Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Birthday Post, by Stan Blankenship


Looking Back,



Credit where credit is due, the Eclipse critic's blog wasn't the first to take exception to the outrageous claims made by the cocksure Vern Raburn and his minions. That honor goes to Richard Aboulafia from the Teal Group whose blog and interviews with the national media provided at least one voice of caution and sanity. When I started the blog three years ago it was intended as a technical extension to support Aboulafia's views.

After the first post went up, links were sent to Aboulafia, Mac McClellan, and the two main slobbering cheerleaders for Eclipse, Zoom and Rich Karlgaard. Aboulafia's response was that I "was doing God's work". Mac ignored my msg (after all, a lowly blogger hardly deserves recognition by mainstream media).

After a few e-mails, Zoom went ballistic, threatened to report me to the authorities for threats to he and his family...told my son he would own our company and eventually claimed I owed him tens of thousands of dollars for reproducing his copyrighted material. What a nut case!

Karlgaard concluded that I was "always looking for the dark side" and when I asked, "What advice will you have for your rich aunt when she calls and tells you she wants to invest your inheritance in the hot new Eclipse Aviation IPO?" His response:

"I always cheer for the bold entrpreneur (his spelling). Doesn't mean I'll buy their stock. But without bold players -- and Vern is one -- the industry stagnates. Maybe you're too skeptical."

Turns out, not skeptical enough.

While the original intent was to only write a single post, a second one soon emerged then a third and eventually nearly 200. Somewhere along the line, the blog gained a following and more important, reader participation by some well informed individuals, experts in their fields as well as others who just added a point here and there to help fill in the mosaic. Eventually, a few supporters weighed in which led to some lively discussions; but the supporters had their points and often made them.

The collective wisdom of the blog was really evident during the 2007 contest to predict the number of deliveries. The average of all the guesses nailed the actual number. The blogger coming the closest to predicting 2007 deliveries just happened to be the blog’s resident satirist, black tulip.

As a prize, I had pledged an Eclipse model which I could pick up on ebay. Instead, I was contacted by an Eclipse buyer who had cancelled his Eclipse and ordered a Phenom 100 in its place. So he offered his brand new Eclipse model still in the box which was sent directly to black tulip.

In turn, I sent the former buyer a brand new boxed gold-filled Cross pen and pencil set that Learjet used back in the 70's for formal signings when a customer took delivery of a new Model 35. The pen and pencil set went with a request that it be used to sign the acceptance when the former Eclipse buyer takes delivery of his new Phenom 100. Not to be outdone, the former Eclipse buyer sent me a lucite paperweight containing metal chips that were represented to be the first ones cut for the Eclipse program. Nice and thanks again. It is on display in a prominent place in my lobby.

Then I learned black tulip had a special occasion scheduled. So he too received a gold filled Cross pen and pencil with a request he use the pen at the appropriate time. Those were fun days on the blog.

Just as Shane has alluded to many times, there was and is a fair amount of activity that goes on behind the scene. Most of mine was just congenial e-mail traffic but some of the material sent was downright radioactive. At one point I contacted Gordon Kirsten, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property. When I told him my name he said, "I know who you are, I’ve read your blog." Seems his best bud is a Cessna test pilot. That was my first clue that the blog must be pretty well read.

Anyway, Gordon told me that the documents that I had received were proprietary and in no way could I publish any of the content in any form without risking legal action from Eclipse. In a subsequent meeting on some additional material, Gordon brought in a trial lawyer to discuss his six figure estimate on what it might cost to defend an Eclipse lawsuit.

If the truth be know, had I received as much as a demand letter from an Eclipse attorney, I would have shut down the blog in a New York minute. But I always felt that since blogs were a part of the computer age, Vern probably considered it a badge of honor to have he and his company a blog target. Often wondered how many man-hours were spent each day at Eclipse checking the blog. The numbers from Cessna would be interesting as well.

I always felt it fortuitous that Shane picked up the torch after I laid mine down. While subject to some of the same legal constraints as someone in the U.S., Shane’s Irish location would make it quite a bit more difficult for Eclipse to take legal action had they chosen to do so. And IMHO, Shane uses his offshore status to good advantage. He has been able to solicit information from all sources though he has used the information very judiciously.

When someone would send me incendiary information, I would simply tell them if they want the world to know that kind of information, they should post it on the blog anonymously. Few did. But even with two sources, there was no way for me to post that information with no other proof in hand.

