Thursday, September 4, 2008

A 'visit' from an old friend...


Recently Ken Meyer contacted me to offer an owners view and promised to provide 500 words. I was naturally delighted to hear from him, and encouraged him to get to work. He sent me this earlier, which I reproduce faithfully below.


A blast from the past…the Cardinal Returns!

Nine months ago, tired of the acrimony, I signed off from the Eclipse Critic Blog with these words: “Maybe I'll drop in and say hello after I've been flying the plane a while to let you know how I like it :)”

So, nine months later, I’m offering a very warm, heartfelt hello to all of you. And here is my report…

In a nutshell, while you can say any number of things about Eclipse Aviation and its many missteps, the plane is a great plane. It is folks. And whether you like the manufacturer or not, the plane will be around for a very long time to come because it’s a very good, very efficient, very fast design.

You see, by the numbers alone, the plane is everything it was advertised to be; more on that later. But what I didn’t anticipate was how much raw fun the Eclipse would be to fly. Sure, every airplane is fun to fly, but the Eclipse makes you feel like a fighter pilot. It handles like a Mooney with jet engines. Tight and crisp, a sports car of the air.

Aha! Ken says it’s cramped! No, that’s not it at all. It handles like a sports car, but with a seat removed, it is downright spacious inside. 

Take a peek at this photo

A ton of junk stored in the back, but still plenty of room for the kids to stretch out.

Is there space enough for luggage? Well, here’s the luggage for three that we carried for our Alaska cruise last week. 

Performance? Does the plane really do what they say it will? It does indeed. It gets book numbers and then some. Here’s a screen shot that tells the story.

361 knots, cruising in jet comfort above the weather at 37,000 feet while burning just 209 pounds per hour per side, a total of less than 62 gph. Fuel efficiency: 6.7 statute MPG. Know any other jets that can do that? That’s better fuel efficiency than I was getting in my old piston plane!

Range? Some on this blog have said the Eclipse has a 500 nm range. Well, nope; that’s just not right. I flew KHNR to KWMC on 8/8/08:

That’s over a thousand nautical miles westbound, against headwinds! A few days earlier, it was 1172 nm eastbound O05 to KHNR.

Reliability? I’ve got over 40,000 miles on my plane since taking delivery in April. It’s had maintenance—there were several delivery squawks that had to be fixed—but not a single flight has been cancelled due to a maintenance issue. I flew to Mexico in July with an author and photographer onboard. In my previous plane, I’d have worried that the story and photos would be about our breakdown in a foreign country. In the Eclipse, I had no doubt whatsoever the flight would go well. And sure enough it did.

The Eclipse 500 is a really good design that will live on no matter what happens to Eclipse Aviation, Inc. I have a high level of optimism that the new Eclipse management can and will fix the problems the company has had in the past. But even if they don’t, the Eclipse 500 will live on precisely because it is a good design, there is a type certificate, a production certificate, a proven production line, FIKI, and a growing support network.

Thanks to all of you for reading this! I’ll drop in again in 6 months or so and say hello. Meanwhile, I’m flying my jet and loving it :)

Ken Meyer

Many thanks Ken, and may you enjoy loads more happy hours in your very own jet. You chose your own caption, and I like your sense of humor!

Finally I think I can safely say, on behalf of the blog:-

Don't be a stranger and drop in whenever you like.

Shane

261 comments:

1 – 200 of 261   Newer›   Newest»
airtaximan said...

Glad to hear Ken is happpy with his eclipse... or...

the cynic in me says... he was here trying as hard as he could to spin everything eclipse's way before... until he got really close to actually receiving his plane - then he pretty much stopped posting...

NOW, he's trying to sell his second E500 position - I think someone said it was listed recently on Controller - so, he's back promoting, again.

Either way, I find it very telling, that the guy with an old, bought-after-a-crash Cessna prop plane, has 2 delivery positions at EAC.

Yes, we could believe he intended to buy 2 planes... but now he's selling off one of them. I guess the one he took delivery of is twice as good as he thought?

Either way, it goes to show Shane was probably right... MANY marks too more than one position.

I guess EAC promoted the positions as "investments"... I'll dig up some press where they were quoted as stating "positions are selling for twice the asking price for the plane"... back in 2003 timeframe. So, Shane - you estimate of far fewer buyer for the few hundred positions, ie. people often took 1,2,3..7 positions... is probably correct.

Even Ken... for example.

Turn-and-Burn said...

I don't care what you say. Shari is HOT.

Black Tulip said...

Thank you for the pilot report, Ken. Glad you are happy with your airplane. Drop by again.

airtaximan said...

Just noticed the Piperjet is only $2.2M

Its a lot of plane for that money, indeed.

I thought the design was a complete whack job... but...

check out the Design review room - addresses the issues brought up on this blog, regarding that design. Some interesting approaches, IMO.

http://www.newpiper.com/piperjet/

Dave said...

But even if they don’t, the Eclipse 500 will live on precisely because it is a good design, there is a type certificate, a production certificate, a proven production line, FIKI, and a growing support network.

Well the TC and the PC are questionable, Roel is completely redesigning the production line and FIKI is only available for a few people.

Beedriver said...

I have read two flight tests and basically they agree with Ken that it flys well. It sounds like what I say about how my Aerostar flys.

There are two major areas that would make me hesitant to buy an Eclipse.
1. support. any piece of equipment that is required to operate reliably needs a good company behind it. I learned in 25 years of building laser based machine tools that it was not only how the laser performed but how reliable it was and especially how fast it could be operating again when it failed. there is nothing like a company that is running $100,000 of production through a machine each hour. to show how important support from the the laser manufacturer was.

the Aerostar guys learned this the hard way when Piper went through BK

2. Its control systems all run through one computer and there are very few parallel paths to fly and navigate the eclipse when something fails. Keeping alive requires that there must be at least two independent paths to control as many key functions as possible. Everything breaks sometime and in my experience computer based control systems are the least reliable systems in industry.

Beedriver said...

Additional thought,

It will be interesting how the Eclipse deals with lightning.
Lighting strikes are common when using an airplane for actual travel. In the 1000 or so systems we built the computer controls were by far the most problematic. Noise power surges lightning etc would take them out even when they were very well hardened. all industrial systems require the safety systems to be hard wired through actual switches so the there are ways to control the system when the electronics go out. Airplanes must have the same redundancy for safety.

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MetalGuy said...

Sounds like a biased ad from someone trying to sell something.

MagicSky said...

To Everyone:

Here is an article from the ABQ Journal. Orville, or someone who is a subscriber please copy and paste for all.

http://www.abqjournal.com/cgi-bin/search_switcher.pl

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Richardson Lobbies for Eclipse Gov. Bill Richardson on Wednesday was lobbying on Eclipse Aviation's behalf with the chairman of a congressional committee that's investigating the certification of the company's light ...
full story 09/04/08

Thanks,
MS

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Well few if any of us have ever suggested that the EA-500 would not be a delight to fly in pure physical terms, so I guess no surprises there.

I am surprised that Ken continues to paint a rosy picture here when he is reportedly downright militant at times over on the double top-secret Owner's site. No, scratch that, not surprised.

You can not separate the plane from the ONLY company that produces and supports it, such as it is. The problems are endemic and widespread and Ken knows it.

I am honestly glad for Ken and Shari that they are finding the aircraft useful in any way, honestly happy for them.

Based on what I have seen of the safe and practical range of the plane and the relative reliability (or even availability) of specific systems and equipment that Ken and I clearly have different 'minimums' when it comes to putting our families into an aircraft.

I can accept that, but Ken's glowing review completely ignores all of the KNOWN shortcomings not of the company but of the plane itself. No FMS, no GPS moving map, no EASA certification, and still no FIKI for the vast majority of users and I suspect this includes Ken despite the clever insinuation to the contrary.

There are widespread reports of parts shortages that are beginning to keep customers AOG. We know that the relationship between EAC and vendors is strained, with many now simply not delivering parts for production or support unless they are paid, upfront.

Of course, with a 2nd position that remains unsold hanging around his neck like the proverbial albatross few would begrudge Ken from, once again, painting a rosy picture, and I think we are all happy that Ken and Shari are enjoying the plane.

But as has been the pattern in the past, it is what has not been said that speaks volumes.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Ken, we didn't expect anything else.

We appreciate the effort you took to write your thoughts, and are happy for you that there are things you can like about the plane and give you pleasure and pride for you investment.

What was your longest single maintenance event so far?

How often have you had to ferry to a service center so far?

Has you second A/C sold yet? Did you realise the profit you was hoping for?

When is your plane schedule for FIKI/G400 up(?)grade?

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

Piper obviously haven't read the EASA CRI for the Eclipse. On one page they state that the pilot will have a 45 minute glide time after an engine failure, and on the next that they will have engine emergency electrical power for 30 minutes. I guess that last 15 minutes (the dead stick intsrument approach to minima's) you can do without instruments!.

The also speak of a cabin pressure leak after engine failure at 35,000 feet, with an automatic oxygen mask drop at 15,000ft cabin altitude. Doesn't sound like they have read the regs there!

CS 23.841 Pressurised cabins
(a) If certification for operation over 7620m (25 000 ft) is requested, the aeroplane must be able to maintain a cabin pressure altitude of not more than 4572m (15 000 ft) in event of any probable failure or malfunction in the pressurisation system.

Dave said...

Here's the article from the ABQ Journal that MAGICSKY referenced:
Journal and Wire Reports
Richardson Lobbies for Eclipse
Gov. Bill Richardson on Wednesday was lobbying on Eclipse Aviation's behalf with the chairman of a congressional committee that's investigating the certification of the company's light jet.
"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," Richardson said in a news release.
Richardson was to meet with Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat who pushed for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to hold a Sept. 17 hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration's certification of the Eclipse 500 jet, according to the news release.
The hearing stems from a grievance filed in 2006 by the union representing the FAA's certification engineers. The grievance said the certification was pushed through despite outstanding safety and regulatory issues.
Richardson was accompanied on his trip to Washington, D.C., by Peg Billson, president and general manager of the Eclipse Manufacturing Division.
The Albuquerque-based company has recently laid off hundreds of workers, slowed down jet production and restructured its operation as part of a plan to become profitable.

http://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/04128328486newsstate09-04-08.htm

This is the press release that the article references:
http://www.governor.state.nm.us/press.php?id=932

Also here is Richardson's unquestioning acceptance of Eclipse's claimed production rate and sales when he voted to fund Eclipse's Series F:
http://www.sic.state.nm.us/PDF%20files/SIC%20minutes%208-23-05.pdf

airsafetyman said...

"the aeroplane must be able to maintain a cabin pressure altitude of not more than 4572m (15 000 ft) in event of any probable failure or malfunction in the pressurisation system."

I believe Piper has read the regs just fine in regards to the failure of any unit in the pressurization system. This does not mean that aircraft has to maintain a 15,000 foot cabin in the event of an engine failure, or in the event of a structural failure, such as losing a baggage door, in which case it would be impossible to maintain cabin pressure regardless of the number of engines.

airsafetyman said...

"On one page they state that the pilot will have a 45 minute glide time after an engine failure, and on the next that they will have engine emergency electrical power for 30 minutes."

Maybe Piper should chop off a few feet off each wing so the glide time will approximate the battery life?

Shane Price said...

'The Cardinals' Report'

Like it or not, its' the very first verbatim report on the day to day utility of the FPJ, as EAC still won't allow ordinary working journalists to review the aircraft.

So, as usual, the blog stays right out in front of the pack.

For our newer readers I should explain that Ken Meyer was regularly tagged as the leading voice for the pro Eclipse side on the Stan's original blog. The Critics (myself included) started to call to this group The Faithful, as they would never question EAC decisions.

Hence Ken's self depreciating reference to 'The Cardinal'....

I would also draw your attention to my recent comments about Peg and Mike, with Roel pulling back to let them carry the can, sorry, 'implement the operational excellence plan'. Or the information that President Peg and Governor Bill were meeting with the Congressman in charge of the DOT review.

I'm pretty sure there are some interesting times ahead, and will do my level best to bring it to you in a timely manner.

Thats' enough self praise Shane, get back in your box....

x said...

Mike Press update

Dave said...

Company financing and stability is the biggest issue at this time. Eclipse is in a cash conservation mode until the final round of financing is completed. UBS is raising a portion of the final financing package with a number of institutional aviation investors to the tune of $200-300 million. They have narrowed the field down to a select few and maybe one investor will pick up the whole tab. The UBS financing will be at a good ROI but also will not adversely impact cash flow in the near term. Additional financing is coming in from “other sources”. This additional financing is most likely coming from the second “European” factory and also additional fleet sales. The amount of this additional financing or investment is unknown but probably is equal to the UBS amount.

So Roel is looking for $400-$600 million!

baron95 said...

dave said ... So Roel is looking for $400-$600 million!

I hope so. If you recall my detailed and tedious math from the previous post, came to $500M needed to produce the planes on order (mostly at a loss), before they can then "try" to sell them above cost.

Dave said...

I hope so. If you recall my detailed and tedious math from the previous post, came to $500M needed to produce the planes on order (mostly at a loss), before they can then "try" to sell them above cost.

Yes, I recall and I also believe you said it was a bad investment for the risk.

baron95 said...

Addressing KEN's email.

1 - Ken - you have a beutiful family and a nice looking jet plane. With both you and your wife being pilots, you can share both the pleasures as well as the workload in flying it.

Congratulations, and I wish you many more great flying hours and adventures. I hope your enthusiasm is shared by many, many more GA pilots and owners - we need to move this industry forward.

2 - To ALL of those questioning the safety of Ken & Family flying the Eclipse, you have to keep things is perspective. There is NO QUESTION in my mind, that the Meyers are much safer flying their Eclipse with two pilots and in low-pressure benign wether trips, than they'd be flying their 35 year-old C340. No question whatsoever. I know from his posts in the past, that Ken is well informed and safety minded.

So, again, for your personal mission - you made a good choice.

3 - 40,000 miles is about 100 hrs on the Eclipse. 100 hrs in 90 months is a dozen hours a month on average. Not a lot, but above average these days for owner-pilots.

So, seems like good use.

4 - Questions to Ken:

a) You have Avio NG and ETTs right(I forgot)? so you only need the FIKI + Garmin upgrades. Do you know when you might get those?

b) How do you feel about the avionics? Lack of moving map, integration, AP disconnect issues?

c) How do you and the owners feel about future support form Eclipse (near and long term)?

It appears that you will not post answers to this here, but maybe you can focus on these next time you send an email update.

In the meantime, please continue to tell about your joys flying a VLJ. We need those stories to come out.

Yes, it may be a bit self serving and help you sell your position, but so long as it also helps GA and the VLJ marketplace, I am all for it.

In the end, we all need to remember, we fly for love of flying - no economical or safety justification. Each one of us would not be going through the hassles and costs of flying if we didn't love it.

So, I, for one, am thrilled to see on owner-pilot that is enthusiastic about his new ride (even with all its faults), just like he appears to be proud and close to his wife (with all her tiny flaws and PMS).

Love is in the air..... ;)

baron95 said...

Mike Press valued Eclipse planes as:
Waiting Performance Enhancement and AvioNG: $1.2M to $1.5M
Waiting AvioNG:-------------------------------------------$1.3M to $1.6M
Waiting FIKI and Garmin 400’s:------------------------$1.6M to $1.9M
Aircraft that have FIKI scheduled before winter---- $1.8M to $1.9M
Aircraft that have FIKI/Garmin scheduled early-----$1.8M to $2.0M
New aircraft to be delivered after 266-----------------$ 1.8M to $2.1M


I do not beieve this at all. To believe that someone would fork $1.8M over for a position with uncertain delivery date or for a flying plane scheduled to get FIKI/Garmin early on is to believe in a fairy tale.

What is the incentive to buy now? None. ZERO. If you believe Mike that EASA will happen in September and then the round will close in October and then the final mods will flow, why not wait?

Prices are not going to jump a lot after these events. So the upside of jumping in now is very modest, the downside is catastrophic.

Dave said...

Prices are not going to jump a lot after these events. So the upside of jumping in now is very modest, the downside is catastrophic.

I don't see how the prices could go above the levels that Mike Press lists unless Mike is hinting that Eclipse is planning another price increase that will put the Eclipse even closer to the price of a Mustang.

AvidPilot said...

Mike Press & Ken have something to sell.

This taints everything they write.

Ken, although the leading cheerleader for Eclipse, is far more critical on the owners club blog, where no one but the faithful may tread.

Now I'd like to see one of the other E500 Club members post their experience with the Eclipse. For some, it has been, or still is, a nightmare.

Dave said...

Mike Press & Ken have something to sell.
This taints everything they write.


Yes, but these can be more informative than not hearing anything at all.

flyger said...

Shane Price said...

Like it or not, its' the very first verbatim report on the day to day utility of the FPJ, as EAC still won't allow ordinary working journalists to review the aircraft.

August 2008 Twin & Turbine has an EA500 flight test as the lead cover story. The subtitle was "Despite its limitations, a dandy little jet". No online version that I know of.

It came across as fairly balanced. Definitely not "washed" like ANN. There were good things and bad things in the report.

So I think your statement is incorrect that Eclipse is keeping journalist out of the cockpit.

Dave said...

So I think your statement is incorrect that Eclipse is keeping journalist out of the cockpit.

I believe journalists themselves have said that. I don't recall the article, but a journalist took the Eclipse for test flight and was only able to do it because of a cooperative owner rather than due to Eclipse.

Shane Price said...

Flyger,

I think we are both 'incorrect'...

As I understand it, no one from the press has had a full briefing, followed by extended test flight time and an opportunity to 'poke around' the innards, facilitated by EAC.

On the other hand, I know that several people have had 'test flights' and reported them, breathlessly, in various ways, using many outlets.

What we all must remember is that NOT ONE of the people who've done any of these things has flown in an FJP that meets the original promises.

Shane

Dave said...

DayJet fires footbullet:
"It's worth every penny," he said. "Seldom, if ever, are they late, the planes are comfortable and half the time I'm the only passenger."
http://www.pnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080903/BUSINESS/809030304
They bring out one person who says that DayJet is good because usually people don't fly on it and then the other person used to speak about DayJet makes it very clear that DayJet is no air limo.

Shane Price said...

Baron,

No money on earth (or off it) would put me or my family into an aircraft slapped together by poorly trained operatives who had little or no clue what they were doing.

As an example, one crew apparently wrecked $800,000 worth of windshields (in one shift) by torquing them up incorrectly.

EAC 'produced' $8 million (yes, EIGHT) of scrap in a two month period. That's nearly $135,000 thrown away every day.

And that's what they discarded. What should worry Ken and everyone else who flies in one, is what got put INTO the FPJ.

The DOT IG is going to have a field day. No matter how hard they try, the FAA SCR team simply cannot cover up the mess in ABQ.

And it is a mess.

Shane

x said...

Dave's Pensacola PR cites the experience of a regular KJAX>KPNS commuter.

My database shows a total of 14 KJAX>KPNS direct flights since service began, 5 on Friday. No direct KJAX to Fairhope Ala flights at all, despite the implication that this was an alternative destination. I haven't searched for one hop flights.
Only one flight KPNS>KJAX on Monday, though there are a several on Tuesday, perhaps the businessman works a short week.

flyger said...

Blogger Dave said...

I believe journalists themselves have said that. I don't recall the article, but a journalist took the Eclipse for test flight and was only able to do it because of a cooperative owner rather than due to Eclipse.

