpose of flight test is to find problems and we will certainly find some in the future. There are many areas of the flight test envelope that are still needing to be investigated such as stalls and slow speed flight. So far, our design team is confidant that we will meet, or exceed, all of our goals.

We will display the full scale mockup, which has been updated and refurbished, at the National Business Aircraft Association Convention in Orlando, FL from 6-8 October and at the AOPA Convention in San Jose, CA from 6-8 November.

baron95 said...

AT said ... NOPE, its half that - becasue the embraer number is for two planes....

Nope. It is for one plane and a stretch variant. The Phenom 300 is a Phenom 100 with a fuselage plug, wing-tip extensions and lager engines.

Embraer has a history of cetifying planes as pairs. 135/145, E170/175, E190/195.

By the way, I think the Phenom will offer stiff competition to Cessna, with a VLJ + a CJ3-sized plane sharing a platform and assembly line. Cessna has a discontinuity going from the C510 to the C525s, including different assembly lines.

We'll see, but the Phenoms seem to have a big price/capability advantage. The 100 is basically a CJ1+ at a Mustang price and the 300 is basically a CJ4 at CJ2+ prices.

baron95 said...

I AM NOT VERN said...
Here is how you report progress to your customers. This is an email that Cirrus SJ50 Jet position holders received today.


Really? That is it? 3 paragraphs with no datapoints plus they couldn't even get the spelling of confident vs confidant right?

Read the Diamond D-jet flyer. Onse send out every months with 15 or so pages, full of details.

There is no two ways about it. Cirrus has made a decision to keep all information on the SJ50 totally secretive. If you think EA50 depositors had it rough, SJ50 depositor have absolutely no performance or price guarantees - none!!!

On one hand, I admire Cirrus as they seem to imply that this is such a high-risk endeavor that they simply don't know what to promise. On the other hand, they must be very, very unsure about their abiities to design a jet.

Cessna put out a schedule, a price and a performance guarantee and hit all three.

Embraer is on track to do the same.

It is embarassing, that in this day and age, Cirrus feel so insecure about their abilities to deliver to firm promisses that they don't even make any.

It is at least odd.

baron95 said...

Actually, let me correct myself and apologize in advance to AT.

In reviewing my info, while it was true that Embraer considered using the same wing+wingtip extensions on the Phenom 300, they eventually decided to have a new wing with more sweep, spolilers and winglets.

So it is not entirely fair for me to characterize the Phenom 300 as just a stretch of the 100. A new wing is, by all measures, a significant design change and certainly cost a non-trivial amount of development money.

Sorry for the any confusion that may have caused.

Troglodyte said...

Baron95 said:

“AT said ... NOPE, its half that - becasue the embraer number is for two planes....



Nope. It is for one plane and a stretch variant. The Phenom 300 is a Phenom 100 with a fuselage plug, wing-tip extensions and lager engines.
”

Baron,

The Phenom 300 is actually a very different airframe from the 100. It has swept wings of a completely different design than those of the 100 (not extensions), a different fuselage (not a plug), and has P&W 530 (535-E) series engines, which are not part of the 600 family. In addition, most of the systems are quite different, and there are more of them. In fact, about the only thing it shares with the P100 is the Prodegy (based on Garmin 1000) avionics suite, although even this is different in that the P300 includes autothrottle.

I agree with the rest of your comments about Embraer and it’s comparative value. I believe both will be great aircraft and keep Cessna on their toes. Embraer’s great challenge will be product support and service.

--Trog

Troglodyte said...

Baron:

Sorry, posts crossed. I've got to hit "refresh" more...

--Trog

baron95 said...

Thanks Trog. I agree with you. I am so looking forward to the days where we have an actual competitive personal/verylight/light jet market.

That means at least 3 (but 2 will do) offerings in each segment.

It now looks like:

In personal jets we still have to wait 1 year+ for the D-jet, and 2 years after that for the SJ50.

In entry jets we have to wait 1 more year to get a Mustang competitor - the Phenom 100 - and 2 years after that for the PiperJet (excluding Eclipse for now).

In Light Jets, we have to wait 2 more years for a Phenom 300 to take on the CJ4/Premier II.

Not very inspiring, but at least there is a glimer of light in the distance.

Re the Phenom 300, I pulled out the engineering specs file I have.

The nose, cockpit and fuselage cross section are shared. Fuselage gets more stringers due to higher presurization and a plug. Wing has two sweeps 27.3° and 24.8° at the leading edge and quarter chord points. Tail has the same assembly but a movable horizontal surface with bleed air deice (vs boots on the 100). Other than that it is the same jet ;)

The only bad part is that Embraer has totally rulled out a SEJ or anything lighter than the Phenom 100. So no personal jet competition from Brazil.

forward-observer said...

FAA Aircraft Certification
House Transportation and Infrastructure — Subcommittee on Aviation
Subcommittee Hearing
Aviation Subcommittee (Chairman Costello, D-Ill.) of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing titled "FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] Aircraft Certification: Alleged Regulatory Lapses in the Certification and Manufacture of the Eclipse EA-500."
Contact: Stacie Soumbeniotis - Democratic Staff Director at 202-225-9161

Updated

Date

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.
Place2167 Rayburn Bldg.

NoteWitnesses added.

PanelCalvin L. Scovel III - inspector general, Department of Transportation

Panel

Tomaso DiPaolo - aircraft certification national representative, National Air Traffic Controllers Association

David Downey - vice president, Flight Safety, Bell Helicopter Textron and former manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Dennis Wallace - software engineer, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, FAA

Ford Lauer - manager, San Antonio Manufacturing Inspection District Office, FAA

Maryetta Broyles - technical program management specialist, Manufacturing Inspection Office, FAA

Panel

Nicholas A. Sabatini - associate administrator for aviation safety, FAA

John J. Hickey - director, Aircraft Certification Service, FAA

Ronald Wojnar - senior adviser, Aircraft Maintenance Division, Aircraft Certification Service, FAA

Tom Haueter - director, Office of Aviation Safety, National Transportation Safety Board

PanelPeg Billson - president and general manager, Manufacturing Division, Eclipse Aviation Corp.

Roel Pieper - CEO, Eclipse Aviation Corp.

Clyde Kizer - retired aerospace executive

fred said...

BT

#
“The entire TBM 850 backlog is only about 50 orders?”

Don’t know what business you are in, but how would you feel about a backlog of $150,000,000.00 or so. The orders just seem to keep on coming, and Socata has not been troubled by an Internet blog detailing the sad state of the TBM.#


just a question of opinion ...

what would you like the best ?

a few orders to start with , but with a constant flow of new orders replacing the ones you already served , lasting for years to come ...

or

2700 orders before you even start and after the main one failed , nothing more coming in (for ever ?)

yes , i do really wonder in what kind of bizz , some are in ...:-)))

fred said...

baron :

#That means at least 3 (but 2 will do) offerings in each segment. #

this ain't gonna happen ...!

i would bet that what is not developed or on the verge of being finished (very) soon is probably never going to be ...

at least in terms of offers to market ...

yes , flying lovers are still going to be around for the years to come ...

but if you think that "the craziness " is going to remain on in the next few years ( buying things you don't need with money you don't have ...) you are probably going to be all wrong !

the credit expansion is coming to a halt , full-stop !

i wouldn't be surprised that the next "trend" is going to be savings ...

most are going to learn the difference between "real value" and impression of "a real value" ...

FreedomsJamtarts said...

ATM asked for a list of things Pieper should do to save Eclispe.

Here my list:
1/ Go sailing.

fred said...

freedom ...

has he ever done anything else ? ;-))

eclipse_deep_throat said...

this is in today's paper. i do what i can to help **blush**... but i suppose that i better be prepared for EAC to come after me. oooh, what was that noise outside???

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dutch Report: Eclipse Faces More Losses

