Thursday, March 12, 2009

The 'Owners Plan'

The following hit the inbox in the past hour, and I thought it important to bring it to your attention in a prompt manner. The 'translation' from the supplied document format to this blog may have generated some unintended consequences, for which I apologize in advance. Needless to say, I'll correct any that are drawn to my attention as quickly as I can.

Anyway, with that small 'health warning' I'm happy to provide you all with the following, which was dated March 10th:-



THIS DOCUMENT IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE BACKGROUND REGARDING THEFORMATION OF A COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION OF OWNERS OF ECLIPSE AIRCRAFT AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS DOES NOTCONSTITUTE AN OFFER TO SELL OR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUYSECURITIES. THE STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN, INCLUDING POSSIBLEFUTURE COURSES OF ACTION TO BE TAKEN, ARE FORWARD LOOKING BASED ON CURRENT EXPECTATIONS AND BELIEFS AND ARE SUBJECT TO A NUMBER OFFACTORS AND UNCERTAINTIES. YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONSULT YOUR ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE WHAT ACTIONS, INCLUDING THOSE DISCUSSED HEREIN, ARE IN YOUR BEST INTERESTS.

Dear Eclipse 500 Owner:
Most of you have received communications over the past month on the state of the Eclipse bankruptcy process. This memo is intended to both summarize what has been previously communicated and to apprise you of the most recent developments.

We believe that the current situation requires a concerted and organized action on the part of all Eclipse owners to guarantee the continued support and airworthiness of your airplanes at a reasonable cost. The pace of the Chapter 7 liquidation process requires that we prepare immediately for this eventuality. If we wait to see what alternatives emerge, it will be too late to take any of the actions that could improve the outcome for all owners.

Objectives of the Owner’s Group

We’re going to present quite a bit of information on today’s call, but it is important to start with a clear understanding of our mission, as well as our relationship to other groups who may be working to buy the Eclipse assets.

I. Our top priority is to protect the key assets of Eclipse Aviation Corporation, and ensure that they are available to enable the support, upgrades, and continued airworthiness of the Eclipse fleet on as attractive an economic basis as possible.
II. We plan to evaluate all proposed plans on behalf of the owners, and would be delighted to find an organization that plans to purchase the assets and provide owners with support and upgrades on attractive terms.
III. The only thing worse than high priced support would be no support. Since no plan that we are aware of has yet raised the capital likely required to buy the Eclipse assets and commence operations, we believe that it is essential to provide a backstop to all of the proposed plans.
IV. Finally, none of the members of this committee has any economic interest in any plan, other than the desire for access to ongoing service and support for our aircraft.

Bankruptcy Procedure

On Wednesday March 4, the bankruptcy court agreed to convert the Eclipse Chapter 11 case to a Chapter 7 liquidation case. A trustee will be appointed to supervise the liquidation. Most likely the trustee will sell the assets of Eclipse. The note holders will be in a decision making role with respect to whether an auction occurs and its timing. In cases of this type, auctions would typically occur within 7 30 days. We believe all of the assets will most likely be sold to a single buyer.
There is no way to specifically estimate what the noteholders will accept, and it is possible that they might simply hold the assets themselves if the bidding comes in too low. Some of the money a buyer pays for the assets will go to reimburse Al Mann for his $10 million DIP (debtor in possession) loan. We believe ETIRC will likely be forced to forfeit their $10 million DIP loan based upon their failure to close the Chapter 11 reorganization.

Importance of the Eclipse Intellectual Property

We anticipate that all of the assets of Eclipse Aircraft Corporation will be offered at the auction. Among these assets are the Type Certificate and all of the intellectual property required to maintain and upgrade the airplane over time. While some have questioned whether it might be possible to support the aircraft without control of these assets, the Ad Hoc Committee (and other experts whom we have consulted) strongly believes that whoever controls these assets will have a virtual monopoly on the support of the fleet. For this reason, and also from seeing various proposals from groups who propose to bid on the Eclipse assets, the committee is very concerned about the possibility of a group acquiring the assets and charging exorbitant fees for access to service and upgrades.

Some Economic Assumptions

The painful reality of the Eclipse bankruptcy is that everyone involved has been damaged financially. While in some sense the owners are fortunate to have a “hard asset”, many of the things we expect support of the Type Certificate ed from Eclipse, such as upgrades and ongoing, must now be paid for by somebody else, most likely us owners. We are working to minimize those costs because they are substantial.

As part of our work, the committee has investigated what the ongoing requirements are likely to be for any organization that intends to keep the Type Certificate in force. A substantial sustaining engineering organization is needed to respond to technical issues, to source components, to deal with the FAA, and to make ongoing reliability improvements. Our best estimate is that the requirement is approximately 50 engineers, and that the total overhead for such an organization is in the $12M $14M/year range. That assumption appears consistent with some of the projections we have seen from other prospective bidders.

If an existing manufacturer were to purchase the assets, they might well be able to use excess capacity within their own organization to perform these tasks, but we do not believe that any established manufacturer intends to bid. We have had discussions with at least one credible organization that could absorb a major portion of this overhead if they elect to partner with us. Those discussions are ongoing, but certainly not concluded at this point.

Any plan must account for the baseline burden of maintaining the type certificate. These costs must be recaptured in annual fees or through markups on service or other fees. Typical aircraft manufacturers spread these costs over all of their products so that such costs are buried in the price of the aircraft and in the price of parts and service.


Potential Scenarios

Some of the plans we have seen contemplate varying levels of continued manufacturing, ranging from completing the 10 or so aircraft that are well along in the production process to more ambitious plans of ultimately producing up to 100 aircraft per year. A bidder who sees manufacturing as its primary strategy would be incented to keep maintenance and support costs moderate for the existing fleet in order to establish credibility with future potential customers. However the ability of a new entrant to raise the capital required to manufacture new aircraft, and to engage in the level of production engineering required to produce those aircraft at a competitive cost is viewed skeptically by some members of the committee.

More plausible plans involve the purchase of the assets primarily to create a profitable service and support business. The risk in undertaking such a business high return on their it requires will likely dictate that the investors command a very and the capital that investment. Some of the plans that we have seen have contemplated charging on the order of $100,000/year just for access to the service. They also contemplate charging a six figure premium over cost for the upgrades. While these rates look very predatory to an owner, they may well feel like good business to an investor in such an enterprise.

It is worth noting that every additional dollar of upgrade cost likely reduces the current value of your pre upgrade aircraft by a dollar. Similarly, increased ongoing maintenance costs require that the market value of the aircraft be reduced by an amount that makes the total cost of ownership competitive with other alternatives.

Seizing the Initiative

Although some committee members believe that it may still be possible to find investors who will back a production/support plan that would not be considered predatory, time is running out.

The surest way for the Eclipse Owners Group to avoid one of these “predatory” scenarios (or worse yet, no viable scenario of any kind) is to organize as a group and successfully acquire the Eclipse intellectual property in the liquidation. We would do this under the auspices of a non profit corporation (“NEWCO”) set up for this purpose. We are in discussions with a number of existing maintenance and support organizations from which we can choose a partner to undertake the actual engineering and support tasks. NEWCO would employ an executive director and minimal staff to oversee the performance of our service partner. That partner organization could expect to make customary profits on its service and support activities, as opposed to the monopoly level profits that could be demanded by an organization that has gained control of the Eclipse Intellectual Property.

Again, we would be very happy to see a plan emerge that does not require owners to actually put up capital to secure and maintain the type certificate . We are in contact with every potential entrant we are aware of, and will provide you with our evaluation of each of those plans once we have access to them.

However having our own highly visible program in place is the best way to protect owners’ interests and influence the plans of other providers. Sitting back passively will leave us captive to whoever prevails at the auction – a scenario that is unlikely to produce a satisfactory outcome.

Structure and Mechanics

It is difficult to say exactly what bid will be required to prevail at the auction. If we have not endorsed any of the competitive plans prior to the auction, we will likely have made it more difficult for some of those plans to raise the capital needed to bid. This could potentially lower the required bid. For now, let’s assume that the bid range is $10M $20M. In addition, unless we find a partner who can perform the sustaining engineering by using their own idle capacity, we feel that it is prudent to raise the first year’s overhead of$12M $14M as well. This implies a total requirement of up to $35M. It is possible that $10M of this could be supplied by convincing Al Mann to roll his $10M in DIP financing into our bid, in which case we would need to pay him over time. That is not a “done deal” however.

We would like each owner to invest $150,000 per aircraft in the non profit corporation organized to purchase the Eclipse Assets. While this is a significant sum of money, you would likely save more than this just in the cost of the Garmin/FIKIupgrade of your aircraft. Additionally, your ongoing costs are likely to be considerably lower than any proposal we have seen to date.

For owners that are unable to contribute $150,000, we have set $100,000 as the minimum level. To offset any such under contributions, we will offer (and encourage) other owners to purchase interest bearing notes in amounts of $50,000 and up in addition to their base $150,000 contribution. These notes will be secured by the assets of the corporation, and will offer an attractive interest rate. We have not pegged this rate yet, but it will likely be in the 15% 20% range. Those who have contributed less than $150,000 will pay that interest rate on the difference between their contribution and $150,000. Those who have contributed more through the note purchase will receive that interest.

To summarize, the $150,000 contribution will buy you ownership in the Eclipse IP, and support and upgrades at prices that we negotiate on your behalf with our service partner. We will still need to collectively support the annual sustaining engineering(Type Certificate maintenance) costs. The cost per aircraft for that support could be as high as $60,000 $70,000 per year if we have to shoulder the entire burden, or as low as 15 20% of that amount if we can cement a partnership with the right support partner. Upgrades will be performed with parts supplied at cost plus a modest handling charge, and labor for the upgrades will be charged at traditional shop rates. Owners who have contributed less than $150,000 will also likely be required to bring their contribution up to $150,000 at upgrade time, which will enable us to pay off note holders.

We are asking all owners who are capable of doing so to commit $200,000 to the effort, with our commitment that we will develop a fair method, as described above, of compensating you for your increased commitment. You will have the opportunity of reviewing and agreeing to our proposal before your money is released from escrow, so we are not asking you to commit without complete disclosure. However, the larger our “war chest” the more strength we will have in our group.

To summarize the anticipated economics for a $150,000 contributor:
1. $150,000 investment before the Chapter 7 auction. This buys ownership in NewCo, as well as access to the service and support program.

2. Maintenance performed at typical labor rates.

3. Parts supplied at the cost paid to suppliers plus handling charge.

4. Upgrades under similar terms to maintenance.

5. Additional annual expense per aircraft to support the sustaining engineering and type certificate. This could range from $15,000 per aircraft per year in the most favorable assumptions to $70,000 per year under less favorable assumptions.

6. Should you elect to sell your airplane at any point, the ownership would transfer to the new owner of your aircraft, who would enjoy the same status. This should increase the value and salability of your aircraft.


This leaves the question of what to do about owners who choose not to participate at even the $100,000 level. Our guiding principle here is fairness to those owners who do participate. One of the biggest risks this plan faces is securing adequate participation of the owner group, and any owner who does not participate raises the required initial investment and per airplane overhead costs of those who do. For that reason, any owner who declines to participate will need to invest prior to receiving access to the program, and will pay a higher price than those who participated prior to the auction.

The board of directors of NEWCO will ultimately determine that premium, with input from the participating owners. We don’t know today what that group will decide, but least some owners have already expressed the view that late entrants should pay a 2 3x multiple of the pre auction price. Other owners express the view that the premium should be more moderate. Late owners will also be responsible for interest on the $150,000 “par” investment amount, since their non participation likely generates the need for us to raise that amount through the issuance of notes.

One final point on structure is that the $150,000 outlay is an investment rather than a fee. That investment buys pro rata ownership in the Eclipse assets, which have ongoing value. If a profit making venture were to purchase those assets, it would need to build in incremental charges to generate a significant return on that investment. If the owners buy those assets, the return we receive is the absence of those incremental charges as well as the guarantee of ongoing support.

Interim Expenses

All of us understand the value (and cost) of quality professional help. In today’s environment, that help is extremely expensive. The committee has done all of its work on a volunteer basis, but we anticipate the need to spend at least $200,000 between now and the auction for outside legal and financial advice, including forming the non profit corporation, complying with securities regulations, negotiating with partners, etc. We ask that $2,500 of your contribution be used for that purpose. All other monies will be held in escrow as outlined below. There is potentially a need for a second expense tranche, but this will not occur until you have approved the final investment documents and fully committed your contribution.

It is also important t recognize those of you who contributed $4,500 to the original ad hoc committee. The work of that committee formed the foundation for the efforts of the owners group, and those who contributed will be credited with $5,000 toward your full investment amount.

Escrow

Because of the very short timeline on which all of this must occur, we are creating an escrow account with very investor friendly provisions. We ask that you decide on a contribution level and then send 10% of that amount to the escrow agent. The escrow agreement, as well as the formation agreement for the entity, will be emailed to you within the next 24 48 hours. Any money in that escrow account (less $2,500 for interim expenses) must be returned to you unless you approve and sign the detailed final investment documents. The 10% deposit is simply a good faith gesture on your part so that we can gauge the level of funding that we have committed from the group at large. We will need the full amount deposited, (and the final documents signed) before we can bid at the auction. Since this auction is likely to occur in the next 7 30 days, we are on an extremely tight timeline.

Conclusion

We would like to leave you with these key messages:
I. This plan is intended to insure that a funded, viable, customer-friendly bidder shows up at the Eclipse Chapter 7 auction. We do not consider any of the plans we are aware of to have demonstrated all of those characteristics yet.
II. While the initial financial commitment is significant, your $150,000-$200,000 investment may well make the difference between your airplane being worth $1M+ or being nearly worthless.
III. The annual expenses are also significant, primarily because the fleet size is modest. However any plan must deal with that reality. Promises to significantly grow the fleet though new manufacturing are tempting but much more challenging to fund and execute than the creation of a service and support program for the current fleet.
IV. We continue to seek information on alternative plans, and would happily throw our support behind any plan that we believe would be beneficial to the owners.
V. The owners committee does not claim to be qualified to run a service and support company, but will partner with highly qualified and experienced providers.
VI. By controlling the Eclipse intellectual property, we maximize our options not just today, but well into the future. For example, if we were to later learn of a plan or organization that we think could do this better than we can, but which was unable to succeed in the auction, our Board of Directors would still have the flexibility to work with that group. They could even sell some or all of the assets to that group, and distribute the proceeds back to our members, as long as that is consistent with the our mission of maximizing the value of our aircraft and the availability of service and support.

We would like to offer each of you an opportunity to speak one on one with a member of the Ad Hoc committee to address any questions or concerns that you may have with this plan. If you have not sent your contact info to eclipseownersgroup@gmail.com please do so, and we will contact you and arrange a time for a call.

Sincerely yours,

Randall Sanada, David Green, Ron Lebel, Ken Meyer, Mike Boich for the Eclipse Owners Group

258 comments:

1 – 200 of 258   Newer›   Newest»
baron95 said...

TP (previous thread) said ... poor businessmen (I'm married to one)

Are you married to a businessMAN? ;)

Shocker of the blog. ;)

Kidding aside, I agree totally with what you said.

Once someone is promised something too good to be true, and gets a piece (as incomplete as it may be) of that something in their hands, it is very, very, hard for them to adjust to the realities of ther here, now, etc.

I find it inconceivable that owners are seriously considering putting up $150K-$300K to just buy IP. Is that insane or what?

Let someone else buy it. Keep that $300K in your pocket. Cash is king. If some one that buys the assets wants to charge you $500K for an upgrade, tell them to get lost, and offer them $50K.

Be in control of your destiny. I.e. Cash in the bank, let them come to you and sell you their deal. Let them squirm to get your money.

If you need tires. Buy tires. If you need a TSO component, buy a TSO component. If you need a part from a vendor, ask the vendor to get a PMA and buy that part.

Need a SW upgrade for Avio? Well go to whomever bought the IP and negotiate - with cash on your side, doing the loud talking.

It is insane to part with $300K and still have nothing. Still be on the mercy of more vendors and more fixes.

You bought a plane, remember? Not an aircraft MRO business.

Let the more sanguine owners like Ken and David Green, who drank the full cool aid dosage and may or may not have an affinity to running an EA500 MRO business, buy it.

Everyone else, sit on the sidelines with your cash in the bank.

The liquidation value of an EA500, if you had to sell it today is probably less than $300K.