You are correct, the journalist went around EAC and flew an EA500 in private hands. They don't show any pictures of it, but given the data in the article, one could figure out which one it was with some diligence.

Still, it represents a fairly detailed (10 pages) review of the machine, warts and all. Some of the less flattering quotes:

"It all sounded too good to be true, as it turned out, it was."

"Because of the tire/brake issue, we were planning only a single landing."

"Buyers reportedly are averaging about 25 squawks apiece when taking delivery"

"Almost anyone boarding the 500 with "bizjet" in mind is sure to be disappointed."

baron95 said...

Shane said... As I understand it, no one from the press has had a full briefing, followed by extended test flight time and an opportunity to 'poke around' the innards, facilitated by EAC.

That is completely nt true, Shane. I already posted extensively on this very Blog the AOPA Pilot August/2008 issue 10-page review of the EA500. One of their editors went and got a TYPE RATING on the EA500 and then flew it personally.

Here is the link to the on-line issue AGAIN. You may need an AOPA membership to read it though...

http://www.aopa.org/members/files/pilot/back_issues/2008/0808.html

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

somehow it is truncating the link...

Eclipse 500: Ready for Prime time

(remove the line break)

baron95 said...

Shane Price said...
Baron,

No money on earth (or off it) would put me or my family into an aircraft slapped together by poorly trained operatives who had little or no clue what they were doing.


Shane, could you tell us what planes your have personally flown? Of those, which ones do you consider saefr than an EA500 SN-200?

I have to tell you, I have flown a lot of junk. with good training and VMC or very soft IMC flying, I believe the EA500 is safer than any airplane at or below its previous price tag of $1.5M.

gadfly said...

‘Pardon another story from the old “gadfly”, but Ken’s euphoria with his little jet reminds me of that story, told here before, when I had a once in a lifetime experience of diving down about twenty or thirty feet during a brief “swim call” somewhere south of Japan, and looking down into the indigo blue of the deep Pacific, and a couple hundred yards back to my “submarine” . . . a dark creature that I called “home”. Only after climbing back up on the port diving plane could I look back down into the water where I just had this wonderful experience did I see a “critter” with sharp teeth, displaying its anger at missing lunch by a few feet. The man on the bridge, with the “M-1" rifle, ended the life of that shark. Even then, I didn’t realize just how close I’d come to ending my history right then and there . . . I was still thinking of this most unusual experience . . . alone, below the surface . . . and about 10,000 feet from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Ken’s remarks remind me of all that. He’s enjoying the fun of flying a jet . . . and there’s nothing quite like flying in your own little bird at over 35,000 feet . . . except maybe at 49,000 feet in a Learjet (Now, “that’s” really something, believe me!).

The problem with the “shark” back in 1957, and flying in an E500 in 2008 . . . there are unknown critters that are more than ready to eat your lunch . . . let me re-phrase that, “eat you for lunch”. “Up There” are “bugs” of the electronic type, and things that eat aluminum, and critters with sharp teeth that have no compassion . . . and little gremlins left behind by “Twelve Week Wonders” from a school in Albuquerque.

Now, I’ve always maintained that I am basically a coward . . . in a “sub”, first they have to find you and then, if they do find you, you don’t have as far to sink to the bottom.

But in “Ken’s and Shari’s” case, they look at it from the immediate experience . . . and who can blame them. But for someone who has been involved in aircraft parts design and manufacturing for . . . . let’s just say, a long, long, . . . very long time, what I have come to understand about the “mechanics” of the little bird, I would not allow anyone I love to ever set foot inside one of these contraptions. And even though I have been known to take a few risks over the decades, I, too, would not accept even a free ride over the home nest of ABQ. Period!

gadfly

(Someone wanted a comment about ‘how to go about the design and manufacturing of a jet/aircraft’ . . . maybe sometime we can discuss those issues. There is a correct way. But otherwise, a book might be written about how to do everything wrong . . . and yet convince “some” that what you have created is absolutely the cat’s “meow”.)

twinpilot said...

Baron95 said:
"I have to tell you, I have flown a lot of junk. with good training and VMC or very soft IMC flying, I believe the EA500 is safer than any airplane at or below its previous price tag of $1.5M."
I am a little concerned about the panel going blank in very soft IMC, like tops FL200, ceiling 5,000 ft. and me and my EA500 at 15,000 ft. I agree that as long as you don't overstress the thrust levers the engines should keep running, but it is stupid not to have mechanical back-up flight instruments.

baron95 said...

Twin pilot said... but it is stupid not to have mechanical back-up flight instruments.


True, but can losing your 3 pannels on the 10 min climb or descent in IMC is such an inprobable event as to not being worthy of consideration. In addition the Garmin 496 instrument page (don't laugh) is plenty enough to keep bright side up down to 5,000 ft (yes I have practiced it) and so has aviation consumer and they found it better than a 3" AI that you see as backup in any pre-1990s jet.

BTW, I don't consider climbing/descending through a 15,000 ft thick layer of solid (potentially icy) clouds to be soft IMC. I'd seat up straight on that one, but then maybe your marbles are bigger than mine ;)

What concerns me most, is the lack of moving map and SVS - I am convinced that large moving maps on integrated systems (not the type where you puch buttons on a G400 at the bottom of the pannel then look up at a map on another display) and SVS + IR cameras will make a big dent on the real killer - improper IFR procedures.

That is the single reason why I think EA500 will never be mainstream until they have a proper integrated avionics suite, namely, the G-1000/GFC700/SVS.

baron95 said...

Gadfly said ... “Up There” are “bugs” of the electronic type, and things that eat aluminum, and critters with sharp teeth that have no compassion . . .

Thanks for that Gad. Yep. You convinced me to return my pilot's certificate, give up flying. I have also decided to buy the hull of a diesel sub, bury it on my yard, cover it with 15 ft of concrete to create a bunker. I will also shield it with aluminum foil to prevent the criters from sending EMP pulses down to get me.

For crying only loud Gad. Get a grip. You can't enjoy life if you are that paranoid - go to the VA hospital, get some pills or something. Flying is just another activity in life, like driving, skiing, having sex. All of those can kill you. In some there are actual critters involved.

I don't know about you, but I don't think about dying when I ski, fly or have sex.

Get a grip.

P.S. Yes, I know I sound a bit (or a lot) disrespectful here. But I can't get this "flying will kill you" attitude go unchallenged.

No can do pal. If you keep on writing like that, I will post how ridiculous you sound.

Dave said...

P.S. Yes, I know I sound a bit (or a lot) disrespectful here. But I can't get this "flying will kill you" attitude go unchallenged.
No can do pal. If you keep on writing like that, I will post how ridiculous you sound.


I think you are reading too much into what Gad said. You've been an advocate of the Eclipse with different electronics. Gad isn't saying flying will kill you, but rather than a poorly designed, poorly constructed aircraft can be needlessly dangerous...if it was no big deal, I doubt Oberstar would be calling for hearings simply because he's paranoid and he's trying to scare people away from flying.

Dave said...

Northstar Aerospace laidoff 15 people due to Eclipse:
http://www.businessnorth.com/briefing.asp?RID=2636

gadfly said...

baron95

It really matters not how ridiculous I sound, I have a love of flying . . . and a life-long involvement in aircraft safety. If making myself look a bit “foolish” gets your attention, then the motive has achieved its goal. And frankly, I am using you as a “tool” to get through to others who have little appreciation for the work that must go into the safe design and manufacturing of a modern aircraft.

Let’s take a quick example: Suppose the “Granville Brothers” had designed the “Eclipse”. Did they know what they were doing? Sure, they produced one of the fastest aircraft of all time (in context). Jimmy Doolittle flew their greatest achievement . . . and we almost lost an early advantage in WWII because of that aircraft . . . had Doolittle died in a crash (which he acknowledged was most likely, except for his exceptional flying ability), we would not have, as a nation, the early successes of 1942.

It’s easy to make a “big splash” in aviation accomplishments . . . it doesn’t really take much genius.

You “armchair” experts go on and on . . . discussing all of the financial aspects . . . and that’s fine. But do not for one second think that aircraft safety is determined by “bean counters” . . . not by light-years.

Aircraft safety . . . the kind that you and probably your own parents have enjoyed (I don’t know your age), were probably the result of people with whom I have worked, or known, or worked in a second tier relationship. Even my own father invented the very controls that keep you safe and secure on almost each and every flight, should you fly on something built by Boeing, Douglas, Lockheed, Sikorsky, Hiller . . . and a few others . . . so don’t for an instant talk about ridiculous comments. And if you are a military pilot, you are safer in your position . . . left or right . . . because of things designed on the back of a church bulletin, Sunday morning, back in Burbank, California . . . I was there and watched my Dad sketch out things that have saved countless lives.

So, don’t give me some sermon. There are limits to my patience.

gadfly

(And sometime we might discuss why all those big aircraft . . . from the Lockheed “Constellation” on, through most of the early jets right up to the present, have a reliable cable control system . . . with precise accurate control of ailerons, rudder, elevators, throttles . . . did you think that all that happened by accident? . . . and all the passengers could put their seats into any position with the simple push of a single button . . . Amazing, isn’t it . . . and it all happened by accident.

And, as a final comment, I am possibly among the most aggressive proponents of flying . . . Good Grief, I’ve been flying most of my life, and I am a pilot . . . trained to be a “missionary bush pilot”, and an “A&P”, already. But to encourage anyone to fly in this ridiculous jet . . . 1.200 pounds overweight, and missing almost everything promised . . . I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy. )

Shane Price said...

Baron,

I've never flown a FPJ, so you are correct, I can't describe it as junk.

But then, to be fair to me, I didn't...

What worries me is the process that got the FPJ to where 'it' is now. Almost all parts of the program has flaws in it, as far as I can tell.

All I am is a simple Irish businessman, who happens to have an understanding of complex technical challenges in manufacturing, process control, quality and deadline driven delivery.

Over many decades, I've seen how to 'do' the job correctly, and how to 'not' to.

EAC get top marks for the latter.

As I said in my very first interview about this matter, I 'smelled' a rat in EAC. I don't know about you, but I trust my own judgement, especially when my personal safety is concerned.

So, my friend, you go flying in an FPJ.

I won't.

Shane

twinpilot said...

I think even Garmin requires backup flight instruments for the G1000. Maybe they don't but the dinosaur manufacturers put them in anyway. I know that backup instruments are required for the G600 stc. I think any aircraft with a glass panel needs some backup system that is completely independent. A 496 would be just fine if it were, certified, required equipment and some battery check could be made before IFR flight.

baron95 said...

I'm sorry Gad, but, with all your claimed experience, you don't understand the simple fact that in recenty certified aircraft, it is PILOT ERROR that kills 90%+ of people and things like aircraft contro systems can AT MOST affect the remaining 10% and are not a siginificant factor in GA accidents.

Failure to accept that simple fact casts doubt on all your proclamations of being a safety advocate.

Sure, I am extremely interested in systems like integrated cockpit, large maps, SVS, low approach speeds, anti-skid, etc, simply because I know that improper IFR and excessive landing speed and RLOC and the like are what kills people.

Not a design failure of a control system - that is a rounding error in the accident statistics.

Boys and girls reading.... Want to be a safer pilot?

1 - Get top notch training.

2 - Get more top notch training.

3 - Borrow money on your credit card to get (you got it) more trianing.

4 - Skip ALL the planes with overly complicated systems. For instance, don't fly a C340 or C414, fly a C414A with the simpler fuel system.

5 - Get the simpler most integrated avionics you can.

6 - Get more training in the plane you buy.


7 - Fly VMC only for while.

8 - Add soft IMC.

9 - If you are very current, have had recent training and fell like an ace, then fly IFR.

10 - In your spare time, read about how great multiple wing load paths and redundant cable controls and the like are - then forget about it, it is not what can kill you, despite what Gad said.

11 - Have fun. Share the joys of aviation with your friends and family. Make them comforable on a beutiful VFR flight to MVY, then punch a few status clouds in the next flight, then take them on IMC.

Love is in the air.... not critters that eat aluminum, despite what Gad may say.

The only criter that can kill you while you pilot your plane is, you guess it, you. And you are not afraid of yourself are you?

P.S. I will refrain from further coments on this difference with Gad, so as not to detract from the topic at hand - Eclipse.

Joe Patroni said...

Mr. Meyer can rave all he wants.....but I'm sure that there were people who raved about Yugos too.

"...over a thousand nautical miles, westbound......."

I'm just a dumb A&P, but is it me, or is there something wrong with my calculations?

The airplane holds 224 gallons usable (per the TC).....says he burns 418 gallons/hour total = 3.6 hours duration.
(This assumes an AVERAGE of 418 pounds an hour...every other jet I've ever seen burns a lot more in the first hour.....but I digress)

3.6 hours X (claimed)361kts= 1299 nautical
(once again, assuming full tanks and zero wind/giving him ALL the benefit of the doubt)

Distance between HNR and WMC = 1164 miles

Which by my calculation, means he landed with (at best) 115nm/20 minutes of fuel onboard.

I'll leave it to the studio audience to determine if that is acceptable.

Your mileage may vary.

Re: Baron95 comment.

We all know there is risk in flying. But I think I can say that when you fly an airplane where you are (as it seems to me) an unpaid test pilot, you are assuming more risk, vs. buying an airplane from a "dinosaur" that has certified a few airplanes before.

You place your bets, and you take your chances.

gadfly said...

baron95 . . . for openers, there is no conflict with you . . . and sometime in the future, we'll make everything known and have an open invitation to any and every one to our shop. You have merely opened opportunity to discuss subjects that may benefit others who are involved in general aviation. So, friend, bare with it for the moment:

Without going into detail, there is a certain excitement and respect for people that take honest risk, to move technology forward. Notice, I said “honest”.

Virtually all ventures into the future are filled with risks . . . financial, social, you name it . . . and Eclipse is no exception. The problem in this case is the “Honest” part. Very early on, that “honest” part was violated . . . it sounds like a broken record, but they revealed their hand when they “claimed” success, called in the escrow account . . . and no one cried, “Fowl”! . . . I’ll not bore you with the details . . . you know it by heart. So, we could say, depositors get what they deserve.

The problem is that depositors have families . . . and friends and associates, ad nauseum . . . who look to the “rich” and “powerful” to set the stage. And the “rich” are not necessarily the brightest bulbs when it comes to aircraft . . . re: New Mexico is now “stuck” with an Adams . . . etc.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be most interested into how our illustrious governor “Bill”, the one with the beard (of late) answers questions about certain things to the FBI. (Frankly, I’d put up his “mug shot” at the border at El Paso . . . “Have You Seen This Dude?”) Of course, if he flies across the border in the NM “Citation”, he’ll be home free and clear . . . and we can let him stay south of the border . . . “Hasta luego, y’ all”.

gadfly

(Dave . . . thanks for your support . . . me thinks you have the big picture, un-jaded by preconceived ideas. Most of the “bloggers” want aviation to move foreward, and to take risks when necessary. But the “designers” of the past, were also the “risk-takers”. Today, we have egotistical bean counters . . . (in NM considered a racial slur) . . . that sit back with grandiose ideas, allowing the “customers” to “take the risk”. And that, to me, is immoral.)

baron95 said...

Of course, I should point out that after crew training reaches a certain level, like in western airlines and larger NBAA missions, a greater percentage of accidents can be traced to aircraft system design issues.

Case in point, today the UK investigation board release the report on the first 777 hull loss the China to LHR BA fight. Probable cause was ice formation in the fuel which restricted fuel flow to both engines on short final.

Expect that FAA and EASA will issue a 777 AD very shorty, require among other things that flight crews cycle the engines during long low power flight operations.

Funny. It is almost like clearing your carburated engine on a C172/182 every so often during descents to make sure there is no carb ice.

This, in the second most technologicaly advanced widebody flying today.

Obviously RR wi be working feeverishly to find a permanent solution.

Maybe they can use the scrap PWC610 from Eclipse as a fuel line warmers ;)

airsafetyman said...

"True, but can losing your 3 pannels on the 10 min climb or descent in IMC is such an inprobable event as to not being worthy of consideration."

So, who has three panels? My understanding of the Eclipse is that is comes standard with a PFD and MFD and that the pilot is suposed to bring up the standby info on the MFD if he THINKS he has a problem. Then he can argue with himself as to which screen is giving him the good info. Absolute stupidity.

WhyTech said...

"I believe the EA500 is safer than any airplane at or below its previous price tag of $1.5M."

You are entitled to believe anything you want to believe. That doesnt make it so, however. There is simply not sufficient cumulative experience with the EA500 to conclusively pronounce it "safe," especially in light of the real and potential issues which have been raised here and in other forums.

gadfly said...

Joe

It's easy to make a mistake . . . Ken's numbers are based on about 6.742 pounds per "GALLON". Take it from there, and re-check your numbers. I, too, am an "A&P", although not worked as one since they were a gleam in their father's eye.

gadfly

Joe Patroni said...

".....then forget about it....."

The reason you USED to be able to forget about it, boys and girls, is because you had:

-Experienced engineers designing and certifying an airplane, then
-Having said airplane built by people who have experience in building airplanes, with

-A quality control system, independent of the production side of the house, insuring that all the airplanes are built in conformance to the type certificate, and that all components in said airplane were determined to be airworthy, who are in turn,

-Monitored at every stage by the FAA, with (hopefully) no political interference in the process.

This system works pretty well, and has stood the test of time. Because there are a bunch of people who know enough to address all these issues correctly, you can ".....just forget about it...."

I know Eclipse operates under a "new paradigm"; they have yet to demonstrate that their way is better.

baron95 said...

Joe Patroni, sorry to say but your figures are way off and in addition you ae mixing galons with pounds. I don't have access to the flight manual, but (very rough numbers):

1 - Eclipse can carry 1,698 lbs of fuel (don't know of the top how much usable)

2 - HNR to WMC is (great circle) 1014.87 (nm).

Even if we assume that Ken flew at FL370 and max cruise, instead of a more economical altitude/power setting, and that there was a 40 KTS head wind component, the numbers are:

Ground speed: 361-40=321KTAS
Flight time (ignoring climb/descent): 3.16 hrs.
Fuel used: 3.16*418 = 1,320 lbs
Fuel left on tanks on landing (roughly): 1,698 - 1320 = 377lbs or more than 1hr a LRC - not terribly remarkable.

I wouldn't fly it that way, but I could go if destination was VFR and there were plenty of alternates en-route. Monitor the flow, adjust power settings so you have plenty of fuel reserves on landing. If winds turn out to be more than anticipated or ATC was less cooperative, then divert to alternate en-route for fuel.

So it is a plausible flight for Ken to make if a bit on the outer range of the plane, but that is exactly what he wanted to impart, the limits of the safe envelope.

baron95 said...

whytech said ... There is simply not sufficient cumulative experience with the EA500 to conclusively pronounce it "safe,"

1 - I don't pronouce any airplane "safe" or "unsafe" no such thing. I only speak of relative safety.

2 - You are correct on insuficinet data - some 40,000 flight hours. That is why I said that I "believe" it is relatively safer than any plane selling for less that $1.5M.

3 - I do "believe" that there is enough data to support the fact that Eclipse accidents will be caused in the vast, vast majority of cases by pilot error, therefore rendering the aircraft systems safety a moot point.

4 - If you disagree with my belief, please ploint out to me, which plane that Ken could have purchased for less than $1.2M or whatever he paid for it, would be safer for him and his family to fly the missions he described. Note that Ken purchased a new plane, with a professional training program, a type rating, mandatory mentoring, etc...all of which, in and off itself, would have greatly, greatly improved Ken's potential safety.