By Richard Metcalf
Journal Staff Writer
Eclipse Aviation's CEO recently told potential investors that another round of layoffs is coming as the jet manufacturer pursues a strategy to become profitable, according to a published news report in Europe.
However, Eclipse responded Tuesday in a short statement to the Journal that it has no current plans for additional layoffs.
De Telegraaf, the major daily newspaper in Amsterdam, reported in an Aug. 28 article that Roel Pieper said half of the Albuquerque-based jet manufacturer's remaining 1,100 employees will be laid off in an effort to reduce costs by 30 percent. The layoffs would come on top of the 650 workers who lost their jobs on Aug. 22, the Dutch paper said.
De Telegraaf is a Dutch-language newspaper, but its Web site has a program that translates articles into English and other languages.
Pieper also said the Albuquerque plant was expected to operate at a $300 million loss this year and a $200 million loss in 2009 before turning a profit in 2010, reported De Telegraaf, which said it had a copy of his presentation to investors.
Eclipse has lost money for its entire 10-year existence, requiring it to raise money from investors who see potential in its Eclipse 500 very light jet. The layoffs and years of operating in the red have led to speculation that the company is in dire financial straits.
The company disputed that.
"We have no plans for additional layoffs, and we are not anticipating seeking bankruptcy protection from the courts at this time," Eclipse said in its prepared statement. "Eclipse is making progress every day to achieve financial health, and our plan provides for a profitable and sustainable business."
The company had no further comment.
By trimming costs, Eclipse should be in a position to start making a profit for the first time in 2010, Pieper said in the Dutch news report. A native of the Netherlands, Pieper is attempting to attract more money from European investors.
The De Telegraaf article was brought to the Journal's attention by Christopher van Lone, a former Eclipse employee who lost his job in the Aug. 22 layoffs. In an e-mail, he said about the apparent prospect of more layoffs, "New Mexico in general needs to be ready for the other shoe to drop with this company."
Van Lone sent a letter dated Sept. 14 to Gov. Bill Richardson urging the state to take a harder look at the actions of Eclipse Aviation.
"Without question, the next 3-6months will be critical for (Eclipse) and the state of New Mexico," van Lone's letter says. "I do hope it is possible for your office to extend greater oversight on the company due to the potential for bankruptcy."
The layoffs are an indication the company is in deep financial trouble, van Lone says in the letter. In addition, he says the sudden layoffs on Aug. 22 show that Eclipse feels little obligation to safeguard its employees.
Eclipse has said most of those laid off were temporary workers.
"As a taxpayer, I am most concerned with the state finding ways to minimize its pending losses based on (Eclipse) actions in the last month," van Lone says.
The Governor's Office received the letter, which includes several supporting documents, late Tuesday afternoon but had not had time to read it in order to comment, spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia said.
During the Richardson administration, the State Investment Council has invested about $20 million in Eclipse. Over the years, the state Economic Development Department has provided millions of dollars to the company through the Job Training Incentive Program, or JTIP, to help pay wages of newly hired employees going through on-the-job training.
A longtime advocate of Eclipse, Richardson recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby on the company's behalf with Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The committee is holding a hearing today to investigate the Federal Aviation Administration's certification of the Eclipse 500 jet.

fred said...

an other news for the interested :

all 3 major banks in Russia have just been ordered (they belong to State) to stop any further invest. , trade , buy out , etc ....

and to get their assets ready to "support" smaller banks within the federation ...

etirc/eac can definitively waive goodbye their Russian dreams...

airsafetyman said...

"De Telegraaf, the major daily newspaper in Amsterdam, reported in an Aug. 28 article that Roel Pieper said half of the Albuquerque-based jet manufacturer's remaining 1,100 employees will be laid off in an effort to reduce costs by 30 percent. The layoffs would come on top of the 650 workers who lost their jobs on Aug. 22, the Dutch paper said."

"..the state Economic Development Department has provided millions of dollars to the company through the Job Training Incentive Program, or JTIP, to help pay wages of newly hired employees going through on-the-job training."

And Roel goes boating in the Med?

Turn-And-Burn said...

FAA RELEASES ECLIPSE REPORT
The FAA has posted online its report reviewing the certification of the Eclipse E500 jet. FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell said last week the FAA is committed to acting on each of the six recommendations from the review team, headed by former Boeing executive Jerry Mack, but the full text of the report was not released until this week. "The team did not identify any unsafe condition needing immediate attention within the areas reviewed," the report states. It lists eight "findings," which include the panel's observations that issues with the jet's stall warning, screen blanking, trim, and flaps were all adequately checked in the certification process. However, "The FAA flight-test function of the certification program was not staffed with an appropriate mix of flight-test engineers and pilots," the report says, and "communication among parties was not effective."

Orville said...

Special Certification Review Report

I'm a bit behind in reading - so my apologies if this link has already been posted.

forward-observer said...

USA Today, page A3.

Eclipse Jet Rushed

Dave Ivedorne said...

In testimony to be delivered before the committee, current and former FAA officials and Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel say problems with approval of the Eclipse jet were widespread

OUCH, that's going to leave a mark!

Would you like the combo?
DI

Black Tulip said...

AirTaxiMan and Fred,

We are in violent agreement about the preferred way to build a business, and maintain a backlog you can plan around. The TBM owners I know seem quite satisfied with their machines. Buyers may think twice about the ‘high’ price but there is a steady stream of new orders. Socata was criticized by some because the TBM was fielded with ‘old’ avionics and was seen as a step behind the state of the art. The company has actively upgraded the product with airframe improvements, new avionics, a bigger power-plant, and now they are working on a twin. The resale market is active and predictable. The CEO of Socata did not become a high-profile cult leader (probably couldn't happen in France), but simply delivered the product.

The Eclipse operator that I know best is concerned because he thinks the airplane recently tried to kill him. Owners seem tentative and anxious but trying to maintain a fa├žade of confidence. After a land rush business at a ‘low’ introductory price, estimates vary as to the true Eclipse backlog. Eclipse promised to deliver the most advanced aircraft possible. Time and again, they turned out to be working beyond the state of the art, or could not manage the innovation. The aircraft is long overdue with order cancellations and lawsuits are reportedly on the rise. Who knows about new orders or the state of the resale market? The papers are filled with news of the high-profile CEO’s departure, layoffs, litigation, reorganization, an overseas factory, local politics, incidents, special reviews and a congressional investigation.

What a difference. In Darwinian terms, which is the dinosaur and which is the mammal?

forward-observer said...

More details
in this AP story.

The hearing starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, and is available as a live webcast, at http://transportation.house.gov

Grab a seat- the best show on the net today.

Orville said...

Black Tulip,

Can you expand at all on this?

"The Eclipse operator that I know best is concerned because he thinks the airplane recently tried to kill him."

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Lets summarise:

Parts of the FAA think that problems with approval of the Eclipse jet were widespread,

parts of Eclipse (former) Eclipse management team think the the quality of the aircraft is crap,

and the CEO's gone fishing.

Is Jerry Seinfeld writing the plot here?

Black Tulip said...

Orville,

I understand the event has been reported. As a bystander I prefer to let the process run its course.

Orville said...

BT,

Fair enough - thanks!

Orv

forward-observer said...

The New York Times even has it this morning.

Dave said...

Also adding to Eclipse's woes is the two new lawsuits for refunds:
Mayer Capital Holdings v. Eclipse Aviation Corporation
Loeb Holding Corporation v. Eclipse Aviation Corporation

fred said...

bt ...

i agreed with you ...!!

if i were to build aircraft , i would prefer to have a steady influx of new customers for the next N² years , allowing me to build what i would be supposed to build in a not-all-out-rush where i would not have to spend my fifth generations inheritance only to build a factory big enough to try to build all orders in one go ...

in TBM success , there is (probably) a large part due to customers referring new customers about the quality of their acquisition ...

see , a revolutionary concept = you have a customer and once you have dealt with him , you can STILL call him a friend or a "nice person to do business with ..."

you don't have to avoid like a plague , downturn the N² anxious phone call , you do not have to sue or send shit-faced 6 feet guys to threaten , you can live without having your lawyer literally sleeping in the court building because it save times of transportation between 2 litigations ... like the firm we know !

to read someone stating "what ? they have only that many orders ..." for me is a kind of admission of not having a clue ...
or to be such a (consenting?) victim of all the crap spread by Vern , that recover may be out of reach at any time ...

some times ago , i wrote that the best car i have ever had was a "2CV Citroen" ... the reason = it was so unsophisticated and simple , anyone could fix it on the side of the road ... i know a few persons who are still driving such ... with a car which is more than 30 years old !

you see an other "revolutionary concept " for EAC , build something simple , without pretentious ideas , something designed to last and to be used on an everyday basis without having to think secretly " is it going to kill me this time or next ?..."

you see , EAC didn't have to waste a Billion+ $ , only today we gave them (for free) a few revolutionary ideas on how to run a business ... ;-)))

I AM NOT VERN said...

On NOW! It isn't starting out good for Eclipse! Some of the EAC people HAVE to be nervous about the opening statement.

The hearing starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, and is available as a live webcast, at http://transportation.house.gov

Grab a seat- the best show on the net today.

flightguy said...

http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/SSM.pdf

Dave said...

Oberstar: Subject of FAA regulation shouldn't be treated as the customer. The flying public is the customer.

fred said...

well , i don't know who's this guy "Oberstar"...

but it seems to be the kind i like to deal with ...

putting dot on the i !

i liked when he was commenting on the date " it is ready when it is ready to comply with standards , not on a specific date ... but WHEN ready !"

baron95 said...

Here is the silver bullet that, unfortunately, completely discredits a major portion of the SCR...

From the Report: "The SCR Team reviewed the SDR
data with the ACO and Eclipse. However, because of time constraints, the SCR Team was not able
to discuss these issues with the component manufacturers and airplane operators."


So the team reviews 85 SDRs but does not talk to the component mannufacturers or the reporting organization (DayJet for all but 1 of the SDRs) because they didn't have time ???!!!???

Why didn't they hae time - why the hurry? Because they wanted to preempt the hearing?

Ridiculous and totall ydiscrediting in my view.

Dave said...

So the team reviews 85 SDRs but does not talk to the component mannufacturers or the reporting organization (DayJet for all but 1 of the SDRs) because they didn't have time ???!!!???

I think the FAA's own report validates that 30 days is not enough time to declare an aircraft as safe as these guys weren't thorough by their own admission.

baron95 said...

And another in case you are not convinced....