Those of you who followed the original blog know that when Roel Pieper brought in the Russians, I decided plutonium laced tea was not for me so I brought down the curtain on the original blog. It did cause me some concern when Shane decided to soldier on. Ireland is a whole lot closer to Russia and 500 euros paid to an ex-KGB thug could lead to a bad thing. My sense of paranoia increased when Putin’s picture appeared with the Eclipse and then there was that goon Pieper put on the Eclipse board.

The Russian connection was actually only one of three reasons why I wanted to escape the burden of tending a blog. A second reason was the ever growing difficulty in writing new posts. What I could contribute paled in comparison to some of the expert commentary that was being provided by some on a regular basis.

The third and perhaps most important reason for bowing out is that in late’07, my wife and I (then ages 65 & 67 respectively) took up scuba diving. Ever since, we have been on a 10 week schedule to leave the mainland to explore new places. I was able to manage the blog from Hawaii and Cozumel, but when one gets to these places, there are better things to do then moderate a blog. We’re still on the 10 week schedule. Was in
Fiji in February, this time next month will be in Belize and mid-July diving the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt). We’ve penciled in our dance card for Indonesia and Tahiti this fall.

The reason I bring this up is that Vern, AlexA and mirageOO (the idiot who was always so "amused" and was oh so confident that he would be serving me crow on a silver platter at Oshkosh), anyway the three of them liked to claim that the bloggers (mostly me) did not have a life, have never accomplished anything, got left at the station when the Eclipse train pulled out, that I was bitter because we could not cut it as an Eclipse supplier, blah, blah, blah, they sure liked to dish it out.

For the record, I would like those three to know that during the time they were spouting off, my company was helping Gulfstream sort out pre-design issues on the 650. While we were never told that our work related to a new airplane, after a 10 minute look at the first electronic file they sent, I replied with an e-mail that I had been in the business for 45 years and could read the tea leaves. While I have never asked, the first chips cut on the 650 were probably cut in our shop. Should have bottled some up and cast them in lucite.

In some respects, the blog succeeded way beyond my expectations. My biggest regret is that the blog was not able to convince more people sooner to be more cautious of the program. A document from the bankruptcy court shows 10,851 creditors from all over the world. The largest creditor being of course Al Mann. It’s just a pity that somebody could not reach Mann and his fellow board members to put a stop to this madness at a much earlier date..

Everybody lost in this program, even those who purchased and took delivery of a sub-million dollar jet and are now faced with an uncertain future. It’s been a Ponzi scheme from day two if not day one. Insiders have told us component costing was done on a "make the numbers work basis" to keep the projected cost below a million. Vern himself told us the rest of his plan...take orders for a few thousand...get the airplane certified...start deliveries...issue the IPO...then walk away and you know the rest. Unfortunately, as predicted by the blog, the cost to build far exceeded the selling price.

Vern’s problem was that he knew about as much about what it would take to float an IPO as he did starting an airplane company, getting a TC or the PC. Even while the blog’s resident securities expert whytech carefully explained to all of us why an IPO was not remotely possible for Eclipse, the company was still using stock options as the incentive for recruiting new employees and motivating staff. Can’t figure out if Vern was blind, stupid or criminal?

Speaking of criminal. Bernie Madoff sits in and 8' x 8' jail cell for committing a Ponzi scheme. That is using new money to deliver a product (high interest payments) to early customers (investors). Any familiarities to our friend who is probably at home tying flies in preparation for his next excursion to fish the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Again Vern, 10,851 creditors and you have shown less remorse than Bernie. Thanks to your efforts, thousands of lives have taken significant financial hits, dreams shattered and in some cases lives ruined. While you may claim your motives were altruistic, perhaps they were for a short time but you should have been able to draw the conclusion much earlier that the situation was hopeless. You let the Ponzi scheme run, hoping for a miracle, all the while people and companies were getting deeper and deeper in the hole. I will ask again, were you blind, stupid or criminal?

What’s next?

Some on the blog are hopeful and suggest we wait to see who ends up with the company (note the reluctance to call them a winner).

Others on the blog with experience in these matters have detailed specific difficulties the new owner will face in providing support for the fleet, specific difficulties the new owner will face restarting production.

I will go with the view of the "experienced" and that the difficulties will outweigh the hopes and dreams.

82 comments:

Black Tulip said...

Stan,

Congratulations from us all on your farsightedness. I treasure the hours of entertainment, and the enlightenment I have received on the blog. Plus my Eclipse 500 model (without tip tanks) is prominently displayed.

Too bad so many people got hurt by Eclipse. Unlike the Madoff scandal, the injured seem to be taking their licks in silence. Perhaps they have far less recourse. Any predictions for the fourth anniversary of the blog?

baron95 said...