So, what could he had bought (same condition - zero time engines, under warranty, etc) for $1.2M that would be safer? Name it!!!!

Nothing right? You can't buy any zero-time presurized turbine plane for that (perhaps a jet-prop conversion of an older Malibu frame could make it). So you have to go piston, and we all know their safety record, right?

Or can you actually name a plane that would be safer?

gadfly said...

baron95

You said: “10 - In your spare time, read about how great multiple wing load paths and redundant cable controls and the like are - then forget about it, it is not what can kill you, despite what Gad said.”

Frankly, I don’t understand your point. But I’ll give you something to chew on:

A long time ago, our next-door neighbor happened to be the man in charge of all flights of the Lockheed “Constellation” . . . that beautiful three-tailed, four engine aircraft, used by both airlines and the military . . . we used to hide from them as we crossed the DEW (Defense Early Warning) Line in the mid Pacific, going to our “patrol stations”.

Jack Duffendeck came over to see my Dad, who had designed the cable tension regulators, then a basic part of the Constellations . . . and said they were getting serious problems . . . the Connies were “porpoising” on final approach. The pilots could not control the pitch . . . so my Dad, violating protocol, but in interest in avoiding grounding of all Lockheed Constellations, worldwide, worked with Jack on the solution to the problem. It seemed that some “engineer” had figured that if one cable tension regulator in the system was good, then “two” would be better. So, on some “Connies”, a competitor’s regulator was installed in series with the Pacific Scientific Co. regulators (my Dad’s). When the second regulator was removed, the control was restored to normal, and no further action was required. The pilots could not have possibly overcome the problem . . . they were dealt something beyond their control. It’s this sort of thing that may come back to haunt the flight crew on the little jet . . . and they will have nothing within their control, to recover from a fatal condition.

The outcome of the “incident” with my Dad, and Lockheed, was good . . . but my Dad’s boss didn’t like the fact that “he” wasn’t consulted, first. My Dad did the right thing . . . but was not “politically correct”. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I am what I am.

gadfly

(Another “tidbit” from the past: Jack Duffendeck was also in charge of all flights of the Lockheed P2V Neptune, a twin engine patrol plane with “MAD” gear in a long “stinger” on the tail . . . another annoyance to us in the Submarine Service, a couple years later. But before my time in the Navy, Jack had some of his friends fly over our neighborhood in Burbank, and shine that 300,000 candle power spotlight into our neighborhood. The “lamp” in a pod on one wing-tip could operate for thirty seconds . . . then had to be shut down for five minutes to “cool”. We all came out to watch the event . . . and it was most “spectacular” . . . illuminating everything. A couple years later, in waters off Oahu, we would surface . . . radio the P2V, and say, “Over here!” . . . so they could go back to Hickam, and say “We found that submarine!” And many years later, I would work on the proto-type Xenon lamps that would supercede those early arc lamps.)

(Oh, and by the way . . . having a "sloppy" cable control system can kill you real bad . . . and ruin your whole day.)

gadfly said...

"Or can you actually name a plane that would be safer?"

Like Charlie Brown, I was going to say "A Piper J3" . . . but I changed my mind.

gadfly

baron95 said...

You guys are realy funny, thinking that the good old days were better...LOL.

The last jet plane certified and produced by a start up company was the LearJet, which killed scores of flyers right off the bat, had horrendous dispatch reliability, very tricky flying characterisics.

But, hey, the old times are always better right.

Ken and Shari definetely would be safer taking delivery and flying the Lear 23 in the first year of production right?

O wait maybe they'd have been better flying the Jetstar which would kill them twice as fast, right?

Did I tell you that I have this dead for this one realy old bridge connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn - I'm selling shares on it so you can own your own piece of 19century engineering. Interested?

baron95 said...

meant deed

Black Tulip said...

“I believe the EA500 is safer than any airplane at or below its previous price tag of $1.5M.”

This is a statement unimpaired by logic. Let us consider a most basic safety requirement - for all-weather dispatch and safe operation, this type of aircraft must be properly equipped and legally able to fly in visible moisture when the temperature is conducive to ice formation. None of the Eclipse fleet is so equipped.

FlightCenter said...

According to FAA records, there were no E500s delivered last week.

Hardly surprising given the disruptive news from Eclipse last week.

There has been one E500 aircraft delivered so far this week. That aircraft was SN250.

The FAA records show a total of 247 aircraft delivered since deliveries began and a total of 17 E500 aircraft delivered in August.

gadfly said...

b95

You meant to be funny, and we’ll take it for that.

But that “old bridge” was designed and built by a man, Washington Roebling, at great cost to himself and to his father, John Roebling, with far greater integrity than Eclipse could possibly imagine. Yet that bridge has safely transported millions and millions of people, safely far more miles than all of the Elipse 500's could possibly ever transport . . . even if the little bird would be in full production for a century.

In fact, there is no aircraft in history that can match the safety record and maintenance excellence of that most famous “old bridge”, built between 1869 and 1883.

Fifty years later, two more bridges were built, using much of the same technology (the twisted high strength steel Roebling cable) . . . the bridge across the “Golden Gate” and the Oakland Bay Bridge. Even today, the technology that the “Roeblings” developed for high-strength steel cable is part of each and every aircraft cable control system.

They even over-designed to compensate for the “fraud” of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall, who put bad cable into the mix . . . and that’s still in there, too.

Amazing! Washington Roebling lived long enough to see their product become part of the aircraft industry.

Seriously, I doubt that an E500 will exist a century and a half from now, except in some obscure history book . . . in a footnote. But 1 1/4 centuries have gone by . . . and the Brooklyn Bridge continues to do ten times . . . and more of what it was originally designed to do.

gadfly

(Quality and honesty count!)

airtaximan said...

per safety remarks... according to my assessment of some of the bloggers, aircraft safety is not related to the ability to actually use/fly the plane under normal flying conditions... therefore, I procaim:

"the new definition of Safest GA aircraft" goes to microsoft flight simulator...based on hours flown... followed closely by Flight Safetys' sims.

See how this works?

FlightCenter said...

BT,

Excellent point about the safety benefits of flying an aircraft with FIKI.

But to push a little further in answer B95's question about whether it is possible to find a safer plane than an Eclipse for under $1.2M, let's look at his assertion that the great majority of accidents are attributed to pilot error.

We've had a dramatic increase in GA flight safety over the last 10 years. Most credible aviation safety experts attribute the lower accident and fatality rate to the increased situational awareness equipment that is now available in the GA market, including things like GPS, moving map, terrain and weather awareness systems.

B95,

It isn't that the pilots are doing much of anything new other than flying dramatically better equipped aircraft than they were 10 years ago.

The improved safety record comes as a result of fewer pilots getting in over their heads. They can take advantage of the advanced avionics capabilities that make flying a lot simpler and a lot less stressful than it used to be.

Let's look at the following list of safety equipment that is not yet available on an Eclipse, but has been readily available on many single engine piston, and multi-engine piston aircraft shipping for the past 5 years at least.

Weather Awareness Equipment including:

Stormscope
Datalink Weather
Radar


Situational Awareness equipment including:

GPS
Moving Map
Terrain Awareness
Jeppesen Approach Charts

Primary Flight Aids:
Flight Director
CAT I approach certified, fully coupled autopilot

None of this equipment is yet available on an Eclipse.


B95 makes a good point. Pilots fail a lot more frequently than engines fail, even piston engines.

They fail a lot more frequently when they make bad decisions because they don't have all the information necessary to complete their flight or if they are under stress because they've been flying IFR on raw navigation data for several hours.

My conclusion is that almost any new aircraft under $1.2M is a safer aircraft than an Eclipse until they start delivering aircraft equipped with the basic set of now standard situational awareness and weather awareness products. DA40, C172, PA-28, SR20, G36, PA-34, G58 and up... are all safer aircraft than an Eclipse today. You can buy all of them new, for less than $1.2M, yes even the G58!

If you have to have a turbine engine to feel safe, they buy yourself a brand new Kodiak Quest for $1.25M.

Now that would be one perfect aircraft to fly around the Cape and islands on your way to MVY.

FlightCenter said...

In the interest of appeasing the fly who is often disturbed by all the typos and spelling errors he sees from the fast typists among us.

I've just installed Google's new browser, Chrome. I was surprised to notice that now when I type a post in the blogger comment window, Chrome does an automatic and real time spell check for you.

Another instance of how the latest advanced technology helps prevent pilot errors.

gadfly said...

fLyteSenter

It hass bean a longe tyme sins I huv kritisized anywun 4 tipoes on thes blogg . . . but whatevver wurks iss hokay bye me.

gradbug . . . flie . . . whatever!

baron95 said...

Gad...again, I'm sorry to say, you are so wrong...You are digging a bigger anbigger hole for yourself

Beow are the men killed by the Brooklyn Bridge and its designers during its construction. In addtion, several people die each year on the bridge from suicide, traffic accidents, etc...

(the siliness, arguing what is safer an EA500 or the Brooklyn Bridge - that has to be a new low for the blog)

Here at the BB's victims...


John Roebling
Thomas Blake
Cope
Daugherty
Donahue
Thomas Douglas
McCann
Patrick McKay
Neil Mullen
John Myers
William Reardon
Reed
Harry Supple
Anonymous 1
Anonymous 2
Anonymous 3
Memorial Day 1883
Avoy
Brooks
Matthew Burns
Matthew Byrne
Patrick Collins
Francis Demel Drake
Michael Duddy
Johnston
Koen
Lars Kornelius Larsen
Lockwood
James McLaren
John Maronna
Murphy
John Murphy
John Nakis
Johannes Heinrich Seifer
Meta Busing Schmidt
Walter Solley
Thomas Talbot
Tinney
Robert C. Quinn
Anonymous 4

baron95 said...

FC, thanks for your post. I mostly agree with you.

Unfortunately, the decrease in GA fatal accidents is primariy and perhaps exclusively due to lower numbers of hours flown. It is trully a sad story, not a happy one. Pilot/owners are abandoning older planes in droves, no longer geting an anual inspection and stop flying. The aging of the pilot population is alarming.

As t oanswering my question, I did ask for a presurized turbine aircraft that is safer than the Eclipse for less than $1.2M than Ken spent.

The question stands. Nice try with the unpresurized singles you listed.

And BT, lets talk about FIKI. The Eclipse IS equiped for FIKI it is just no certified as such, which means it needs some changes to meet the latest and extremely stringent FIKI requirements.

The question still stands for you sir. What plane that sells for less than $1.2M is safer than Eclipse SN 200 in icing conditions?

For this one I'll let you use ANY plane. And, I have flown a Malibu and a Baron, both FIKI certified in icing conditions, and I am SURE, I'd rather be in an Eclipse climbing at 2,000 ft/min or exiting the icing conditions at 360 TS than being in the Malibu and Baron. If you can't get the difference between meeting a regulatory requirement and practical safety you are in for a nasty surprise one of these days.

Try flying one of those piston planes in icing conditions and see it is is fun - particularly here in the NE, where you can't change altitudes at will.

Black Tulip said...

Tonight the blog has to be like flying at Vmo down low. The traffic goes by so, so fast. The controller will probably get upset with us. I sure hope we don’t hit a bump. "Wrinkle, wrinkle little spar... way up there so far."

just zis guy, ya know? said...
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just zis guy, ya know? said...
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Gunner said...

Ken-
Tit for tat and with the same civility as your email let me say "Welcome Back....again".

I, too, am sincerely happy for you and Shari that you got one of the jets you paid for. I have just one (three part) question and I think most will agree it's an important one:

Is the enjoyment you two are experiencing tarnished in any way by the fact that you ardently and aggressively encouraged others to deposit money on Post-1400 SNs, knowing now that their deposits were essential to your jet being manufactured and that those who didn't manage to get their money out months ago will likely become poster children for the term "chump change"?

There have been less than a dozen questions posted to you in response to your glowing report on the reliability of [your] plane and the glowing future for potential NEW investors. Those questions have been sincere and polite.

I submit that, should you hold firm on your intent to return to a 24/7 "fighter pilot" role and should you fail to find time to answer at least some of these questions, it relegates your email to the worst kind of advertising foppery. On the internet, that would be called a Drive-By or simple Spam.

Please grace us for just a couple of posts, even if by email response to Shane. I think you owe that to the Depositors tied to the train tracks and I hope you and Shari see the fairness in that course of action.

If not, well, fly safe.
Gunner

just zis guy, ya know? said...
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x said...
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flyger said...

Blogger Black Tulip said...

Let us consider a most basic safety requirement - for all-weather dispatch and safe operation, this type of aircraft must be properly equipped and legally able to fly in visible moisture when the temperature is conducive to ice formation. None of the Eclipse fleet is so equipped.

Thus the EA500 can't legally dispatch on that mission which improves its safety.

In an odd way.

One wonders how the fleet will hold up when people do start routinely hitting ice with it.

Black Tulip said...

Baron95,

My three plus decades of flying in the Northeast is about evenly split between piston and turbine. I identify with your concern about operating in icing conditions.

As I understand your position, you suggest operating the Eclipse 500 NOW in icing conditions based on its significantly better climb performance. Being very safety oriented, you must be aware of the following: If you have an accident and survive your airman’s certificate might well be revoked for operating to endanger. Survive or not, your insurance company would not readily pay the claim based of failure to operate within the Federal Aviation Regulations.

You mentioned Eclipse 500, serial number 200. If our discussion is to include aircraft that have incorporated some of the elements of ice protection, but either don’t have known ice approval or are not (yet) available, then we can add many more candidates to your under $1.5 million criteria. How about a vast array of other unfinished aircraft in the news, not to mention experimental and homebuilt machines?

baron95 said...

Thanks X, as I expected, flown at FL400, more economical by almost 10% - A do-able flight - close to the range limit, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Certianly not worth the effort to try to doa "gotcha" on Ken

FlightCenter said...

B95,

I appreciate that you mostly agree with the points I made.

However the facts do not square with your assertion that the primary or perhaps exclusive reason there are fewer accidents is that there are fewer hours being flown.

If there were fewer accidents only because people were flying less, then that really wouldn't be an improvement in safety, now would it?

The facts are that the GA accident rate and the fatality rate have steadily improved over the last decade.

From the Nall 2007 report:

The GA accident rate per 100,000 flight hours continues its decade-long decline, from 7.19 accidents per 100,000 hours in 1997 to 6.32 per 100,000 hours in 2006. The fatal accident rate over the same period decreased from 1.36 to 1.26 accidents per 100,000 hours or 7.4 percent.

20yearmechanic said...

Eclipse Aviation Splits Into Two Divisions

By Matt Thurber
September 4, 2008
Business Aviation

As part of its “operational excellence strategy” to finish incomplete customer-delivered airplanes, improve production efficiency, fulfill overdue payments to suppliers, repay deposit holders who have canceled orders and achieve financial stability, Eclipse Aviation CEO Roel Pieper has reorganized the company into two new divisions. Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation now consists of two operating units: the Eclipse Manufacturing Division, headed by newly appointed president and general manager Peg Billson; and the Eclipse Customer Division, with former vice president of sales and marketing Mike McConnell at the helm as president and general manager.

CFO Mark Borseth is leading the Process Improvement Teams “to ensure the success of both divisions,” according to Eclipse. Billson’s unit is responsible for engineering, supply chain, quality, production and flight operations.

McConnell’s unit includes marketing, sales, customer and product support and flight training. “I have absolute confidence in this leadership team’s ability to deliver the profitable results this company requires,” said Pieper.

baron95 said...

BT,

I am of the VERY FIRM opinion, that on light aircraft, icing protection equipment, certified or not, is to be used simply to "aid" in exiting INNADIVERTENT icing enounters.

I would not fly my known icing approved Baron into known icing conditions intentionally ever. IF center or another pilot reports icing ahead at a certain altitude, I am in strategic nuclear weapons negotiation mode with the controller before I get there.

IMHO, the Eclipse and the Mustang should be flown the same way, perhaps with this one exception. If the icing is reported as light and it is clear on top and you get an unrestricted climb from the clontroller, then sure punch up.

That is pretty much the only scenario that would not be available to me today because of lack of FIKI certification.

ALL the other innadvertent encounters, I am totay free to use ALL the Eclipse anti-icing/de-icing equipment to exit. It is NOT an FAR violation to stumble upon unforecast unreported icing conditions.

I picked SN200, simply because those have Avio NG, Aeromods, new model boots and 99% of the certified FIKI package.

It is ridiculous for you to think that a grand fathered King Air or Malibu that got FIKI approved under older regs is more FIKI capable than an Eclipse that has 99% of the approved packege for a much stricter requirment and lacks a couple of labels and a SW change for enunciators. It is silly really.

Yes, my plane is FIKI certified. It has old (read slow) boots, a 6" plate to clear the windshield for me to see out to land, no ability to clear ice from the side windows for landing reference, a 40 kts cofin between min recomended climb speed and no-climb VNO and another 40 kTS cofin between that and stall, a single pitot tube, propeller deicing that swing huge chunks of hard ice packs against the fuselage and antennas - it is a sad mess.

On the other hand, Ken has an EA 5000 with twice the climbe capability 2-3 times the airspeed spreads, full windshield deice, fast boots, a design to handle a lot more icing than my plane, but that is not FIKI certified because of a couple of minor points.

Yes. I am SURE that Ken is safer in innadvertant icing encounters on the Eclipse than he was on the 340 and than I am on the Baron.

Simple as that.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Baron,

That Ken has accepted one incomplete, partially functional preemie jet in exchange for his $1.2M is an unfortunate fact of life - well for he and Shari anyway.

We can safely assume that he expected to pay considerably less for this jet, by hedging against the 1st with a position on a 2nd jet that would be presumably sold at some astronomical premium that Ken and Mike Press and Darth Campbell have all tried to suggest would surely come - just like the folks who promoted reckless investment in the housing bubble, or previously in the dot com bubble.

Making money in a scam like this saga requires very good timing.

The sad truth, which was unreported by our friend Ken, is that like many other multiple position holders who will be similarly disapppointed, not only will there not be an astronomical premium for the undelivered jet, Ken likely paid a premium to get his unfinished jet, compared to what he originally expected to pay.

In other words, not only will he likely not get cost-plus money for the position that he expected to offset a portion of the cost of the jet he intended to keep (and in a BK that may all be lost) - the jet he is stuck with probably cost him more than expected - it is lose - lose.

The simple fact of the matter is that he has chosen to accept and operate an incomplete aircraft in exchange for his $1.2M. His choice to be sure.

As Gad has repeatedly pointed out, there are NO complete EA-500 aircraft, and with one hull loss accident - 4 AD's - countless service bulletins - dozen's of landing incidents - numerous problems involving loss of control of key systems like engines, autopilots, displays and trims - and an embarrasing number of SDR reports - all in about 40,000 hours of fleet experience, the only plus for making any kind of safety determination is that so far there are no fatalities.

It is my position that is not BECAUSE of the design of the EA-500, and I do not say this lightly, it is IN SPITE OF IT.

Dumb luck and a statistically rather low overall rate of exposure are why.

Going back four and a half decades to the admittedly shaky introduction of an airplane that was a true game changer in terms of performance and value, to justify and 'take solace' in their production and company failures shows just how bankrupt the entire concept of the Eclipse is - morally let alone technically and financially.

baron95 said...

FC, I want so bad to believe it, but I can't. Most serious GA safety analysts know that it is impossible to determine GA flying hours.

There are two phenomena in play.