From the SCR Report: "In addition, information obtained from the Aviation Safety Hotline revealed that the autopilot
system is sensitive to turbulence (even in light conditions) and quite often will disengage and will
not easily reengage. Considering that the airplane is certified for single-pilot operations and
normally operates in reduced vertical separation minimum airspace, autopilot failures will impact
pilot workload in single-pilot operations. This information was made available to the SCR Team
near the end of its evaluation process and requires additional study."


So if it requires further investigation, why didn't the SCR team further investigate?????!!!!????

Unbelievable.

forward-observer said...

The written file about what this hearing is about is now available on the net.

As is the written testimony- witness statements- of the now four panels.

Those statements are located Here, on the lower right hand side.

fred said...

baron :

it sounds like what Oberstar said about an anticipated date of Cert.

"follow regulations , make it short and in any case give your report on this N² day !"

all systems are doomed to fail at some point , only a question of "do you want to know ?"

Dave said...

Following up on now the SCR team worked (working under "time constraints"), the SCR team documented that the FAA worked the same way during Eclipse certification:
The SCR Team found that because of time constraints, commonly used FAA internal
communication processes (for example, issue papers or policy memorandums to provide
guidance to the FAA project team) were not used to document the means of compliance.
This led to differences of opinion within the certification team of whether the proposed
guidance was suitable.

Taking that at face value, why did the FAA have any time constraints for the Eclipse certification in the first place?!?! Taking the FAA and SCR's statements at face value, this is not the way to operate...letting "time constraints" enter into the equation. I can understand "time constraints" for the SCR so long as the FAA admits the SCR was rushed and is incomplete as it started from the get-go as being limited to 30 days, but the FAA is supposed to certify aircraft when they are safe, not to meet an artificial deadline.

baron95 said...

Is the hearing over or at a break?

fred said...

supposed to start again in a short while ...!

Dave said...

Baron first the hearing is on break so that the members can do some votes.

On an unrelated subject EASA is supposedly close to certifying the Eclipse based on changes to Avio:
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/09/17/316115/eclipse-european-certification-hangs-on-interference-fix.html
Then again, if EASA does certify the Eclipse, what good will that do the owners of Eclipse who don't have Avio 1.5 as Eclipse isn't doing those retrofits. Right now it looks like there will be a few people who will get FIKI and EASA, while everybody else is left out in the cold.

fred said...

dave ...

you are not accustomed to EU official wording ...

to me , it sounds like : "go to hell !"

they just take the most unlikely event as a reason ...! ;-)

fred said...

you see :

#The company expects final FAA certification for package to take place by mid-October, with EASA certification of the aircraft following several weeks later. Contingent on the EASA approval, says Eclipse, are deposits from "large fleet sales" poised to take place. #


they do not explain what is "several weeks" (52 in a year ...)

and again they try the "we are waiting on you to save jobs .." only one flake : EASA has no care to have about US firm or US jobs , in the US ...!!!

baron95 said...

You've got to sh%#$ing me...

"Version 1.5 of the integrated avionics system has been designed to fix two operational problems reported by owners with Version 1.0 – intermittent and un-commanded changing of transponder codes and pre-selected autopilot airspeed and altitude."

You mean after 1 year Avio still has bugs such as UNCOMMANDED CHANGE OF AUTOPILOT PRE-SELECTED ALTITUDE????!!!!?????

You've got to be sh$@#ing me!!!!

And if you look at the AIG report it says that the FAA took an "IOU" (yes that was in the report, the quotes are not mine) from Eclipse that they'd meet software certification requirements at a later date post TC.

You've got to be sh$#@ing me!!!!

As I said before - this is a VFR/VMC only plane at this time.

baron95 said...

You guys have to read this ... the hearing summary of the matter which includes the OIG findings....

http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/SSM.pdf

Dave said...

The written file about what this hearing is about is now available on the net.

WOW! It looks like the FAA lied about the composition of the FAA SCR team. Per that file, Ronald Wojnar had been in charge of Eclipse getting its PC.

Also reading the SDR section it says the FAA flew an Eclipse for 100 hours during design certification and in those 100 hours, there was 32 problems (stall warnings, screen blankings, flap failure).

It also seems a real problem having Eclipse's own FAA designees sign off on airworthiness.

Its good reading...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Dave,

The Deisgnees are there to sign of on Airworthiness, it is part of the goof-faith partnership for safety culture that exists at most OEMs - the Designees are there to assist the certification by doing some of the FAA work - totally legal but always at risk of undue influence if the management of the OEM is unscrupulous - good thing nobody ever accused the Eclipse management team of being...oh, wait a minute....never mind.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Normaly, I would correct my typo above re: good-faith, but in Eclipse's case I think it is appropo so I will leave it.

cybit said...

anyone else having trouble getting the webcast going?

Dave said...

I recommending reading the report very carefully. It gets very interesting. Be sure to watch for any mention of Ronald Wojnar and David Downey. David Downey was taking off his job by higher ups and as part of his personnel review he was reviewed by Peg Billson! Ronald Wojnar replaced David Downey and he didn't want FAA inspectors at Eclipse to look more than "one inch deep." Now it turns out that he's one of those who partipated in the Eclipse SCR!!!

Dave said...

anyone else having trouble getting the webcast going?

I'm not having any problems, but I've left my connection on continuously since before the hearing even started. I'm using WMP.

Dave said...

IG: IOUs not used for safety-related items.

TBMs_R_Us said...

This is wild!

If anything, the blog has understated the level of garbage involved in the certification of the EA500!!

cybit said...

having trouble..it was working in the morning, i hit stop on WMP and went to go get breakfast during the recess...and now it just tries to connect half a dozen times and then gives me an error. :-/

Dave said...

If anything, the blog has understated the level of garbage involved in the certification of the EA500!!

Yes, in reading the report I'm surprised. It floors me that Eclipse's COO participated in at least one FAA personnel review of someone at the FAA who regulates Eclipse. There's absolutely no way that can be seen as an arm's length relationship. I for instance can sympathize with what Congressman Hayes said (though not agree with what he said), but I see no way having the regulated giving personnel reviews to their regulators could ever be excusable.

TBMs_R_Us said...

IG: IOUs not used for safety-related items.

Dave,

He said that normal practice is that (e.g. Boeing, Sino-Sweringen), but that in the case of Eclipse the IOUs for the avionics software definitely involved safety related items, as the entire aircraft depended on the software.

Dave said...

having trouble..it was working in the morning, i hit stop on WMP and went to go get breakfast during the recess...and now it just tries to connect half a dozen times and then gives me an error. :-/

Have you tried rebooting? I've noticed that sometimes a program will just stop working unless I restart Windows.

Dave said...

He said that normal practice is that (e.g. Boeing, Sino-Sweringen), but that in the case of Eclipse the IOUs for the avionics software definitely involved safety related items, as the entire aircraft depended on the software.

That's what I was trying to say, but after I posted it, I saw that I gave too brief a summary where it changed the meaning from what I meant.

Formerly known as "Just zis guy, you know?" said...

Baron Said:

AT said ... NOPE, its half that - becasue the embraer number is for two planes....

Nope. It is for one plane and a stretch variant. The Phenom 300 is a Phenom 100 with a fuselage plug, wing-tip extensions and lager engines.

Embraer has a history of cetifying planes as pairs. 135/145, E170/175, E190/195.

By the way, I think the Phenom will offer stiff competition to Cessna, with a VLJ + a CJ3-sized plane sharing a platform and assembly line. Cessna has a discontinuity going from the C510 to the C525s, including different assembly lines.

We'll see, but the Phenoms seem to have a big price/capability advantage. The 100 is basically a CJ1+ at a Mustang price and the 300 is basically a CJ4 at CJ2+ prices.


You're right and wrong here, Baron. P100/P300 is MUCH more than you described. Most of the design team and much of the vendor base is not common. Heck, the design teams were in different buildings until very recently. There is some benefit of commonality, particularly in avionics/cockpit, but even there there are large differences. The differences are much larger than the pairs of airplanes you mentioned. This will become apparent soon enough (P100 EIS this year, P300 EIS next year).

As for your analysis of the competitive positions, you're spot on. The P100 has an incredible market position because it's a LOT of aircraft for the money. In the things that I know in detail, the P100 is 2-3X better than the Cessna 510 and 525. You will see Cessna kill the CJ1+ in response (it's on life support now), and it may make a real dent in whether Cessna gets to >150/year on the Mustang. The P300 will have more competition, but I strongly suspect it will be a lot more airplane than the CJ4 just because of fact that the CJ4 is ultimately a derivative of a >15 year old airframe.

TBMs_R_Us said...

As I said before - this is a VFR/VMC only plane at this time.

A TWO PILOT VFR/VMC only plane at this time.

Formerly known as "Just zis guy, you know?" said...

OK, missed the corrections, I should read more between postings. Trog hit it on the head.

As for considering wingtip extensions, only in predesign. That was not part of the aircraft any time remotely close to when it was a public program. You have to look back at some really old stuff to see that mentioned.

TBMs_R_Us said...

"Safety in aviation should not depend on lucky breaks."

Oberstar, commenting on the Midway incident.

Dave said...

Hayes just said the insurance industry essentially acts to make aviation safe. Hayes said that the insurance industry wouldn't insure private pilots to fly at 41,000 feet (in bad weather). Is this true that the EA500 couldn't get insurance for that?

TBMs_R_Us said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
flyjets said...

