From our special correspondent, Seamus Shillelagh
At a hastily convened press conference in Eclipse Aviation HQ, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Vern Raburn, CEO and Founder of Eclipse Aviation, spoke out today of his frustration and shock at recent events. “During our cash call late last year, I was misled by my advisors into thinking that ETRIC was actually EPIC. I only realized the error when I went to a meeting recently and noticed the number of fuel stops. When I asked the pilot why, I found out we were flying over Russia instead of Oregon. This could not have happened with AvioNG, which of course will have integrated navigation and FMS, but won't be ready until Tuesday.”
Captain Zoom, recently promoted to Head of Corporate PR for Eclipse, was quick to point out that it was an honest mistake. “From FL150, which we were restricted to by lack of FIKI, central Russia looks very like parts of Oregon, and when we finaly landed we were met by people whom we could not quite understand. This seemed normal to me, but then the penny dropped when we went for a meal. That soup was something else…”
Mr. Raburn, well known for his outspoken views on many aspects of the VLJ market, continued to complain about his bad luck. “When I confirmed that ETRIC was not in fact EPIC, I called my lawyers immediately, informing them of their mistake and seeking an arbitration meeting. What upset me most was that the real benefits of a merger with EPIC were clear to me, and would have resulted in us getting access to the Williams EJ-22 for our ConJet” At this point, Captain Zoom interjected to remind Vern that he should have said ‘Concept Jet’, but we all understood what was meant. Vern continued, “The other big plus with this would have been EPIC’s experience with composite structures which are clearly the way to mass produce airframes in a cost effective manner. Stir frying (Friction Stir Welding, reminded Captain Zoom) has not delivered and we are in the process of finding someone to sue”
A noted critic of Eclipse, known to his supporters as ‘Black Tulip,’ interjected from the floor to point out that Eclipse were, in fact, the main supporters of FSW in aviation, whereupon he was promptly ejected from the hall.
At this point, a number of disgruntled customers, sensing their opportunity and ably supported by groups of suppliers and staff, rushed the entrance to gain access. As the protestors, carrying placards and handing out leaflets to the 5 of us journalists who had turned up, entered the conference broke up in disarray. The press ‘pack’, considerably outnumbered by the angry mob, retreated to the safety of a local bar, from where (after several calming pints of Guinness) this report was filed.