1 - GA personal use pilot population is decreasing and GA personal use airworthy planes are decreasing. [I'm sure you know about the FAA proposal to go to a 5 year registration vs life time, right? That is an attempt from the FAA to purge the registry ofplanes that never fly or no longer even exist]

So, if there are fewer planes, and fewer personal pilots, you have to assume that there is less flying.

2 - There is a lot of substitution going on. NBAA fleets like NetJets are flying a disproportional portion of the GA hours.

So now, we have J3s being scrapped, Apachesbeing parked for good, pilots like Gad stop flying because they are afraid of critters on one hand. On the other hand we have a small number of biz jets, flying like airlines with 12+ hour utilization per plane with a professional flight crew.

Combine the two and accident rates are going down.

But the question is: Is the average personal use pilot fying the average personal use mission safer today than 5 years ago? As much as I and others have searched for that evidence it is simply not there. The honest answer is that we don't know - but we suspect it is about the same as it was.

Now, I agree with you that there are several trends that give me hope that we will hit a hockey stick curve on safety.

As glass/moving map/WAAS GPS and capable autopilots become prevalent, as SVS comes into play, as a greater share of pilots have instrument ratings, as some of the less stable (designed by Gad) types are scrapped, etc - safety should improve.

But all in all, it is primarily about training - training is improving, but slowly.

Joe Patroni said...

B95...."carries 1698 pounds of fuel"

I was using the 224 gallon usable fuel number off the TCDS, which works out to approx 1500 lbs. Is the difference due to the tip tank mod?

The online flight planner I used called the distance at 1164 miles. I ASS-sumed that they would show it in NAUTICAL miles.....my bad.

(Memo to Self: Delete online flight planner from "Favorites")

Sorry for all the stir.......ever since I saw a guy take off for a flight between KICT and KGLD in a C551 with 500 POUNDS TOTAL Fuel onboard (indicated, with FUEL LOW LEVEL lights flickering during turns on the ground), pilots stretching range to prove a point makes me nervous.

FlightCenter said...

jvg,yk

You are right that E500s now come with radar. But not all of the Avio NG aircraft have radar. The first aircraft with weather radar was certified on Feb 23, 2008.

Vern claimed that the first Avio NG aircraft received its CofA on 12/20/07, so there were at least two months (and maybe 4 months) of Avio NG production without radar.

However, my understanding was that while the radar is installed on current production aircraft, Avio NG 1.5 is required before the radar data will be displayed on the map. I haven't been able to find that reference, so perhaps that was a misunderstanding.

To my comment regarding terrain awareness, perhaps I should have been more clear. I was again thinking about high resolution terrain data displayed on a moving map, showing obstacles, etc.. This would be like the terrain displayed on an MX20 or similar capability available on G1000 systems.

The KGP-560 terrain resolution is again not displayed on a map in the current version of Avio. Avio only displays that very low resolution, blocky data on a dedicated page of the MFD. Very few pilots use that dedicated page except when they hear a warning from the TAWS. That page doesn't show traffic, weather, or NavData that isn't on your flight plan.

Finally, Eclipse's notice on FIKI says
Aircraft prior to serial number 266 will require the Avio NG 1.5 Garmin upgrade as well as compliance with a service bulletin that includes the following modifications...


So while your point may be true that you can have the modifications for the center panel and the rudder spring and paint completed if you have an NG airplane, you will still have to wait until NG 1.5 is installed on your aircraft before you will be able to use the system.

And that looks like it could be quite a wait.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Dave remind me to never get on the other side of a legal case with you. Your ablity to dig out the nuggets is outstnading.

The minutes of the SIC NM which you dug out has this little jem in it.

Mr. Denker discussed the market. He said Eclipse is now beginning to receive orders in the fractional marketplace and expects to receive an order for ten corporate aircraft by the end of this year. He stated that their largest customer, Day Jet, has ordered 1,400 aircraft and plans to initiate an air taxi service in the Southeastern U.S.

I know ATM and other have found other official information from Eclipse to indiciate that Dayjet had 1400 of the orders options and floptions at that time. The go on to detail a total order book of 2260+. Subtracting Dayjet you had about 800 orders.

Subtracting ETRICs left about 600. Subtracting Alpha Airways and JetSet Air we are down to 500.

No way in hell do they still have anywhere near 500 outstanding reliable deliverable orders.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

The SDR reports disagree with your safety assessment Baron95.

You yourself have often commented on the negative safety impact of the lack of ground spoilers, anti-skid brakes, moving map etc.

I think the biggest safety risk from the Eclipse is that it is unpredicitable.

The pilots in midway didn't know that a throttle slam in windshear would cause the engines to freeze at full thrust.

They didn't know that both tires would burst when they applied the brakes.

They didn't know that shutting down one engine would cause the other to automatically go from full power to idle and still not be controllable.

Pilots do not know when the A/P is going trip off.

The do not know when the screens will blank.

Nobody knows the structural implications of the holes in the tail section where mechanics drilled through structure, or the implications of the fasterners set with the wrong rivet pullers.

They are all now known unknowns, but what are the unknown unknowns lurking in this half arsed design.

Bonanza Pilot said...

So how much will Ken have in the jet after Eclipse goes BK, and the new and improved Eclipski NG of Russia says it will do all the upgrades promised - but you have to pay for them. Say 100K or so sounds about right for the later planes...200K for the early ones. Or perhaps much more??

Ken did not make any mention of how many tires he has gone through in his 100 hours, but I do believe he is loving the plane. I know 2 owners who both love the plane and ignore/overlook any problems that might exist.

airsafetyman said...

Well, if the attitude reference layout on the Eclipse panel is so wonderful as is, why does the FAA require a stand-by attitude indicator for Part 135 operations? Having three attitude references from two sources is still stupid in my opinion. There have been MANY instances of a PFD giving erronious pitch and roll indications that are in sync with erronious changes in the heading readout and changes in the moving map display without any warning indications at all.

Black Tulip said...

I've just put in an order for a pair of rose-colored glasses. Also having watched some of the televised political conventions, I'm going to try to focus more on what can be, not what is.

Just zis guy, you know? said...

ACK! The impostor is back...

airtaximan said...

everyone should read freedom's last post on the orderbook, based on Dave's digging...

NO WAY THEY STILL HAVE 500 orders:

"They go on to detail a total order book of 2260+. Subtracting Dayjet you had about 800 orders.

Subtracting ETRICs left about 600. Subtracting Alpha Airways and JetSet Air we are down to 500."

ATMAN: 500 - 240 deliveries = 260 left... THEN you are told they have 300 refund requests? and defectors of around 100 to the e400...

Also, there were more fleet orders, if we are to believe any of the PR... Ourplane, NA jet, Linear, Pogo, Spanish airtaxi, etc...

I think one thing is obvious - there's a good reason they recently slowed production... and probably a really good reason 10% of the recent deliveries were shipped off to europe somewhere...

I would be surprised IF they had 100 real deliveries left on the books - very surprised...

Orville said...

I don't know who's who - but he's 'YA KNOW' - and you're - 'YOU KNOW'.

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

Thanks for the tit-for-tat post...

From an upstanding guy, who funded and arranged to protect the rights of the bloggers, and freedon of speech everywhere... you are uniquely positioned to bring up the real moral issues regarding Ken's post.

There's a lot of history, there - he was proven dead wrong on so much of what he ADVERTISED on this blog.. IMO, just to advance the company to the point where he would get some aluminum for his deposit money, on the backs of further depositors. He wa doing exactly waht Vern was doing... robbing Peter so Paul could get a plane, and prehaps the company could live another day.

I find it really curious, that Ken's name would have had to be included in the SLAPP suit... as he claimed to have better intel than the rest of us... even willing to "say" he'd wager on his facts... we al knew he went limp when it came time to actually wagering.

What he writes needs to be taken with a grain of salt - he's advertising... and he has a position for sale on Controller... he's just up to his old tricks.

No Mas said...

flightcenter said ...

The KGP-560 terrain resolution is again not displayed on a map in the current version of Avio. Avio only displays that very low resolution, blocky data on a dedicated page of the MFD. Very few pilots use that dedicated page except when they hear a warning from the TAWS. That page doesn't show traffic, weather, or NavData that isn't on your flight plan.


The KGP-560 is the GA Class TAWS and only outputs a video signal that is displayed by the MFD, typically in a reserved display space or nugget.

If you want TAWS overlayed on an en route chart, then you need to go to a much more expensive box.

NM

No Mas said...

Regarding all of the assertion that Avio/AvioNG produces an overly demanding cockpit environment …

Job Opportunity – VLJ Pilot … Those folks intimidated by something new, please do NOT apply.

Agreed that AvioNG is not fully integrated, nor finished, but it is without reasonable argument easier to operate than the G1000 system, especially pre- “READY Pad” (Columbia/Cessna) and GCU478 Keypad (Cirrus).

To quote the King Schools catalog, Page 26 regarding the basic G1000, “…Soon you’ll have command of its 125 knobs and buttons.” Hardly a testament to ease of use! G1000 is an evolution of the 430/530 family, so we didn’t expect it to be pilot friendly.

With nearly 5000 units in service, G1000 is the “industry standard” for features, but never confuse it for easy to use.

Comments desired from anyone else who has flown both airplanes enough to understand their systems.

Dave said...

The minutes of the SIC NM which you dug out has this little jem in it.

Here's some other good ones to read:
http://www.sic.state.nm.us/PDF%20files/PEIAC_Minutes_112607_Final.pdf
http://www.sic.state.nm.us/PDF%20files/SIC10_23_07_Index_Minutes.pdf
http://www.sic.state.nm.us/PDF%20files/PEIAC%20minutes%208-4-05.pdf
http://www.sic.state.nm.us/PDF%20files/SIC_42208_Minutes_Final.pdf
http://www.sic.state.nm.us/PDF%20files/SIC_4.4.06_Final.pdf

Here's all mentions of Eclipse on the SIC website:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=&as_epq=eclipse&as_oq=&as_eq=&num=100&lr=&as_filetype=&ft=i&as_sitesearch=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sic.state.nm.us%2F&as_qdr=all&as_rights=&as_occt=any&cr=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&safe=off

Here's mentions at the City of ABQ:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=&as_epq=eclipse+aviation&as_oq=&as_eq=&num=100&lr=&as_filetype=&ft=i&as_sitesearch=cabq.gov&as_qdr=all&as_rights=&as_occt=any&cr=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&safe=off

This is for GRA:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=&as_epq=eclipse+aviation&as_oq=&as_eq=&num=100&lr=&as_filetype=&ft=i&as_sitesearch=www.gra-gnv.com&as_qdr=all&as_rights=&as_occt=any&cr=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&safe=off

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I AM NOT VERN said...

I flew an Eclipse 11 months ago. Here is a post I made regarding the experience. I think it is appropriate to note how my thoughts from almost a year ago compare with the reality of the current situation at EAC. To wit:

Today I flew an Eclipse 500. I also closed on the sale of my beloved SR 22. One of he local FBOs sponsored an invitation only open house for local pilots and business people that might have an interest in an Eclipse. I went to the Eclipse event early and spoke with the FBO owner about taking a test flight. He spoke with the Chief Pilot and arranged the flight along with several others throughout the day. The Eclipse Concept Jet made a surprise visit. I was able to snap an inside photo.

I flew approximately one hour and was pilot-in-command. I performed all takeoffs and landings with taxi to and from runways. We flew to 16K feet and saw a max speed of about 280 knots true. To be fair, ATC kept vectoring us all over the place and we never could really level out and get a true speed trial. We had 5 souls on board and partial fuel (don’t recall how many pounds). The computer said we could take on another 260 pounds of payload given today’s temps.

I guess I’ll start with what is wrong with the Eclipse – as I see things. I don’t recall the exact serial number of this plane, but it was very new. I think the serial number was in the late 30s. I was told they delivered number 46 this week. To begin, the fit and finish is not good. The exterior of the plane has serious and significant depressions in the fiberglass. The caulk-like seal between some of the fiberglass joints on the nose is rough and obviously not correct. Rivets are not well done. The exterior of the plane appears to be built by a first-time Lancaire builder. No car body shop in the world would be happy with the exterior fiberglass work.

The interior looks like the interior of a 80s model Chrysler K-Car. Cheap vinyl (leather?) with cloth-sided seats donÂt provide even a hint of "wow” factor. If I were Eclipse I would buy some quality cow hide from Ferrari and get a good interior guy to put in something that would knock your socks off! The pilot’s seat is very tough to enter. Think Piper Meridian. Of course I’ve been looking at Pilatus PC12s and they are also tough to enter. We should appreciate the Cirrus ease of entry and exit.

The avionics at this point are a disaster! They provide you with a Garmin 496 when you take delivery. Nothing works. No weather, no charts, minimal autopilot. I flew an ILS approach by hand. I think it was the first ILS hand-fly since my IFR checkride. It was a good thing it was CAVU today. The avionics do have some very good features which I will cover below.

The Eclipse sales force is a disaster!!!!!! The Chief Pilot was a GREAT guy! That said, their salesman pissed me off so bad I gave him a cussing he won’t soon forget. I told him: A.) I sold my plane today. B.) I had a Cirrus Jet on order. C.) I had been looking at TBMs and PC12s (hint: I could afford an Eclipse 500). The salesman stated that a 2-year wait existed for new 500s. I stated if I got serious I would simply buy someone’s early delivery position at a premium price. At this point he knew: A.) He wouldn’t be getting a commission from this sale. B.) He would not be delivering any badly needed “new” money to the company. C.) That Vern and the Investors wouldn’t be happy unless I was a new customer willing to put up a non refundable deposit so more investors could be duped into dumping more money into the company. At this point the sales rep promptly cancelled my planned test flight. Referencing the cussing above I less-than-politely told him how his company differed from Cirrus. My tirade (yes, it was a full-fledged, make-an-ass-of-yourself-in-front-of-dozens-of-others tirade) drew the attention of the FBO owner and Chief Pilot. Together they soothed my greatly ruffled feathers, dismissed the sales rep to FBO Siberia, and promised me a great ride for today. During the ride the Chief Pilot again apologized and told me if I wanted an early position I should contact Eclipse instead of some 3rd party guy in St. Louis who seems to control the market for early delivery positions. He informed me the Eclipse premium price would be lower than the other guy. So we have Eclipse out in the marketplace playing “Let’s screw the guys who originally supported us” game. Very poor marketing! Their desperation says to me they are in serious need for cash. You could almost smell the need!

So, what did they do right. Well, in spite of the above remarks I was impressed with a lot of things.

It is actually bigger than I thought it would be. Yes, it is cramped, but not really all THAT bad. The seats, while cheap looking, were comfortable. They are easily removable for more gross weight and room. This is a very nice 4 place jet with enough room for 5 on short to medium trips.

This aircraft still has the original Avidyne Avio system installed. If everything were to work as advertised it would be a great system. The fully integrated systems model is probably the way of the future. The start sequence is insanely simple. Turn the right engine knob to “start”. Monitor the startup on the MFD and see the starter switch to generator mode. Turn left engine knob to “Start” and do same. The Eclipe is far easier to start than a Cirrus or Cessna 172. The dual power levers act exactly as expected. We flew the plane at near gross weight with one engine at idle. The plane continued to climb and performed fine. I was impressed with single engine performance. On takeoff you hold the brakes and advance the throttles to maximum continuous thrust (MCT). The computer knows you are in takeoff mode and will automatically assign 10% additional power to an engine should the other fail on takeoff.

Speaking of the computer…the first thing done upon startup is enter the weights of pilots, passengers, etc. The computer generates the takeoff speeds, stall speeds, approach speeds, etc. Pressurization control is also simple and a non-event. Because it is an Avidyne system it will be very familiar to any Cirrus pilot. The computer also displays systems status. There seem to be a lot of menus and sub menus that will take some getting used to. It seems to be more akin to the Garmin 1000. Oh yes, there is a pullout keyboard that we never used. I understand it would be handy when entering flight plans, etc.

How did it fly? Not as good as a Cirrus! The stick is VERY heavy. It requires a LOT of physical force to move the plane around when operating at high speeds. At lower speeds it isn’t so bad. The force required to perform a few minutes of slow turns at high speeds actually made my wrist and arm hurt. The 500 is not nearly as precise as a Cirrus. A Cirrus gives very finite, precise roll movements when the stick is moved. The 500 tends to be more like a Piper or Cessna and rooolllll into a turn. No precision feel. Landings are very Cirrus-like. The speeds are very similar. The sight picture is very similar. I had a 15-18 knot 90 degree crosswind. The trailing link landing gear did a great job of handling two less-than-perfect landings. The plane tended to have the same level of ground effect float you find in a Cirrus. Any Cirrus driver will be right at home when landing this plane!

So, would I buy this plane? No, not at this time. If the company is able to complete the avionics and fix some of the obvious (and serious) exterior defects they have a winner. They will also need to reshuffle their sales staff. You can just sense that this is not a well-oiled machine and that things are in turmoil. My advice? Wait until about serial number 500 to take a serious look. If Eclipse were Cirrus they would have things fixed within that time frame. But of course this isn’t Cirrus.

Lastly, the fact that this plane is currently flying on an FAA approved type certificate is criminal! This aircraft (at this point) is an experimental aircraft not worthy of an FAA type certificate. Doesn’t say much for our beloved FAA does it? Of course a healthy dose of user fees will probably take care of this problem as well.

Dave said...

Here's somebody touting the Frankenjet:
http://www.redferret.net/?p=10912
I guess they didn't get the memo that the Frankenjet might not even go into production.

St Lucie is trying convince DayJet to have an DayPort there instead of just a DayStop:
http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/sep/05/expectations-for-tourism-season-optimistic-but/

baron95 said...

Joe Patroni said...
Sorry for all the stir.......


Joe we (I) am delighted to have you on the blog - we need more of the A&P and practical perspective.

Please stay with us ;)

Yes, there was an increase in the amount of fuel carried in the tip tanks after serian number 36 or so (IIRC) - there are referred to as ETT mods (extended tip tanks). As I said, I didn't have access to the flight manual, so I ust used total fuel.

500 lbs total on 551 is not legal for a flight to another airport as it is less than 30 min of fuel. More like 15 min at lower altitudes.

I hope he didn't take off.

baron95 said...

FreedomsJamtarts said...
You yourself have often commented on the negative safety impact of the lack of ground spoilers, anti-skid brakes, moving map etc.


I know. And I do stand by that. The problem is that no other presurized turbine plane that Ken could have purchased for $1M or $1.2M with zero time engines has that either.

You can't compare features without comparing price.

It is not fair for me to say that my S63AMG is safer than a ford escort. It costs 10x as much and, I have a better chance of cratering it doing 130MPH on an undisclosed road than the Escort guy.

Safety comparissons must take into account: a) the role of pilot, b) the cost of the plane.

Is a Mustang safer than an Eclipse with same pilot training? YES, I believe so, for the avionics and the anti-skid.

Is an Eclipse safer than a Meridian or pre-Garmin TBM? YES. I believe so. Is it safer than a C340 that Ken had before - oh yes. IS Ken a safer pilot ust by having gone through a recent training/sim/type rating/mentoring. oh yes.

So the Meyers, are flying in a safer environment now than before their got their EA500. Great for them.

If, (long shot), Eclipse pulls through in some form that manages to support Ken's plane going forward, he will look like the smartest man in his airport, for having a $2.5M twin et that he got for $1.2M.

I, for one, am rooting for Ken, Eclipse, GA. Even though I know the odds are long.

airtaximan said...

not Venr,

s there fiberglass on the plane... any composites.. radome, fairings...