Hayes is SO biased for EAC it is incredible.

What gives?

baron95 said...

Of Course it is not true - Ask Ken ;)

Plus if you are flying in BAD weather at FL410 you must really like pain ;)

baron95 said...

zis guy - I'm glad that you and Trog seem to have good info on Embraer and the Phenom - perhaps in another thread we can have some discussion on those types.

Yes, I made too careless a post in response to AT's comments. As I later said there are a lot more differences between the 100 and 300.

It is amazing that in less than a decade Embraer would have gone from no biz-jets to a major force from Phenom 100 to Lineage to be a third full line biz jet maker together with Cessna and BeechHawker.

forward-observer said...

Hays is republican.

Less government regulation is his motto.

the industry can regulate itself.

Re: Insurance- I wonder how that lack of regulation is working out for AIG today....

x said...

Scovel testifies that FAA inspectors found problems at 26 of the 28 craft of the largest user (e.g. Dayjet). Working to address the problem. *boggle*

Dave said...

Scovel testifies that FAA inspectors found problems at 26 of the 28 craft of the largest user (e.g. Dayjet). Working to address the problem. *boggle*

I wonder if Linear Air (the presumed suitor for [some] of DayJet's aircraft) knows this.

Black Tulip said...

Congressman Robin Hayes (R)- NC... one taco short of a Mexican special platter. Hard to believe he is representing the best interests of the aviation community.

Dave said...

Congressman Robin Hayes (R)- NC... one taco short of a Mexican special platter. Hard to believe he is representing the best interests of the aviation community.

No kidding. I initially understood (but didn't agree with) what he was saying about keeping the US competitive, but given the facts that have been presented, some of his comments are totally over the top. I had to leave for a few minutes, but I left when it looked like he was saying the FAA rank-and-file certification employees were whiners and so FAA managers can and did make management decisions that were above their pay grade anyway. Hayes really seems out of it. I've seen congresspeople talk like this before, but they usually don't have this kind of bluster AFTER there's been findings that don't look good. What went on was not good for the aviation industry and he shouldn't be acting like whistleblower employees deserved to get punished because their managers knew what was right.

AvidPilot said...

One taco short - BT you are too funny!! I love you guys!!

Speaking of coming up short, I wonder how UBS is faring in their efforts to "bail out" Eclipse?

With investors already losing billions of dollars in supposedly risk-free investments as markets tank world-wide, I wonder how much interest they'll have in investing in Eclipse - a proven loser with a 10-year history of screwing every investor that has thrown money at it.

As far as the Russian factory goes- - the Russian stock market has been closed for the last 2 days because it's tanking. Gotta love the Russians! If they don't like what they see on their stock charts when they get up in the morning, they just turn the whole system off! As bad as things are there, I'm sure they're really interested in Eclipse! Not!

I figure Eclipse is now about half-way through their death spiral - if Roel & Al stop throwing money at it, a very likely scenario, Eclipse will implode very quickly and everyone involved is going to suffer. All deposits will go bye-bye, and current owners will find they suddenly have no support for parts or maintenance. Contrary to popular believe, I doubt anyone is willing to step up to the plate right now and offer customers parts and support. This might happen months down the road, but to expect this to happen quickly is silly. The planes will be boat anchors, and bagholders will find little sympathy from people who have got their own problems in this tanking economy.

But enough about this rosy scenario. ;-)

x said...

sabatini has a condescending tone that could easily cause physical violence

airsafetyman said...

"sabatini has a condescending tone that could easily cause physical violence"

It induced physical illness in me. What a smarmy FAA politician.

Black Tulip said...

Henceforth, Mr. Sabatini and Mr. Wojnar should only be allowed to fly in an Eclipse 500, no other aircraft.

airsafetyman said...

Wojnar is giving a very strong impression that he is lying though his teeth.

Dave said...

Missed Wojnar and Sabatini. Darn!

Dave said...

Why does the FAA keep lying about Wojnar's previous involvment with Eclipse certification prior to the SCR?

Black Tulip said...

Quick poll... how many think all Eclipse 500 aircraft should be equipped with a CVR and a FDR?

Dave said...

Given what has been said by the defenders of the process (IOUs are OK), I don't see how Eclipse can operate while refusing to retrofit to Avio 1.5 (how good or bad Avio is, is another matter). By refusing to do upgrades, they seem to have invalidated their IOUs even if those IOUs were legit in the first place.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

"can i get back to you on that sir..."

Sabatini is an ASS!!!

airsafetyman said...

I am totally embarrased to be a part of American aviation at the current time.

Dave said...

I am totally embarrased to be a part of American aviation at the current time.

There's good people who have not only done their jobs, but spoken out (both at the FAA and in private industry). There are just bad apples that we've seen and now it is becoming both more apparent to us as well as being seen by a wider audience. Eclipse as it is now will disappear and hopefully action will be taken on the FAA side (Oberstar seems to make things happen).

x said...

"we didn't what we didn't know" Hinkley channels Rumsfield.
He's been discredited too.

Dave said...

Finally the FAA is admitting the Eclipse had faulty software by saying "they didn't know what they didn't know." However, the same person says the software has changed...but how many people have the new software? I thought this was Avio 1.5, but most people have Avio 1.0 and Eclipse is refusing to retrofit the fleet to 1.5.

Dave said...

Roel skipped out?!

x said...

"Is Pieper here" "No, he had to leave"

Dave said...

"Is Pieper here" "No, he had to leave"

I heard that, but I don't know if they mean permanently or if he just went for a bathroom break.

Deep Blue said...

The FAA had an explicit plan in their relevant "Flight Plan" to certify a "VLJ" OEM as an industry project in GA (turbine thrust, advanced avionics etc). Clearly, EAC was its "horse" and the Collier Award and the fanfare made in the press (with the full support from the former FAA admin Blakey) reflected the FAA's promotional objectives.

As for Sabatini, most of you probably don't know him. But your reactions are telling. And if he can advance such an unctuous attitude to the Congress, one might imagine even more unproductive behavior internally at the FAA (and to subordinates). One might wonder how this could affect safety. Fortunately, some say, he will be retiring shortly.

The comment made on the previous panel about intimidation by EAC middle management directed at FAA personnel ("this will get you reported at FAA HQ") all came from EAC senior management.

I recently met EAC sr. management; they still exhibit their previous culture of feigned defiance, zealotry/fanaticism concerning the company's prospects and utter disrespect.

BTW, just as Congress was about to swear in the last panel (Peg, Pieper, et al) suddenly RP "had to leave" and is AWOL on the testimony. Investors might find that troubling. One doesn't normally walk out of US Congressional testimony.

MetalGuy said...

The Eclipse / FAA “scandal” is now on the front page of cnn.com

Just a sample:

FAA software engineer Dennis Wallace's testimony describes how he and other FAA employees were called to a September 2006 meeting about a software supplier for the Eclipse. Wallace planned to report the software was far from ready, since it met just one-third of required objectives.

Wallace told the committee he faced a "harsh line of questioning" from FAA management. "The supplier was not the problem," Wallace said. "I was perceived by management to be the problem because I wasn't going to accept the software since it had not been shown by the applicant to be compliant to the applicable safety regulations."

Dave said...

BTW, just as Congress was about to swear in the last panel (Peg, Pieper, et al) suddenly RP "had to leave" and is AWOL on the testimony. Investors might find that troubling. One doesn't normally walk out of US Congressional testimony.

Perhaps he had to go sailing.

fred said...

dave :

how wide is wider ?

here , we follow the talks ...
with me 2 friends , one is professionally very close to the guy who write "da" or "niet" on state related project bigger than 50M$

the other one is playing a key role in presidential security ...

but it is late , 23:12 local time , so we are going to stop watching...

is there a syllabus of this going to be released ?

Black Tulip said...

Pieper had to go after his bottle of Maalox. He left it in the limo out front of the Rayburn building.

Dave said...

how wide is wider ?

I don't understand your question.

is there a syllabus of this going to be released ?

I hope so. It also sounds like they'll be getting follow-up information and hopefully that will be available too.

fred said...

dave , sorry it wasn't a question ...
more a joke/statement ...:-))
or a way to say here (in Moscow) we liked the show ...

so wider is this case is really wide ...

sounds like Roel is not going to feel welcomed next time around ...!!

Dave said...

In his testimony, Ford Lauer, another FAA manager, tells of inspecting Eclipses after manufacture and finding "improperly installed fasteners, misrouted electrical wiring, unsatisfactory safety wire, wrong fasteners being used, inadequate clearances between moving parts, etc."

The parts and installiation of fasteners was mentioned here on this blog.

Dave said...

or a way to say here (in Moscow) we liked the show ...

I gotcha. Like through fire, water and brass pipes.

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

Misstatements and misfacts from others according to Peg. I'd like to hear more from Eclipse on that.

Formerly known as "Just zis guy, you know?" said...

Baron:

Embraer is VERY serious about this market. They have basically beaten Bombardier in the 70-110 seat market and are afraid to go compete with Airbus and Boeing (unlike Bombardier who appears to be willing to go get their butts handed to them).

The Wichita players still don't know what's coming. 5 years from now the marketplace will be very different. It will be Cessna, Embraer (not necessarily in that order) and the also rans. In a downturn it will get ugly for the also rans...