I think we are fortunate to live in an age where it is very easy (e.g. blog) for even a single individual (e.g. Stan) to provide a forum to counter the claims of even the most powerful corporations in the world.

We should be thankful for Stan's and Sane's and the other blog contributors' views and cautions/warnings.

Yes, too bad that not more of the owners, depositors, creditors, etc benefited from those views by taking action.

But "the blog" did its part. Quite effectively, for three years.

Congrats are in order.

julius said...

Stan,

enjoy your dives with your wife in nice spots around the world!

Naturally thanks and congratualtion for your decision to set up and support this blog resp. these blogs!

I learnt quite a lot about airplanes but also on personal contraints.

Being interested in the development of smaller jets ("VLJ") it didn't take very long to find the critical voices and your blog - and I am not a "blogger"!

These blogs became a brilliant platform on EAC and its product and a are good example for an informative blog!

Congrats and thank you!

Julius

fred said...

Monsieur Stan ...

personally i owe you a lot for being warned before getting raped in the mess called EAC ...

i guess like many of us , here , we owe more than words can describe !

whatever you do , wherever you are , you will be in my thoughts as somebody really special !

uglytruth said...

Stan said: In turn, I sent the former buyer a brand new boxed gold-filled Cross pen and pencil set that Learjet used back in the 70's for formal signings when a customer took delivery of a new Model 35.

Looks like one buyer got something that worked as promised, and is still in use today.

Thank You! Stan, for standing up and doing the right thing. I'm sure you saved potential victims tens of millions of dollars and helped keep many families intact due to reduced stress.

Three cheers for Stan!

BricklinNG said...

Madoff Furloughed to aid Eclipse Investigtion
Comes up with Multi-Aircraft Panacea Plan

New York, NY April 12, 2009

Disgraced financial domo Bernard Madoff was quitely granted a prison furlough earlier this month to aid alwyers invetigating Eclipse Aviaition practices to see if the deposit arrangements were actually a Ponzi Scheme. "It takes one to know one" said Federal Judge Denny Chin in granting the furlough.

Speaking with reporters today, Madoff expressed regret for those who had lost money in his Ponzi scheme, but said, " the least I can do is to solve Eclipse owners' problems. I am returning to custody today, but am leaving behind a great plan to solve these problems and at the same time benefit greatly the owners of Cirrus and Malibu/Meridian owners", said Madoff. "My associates have already activated the plan."

Madoff said, "The innovated paln will provide all of the following:

1. Eclipse owners will get FIKI and Garmin upgrades--FIKI will be an improved TKS system.
2. Cirrus owners will be able to convert their airplanes to pressurized jets.
3. Malibu/Meridian owners will get upgrades to Avidyne glass panels for the many aircraft that came with steam guages or Meggit instruments.

Pricing will be reasonable: $100,000 for Eclipse or Cirrus and $25,000 for Mailbu/Meridian

You deliver your aircraft to us at Nassau Airport, with payment. About 90 days later (waiting time may extend in future) you get it back. Returned Eclipse aircraft will have Garmin 430s in the panel and TKS on the wings; Returned Cirrus aircraft will be pressurized and have a genuine P&W jet engine mounted under the fuselage; Malibu/Meridians will have all Avidyne glass replacing older guages.

So far, we have taken in 4 of each aircraft type and delivered back 2 of each type with modifications to happy customers. More aircraft are arriving each day and deliveries will soon be accelerating, although with the backlog our delivery times are starting to extend a bit. Customers will need to get their airplanes to us as soon as they can and be patient."

Separately, Madoff associates Jim Bede and Malcom Bricklin announced setting up a parts business, to be called Aircraft Hemlock, which will specialize in parts for Eclipse, Cirrus and Malibu/Meridian aircraft. They said they will stock a complete line of parts with the exception of Eclipse engines, Cirrus Avionics or deicing equipment or Malibu/Meridian pressurization equipment.

Turboprop_pilot said...

BricklinNG:

Brilliant! It took me a second to see the pyramid "4 received and 2 delivered" but the partners and plan- brilliant.

Real competition for BT coming on line.

ex Turboprop_pilot

WhyTech said...

"Real competition for BT coming on line."

Well done, but BT is still the King of Komedy!

So, BT, how long will it take and what will it cost to do the airframe mods on your model?

bill e. goat said...

Hello Stan,
What a pleasure to read your headline post! Thank you for recognizing the technical and financial challenges that faced EAC- and for then launching the blog to create a forum to discuss the topic and cautioning potential participants in Wedge's "Bonfire of the Vain".