??

TBMs_R_Us said...

Is an Eclipse safer than a Meridian or pre-Garmin TBM? YES.

Now, you really do need to have your head examined!!

I know you like to make provocative statements, but this one shows that either (a) you really don't have a clue about aircraft safety, or (b) you like to make stupid remarks just for the fun of it. Take your pick!

Joe Patroni said...

Re: C551 flight

Yes, he took off. Said he had contract fuel a lot cheaper @GBD. The plan was to blast out of Wichita, get as high as he could, then coast in.

Guess he made it, I didn't see a story on the 6pm news.

You know why the FAA has so many regs? It's the same as trying to fire someone in a Union shop.

The perp always says something like, "Even though what I did was totally moronic, you can't punish me for it, because that action wasn't specifically prohibited".

BTW......can one of you techno- saavy guys tell me why I have to re-register for this blog every time I attempt to make a comment? It always tells me my password is no good.

WhyTech said...

"I flew approximately one hour and was pilot-in-command. "

A small nit: you were not PIC unless you had an EA50 type rating at the time of your flight.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Oh man he struck a nerve with the TBM boy... I considered a TBM 850 before the E500. Eclipse won.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Eclipsepilotomsiv,

Can you explain how you made your decision between the TBM-850 and the EA-500 and how you think it is working out so far?

Do you have your jet yet?

Did support infrastructure enter into it?

Did company reputation enter into it?

Did warranty enter into it?

What has been your experience?

Thanks

Black Tulip said...

Eclipsepilotomsiv,

"I considered a TBM 850 before the E500. Eclipse won."

Excellent and welcome to the blog. We have some other 'investments' we would like to discuss with you.

Turboprop_pilot said...

Baron95:

you coulda been one of the faithful. I just measured the overwater distance from the mainland to Martha's Vineyard- it is 15 miles. Thinking you need a twin because it is overwater is just a dumb strawman. My Meridian would glide back to New Bedford or to MVY from 3,000', my Malibu or TBM would have needed 4,000 and a Cessna would only need 5,500 feet. It is such a short trip that any certified plane would get you there is nearly the same time, if you add in the normal drives, removal from hangers, preflights, starts, etc.

Then you say.. "What $1.2 million plane.." Jesus, Ken's plane will need $500,000 more to make it safe enough for most of us to fly and the new ones are selling for $2.15 million, if they ever make any. I'm going to call you "Strawman95" from now on.

I agree that the TBM is the safest plane I've ever owned- it is nearly indestructible, with the French Airforce using a 305 knot redline, the ability to descend at 6,000 fpm and stop in less than 1,500 feet with its powerful beta.

The FPJ does have nasties hiding within its systems as proven by Midway, it is so lightly built that we haven't seen turbulence accidents most probably because of its lack of FIKI and its builder ranks right up there with Enron in its honesty. So it is very wrong to say it is safe compared to any certified aircraft, except maybe old twins that have steam gauges like the FPJ.

I do agree with you that most accidents are pilot error but no moving map and hand flown approaches plus the nasties just increase the odds for the tired pilot to make an error.

Turboprop_pilot

Shadow said...

TP said "no moving map and hand flown approaches plus the nasties just increase the odds for the tired pilot to make an error"

This might have been the case in the Brandywine accident: fully loaded airplane with inadequate tires and no anti-skid brakes, and fatigued pilot due to high IFR workload cockpit. Entirely plausible.

Dave said...

North American Jet Charter doesn't want Eclipse subpoenaed:
08/27/2008 NTC: HEARING (CIVIL)
FILING NOTICE OF HEARING ON KENNETH D ROSS' OBJECTIONS
TO AND MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OR INSPECTION
ON 9-22-08 @ 9:25 AM

Joe Patroni said...

"...inadequate tires and no anti-skid brakes....."

And nary a thrust reverser or speed brake/ground spoiler/lift dump to be found anywhere.

Someone is gonna be having fun this winter........the first time they land on a contaminated runway.

gadfly said...

To the one who called the comments about the Brooklyn Bridge silly:

Yes, you’re correct . . . it is probably “silliness”, etc., but the point of the Brooklyn Bridge was brought up by you . . . not unlike the “little jet” , it is a form of transportation . . . it revolutionized transportation for thousands of people, beginning in 1883, continuing more than a century later, and declared to be one of the best constructed bridges, with the least maintenance issues . . . even by today’s standards.

The deaths that you list, for the most part, were the results of accidents "during" construction . . . and John Roebling’s death occured "before" the beginning of construction.

The Brooklyn Bridge illustrates genius in design, and the important need for a single designer to follow through from beginning to end (in this illustration, Washington Roebling, the son of the original designer, and a man of honesty and business integrity carried it to conclusion with an understanding of the original intent of his father's design, now deceased).

Some of the deaths during construction may be attributed to political dishonesty during that period of history . . . re: Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed . . . (something that has a certain “smell” not unlike New Mexico politics). Other deaths were due to the now obvious safety issues connected with the “bends” (something of which submarine sailors and divers are acutely aware . . . and many lives have been saved because of the lessons learned “back then”, digging beneath the surface) , etc., and other safety issues little appreciated at that time in history.

So far, there have been no deaths connected with the little jet . . . and we applaud that fact, although the credit seems to be more attributable to the flight crews, than to a thoroughly thought out and finished design.

And since the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, the safety record of that unique structure is virtually flawless . . . as related to the design and integrity of the structure . . . a most excellent accomplishment.

The bottom line, here, is that aircraft should be designed under the control of men of integrity, and proven record of performance . . . without the micro-management of others who do not understand aerodynamics, metallurgy, manufacturing, personnel, and business integrity.

And concerning people that jump off the bridge . . . any fool can do that, just as someone can fly an aircraft into a building . . . and kill thousands of people. But we do not blame the original designer for the mental instability of those who may take control of the aircraft . . . or the one who purchases an unsafe aircraft.

The entire Eclipse fiasco has shown the dangers of each and every one of the above mentioned problems . . . and the list is only the tip of the iceberg.

So, I apologize that my comments are sometimes “silly” in your mind, and the minds of others, but I stand firm on certain principles that should, and must be followed, for our common industry to survive.

Respectfully,

gadfly

(An interesting thing, here, is that probably far more lives have been saved because of the Brooklyn Bridge, . . . considering what was learned, and the travel time saved in countless emergencies . . . by a couple or three magnitudes, than the thirty or forty lives lost during its construction.

You folks have a great and restful weekend . . . and give some careful thought about the basic design and the absolute need for integrity in the people and product, in which you trust for transportation of your loved ones.)

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Yes I have taken delivery of the airplane. And I will be the first one to admit the plane has its fair share of problems. Such as autopilot disconnects, false error messages etc. They have been troubling at times. Generally however the plane has performed well. On another note speaking of aircraft problems, I have ran into problems with other aircraft I have owned in the past few years such as a recently purchased Malibu Matrix, a G1000 182, A columbia 400, Piper Cheyenne II, and a Lear 36. I can say that all of these planes have had their share of problems. It is very unfortunate that at this time the E500 is not fully functional. It has the potential to be a great aircraft. But I do have faith that Eclipse will work out its kinks and get this aircraft to 100%. It does upset me that they even began to think of the E400 before the E500 was complete. I don't think that Eclipse is the first company in history to have to restructure to become successful later. The foundation is there.

airtaximan said...

"The foundation is there"

interesting comment...

Do you mean the ability to spend 12 years selling planes to a few hundred customers, for half what they cost to build... then deliver planes with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fixes, retrofits and repairs required on each plane to make it operable and safe?

Or, do you just mean the ability to find and blow a few $Billion trying?

I am sorry, but this is not a "foundation" (as in charity) its a business... and there's NO WAY, given what we know today, that this will ever be a business. There is zero foundation for this.

baron95 said...

TP said ... I do agree with you that most accidents are pilot error but no moving map and hand flown approaches plus the nasties just increase the odds for the tired pilot to make an error.


And you are absolutely right - that is why I said I believe the EA500 is safer than THE PRE GARMIN TBM 700!!!! As in the early King-equipped ones, which are the only ones you can find for less than $2M.

I didn't say anything about the TBM850 a plane that costs about 3 times as much of what Ken paid - it is a ridiculous comparisson.

If Ken spent $1M or $1.2M, I'm still waiting for ANYONE here to tell me what presurized, turbine, zero time plane he could have bought that would have been safer.

You guys can't come up with one, yet keep on saying that Ken is fying an "unsafe" plane. There is no such thing. Safety is relative.

I firmly believe that the EA500 training, typerating mentoring process, in and by itself, made Ken an incredibly safer pilot - and that is part of his EA500 purchase.

Had he bought an early used Jetprop conversion on a Malibu frame wis 178KTS VMO, and 130KTS VA, and hodgepoge avionics, and single bus, would he be safer?

Dave said...

It has the potential to be a great aircraft. But I do have faith that Eclipse will work out its kinks and get this aircraft to 100%. It does upset me that they even began to think of the E400 before the E500 was complete.

I agree with much of what you say here except I don't see Eclipse under its current ownership/management to be worthy of faith or trust. Roel obtained majority ownership and become the CEO because a payment was missed to ETIRC and now as soon as Roel takes over, he immediately stops paying others off - particularly depositors who are contractually allowed to get a refund. I believe in Roel's short tenure he's been shown to be dishonest (such as by touting an order book size of 2700, which Eclipse internally does not believe) and as such his actions should be suspect.

However, that doesn't mean that if Eclipse was to enter BK and someone out of the blue was to take over that then Eclipse could become worthy of deserving people putting their faith and trust in them.

baron95 said...

Shadow said...
This might have been the case in the Brandywine accident: fully loaded airplane with inadequate tires and no anti-skid brakes, and fatigued pilot due to high IFR workload cockpit. Entirely plausible.


Nope. You are confusing the accidents. The C510 Mustang accident was the one where the pilot said he lost PFDs and autopilot functions in flight (yes the G-1000/GFC700 crapped out on him on the wonderful Citation), and got sooooo tired hand flying it. He then tried to land so fast and so high, that even the controller questioned him on the frequency "Sir, are you going to be able to make the runway". Then he overun.

The Eclipse accident was a very short flight, the approach and landing was all VMC. I already posted that the runway length (based on conditions - wet, 1% down slope, high temps, planed loaded with fuel) was insuficient for a safe landing).

So, both accidents appear to be pilot error, like 90%, but ONLY THE MUSTANG one, did aircraft system failure played a role.

And that is just the thing. Everyone here automatically claims that the Mustang is "safer" than the Eclipse. Even I am inclined to say that.

But, at least in the small statistical set, one accident each, only the Mustang has had a system failure implicated in an actual accident.

You can try to pretend it isn't so because it doesn't fit your view of the world, but IT IS SO.

Either way, if the facts prove to be what they appear to be from the prelim reports, both pilots, being multi-rated ATPs, should have their pilot's certificate suspended for 6 months.

Flying a jet into a field with insuficient lenght and on top of that doing it too fast and too high in one case, and flying so high and so fast as to scare even the controllers is totally unacceptable. It is one of the few cases where the FAA should take action. This is careless if not reckless operation of a jet by an AIRLINE TRANSPORT PILOT.

baron95 said...

Have a great weekend Gad. And, for the record, I do enjoy reading your posts. Now that Fred is gone, you and I have, by far, the most verbose posts. But mine are by far the ost tedious.

I love the Brooklyn Bridge. I used to live in Staten Island and cross it into Manhattan often, and also spent many an evening marveling at it from Pier 17. That is why I wanted to sell you a piece of it ;)

baron95 said...

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...
Oh man he struck a nerve with the TBM boy... I considered a TBM 850 before the E500. Eclipse won.


Yep. Unfortunately, he did not understand my position.

If I could afford $3M for a plane, I'd buy a Mustang, but a TBM 850 would be a close second.

At this time, I would not buy an Eclipse, because the potential downside of support evaporting is too much risk for me, but I can see how others just don't want to wait to move into jets and get hours under their belts.

Congrats on taking delivery of your Eclipse. I hope you enjoy it and that it quickly gets all the upgrades.

Keep us posted on developments.

Cheers.

WhyTech said...

"I have, by far, the most verbose posts"

At least one thing we can agree on! ;-)

roncizek said...

This is my first post.
I was one of the guys in line on day one to plop down my deposit.
I ended up with ac #43. It is an ETT plane without Avio NG. I payed 985k for it. I bought about 100k of options, yet to be delivered.
I am a 2500 hr pilot with the last ten years, and 1600 hrs in a P-Baron.
Why did I buy it?
Because I was tired of slogging around in the low to mid twenties where all the weather was.
I wanted to go faster, and higher.
I wanted to extend my range between fuel stops. My typical trip is 800 to 1000 nm. I figured if I could cut my stops in half, i would eliminate close to 50% of my risk.
I fly about 150 hrs a year.
How many trips have I had to cancel, or divert. Two !!
I canceled one because of forcast icing at my destination. I diverted to a local airport once because my field doesn't have an ILS.
How many times did I cancel a flight in my Baron a year? Four or five because I couldn't go high enough to get on top of the crud. Am I happy with the the status of my plane? NO!! I wish it had all the lights and bells that I was promised. Have I had many issues with reliability? No !! It has been more reliable than my Baron.
Has the service been acceptable. YES !! The service centers have been outstanding. What about the training? I spent five weeks learning long forgotten skills. I learned to hand fly the plane to ATP standards. I am now ten times the pilot than what I was when I showed up in ABQ. Will they go TU?
I don't know? Will someone pick up the pieces if they do? Probably, They have a fair sized fleet out there.
Will I have to pay more to get my plane completed? Maybe!
If I had it to do over again, would I buy an Eclipse? A new Baron is about 1.x mil., and it's not even pressurized. A new Mustang is about 3.x mil. There are some used jets out there, but the hourly cost is two to three times of what I am paying.
I've been to the Cayman Islands, Alaska, all coasts, and points in-between over the last year. So far I've not regretted my choice. I know that I'm taking a risk posting this comment. It appears that many of you have an axe to grind with Eclipse. I expect many clever comments on what an idiot I am for being pleased with my lot in life. Knock yourself out.

baron95 said...

roncizek said...
I figured if I could cut my stops in half, i would eliminate close to 50% of my risk. I fly about 150 hrs a year....

I spent five weeks learning long forgotten skills. I learned to hand fly the plane to ATP standards. I am now ten times the pilot than what I was when I showed up in ABQ.


Welcome Ron. And thanks for your comments. All of a sudden we have a few pilot/owners of Eclipse's posting. Makes the conversation more real.

Ron, I am glad you made the comments on safety and training - what you mentioned are the things that make a difference.

Cut your T/O-climb-descent-landing through weather in half and you safety per mission or flight hours almost doubles. Go through the process of getting your first type-rating in a professional training environment and your safety goes sky high.

Those two factors alone are more relevant, in recently certified planes, than any systems design like mechanical vs MFD 3rd AI or how the rivets were pulled, that get debated over and over here.

Enjoy your plane. Like I wished to Ken,I hope you get all your mods in short order and that there is long term solution that is at least acceptable to support your plane.

If there is, you and Ken will look like the smartest people in the air, flying modern, brand new, twin-jets for $1M acquisition and $600/hr or so DOC.

If it doesn't work out that way, at least you'd have a great story to tell in your flying career.

Enjoy the jet. I like your thinking on safety and the realistic assessment of the Eclipse situation as it applies to you.

You took a risk, you have some benefits in the near term. Long term it remains to be seen.

That is just it. Nothing more, nothing less.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I'll second Baron on welcoming active (hopefully) participation from some owner-operators, it is truly appreciated.

We actually are glad for the early adopters who actually have planes in exchange for their money - whether we would have made the same decision or not.

Ron - are we to understand that NONE of the options you selected are available yet?

If it is only some, which ones are and are not yet certified?

FlightCenter said...

Ron,

Thank you for your post. It was very balanced and fair.

It is the kind of E500 feedback we need around here.

By the way, congratulations on your one year anniversary with your plane!

I can completely relate to your comments about needing five weeks of training. I would have needed the same amount of effort before I was signed off to sit in the left seat myself.

I used to hand fly all my approaches using raw data. That was my only choice with the avionics in my first aircraft.

It does make you a better pilot. I've become very accustomed to flying with all the comforts of an integrated flight deck.

You also bring up an excellent safety point. I suggested to B95 that most new SEP and MEP aircraft were safer because they had maps and weather avoidance equipment, but you make a good point about using the aircraft's ability to climb above the weather as an important safety consideration.

EclipseBlogger said...

I'm one of the original participants of Stan's blog. Some of you will remember me. Since Stan's blog was discontinued and Shane picked it up, it has really gone down hill. Stan used to have some valid points to discuss, but lately this just seems like a witch hunt. The speculation here is not based on facts, only opinion. Even what has been stated here as fact is very often wrong. Very few here have seen an AFM, or full spec sheet on the aircraft, and yet they can state with assurance that the plane handles poorly, the CG is too narrow, the avionics cause way too much pilot workload, etc.

That said, I am also an Eclipse owner and have been very pleased with it's handling, performance, and yes, even the avionics. Could it be better? Sure. But aviation is one tradeoff for another. My aircraft now has over 100 hours and I have had very few issues. Yes there have been AD's and service bulletins, but that is to be expected with a new design and a new company. The avionics have been reliable, and are very easy to use. Much easier in fact than a G1000. The aircraft handles like a somewhat heavier Bonanza, and I would fly it in hard IFR anytime. Icing is a problem that has been resolved, but need to be installed. I expect it soon.

Bottom line, it is a great aircraft from a somewhat funky company. But hey, I fly the aircraft, not the company. Support has been phenomenal and all of the direct contacts have great enthusiasm for their work and the aircraft. Am I happy with my choice? You bet. By the way, mine is not for sale.

airtaximan said...

EB,

Glad to hear from you.
Happy you are happy.

Happy you got something for your money.

Welcome back.

airtaximan said...

"I expect many clever comments on what an idiot I am for being pleased with my lot in life. Knock yourself out."

Something tells me, you are going to be very dissappointed, Ron.

Glad you are happy with your choice. You got a heck of a deal, that's for sure.

- I think EAC lost around $2M on your plane!

Would you pay $2.2M for that plane?
How about $2.6M?

You seem like a smart buyer, willing to take risk... and fairly happy with the plane. What is it really worth to you?

Because we know it cannot be sold for anywhere near what you paid...

Enjoy

Gunner said...

roncizek-
Honest reporters of the Eclipse experience are generally welcomed here. You're not the first and, I hope, not the last. Welcome.

I take no issue with your report, but I have to point out the context of it. You offer that up honestly with your admission that YOU paid $985K for your Eclipse. But this isn't the true "price" of the plane; the true price for stability and profitability is north of $2.3 MILLION.

Can we agree on that?
Can you tell us, if you're current Eclipse were lost in a hurricane, would you consider an NG "Compatible" Eclipse at the current price? (Assume a Loyd's of London guarantee that you'll receive it within 12 months, complete with IOUs).

Gunner

baron95 said...

EB, welcome back - glad to have another participant with first hand knowledge.

My question to you and Ron is, if you get FIKI and the G400s as proposed, do you feel you are pretty much set in terms of getting basically the function you contracted (ignoring Ron's options for now)? Or would you still be disapointed for some of the missing FMS functions? (BTW, this is not a tricky or bait question, I do want to know your opinion, since you seem to like the avionics)

Second question: Did you guys have any problems with the tires? Are the brakes hard to modulate and/or easy to lock a wheel? Or are the blown tire problems the run of the mill flatspotting due no no antiskid and no prop braking drag for transitioning pilots?