Dave said...

With both the Founder and now the acting CEO AWOL, the public should get savvy very fast.

I'm VERY CURIOUS why Roel bailed at the last minute.

Deep Blue said...

I consider myself a conservative blogger with a focus on business issues.

I must say that after hearing this testimony today, and the attitudes and behaviors exhibited, that I am only reinforced in my judgment that one could not put their family in a E500; there are so many outstanding questions; such doubt about goals, motivations and practice; so many failures in management, that a rational individual could only "ground" the E500 fleet for themselves.

All pilots/users/public charter customers should be cautioned to stay away from operating/engaging this aircraft. I recommend to all of my executive colleagues to refuse any charter service in this aircraft; and Dayjet customers are skating on bare ice, with their pants pulled down.

With both the Founder and now the acting CEO AWOL, the public and the broader aerospace community should get savvy and sober, and do it very fast.

Dave said...

The various written testimony:

David Downey (he was the one replaced by Wojnar, which Wojnar subsequently was part of SCR):
http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Downey.pdf

Dennis Wallace (the software guy):
http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Wallace.pdf

Ford Lauer:
http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Lauer.pdf

Maryetta Broyles:
http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Broyles.pdf

Sabatini:
http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Final%20FAA%20testimony%20Eclipse%20hearing%209%2017%2008.pdf

Haueter (NTSB):
http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Haueter.pdf

Billson (her written testimony even said Roel would be there!):
Eclipse has analyzed the 93 SDRs submitted by DayJet and has concluded that only one
meets the requirements of an SDR. It is our assessment that DayJet went beyond the
required reporting requirements of significant difficulties and chose to report through the
SDR process additional maintenance events and other issues. We believe DayJet did so
out of an overabundance of caution and a certain amount of inexperience with the SDR
process in an effort to build robust communications with its FAA Flight Standards
District Office (FSDO) in Washington D.C.

http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Billson.pdf

Kizer:
http://transportation.house.gov/Media/File/Aviation/20080917/Kizer.pdf

x said...

On SDR's-- one of the odd events in the Eclipse saga was the elimination of the public website with searchable SDR reporting within hours of my creating a website with a summary of the Eclipse SDR reporting.

One interpretation was they took the SDR query page down after I summarized Eclipse's SDR troubles. That seems strange that some little SDR blogging on some odd end of the internets would shutter the FAA website. It did occur simultaneously so I have wondered?

airsafetyman said...

I think Pratt should stop selling Eclipse engines. Somebody with common sense has to take charge. You saw the FAA today, they aren't going to do anything, and Eclipse's management is beyond hope. Somebody who doesn't know anything abaout aviation is going to put their family on a charter flight, reasoning that the airplane is certified, the pilots are certified, and the charter operation is certified, so what can go wrong?

Ralph said...

I have been reading this BLOG daily for months and have posted only once, and this will likely be my last. Once in a while there are informative comments on the BLOG. I am not an owner, see many problems with Eclipse Aviation and the EA 500, and my first impression of Vern Rayburn as an egotistical jerk was confirmed with his firing. I'm glad the SLAAP suit was withdrawn. I watched the entire hearing. I saw and heard an FAA representative use the Eclipse Critic BLOG term "toy" which wrecked his credibility. I heard a political call for more funding and more personnel from another union NATCA member who was part of the grievance that got this hearing - after 5 years of certification that normally takes 3. More credibility destroyed. Peg Billson did a terrific job. Peiper left because the hearing went way over its alloted time, and probably has more pressing things to do - his written testimony and follow-up written questions will have to suffice.

The Committee Chairman emphatically stated that the hearing was not about Eclipse, but about FAA certification processes to be altered in the FUTURE. The same dozen or so BLOGGERS here who repeat their mantra's here multiple times every day, and have taken only the side of the first two panels are not going to get either the Eclipse type certification or production certification rescinded, and EASA certification looks more and more likely.

Dave said...

Now I've started reading the written testimony of David Downey...

The FARs only requires a minimum level of safety – EAC met this burden. By analogy, it would similar to the new car that can only be driven on dry country roads, no interstates, in day light conditions and you have to have a driving instructor with you.
In other words if you're going to own an Eclipse, hire professional pilots to fly it and only fly it in the best metereological conditions.

Also here's an aircraft that was specifically mentioned where Vern went ballistic over questions about the sealant:
http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/nnumsql.asp?NNumbertxt=816KD

Dave said...

Peiper left because the hearing went way over its alloted time, and probably has more pressing things to do - his written testimony and follow-up written questions will have to suffice.

If the hearing wasn't a pressing Eclipse matter, why did Governor Richardson fly to DC about it? If you're right, Governor Richardson has some explaining to do.

airtaximan said...

I can almost smell it:

"it was a great plane, we had 2700 orders, and the gov't shut us down"

goddam shameful state of affairs

PS. Baron, I know you said so, but the Phenom 300 is a completely different plane from the 100, except for the tube diameter. Engines, systems, wing... and its designed for a different use profile - hint... the high use air taxi profile. 2 certs for $275M... pretty damn good.

Dave Ivedorne said...

For those of us who had to work the lunch rush during today's hearing, the Subcommittee on Aviation has provided a link to the archived video.

There is no sound for almost the first 17 minutes, at which time Chairman Costello opens the hearing.

Time to practice applying mayonnaise to the upper bun ( without shedding so many sesame seeds ) while I watch. Pass the popcorn, please...

Pull around to the second window,
DI

Deep Blue said...

"Ralph:"

Your comments are appreciated and likely empathized with. I have only recently stuck my toe in the water with this Blog; but I must say that if you keep the nature of Blogs in perspective, this is a good one with many smart contributors (and some good humor).

I don't believe any of them wish to see the EAC TC/PC rescinded per se; rather, I see the Blog as a robust channel of debate, contention and information sharing; and not just about EAC but many other important aviation issues. The more contributors the better.

In my judgment, one must individually evaluate the E500 as a consumer (whether owner, or charter customer, investor or supplier) and make a market choice.

My judgment as a 30+ year aviation professional, executive and parent of teenage student pilots, would be to move on to the next store.

In the meantime, the EAC product line has a lot of proving up to do.

Lastly, this process of debate, contention and in today's case, a hearing, can only improve the industry's standards, transparency and ultimate safety.

In EAC's defense, if the public had visibility into the certification politics of aviation over the last 60 years, we'd all likely blush. And that's not restricted to aviation; take a look at auto, rail, shipping, energy, food and drug regulation, for example; it can be a rather troubling and sobering series of compromise.

Dave said...

In EAC's defense, if the public had visibility into the certification politics of aviation over the last 60 years, we'd all likely blush. And that's not restricted to aviation; take a look at auto, rail, shipping, energy, food and drug regulation, for example; it can be a rather troubling and sobering series of compromise.

Yes, it isn't just limited to aviation. However, to my memory this is the first time I recall hearing that a regulated entity took part in the personnel review of the regulator's personnel. That I believe is a first.

forward-observer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
airtaximan said...

Deep:

Man, what a great post - thanks.

The thing about the blog is, from time to time, we've all been A-holes, here, all had insights, all been right, wrong... etc.

The debate is fun, and the insight is generally pretty good. Even the human interst side of the saga... the perspecyive of owners, sellers, insiders, outsiders.. etc.

I guess someone wanted us quiet... so there MUST be some juicy stuff here.

A lot of passion...

Thanks for your level post - it makes a lot of sense.

Turn-And-Burn said...

Ralph said... The same dozen or so BLOGGERS here who repeat their mantra's here multiple times every day, and have taken only the side of the first two panels are not going to get either the Eclipse type certification or production certification rescinded, and EASA certification looks more and more likely.

To that end, if the EASA certification is truly only weeks away, that blows Fred's credibility as well. For all the information and contacts that he claims to have, he has stated that it would NEVER happen.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I have been at other OEM's where 6 open issues were enough for the FAA to threaten removal of the ability hang pink slips on completed aircraft - to think that Eclipse received a Production Certificate with 77 open issues is simply atrocious and is, I am sure, a first.

I will go on the record right now and say yes, the PC should be suspended, ASAP - and Eclipse should have to earn it.

As for ODAR, it is distinctly possible that the staffing in place at Eclipse when that occurred WAS in fact technically competent and had the ethical behavior in place that encouraged the FAA to issue the delegated authority.

Think however, of the amount of time between when that occurred and when the TC was issued and when the PC was issued. We know that there was a significant brain drain at Eclipse in the 2003-2005 timeframe - and we also know that inspectors were removed at Eclipse's request.

I have only just started to go through the written testimony but I must say the picture is actually worse than we critics have suggested and I can hardly believe it.

IOU's on software for a plane the OEM represents as being 'as integrated as the 777 or F-22?

Only 1 of the nearly 100 SDR's rises to the level of a 'real' SDR? Funny, I thought when autopilot's disengage, when systems reset or change values without being set by the pilot, when trim runs away, etc., that was a service difficulty.

This abomination should be grounded today, and nobody should risk their life in one until we establish this aircraft is fundamentally sound.

just zis guy, ya know? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
airtaximan said...

T and B,

do you really think EASA will certify this plane?

they had all sorts of issues, requiring more than just minimal changes... and now the revelatons at the hearing today.