Forget about what it was once worth or sold for. The value today is $300K give or take.

ALL of your investments should be relative to that value.

Once/IF someone else's MRO operation is up and running, then your plane increases in value to maybe $750K. Then you can justify $150K-$300K which is 20-40% of the value to get it up to spec.

Not now. This minute you do not part with $300K with no guarantees to improve a jet that itself is worth only $300K.


Crazy talk.

TBMs_R_Us said...

This (insane) owners' plan only works with a very high percentage of owners coming up with the money. Cut the number of participants in half, and, oops, not enough money. Baron has this one right. Putting up this kind of money to own the IP is exactly the right idea for those who thought purchasing an EA-500 was a good deal in the first place. Many many more such good deals await. This is a non-starter.

Save your money.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Wow, no wonder some of the guys are upset.

Are owners actually prepared to pay $470 per flight hour JUST for 'TC Maintenance'? ($70K / 150 hrs/yr)

That puts the cost to ante up at as much as $270K in Yr 1, before a single drop of Jet A is burned, before a single upgrade is accomplished, before a single spare part is made available, before a single AOG aircraft gets assistance, before a support organization is even crafted let alone operational.

If you fly 150 hrs/yr the plane costs you $1800/hr for your 'investment', PLUS maintenance, PLUS insurance, PLUS fuel, PLUS hangar, PLUS subscriptions and support.

That said, the owner's group obviously put some thought into the concept but talk about a need for flawless execution. The late planes are looking at about $500K, while the early planes could see their buy-in plus modifications approach 7 figures.

Holy rusted metal Batman.

WhyTech said...

"Crazy talk."

Absolutely, positively! Very well written.

EA50 Owners, run, dont walk, in the opposite direction! You heard it here first, but history suggests that you will ignore this very sound advice.

Dave said...

In reading what the EOG says alarm bells keep going off just on the structure of the deal itself. By all means anyone and everyone correct me if I'm wrong, just I'm not aware of a non-profit being able to issue bonds in itself and I'm especially not aware of a non-profit being able to have "investors." It sounds like a potentially illegal (as in all involved get audited and hounded by the IRS) use of applying non-profit status while acting like a for-profit business. To my reading the IRS would just totally pounce on some non-profit talking about having "investors" and that those "investors" own the assets of the non-profit and also how that interested parties better act now or else the cost will go up. I would think that to maintain non-profit status that the non-profit would have to serve all owners equally regardless of if they've put up six figures or not. Giving preferential treatment to some could itself trigger IRS problems. Again my experience is mostly with 501C3s, but I'm not aware of what type of non-profit entity could do what they are proposing of doing. At first I thought a 501C6 (a business trade group), but those can promote an industry but cannot be engage in running a business itself. Again I welcome anyone to shed light on this, just without even getting into the merits of the proposal, this seems like it would invite IRS audits for anyone who was an "investor" in this non-profit organization.

Dave said...

Doing further resarch non-profits can issue bonds, but the whole "investor" thing and preferential treatment is really confounding me as that seems antithetical to being a non-profit. If someone wishes to donate six figures to the EOG then they're donors, not owners and the EOG can't act like they are co-owners in the business nor can someone who puts up the six figures subsequently sell their stake in the non-profit AFAIK unless you want to risk the IRS's wrath.

baron95 said...

I read the email. Obviously they put some thought into it and it is well written and all.....BUT....

It is absolutely clear that:

a) They really don't know much. They don't know how much of the bid money goes to Mann, if some money goes to Roel, what the specifics of the other plans are, how many owners, other than the 5 signing the email will join, etc.

and

b) This has ALL THE SIGNS of emotional-based decision making. I was even going to say desperation. These guys are not thinking about the cold hard economic facts. Who says that keeping the planes flying is the best for owners? Why isn't it best, economically, to liquidate their plane and go somewhere else?

Owners should be thinking about "How can I lose the least in this saga" not "How can I keep my plane flying"

Owners should just sit tight.

1 - The liquidation value of your plane (parts + scrap or a research plane or military target drone or whatever) will be the same now or 6 months from now if there is no MRO program in place.

2 - IF there is a viable MRO program in place, the value of your plane will increase somewhat, you will know what the costs for services and upgrades are. Then you can decide to pay them and keep flying or liquidate your plane at the higher value.

Owners have NOTHING to lose by sitting and waiting.

So sit and wait if you can. If you can't, liquidate your plane, take your cash and do something with it.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Another way to look at what is being suggested:

Initial Ante - $200K
8 yrs of TC Maintenance - $70K/yr
Average 150 hrs/yr

Total for Ante and TC Support - $760,000 - if you park it and never fly it again it costs three quarter million dollars.

If you fly 150 hrs/yr until the freshness date on the bottom of the can is reached (average of 8 yrs), you get 1200 hours useful life, for a cost per hour of $633 - JUST for the privelege of belonging to the Newco.

Exlcudes upgrades ($200-500K), parts and labor (~$70-100K/yr) - excludes fuel (roughly $180K/yr over 8 yrs or maybe $150/hr).

Assuming the owners win the assets, how long before they can support the fleet? How long do the guys who are ALREADY AOG have to wait? How about the guys who go AOG between now and the ability to service?

Wow, just wow.

I am not a lawyer and I do have another dog in this fight but Baron and TBM are right - let the scraps go where they may.

$300K for anything other than hard parts and software for your plane ought to be hard to swallow.

The owners community might be a captive market, but anyone who buys the assets is essentially a captive vendor as well and Baron is correct, CASH will be king.

baron95 said...

Dave, I don't think they meant they'd incorporate as not for profit. I think they simply mean the corporation will be operated without profit objectives.

It will be stupid to incorporate as non-profit org with all the hassle that entails.

This thing will never generate profit anyway and if it does (future sale of IP for instance) it just goes to the owners anyway.

So this is a minor detail.

The key is that there are 260 planes, about 200+ owners, and probably maybe a dozen or less that will run and escrow $150K-$200K in 7-30 days.

Therefore, the real need is more like $1M or so per owner. It just does not work. This one is truly DOA unless they get an outside partner to come in with a few million or, they can walk away with the IP for $2-3M.

And another thing about their plan - they have no clue as to the amount needed to win.

Lets say 200 owners come in and they raise $30M (wildest dream).

So then someone bids $33M in the auction. Then what?

This is crazy talk. Good intentioned crazy talk. Better than being passive crazy talk. But crazy nonetheless.

I don't have a solution to the owner's problem, but putting $300K into this upfront is not it.

I'd not be worried about "monopolistic" prices being charged. There is very little leverage any MRO can have over owners once they accept their plane is worth only $300K today.

So, for parts, an owner may be better off buying another EA500 for spare parts than paying anyone $300K to get "access to parts".

Crazy talk man.

baron95 said...

So as not to sound too negative... It is good that the owners are organized, are looking at options, are discussing this plan, all that is good - good work by the owners group.

Some good will come out of it, I'm sure, without the need for the average owner to jump over the divide and become an MRO owner in addition to a EA500 owner.

By the way, if you think being in the MRO business is easier than being in the OEM business, wake up.

OEMs are having a tough time, but MROs/FBOs are having an even tougher one.

baron95 said...

Rats - I did it again - sounded negative.

I think the owner committee should be commended for taking the time and initiative, gathering the info, doing research and bringing forward a plan for the consideration of all the owners.

If it turns out that the vast majority of the owners feels comfortable buying in and owning the MRO, then I'm happy for them and will be rooting for their success.

If not, then other ideas will develop from the discussions.

So Kudos to Randall Sanada, David Green, Ron Lebel, Ken Meyer, Mike Boich for organizing the info and proposing a possible way forward for consideration.

airtaximan said...

well,

I now better understand what it took to buy one of these planes from EAC under EAC's conditions.

Apparently, somone thinks THIS is a logical and well thought through plan for support/continued airworthiness. At the right price, of course.

Same guys that thought making a deposit on an EA50 was a good idea.

No surprises, here.

Just wait until reality sets in, and watch the tears, listen to the screams and moans. Head slaps.

Somehow, someone thinks risk PILED on top of RISK, diminishes the risk?

I just imagine all these eclipse owners, with the judgement they used and their aviation industry experience - the thinking that led them to trust Vern and believe in EAC and the whole "story", are now involved in acquiring the assets and arranging for support for the fleet. All I can say is... a lawyer who represents himself has a client for a fool.... don't get high on your own supply...

This blog will be around for a long time, watching that fiasco if it materializes.

I smell a BT post coming regarding the owners "plan"...

airtaximan said...

Rats, I sounded too negative...

Kudos to Randall Sanada, David Green, Ron Lebel, Ken Meyer, Mike Boich for organizing the info and proposing a possible way forward for consideration.

sparky said...

Upgrades will be performed with parts supplied at cost plus a modest handling charge"

This makes absolutely no sense at all. I can think of very few shops that would provide parts at cost+ “modest handling charges”.
One thing the owners need to get through their heads NOW is that parts pricing is going to go through the roof for non-standard parts.
The lowest possible price was established on an ungodly (and impossible) rate of production. The company's that bought into this now know that the production run will be 1-2% of what was initially intended. If they have spares they’re going to be making up the difference as you have no choice but to buy from them. This is also assuming that the person who originally manufactured the part is willing to keep supplying it.
If not, if it wasn’t TSO’d, it will have to be STC’d in order to gain PMA. That alone will cost you about $60K for something simple. If it needs DO-160 testing, add another $45-80K depending on whether or not you would need the testing witnessed. This is for parts that companies plan on spreading costs over hundreds of pieces, you get to do it on a couple here and there. All told, you’re going to be spending a lot more than you think.
Best suggestion, park the damn thing and walk away…..

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM, just wait until we release our plan - it will sound like a BT original for a second, but I promise it will make complete sense when taken fully and in context - practical, achievable and rational.

Should be ready to put it up in the next day or two I believe.

FWIW, I agree with Baron that the E5C leadership should be commended for trying - and they have obviously put what was felt to be a lot of thought into the concept. It is admittedly a good start (kudos to Ken and crew), but hopefully it ends up being a starting point and not the final product.

My concern is that it appears to result in a needed subsidy of about $100K per year per plane above and beyond the cost of upgrades and normal repairs and maintenance which should already be about $100K - effectively doubling the non-fuel operating cost (ouch).

Thankfully, it appears that at least some of the owners are open to alternatives and even the E5C leadership expressed some openness in their proposal.

TBMs_R_Us said...

I miss Ken. I wish he'd come back and tell us some more how great his plane is.

"Kudos" to these guys? Are you nuts? CWM, kissing up just doesn't become you. Kudos to Wedge for inventing this comi-tragedy. Kudos to Ken for being so loyal. Kudos to RiP for saving the company.

Etc Etc Etc.

Let it go.

WhyTech said...

"I don't have a solution to the owner's problem,"

I'm not sure there is a win-win solution in which each class of participant gets what they need/want. The airplne is not worth enough to put a lot into, yet its going to take $30mm-$40mm (conservative, I'd say) just to get started buying assets and making them productive. Everyone is talking about "investors" but any savvy investor is going to want to see a whopping return for the risk involved, and in a reasonable time frame. Hard to see how all the pieces will fit into a workable whole.

I agree with B95 that some credit is due the owners for their initiative, even if it is wrong headed initiative. Without initiative, nothing happens, and while this first iteration seems desperately wanting, it may be the spark that leads to something that might work.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

No really TBM, they are taking a far more proactive approach than over the previous 3 or 4 years (or 8 or 10 but who is keeping score now) and that is to be commended and encouraged.

I am not kissing up, they ARE trying to control their own destiny and that is a good start.

The economics of the proposal do not seem attractive from the outside, and it seems also to at least some of the guys with skin in the game, but it is a start.

They recognize the need to take action, they recognize the need for partnering or hiring/contracting with experienced professionals, all good and significant departures from the last 4 years in ABQ.

What has been the primary focus of this blog's criticism? The business plan and the management - well now there is an opportunity to change those two and perhaps in doing so, provide some value to the guys who want to keep flying the EA-500 and provide alternatives to the guys who want out.

I'd like to just leave it at that.

Turboprop_pilot said...

But it's fuel costs are still 30% less per mile to operate than a Mustang. And you can get a great buy of position 3xx

ExTurboprop_pilot

WhyTech said...

"And you can get a great buy of position 3xx"

Not so sure of that - there is one guy still asking $500K for his 3xx position.

Beedriver said...

I think the owners will have far more leverage if they let someone else buy the rights to The EA500.

This would be a group who is planning to supply parts etc. Then the owners should form an owners group to negotiate with Newco. the owners are the key to success for the buyers going forward and if they act as a group they have lots of leverage. the reason is if parts, upgrades etc, get too expensive the owners can park the EA500 and go buy the Citation or Cirrus jet solution. If the owners act somewhat like a union they have lots of power. If the owners have already bought in to the ownership they are already captive.

Any group who buys the rights to the EA500 will need to have the resources ready to at least make a good charge towards fully supplying the needs of the owners or they will lose eveverything they paid to purchase the rights.

When I think about all the obstacles and future costs to go forward and make the EA500 competitive, Eclipse might only sell for a few million as anyone who purchases it will need to put in (by some estimates on this blog) $20,000,000 or so more before they can hope to start making a profit

If there a lot of airplanes AOG for a time like 6 months most of the owners I think will park them and look for other solutions to their transportation desires. The new purchasers will need to get going now to supply solutions and up grades. Thus they need the cash to hit the ground running.

and I for one, if I was an owner would negotiate a price for any upgrade and never put anything down. I would find a place to put the money in escrow so Newco could only get it when the task was completed and also so Newco would know the money is really there if they succeeded. This is the way we did all overseas shipments of equipment we built. When the machine was bought off in our plant then we shipped it and we got the money.

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

If I understand the post correctly, the same bunch of dreamers that didn't see the problems with Eclipse coming down the pke despite YEARS OF BIG RED FLAGS WAVING AND THE OPTIONAL STROBE LIGHT CAP FLASHING BRIGHTLY now want the owners to thrown more good money after bad?

Oh man you just can't make this stuff up. The disconnect between fantasy and reality among the owners group is truly frightening.

But, hey, what do I know...well, OK so every single prediction I made about Eclipse did turn out to be right....but other than that what do I know......

;-)

WhyTech said...

"I promise it will make complete sense when taken fully and in context - practical, achievable and rational."

Is that you, Vern? ;^)

Dave said...

Dave, I don't think they meant they'd incorporate as not for profit. I think they simply mean the corporation will be operated without profit objectives.
It will be stupid to incorporate as non-profit org with all the hassle that entails.
This thing will never generate profit anyway and if it does (future sale of IP for instance) it just goes to the owners anyway.
So this is a minor detail.


Baron you admit you are assuming the type of corporate entity involved, which I think you agree it is only a minor matter if you are correct that this isn't a 501C corporation (otherwise you call it "stupid"). I would think it would be awfully important to know exactly what type of entity you are dealing with before you shell out six figures. For the sake of argument let's run with this being a for-profit corporate entity...

The first thing that caught my mind was this phrase "none of the members of this committee has any economic interest in any plan" along with the repeated loaded description of "non-profit corporation." So if this is a for-profit corporation:
A) Shouldn't the members have to shell out at least the same amount of everyone else and to demonstate they actually believe in their own plan? If it was a non-profit (as in 501C) it would be logical the members wouldn't have an economic interest, but if it is a for-profit corporation just the opposite is true as these members are asking others to shell out six figures.
B) What is the ownership for each person who puts out $150K and percentage ownership do the Five claim? Can anyone be on the Board or it limited to the Five?
C) Given that this is a for-profit business with shares, wouldn't it actually be in the interest of the owners of those shares to increase the value of their business? It would seem in everyone's best interest who puts up the money to have a profitable Eclipse corporate entity that can increase in value for the shareholders rather than something that at best is a break-even by design. Investments are meant to make money not turn over all the profits to some other entity determined by the board who will get to keep all the Eclipse-related profits...why should the shareholders give their profits away to someone else and take a vow of poverty for their investment?
D) Along those same lines of the board giving all the profits away, how does an investor know that there isn't any conflicts-of-interest or related-party transactions in spending the investor's money?

I would think that there'd have to be a lot more detail before anyone should spend an additional six figures. Before spending an additional six figures there should not be assumptions on what type of entity this actually is and it should be clear who owns what and how business will be conducted.

airtaximan said...

help, pls:
Randall Sanada,
David Green,
Ron Lebel,
Ken Meyer,
Mike Boich

I thnk Sandana is a lawyer or accountant

I think Ken is an eye doctor or dentist

The others... any clue.