Thanks in advance and I hope you continue to enjoy our planes.

If the Eclipse situation gets sorted out and the SEjets get delayed, and the stock market recovers ;) I may join you guys by buyin a used DayJet plane.

Gunner said...

EB-
Welcome back and same question for you:
Are you willing to share what you paid for your plane? I ask only because your comments about "trade-off" ultimately distill down to "value"..."What I got for what I paid".

My problem is looking, not at owner of SN 42 or 155, but at the multitude of Depositors that are now being asked to shell out $2.3+ Mill. If you were in that position, would you take it? Would the Value Proposition look as good to you today?

Let's face it...your plane was subsidized by the investors and depositors that came after you. You certainly deserved to get yours...you took and honest and serious financial risk.

But the question on the floor is whether the plane, AS CURRENTLY PRICED AND DELIVERED, would get the same high marks from you. After all, those Depositors deserve THEIR Value Proposition just as you deserved YOURS. If they don't get it, it would only be because THEY paid for YOUR satisfaction with your plane.

Gunner

FreedomsJamtarts said...

B95,

What makes the avionics of the current delivered Eclipse safer than a used TBM with a King stack?

As far as I have read, the Eclipse has the glass cockpit EFIS version of a steam gauge cockpit. You have none of the virtual copilot functions which the (now dropped) plans for AvioNG promised.

The plane doen't know where it is so it can't pretune or suggest radio or nav frequecies. It is not R-NAV equipped, and will not in the foreseeable future have a better waypoint interface than the GNS400 ( which is terrible).

Guys like Ron only get to look forward to a future 1995 technology, when they can finally have GNS400 R-Nav installed and thus push outer knob, twiddle inner knob, twiddle outer knob, push enter, confirm enter... while bouncing around in IMC, in turbulence, at twilight, in rain, descending through 4000' trying remember to level off at 3000' because you are hand flying (The A/P has already dropped out due to turbulence) . Garmin is finally moving on to decent FMS interface panels. The Columbias had one for years, now the Mustang, and cirrus are getting them. Diamond will soner or later follow suite.

What A/P modes are actually available on an E500 at present? ALT Preselect and and ALT Capture? V-NAV? APP modes? I would say without those modes, which every recently delivered turbo prop has, you are taking a huge step back in safety.

I have only ever flown IFR in Seneca's (using five different A/C in the last three years) and only ever two pilot. Two of the PA-34 had autopilot problems. I would imagine that an A/P you can't trust is the biggest pucker factor for single pilot IFR.

No Moving map is a huge reduction in safety. I would expect you to credit every King equipped TBM with at least a GNS 530 installation by now, with more likely a map of MX20 quality.

With the Eclipse a guy like Ron or EPSiv does not even have the option off upgrading his GNS400 to a GNS530 installation, MX-200 or better (if he ever gets the GNS 400).

For a guy like Ron, who got the plane at something like 60% off cost, paying 20K to stick in an MX-200 should normally be a no brainer, but Eclipse successfully tied up everything in an unsuccessful Avionic suite, so you can't even take such low hanging fruit. Since they tied the engine control into the AVIONgF, you are not even going to see a STC to rip out AIOnNfg and install a G1000 after the BK, because no-one is going to re certify the engine control system of a fleet of 250 half finished FADEC controlled orphans.

I do agree that the type rating and training drive a much greater level of overall safety into the system , but those safety benefits are also available to the TBM driver, they just are not mandatory. The FED's mandated this. I am not going to give Eclipse any point for that - I bet they fought tooth and nail to avoid it.

Orville said...

"Now that Fred is gone..."

What happened to Fred? Did I miss something?

x said...

Labor day weekend was a slow period for Dayjet, total flight hours are lowest since early March 2008, and below most weeks in Fall 2007. Nine of the reduced usage flights were KBCT>KGNV (or reverse).

Craft .. Sept 1-6
139 .. 15:19
142 .. 9:18
141 .. 7:51
160 .. 7:13
158 .. 6:01
156 .. 4:50
150 .. 4:23
146 .. 3:24
148 .. 2:59
147 .. 1:00
161 .. 0:51
109 ..
110 ..
115 ..
116 ..
119 ..
126 ..
130 ..
131 ..
132 ..
134 ..
135 ..
136 ..
145 ..
152 ..
153 ..
162 ..
163 ..
Grand Total 63:09

Departure Field .. Sept 1-6
KBCT .. 11:21
KGNV .. 11:58
KTLH .. 6:10
KAPF .. 1:45
KPNS .. 1:43
KSRQ .. 0:46
KOPF .. 4:31
KSAV .. 1:28
KJAX .. 3:44
KMAC .. 1:34
KMGM .. 3:10
KPIE .. 3:22
KJZI .. 1:37
KORL .. 2:02
KDAB .. 0:25
KPDK .. 1:07
KGMU .. 1:20
KFMY .. 1:20
KTMB .. 0:44
KFLO .. 1:19
KORF .. 1:43

Niner Zulu said...

roncizek - your reasoning was well thought out and I found myself agreeing with you on most every point.

From your perspective, Eclipse was your only choice and that is just not the case.

First, you didn't pay $985k, you paid $1,085k and still don't have the options yo paid for. As FJT pointed out, you're stuck with 1995 technology and no hope of a future upgrade. Your panel is less capable than a new C172.

You say you have no problem flying hard IFR in that airplane. Are you so confident in your ability that you just aren't distracted by multiple warning messages? Scary ones? While hand flying hard IFR in turbulence? Mike Press blasted off into hard IFR, single pilot, with his wife sitting in back, upon which both Engine Fire Warning lights came on. He was able to get the plane down safely only because he chose to ignore the emergency checklist and NOT shut down the engines. He has thousands of hours in jets, and lived to tell about it. Would you have been so fortunate, being a rather low-time pilot?

As far as choices, for $1,085 you could have bought an older, fuel guzzling Citation with an upgraded panel and new P&I. Yeah, the fuel costs more, but you fly 150 hrs per year so you'd be burning about $45,000/year more in fuel. Big deal! But for your $45k you also get a reliable service network worldwide, not just in ABQ, a LOT more room, a reliable autopilot, a more capable panel, a yoke (my personal favorite) FIKI now, a working GPS and moving map for Pete's sake, and they look better on the ramp than a squatty Eclipse.

I will give you credit for taking the risk and that you are now in a position to sell it and make a little money, at least. If I were you, however, I'd run, not walk, to the Controller website and sell it for whatever I could.

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

Lots of questions tossed out. I'll try to answer a few.

Cost: I was one of the original depositors. I paid $995K, less late delivery credit, plus options. I got a good deal on the aircraft, and don't expect to ever lose any money on a sale, but I have no intention to sell at this time. It can't be replaced with anything with the same capabilities. The only way that I see I would lose money is if Eclipse died and was not reanimated by anyone. I don't see that happening, someone will save the day if Eclipse can't navigate a turn-around. Some are asking how much would someone pay for the aircraft. I would certainly pay more than I did, but I was originally in the market for a sub-$1M aircraft. At $1.5M-$1.8M it is still a great deal. Above $2M it is way out of my justification range, but still a good value for what can be had at that price. In response to Gunner: I didn't get what I paid for, but what I got for what I paid is an awesome aircraft. In time I expect all issues to be resolved.

Options: Options are slowly coming online as promised. Traffic Awareness is installed and works fine. One or two owners are having some kind of problem that causes the traffic to shutdown after a period of time, probably an early life fail of some sort. Mine works full time, no problems. TAWS Terrain Awareness is installed and functioning properly, as is onboard radar. Installation of FIKI and Garmin upgrades are supposed to be made available shortly. FIKI is certified, Garmin is expected in about 30-45 days.

Avionics: AvioNG is VERY easy to use. Anyone could figure out the entire system in a few minutes, similar to Avidyne systems, and unlike Garmin products with double button pushes and hidden menus. The only GPS provided at this time is via the 496, but navigation with old VORs is not a real hardship, just a minor inconvenience. The workload is very manageable due to the easy flow and excellent design planning of the Avio system.

Training: The Eclipse provided training is top notch starting with hypoxia and upset instruction. The simulators have a somewhat lighter feel than the actual aircraft, but perform reasonably well to duplicate the experience. As another owner has said, I am now a much better stick than I have ever been due to the requirements of the aircraft (or lack of promised functionality) but that does not mean that the plane is deficient or challenging. It just doesn't yet live up to the promises of the spec'ed product, or today's standards. But if you can't fly via VOR's, perhaps you should look elsewhere and get more training anyway. In my class of 10, 1 was sent home, and 3 had to re-test on some aspect of the flight test, but all 9 passed to ATP standards. To the previous ATP discussion, if you can't fly to these standards perhaps you are not up to the skillset of flying a higher performance aircraft, single engine or twin. It's a test standard to train to, and is not that difficult. In an aircraft with more capability you have the ability to get into tougher situations, and therefore should train to higher standards. Is the standard fair when compared to complicated turbo-props? Obviously not, but that is the way it is.

Reliability and Service: I have been very lucky and have had very few issues. Most of the "25 squawks" at delivery are cosmetic and of little consequence. Functional squawks have almost all been eliminated, and very few are seen at delivery anymore. There is a stream of service bulletins for updated systems or added options as they become available. The service centers are overloaded due to staffing, but the work and enthusiasm of the staff is exceptional. The fleet is growing fast, and a wait is to be expected for such things as throttle AD where everyone wants to be there at the same time. Otherwise, appointments can be made a week or two in advance.

Shane Price said...

Hang on a minute...

I thought this was the the Eclipse Aviation Critic NG blog....

Sorry, I KNOW this is the place where people gather to observe what's WRONG with EAC.

With all these 'faithful' people around, should someone tell the boys at E5C to move across?

Shane

WhyTech said...

Man! I have never seen such tolerance, rationalization, self- delusion, and resignation as is evident in the posts of some EA50 owners here. Safety issues aside, if I had handed over a million bucks or more and had to put up with the BS these guys are going through, I would be looking to strangle someone. Wouldnt put up with this if the airplane were free! Must have plenty of owners with much discretionary time and cash on their hands.

airtaximan said...

EB,

Nice job.

Thoughts or direct insight into the issue of what the planes costs, the real orders, and the related viability of EAC?

I know, you probably don't care that much about what it cost to produce the e500... or wether EAC has a real order book, but this is central to the business, and related to your business deal.

It must be nice to know you got a great deal - your bet, paid off, and you are happy... to me, you have a fixer-upper. You accepted an unfinished plane that requires a lot of work to complete and make it truly safe for intended flight operations... and you are willing to live with the issues. You describe them as minor - and who am I to disagree? In reality, you have received your plane on the backs of many other depositors... by my calculations, there were at least 2 additional position-holder's money required to subsidize your plane/price - Vern admitted B/E was around twice the price you paid. This means at least one shmo is SOL... or some investors... you get my drift.

The reality is, I do not think many people really bought the plane - compared to what was stated and what was needed for the business case to even come close - and I think even fewer will buy the plane at $2.x million, if anyone really will.

So, sustainability of this "scheme" is at issue to say the least. There are 80 listings on Controller alone, and even Ken is looking to sell his plane.

Many people run the very real risk of getting nothing for their deposit money - especially since they have recently cut production by around 70%, and let half the staff go...

So, I guess I am happy for you - you got a terrific price, one that is impossible to sustain, and one that looks like it will cost someone else all their deposit money, or investment. I think even you admitted, you were not a customer for this plane at $2.xM.

Is there a market for a $2.xM E500?
Or is this just a huge blunder, with a few folks like you making out OK?

How do you feel about all this?

flyboymark said...

So AT,
What are you so sore or have sour grapes about? I thought this blog was about the issues with EAC, not making owners feel guilty about their aircraft. Why are you trying to make the owners feel bad for enjoying their aircraft even when they admit its short cummings for now. The pricing structure is the result of EAC not the owners. AT, you're criticizing the wrong people. Are you jus' jealous 'cause you don't have one?

EclipseBlogger said...

WhyTech said... Man! I have never seen such tolerance, rationalization, self- delusion, and resignation as is evident in the posts of some EA50 owners here. Safety issues aside, if I had handed over a million bucks or more and had to put up with the BS these guys are going through, I would be looking to strangle someone. Wouldn't put up with this if the airplane were free! Must have plenty of owners with much discretionary time and cash on their hands.

Delusional? Not really. The plane performs as the book states. Safety issues? I haven't experienced any. Growing pains? Certainly. That was expected, but Eclipse has dealt with them and I haven't had any maintenance issues. WhyTech, you haven't been around an Eclipse or an owner to know what they experience. The issues that some owners have had are no different than those that I had with an early production Pilatus. Pilatus resolved their early problems, and I expect Eclipse will also. Discretionary time? The only thing I can say is that those that frequent this blog have a lot of discretionary time on their hands. Id rather spend mine time flying than wasting it here. That's why I left the previous blog. The discussion went from technical relevance to nonsensical speculation. What I find amazing is the amount of time some individuals have to spend speculating on subjects that they have no knowledge of. All it is is your "best guess". I have flown the new panel with the Garmin 400. The autopilot upgrade makes it rock solid and full function. Any of you arguments in that area will be moot in a very short time.

airtaximan said... Thoughts or direct insight into the issue of what the planes costs, the real orders, and the related viability of EAC?

Costs? More than what I paid, and less than $2.15M. Orders? I can say with confidence that there are more real orders than anyone here has guessed. I don't believe 2700 or 2300 orders, but there are way more than those for production through S/N 500 which owners have their 60% down at the old price, plus several hundred on deposit at the new price. There still are undisclosed fleet orders, and DayJet, well...

airtaximan said... It must be nice to know you got a great deal - your bet, paid off, and you are happy... to me, you have a fixer-upper. You accepted an unfinished plane that requires a lot of work to complete and make it truly safe for intended flight operations... and you are willing to live with the issues. You describe them as minor - and who am I to disagree?

I accepted a very capable aircraft with many IOU's. It doesn't mean that it is a cripple. GPS is only a little over a decade old. What did you fly before that time. Whether on VOR or GPS you still fly the same needle on the HSI. You can say that the current state on the Eclipse is not what was promised, and not state of the art without GPS navigation, but I fly all over the East Coast and have never had any problem because I didn't have a certified enroute GPS. I have had to use some other airports once or twice because I didn't have a GPS of NDB for approach. I have flown the new panel with the Garmin 400. The autopilot upgrade makes it rock solid and full function with a complete flight director. Any of your arguments in this area will be moot in a very short time.

airtaximan said... So, sustainability of this "scheme" is at issue to say the least. There are 80 listings on Controller alone, and even Ken is looking to sell his plane.

I believe that Ken Meyer is looking to sell his second position. I don't think he has any intention of selling his current aircraft.

If you have any real and sincere desire to know anything about the aircraft, ownership experience, performance, etc, I'll be happy to entertain the thoughts. But if you want to speculate about financial plans without any facts, what's the point? Surely Dave will Google "Eclipse" and come up with some links from May of 2002, or Gadfly will entertain you with more submarine missions or what his Pappy did to save your life. Otherwise, I'll talk to you in a few months and let you know how the Gamin 400s are working out. I don't have that much "discretionary time" to waste here.

Dave said...

The discussion went from technical relevance to nonsensical speculation. What I find amazing is the amount of time some individuals have to spend speculating on subjects that they have no knowledge of. All it is is your "best guess"...But if you want to speculate about financial plans without any facts, what's the point?

So you're the only one on this blog who can speculate and talk about finances:
Costs? More than what I paid, and less than $2.15M. Orders? I can say with confidence that there are more real orders than anyone here has guessed.
If you're going to be critical of others, I'd suggest you not do the same things yourself.

Gunner said...

EB-
Thanks much for the response. Noted that "for you" the E-500 at it's current price is just not worth the money. Those stuck with the new price are screwed later; those who demand their money back get screwed sooner.

Unfortunately, that Faithful Rage is never far beneath the surface. I refer to your inability to close without the smarmy ad hominem attacks on Gad and Dave

So, once again in the spirit of tit-o-tat respect, I remind you that Gad is a man who has probably dreamed more, designed more, built more, contributed more, seen more, lived more and stood up to more than your entire "I got mine, screw the next guy in line" march of ancestors, siblings and progeny might ever dream.

I'd go on, but my twit filter is sounding an awful din, just now.
Gunner

Dave said...

This post is in honor EB since his post reminded me to look some stuff up. This has to with the Western Sky Industries case:
09/02/2008 ENTRY OF APPEARANCE
FILING ENTRY OF APPEARANCE BY ROBERT H JACOBVITZ AND DAVID
T THUMA FOR DF ECIPSE AVIATION CORPROATION
09/02/2008 REQUEST FOR HEARING/SETTING
FILING REQUEST FOR HEARING ON DEFENDANT'S (I) MOTION TO
QUASH SUBPOENA, FOR PRROTECTIVE ORDER AND FOR SANCTIONS AND
(II) NOTICE OF NONAPPEARANCE (DF)

Here's the profile for Western Sky's attorney on the case:
http://www.atkinson-thallaw.com/jsp3528395.jsp

Black Tulip said...

EclipseBlogger opined,

“WhyTech, you haven't been around an Eclipse or an owner to know what they experience.”

Owners are probably mid-way through the Kübler-Ross model for the five stages of grief:

Denial

Anger

Bargaining

Depression

Acceptance

baron95 said...

Gunner said ... Let's face it...your plane was subsidized by the investors and depositors that came after you.

Gunner, this is true of EVERY airplane ever sold, it is also true of all cars, etc...

The "cost" of the first Airbus A380 was $12B give or take, but it was sold to SA for about $200M. Launch aid from the member countries and deposits from all the other customers were used to "subsidize" (as you call it) that SA plane.

Same with Mustang and every other plane. The anticipated break even point for the A380 is aircraft #600 some 10 years down the road.

In addition, "launch" customers, the ones that place orders early in the project, get substantial discounts to account for the risk they are taken.

I hope you are not implying that this is something unique to the Eclipse.

Ken and EB took a risk. They may be rewarded and end up with a well supported twin-jet for $1M or they may be punished and end up with an orphan plane that can't fly. Righ-risk/high-reward or high-loss. That is just how it is.

Dave said...

I hope you are not implying that this is something unique to the Eclipse.

I believe that you and Gunner are talking about two different costs. I believe Gunner is talking about the marginal cost-per-unit while you are talking about paying back the investment. I'm pretty sure Gunner is basically talking about the parts and labor that went into each unit versus the amount charged for the unit.

Niner Zulu said...

Lies, half-truths, and misquotes: just another day at the office for the critics' blog.

None coming from me, so I don't know why you answered my post with your comment. Mike said he had 2 engine fire warning lights on. You're right - he didn't, but at the time he didn't realize that. While it's happening, you don't get the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking. If you believe they are on fire, they that's what you go with.

That was just one example of the many glitches the Eclipse has had. Read some of the earlier posts from other Eclipse pilots, including Dayjet operators. Read the club blog. It's not good. The Eclipse is prone to putting out multiple, unrelated warning messages at the same time. Exactly what you don't need in a tense, hard IFR situation.

You missed the point of my post, but judging from your tone I must have hit pretty close to the mark.

Hey, if you want to fly an Eclipse, go ahead. As long as pieces don't fly off as you fly overhead, your transponder stays on the right squawk and if you're ahead of me you don't blow a tire forcing me to fly to my alternate, I'm good.

baron95 said...