I somehow, doubt it.

Even if Gov Richardson and Peg Bilson visit EASA in person!!

;)

Dave said...

do you really think EASA will certify this plane?

I think there's more to it than how it is being played out...that all Eclipse has to do is patch Avio 1.5 to get EASA. I think EASA will say that Eclipse has to make all sorts of changes and with those changes Eclipse gets EASA, that way Eclipse can say that they're EASA certified even if they never actually produce an EASA certified aircraft for a customer. Fixing Avio would not address everything raised here:
http://www.easa.eu.int/doc/Certification/Consultation/Eclipse%20500%20%20Special%20condition.pdf
So it would have to be more than that. I see what has happened with Eclipse and FIKI. Eclipse has FIKI, but what goes does that do for those who aren't eligible for the retrofit? Eclipse will probably have one test model that meets EASA, but then they wont actually retrofit all the aircraft out there to be EASA certified.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Ralph,

I hope that this wasn't your last post, because a diversity of perspectives is useful in all substantive discussions. In that light, I'd like to respond to some of your comments:

I watched the entire hearing. I saw and heard an FAA representative use the Eclipse Critic BLOG term "toy" which wrecked his credibility.

Did it really wreck his credibility? On the blog and in the industry, we have been watching an organization try to run, roughshod, over the process by which aircraft are certified. The "Gold Standard" procedures that have evolved over the years have a distinct purpose - as it is said, "the FARs are written in blood". Eclipse has done its "running" by relying on Alternative Methods of Compliance, rather than the letter of the law - and there's nothing wrong with that, per se. The problem here is that, instead of presenting valid AMCs, Eclipse decided that it could do whatever it wanted and call it an AMC, and it operated in an environment where FAA management was inclined to let it do just that. Where every other manufacturer has found a legitimate way of achieving certification ( earning their products the status of "flying tool" ), Eclipse relies instead on style rather than substance - by comparison to ( insert legacy manufacturer's aircraft name here ), the FPJ actually is a toy.

I heard a political call for more funding and more personnel from another union NATCA member who was part of the grievance that got this hearing

Let's just pretend for a minute, that NATCA didn't exist. The inspectors would have had no channel of be representation in filing their grievance. The issues that underlay the grievance would not EVER have seen the light of day. FAA management would have felt full latitude to suppress ( and retaliate against ) any voice that recognized the extent to which the regulations were being ignored. In the absence of NATCA, today's hearing would not have occurred - and that would not be good.

Peiper left because the hearing went way over its alloted time, and probably has more pressing things to do

Meh. It's a Congressional hearing. If Howard Hughes could find time, Roel Pieper has no excuse for not doing so. The only "more pressing" thing he might have to do would be not looking stupid. My guess is that his testimony plan involved telling some "white lies" to the committee - ones that had already been discredited by previous testimony. So he quickly developed more pressing things to do.

The Committee Chairman emphatically stated that the hearing was not about Eclipse, but about FAA certification processes

We already knew that:
"Oberstar's committee is NOT doing a review of the FPJ, they're doing a review of the FAA - they're using Eclipse as a case study for next month's issue of the Harvard Bureaucracy Review ( Under Oath Edition ) - "Is The FAA Functioning According To Its Charter?" "

The same dozen or so BLOGGERS here who repeat their mantra's here multiple times every day, and have taken only the side of the first two panels are not going to get either the Eclipse type certification or production certification rescinded, and EASA certification looks more and more likely.

We will see.

While the purpose of the hearing was explicitly not to accomplish anything WRT the TC or PC, the FAA comes off looking incredibly bad, and may feel compelled to remedy the previous lapses in its judgment.

Would you like napkins & plastic cutlery?
DI

Deep Blue said...

Dave/ATM/CWM:

It does appear unusual to see the apparent breadth and depth of "partnership" between FAA and EAC; and concerning not only certification, but of EAC's general corporate development (for example, the coordinated timings for capital raising, evidently).

My first reaction was that many of the EAC line level professionals (engineers, A&Ps, managers) were certainly worthy of the FAA's professional consideration for designation, and it may be that more than one of them had the FAA's trust in previous roles (Director of Maintenance, senior A&P; repair shop managers, industry engineers etc).

It does appear, with more evidence, that the senior management of EAC, however, may have seriously compromised their professional independence as a result of EAC's apparent fanatical focus on production volume and venture finance. Certainly, the FAA staff stated today that they were "intimidated" by EAC middle line management with "reporting threats" to FAA HQ; that strkies me, if true, as classic EAC/VR direction and utterly penalizing, if true.

My impression of former and current management is unfavorable, except to the extent that the goal of broader jet diffusion among the GA population is positive and developmental. The pulic should keep in mind that the COO, for example, would never have been on the stand but for the pressures created by professional staff uprising and reporting. The COO's testimony was somewhat soothing but gratuitous.

Most absent from today's hearing were Raburn and Blakey; all relevant actions in dispute stem from them and they are the ultimate sources of responsibility, EAC's BoD and FAA's oversight authorities notwithstanding.

Dave said...

Let's just pretend for a minute, that NATCA didn't exist. The inspectors would have had no channel of be representation in filing their grievance. The issues that underlay the grievance would not EVER have seen the light of day. FAA management would have felt full latitude to suppress ( and retaliate against ) any voice that recognized the extent to which the regulations were being ignored. In the absence of NATCA, today's hearing would not have occurred - and that would not be good.

Also we have to keep in mind that it was Eclipse staff who were authorized by the FAA to issue airworthiness certifications that were part of the problem due to the conflict-of-interest. Having more money for more inspectors is in everyone's best interest as the FAA (and not just the rank-and-file) have repeatedly said they didn't have enough staff resources to investigate issues. I don't know why you wouldn't want more FAA safety personnel to do a more thorough job.

x said...

In view of Pieper no show, this 2004 article on Dutch politics is germane. Pieper obviously knows politics.

Roel Pieper Wants to be Prime Minister

AMSTERDAM, 31/08/04 - Roel Pieper wants to become the premier of the Netherlands, he says in an interview with Millionaire magazine due to appear today. He is still considering setting up a political party.

Pieper is currently looking for suitable enthusiasts. "We are brainstorming on the question of who would have the balls to get the matter going. At the end of the year, a sifting will have to be done," according to Pieper. He answered the question of whether he himself would want the premiership in the affirmative. "I only go for gold."

The professor of e-commerce at Twente University, once dubbed a crown prince of Philips, is engaged behind the scenes in talks on a possible new political party with Albert de Booy, a confidante of assassinated Pim Fortuyn. The plans are "fragile", but can be made more concrete if "the momentum" is there for this. He estimates the chances of this at less than 50 percent.

Pieper said yesterday in an explanation, after a discussion on the Dutch economy with Premier Jan Peter Balkenende, that "the new current" can be set up just as well in the form of a think-tank or movement. For him, it is primarily a matter of the change that is needed. "A big deficiency in decisiveness currently reigns" in Dutch politics.

In the past, Pieper had various meetings with Fortuyn on a position as minister for the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF) party. He is aware that continuing the work of Fortuyn is a difficult process. "How do you avoid the LPF syndrome?"

airtaximan said...

Some things are very simple...
I for the life of me, cannot really understand what the incentive is/was for the FAA to cow tow to EAC... it makes little sense, except to think the worst.

Yes, today, VR, his ex-wife and Blakey are all involved with another project in aviation... I guess they all really like eachother, get along well, and have the same vision for GA.

Anyhow, back to simple.
- the idea that "safety" (certification) is somehow at odds with an OEM's interest, is really beyond me.

Look at CWMR's posts - usually THIS aspect is 100% no-brainer aligned. Yes, sometimes it takes a few extra years to satisfy ALL the safety related requirements/issues... BUT the OEMs do it. CEssna in 3 years, Bombardier in 4 years and Raytheon in 8 years. Embraer, in 3 years...

EAC... we'll never really know. I do not believe they will EVER satisfy the FARs for the plane. NEVER.

They have the utmost disregard for the FAA, the process, and safety culture - they simply do not appear to care.

The operators who use this plane for revenue - likewise.

Its marginal at best... and everyone seems to agree, no matter what, it was a half baked cert.

Normally, an OEM understands this is a bad idea. Safety IS their business.

Not so with EAC.
Pretty scary - pretty sad.

airtaximan said...

FWIW,

I think the FAA should have its own employees at every new OEM (no ODARs, DERs... etc) for at least 5 years to make sure every plane is in conformity, processes are stable, and the company functions within a conforming QMS that ensures high safety/quality standards.

This is my new position on the issue. This is what I take away fom this whole debacle.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Meanwhile, over at ANN, ol' whatz-his-name tries, really hard, to find some redeeming aspect of today's hearing.

My guess: he's still getting checks, but being told to not deposit them just yet.

forward-observer said...

For what it's worth:

The most compelling testimony to me is the Aviation Safety Inspector, who outlined the faults before Production Certification, and since.

I would note that FAA Order 2150.3 requires verification of corrective actions before closing out the case. This was not done.

And, the ACSEP evaluation, which was scheduled for August, was cancelled on orders from Washington- Mr. Hickey.

No current employee in the non-management rank and file of the Aircraft Certification Service has one ounce of respect for Mr. Hickey.