I am interested to understand the professional backgrounds of these individuals...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Trust me WT, you're gonna love it.

;^)

I am actually looking forward to the criticism, laughs and serious questions that will come - it will be educational for all and will ultimately result I think in a solid plan.

TBMs_R_Us said...

CWM,

it will be educational for all and will ultimately result I think in a solid plan

You need to learn how to set expectations better, as in LOWER. As it is, we're all waiting for you to be the second coming of Vern. Hope you can help out all of those ConJet depositors too.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

I will admit the owners plan sounds ambitious. But the sheer magnitude of $$$$ that is needed is staggering. And the idea that they can turn this into the Red Cross or United Way Airplane Company - surviving on owner "donations" - is laughable. Just from a legal / product liability standpoint, is this NewCo organization prepared to stand behind the EA500 for the next 17 YEARS? Are they prepared to stand behind the EA500 AFTER a crash and AFTER the first fatalities are on record? My God, once that happens, the owners would need to (COLLECTIVELY) cough up millions just to deal with potential future lawsuits IF the NewCo engineers did something wrong on systems they didn't completely understand.

No matter how negative this sounds, I **COMPLETELY** agree with Baron: current EA500 owners have nothing tangible to gain by going down this path. Not only will this drastically increase their financial and legal liabilities, but it does nothing in the short-term to ensure they can keep their plane flying. Cash may be King .....but NOT having to lose sleep at night is PRICELESS. Fly your toy plane as long as you can: get as much out of it as you can. And then when it is AOG, walk away.

Secondly, how will this NewCo deal with the DayJet planes that do not currently have owners? The abandoned DayJet fleet makes the $150K per plane number, IMHO, way too low to deal with reality. The math is pretty simple: $150K x all 260 planes = $39 million (the fine print of their memo is $150K per plane, not per owner). $150K x only 200 planes = $30 million. To set up for at least 2 years, I'd say the $40 million figure should be the proper target. But if only 200 planes cough up $, that comes to $200K per plane ($40 mil / 200). Each plane/owner that sits on the sidelines forces all the other willing victims to pony up more $$$. Sobering numbers indeed...

e.d.t.

Dave said...

No matter how negative this sounds, I **COMPLETELY** agree with Baron: current EA500 owners have nothing tangible to gain by going down this path.

I agree with Baron too. With my comments that I've made is that owners should know what they are and aren't getting into with the $150K just as previously how I was saying that auction bidders should know what they are and aren't getting for their bid.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Other than finding willing companies to provide a credit for a portion of the deposit monies, the ConJet guys and the EA-500 depositors are in a tough sport TBM.

Already have one airframer willing to offer some decent accomodation for the depositors though, and that is a start.

No interest in being Wedge Mk II thanks, I see an opportunity to help out and pocket a little green while doing it - and that is the brutal truth of it.

Problem situations like this are interesing to me and are basically part and parcel of what I what do - it's almost a custom-made case study.

It is as it has always been with me, gonna be straight, some will like it, some won't, but it's nearly always entertaining.

Shane Price said...

I'm thinking of renaming the blog.

Again.

How about:-

"New owners of the company formerly subject of the Eclipse Aviation Critic NG blog but not entirely sure of what they actually want"

You will gather from the above that I'm pretty sure I'm confused with the sheer number of ideas floating around.

What IS clear is that the note holders don't want to hang around. This is a millstone around their necks, and they want out, as in 'yesterday'...

Shane

WhyTech said...

"Trust me ... you're gonna love it."

I'm nervous already!

airtaximan said...

"EA500 owners have nothing tangible to gain by going down this path"

what a surprise... they chose a path where they have nothing to gain, really...anyone surprised?

I guess the tooth fairly could sprinkle fairy dust and they will magically have MRO centers and enginerrs.. and tons of capital... and its a charity... and affordable reliable maintenance and upgrades.... or they can just call Roel or Vern, their former best friends, best custodians of their whacky airplane company.

This is simply a joke.. its like Madoff clients showing up at his office to have their portfolios restructured and restored...

It simply boggles the mind how much smarter than everyone else these people think they are.

HINT: if a reputable shop/company does not show up and bid on the assets, neither should you

HINT: You should NEVER out bid them... anyone actually, because everyone has MORE experience than you... EVERYONE

HINT: you are the people that bought the farm on this - many of you were cheerleaders for Vern-the-ridiculous- and that makes you the LAST place I'd look for sanity or a clear path to reality on this subject... thats for damn sure

HINT: you had MANY alternatives that were reasonable, some even reasonable gambles... you chose the BIGGEST farce in GA history - why look to you for any solutions?

I would seriously SEEK HELP - find someone in aviation who has a lot of experience and a good track record, and ASK them what to think.

Your best thinking got you here - where? Well, you are trying to start a notforprofit to BUY EAC assets and provide a mainteance scheme so you can save some money on MRO, becasue you are afraid of getting porked by someone who might bid and provide the service at what might just be a normal price.

Should tell you something.

Baron is right - you have ZERO to gain... think back, MANY folks told you this about a move you made a long time ago... and decisions you made more recently about that same move...

Find a designated driver, put your egos a side, put your ideas aside (they are way off) and LISTEN.

WhyTech said...

"because everyone has MORE experience than you... EVERYONE"

A pearl!

Dave said...

Also isn't it a little late in the day to be getting religion over monopoly profits versus ordinary profits? Eclipse since day 1 has always had a monopoly over Eclipse IP and Eclipse went out of their way to point that out with such things as Avio and the like. The way to avoid dealing with an Eclipse IP monopoly would have been not do business with Eclipse in the first place.

Dave said...

There is something else that I thought of if people are buying shares in a business. The EOG says that it will charge late-comers more for a share than those who buy a share earlier. However, can't the shareholders sell their shares on the open market? I don't see how EOG non-profit for-profit can set the valuation of the company when people can buy shares from current shareholders at whatever price is negotiated between the parties. What exactly is EOG NewCo going to do with an Eclipse owner who buys a share in NewCo from the secondary market rather than paying the price NewCo says they have to pay? It would seem that this situation would have NewCo engaging in the monopolist pricing they are complaining against in the first place.

airtaximan said...

DAve,

yup, the trusted VERN and REOL and now they are suspicious.. C'mon.

All someone needs to do with the clowns is promise some low ball rate, nd then jack them later - they LIKE this approach... makes'em feel really smart for a while

Dave said...

All someone needs to do with the clowns is promise some low ball rate, nd then jack them later - they LIKE this approach

This all just seems so weird. EOG bondholders would supposedly make 20% per anum and you'd think that if Harlow was making 20% or more in pre-tax profits from their Eclipse operation that would be a reason for owners to celebrate because it would mean their aircraft would continue to fly. Whoever does buy Eclipse IP should expect to make a large profit due to the very high risk being taken in buying a company that has never been profitable out of bankruptcy and has had some very high profile damage to its image...it's not exactly like buying Treasury bonds. Anything less than a great financial reward for the new owner would be a risk-adjusted failure, so "monopoly" profits would in reality be "ordinary" profits.

Black Tulip said...

A glossary for those who read the owner’s brief, but do not own an Eclipse, and did not ‘invest’ in the late departed enterprise:

Predator:

An organism that lives by preying on other organisms.

One that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one's own gain.

Predatory:

Living by preying on other organisms.

Of, relating to, or characterized by plundering, pillaging, or marauding.

Living by or given to exploiting or destroying others for one's own gain.

See also,

Risk and Reward

Return on Investment

Return of Investment

Capitalism

airtaximan said...

Dave,

I have, since 3 years, established on very strong opinion regarding the owners who have frequented this blog...

They have NO IDEA what Risk is.
They could not better evaluate risk of an EA50 support services venture, than buyng one of these flytraptions, making a deposit for one of these positions, or uncollaring an INOP system on a plane delivered unfinished.

Different-planet-kinda-thinking IMO

I can almost smell the discussions "C'mon... lets buy the assets, and provide ourselves with low cost support... why give some other guy all our money"

Yup...right...goforit...

baron95 said...

Sparky said... One thing the owners need to get through their heads NOW is that parts pricing is going to go through the roof for non-standard parts.

No they will not. There is a natural ceiling for parts on every aircraft, and it is the point where people start buying up frames and parting them up.

Given that the Eclipse 500 can be bought on the spot today for something like $300K, the total sum of a set of all parts can't be sold for much more than that.

People are dreaming if they think they'll be able to have huge markup on parts. They won't.

baron95 said...

Dave said... if you are correct that this isn't a 501C corporation (otherwise you call it "stupid").

Dave, who am I to provide advice. But if it were me, I'd set up a regular LLC so that the owners could at least deduct their losses (their investment) from their taxes. Given that these are all high net worth individuals, that alone may be a 40% discount on their investment.

But hey, that is just me. I don't try to re-invent things that we all know work well.

If they want to set up a self serving, and interest paying 501c, in the current "get them all" political and economic climate, let them try.

I think they'd be paying some big IRS fines as a reward. But hey, maybe they hired a big accounting firm like KPMG, in which case they'll paying even bigger fines ;)

Dave said...

Given that the Eclipse 500 can be bought on the spot today for something like $300K, the total sum of a set of all parts can't be sold for much more than that.

I don't know how much the aircraft parts industry is different from the car parts industry as far as pricing goes, but selling car parts one piece at a time has a substantial mark-up. Like gosh, I think about illuminated manuscripts where there's a cottage industry cutting up those books and selling them one page at a time. In many industries there's a substantial mark-up for selling things piece-by-piece versus what the whole unit sells for. Heck, I used to work on pricing proposals in the tech industry and the parts separately sold for more than buying a whole unit.

Owners selling parts off their Eclipse might be the best option for them as far as getting a return on their investment goes.

baron95 said...

On a more positive note, I know it has been just a short run that does not a trend makes, but I'd like to remind you all that the market bottom has been called at 6,700 and we are now some 8% above that.

The rocket is leaving the pad - it is more fun to get on the thing closer to the to head than the tail ;)

sparky said...

Baron,

You missunderstood. I don't mean that someone will try to gouge them on pricing. Harvesting parts off of non-functional aircraft will only work for so long. After that, someone has to produce them. This is where it gets REALLY expensive.

Normaly, if you're producing parts for aircraft you can spread the costs, not just design and manufacturing, but of certifying also, over a large number of pieces. The smaller thr run, the larger the cost.

This would apply to parts that are unique to the airframe. IS&S is out. Would you like to try to recover the costs normally accrued over a 1000 piece run on a run that will probably be less than a couple hundred. With owners who think they're owed something?

Again, best advice would be to park it and walk away.

baron95 said...

Dave, the airplane parts market functions just like the car parts market.

An used aileron for a C172 has a small markup, because there are lots of them and Cessna still makes new ones. That is just like getting a hood for a Ford.

An aileron for a Starship would have a huge markup, because there are few and Beech does not make them anymore. This is like getting a hood for a De Lorean or 56 Bugatti.

With a fleet of 260 to support, it is TOTALLY CRAZY to spend $30-40M on assets. Better to just cannibalize a few of the fleet to keep the rest flying. It will cost 1/20th of the amount.

baron95 said...

Let the FAA get the TC.

Dave said...

With a fleet of 260 to support, it is TOTALLY CRAZY to spend $30-40M on assets. Better to just cannibalize a few of the fleet to keep the rest flying. It will cost 1/20th of the amount.

It would seem both less risky as well as less expensive that way.

Dave said...

They have NO IDEA what Risk is.

I wouldn't judge all Eclipse owners based on the Group of Five. I think there's a wide variety of Eclipse owners and for that reason alone I see problems for the EOG proposal as I don't think they all march in lock-step.

Dave said...

On a more positive note, I know it has been just a short run that does not a trend makes, but I'd like to remind you all that the market bottom has been called at 6,700 and we are now some 8% above that.

I wouldn't expect those gains to hold in the long-run. A ticking timebomb I see is with the second stimulus. On Tuesday senior Democratic leadership said that they were starting on drafting a second stimulus bill because the first stimulus bill is underperforming, but by today that was swept under the rug with the Democratic leadership trying to distance themselves from talk of a second stimulus bill. That it is political dynamite to talk of a second stimulus doesn't change the underlying facts, so a few months from now you'll have the news media either blaring about how the jobs didn't materialize like they were supposed to or you'll have a political firestorm over the second stimulus bill...either situation wont be good for the markets. This is one thing that if you ignore it wont go away. However, maybe by that time there will be things to counteract that, such as Geithner no longer causing the markets to tank after he speaks.

cherokee driver said...

Where are the Eclipse supporters who said the bones of this fiasco would sell for $200M - $400M? Reality changes things considerably doesn't it?

Have any of these people looked into the product liability aspect of this endeavor. With any mishap they will go after the type certificate holder. An OEM could afford to take this on but an under financed group of owners should just run away. Baron's right, let the FAA have the TC.

baron95 said...

Geithner has to go. The man is as inarticulate as a stuck door knob.

Bring Blair over from FDIC to run the show. Watch her interview on CNBC on you tube from a couple of weeks back.

The woman knows her stuff and can explain it to a 10 year old.

In this whole crisis, only Blair and Bernanke have actually helped any. Well the NY Fed President, forgot his name, also helped.

I have to say. Everywhere I look I see rebound. Even used car prices are going up. Since new car production is down, people are snapping up the used cars. Soon ppl will have to buy new.

I like Germany's idea to pay E2,500 for each car scrapped. That just creates demand.

Maybe the govt can pay $25K per scrapped GA plane. Eclipse could qualify. Sorry (that was mean).

bill e. goat said...

OoooooKie Dokie,
Here's my opinion:
I think Eclipse IS worth $200M

If the owner's can pool $20M and buy it, I think it is a fantastic bargain.

Lock the doors for 6-18 months, and then sell it to whoever, in an improved economy.

And, I'd say not only the owners, but anyone else wanting to park $20M for a year or two- I think they would be able to at least double their money, maybe several times more.
--------------------------------

In the mean time...as CWMOR points out:

"for the same money that it would take to possibly buy the assets from CH-7, it could be argued that money would be better spent with P&WC to get a new, independent FADEC, and then get an enterprising shop like Duncan or Sierra to develop a G1000 STC.

"This of course assumes P&WC is interested in ongoing support for the PW610 which I think has to be admitted as an 'IF' at this point.

"Avionics upgrades would likely be maybe $200-250K installed. The ultimate irony would be to STC the Aspen Avionics Pro suite - surely less expensive than even the G1000, provides tons of performance, and leaves plenty of panel room for radios, GPS and other goodies.

"Still doesn't address the life limit issue but removes the real achilles heel of the design. Yes someone has to design simple, conventional controls for the gear, flaps and throttles but this is doable, and the fleet size would justify this work IMO."
--------------------------------

I think any owners would have to agree- CWMOR is shooting about as straight as anyone can here.

Going "mainstream" on avionics is probably the best long-term move- removes all the drama and uncertainty over EAC's future.

I'm sorry for the employees- I'd like to see the "flip" occur quickly- weeks rather than months- for everyone involved. But I think it is in the owners' best interest to take the company out of BK, and then sell it, as two seperate steps, rather than mucking it up by trying to do both at once.

I think this would be in the best interest of the company too. It's just plain STUPID to try to do your own avionics. Let the line start back up, and use the same FADEC and avionics suite that has been developed for the existing fleet.

The IP at Eclipse is worth about the same thing it always has- ZIP.
--------------------------------

Regarding depositors- I'd say, the gig is up- for now anyway. Sounds like CWMOR is going to arrange attractive deals on an experimental fast pointy something.

Regarding owners- buy up Eclipse, keep it from being parted out, or turned into the world's largest indoor miniature golf course. Then, "flip it", to some reputable shop. But I think it's better to acquire it now, and have some control over subsequent events. Even if "subsequent" is many months down the road. (I think all the owners have waited so long, parking their airplanes for a so many more months is NOT a big deal, if it turns out to be necessary).

TBMs_R_Us said...

Baron,

How about 5000. Unemployment will top 10% in 2010 (or before, but that high in 2010).

There's still $1.8T of toxic bank assets yet to be cleaned out. The US banking industry is insolvent in the aggregate. Until that's cleaned up, the market is going nowhere but down. Enjoy your 8% up, and sell everything you bought at 6700.

Dave said...

And, I'd say not only the owners, but anyone else wanting to park $20M for a year or two- I think they would be able to at least double their money, maybe several times more.