"In some respects, the blog succeeded way beyond my expectations. My biggest regret is that the blog was not able to convince more people sooner to be more cautious of the program."

After some reflection on this- I would thoughtfully differ. The biggest contribution the blog has made cannot be seen in numbers, but instead is measured in the emotional lives of those involved. Those that stayed involved, did so with caution from the blog. Lots of people got hurt, but some people were cautioned away. And those that stayed, did so with increasing awareness due to the discussion here.

I really believe the psychological benefits were tremendous- and think this will never be fully appreciated. A lot of the participants in EAC were "gambling" that they would win in the game of "too good to be true", but a lot were not savvy enough to appreciate this. Both groups benefited, by not being "cold cocked" as events spiraled downward- the "innocents" especially.

The value of the blog is in providing months (years) of caution, which in turn prompted CERTAINLY prompted discussion and subtle mental preparation, that would otherwise have been missing.

Hundreds of depositors saw the flag waving here- and thousands of employees- many just too "green" and without experience in the aviation industry to be aware of what is realistic, and what is not. These are the folks who did live their lives with tempered expectations, by virtue of the caution provided here-

This is THE good work of the blog, that truly cannot be underestimated.

(Wedge's ill conceived "blogger suit" only enhanced the blog's visibility- ironically, it was probably the best thing Wedge ever did for his victims).
-----------------------------------

Speaking of "misunderestimating" things- I would hope we all have a better appreciation of the work and dedication that goes into moderating the blog. The correspondence and editorial duties are tremendous- add the mental burden of legal complications, and potential unseemly characters: to maintain the high quality of the blog through wise moderation and thoughtful headline posts- it's more than most mortals could ever handle- which speaks volumes of your and Shane's intellect and energy. We are all the very grateful beneficiaries of the hard work of you and Shane devote.

Another thing which I hope the readership is aware of, are the legal costs Rich Lucibella (aka Gunner) paid for during the blogger suit. You mention legal advise of "six figures", so those who read and post here, should be aware there was one gentleman who footed the bill to defend open discussion here- thanks Gunner! The editorial workload is substantial- and so was Rich's legal defense- Stan, Shane, and Rich are all modest about mentioning their efforts- but I would hope all who read and post consider it.

As far as "detractors" go, I hope they were well served by the blog too. Served lots of "crow" that is- HA HA HA !!

No, not really- I think most of them were guided by ill informed passions (and occasional ill-temper); the blog did it's best to protect them from harm as well as other less obstinate "innocents". Or "stupids", because some of them had the experience and intellect to know better. (Some were guided by greed, but most, by naivety and ill-placed trust).
-----------------------------------

However, there are some detractors, that I have a less charitable tendency towards.

"Vern was blind, stupid or criminal?"

(HA HA HA !! Surely you jest- the answer is simple: ALL OF THE ABOVE !! :)

"What’s next?"

I hope Wedge's "office" at "FAA-HQ-West" is as comfortable as Bernie Madoff's 8' x 8' jail cell.
-----------------------------------

Well, what -else- is next?

Congratulations on the G650 contract- it seems Gulfstream is running a good ship, (and one of the "least leaky" in the current economy !)

I hope you can phase in to semi-retirement in the coming year or two. (After the arduous efforts of starting and running the blog for almost two years- I would think handing it off to Shane's very capable care WOULD be like going into semi-retirment, even as you continue to run your growing business!! :)

I'm glad the diving is enjoyable-
Best wishes for many safe and happy travels.

(And blogging- we all hope you will stop in more often !!)

(p.s.- I like the cake pic !! :)

airtaximan said...

Stan, you are a class act.

When I showed up, I had no idea who long the blog was going... I never read or contributed to a blog before.

This place has been a lot of fun, a great source of insight, intel, and debate.

Shane has done a great job, and made us even more aware of the value of being polite about it all.

I think its fair to say, from your post, that people went out on a limb around here, to try to make information available so that people could see the reality versus the "Stories" they were being fed.

All the while (many of the) the position-holders failed to take off the blinders and see.

This is still amazing to me.
...and it continues

Shane Price said...

Thanks Stan!

I put that in bold type, just to make a clear, public statement that I owe you several debts that I can't hope to repay.

1. The original blog served it's intended purpose, in my case at least. I was one of those tempted by the siren call of the VLJ, until I came across your blog.

2. During the early days of 'my' stewardship, you gave me valuable advice and support. An early one was your assurance that Vern was sure to do something stupid when it appeared the blog was getting a little slow. How right you were...

3. Several times you acted as a 'cross reference' for some of the more important sources. Sometimes I had doubts about the veracity of what I was getting, since it appeared almost too good to be true. You were able to keep me pointed in the right direction.