Freedom said ... I would imagine that an A/P you can't trust is the biggest pucker factor for single pilot IFR.

You and I both. That is why I put the autopilot disconnects at the top of the list of items for the SCR. If it is true that the E500 A/P goes off line all that often, the plane should at least lose its RSVM certification as a functioning autopilot is an absolute requirement for fligth above FL280 into RSVM airspace.

I have flown a TBM700 for a total of 0.7hr (IIRC) and have never flown or even been inside an EA500, so I am afraid I am not in a position to compare the avionics. But my understanding is that navigation/frequency/autopilot inputmodes are all done through the Avio displays and switches, vs doing it all over the pannel to multiple boxes as in the TBM-700. In addition, the PFD presents a HUGE horizon, airpeed, GS/NAV info all there in one place, vs having to scan multiple 3" instruments. Furthermore, all the Vspeeds are bugged right there on the PFD. Fuel managmenet, electrical bus management, checklists, etc, is all there on Avio, on the same displays, vs pulling out checklists on the TBM. I could go on and on, but it is prety self evident that even a poor implementation of an integrated system with large PFDs etc is better than having a single pilot touching and scanning multiple instruments and boxes.

But that is just my opinion. I may be way off base and would deffer to those who have flown both types to comment more intelligently than I can.

baron95 said...

"What happened to Fred?"

Mandatory 6 weeks French vacation.

WhyTech said...

"The plane performs as the book states."

In a narrow sense, perhaps. In a broader sense, no way: IOU's, inops, AD's, SB's & SDR's, gross schedule & spec departures, etc. BTW, which version of the "book" would that be?

"but Eclipse has dealt with them "

See above.

"That was expected,"

Impossible to comprehend why one would willingly subject ones self to such punishment.

"you haven't been around an Eclipse "

Thankfully, you are right about this. I was once seriously interested in purchsing an EA50. Despite my criticism, I find the concept of the acft appealing in a number of ways. However, having wathced the failure of almost every new entrant in the GA acft market over the last four decades, I thought it prudent to wait and see, and see I have! I have better things to do with my time than to help Eclipse finish the development and get their manufacturing working. When the acft is finished and has established an adequate reliability, support and safety record, perhaps I will reconsider.

gadfly said...

Gunner

Thank you for your support, but don’t worry about the gadfly.

These folks that fly safe and secure may say whatever they wish . . . it doesn’t matter a bit. The inventors and manufacturers never made a moral judgement, who was “worthy” of flying safe, and who was not.

Some facts remain, concerning the little jet. Hundreds . . . maybe thousands (I really don’t know) have put their future on the line . . . believing the promises of receiving certain advantages in the future, in exchange for their time, over-time, and sacrifice of their families. These are not the wealthy folks that can “pop” a million (give or take) for a new interesting toy, that gives them a kick in the pants over their earlier “prop” driven aircraft. These are folks that believed the offer . . . moved their families, selling and re-buying homes . . . you get the picture.

A few weeks back, I met one of these people in a McDonald’s restaurant, with his family . . . he was so excited about his future with Eclipse . . . his wife and small family depending on him for their future. I hate to say it, but I think he was one of those who was “dismissed”, like a used styrofoam “Big Mac” box, when the news simply announced that Eclipse let go 650 people. Easy come . . . easy go. Well, I’m sure that with his new training as a “technician”, he’ll be able to find a good job riveting the vinyl siding on a house, somewhere . . . Oh, come to think of it, the “house construction industry” is in a slump. Oh well, at least someone got a “jet”, dirt cheap.

You know something? . . . For the first two or three years of our little business, I worked over eighty hours each and every week . . . it took about five years before I could cut back to a normal sixty hour week . . . but it was my business, and in time, I was able to reap a profit. These technicians out at Eclipse . . . well, what can we say . . . a bunch of suckers, falling for an offer . . . and a few privileged will walk away having made a killing.

You know something else? ‘Just because of the moral issues involved, I would never purchase an Eclipse E-anything.

gadfly

(And for those that are “tired” of hearing about my “pappy”, . . . well, you still fly safe, regardless of your opinions . . . he answered to a Higher Authority.)

baron95 said...

That is just great... The zealots and jihadists on this blog have, again, run the only people with relevant and direct info (the owner/pilots) from the board by tenaciously clinging to their belief system.

You ask them for their opinion. They gave you THEIR opinion, now you try to convince them that THEIR opinion should not be their opinion because you know better what their opinion should be if they were not faithful moronic individuals.

Oh rats, the joys of an un-moderated blog forum.

baron95 said...

This is so depressing. First I can't fly to MVY, courtesy of Hanna Montana....

Then Wytech reminds us that not a single GA startup has done well in decades (true by the way) ...

Then Gad tells us that only people from 50 years ago know how to design and build planes and that everyone associated with Eclipse is headed to the soup kitchen...

It looks like a picked the wrong industry to root for.

WhyTech said...

"Are you jus' jealous 'cause you don't have one?"

Not jealous, thrilled! A few years ago, Vern tried to talk me out of purchasing a PC-12 and place an order for an EA50. I told him that it looked to me like all VLJ's were constructed from the material unobtanium, and that I might consider an Eclipse as my next acft after the PC-12. I took delivery of the PC-12 shortly thereafter, right on schedule. No IoU's, everything worked, and unscheduled maintenance over the next three years was about zero. If I had followed Vern's lead, I very likely would still not have an Eclipse, and if I did, it wouldnt be functional. What's to be jealous about?

airtaximan said...

"I don't have that much "discretionary time" to waste here."

but, you used to...

Enjoy your plane, fly safe.

** and for those who think anyone has been encouraged to leave, you are completely foolish. Remember, this blog was sued... and many kept posting.

If it was such a great plane, and they were not just happy they ended up with a plane for very little while MANY, MANY people got screwed... they would just post away.

I guess its kinda rough having to look at yourself in the mirror. When the going gets tough... the....

OS, I think we all know there are not enough order to relieve anyone of the guilt associated with this ponzi scheme... even the ones lucky enough to be closer to the front than the back.

gadfly said...

b95

Fret not, neither sweat it!

If these “true believers” are for real, they’ll be back.

At the moment, me thinks they’re thinking about moral issues, rather that the “fun” of flying high and fast for a few hours in a “throw-a-way” jet aircraft.

When they return, they may “bare their teeth”, and come on with a fury . . . more huff than puff

Big deal! When they run out of room at that chain-link-fence of moral issues, related to the “little people” that produced their toys, at great cost of unfulfilled promises to folks that do not have a proper advocate, they may make a few whimpers.

At this point, you can bring up every wonderful experience about the “fun” of the little jet . . . and we’ll all agree with you. But there is far more in this fight than “who has the biggest and most ferocious dog”.

gadfly

(“Hey, kid, what kind of dog you got there?”

“Before we chopped off his tail and painted him yeller’, he was an alligator!”)

WhyTech said...

"Then Wytech reminds us that not a single GA startup has done well in decades (true by the way) ..."

You are putting words in my mouth. It is not true that "not a single GA start up has done well..." I am pretty sure that Robinson has been a great financial success, as well as an industry changer (and I am no fan of Robinson helicopters) and it may be the case that Cirrus has been a financial success although I have not seen any hard data on this. I said "almost all" have failed.

airtaximan said...

BAron, I caution you of one thing...

You have a thesis, which is the major manufacturers somehow over price their products and screw everyone... and that the entrepreneurial spirit contained in Vern and EAC is somehow needed to get GA out of some predicament only you see... coupled with a glorious view of GA startup hardships...

well, there's another view:

The majors have done such a good job, that there is very little room for start ups. Yes Cirrus made it... but EAC did not. They produced a stupid little airplane, not many enough people want for it to make economic sense. So its DOA.

The majors are eating EAC's lunch, selling planes to hundreds of clients at a profit, while VErn's crew eats shit all day trying to make money selling incomplete planes for half of what they cost to build.

My friend, I've watched you post and respected your opinion... so here's mine.

The GA manufacturers are so good at what they do, they foreclosed Vern, even with his computer money and 12 year development time for a silly little jet - he's SOL.

Sorry you may notlike the truth, but, Piper, Diamond, Embraer and Cessna, not to mention Cirrus (now a legit OEM) are so good, that Vern's gone and EAC and the E500 are DOA.

Had they been asleep at the wheel, like you like to beleve, perhaps Vern would be Microsofting the GA jet indusrty to hell right now.

- delivering unfinshed planes... lying about the order book, all the new tech n the garbage... c'mon... only a fool would trust their lives to this amateur.

AMATEUR, ass handed to him by the OEMs.

airtaximan said...

EO,

"I can say with confidence that there are more real orders than anyone here has guessed."

Buddy, all we know is they have lied about their orderbook by more than half for years. It was finally admitted.

But, I can see why you need to convince yourself there are many, many orders.

It only makes any sense that way, financially AND morally.

Problem is, its not true.

airtaximan said...

"But if you want to speculate about financial plans without any facts, what's the point?"

well, you did...you got a plane, sorta... I guess there is a point.

And there are "facts", unless you do not believe Roel and Vern...

We know they admitted to losing $1M per plane at the $1.25 million price... and we can speculate from there...

What's you point?

You speculated you would get a plane for your deposit moneny - is that the only speculation allowed?

airtaximan said...

flyboy,

the blog is about all things Vern and EAC - no sour grapes, I assure you.

Since the beginning, my point has always bee about the economics.

EO and Ken go way back - they had a vested interest, and "promoted" EAC as much as possible.

Ken, was disengenuous... some would even say dishonest.
I pegged him as trying to persuade anyone to place a deposit so he could obtain a plane.

I personally think EAC is a smear on GA... and I think these buyers are fortunate, that they obtained something for their deposit.

Do you feel good about ponzi sheme promotoers who make out ok, while everyone else loses? Does that make you jealous?

Not me.

Also, I don;t need a jet for a prop mission.

That aside, I just see these guys as promoters - hiding behind "you have no facts"... all the while knowing, they should probably feel pretty bad watching others lose their deposits... that's all.

Ken's second position up for sale is the cherry on the Sundae.

Where's EO when you need him - EO, come back. Tell us how many planes you flipped, and how well you timed the bean-can sells and buys.

Vern's just PO'ed he didn't get a chance can-o-beans the IPO shares.

WhyTech said...

"It looks like a picked the wrong industry to root for."

Right industry, wrong company. The last few years have been the best in the history of GA in almost every respect. Although business conditions now seem to be turning down, its still never been better.

WhyTech said...

"I'll talk to you in a few months and let you know how the Gamin 400s are working out"

No need, we already know. Many here have been flying with these for 10 years or so.

Dave said...

That is just great... The zealots and jihadists on this blog have, again, run the only people with relevant and direct info (the owner/pilots) from the board by tenaciously clinging to their belief system.

So is your belief system up for grabs or are you a zealist or jihadist? I seem to recall that you've been rather tenacious and vocal in your belief system.

You ask them for their opinion. They gave you THEIR opinion, now you try to convince them that THEIR opinion should not be their opinion because you know better what their opinion should be if they were not faithful moronic individuals.
Oh rats, the joys of an un-moderated blog forum.


You're the only one calling them moronic and as to rest of what you said, that's called discussion. People are actually allowed to have different opinions and to disagree. You've repeatedly disagreed with others on here as well as expressed why you thought your opinions were superior, yet now you are complaining when others do the same things as you. If people don't want to hear different opinions, the internet in general and blogs in particular are probably not safe places for them.

gadfly said...

All this time I kept wondering why Eclipse never seriously addressed the fact that the little bird is 1,200 pounds “overweight” . . . then I just saw something on a cable TV program that explained it: It’s a “green jet”! In the program, they simply placed a brick in the toilet tank, to reduce the use of water. I’ll bet that somewhere in the little jet, they have hidden enough “adobe bricks” to reduce the amount of fuel carried aboard. Of course, they can’t put it in the toilet tank . . . it doesn’t have a toilet. But those clever rascals have hidden that extra weight somewhere . . . all in the interest of “Mother Earth”, or as we call it in New Mexico, “Pache Mama”.

gadfly

(Al Gore is so proud!)

gadfly said...

Confessions of a “gadfly”:

When the opposition gets angry, they begin to lose control . . . go “bonkers” in their arguments . . . and a person almost feels sorry for them.

Sometimes, you would like the fight to go a few more rounds . . . “technical” knockouts are no fun . . . at least go ‘til the third or fourth round. ‘Give the crowd something for the price of admission.

But, alas, the little jet was not designed to go the full ten rounds (only the “big boys” go fifteen) . . . and me thinks we’ll never know if it might have made it.

gadfly

(Oh, that’s right! I keep forgetting this is a “professional wrestling match” . . . you never know what the script says is the final round.)

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

You guys are amusing. Y'all get to play in your little sandbox alone for the past few months (I've read every posting since about May). You cry for other people to play with and when the people that don't think just like you show up to play you guys get all defensive and say "You guys can't play cause you're a big stupid."

I will give credit where credit is due, I have learned a lot from gadfly, baron and lots of the other guys over the past months. You all have given me different perspectives on aviation as a whole. For that I am thankful. Keep it up guys I like learning about aviation, because to me it is like medicine; a life long journey of learning.

Then there are the other guys... who seem to just hate for the sake of hating. I have seen people write here about things and be dead wrong, and so they just get away with it like it is no big deal. As much as some of you think you know; I will say what I have been saying for the few of my posts: MANY OF YOU ARE SPECULATING. Its all well and good, but come on...

Shane I was disappointed to read your last post. I am not from Ireland, but I am of Irish descent and for some reason I have read many of your postings with wide-eyed enthusiasm, thinking that man if he said it there must be something to it. I assume it was me relating to you cause of the Irish in me. But I had an idea that this blog was meant to DISCUSS the shortcomings of EAC, which I will agree there are a few. But you seem to have this attitude where the people that have something good to say are not welcome. I am assuming that by you making your comment about the "faithful moving across" this is what you meant. If I am wrong then I apologize.

Until next time...

PS EclipseBlogger said a great deal of what I wanted to say about the aircraft, but he was far more eloquent in how he said it. Cheers mate.

baron95 said...

AT, I don't think the OEM overcharge for their planes, nor do I think they don't make good products.

I simply said that the light, personal flying side of the industry ($1.5M and below core, $1.5M-$3.0M on the margin) only seems to make substantial progress when new entrants shake things up.

Cessna has EXACTLY ONE composit airfram in its entire lineup - C350/400 created by a startup with risk-investment money.

In that category, Glass pannels and large MFDs debuted on the Cirrus and Columbia, then spread to the old timers only after it became clear that Cirrus and Columbia were selling all they could produce, while Piper, Mooney, Cessna, had t odecrease production.

Balistic parachutes on single engine planes, came about because of startup, now it is working its way into older designs.

The VLJ concept was completely launched by startups. And to this day, there is only one certified VLJ (jets under 6,000lbs by my definition). Again from a startup.

Never, ever before had there beenso many promising stories in mainstream non-aviation media about GA and light jets, etc. All courtesy of Eclipse and the $1B it attracted. GA was front and center from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to Businessweek to time magazine to Der Spiegel. It was amazing.

The fact that Vern screwed it up so badly because he didn't do due dilligence on the EJ22 and made a fateful decision to build his own avionics, does not mean that the established players didn't lose an opportunity to lead and innovate.

Sure, Cessna and Piper can certify a new plane in a fraction of the time that Eclipse and Cirrus can. But Cirrus and Eclipse pushed Cessna and Piper and EADS and Pilatus and Beech to react and improve their products. Had they executed better, they'd have pushed them even more.

Cessna and Piper and Mooney and Beech are not leaders in very light personal transportation GA airplanes - they are followers.

The same is true of Lycomming and Continental.

I really hope that Austro-engines gets they Mercedes block 170HP diesel in production and that RR puts their RR500 light and cheap turboprop into production at a decent price. We need to shake things up in propulsion as well. Sure you can point to the Thielert mess - they are almost like Eclipse - selling an incomplete design below cost. But they shook the market a little bit as well.

So, my point, in case you didn't get it before, is that any market needs established player and new entrants backed by new investors to remain vibrant.

Linux shook the server OS. iPhone shook the established phone makers, Cirrus, Eclipse and Thierlert shook GA to varying degrees, but could have shaken them a lot. That is good. Doesn't mean the established players are bad. Each has its place.

I just could not have imagined that Eclipse's execution would bog down so badly.

baron95 said...

EclipsePilotOMSIV, I thought that Shane was talking about having more of the Eclipse pilots/owners/etc moving across from the private site to here, so we can have a more open less defensive discussion i.e. he was extending the welcome mat.

baron95 said...

Gad, what do you mean the EA50 is 1,200lbs overweight? It has the MTOW that it needs to meet the payload, range, speed promissed, which it does (except that range is a bit short). With that MTOW its climb performance, runway performance and specific efficiency (lbs of fuel/nm) are top of the class.

I find it curious that you say it is 1,200 lbs overweight. But then again I find lots of things you say curious. You must think that someone needs to blow the EA50 ballast tank for it to achieve neutral boyancy, right?

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Baron95, You have some good points like the wide horizon line on the EFIS. Are all those systems controls (fuel, pneumatic etc) modal or modeless?

Unless the nav radios are being autotuned, the modeless interface of the King silver crown is the best human interface for this job. Each unique radio has a unique funtion for each knob or button.

Anything which has modal operation will be increased workload to a stressed pilot, an an additional source of human factors errors.

The Airliners Honeywell/ Collins etc interfaces are still largely mode less, especially in the basic/critical functions.

I loath the GNS4xx interface, which the E500 will be saddled with, just as the other Garmin installers are finally getting a decent interface.

I agree with you that we shouldn't attack the proud owners. Most of us have never paid a million bucks for a product delivered late, with a bunch of IOU's that may never be filled, but you can understand these guys seeing the bright side as the E500 now has a 2+ million price sticker, and they can go flying.

We (the blog) often become tedious in the weeks when there is no news out of ABQ.

As Stan indicated, sooner or later the next bomb drops.

WhyTech said...

"Linux shook the server OS. iPhone shook the established phone makers,"

As one whose livelihood has come from innovating (in technology) and financing technological innovation for more than four decades, I must agree with your central point that risk taking is essential to innovation. However, while risk taking and innovation may be necessary for success, they are not sufficient.

Linux, after much publicity, has settled into something of a backwater staus in IT. The iPhone, which I find highly appealing in concept, has had numerous problems since introduction. (I expect that Apple has the resources to endure and get these problems corrected, at which time I will likely purchase an iPhone.)

Ultimately, it is market acceptance that assures success, and innovation alone cannot assure this, as we are seeing in the case of Eclipse. Many of the conceptual strengths of the EA50you and others cite are quite appealing (as concepts) to me as well. The functionality enabled by a high level of integration in Avio NG, the virtual copilot, fuel efficiency, etc. Unfortunately, Eclipse has so badly bungled to execution of these ideas, that market acceptance is cratering, and the company is going extinct.

Part of what we are seeing in the harsh criticism of Eclipse on this blog is a microcosm of the market at work, sorting out the good and the bad of the EA50. THis is a messy, imperfect process, often with some missteps apparemt from supporters and detractors. But the martket mechanism is working, and is rejecting an inferior product, however brilliant the underlying concepts may be.

gadfly said...

b95

Back a few years, the little bird was designed, we were told, to carry six people, with their luggage, well over a thousand miles, here and there, in all sorts of conditions . . . and even have a “potty” on board. And “back then”, the MTOW was to be down in the 4,800 to 5,000 pound range. Now, it’s up to 6,000 lbs., with a balancing act as to how much four people weigh . . . with tradeoffs of fuel, luggage, etc.