Not a bad idea, particularly when combined with Baron's cannibalism idea. I don't know that there's that much profit there, but if nothing else a better economy would increase the bidder pool while going dark would keep the drama and risks low.

bill e. goat said...

If the EAC IP is worth ZIP, what value IS there then?

Maybe 100-200K square feet of factory/hangar/office space- or so?

Modern tooling

Trained work force

TC (worth I'd say $40-50M by itself, maybe $100+M in a good market)

Spare parts and service work on the fleet.

Facilities to maybe do some outsourcing work for Gulfstream, Dassault, Bombardier, etc.

Now that the rat-ass mayor of ABQ turned the city's most beautiful vantage point into a freaking body/paint shop , might as well use it for something. (Well, NO, I really would rather see it torn down).

Wedge's coloring and comic book collection.
---------------------------------

Inquiring- and disturbed- minds want to know these sort of things:
"Professor Wem's Adventure Golf Course, the world's largest indoor miniature golf course"
West Edmonton (Canada) Mall

fred said...

TBM :

There's still $1.8T of toxic bank assets yet to be cleaned out

i am really sorry to disagree on this ... :-(

yes , it MIGHT be that much ...but that is direct effect-related sum !

If you take all the insurance liabilities taken on by AIG , then an abyss is opening under our feet ... (just as an example , but it is really a very good explanation of the few last years "madness" ... AIG madness USA cannot afford to let fail and cannot reimburse ...)

it is all the "collateral inventive finances" named CDA ,CDS , RMBS , ABS , etc ...

all the creative that was meant with Lever-effect ...and all the fakes results of last few years ...!

when that will come to maturity or to burst , rush for shelter , the outcome won't be nice to contemplate ...

FreedomsJamtarts said...

ColdWet:
"Trust me ... you're gonna love it."

ranks right up there with:

"Hold my beer, watch this".

All of the ideas discount the risk that this airplane is not economically supportable.

We have a self selected group of unrealistic cheapskates looking for an unrealistically low cost of ownership.

You have excessive integration of unreliable components, some of which are from critical venders who have walked.

The only asset you have is that the cheapskate Owners take an amazing amount of punishment and keep coming back for more.

Talk of "reestablishing relationships with venders" looks nice in Power Point kareoke, but there are too many critical venders in this project to beleive that all can be brought back on board to support this nonsense for a the long term, given the prospects of liablity, expected demand for parts etc.

Baron95 is dead right. Your plane is nearly worthless (even Ken's little therapy group can see that). Make rational decisions based on that real value.

Tax right offs?
Marketing gag on room of restaurant?
Driving range?
Film prop?
Sell it to a drug smuggler?

fred said...

baron :

I like Germany's idea to pay E2,500 for each car scrapped. That just creates demand.

yes , but the biggest difference with Germany = We can afford it !

what i see here is only a market doing like a junkie ...

only up and downs between fixes ..

just like a good old junkie !

something goes wrong ?? just snort a double dose cocaine ...
then he (the junkie or market) feel again like mastering the world ...

until the down , where he becomes again like a busted-punk ...

the question remaining : What is the normal state ?

mastering the world or crying-punk ?

FreedomsJamtarts said...

I don't think cannabalising the fleet will work well here, except at the scrap 20 A/C to keep one flying rate.

From what I read of Ecorpse conformity, and reading the TCDS configurations, there are not that many similar planes in each "conformity block".

The parts which really fail often will soon be used up. If one of these is a key AVIO or especially AVIOnFg "LRU" well, game over.

It's not going to be brackets, and tyres which make the plane unsupportable, it will be ISS displays, or AVIO nFg Controller card widget X kind of things which will cost easily $1M+ to replace a vendor on, or reengineer.

fred said...

freedom :

Baron95 is dead right. Your plane is nearly worthless (even Ken's little therapy group can see that). Make rational decisions based on that real value.


freedom (and baron) you're so right !

you , guys just reminded me of a joke :

a doctor is going in the street , at the corner of the block he sees a man banging violently his head on the wall ...
the guy is bleeding and nearly knocked-out , so the doctor run to him and ask "do you need any assistance ?"

A: "No , thank you !"

the guy start again to bang his head on the wall , blood everywhere , women screaming , the whole lot ...

so the doctor tries to reason the guy in asking "why are you banging your head ? soon you will kill yourself if you keep doing it ..."

A: "Don't worry i will not kill myself ... in fact i am stopping right now , i feel much better !"

doctor ask : "why do you feel better ?"

A: "simple , i bang my head , so after a while it's real painful ...then i stop ... the pain goes away = so i feel better !"

Black Tulip said...

FreedomsJamtarts said,

"We have a self selected group of unrealistic cheapskates looking for an unrealistically low cost of ownership."

This sounds similar to many folks who received home mortgage loans in the United States. I hope Eclipse owners have appealed to the Obama administration for bailout funds.

fred said...

I hope Eclipse owners have appealed to the Obama administration for bailout funds.


anything possible is already being underway ...

for miracles , a delay of 48 hours is asked ! ;-)

bill e. goat said...

Fred,
If I may adapt your medical advice:

"A: "simple , I talk to Wedge , so after a while it's real painful ...then I stop ... the pain goes away = so I feel better !"

I think I'd take the wall instead...

drillingahead said...

While is think the owners group is correct in attempting to organize to save the fleet as it relates to support, I encourage the owners to step back and take a breath and don't be bullied into accepting a plan based on the sky is falling theory. This plan has way more questions than answers and throwing good money after bad will not keep your plane in the air. What they need to understand is that no one can offer support to the fleet without some sort of cooperation between the two parties. Who would buy this mess and then try to hold up the owners with some inflated pricing scheme without some degree of hope that they will be willing to pay. All the owners have to do is park their planes for 6 months and watch the new owner die on the vine. They only have 260 customers. Commander, Saberliner,Merlin, Mitsubishi and Sierra Ind, (re-engined Citations) offer support without annual fees of bank robber tactics. The owners group has the upper hand in this battle and they should use that to their advantage. This plan will result in another round of money being pissed away and another failed attempt in a long line of failures. Great job on attempting to organize, just for all the wrong reasons. I know 3 owners who are planning on standing on the sidelines. Don't be threatened by anyone or bullied into a quick fix.

fred said...

billy ...

wall or wedge =

results are the same , it is only good when stopping !!! ;-)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Well stated Drilling.

fred said...

on a second thought , i am not sure the wall would be less painful ?? !!

fred said...

correct observation , Drill ...

one should consider the point of spending X+1 to save the value of X ...

not too many ways out !

the main problem remaining the "cheap aspect" of buyers ...!

Deep Blue said...

E500 owners should exit this program entierly. One might recommend taking your E500, along with any reserves for upgrades and the owner's proposal, and transfer into a Mustang. Use the recession to bargain on Mustang prices and terms; do a section 1031 exchange with your E500; keep your upgrade reserves and owner's "call" proposal as either equity in a different jet (you may also be able to bargain into a Phenom with excellent after-market support and Pratt-powered)or as operating reserves for same.

Time to exit E500. This owner's proposal is admirable in it's effort but foolhardy and frankly, naive if not misleading in its economics and promise.

BTW, where's Roel?

TBMs_R_Us said...

Fred,

I suspect that we do agree. I chose the words "bank assets" intentionally. But as you point out, those are only the directly exposed assets in US banks. At least double that, or $3.6T are toxic, with the other half spread around non-US banks, insurance companies, hedge funds, etc. No matter the number, it's a much larger mess than folks are being led to believe it is by the US government.

I also suspect that you agree with my assertion that until that mess is cleaned up, economic turmoil will be the norm, and markets will respond accordingly.

Makes the demise of the FPJ and the futile efforts of the owner group seem rather insignificant.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I recall seeing somewhere that the total exposure for 'toxic' assets including insurance products, mortgages and such actually is several times larger than the US. GDP of ~$12T.

Mindboggling when you think about it.

Freddie and Fannie alone guarantee $13T worth of mortgages, and defaults are approaching something like 6% now.

Kind of makes millions and billions seem small in comparison, unless of course you are hurt by being invested in the millions and billions.

fred said...

TBM


oh yes , unfortunately we have to agree ...

i took th AIG example because it is such a good way to explain about faked results , inflated egos and things NEVER to be done under any circumstances ...

AIG has interest and business in 130 different countries ...

where lots of different types of risks are being insured ...

for a total amount just absolutely ridiculous and insane ...

for some times , the risks were low and the fees were cashed in ...

now the risks are dramatic ,fees have been wasted long ago ...

and since most customers are abroad , they cannot be played on "national pride" leading to " did you ever see anyone taking any form of insurance NOT to use it if need be ?"

as you said = a real mess !

any recovery before EVERYTHING is simply known and therefor cleaned is at the best "a good joke!"

so in that Monsieur Shane is right , paper is going to be in such a demand very soon ...

fred said...

coldwet :

the total risks insured by AIG is about 60T ...

off-course , let's hope they will never face a 100% exposure ...

only a third of customers invoking their coverage would already tank the world economy for XXX years !

just that some entity or sane person could guarantee the risks on such a principal is actually pure madness !

what is even worse : USA cannot afford to loose AIG , but cannot face obligations either ...

well , i wish good luck to the ones having to sort that mess out ...

Beedriver said...

Question?
reportably Al Mann and Roel have each put in 10 million for DIP financing.
does that mean that any bidder must bid at least 20 million to get Eclipse because otherwise Al and Roel will get it?

or does it mean that Al and Roel are just one of the secured creditors and they get what they get?

fred said...

beedriver :

as far as i understood :

if in a bid-war (unlikely IMO) the total collected by selling the assets is superior to 20 M$ then RiP & al get their 10M$ each ...

the case of Roel is bit different as he played any tricks out of good-faith , i would suggest that he should be the last of the line ...

if the bid is less , then RiP (theoretically) & Al get 50/50 (unless they have a deal) and others get Zip .

it would "almost" make sens for the owners/depositors to prevent any bid-attempt to be able to buy for 1$ , which is ,IMO, the (probably) only way for them not to loose their shirt , once again ...!

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

reportably Al Mann and Roel have each put in 10 million for DIP financing.
does that mean that any bidder must bid at least 20 million to get Eclipse because otherwise Al and Roel will get it?

or does it mean that Al and Roel are just one of the secured creditors and they get what they get?


Both and neither, sort of. The senior note holders ( which include both Roel & Al, IIRC ) are "first in line" for proceeds from any resolution of the bankruptcy process that commenced in November.

BUT,

As senior note holders, they approved the Chapter 11 filing, with its attempt at a Section 363 sale. In an attempt to maximize the value of proceeds from BK, they chose to also approve an attempt to keep the doors open with DIP financing ( by allowing the providers of the DIP money to carve out that money before dividing up the balance amongst the note holders ).

The EOG plan alludes to the possibility that Mann would be eligible for DIP repayment, and that RiP might not. I don't know the basis for that assumption - mine would be that they are both, as DIP providers, equally "super superior" to the senior note holders when it comes time to divvy up proceeds from a Ch7 auction.

In theory, a party could offer exactly $1 and prevail at obtaining all of EAC's assets. In such an event, I'm under the impression that the senior note holders could choose "none of the above", and just sit on their worthless assets.

But I am an idiot. So, YMMV.

DI

fred said...

Dave I

But I am an idiot

i wouldn't mind to an idiot of your caliber !!! ;-)

airtaximan said...

drilling...

great post...

seems like these guys always want in first, always are willing to take big financial gambles, do not think there may be a better solution IF they let things take their course.

Their scenario planning is telling.

I would suggest, a real likely scenario is an expereinced shop shows up, with money and buys what they need to provide what they understand to be affordable support. Then, as an owner, you will have support.

or- no real player bids, and this means, the risks and costs are way too high for experienced and reasonable aviation business folks to gamble on the mess.

In either scenario, YOU SHOULD REMAIN HANDS OFF AND LET THE PROS LOOK AND HANDLE THE SITUATION.

All you are doing, IMO, is (once again) promoting some fantasy... and, you are potentially harmng yourselves (again) in the process. If I saw a bunch of folks like you trying to cobble millions of dollars to desperately seek suppor for your EA50, all I would think is, I COULD CHARGE YOU MORE THAN I MIGHT NEED TO -YOU'LL PAY; YOU MAY BUY INTO A BIG NUMBER FOR UPGRADES; YOU WILL PROBABLY PAY IN ADVANCE.

None of this benefits you.
It looks insane, AND it looks like you are willing to risk a lot of money just to have support.

airtaximan said...

"and just sit on their worthless assets."

is there a cost to maintaining these worthless assets?

Tail.Dragger said...

Boy it sure looks like these guys haven't read the rules regarding a private placement securities transaction.

i get a real kick out of calling a SEC Reg D stock purchase as a "contribution".

Also there are severe limitations on transferring this stock to new ownership when you sell your plane.

Not sure they understand accredited and non-accredited investor rules either....

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Fred said,
so in that Monsieur Shane is right, paper is going to be in such a demand very soon ...

LOL, keep in mind that toilet paper is the #1 seller at CostCo (the old price club). But in a pinch, I suppose EAC stock certificates could be used too...

Look on the bright side everyone!!! At least Bernie Madoff is now in jail awaiting sentencing!!! I would gladly pay more taxes to see Bernie, Vern, AND Roel all have to share a cell together.
;-)

e.d.t.

airtaximan said...

DB,

I sincerely think there are a few types of owners... I have mistakenly (and I apologize for this) clumped them into one hospital room, so to speak. Not fair, not accurate, not smart.

I would suggest, there is a camp of owners who might desperately want a solution for continued airworthiness/parts etc... buy the other camps EA50s...

So, if you want safe, reliable, supportable, stable air transportation from a reputable company, sell your plane to the guys that seem to just want an Eclipse... and go buy one of the alternatives.

airtaximan said...

tail,

or the issues regarding posting the Offer to a public website... unless the Offer is limited to the owners group, this is a no-no...

Dave Ivedorne said...

is there a cost to maintaining these worthless assets?

Yes. The assets - in and of themselves - have tangible value. It's the cost of maintaining that makes them worthless.

50 engineers - FULL TIME - to keep 200 FPJs airworthy?

Wow.

Ercoupes sound really good right about now - I'm guessing that 50 engineers exceeds the number involved in that lovely craft's 60+ year history INCLUDING the JATO-equipped version.

A wiser path might be using FPJs as the basis for re-engining Fouga Magisters - over 900 were built, and I see 82 currently registered with the FAA.

Shane Price said...

Deep Blue

BTW, where's Roel?

Last mention was a few weeks ago, where he popped up in the Ukraine, trying to arrange yet another 'factory' to mass produce the FPJ.

Since then, I suspect he's headed out on the ocean, without his mobile phone, in an effort to avoid his many admirers....

Shane

Productionman said...

"Ed from pos.3 said...
The sad part is that the writing on the wall was over a year ago. That is why I left on my terms. When the meeting of the so-called minds came around every day and good ol Todd Fiero would join, thats when things went wrong. This is the idiot that wanted to get rid of scales and trust vendors and the tooling. Whoever has aircraft 100 be careful. You would be amazed to see what holds the wings on."

So where is good ol Todd these days? Still trying to figure how to ramp up high volume manufacturing – or better yet how to bolt bumpers on jets… LOL - hmmm… Knew he would never be able to achieve results – narcissistic bonehead that he is … bet he’s still hanging around getting that fat over-employed paycheck till the bitter end…

airtaximan said...

pieper.. OK it was last year, still much funnier than an satirical post we could imagine.
Probably scripted by the same folks who wrote...

ah, never mind

enjoy, this is real comedey fokks.

http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/
sanjose/business_travel/story/
biz/1010.html

fred said...

EDT :

i would almost share your enthusiasm about Maddof IF he would put under a fair and PUBLIC trial ...

too many would be disturbed by what he could say ...

i would bet his wife is going to keep the luxury penthouse in Manhattan if bernie keep it shut !

how about something more fun like burning them as witches on public place tied all together ? ;-)

fred said...

on the whereabouts of roel ...

i have a few "friends" (believe me : you don't want to know who they are ...) are quite interested in informations ...

if any has a clue , drop a line to Monsieur Shane who would , i hope , transfer it to me ...

(they owe you a bottle of best Vodka for the service ... Damn !! i've said too much already !! ;-) )

bill e. goat said...

Shane,
"Since then, I suspect he's headed out on the ocean, without his mobile phone, in an effort to avoid his many admirers...."