4. When Zoom made the first (of his many) assaults, you assured me he was a windbag and a bully, who was better ignored than engaged. His total lack of class was amply demonstrated the week my father died. I'm told it Christian to forgive, which I can. But I'm Irish, so I'll never forget.

5. When it became apparent that the blog need 24/7 attention, you quietly stepped in to remove some of the 'less polite' posts while I was asleep.

So, my friend, thanks again. Your kind comments about me in the headline are more than I deserve. I, like you, smelled a rat in the EAC 'story' and while my angle is more business ethics than aviation, it's no less valid.

Or correct.

As for worries about 'Russian' hitmen, I'm going to tell you a little story. At one point, one of our close associates became concerned about my personal safety. He offered to put me in touch with some security experts he knew. I assured him that 'my' security experts had better credentials than any he could source. After a short period whilst he 'checked me out', he withdrew his kind offer.

He discovered it wasn't necessary.

So, as well as being secure from (and insensible to) legal threats from Wedge or any of his goons, I'm equally confident that, to put in mildly, anyone coming looking for trouble with me will find they've taken on far more than they budgeted for.

I suppose my mindset is best summed up in my response to the initial notice I got when EAC sued the blog. The headline I chose was 'We really should be flattered'.

So, your decision to write this headline was, for me, the best possible validation that I'd continued in your footsteps.

Meanwhile, 'behind the scenes' more material fills the inbox, some of it worthy of a 'headline post'. The clock is ticking for Chapter 7 and bidders continue to position themselves.

Expect more 'Snippets' in the coming days...

Shane

Shane Price said...

And in case anyone has forgotten, it was our '3rd Birthday'.

Stan put up his original thoughts on the 11th of April 2006.

Read them.

Even if you already have, read them again....

Scary how good Mr. Blankenship was, eh?

Shane

T2 said...

Happy birthday Eclipse Aviation Critic Blog!

I felt it was time for me to sincerely thank you Stan for starting this blog which saved my tier 2 company millions of $ and saved my tier 1 customers 10’s of millions of $.

I found this blog in early 2007 while doing research on Eclipse out of desperation to figure out if the schedule (1000 per year) was real or not. My tier 1 customers were severely intoxicated by the huge $$ and I guess everyone wanted to believe. My company would be considered “dinosaur class” so this schedule never did pass the smell test for us.

Thanks to the info from the blog we were very cautious on exactly what we would mfg for our tier 1’s and regularly communicated our concerns and told them to READ THE BLOG!

Unbelievably, a tier 1 placed an order with us for 150 ship-sets of parts in late 2008 when it was obvious (to the blog anyway) that the wheels were coming off at Eclipse. I called them and said:

T2: I have this order for 150 ship-sets of widgets, that’s a large qty, who are they for?
T1: Eclipse.
T2: What??? Those guys are history, and you will never see your money. Do they owe you any money?
T1: Well yes, actually they owe us quite a lot and it is very past due.
T2: The only way I will do this job for you is cash upfront , please read the blog and reconsider what you are doing.
T1: Ok, I will pass this along and let you know.

Two weeks latter, this tier 1 called me and said “I apologize but we would like to cancel this order” to which I replied “no problem, I never entered it”.

Thanks Stan,
T2

bill e. goat said...

Well, I was wrong (again!) regarding the significance of April 11 (the blog's 3 year anniversary). I plead stupidity (rather convincingly, in most cases)- and confess I had not started reading the blog until late 2006, when I was perplexed that EAC deliveries had not started en mass, what with "provisional TC" at Oshkosh months earlier that year. Something smelled- wrong. A few google searches (er, ironically), and I came across the blog.
-----------------------------------

With Shane's hints about "timing"- I thought I had picked this time last year (specifically, Shane's mention of "EX421's post at 11.31am" (April 11, 2008), as event to which he alluded. As I said, I was wrong again. But for fun, let's look back one year ago, and see what was going on then, which was unusually prophetic of "coming attractions":

Shane (on April 11, 2008, 2:07PM:
"Please take note of EX421's post at 11.31am today.

"He was waving red flags at 9Z, under the impression that the source for the 'FIRE' warning's might have been the E5C web site.

"I am aware of the sensitivity E500 owners have about their 'private' discussions. I also know that the company are paranoid about staff and suppliers who communicate with your humble servant."

(ex-) 421Jockey,
(To 9Z):"Paranoid or not, the management has it in for you and a few others, it will be fascinating to see how this one plays out."