It's not a union thing.

It's a safety thing.

I would point out that of all the employees who testified today, only Mr. DiPaolo is a member of, and represented by, NATCA. Again, this is a safety thing, not a Union thing.

Mr. Hickey has been deemed by employees of the FAA Aircraft Certification Service to be a hazard to air navigation, and there is now a petition circulating to ask the Secretary of Transportation and the FAA Administrator to remove him from the position of Director of the Aircraft Certification Service as a safety hazard.

Dave Ivedorne said...

I've got to love what Peg Billson said - that FPJs have been flown 32,000 hours by 375 pilots without a death or injury.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that transport aircraft fly in excess of 32,000 hours every day.

So, in effect, isn't Peg simply representing that the FPJ is safe because nobody died yet today?

Pay at the first window,
DI

Dave Ivedorne said...

Dateline - 3:42:00 of the testimony:

Sabatini's voice sounds ( to me ) like he works at a funeral home. He has now replaced early versions of that Burger King dude as the creepiest visage, ever.

Slimy!!!

Would you like the Zesty Sauce?
DI

Dave said...

To solve the problem of the Eclipse 500's stall warning horn sounding while on final approach to land, for example, the FAA signed off on Eclipse's raising of book approach speeds -- taking the plane above the speed threshold where the horn sounded, but still keeping it within the safe range for touchdown.

Would that have anything to do with the short tire life and landing gear issues? It does seem like quite a way to solve a software problem - tell the customer they can land faster and then blame for the problems that causes.

Chairman Oberstar pointedly noted that system may be addressed -- or even "abolished" -- by future Congressional action.

I think there has to be major changes. I think the FAA has to stop allowing companies to self-certify various items. Though the industry has prided itself as being ethical, I think it is bad to have a system where such a system would allow for abuse. I look at the FAA designees where I think they should either be FAA employees or some outside firm contracted by the FAA - the main thing is that they receive their paychecks from the FAA rather than the company they are supposed to be regulating. That pretty much goes all the way around. The work is still the same, just who is writting the checks to those giving certification should change.

It also looks like the FAA still sees itself in the business of promoting the aviation industry even though that was removed from their charter over 10 years ago. It seems like different parts of the FAA see the FAA's function differently between how strong of a cheerleader and how strong of a regulator they should be. I for instance think some of Hayes initial statements about the aviation industry and the government's role should be considered, but I think the FAA overall has let safety slide too much in exchange for being cheerleaders. I've seen this in so many industries where the regulated say they'd do so much better if the regulators just backed off and made things easier and it works for a time, but then things get really messy. Look at what is going on the stock market and real estate for examples. Having customers know government agencies and private businesses are doing a thorough job and are putting out safe products is good for markets in the long-term rather than harmful. This is coming from a republican-leaning independent where I've just seen the economic harm caused too often by lax regulations where it was always touted as things being "new" and that overlooking thorough scrutiny is better for business to then see massive failures as a result.

forward-observer said...

ANN:

"...lawmakers heard from inspectors David Downey and Ford Lauer..."


Error in facts- fail for the day.

Downey was the Directorate *(Third level) Manager, and Lauer is a first level manager.


Downey is an engineer, not an inspector, and although Lauer carries the "1825" Aviation Safety Inspector title, he does no Inspector duties. He is strictly management.

Both have credibility. Hickey does not.

But ANN- please get the facts right. Broyles was the only Inspector who testified today. All the others were FAA Management or Engineers.

forward-observer said...

Airtaximan writes:

"I think the FAA should have its own employees at every new OEM (no ODARs, DERs... etc) for at least 5 years to make sure every plane is in conformity, processes are stable, and the company functions within a conforming QMS that ensures high safety/quality standards."



A few comments:

Eclipse was unique, in that it obtained an ODAR in 2002, despite the rules requiring that a company be well experienced AS AN ORGANIZATION prior to applying as an ODAR, and the rules requiring an ODAR to hold an FAA type and production approval prior to being given an ODAR. Washington waved this rule for Eclipse.

Experience has shown that Organizational Designees are the problem.

By and large, INDIVIDUAL designees, DERs, DARs, DMIRs, are held personally accountable, and respond to direction. And if there is a hint of shady dealings, there is a way to either not renew them, or to terminate them if need be.

Organizational Designees (ODAR, ODA, DAS, DAO) are exactly the opposite.

The whole reason people form corporations is to avoid personal responsibility. Organizational Designees are exactly the same thing. One CANNOT terminate an organizational designee, it simply can't be done. There is no individual accountability.

If there was just one legislative change that Oberstar could bring to increase safety, it would be to do away with any type of organizational designee, and allow ONLY individual designees.

That would promote safety.

And, by the way- three to six months on-site at a new company while they transition from a TC only company, to a APIS company, is fine for 99% of companies out there. It didn't work for Eclipse, because of corporate culture.

Hickey is promoting that APIS is only a stepping stone to PC. Previously, PC was given only when a company demonstrated it's ability over time, and was ready. Hickey changed the guidence and said now ALL new manufactuers will get a PC in six months (the six months is waiverable once).

If you recall, Mooney operated only on APIS *(which is fine, trust me when I say that) for the better part of 20 years, before the guidence change forced Mooney to obtain a PC.

But there is a big, big difference.

I trust the Mooney PC.

End of story.

Dave Ivedorne said...

"...after 5 years of certification that normally takes 3."

Color me skeptical ( critical would also be appropriate ), but does it really normally only take 3 years for a company that has never built or certified any aircraft, to certify a technically advanced twin turbofan?

I call bullshit, Ralph.

Would you like to Super Size it?
DI

airtaximan said...

"... it is fine for 99% of companies out there. It didn't work for Eclipse, because of corporate culture."

The single most consistent fear of almost on this blog centered around EAC LOWERING THE BAR regarding (fill in the blank as you see fit)___________________.

We now have the new lowest standard... the 1% as described by AO - and now, we must consider it regarding GA. All of GA. Its done.

So, prepare... disruptive... in the worst way.

Black Tulip said...

Deep Blue wisely observed,

"Most absent from today's hearing were Raburn and Blakey..."

The rest was just sorting through the wreckage.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Alec Rosekrans at Halogen Guides listened in on today's hearing, I'd presume.

Would you like a brief synopsis?
DI

Dave said...

From the Halogen article:
In the end, this corporate-friendly approach may have had a negative effect on the industry as a whole, as design flaws, production delays, and safety concerns, highlighted most recently by a throttle malfunction that grounded Eclipse 500s this summer, have stalled the progress of the VLJ market.
This is how I feel.

Dave said...

SCO releases "fact sheet" in response to hearings:
http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=61c1d3f3-1150-4a0e-a373-25ec0fa13153

airtaximan said...

Someone needs to ask: "why only an inch deep?"

What was the incentive?

Anonymous said...

T&B or Shane,
Captain Zoom is gonna get pissed for the copypasta of that entire article. Maybe a link would be better.

Anon

eclipso said...

Avio, AvioNG, Avio 1.5, Avio 123,00.9, PC,TC,PCP,Phd..... it just don't matter...we have all been banished to the world of .."we don't know, what we don't know"...

airtaximan said...

My favorite:

"...in response to testimony heard before the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee on concerns over the certification of the Eclipse 500 VLJ."

-and-

"The Congressional hearing is about the past procedures and possible errors within the FAA itself."

As if the second statement is somehow supposed to make us feel better about all the safety issues that have come up in testimony on the certification of the e500?

Someone must have told eclipse, just keep saying this was an investigation of the FAA not EAC, and this will make everyone forget all the safety issues arising in testimony, and as if its not EAC that is a problem.

EAC continues:
"The FAA press release on the Special Certification review and subsequently, the full report confirms that the Eclipse 500 is safe today, the FAA stands by its certification decisions and that is what counts for Eclipse today."

- I don't think that's what the PR says - that's my opinion - I read the release, and they say there are many problems with the aircraft that resulted from a failed certification process... to the point where process needs to be rewritten.

It looks to me like EAC was really concerned the TC could be pulled.

I kinda wish EAC would just shut down the spin machine - its looks really bad... like they have something to cover up. If it is so obvious that the plane is safe, and that it was properly certified... why the concern?

OH, maybe becasue there is so much testimony about safety issues and how the certification was rushed, and how the FAR now needs to be reqritten so THIS does not happen again?

Seems pretty clear to me.

airtaximan said...

"The renewed cooperation with the EASA team allows us to make that statement publicly."

interesting - ws there a period when EASA was not cooperating, or was it EAC that was not cooperating with EASA?

This looks like something... I just am not sure what? Why even say this?

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

Where to begin...

1. Cert issues - beware using stated times and costs from most OEMs, because many of them like to play w/ design start dates; so although they may state a 3 year design phase and $XXX million cost, they may not count the first two years of R&D and associated costs.

2. I would agree 100% with FO on his statements about FAA designated individuals vs organizations.

3. While we're at it, why don't we discuss how the FAA budget is set concerning their oversight and certification duties, and why OEM's are not getting the support they should (ie - one month response times to memos, one year reponse time to cert issues, etc) as well as the continual increase in the use of 'delegating' everything under the sun to the manufacturers.