Fred,
"i have a few "friends" (believe me : you don't want to know who they are ...) that are quite interested in information ..."

Roel's Excellent Vacation
(Like Wedge, he leaves a bad taste in your mouth...)
.)

baron95 said...

DI is correct.

DIP finance coming after/with a filing always gets paid first.

Also, the 363 purchase agreement had, AFAIK, no penalties associated with failure to close. So Roel has no liability whatsoever.

That is what you get when the same guys is busing, selling, providing DIP, running the company. I don't think US law contemplates contract with oneself, does it?

Tail.Dragger said...

Did Roel go fishing in Florida recently?

Beedriver said...

If only one bidder offers $1 or perhaps $1,000,000, it sounds like the creditors can refuse to accept any offer. if so who owns the company and has the rights to the assets/ will Mann and Roes own it?

Does the judge decide?

Sounds like it could be interesting.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Where's Waldo? - Roel Pieper edition...

"Spotted" March 9th, talking about his basketball team - whereabouts unknown ( Google translation ):

Landskampioen, a leader in the league and on the European stage at the turn of the quarter-finals of the Euro Challenge. Roel Pieper as Chairman of Eclipsejet Amsterdam look at the sporting performance of his basketbalclub, he sees only progress.

But behind the attractive results - with profit in Mons place tonight in Amsterdam is the best eight of the two main European basketball - is the hidden story of a sports club which has difficulties to find an answer to the financial crisis.

After the bankruptcy of his company My Guide was announced last week that one of his other projects, Eclipse Aviation, a bankruptcy afkoerst. "It is exciting, but it is still not finished," says Pieper on that project. "The coming weeks will see more clearly."


Two bankruptcies in one week - the wheels have truly come off for our Man Of Straw.

DI

julius said...

Shane,

BTW, where's Roel?


RP had his meeting with the Ukrainian First Prime Minister who visted NL (Dutch ministers for finance and trade,... business people) some days later.

I think, all this was well prepared apart from the actual subject - the fpj.

Reading the strange news coming from Andorra, Lichtenstein, Lux,... and even from Bern (CH) he might be in Paraguay or on Alderney (one of the Channel Islands).

Did someone hear anything about ETIRC's omnipotent software for the VLJ industries - or is ETRIC just offering support to develop this software....?

Julius

Shadow said...

Mike Press throws his hat into the Eclipse resurrection effort

airtaximan said...

Shadow,

quite a story... everyone should read it.

More fairy tales.

stan said...

Col. Mike Press has an impressive resume.

He comes from the procurement world of military aviation where cost over-runs, performance shortfalls and late programs are the norm.

His biased Eclipse cheer leading cost dozens of gullible Eclipse buyers untold millions.

Now this Pied Piper says, "Follow me, I will lead you to the promised land."

Frankly, if I were one of the sheep that got sheared thanks to Mike's blather, I would haul his ass off to court.

TBMs_R_Us said...

Seems like it could end up like a bunch of stray dogs fighting over a discarded piece of rotten meat. The one who ends up with it is not necessarily the lucky one.

Also seems like the various camps will split the owners up so that the EOG group won't have critical mass, which is probably a blessing in disguise.

Sure is entertaining!

Dave said...

All I can say is "Danger, Will Robinson!" Mike Press is playing the role of Roel by being two-faced (he worked both on the co-op plan and this plan) and Mason Holland (who I know nothing about personally and am not intending this to be disparing towards) has a "software industry" resume that sounds like Vern's and given the experience with Vern, that didn't exactly work out too well. Then it really boggles my mind why they pick a name that sounds like Roel's EclipseJet and instead just add a space and call it Eclipse Jet...maybe this group has Roel as a silent partner (with Roel's DIP like how the EOG talks of using Mann's DIP) and that's why they are basically keeping the name that Roel picked out. Given how this has been going on for the past month with the "Eclipse Jet" thing, it really sounds like Mike Press stabbed the EOG in the back by learning about their plans and claiming to be a part of the EOG plan while in reality he was working on his own competing plan. Mike really seems to be making a dog's breakfast of this by being sure that the owners don't have a united front, but I guess that's just continuing what he's done already by selling Eclipse aircraft to owners even though he knew or should have known what kind of trouble he was getting those people into, but I guess the money was too good. By the way did anyone catch how that Eclipse Jet wants to re-start production?

Black Tulip said...

Right on, Stan. It’s amazing to watch the hallucinogenic effect of a few sips of the Eclipse Kool Aid… more than a decade after the first batch was mixed. Now a “60 percent deposit holder” is brought into the fray. A 60 percent deposit holder of what? The Press/Holland release is okay but I miss the ‘disruptive technology’ anthem that Vern sang so well.

Dave said...

For once I actually feel sorry for Ken. Much as I've been critical of the EOG plan, if you go on the Eclipse500Club website, you'll see that Mike Press signed off on the co-op. Much as I've found to be critical of Ken of, I dislike traitors and double-dealers even more. I also wonder what Mike Press told the 20 owners/depositors to get them to sign up for his plan to re-start production. This looks like Mike is seeking seven figures from owners/depositors and that can do far more damage than the six figures being sought by the other plans.

bill e. goat said...

Woo hoo!!
I was confusing Mike McConnel with Mike Price- I hadn't heard about MP for a while, I wondered what he was up to.

If I remember correctly, MP was figuring on making a wad-o-cash on Eclipse pilot training, and used Eclipse marketing. Maybe unused Eclipse marketing too (line positions).

Well...I guess this is another case of making lemonade out of lemons.

Gotta admire his devotion to involvement with the product.

Chance of succeeding? HA HA HA.
---------------------------------

Fred,
I'm wondering, could you please book accommodations in the Hotel Eiffel Tower for the gentleman with a 60 percent deposit on S/N 473. I'd suggest offering him the namesake room of Paris's favorite son, the G.W.Bush Presidential Suite, with a nice view of the Pacific Ocean. (Be sure he pays cash up front to reserve it during the busy Spring Break season though).

Poor guy, "insult to injury" or something like that.

One the other hand, maybe he's seen how the gig works- sell another few hundred line positions to subsidize the next couple hundred (at 467, that's cutting it pretty close though:).

I suspect that is what the owners group wants to do. Not wishing ill to the "late comers", but the reality is- THE ONLY REALITY is, it's either pay through the nose* for upgrades and support, or get subsidies from future "customers"(tm).

IMHO.

Dave said...

The Press/Holland release is okay but I miss the ‘disruptive technology’ anthem that Vern sang so well.

Mike is doing a pretty good imitation of the Vern and Roel Show:
“It’s good news -- good news for the country because the company will hire back employees and get the industry back up and running,” Press said.
Customers to buy assets out of bankruptcy
Look at the grandiosity - Mike is going to save the entire aviation industry! Such Verntacular statements are what we've come to expect from Eclipse.

bill e. goat said...

MP's Depositor's Group

Kent Kresa and B.O.D.
(Hmmm, they are obviously satisfied with the proceedings)

Ken Learns of MP's Plan

Where has Peg been lately ?

Dave Ivedorne said...

"Danger, Will Robinson!"

Pretentiousness Alert!

The team consists of Retired Air Force Colonel Mike Press ... 25-year veteran of the U.S.A.F ... "Many of the owners are my personal friends, whom I've introduced to Eclipse and sold them their aircraft," said Col. Press. "I am responsible for them, and Mason and I have organized an exceptional team to lead a bid to fulfill my responsibility to current Eclipse owners and depositors." ... Today, Col. Press, Mr. Holland and their team formed Eclipse Jet ... "We are going to fulfill both objectives," states Col. Press. "And, the best way forward" ... "growth relationships with vendors and suppliers, expanding the Eclipse 500 fleet to generate key economics of scale," said Col. Press ... "We reject those plans," said Mr. Holland. "Col. Press and I have been committed from the outset to formulating a win-win strategy" ... Contact: Col. Mike Press

I've been acquainted with a couple of retired Colonels. One, of the 30 year Air Force variety, did not conceal the fact, but would have thought it strange if I referred to him as Colonel So-And-So.

The other, a Marine Corps 25-year guy, would kick my ass if I did so - indeed, I was only made aware of it by his wife when he wasn't around ( but his provenance as a Marine permeates every square inch of his universe ).

A cheerleader when I was getting my flight training was a B-17 Captain during WW2 who went on to become Governor. Likewise, I knew him by his first name. "Captain" or "Governor" were honoraria he simply was not interested in.

That Mike Press ( civilian ) refers to himself under color of previous authority is at best egregiously cynical. At worst...

Watch your wallets.

DI

TBMs_R_Us said...

Gosh, it sure is great to have Eclipse back in the saddle!! Yea Eclipse, Yea Economy, Yea Eclipse!!

Black Tulip said...

What would Colonel Sanders think of this discussion? What would his flock of chickens think?

Dave said...

OMG!!! I just did some more digging and all I can say is beware of Eclipse Jet! Many times I talked about how SCO's $5B shakedown lawsuit brought me here (via Ed Iacobucci who was on SCO's board and led litigation committee). Well, now it turns out that there's an SCO connection with the Eclipse Jet group. It turns out that the CFO of Benefitfocus is none other than Bert Young who was the CFO of SCO during the shakedown lawsuit and he's been caught up in other scandals as well. What is telling is that Benefitfocus doesn't list SCO as part of his experience. Also very sneaky on the part of Mason Holland himself is that he lists his own company (Benefitfocus) as a tenant that he landed for his commercial leasing company. All I can say is be very careful. I don't think it is pure random chance that the former CFO of SCO works for this bidder of Eclipse.

Dave said...

My partner and I also have an order on an Eclipse, which we’re buying as individuals. We’re considering getting three of them, creating a 135 operation ourselves and having a couple of corporate pilots. Not as a big money-making business, but as a way to spread the cost and then have access, so we always have a plane available.

If you get one airplane and you get other people using it to defray the cost of owning, you lose the benefit of owning it. The last thing you want to do is call out to the airport and not have the plane sitting there. So it’s kind of weird; you can’t have just one, you have to have three.

Benefitfocus' Shawn Jenkins

bill e. goat said...

Dave,
You are a clever fellow !!
Scoop of the week award for you!
.)

Finally weighing in said...

Randall Sanada,
David Green,
Ron Lebel,
Ken Meyer,
Mike Boich

I think Sandana is a lawyer or accountant

I think Ken is an eye doctor or dentist



none of the five have been in the aviation business; all five are apparently licensed pilots.

Randall Sanada:
Financial Planner, investment company executive
http://www.allianceadvisory.com/new/allianceadvisory/content.asp?contentID=79532

David Green:
Retired, Former VP Marketing, McDonalds

Ron Lebel:
Independent Medical Devices Professional (at least once in partnership with Al Mann)
Formerly President of Medical Research Products, Sylmar, CA

Ken Meyer:
Eye Surgeon, LASIK advocate
Eternal optimist and faithful ;-)

Mike Boich:
Successful Silicon Valley serial high tech entreprenuer

airsafetyman said...

"That Mike Press ( civilian ) refers to himself under color of previous authority is at best egregiously cynical. At worst..."

Right on. And unless he was a USAF Aircraft Maintenance Officer he typically would not have a clue about aircraft maintenance, modifications, and upgrades. Even if he was an AMO he would need years of experience in the civilian aircraft maintenance field to be qualified for the task at hand. I don't think a responsible AMO would have been caught dead near Eclipse in the first place, much less lead others down the garden path to financial ruin. Having a background in operations is really as meaningless as putting "Col" before his name.

bill e. goat said...

FinallyWeighingIn,
Thanks for the inputs on the "gang of five".
Look like some deep pocket folks.

..,Or will they prefer to be Ambassadors of OPM (Other People's Money)??
--------------------------------

Here's another "gang":
The Gang of Four
"officially blamed for the worst excesses of the societal chaos that ensued during the ten years of turmoil."
(Sounds like Wedge !!)
"...downfall in a coup d'état...brought about major celebrations on the streets...and marked the end of a turbulent political era"
(Sounds even MORE like Wedge !!)

Niner Zulu said...

Remember, it's not just Mike Press, it's Col. Mike Press.

No more Ken, now it's Dr. Meyer.

Please try to remember that.

- Lord Niner Zulu

bill e. goat said...

Lest we be a bit TOO harsh...
(!! Who, us ? !!)

I don't believe I've ever seen Mike Price use "Col."

Although, he certainly is entitled to, literally, and by convention. (It grates me a bit, as I prefer to think of all citizens as "untitled", -INCLUDING our servants in congress. But so much for that.

Anyway, I don't think I've noted that he himself uses that- I think the other participants in the "gang of five" were trying to legitimize their position by capitalizing (um, quite so !!) on the term.

Sa-lute!

(To his credit, in the world of Wedgian malfeasance, I'd put MP as a bit player, relatively speaking).

bill e. goat said...

However,
I defer to L9Z's judgment, sire!
.)

EclipseOwner said...

I own an Eclipse 500. I am nervous that the owner group may be trying to mix some new cool-aid. The hardest part to the whole thing is everything is estimated... Vern and his followers estimated the Eclipse 500 would only cost 1 Million (a bit off). All of the investments needed are estimates, and a full breakdown of what parts will cost is the REAL concern for myself! During the Chapter 11 period I could not believe the cost for airframe parts. And as we all know the majority of parts in this aircraft are unique only to the Eclipse. What will a new APC (Avio Processing Computer) cost? With only 260 aircraft and such a low volume what will these suppliers want?

Additionally a continued maintenance program and unknown fleet issues (i.e. service bulletins) are a must for such a new aircraft, is that the 70k a year for the TC maintenance? The next challenge is to find someone with the knowledge to take these positions! I highly respect many employees of Eclipse and I know many if not a majority of them loved the plane; but they have been through a lot already, need they be put in another gamble? I wish better for them...

In my mind I see a picture of a large boat (being Eclipse Aviation). The boats sinking, all the heads of the boat (Vern, Roel, etc...)have already drowned. All the owners (including myself) are up to their waists in water, life jacket in one hand, bucket in the other. The owners that are chained to the boat (those who have lost big money) are begging all the other owners to start scooping water out and save the ship! Haven't all us owners lost enough? Need you try to take us with you just to try to prove you made the right choice to invest in this aircraft?

Now you may be saying, you own one of these bad choices. And I admit that I did believe in the Eclipse at one time, but it was a very different story when I believed. I believe it would have been that story if Eclipse was run correctly, not by Mr. Wedge! Produce an aircraft fully certified, care more about the product then being the first to make it, care more about the customer then sales (is there a company in aviation that exists this way?), be realistic about the cost and production speed (hire real professionals with experience), admit failures, put ego's in check and eat some humble pie, and I could go on and on... The aircraft as itself is a good idea, Ultra Efficient, far more then any competition. Better looking then competition ...cough...cough...mustang (in my opinion). And the most technologically advanced light jet. If you disagree have you seen all the hard circuit breakers, overly complex systems (or should I say outdated), and excessive weight on the competition? We need an eclipse type aircraft out there to show these manufactures that we wont put up with lack of entrepreneurship!

I wont put my final decision in yet, not till more info is released. I love the Eclipse, when it works, and will love it more with all the fixes. But my logical side is asking me if it is to late to save the ship? When the water is at my neck, i will have to decide!

Dave Ivedorne said...

BenefitFocus Chairman Mason Holland hired Bert Young as CFO. Young's bio on the BF website describes "A seasoned executive with over 27 years of finance experience, Young has shown the ability to manage rapid growth. Prior to joining Benefitfocus, Young served as the CFO at several technology companies such as LANDesk Software, Talk2 Technology and Whittman-Hart Inc."

Conveniently, the bio fails to mention that Whittman-Hart transmorgrified into publically-traded MarchFirst, which not only went bankrupt in the wake of Young's stint as CFO, it did so famously.

Young, along with two other MarchFirst execs, were named in an ugly class-action lawsuit that was later settled for $17.3 million dollars.

No mention is made whatsoever in the bio of Young's stint as CFO at SCO, which ended roughly concurrent with SCO filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Young is 2-for-2 in the "CFO at publically-traded companies that ended up bankrupt" department. Must be that magic "ability to manage rapid growth".

I leave it as an exercise for the reader/potential contributor to do their due diligence before deciding whether or not Holland hires the right people to fill important roles, and defaults to telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in all communications with the public.

DI

Ted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exGNVtech said...