Baron discerns the EAC pending EAC strategy quite well, with his post on April 12, 2008; 11:35 PM posting:
"The issue is that, if they are paranoid enough to threaten people, most people don't want the hassle so they just shut up".

Shane's post, April 13, 2008, 2:48 AM,
"Elipse, their supporters, customers and associates have made several efforts to 'get at' those who raise their voices in complaint...We here must continue to speak out against this. To abandon our efforts is to allow liars to win. Not going to happen, at least not on my 'watch'."

All of Which was a brief (1 week) prelude to the April 18, 2008 headline post, as Shane mentioned: "We Really Should Be Flattered"
"Google has received a civil subpoena that demands information regarding the source of anonymous comments posted on your blog eclipsecriticng.blogspot.com. The case, entitled Eclipse Aviation Corporation v. John Doe; Jane Doe; et al. has been filed the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, case number 108CV110380. A copy of the subpoena is attached to this message."

Three cheers our very own three musketeers of GA:
Stan, Shane, and Rich !!!

bill e. goat said...

T2,
Thanks for substantiating what we have long suspected- in addition to customers and employees, (some) of the supplier base was also spared mayhem from involvement with EAC.

I think the tax payers were spared further loss too, with more caution on the NM and ABQ government officials regarding "interim steps" to preserve EAC in late 2008. It would not have succeeded, and only cost the tax payer (more) money.

I would say Mr. Mann was also reading the blog, or having someone do it for him- no doubt Wedge was blowing smoke into all the orifices he could- the blog was a "fresh breeze" clearing the haze.

I didn't relish the demise of EAC (although Wedge's departure, for blowing all the time and money three startups could have asked for- yes).

I wish they had had a sustainable business model, for the sake of all involved.

But they didn't.

bill e. goat said...

BricklinNG,
You summed it all up pretty well !!
;)
------------------------------------

Shane,
I am relieved that you are indeed secure from "thuggery", both financial and otherwise. Same with Stan of course.

I would think all of us picked up the reference Stan made- but just in case:
Alexander Litvinenko
This happened in Shane's "back yard". In 2007.

Equally worrysome- more dire:
Journalists Killed in Russia

It's hard for anyone with a brain not to pause at those implications- for those stupid enough NOT to, I urge them to consider this adage:

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you".

(This is the context in which I first heard that quintessential line mentioned):
James Forrestal

Hmmm- "he retired from office on 28 March 1949 and flew to Florida in order to take a long rest, having taken only one week's leave since 1940"
Stan- you have the right idea about diving trips!! (and NOT from 16 story buildings !!:)
Misc. Forrestal Info
-----------------------------------

"The clock is ticking for Chapter 7 and bidders continue to position themselves."
Quite so !!

airtaximan said...

Stan:

now that its water under the bridege... can you descibe the radio-active emails you received briefly, and simple state if you think they would have helped anyone decide what to do/or not to do regarding EAC, and perhaps why?

or does this somehow compromise you? its just email to you from someone, right? I fail to see the issue....

FlightCenter said...

Wonderful to hear from you again Stan!

You certainly helped many folks see the light and I count myself lucky to be among them.

I confess that for many years I was a true believer having met Vern in 97 or 98 while he was in the process of starting Pronto Aircraft.

In May of 2000 I took the plunge and was among the very first to put down a deposit on the E500.

Visions of flying my very own light jet in less than four years danced through my head. I told anyone who would listen about the next generation of aviation that was just around the corner - all powered by the incredible Williams engine.

My enthusiasm was a bit tempered by the much publicized Williams engine fiasco and the less publicized replacement of BAE on the avionics front.

Vern said just wait another 26 months and we'd have an even better engine. I decided I could wait.

But as rumors about problems and delays in ABQ started to circulate, I started to wonder if I could really trust the company line.

Were there really thousands of orders? Were the business plans of POGO and Jetson viable or were they destined to disappear like Nimbus?

Could Eclipse deliver on their promises and scheduled delivery dates? Where do you go for the truth?

We know the answer now, but at the time it was anyone's guess and there were plenty of people betting their careers and their deposit money on Eclipse's success.


When Eclipse finally got their TC, they made it clear that it was time to pony up the 60% deposit money.

I had questions about whether they could ramp production at the promised rates and I found the answers here.

I decided to pass on the opportunity of flying my very own light jet, sold my position and lived happily ever after.

Thanks Stan!

Black Tulip said...

FlightCenter,

Interesting story, especially since it ends 'happily ever after'. I hadn't thought much about Mirage00 until Stan reminded us of his behavior. Wonder how his Eclipse fable is ending and whether he remains amused?