4. Part 23 Cert - As I said before, just look at the history of abuse of the Commuter category regulations to get an idea of how many 'lazy' OEMs are trying to get their planes certified to Part 23, when 20-40 years ago a similiar plane would have been a Part 25 cert, yes I know that avionics, etc have improved, but there are many other differences between the two certs. ( did anyone die due to design mistakes during early Lear and Citation cert testing? We've had three? fatal crashes due to design issues in the last couple of years of Part 23 testing)

baron95 said...

airtaximan said...
I think the FAA should have its own employees at every new OEM (no ODARs, DERs... etc) for at least 5 years to make sure every plane is in conformity, processes are stable, and the company functions within a conforming QMS that ensures high safety/quality standards.


Wow. What a surprising statement coming from you AT. It will not enhance safety.

A - Most ODARs and DERs are the absolute best in their field, are extremely professional, take their roles seriously and would not ever sign off on something they thought was not safe.

B - It has already been established that (in this hearing) that FAA personel can be subject to even greater presure and sign off on designs (like the FAA PM that got called on Saturday and presured to sign off on the TC).

C - The best and the brightest are in private industry. It is impractical for the FAA to accumulate the necessary expertise in the breadth and numbers needed.

Would you really have a problem if Eclipse had hired people like Kelly Johnson or Joe Sutter and made them ODARs? Would you really thrust the FAA PM that signed off on the Eclipse on Sept 30 over Joe Sutter?

Please reconsider what you just wrote.

If it is a competent and outstanding and experienced professional, it should matter little who employs him/her - the FAA, the OEM, a consultant.

Similarly, if he/she easily subcumb to pressure or is out for personal gain, it matter even less.

Dave said...

4. Part 23 Cert - As I said before, just look at the history of abuse of the Commuter category regulations to get an idea of how many 'lazy' OEMs are trying to get their planes certified to Part 23, when 20-40 years ago a similiar plane would have been a Part 25 cert, yes I know that avionics, etc have improved, but there are many other differences between the two certs.

It does seem that something should be done. In the VLJ category Eclipse in particular emphasized that this aircraft was primarilly for commercial transportation rather than civilian use. I don't know if there should be a third category that is harder than Part 23 but not as difficult Part 25, but something should be done.

baron95 said...

AT said ... interesting - ws there a period when EASA was not cooperating, or was it EAC that was not cooperating with EASA?


Can't you read between the lines. The EASA pretty much said they would not deal with Vern's BS anymore. Now that he is gone.... we can talk ;)

baron95 said...

Easybake said ... Part 23 Cert - As I said before, just look at the history of abuse of the Commuter category regulations to get an idea of how many 'lazy' OEMs are trying to get their planes certified to Part 23, when 20-40 years ago a similiar plane would have been a Part 25 cert, yes I know that avionics, etc have improved, but there are many other differences between the two certs. ( did anyone die due to design mistakes during early Lear and Citation cert testing? We've had three? fatal crashes due to design issues in the last couple of years of Part 23 testing)

woah!!! Lets be careful not to rewrite history to fit our biases.

All Jets of less than 12,500 lbs( and even some heavier than that) since 1978 have been certified under part 23 - e.g. CJ series, Premier. These planes have a much, much, much better safety record than the early Lears and other Part 25 planes.

The reason for part 23 is simple - single pilot operation. Some, like the Eclipse also chose not to published ballanced lenght field, V1/V2, etc.

Immediately after certifying the C500 under part 25, Cessna certified the 501, etc under part 23 to get single pilot.

Then when the Citation S/II grew too heavy Cessna petitioned and got the "Cessna Exemption" from the FAA to operate Part 25 jets single pilot.

I do not know of any jet accident that can be attributed to any missing part 25 system. Part 25 planes, including the A320 have had multiple accidents related to uncomanded/unintended power settings to engines and other items.

Pat 25/Part 23 is just not a factor at all in accident rates. If you have the same crew with the same experience, you'd have the same safety on a CJ2+ part 23 as on a C550 Part 25.

Now if you put a single and less experienced pilot with no dispatche to fly a CJ2+ and try to compare that with a two-person crew + professional dispatcher on a C550 you may get different results.

Just don't try to imply that the difference is because of the different certification standards. It is not.

fred said...

very interesting indeed !

a special thanks to coldwet ; we had lots of laughter yesterday when i had to explain WHY goof-faith was a misspelling ...!

ok , so EASA :

sorry , i never said it will NEVER be certified ...

but that the style used by EAC was such an arrogant one , EAC would (will , have , had ?) to understand that FAA connections had NO power across the ocean ...

Was it Vern's fault ? i don't think so ... sounds more like firm's culture

(we laugh at "old dino's tech" for not being looking so much forward future ; meanwhile we can only deliver a thing that other "dino" were already doing in the 90's ...a plane is a sum of lots of details , as a chain has the strength of its weakest part and only , what about a thing (plane) having an automated door handle that open only on your remote wishes = when at 40.000 feet to have such a whooping-high-tech handle is not going to save your ass if everything else is falling apart ...! )

i may be wrong , but i think Dave is on something :

No Doubts EAC can make ONE EA500 complying with EASA needed changes , but (as written before) the funny bit with Eclipse is "there is always something in way , a nasty rock blocking the path ...."

so anyone to explain WHY something was NOT compliant BEFORE when things were looking OK and cash influx not a big matter ...

can be transformed into something COMPLIANT when CASH is gone , and EAC starved for new ?

and then HOW could they make the needed transformation ? and finally : if they did the EASA-asked changes = isn't it something that should be re-certified by FAA itself ? because if not , it end-up in having one plane but 2 versions with 2 different reasons to certify it or not ...

leading to a confrontation in between the two system , one saying "i am easier to the industry ..." the other one responding " we don't care , we are safer ..."

is there anybody to believe that such state-apparatus on both sides would jeopardize future cooperation and relation for something as small as EAC ???

is that an effect of Congress hearing ? = REMEMBER = EASA is NOT a secretary rank and file entity who has to obey anyone for any reason !

they make their OWN decision ! AND this is the essence of what i stated : IF it can be quite easy to trickle an "alphabet soup " thing by circumvention and some "good ol' chap" inside ...

in an institution which has, by nature , lots of different approach and way of thinking (because it is composed with lots of different nationalities and background) it is a lot more difficult ...

in the end , as Mr Oberstar said (at the very beginning when he stated that on a trip to see european counterpart in transport regulations , all 27 ministers asked "what is going on with FAA ?"):
the simple fact that one FAA certified and its counterpart DID NOT DO IT should raise concerns about what is wrong ...

is it FAA being a little too friendly with "what is not to be taken as customers !" ?

or EASA being a bit too shy on decision about a new standard ?
(Vlj , and if it is the case WHY Cessna had NO delay to certify its product ? )

as for credibility = i just do not care !

no one ever thought that trying to keep your credibility into some others eyes is precisely what MAY push you to alter or modify what you think ?

credibility is NOT working like a bank-account , you cannot save it , you cannot spend it ...

it is always better to say what you have to say , believe me interested (and interesting ) peoples will ultimately recognize you ...

even if i am the first one to state that i can be wrong , just like anybody !

so , about EASA ...

only one way to deal with the matter :
WE WILL SEE ! i have got MY opinion ... how about you ?

fred said...

just a question for the ones who know the system ...

#"Most absent from today's hearing were Raburn and Blakey..." #

was it , at any point , something thought about ?

i feel that to "unknit" the story , they should be the most sought after witness !

is there any way (or chances) to have it happen ?

fred said...

i feel like needing to add something :

Was it a fraud ?
was EAC a plain scam or not ?

in my OPINION = YES !

the reason : the way EA500 was advertised !

as a non-pilot , i was interested and fell short of becoming of victim myself of Vern's BS ...

remember : everything was made to have most thinking
"flying is easy..."
"with EA500 it is even easier , it's all automated , a super-mega-computerized system handle all "delicate" things inflight , leaving you with the pleasure of flying or the efficiency of going from a point A to B , in a manner that has never seen before in terms of Speed , Range , Price , Costs ...!"

fell short of getting in the trap ...
fortunately , i know someone who took me by both shoulders , shake me for a while and shouted "wake up ! you're dreaming..."

when i compared EAC website and what this person was saying
(no , to become an experienced enough pilot to fly such on your own and alone , it is NOT easy ... it is NOT fast and you you're not bright enough , it may even be painful ...!) i understood where was the problem ...

THIS is WHY , i think we all deserve a cheer to Monsieur STAN for setting-up the first Blog and going against mainstream ( i don't know but i guess it would have been better for his business to just follow the path written in $)

an other cheer , for Monsieur Shane for keeping-up the task ...

AS WELL , a cheer for Monsieur GUNNER for his efforts(and money) to keep this going-on ...

in a general manner , all the ones who gave their opinion , whatever it was , in a little bit more constructive way than a simple " I remain amused !" thanks to all of you , i have learned so much ...

just a plain fraud ! if one would try to imagine :

EAC winning its cert. , producing as it was expected to do , selling planes like doughnuts ...

no one to stand in the way ...

how many would be mourning the loss of a loved one by now ?

ps: GAD , do not listen to them , you are not as old as Yoda ...! only one question is tickling my mind : how did you do before electricity was invented ??? ;-))
(only a joke ! take it with a smile ...)

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