If the purpose is to just move the little bird around the country side . . . that’s easy enough . . . eliminate two of the four passengers, and the rest is easy. We’re not arguing about the climb ability, etc., nor the final MTOW . . . but life would be a little simpler if the landing weight was a little lighter, and the plane could comfortably attend to the travel needs of four to six normal humans.

What ever happened to little things like “payload”? With most aircraft, that’s a key issue. It seems that the little bird set out to be an economical people hauler, and ends up being a high priced sports car . . . barely.

gadfly

(Now, if all those other little issues would just go away, they'd have a winner.)

Black Tulip said...

Jihadists? Let us try to imagine Stan Blankenship’s motives in starting the blog. His early posts sought to debunk the aggressive and unrealistic claims made by Eclipse Aviation. His experience as an aeronautical engineer led him to believe warning flags should be raised.

Who knows how many he saved from a bad mistake. For some people, a million bucks is a lot of money. For many, a ten-year gap is a significant portion of the time they possess an airman’s medical certificate. I’m sure some owners would rather have not ridden the emotional Eclipse rollercoaster for the last decade. I know depositors who sold at a premium and couldn’t be happier with their decision.

In addressing any new activity there will be ‘pioneers’ and ‘settlers’. Whytech described his decision to buy a Pilatus, thus avoiding arrows in his back. Good luck to all the Eclipse pioneers - they have their own website which is largely off-limits to infidels and non-believers. Fittingly they are having their first fly-in out West next week. Hopefully they will have more to do than singing Kum Ba Yah and marveling at the latest firmware upgrade for the Garmin 496. (Shane, we hope for a full report.)

Surely the majority must agree that Eclipse’ problems would not be solved by piling on more orders. There have been many comparisons between Eclipse Aviation and a Ponzi scheme, even though the analogy is imperfect. If reading the blog has made some hesitate before sending money to Eclipse, is that a jihad? Speaking of Holy War, I seem to remember we were sued.

Deep Blue said...

WhyTech makes an important point about putting criticism in context; and the Blog is indeed a market mechanism.

A few general thoughts addressing the general theme of relative success rates of GA OEMs, and the E500 project.

It will be interesting to see how the Honda Jet comes to market and to compare that to the EAC venture.
It appears to have many of the features aspired to by EAC (some cockpit innovation; new negine technology; lower DOC) but some that a new venture could not likely achieve: an effectively unlimited R&D budget as well as enormous and potentially innovative support and service (and pricing power). And I would speculate that Honda will, exactly the way it rolls out a new car today, go to market with a relatively "perfected" product; their advantage being nearly unconstrained financial strength and the time and patience that can support. And all from an auto company....

Secondly, it is interesting to note that Piper (previously "The New Piper") was (I think still is) a venture-backed turnaround with perhaps at least as many, if not more, financial constraints than those of EAC, yet a very different development and production plan, and apparently much less financial risk (I appreciate that it had a legacy product line).

Lastly, I think it is important to separate criticism into, though inter-related, still distinct categories concerning the E500 project: 1. the Airplane itself; 2. EAC venture management; 3. Production/manufacturing; and 4. the ambition to supply and effectively underwrite the large-scale "air taxi" concept.

I believe VR's insights were essentially correct: there is an enormous amount of room for improved production efficiency in GA (in aerospace in general) but that development cycle is decades, not years. And that path is likely more collaborative than combative.

The few comments from owners/users (N=2?) suggest that the E500 can be attractive, strictly at the right price; I maintain that that price is ultimatley sub-1MM or about 1.5X Cirrus.

julius said...

roncicek,

I spent five weeks learning long forgotten skills. I learned to hand fly the plane to ATP standards. I am now ten times the pilot than what I was when I showed up in ABQ.

Recurrent training is always good. But the EA500 type rating must not replace the normal pilot trainig.
I wouldn't anticipate that I would be able to maintain this level if I only would fly 150 h/a, especially when heavily using the autopilot.

Is it actually necessary to be such a good pilot to fly the EA500 in a safe manner (by hand and autopilot)?

julius

airtaximan said...

baron,

"The VLJ concept was completely launched by startups. And to this day, there is only one certified VLJ (jets under 6,000lbs by my definition). Again from a startup."

The real "revolution" story involves Gulfstream, and other established OEMs... look at www.machdiamonds.com

Yes Tony Fox did what Vern has been doing, a few years back - with the only available powerplant... which was lacking for GA.

Credit where credit is really due -Williams and Pratt, finally after working for around 10 years or more on small GA turbo fans, came to the market. This was the big difference, and the OEM's jumped in.

Baron, the TRUTH is there is still no practical GA jet airplane below 6,000lbs - as if light weight matters - this is not a product at this point, its a project - subsidized and not a commercial reality. The ONLY thing this example is is a huckster obtaining ungodly amounts of money... so yes, he's a better connected sales person that his predessessors. I gove him that.

The E500 "product" is a $2.5- $3M jet... IN THE REAL WORLD.

Piper, Diamond, Embraer, Cessna all compete VERY well...

Yes Vern got the PR - so what? What did it get him? A few hundred customers, buyng a few "delivery positions" a piece as speculation? Some individuals buying planes...but no too many - and of course, the AMAZING VANISHING orderbook.

Congrats - the first GA plane non-manufacturer to blow 12 years, $1 or $2.X billion and the most PR and advertsing in GA history.

I do not think he was the impetus for anything - it was started a long time ago, and when it became practical, the OEMs delivered. If you think the advanced design teams sit on their thumbs and do nothing all day, you are sorely mistaking.

So I ask: where's the promised revolution? Where's the cheap jet? Where's the SCSYC?

Its vapor, and its evaporating.

airtaximan said...

deep blue,

thanks - smart comments.

the biggest problem was laying claim to a bunch of BS.

there's always room for improvement - and you do not bring improvement to the marketplace by ignoring and bashing what came beofre - you learn from it and understand the RISKS associated with paths not taken by the established, $multi-billion, sophisticated, dedicated and talented established companies.

They develop and apply innovation... sometimes slower than the custoer would like - but its aviation. LONG development cycles, a lot of money, hard-to-come-by domain expertise, and ultimately lives at stake.

YES, there is a huge market for a sub $1M jet airplane, that is easy to fly, and provides a bespoke taxi service for $1/mile.

YES, this does not exists.

YES, there's a huge market for a $300,000 5,000 sq foot ocean front villa, with full home automation, costing $300 per month to run... HUGE market.

Those damn real estate developers - they can't get it right, such a home is $1M plus... there's NO INNOVATION in this market...

Same argument...

This is how silly EAC looks to many.

airtaximan said...

BAron,

regarding Shane's WELCOME MAT to more owners, so we can get more insight...

Of course, everyone is welcome.

Curious to me is how come they need to be treated so softly - they have taken it up the pooper by EAC to the tune of $1-$1.5M... are apparently HAPPY about it -

yet, the can't seem to stomache a few comments on a critics blog?
C'mon, man... get serious.

This is a tough bunch, with many hours of newly available blogging time due to their jet airplanes... either while they are saving time flying faster, or waiting for repairs and upgrades in the shop - they are tough - they posted here for a year, praying someone else would bite so THEY could get a plane for their deposit money, or they could sell their position at a profit.

They have the time, and the "reason" to post... if they don't like our comments, too bad.

WELCOME - EAC owners - post away!!!

Dave said...

You cry for other people to play with and when the people that don't think just like you show up to play you guys get all defensive and say "You guys can't play cause you're a big stupid."

You have this blog confused with Eclipse's blog. In this blog anyone can post and nobody is saying anyone has to leave. If someone can't take it when they leave their club to go into the real world and having different opinions and points of view, it isn't this blog's fault.

I will say what I have been saying for the few of my posts: MANY OF YOU ARE SPECULATING. Its all well and good, but come on...

People are free to speculate. You say you don't like the nature of the posts, yet you don't post other than in your post complaining abou thow others have posted. If you want to see more posts that fit your liking, make more of those posts yourself.

WhyTech said...

"In addressing any new activity there will be ‘pioneers’ and ‘settlers’."

Yes, and markets can be segmented along these dimensions as well as many other. Pioneers are sometimes referred to a early adopters. With a complex, technology intensive product, early adopters make either an implicit or explicit tradeoff to accept the possiblitiy of product flaws in order to gain other things, such as preferred pricing, being first on the block, etc. I often get the feeling that the majority of EA50 owners posting here are making these tradeoff implicitly, as opposed to careful, thorough analysis. No problem with this approach, except that it can be full of unpleasant surprises.

On the broader issues of market acceptance, I believe that is important to look at what marketing conslutant Geoffrey Moore termed "the whole product" in his seminal book, Crossing the Chasm. This term encompasses not just the physical product, but evertything that influences the owners success and satisfaction with the product, including reliability , support, trainiing, reputation, etc. Similar to what is sometimes called "the customer experience" in some marketing circles. IMO, not only is the EA50 physical product badly flawed, the whole product is also quite deficient for the same reason: poor execution. I do think that Eclipse had the concepts mostly right, they just didnt have the competence to pull it off at a high level of quality. This was largely a failure of leadership, IMO.

WhyTech said...

"People are free to speculate. "

Bloggers have "speculated" that:

1. the overall program is grossly late
2. the acft is being delivered without (insert long list of claimed features)
3. there is a substantial training backlong, in part due to late completion of sims
4. there are many semi-permanent inop stickers attached to the airplane
5. there has been a significant level of AD's, SB's, SDR's etc
6. EAC has defaulted several times on the Avio spec, finally ending up way short (Garmin 400's) of original claims
7. etc, etc, etc.

Which of these are mere speculation, and which are known facts?

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

"Just because something is a fact does not mean it is a true fact."

Ahh..., whaaaaat?

Dave said...

Ahh..., whaaaaat?

I believe what Zis meant was that some of the items you listed were of a factual nature (not speculation), just your facts were wrong. That being said I believe Zis was inviting comparisons between the Eclipse and the Mustang for AD's, SB's, SDR's etc to establish the factual accuracy of that bullet point in your post.

WhyTech said...

"I believe what Zis meant was that some of the items you listed were of a factual nature (not speculation), just your facts were wrong."

I am kind of slow in getting this. Does this mean, for example, that EAC has not defaulted on Avio specs (#6)?

EclipseWhiner said...

It is interesting to watch as some Eclipse customers (I am one) post here and get shot at by those who can't stand to have a single good thing said about Eclipse. It is particularly disappointing to see Shane participate, to some extent, in discouraging positive comments.

Now let me say that I would be the last person to defend the old Ken Meyer posts. He was outrageous in deflecting any real discussion over actual issues. But many of the owners now posting (including Ken) actually know what they are talking about and are at least somewhat balanced. I know Ken and I know that he really is delighted with his airplane. It is one thing for the critics to disagree in matters of opinion, but it is quite another thing to just insult people. For example, because I am owner I have been branded as "stupid" on this blog countless times. I suppose that someone will be anxious to reply to this post to personally brand me as such. That does not encourage us to participate in a real discussion of the very real issues with Eclipse.

One reason you might like to encourage owners to participate is that quite often the critics cite as “facts” things that are simply untrue. Many of these have to do with technical details that are well understood by owners. But let me give you one that will delight the critics: the fantasy that Vern was a brilliant fundraiser continues to be repeated on this blog to this day. The fact is that by complete chance Vern (through the good graces of Sam Williams, not by any merit of Vern’s) got Al Mann to invest. Mann has made his fortune in large part by never giving up on something that he started, and very rarely giving up on his “leaders”. So Mann kept investing in a company and market that he did not understand long past the point that any sensible investor would have. When Eclipse tried to go into “real” venture capital last year the deal blew up and Mann rescued Vern again. It was only when ETIRC stepped in this last time that Mann lost control and could no long protect Vern. Then Vern’s true brilliance as a fundraiser showed up on July 28th. He had sold himself and the company down the river. Probably sold all the owners and deposit holders out too, it is hard to believe Roel will treat them well.

Want more true facts rather than BS? Then respond respectfully to those of us who have made different choices than you would have made. Otherwise, enjoy yourselves.

WhyTech said...

"Then respond respectfully to those of us who have made different choices than you would have made."

This what makes the world work and life interesting. I, for one, have not intended disrespect to posters as individuals( I can see how it might be assumed otherwise however). I do find it difficult not to challenge the opinions of those who go on about what a wonderful acft the EA50 is in the face of overwhelming evidence that this would not be the judgment of a great many discerning, highly experienced aviators. It destroys the credibility of the poster and invites a shift in the focus of the criticism from airplanes to people. I can envision that some purchasers are easier to please than others, and sometimes envy this quality in others. There is a humongous disconnect, however, when the tone of the post is in the "its really a wonderful acft and everything will be fine" vein. An objective observer with no skin in the game simply cannot buy this as being the case. When Eclipse shows up several years running at the top of the Pro Pilot satisfaction surveys, then we are getting realistic about the quality of theownership experience. (Perhaps not an unimpeachable benchmark, but the best I know of at present.)

Deep Blue said...

WhyTech as usual makes an elegant point.

I am by no means a regular blog participant, and only recently (the last 30 days or so) have made several postings in the spirit of being constructive about a very inmportant topic.

I have however, written critically about EAC, the E500, air taxi and VLJs generally for the past 8 years in the trade and tier one international press, well before any EAC critic blogs were established.

I would say that it is difficult to imagine--though easy to sympathize with--an aircraft owner that may be enjoying the E500, given the risks present in certification,after-market, and its non-conformity and cost to spec. Nevertheless, the VLJ/E500 (under certain conditions of quality control and support) may be an appropriate entry level twin jet, or a very good fit for many private flyers (I do not believe for most corporate users, nor for so-called airtaxi).

Moreover, other OEMs like Cessna may be pleased to take the E500 on trade and put you in a Mustang (or upgrade you; same for the EMB P100/300) and make you cost neutral with better RV and after-market. That's a positive feature of a buyer's market (it will always be a buyer's market).

Our family has owned and operated several traditional light and cabin class aircraft over the past 25 years. I have operated just about every GA/special purpose aircraft from the J3, BE-18, Piper Lance, Aztec, Seneca, BN2A, DHC-6 series, Conquest series, C-340/402, MU-2 series, LR-23/24/25/35/55, DA-10/20/50, GI,II, III/IV, to the BBJ. And Helos from the B47, Jet Ranger series to the S76 series.

I cannot understand the attractiveness of the VLJ class aircraft except through price, which is why I continue to place the E500 especially, as a sub-1MM value proposition, given all the trade-offs.

I did consider buying an E500 as a trainer for my kids. Frankly, I have such doubts stemming from management there (and I know the company and its infrastructure very well), that I simply do not trust the integrity of the product. I suspect this is more impression than reality, but I can't overcome it.

I would use (am using) a SR22 for modern cockpit introduction for the kids, and then transition to a complex twin (C310 for example) and then to a Pt. 25 jet. I am more comfortable in a well-maintained 50 year old LR23 than a new E500. And that is a very sad statement that I shouldn't have to make.

airtaximan said...

ewhiner,

nice post...I guess I was dead wrong...I am the first to give Vern all the credit in the world for finding so much money.

I would submit, I have no clue about how much Al Mann put in... but, I doubt it was $1.xB... there were a lot of other investors.

I think Gates poured in $60M... even Sam Williams invested, there were lots of investors in a few rounds as well, no?

I would love to be wrong about how great a fund raiser Vern was, too.

Thanks for your post.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

If the owners who are new or rehabilited past participants want to provide facts then by all means please do so - that is certainly welcomed.

'It is a great plane' is not a fact, it is an opinion.

Opinions are what have been amazing about this site, and the accuracy of opinions and predictions from the Critics have been by and large spot on.

If new participants want to identify specific conjecture on the part of the Critics that have been or can be PROVEN to be wrong, with FACTS, then do so.

But to state some conjecture has been wrong, and there are 'more orders' than is being suggested is again, not fact, but is also opinion.

Opinions are welcomed here, just as facts are, just as prognostication has been. But do not confuse opinion and belief for fact, from either side.

My $.03 ($.02 adjusted for inflation)

airtaximan said...

Cirrus Design eliminates 102 positions
By Alton K. Marsh

Cirrus Design, seeking greater efficiencies across the board, has eliminated 102 positions at its Duluth, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D., locations, including 25 positions where employees had made routine resignations.

Chief Operating Officer Brent Wouters said “efficiencies” is his new company-wide mantra. “I think we’d gotten a little bit complacent and added positions that weren’t needed,” Wouters said.

Cirrus will freeze production at the present 14 aircraft per week this year.

“We’re very optimistic about the piston business,” Wouters said. Demand may improve in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to newly passed tax incentives, but Wouters said he doesn’t expect the current economic malaise to end until after the first half of 2009. He feels that while fourth quarter demand will be greater, it will still fall below what Cirrus officials would like.

International sales have been up 20 percent, but domestic sales have slumped, leaving the company down 8 percent overall. In such a market, the lower priced Cirrus SRS light sport aircraft becomes the entry-level key to growing the business, Wouters said. “An aircraft in the low 100s [$100,000] is a boon for the industry. We have around 200 orders. A lower end product will show people that they can do this [learn to fly],” Wouters said.

Wouters gave the company two production days off recently to synchronize supply with demand. Even with staff reductions, the company still employs 1,230 people, 52 more than in 2006.

WhyTech said...

"Cirrus Design eliminates 102 positions"

My best guess is that they are close to satisfying cumulative demand for this product line, at least in the U.S. IOW, most who want an SR20/SR22 have one by now. When I saw their production rates climbing through 600/year, I couldnt help but wonder how long this could be sustained. We may soon find out.

Black Tulip said...

Just after we landed at Narsarsuaq, Greenland in July, five Cirrus aircraft arrived in loose formation from the factory, headed in the opposite direction. They were on the way to Spain, and the lead ferry pilot said Cirrus’ overseas business was good due to the euro/dollar exchange rate.

I went flying this afternoon and missed the resolution for this marvelous quote from Jus Zis Guy,

“Just because something is a fact does not mean it is a true fact.”

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

How refreshing to have someone in authority at an OEM say they may have hired too many people and become complacent. And in more honesty, description of what they expect and a plan to match production to demand. Disruptive.

I agree with Whytech that although I find the production rate at Cirrus to be impressive (14 per week), I too have wondered how they can be selling that many planes.

Actual numbers or percentages used to describe demand internationally (+20%) and locally (-8%) - what a concept.

airtaximan said...

Interesting thoughts on saturation of the market for the SR22.

I am surious, that whie lives are disrupted being hired and let go... perhaps this is not such a bad way to proceed in GA... its a little different.

Pump out as many as you can as fast as you can.

It may not be sustainable, bt, at least you foreclose competition by taking the customers, and you reduce risk by selling as many planes as fast as possible and recoup the dev cost (I know, what MORON would actually PLAN to do this, right?) ASAP.

If you can adjust, perhaps you move onto the next big thing.

If Cirrus s doing this... its amazing. It requires incredible planning, foresight, agility and guts.

Truly disruptive.

Heck - if Roel came right out and said: "we satuarted the maret - without Dayjet, we're pretty much done with the e500... we need another product - the e400... and we're making it as fast as we can. We need to lay off due to this reality... we'll get the e400 to market as fast as possible."

I'd actually have some respect for him, and believe him.

Oh yeah - silly me, he just said last week they have 2600 orders for the e500... and they are ramping back up next year. What am I saying???

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