Whytech,

I hadn't seen myself as victimized by Eclipse but you are right. My desk model may never be anatomically correct with tip tanks. Victims are in fashion and I wonder if it too late to file as a creditor... number 10,852 for Eclipse.

bill e. goat said...

Stan, BT,
I'm just wondering- did your model have "some asembly required"?
(If so- very realistic ! .)

Beedriver said...

Great post , very interesting story. thanks to the Davids that kept it going.
I hope some author will summarize the Eclipse saga in a book and do it with interviews with the principals and the heroes of the story that went up against Goliath. Apparently there could be some real suspense from some of the behind the scenes maneuvering and legal threats etc.

this story is worthy of a good book.

Dave said...

This might be the Robert Liebman from Edgewood who is reported to be China's local rep on buying Eclipse.

bill e. goat said...

Hi Dave,
??
This guy doesn't seem particularly like a pro-China guy.
Have you seen any thing linking him with "the Red Menace" ??
Thanks.

Dave said...

This guy doesn't seem particularly like a pro-China guy.
Have you seen any thing linking him with "the Red Menace" ??


Actually he does seem that way if you read his website carefully. Like he basically wants better relationships with every country as that seems to be his big foreign policy thing. I think he would view selling Eclipse IP China as something good for foreign policy.

I do agree with his foreign policy views to a degree, but there are certain countries that don't want to get along with the US. He's actually rather myopic. I agree with his statements that it is best that countries get along, but there are reasons that countries don't get along (he basically says there's no reason counties can't get along)...it plays domestically for politicians to get re-elected if there are foreign enemies. Like he repeatedly cites Iran as an example...well there are Iranian politicians and being anti-US is red meat for their electorate. Whatever happens in the US can just as well apply to any other country, so if politicians get elected in the US by generating red meat about foreign enemies, the same applies to other countries.

If this guy is dealing with the Chinese to buy Eclipse, I think he's doing so because he is naive, but well-intentioned.

Also how many Robert Liebman's from Edgewood are there? (that was how the local contact was described)

gadfly said...

Dave and "goat":

There are three Liebman's listed in the entire Albuquerque area . . . one is Robert. There are less than 2,000 persons in Edgewood, less than 700 households . . . and only one Robert Liebman.

He is listed on the internet as the "Eclipse rep.".

'Having said all that . . . ?

gadfly

(The bird continues to be "flat line" . . . no pulse, past "rigor mortis", a strange odor is present . . . an unusual number of flies . . . in fact, I think we are beginning to observe the "second generation" of maggots . . . not a good sign, for sure.)

gadfly said...

The subject includes China. So here is a true story, concerning an associate of mine . . . many years ago:

At the time, the “associate” was still a citizen of China, and subject to the laws of China . . . working on a medical project in Albuquerque. (Long ago, he became a citizen of the US of A.)

Visiting Chinese officials, using the opportunity, asked the “Doctor” to take them to Los Alamos Scientific Labs . . . and after seeking information (finding that there exists a museum open to anyone) drove up “the hill”, and visited the museum. At the end of a long day, they all returned to Albuquerque . . . and were interested in purchasing any and all books on “the ultimate bomb”. My doctor friend, a brilliant neurosurgeon, was not yet “indoctrinated” into the ways of American society. The Chinese “officials” insisted that they go to a book store . . . possibly along Central Avenue (“Old US 66"), near the University of New Mexico (what better location for technical information), and purchase any and all books on the subject of interest. An “adult” subject, such as “the ultimate bomb”, should be available in an “adult book store”.

Well, let’s say, that the request for a book on “the ultimate bomb” did, indeed, get results . . . but not what was expected. And my Chinese neurosurgeon friend “lost face” with high level Communist Chinese officials . . . on that night, long ago.

gadfly

(Today, my friend is a naturalized citizen . . . one of those dirty American capitalist’s . . . living in freedom in California.)

bill e. goat said...

Hi Gad,
Thanks for the info on the "Eclipse rep". Sounds like he's the guy- as Dave mentioned.

Your friend might have "lost face"- but I bet it was pretty red when he did it .)

Another successful assimilation into US society. I read that something like 40% of the undergraduates in the U-Cal system (not Cal-State) are of Asian descent (domestic and foreign). Wish the rest of us ethnic slackers tried as hard.

bill e. goat said...

I apologize for missing what others have surely posted, regarding the Robert Leibman.
China might bid on E-corpseWhat makes me think there might be some traction here,:
"The company's local representative, Robert Liebman of Edgewood, declined comment on the reported interest.