Hello all. I have been reading the blog regularly since the shake up (payroll farce) last year as it has been the only source of ANY info since EAC never told us anything ahead of time. Maybe the people in ABQ knew more but we were always in the dark. Anyway I've moved on. Had to take a late shift but oh well.

All these proposals are just awesome, in an outrageous way. Everyone is trying to figure out who has the bag of tricks and the upper hand.

Former contacts in ABQ told me that they had 2 jets in their service center at the time of CH7. One was N67NV and the other N561EA. Allegedly N561EA was in the middle of a 600hr inspection and the horizontal was removed for some type of rework since it was found to be "loose" (kind of scary after only 600 hrs). They said the plane remained in the hangar with no horizontal! N67NV was there for apparently FIKI and Avionics upgrades. They told me that it belonged to Al Mann. I've learned from the blog that he was a huge investor in EAC.

I would speculate that if someone knows where those jets ended up that the player with the tricks is close by. Especially if the one jet is really Mr. Mann's.

I trust the contacts although I haven't had contact with them for weeks now.

Just figured I'd give you guys a bit to chew on.

Joe Patroni said...

Just a hint for anyone thinking about buying/using parts from "parted out" aircraft.

Go to FAA.Gov, and take a look at "Order 8130.21".....a nice little primer on the requirements for issuing an FAA 8130-3 Form for parts, including "inspected/servicable" parts removed from another aircraft.

The short version.....you might get a local shop to sign off an 8130-3 on something like a bracket, trim piece, etc., maybe even a wheel or brake assembly, assuming that they can get the Component Maintenance Manual from the wheel/brake vendor.

The problem will be getting someone to sign an 8130 on one of those "state of the art" avionics boxes, since you need "approved data" (and the equipment to perform whatever is required for the functional test) to make this determination.

Like I've noted before, all it will take is ONE VENDOR to decide that supporting this airplane is not in their best interest for the house of cards to collapse.

All of this stuff is do-able, if you have enough time, money, and expertise to throw at it. But all that money you would have to spend (to say nothing of the time and the headaches) would sure make a nice deposit/down payment on a C-510/Hondajet/Phenom....

Dave said...

I wont put my final decision in yet, not till more info is released. I love the Eclipse, when it works, and will love it more with all the fixes. But my logical side is asking me if it is to late to save the ship? When the water is at my neck, i will have to decide!

I think you are pretty much dead-on in what you say in your post. Don't let yourself be rushed or bullied into a decision and then once you get a clear picture of all your options, you can decide what to do from there. I too think things would have been much better had Eclipse not been run by Vern (and subsequently by Roel).

fred said...

Billy :

as to please your wish about booking a "Effeil Tower" room for a person of you liking ...

i managed to have a "disruptive penthouse" to be built on top of the TV Antenna at the top of the Tower ...

it is a very exclusive way to spend a single night in Paris (heard some rumors that the one occupying this "suite" would be offered a free few weeks stay at a nearby address : "Prison de la santé" )

because it is about the Fpj,EAC and its fabulous business plan , please be aware that a 60% deposit is to be made on my personal account (i need to have some vacations in Bora-bora !) , deposit that has to be considered as lost as soon as i will board the plane to Tahiti ...

for doing so , please transfer 60% of a Zillion$ , and note that although it may sounds a bit expensive , not a single person will sleep higher that night ...

and be aware that the lift serving that "heaven floor" uses only a 20th energy of what a normal lift would use ...

WhyTech said...

"All the owners (including myself) are up to their waists in water"

An excellent post, however, IMO, a bit optimistic. I'd have to say that the water is presently at nose level - might recede, but more likely to rise, and quickly.

"have you seen all the hard circuit breakers, overly complex systems (or should I say outdated)"

This is a tradeoff: what you get for being "outdated" is reliable, supported components and systems. How much technology risk do you want to take in a big ticket personal acft?

Adam Hunt said...

exGNVtech:

N67V belongs to CMAM LLC of OKLAHOMA CITY.

N561EA belongs to RFC AVIATION LLC of TELLURICLE, COLORADO .

ea500s said...

Col Mike Press, is this for real, or is it a preamble to April 1 ?

Putting Press in charge of an aircraft company is somewhat reminiscent of the Mercury space craft days when they used a chimp to first go into space. Maybe not such a good analogy as the chimp was probably more qualified as an astonaut then Press is to make a run at bidding on Eclipse assets.

I always knew Press was full of it and an article in Aviation International News online about post Vern Eclipse further supports my opinion.

"Michael Press, president and CEO of Single Pilot Jet Management of Chesterfield, Mo., started his Eclipse brokerage and pilot training company two-and-a-half years ago and has been involved with more than 200 Eclipse transactions since then."

So lets see of the 260 Eclipse jets delivered , Press is claimimg involvement of 200 sales. Now I doubt he controlled the sale of 77 percent of the total fleet, so he must have been selling the same plane numerous times. Kernel Michael, I think you must have not been paying attention that day in War College sir, I think the correct term as it should have applied to you as a fighter pilot would have been "turn and burn" not "churn and burn"

Anyone else remember the monthly Press market reports? As far as I am concerned Press belongs in the same place as the other thieves at Eclipse, and that is in prison for wire and mail fraud.

Dave said...

"have you seen all the hard circuit breakers, overly complex systems (or should I say outdated)"

This is a tradeoff: what you get for being "outdated" is reliable, supported components and systems. How much technology risk do you want to take in a big ticket personal acft?


Yes, I very much agree with you WT. I do think that the owners have to understand how that things like Avio and the like greatly hobble the aircraft. I believe the vast majority of the problems the owners now face is directly related to this and that the owners for the most part would not be in the position they are in potentially not being able to use their aircraft but for this.

If for instance the Eclipse aircraft had the much-vilified steam gages rather than Avio, there would be far less dependence on a single organization to keep the aircraft airworthy. There are great products for tight integration and being digital-only rather than having analog parts, but I don't think this is the case in personal aviation given the high costs of the product and the heavy regulation of aviation.

"Outdated" aircraft could end up being airworthy way after the Eclipse and for no other reason than they were "outdated" while the Eclipse was not.

Dave said...

Col Mike Press, is this for real, or is it a preamble to April 1 ?

No kidding and I was surprised to find the same SCO connections that brought up DayJet.

So lets see of the 260 Eclipse jets delivered , Press is claimimg involvement of 200 sales.

Also Press was a shareholder in Eclipse and by his own admission he received confidential information from Eclipse. The phrase "knew or should have known" keeps coming into mind, but I guess the money was too great.

airtaximan said...

Dave, I remember reading somewhere, Col Press once said there were 100 transactions already BEFORE even 1 production EA50 was delivered... he was playing the delivery position game...

Dave said...

he was playing the delivery position game...

...and now he wants everyone to assume the position.

Black Tulip said...

All this talk of the Eclipse becoming outdated and obselete. I dunno - what's a good Osborne 1 microcomputer worth nowadays?

airtaximan said...

finally weighing in, thanks for the bios of the gang of 5... pretty scary bunch to be running the ea50 NFP condo association.

Had they hired ONE SINGLE aviation expert, I'd be more inclind to think they could do anything right. It just does not seem serious... like a computer guy with a few billionaires as friends trying to revolutionize GA and the tranportation system.

Regarding the commment:
"excessive weight on the competition? We need an eclipse type aircraft out there to show these manufactures that we wont put up with lack of entrepreneurship"

- weight reduction beyone a certain point undoubtedly results in a flimsy airframe. Check out the post on the tail being "too" loose... if you think decades of aviation experience leads the engineers at Cessna to make dumb decisions regarding weight and the resulting trades regarding safety, durability, reliability, maintainability, may I suggest you rethink. These guys are not stupid, have many years of experience, are dedicated to building safe and relaible craft, and they spend a lot of time and money investigating technologies to make "better planes". Could they make lighter planes? yes. DO they know how - yes. Do they think its a good idea? No... even if you do not see why, that does not make it wrong.

Regarding entrepreneurship - well, start ups are start ups - Baron thinks they result in some more revolutionary products. Cirrus IS a good example of a homebuilt growing into a terrific GA manufacturing company based on added performance and a "better" product design than the (stale) 172. They took a long time, and went about the business in a very methodical manner. Much like Epic is doing (I would say Epic in many ways mimics Cirrus, and is on the right path, perhaps years ahead of where Cirrus was after this much time) with their jet product line.

So perhaps these companies ARE more entrepreneurial, but heed the big guys. There are risks they will not take that these guys might, and in my book, better understand the risks and rewards, becasue your life might be on the line - literally.

Somebody on this blog, thought it might be a good idea to buy an Epic jet... guess what he did (and he seems very knowledgable about airplanes)? He asked for help in evaluating Epic as a viable choice for his needs. Someone with a lot of experience helped him make his decision.

Two heads are better than one, and in the newco jet buying buiness, or supporting business, I think you probably need some serious greybeard(s) on your side.

WhyTech said...

"Check out the post on the tail being "too" loose..."

Even the big guys sometimes learn the hard way. Remember when the tails were falling off the C441 in flight? Early 80's IIRC. Good news is tha Cessna learned this lesson 30 years ago. Fortunately Cessna had the resources to do a major retrofit program.

Bubba said...

I'm guessing N67V belongs to one of these people:

http://www.mcafeetaft.com/

Lawyers. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys. Would you want these mental giants helping you through a complex business decision? This assumes of course they are actually the owners/purchasers of an Wedgemobile.

airtaximan said...

Whytech,

maybe I have lost the bubble, but if a company like Cessna can have a problem like the one yu refer to with the 441, imagine what lurks in an EA50?

I just keep thinking that compared to Cessna, Piper, Hawker-Beech, and the like, Eclipse's attitude towards honesty, openness, safety, quality, integrity and everything that would lead one to have confidence in an airplane company is sorely lacking. So, YES, tails fall off, planes have problems, etc...

I would guess that corners were cut intentionally, things were missed accidentally, people looked the other way, and quality and safety were compromised.

One would also be correct in stating that no fatla accidents occured and no major problems resulted in injury. This is true, and it is a fact.

My opinion is, as I stated - I do not trust Eclipse, and I would not feel comfortable flying in one of those planes.

TBMs_R_Us said...

If you disagree have you seen all the hard circuit breakers, overly complex systems (or should I say outdated), and excessive weight on the competition? We need an eclipse type aircraft out there to show these manufactures that we wont put up with lack of entrepreneurship!

EclipseOwner,

One of the more ignorant posts and a good example of the very flawed thought process used by those who purchased EA-500s.

Just what makes you think that a lack "excessive weight" is a meaningful criteria for judging an aircraft design? Or that "lack of entrepreneurship" is an attribute of aircraft manufacturers who aren't on the bleeding edge, such as EAC?

A little digression: In 1988 a French company with an American partner designed the first purpose built single engine turboprop aircraft, now known as the TBM-700. By definition, this was an entrepreneurial undertaking, and it having been done in 1988 does not diminish that. Unlike EAC, they certified that aircraft two years later and are coming up on 20 years of successful production. Do successful entrepreneurs not count in your assessment?

Given the time frame in which it was developed, the TBM certainly has lots of "excessive weight" in components that are dated. Two years ago, Socata replaced the earlier panel with a G1000 based panel, and saved about 70 pounds. My aircraft still carries that "excessive weight", yet retains its value while yours has lost most of its. The landing gear on the TBM are overbuilt, could land a tank, and must carry 50 pounds of "excessive" weight each. But, this is entirely the wrong thing to focus on in evaluating an aircraft (being penny wise and pound foolish as it were). The better question is whether or not the components in the aircraft are serviceable and reliable, built to withstand thousands of cycles and keep on working, and provide a meaningful margin of safety. Or, were a few pounds saved and the landing gear going to punch through the wing on a runway excursion?

Some snakeoil salesman convinced you to focus on the wrong aspects of aircraft design. You became convinced that "efficiency" is paramount, and weight reduction is a critical element of efficiency. What you ended up with is a piece of crap aircraft from a failed and bankrupt entrepreneur. You'll spend more on higher insurance rates than you'll save on fuel. If you ever need the fuselage to protect you in an accident, you'll wish it weighed a ton more. You'll be stuck with Avio for better or worse until your aircraft is a lawn ornament.

Keep up the solid decision making!

WhyTech said...

"but if a company like Cessna can have a problem like the one yu refer to with the 441, imagine what lurks in an EA50?"

That was supposed to be my point, but I never quite said so!

airtaximan said...

that's why I agreed with you, sir!

Dave said...

It looks like Roel might have lost depositors money again. Roel seems to have a real pattern in burning up OPM.

WhyTech said...

"What would his flock of chickens think?"

They are beyond thinking, if they ever could think. WOuld you like the extra crispy?

Dave said...

At least as recently as last September Mike Press was touting the Eclipse 2 per day line. And do you want the guy who said this running Eclipse?:
"DayJet is going to be huge; when that happens, you won't be able to buy an Eclipse on the secondary market." (no high pressure sales tactics there coming from the guy who makes money selling the aircraft on the secondary market)

airtaximan said...

Dave,

I remember reading the PRess reports and thinking the guy was rather optimistic, BUT, it was a decent report. I remember him citing enough problems...

He was open about how he made his money, and this obviously is a warning, not to trust his judgement 100%.

I would just state that his qualifications for running the owners group, and finding a path forward for support once they bought the EAC assets is well, probably equal to mine - ZERO.

But, at least I know when to seek help.

All these guys needed to do was to fnd a few old industry veterans on the support side, and hire them, or get them on the team, and the whole picture would be different.

Is that possible? Well, if not, they should think again about what they are setting out to do. It probably makes no sense IF they could not attract talent to fill in the blanks.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

TMBs_R_US:
Good points ....and you scared the crap outta me too. Knowing what I know, I'd never let my daughter in an EA500 ...but I might let my exwife get in the damn plane. I suppose you drive a Volvo? One day I'd like to at least own a 500hp car with a hydrogen zero-emission V8-engine that can save my life in an accident, but not weigh 5000# or cost $100K. Yes, I'd even take the risk of being in a mini-Hindenberg just for the chance of getting to have my cake (driving really fast) - without having to worry about gas mileage or CO2.

BT,
I had an Atari 800 as a kid. Worth anything now??? LOL, I think my mum thru it out many years ago. Anyone remember the Timex Sinclair? Now that was cutting edge technology. Thank God we have Early Adopters to buy up all this crap. Yes, it is a pity when the gizmos kill their owners. But that is the cost of "progress" and engineering.

Seriously, I have to ask: how many times can we beat this dead horse, regarding the perils of Man and Machine? That, IMHO, has nothing really to do with all the many things that are wrong with the EA500 and Eclipse as a company. The Wright Flyer was "state-of-the-art" even AFTER it killed Thomas Selfridge on 9-17-1908. Over 100 years later, pilots still make mistakes today. Sometimes even by being total assholes (how human of them!) and get caught flying drunk! When we see the few big miracles, we see dedicated, superhuman professionals like Captain Scully. People like him, IMHO, prove that pilots are not just dumb 'bus drivers in the air' when it's the use of their skills that can be the sole cause of a positive outcome during a catastrophic mechanical failure during flight. Sure, some poorly designed machines make their job even harder. Although we don't yet know when or where, I for one am certain that AvioNfG WILL BE a contributing factor when the damn thing kills someone. AvioNfG is the critial failure point, not the EA500 landing gear.

Christ, anyone remember the belly landing here in Abq for flight test bird 106? The damn PILOT forgot to deploy the landing gear! NO, I refuse to blame Vern for that one because any dolt should be able to remember to lower the gear on approach, with or without a checklist, or else you have ZERO business being a pilot!! Even a less than perfect plane like the EA500 may surprise us with its survival inspite of a bad pilot. And I do remember they were able to patch the thing up and get her flying again.

Although I am the last person to be an EA500 cheerleader, THAT has to show that Vern got some things right with the plane, yes? They were able to walk away from that accident, IIRC...

e.d.t.

TBMs_R_Us said...

EDT,

Just about any gear up landing should be pretty much a non-event. Everyone should be able to just walk away. This is not something to credit Vern with as having gotten "some things right".

Vern had accomplices: his victims
(to misquote the NY Times re Madoff).

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Right.... a non-event...

Shane,
You REALLY need to change the name of this blog. Too many are sitting on the sidelines waiting for an EA500 to burst into flames at every (trivial) mishap... just so they can say "HA! I told you so" into the ears of the surviving spouses. How sad...

TBMs_R_Us,
Then every tire failure upon landing is a non-event as well... since all can walk away, yes? Or, do I sense the hint of a double standard?

e.d.t.

WhyTech said...

"Too many are sitting on the sidelines waiting for an EA500 to burst into flames at every (trivial) mishap.."

A bit of an exaggeration, but probably directionally correct - in part, because there is not yet sufficient accumulated fleet time to show where the "gotcha's" really are to be found. This may take several years or a few thousand hours (per airframe)if enough airframes can avoid AOG status to accumulate sufficient operational experience.

exGNVtech said...

All, if after 600 hrs a stab has free play, it's inevitable that there is much more to come. The jets we worked in GNV hadn't enough time to develop corrosion problems. Other types maintained before I was with EAC, MUCH more robust airframes, were constantly having corrosion issues with the salty humid environment, but they are built like tanks and are maintainable.

Mechanics beware of the EA500. If you're performing an inspection of any type use a bright light and a clean mirror and look at EVERYTHING! Don't risk your ticket for ANYONE! GROUND IT IF IN QUESTION!!! No way one of these jets will get past 2,000 hrs without HUGE expenses to the owner in DER and other support.

I was able to get in touch with my ABQ contact and was told that when the engineers assessed the situation (although they had no clue how to fix it) they recognized a definite "flutter" danger and were relieved that it was found. They were adamant about the possibility that it may be wide spread in the fleet. IMO this should be at least an AD.

I've moved on and do not intend to go to the FAA. They will find out in due time.

I'm posting again only since I was appalled at the findings of N561EA. The owner is obviously in for a huge expense.

It's fantastic that the safety record of the jet has "eclipsed" any other startup personal jet (or piston single) manufacturer to this point. I just hope that will continue.

To all the groups that are soliciting owners to support these aircraft, you have no idea what you're getting into. Your long term exposure is absolutely astronomical. Short term though, you'll make some money. Best of luck to you!

julius said...

e.d.t,

Too many are sitting on the sidelines waiting for an EA500 to burst into flames at every (trivial) mishap..


pointing at deficits does not mean
a voyeuristic curiosity.
Critics are most time sitting at the sideline - they are not steering the development of the company!

Stan pointed out the technical, mechanical problems to come and they are coming.
The software related issues are discussed - AVIO NG is a deead-end-street unless there is a miracle!

The financial problems with EAC and now the fpj are becoming apparent even to the die-hards: EAC is TU, is gone; the maintenance of the fpjs is more expensive under the new condition than most owners anticipated (perhaps only achievable if there is a certain production to cover the development issues).

Deposit holder of EAC will learn that they lost their deposits unless they can explain where from this money should come...

Julius

airtaximan said...

http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/
albuquerque/stories/2009/03/16
/story2.html


“The groups that have so far emerged to bid on Eclipse have predatory plans to exploit customers,” Sanada said. “They want to charge substantial premiums for upgrades to planes, so we think it’s better to band together ourselves, form a cooperative, and do our own maintenance and service.”

Oh brother.

Beedriver said...

single engine vs twin engine jet trade offs

On the subject of bird strikes the Cirrus is not immune. according to information from experts you need in the order of at least 1000 ft of altitude in order for the parachute to be effective on a cirrus. the jet parachute has not been fully developed yet. so no definite data is available. getting the chute to reliably open at high speed without destroying itself is an interesting challenge.

Most bird strikes happen during Takeoff and landing where the cirrus parachute will probably not be effective especially if 10 or 20 seconds elapse until you realize your engine quit and you can pull the chute. Maybe the chute needs an auto deployment feature like the auto feather system on a turboprop

There was a good idea on the blog about how perhaps you can design the fuselage so a bird will be bounced out of the way of the intake but then you will probably have problems with ice shedding from the fuselage in front of the engine. it is an interesting problem to try to solve.

perhaps, especially if the airplane is designed for high altitude flight, the best solution to the problems raised is to have two smaller engines instead of one big one.

Jake Pliskin said...

QUOTE ..."I was able to get in touch with my ABQ contact and was told that when the engineers assessed the situation (although they had no clue how to fix it) they recognized a definite "flutter" danger and were relieved that it was found. They were adamant about the possibility that it may be wide spread in the fleet. IMO this should be at least an AD... " END QUOTE


some of the rumors of problems that appear here are hard to swallow no matter how hard the salesman tries. can your "contact" provide any data or pictures to illustrate this "loose fitting stabilizer"?


does anyone else share my belief that the "turn and burn" who used to post here was the one and only mike press? he sometimes used the cheesy military slang ("target rich environment" on one occasion while he was busy patting ken on the back)

airtaximan said...

I an no expert, but it would seem like the fuselage hiding the inlet would present some other interesting problems, like obstructing airflow into the engine.

Think about it, if you are redirecting a bird away from the engine inlet, you are forcing airflow that way as well.

Seems like a real operating problem.

PS. this was an early claim of EAC, that the engnies were aft and hidden behind the fuselage - it didn't work

bill e. goat said...

Hi Fred,
Regarding the G.W.Bush suite in the Eiffel Tower...
"
and be aware that the lift serving that "heaven floor" uses only a 20th energy of what a normal lift would use ..."

I think GW's elevator saved energy too- and never made it quite all the way to the top. (Same for our favorite ex-CEO Wedge).

I remembered reading the book,
Wings of Madness
in which the protagonist, Alberto Santos-Dumont, reputedly docks his dirigible to the Eiffel Tower and stops in for a spot of tea with his pal Gustave.
No Parking
From what I've found, it was more of an office, than an apartment, but nonetheless, I suppose if one had a sleeping bag...

Regarding the Eiffel Tower,
"Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets."
(Too bad they didn't have FSW back then...of course, then it probably would have taken about a century to complete).

"The tower has a mass less than the mass of the air contained in a cylinder of the same dimensions,[7] that is 324 meters high and 88.3 meters in radius. The weight of the tower is 10,100 tonnes compared to 10,265 tonnes of air."
(Guess they didn't need FSW for weight savings after all).

For those who are curious about these sort of things (who is not!?!), the Titanic was not quite as long/tall
(324m for Eiffel Tower, vs 269M for Titanic)
But Titanic weighed more
(52,310 T versus 10100 T)

Both used Iron rivets.
(Good thing the Eiffel tower never struck an iceberg!!)

Here's a summary of the colorful tea imbiber (perhaps, other fluids were helpful as well)
AIAA article on Alberto Santos-Dumont
Also, one on the destination
Eiffel Tower
and his host
Gus Eiffel
And the nautical rival for the And Eclipse's business model-
RMS Titanic

Even MORE amazing (or, um, worthless) facts:
If the Titanic were stood on end, and a similar column of air created about it (175 foot diameter, the keel to smoke stacks), an unbounded column of air would weigh 25,000 tons, only half the weight of the Titanic. Hmmm. About what I though.

Gustave's Apartment
---------------------------------

Regarding that get away to Bora Bora...
Top off the tanks!!

A bit off the beaten path indeed!
But a healthy tourism industry:
Population 8,880 (2007)
Bora Bora airport: 315,239 pax (2006)
That's a pretty high ratio!!
Bora Bora
Bora Bora Airport
--------------------------------

For those wanting a webcam view of the Eiffel tower, (I think there is a light show every hour after dark)
Webcam Eiffel Tower
(The above link is nothing but a pain in the ass. It is exasperating to use, and unpredictable and annoying in the results. (How very...French !! :)
Try this instead if necessary:
http://www.earthcam.com/france/paris/
---------------------------------

Of course, for us lucky Americans, there is always...Las Vegas, where we can gamble on about everything (maybe even VLJ's??).

LAS offers:
1) Half-scale Eiffel Tower (-)
2) Full-scale Strato Tower (+)
3) WalMart (?)
4) McDonald's (?)
5) No French (+)
6) Lots of Americans (-)
7) Free booze (++)
(I guess #7 is the tie-breaker !!)

Tallest Buildings in Las Vegas

Dave said...

“The groups that have so far emerged to bid on Eclipse have predatory plans to exploit customers,” Sanada said. “They want to charge substantial premiums for upgrades to planes, so we think it’s better to band together ourselves, form a cooperative, and do our own maintenance and service.”

Oh brother.


I think Eclipse owners should just be thankful if their aircraft is going to be able to continue to fly. As far as any exploiting goes, Eclipse owners are in the same position that they were in before Eclipse went BK - that is being a captive of Eclipse. Whining about being "exploited" doesn't really fly considering how these owners "exploited" others in getting a vastly subsidized aircraft. There are reasons to be concerned about the various other plans, but doing the multimillionaire communist spiel just makes them look silly. What's next - is the EOG going to change it's name to the IWW and start singing "Halleluja, I'm a bum"? By the way, is it an anarcho-syndicalist commune or an autonomous collective?

bill e. goat said...

Fred,
You're not French, are you?
(You seem to be multi-lingual, multi-national, multi-cultural).

However, if so, please accept my appologies from my French comments above.
(And for us electing G.W.! :)
(And for doing it twice !! :)

Please consider my evaluation of the French as conditioned by my exposure to Peugeots and Citerons.

And French Canadians on vacation to Miami.
(Whom I'm told even the French consider, "Too French" :)

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

airtaximan,

Think about it, if you are redirecting a bird away from the engine inlet, you are forcing airflow that way as well.

I am not sure because of the inertia. Remember separaters in tubine engines!
The airflow might follow the form of the skin of the hull, while the relative heavier particles will follow a more straight line.

Julius

Dave Ivedorne said...

if you are redirecting a bird away from the engine inlet, you are forcing airflow that way as well.

Yes, but the bird has much more inertia than the air, and isn't as likely to follow structural contours back toward the engine inlet. Blanking - whether of engine inlet air, or to a flying surface - is usually detected during an aircraft's flight test program, and can frequently be compensated for ( ever noticed the metal strakes on the nose of the T-37? Seems the forward fuselage/canopy was blocking one of the stabs in one particular attitude. Adding the strips eliminated the problem ).

this was an early claim of EAC, that the engnies were aft and hidden behind the fuselage - it didn't work

It didn't? Do tell...
I'm not aware of any bird ingestion OR air blanking incidents with the FPJ.

The canted "backpack" mounting of the engine on the SJ50 leads me to more concerns about adequate engine air supply throughout the flight envelope than for either the Frankenjet or FPJ ( though it nicely reduces thrust line concerns ), though any actual issues could probably be addressed with some cute, simple trick. ( On the SJ50, I'm actually more concerned with the potential for fatigue/vibration issues with the thrust vectoring vanes required with the tilted engine orientation. But it's probably just me - non-engineer that I am ).

DI

Dave Ivedorne said...

For those who are curious about these sort of things (who is not!?!), the Titanic was not quite as long/tall
(324m for Eiffel Tower, vs 269M for Titanic)
But Titanic weighed more
(52,310 T versus 10100 T)

Both used Iron rivets.
(Good thing the Eiffel tower never struck an iceberg!!)


Good thing nobody ever tried to fly their Bonanza under the Titanic!

DI

bill e. goat said...

Beedriver,
"On the subject of bird strikes the Cirrus is not immune. according to information from experts you need in the order of at least 1000 ft of altitude in order for the parachute to be effective on a cirrus."

Hmmm. I don't doubt your sources, but find it interesting to note that the Cirrus refused to do spin testing, and went with a chute instead. Yet, the most typical spin accident is a stall/spin on landing- when altitude is very low. Hmmm.

As Lord Niner Zulu might say,
"We are not impressed".
:)

"the jet parachute has not been fully developed yet. so no definite data is available. getting the chute to reliably open at high speed without destroying itself is an interesting challenge."

I suspect the approach will be to make the chute small enough not to rip off, probably meaning higher sink rates. But that's just my guess. Maybe our parachutist friends know some more about 'chute tricks that would help.

"There was a good idea on the blog about how perhaps you can design the fuselage so a bird will be bounced out of the way of the intake but then you will probably have problems with ice shedding from the fuselage in front of the engine. it is an interesting problem to try to solve."

I'm not sure, but I think protecting the engines from birds (by tucking them in tight) would probably help protect the engines from ice as well as birds. I think ice only forms on the leading edge of things (for instance, the nose section of the fuselange, or the leading edge of the wings). So ice breaking off from the nose section should bounce along the side of the fuselage and miss the engine intakes (same for birds).

"the best solution to the problems raised is to have two smaller engines instead of one big one."

I agree- I'm curious to see what the cost difference is though. I heard way back when, that a twin engined jet fighter costs twice what a single engine one does. I wouldn't expect the same thing with VLJ's, but if engines make up, say, 25% of the cost of manufacture of a twinjet.
Now, I'm guestimating again here, but for the same amount of thrust from one jet versus two, I'd say the single larger engine would cost more than half of two small ones, say, 70% as much. So the engine cost for a SEJ would be .25 x .7 = 17.5%, or a 7.5% cost savings. Throw in some alternate pressurization backup scheme, and the cost savings probably drops to 5% or so.

Again, as L9Z might say,
"We are not impressed".
:)

bill e. goat said...

DI,
Do those Bonanzas use iron rivets too?

(I think Eiffel Aircraft Inc. nearly introduced some to the primary structure!!)

bill e. goat said...

Dave,
"What's next - is the EOG going to change it's name to the IWW and start singing "Halleluja, I'm a bum"? By the way, is it an anarcho-syndicalist commune or an autonomous collective?"

??
Industrial Workers of the World"

Do you think I can contract with these guys to make my Wedge Doll/Stick Pin kits?

(I notice they have a spiffy "little red book"- better not tell Baron !! :)
Little Red Book

fred said...

billy :

YES ! I bear a french passport !

since i cannot accept your apologies , please meet on the field that i can wash the honor in blood !

i am the offended one but nonetheless i leave you the choice of weapons as long as it is "sabre d'abordage" or 75mm artillery gun !

ok , i stop kidding !;-)


in fact i have two different passports , the other one is German ... (where i did grow-up)

but to a very messy family history , i have an other 2 waiting for my acceptance ... (for a total of 4 , but this is no collection-items , so 2 is already more than enough ...)

i guess it is kind of "mutinational" ;-)

for the Citroen (right spelling) and Peugeot , yes i have to agree it is not really anything of my liking , i would even venture to say it is a bit expensive "things" for what it is really ...!

please don't apologize for making comments on the frenchs , as there is a saying in this idiom " whoever love the most will punish you in the harshest way ...!"

i believe that (this is my german side speaking ...) often they need to be reminded to keep their feet on the ground , a bit like the americans and probably one of the reason for the love/hate relationship between them (us ?)

as for electing G.W ... , well i do think you should apologize to
yourself for being fooled , leading to elect him and to re-do it after the 4 first years !

be aware , that i do not trust any politicians as for me a politician is always someone trying to make you dream about long term while having only a personal short-term goal : either stealing your wallet or enhance his own career ...!

i think that on the matter of electing G.W. , you already punished yourself enough ...

i must add that when the anti-french hysteria was at peak (what was the subject again ? ah yes , J Chirac said that the Iraq war was not going to solve anything , it would only reinforce Iran and would cost an arm + two legs both in cash and casualties ... i guess he wasn't so wrong !), i have seen and heard so much crazy things on topic from your side of the pond ... that it was quite comical ...!


I like quite much USA , just think you deserve and deserved much better ...

Canadian-french : we like them very much , specially for the accent they have ...
but it is true as well that sometimes we feel a bit weird about their refusal of any english words ( like in french , we use the word "shopping" where the Quebecois use "Magasiner" a bit too far , already !!!)

Dave Ivedorne said...

Do those Bonanzas use iron rivets too?

No, but...

DI

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

BEG, your stick pin voodoo dolls will be welcome if I setup shop.

Might want to make one of me too, you can't satisfy everybody and I am sure there will be a few folks who will want to stick it to me.

On my way back to the secret bunker after wrapping up a due diligence site visit, will be getting caught up with owner communication/ideas and should have something to present soon.

airtaximan said...

It didn't? Do tell...
I'm not aware of any bird ingestion OR air blanking incidents with the FPJ.

IIRC, EAC tried to get the FAA to forget the ingestion engine test, based on the claim... and they could not convince the FAA.

I would venture to say, unless you have a dramatic airflow interuption, you would not prevent ingestion - crabbing, etc... make this a real tough issue in real world flying.

bill e. goat said...

DI,
Yikes !!
I believed it had happened, but didn't know there was "cockpit video" of it !!

bill e. goat said...

CWMOR,
Hey- thanks!!
I'm not sure what your plan is, but what ever it is, I support it!!
.)

(And don't worry about the CWMOR version- until you hit the $3B mark in "future revenue" anyway :)
--------------------------------

Speaking of future revenue...I have been concentrating on the RP model lately, as the Wedge models are already sold out for the next three years (I had scheduled a "special edition" for the EA400 certification ceremony in 2011).

I have over 2,700 orders for the RP model, and would like those who have contacted me to send in their 60% progress payments before April 1, to ensure ah, a "non-disruptive" delivery schedule.

.)

bill e. goat said...

Fred,
May I suggest a ferocious game of badminton instead?

(The 75mm causes such a ruckus!)

Barring that, perhaps Croquet?

(If we can get Wedge to participate, I suggest we just use the mallets and tag-team him !! :)

flyger said...

Beedriver said...

getting the chute to reliably open at high speed without destroying itself is an interesting challenge.

No kidding. The kinetic energy of the SJ50 is about 8 times that of the SR22. I'm concerned the weight of the system will grow, or the "safe" deployment envelop will narrow to the point of uselessness (it kind of is already for the SR22).

Maybe the chute needs an auto deployment feature like the auto feather system on a turboprop

Now there's a way to make a safety system more dangerous. Thank that one through, please.

perhaps, especially if the airplane is designed for high altitude flight, the best solution to the problems raised is to have two smaller engines instead of one big one.

That's the final solution. Lowers fuel costs, gets you over weather, reduces systems complexity, deals with engine out, doesn't have the efficiency compromises of V tails/inlet ducts, or fin engines, provide power redundancy, causes no traditional problems that twins have in prop airplanes.

The total cost of ownership of a twin jet will be similar to a single, so why put up with the compromises?

bill e. goat said...

Dave I.,
"ever noticed the metal strakes on the nose of the T-37? Seems the forward fuselage/canopy was blocking one of the stabs in one particular attitude."

W-e-l-l, yeah, but I didn't know what they were there for. They look goofy, so I ignored them!! (But it sounds like they resulted in a big improvement).

"The initial prototype crashed during spin tests. The later prototypes had new features to improve handling, including long strakes along the nose, and an extensively redesigned and enlarged tail. After these modifications, the USAF found the aircraft acceptable to their needs, and ordered it into production as the T-37A. Even so, the aircraft remained tricky in recovering from a spin; the recovery procedure was complex compared with most aircraft."
T-37

!!
"Cessna proposed a number of innovative variants of the Tweet that never went into production. In 1959, Cessna built a prototype of a light jet transport version of the T-37, designated the Cessna Model 407, which was stretched 61 cm (2 ft) to accommodate a four-place pressurized cockpit with an automobile-type configuration. Only a wooden mockup of the "Model 407" was constructed. The project was canceled due to insufficient customer interest.

"The company also proposed a similar four-place military light transport, the "Model 405", with a big clamshell canopy, but it was never built either."
Cessna 407 Mockup
---------------------------------

Hey, "nothing new under the sun..."

"A prototype Cessna 162 crashed on 18 September 2008, in a treeline near Douglass, Kansas, approximately 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Wichita, Kansas. The test pilot parachuted to safety and suffered only minor injuries. The prototype had flown about 150 hours prior to the accident.

"The National Transportation Safety Board stated on 18 September 2008 that the Cessna 162 was registered in the experimental category and was conducting a test flight when the accident occurred. The test sequence involved a series of stalls starting at 10,000 feet (3,000 m). The aircraft entered an unintentional flat spin and was not under control at 5,000 feet (1,500 m), at which point the test pilot bailed out of the aircraft. Cessna confirmed that the 162 entered a spin from cross-controlled, power-on stall, that the spin became flat and recovery was not possible. The company indicated that the testing was outside that required for LSA certification and that the accident will result in only small design changes. The aircraft was equipped with a Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute, but it failed to deploy when activated.

"Despite earlier claims that the design would undergo only small changes as a result of the crash of the prototype, in late 2008 the 162 received a redesigned vertical stabilizer. The new fin is of greater area and less sweep than the original. Testing of the new configuration shows that it now has no unrecoverable spin characteristics. The redesigned prototype was first flown on 15 December 2008.

"Another focus of design changes has been weight savings, as a result the 162's seats have been redesigned and the seat material changed from composite to aluminum. With the new larger fin the dorsal fin was unneeded and was deleted from the design to save weight."
Cessna 162 Tail Redesign Pictures
---------------------------------

Speaking (again) of the T-37...

Strike 1
Naval Tandem Naval Trainer (TNT), lost out to North American T-2 Buckeye
T-2 Buckeye

Strike 2
(Another) one of Rutan's folly's was the USAF NGT (Next Generation Trainer) program prototypes.

Cessna had proposed a T-34C with modern systems, reworked airframes as I remember, new engines, effective air conditioning (big consideration with the bubble canopy), pressurization (I think), and new avionics.

Not being disruptive enough, the Madman of Mojave (a.k.a., The Loose Screw of the Desert) came up with this:
Rutan Model 73
Which became this:
Fairchild T46
(Which impressively demonstrated just how badly an airplane can flutter and not crash, and how far off drag predictions really can be).

NGT program

Strike 3
The JPATS program (Joint Primary Air Training System).

Cessna proposed a Citation 525 derivative, the model 526. The competition was delays by 9 months to give Cessna time to recover from their loss on the T-46 program, but the JPATS program was awarded to a single engine turboprop derivative,

Texan II
(based on a Pilatus PC-9)
Cessna JPATS picture
(scroll down to see a good pix)

Cessna 526 NGT Prototype
--------------------------------

Speaking of JPATS,
I wonder if Wedge will ever get to experience the real "Con Jet" ??
:)
ConJet (don't make reservations !!)

bill e. goat said...

speaking of lessons relearn-ed, (re: Cessna 162):

Cessna 150 derivatives:
"The 1966 model saw great changes to the 150 design. The fin was swept back 35 degrees to match the styling of the Cessna 172 and other models...1966 was also the first production of French Reims-built F-150s, with 67 built as the F150F.
(Ah, that explains a LOT !! Including the arms race the Gabonese are in, projecting power with their 152F:)
Gabonese Air Force

The (1967) "G" model was also the first Cessna 150 variant certified for floats."
(Talk about something needing JATO- It should have been standard on this!!)

"The final Cessna 150 model was the 150M...The "M" also brought an increased fin height, by 6 inches (150 mm). This increased the rudder and fin area by 15% to improve crosswind handling. The "M" was produced for three years: 1975-77."

Cessna 150 ('59-'77)
(It's fun to read about the evolution of this simple airplane- it mirrors "state of the art" in GA practice, perhaps).
------------------------------

Cessna 120/140 ('46-'51)
(Interesting to note there was an 8-9 year gap between the 140 and 150)

Cessna 152 ('78-'85)
--------------------------------

"In 1996 a Cessna 150 was flown from the United States to South Africa in several stages, crossing the Atlantic along the way. An extra 60 gallon fuel tank was installed (beyond the standard 22.5 gallons) and the plane took off 500 lb over gross weight."

Hmmm...Maybe Fred could get from LAX to HNL, then HNL to BOB afterall, in one of these fine vehicles. Don't bring too much luggage though :0 And I think I'd use the float plane version, just in case...and I'd take a fishing pole too! .)
Bora Bora pix

"On August 8, 1964, a pair of commercial pilots flew a Cessna 150 into the Meteor Crater in Arizona. They were unable to leave the crater due to the downdrafts and the aircraft was forced to circle the interior of the structure until it ran out of fuel. The remains of the craft are still visible today."
(Well, next time I'm there...)
---------------------------------

About building those 162's in China...They (15x) used to be built in Kansas.

Strother field KWLD (Winfield, Ks)
(Note the dozens of 152 & 172's in the foreground).

New York Times- March 17, 1982)
(Where were you- 27 years ago ??)

Cessna to build 162 in China
(And save $71,000 per airplane- SURE)

Shane Price said...

In case anyone is curious, I'd just like to say that I'm thinking right now.

The inbox has so many 'interesting' items it's getting very hard to decide which one to follow up next.

I could start a whole new blog just devoted to those interested in purchasing the assets!

Or even one dedicated to working out where/how the Production Certificate (which has clearly lapsed) will end up.

But I won't....

Instead I think I'll wait for a day or two. Sources tell me the 'senior note holders' want to conclude the asset sale process very quickly indeed.

That alone is reason to hold fire.

Shane

Dave said...

That alone is reason to hold fire.

But get the popcorn ready.

gadfly said...

Over the past few days, as Shane has implied, countless things have been discussed and considered . . . some good, some bad, some ridiculous . . . but most, worthy of consideration . . . if for no other reason than plain courtesy.

‘Speaking with an FAA air-traffic controller this morning at church, it seems that some of the little jets are still flying (he didn’t indicate “where”, and I wasn’t about to ask him). We did agree, though, that their days are certainly “numbered” . . . as things begin to go south, and there are no replacements. His opinion was that the training was not in keeping with the advanced avionics aboard (of course, he spoke from the viewpoint of a “controller”, and not from the viewpoint of an engineer, pilot, mechanic, etc.).

Shane is “holding fire” . . . a good plan.

Last night, I was shown a video clip of someone using a high-powered rifle . . . “.458" or something of that power . . . sighting in on a target a couple hundred yards distant. The shot was fired, the target was hit . . . and then a puff of dust halfway back, and the “shooter” was knocked off his stool. The projectile had come straight back, hit him in his ear protector. He was not seriously hurt, but it illustrates that sometimes “holding fire” is, indeed, a good plan.

Someone in the days ahead is going to fire a shot at the remains of Eclipse (or should I say, “purchase” the remains) . . . someone will “hit the target”. And no matter who that person, or persons may be, the thing will come right back directly, and knock them off their perch. And then, maybe, they’ll walk away from further attempts . . . ‘glad that they are not hit in a vital area.

And maybe not!

gadfly

(On the way up to the open house yesterday at the “camp”, and then back down, we passed that spot where two “commuters” to Los Alamos died last week, in the snow storm . . . a mile or so southeast of Golden, NM . . . another illustration of not taking into consideration the dangers of flying until “too late”. The FAA controller indicated that he thought it was a Cessna 182 (un-confirmed by me), trying to get below the storm, and found rocks in the clouds . . . elevation about 7,500 feet. Pilot and passenger both dead on impact. Fire destroyed most . . . snow put out the fire before it could spread into the Pinon Pine and Juniper. ‘Interesting thing: that “climb” up 344 from NM14 is called by us “locals”, “Heartbreak Hill”, the steepest state road in New Mexico . . . often a problem to cars during winter, seldom a problem to aircraft.)

fred said...

Billy :

Badminton ??? badminton ...

yes , but only if it is with hand-grenades ... ! ;-))

don't worry about saying whatever bad you think , it may be some peoples to take it as a "correction-tool" for some deviances ....
(or at least a way to see the other side of mirror , often peoples in one place do not have a clear idea of what others in some other spot think of them and the reason for doing so ... often it lead to confusion , hate , bloodshed , etc...)

About Bora-bora : if you want to impress your wife , take her there ! or to Moorea (the same style but without lagoon)

i really do think that anyone should have the chance to see and experience this kind of place once in a lifetime
...

or the other islands of Polynesia which are less "tourist's trap"

FreedomsJamtarts said...

exGNVtech's comments about Stab mounting concerns reminds us that the EA500 likely has no TC holder taking responsiblity for Part 21.3. ( Or are they few staff still feeding the shredders also maintaining the continued airworthiness?)

As such, an unsafe condition will likely only result in an AD if it causes a fatal crash, the FAA will likely not otherwise be informed.

Although it requires a change in attitude, AD's are a good thing. They represent solutions to potential or actual life threatening problems ( or at least a way to manage the risk until a solution is available).

It is the FAA's job to investigate a report of an unsafe condition present in a product without a TC Holder. They may decide that no such condition exists, but will not know to start such an investigation without a report. exGNVtech, please ask the persons involved with the Stab repair to send an SDR to the FAA.

Funny that there are immediate posts to write off exGNVtech's report as an unfounded rumour. Given the lack of conformity control, lack of experience, and lack of accountablity at Ecorpse, those of us with a career of relevant experience have been expecting exactly this kind of issue. The lack of fleet utilisation is a godsend in this respect.

WhyTech said...

"The lack of fleet utilisation is a godsend in this respect."

The average hours per airframe for the 15 acft currently listed on Controller with hours shown is 128.8.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

What is their average age? Sounds like average utilisation below 100H/ year, which seems very low for jets.

stan said...

Fred,

Or my personal favorite since last month, Fiji's Matangi Island. The diving was great.

Black Tulip said...

The blog will celebrate its third birthday in a couple of weeks. Three years of printing all the news that’s fit to print plus a goodly portion of completely irrelevant stuff.

I wonder how many souls have been saved and how much money not squandered as a result of the blog? Think of all those who actually had the cup of Kool Aid right up to their lips, but then came across “The Critic”. Let’s put three candles on the cake for the Stan and Shane Show.

WhyTech said...

"What is their average age?"

IIRC, serial no.s range from 3 to 229. Given that most of the fleet was "delivered" over about 18 months, looks like average age is in th 9-12 mo range.

Shane Price said...

Black Tulip,

It was on Tuesday, 11th April 2006 when Stan kicked this whole saga off.

I remain in awe of his prescience (and writing style) which leaves my poor efforts in the shade.

Plus, he knew what he was talking about!

Shane

WhyTech said...

"Plus, he knew what he was talking about!"

Dont let this slow you down!

Shane Price said...

WhyTech,

Dont let this slow you down!

Never has, never will...

Shane

fred said...

Monsieur Stan :

yes , or this one of yours ...!

Bora-Bora & Moorea are probably the places for "normal tourists"

i don't know about this specific island of the fidji ... (there is quite a few , you know ...;-) )

nonetheless , i would say that once someone has tasted life in one of those south pacific islands , he can surely say "what is life about ..."

i have spent some times on one island where they had nearly never seen a tourist staying overnight , it was a heart-breaker to leave after just a very few days ...

fred said...

BT :

yes , count me on for a fat deposit ...

if Monsieur Stan wouldn't have been around , i would have been along the other victims ...

i , therefor propose this : each of us drink a pint of Guinness on st-Patrick's day ...
and have a thought for our host : Monsieur Shane !

not to forget Monsieur Gunner for his deed !

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Man that first post form Stan three years ago is a hammer.

I have read it at least once per year, and it seems more accurate each time.

Stan,

Since the idiots who made it prudent to close the original blog are now ex Officers of Ecorpse, how about you come back and post a nice long summary of the current program status and future potential. We'd appreciate your opinion.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

exGNVtech, would you be kind enough to drop me a line at ColdWetMack@gmail.com?

I have a couple questions I hope you can answer - I can assure you the answers will be held in confidence.

airtaximan said...

FJT,

not to preempt Stand... but a nice long summary of the current program status and future potential... is well not necessary - may not even be possible.

1- never delivered 1 single finished plane
2- bankrupt, ch7 liquidation
3- owners in dreamland, thinking they can bad together to create their own aircraft support system
4- major component suppliers gone
5- Path to viability is almost impossible -EAC proveed 1 fact - without high volume there's no low cost, and without low cost, there are very few clients for this plane
6- EAC/Dayjet also proved: There is no such thing as a VLJ air taxi business
7- liklihood of anyone remotely qualified to purchase the assets to restart production is almost zero
8- liklihood the 260 owners ill obtain what they consider to be affordable maintenenace/support is also almost zero

How's that?
;)

FreedomsJamtarts said...

ATM - yet. That's about my view also.

airtaximan said...

you type like me too

;)

FreedomsJamtarts said...

speeling is four gurls.

julius said...

Freedoms,

we should add something:

9 - EAC was based on plots:
Nimbus (Vern's first subprime strawman), Dayjet (Ed)
10 - Roel was part of the plot (and didn't understand what was going on - he came, saw - and lost)


Julius

bill e. goat said...

FJT,
"post a nice long summary of the current program status and future potential."

I too wait for Stan's response.
But for me- I like pictures.
I think this sums it up:
Wedge reconsiders his business plan

baron95 said...

BEG said ... I'm not sure, but I think protecting the engines from birds (by tucking them in tight) would probably help protect the engines from ice as well as birds.

Unfortunately that would "protect" the engine from AIR, which it needs to work efficiently. Either way, as I said before, I'd rather suck a goose in the engine and dead stick rather than take one on the windshield and eat it.

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