"China Commercial Aircraft Co. was established in May to compete against Boeing and Airbus in making jumbo jetliners. A manufacturing facility is being built for the company in Shanghai."
Decline comment??
How realistic- how un-Wedgelike !!


I think- but am not sure- that this is the same group building this DC-9 derivative (Douglas sold tooling in early 1990s- I think the intent was to license build DC-9's- the Wiki article says Antonov designed the wing. US companies sold rope- I mean avionics and engines- to the program.

ARJ21Liebman sounds like a burnout- sort of an idealist self promoter, who doesn't care what the consequences are as long as it feels good right now. The perfect rope salesman.

(I don't object to his foreign policy sentiments- but reality is: independents is not going to get elected in his political race- he's as spoiler, which is why the Dem's derailed him last time- he might as well sponsor debate on the issues, but to promote his own candidacy- what a moron- I am NOT amused !! :)

former owner depositor said...

Eclipse Engineering Exec Returns To PilatusApr 10, 2009

Oliver Masefield, former VP engineering at Eclipse Aviation, will return to Pilatus Aircraft Ltd in Stans, Switzerland, June 1 as engineering manager of the firm's advanced projects office.

"I really wanted the Eclipse 500 to succeed. We created the technology for a nice machine, but it got screwed up. Now, I'm excited to be going back to Pilatus."

bill e. goat said...

While scanning my post- I noticed a couple of annoying errors, but it also gave me pause when I realized a connection. I was puzzled why the Chinese would be using a guy with weak aerospace credentials.

But nope- they hired him because he's a politician- they probably reckon they've got a member of congress (he wishes) on their payroll. (Which is probably the impression he tried to create).

Another AH-HA moment, courtesy of the blog !

bill e. goat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill e. goat said...

Former Owner Depositor,
Welcome to the blog
(sorry if I've missed your earlier posts)-
Thanks for the post about Dr. O

From all the accounts that I've heard- he was a good, decent man. The EA-500's excellent flying qualities are his handiwork, I think. I suspect he had a lot to do with the structural layout as well. Which despite our concerns, seems to be holding up rather (in fact, quite) well.

I think the "it got screwed up" part has to do the too-late avionics, and too-soon production. And too-stupid Wedge.

Dave said...

While scanning my post- I noticed a couple of annoying errors, but it also gave me pause when I realized a connection. I was puzzled why the Chinese would be using a guy with weak aerospace credentials.He does claim on his website to have worked for Boeing and if CCAC was designed to compete against Boeing, it would make some sense...however, this guy as you say has weak aerospace credentials and he also has weak political credentials. Looking at all the things he claims to have done, perhaps he made it up that he's connected to CCAC and there isn't anyone from CCAC around to contradict him. It does seem weird, but if it wasn't weird, it wouldn't be Eclipse-related.

bill e. goat said...

Dave,
"if it wasn't weird, it wouldn't be Eclipse-related."Well said !!Robert Liebman does sound like a bit of a colorful character- I wouldn't say hustler, just- self promoter.

Nothing wrong wiht that, as long as it's recognized.

Think how far that would have gone to avert the EAC spectacle.
.)

Dave said...

Robert Liebman does sound like a bit of a colorful character- I wouldn't say hustler, just- self promoter.It depends. It doesn't make sense why the Chinese would pick this guy, so perhaps the guy is lying or delusional (like someone from CCAC did contact him about something and he blew it out of proportion to saying he's CCAC's rep for the Eclipse deal). This guy isn't a political heavyweight, he's not a business heavyweight and he's not an attorney. I don't really see what purpose he serves if he is indeed the CCAC rep.

airtaximan said...

sounds to me like he was hand picked by Ken...

remember, Ken went to China a few weeks ago...

;)

airtaximan said...

... maybe Ken was hand picked by him?

either way, same difference...

Shadow said...

If Eclipse is sold to CCAC, I wonder if this blog will be added to China's great firewall.

Shane Price said...

Shadow,

If Eclipse is sold to CCAC, I wonder if this blog will be added to China's great firewall.Don't think so!

My experience of this process, to date, is that ALL of the bidders want 'us' on side. Hence the regularity with which the inbox here gets input.

So, expect more from your favorite blog, shortly.

Shane

Shadow said...

Shane, will your next post be in English, French, Russian, Chinese or another language? :-)

Shane Price said...

Shadow,

All of the above, plus Irish, Welsh and (in honor of Gadfly) Scottish.

Shane

fred said...

sorry guys ...

none of those languages will be used !

don't you believe EAC is going to be chinese now ?

after being US , it missed to be Turkish , then Dutch or French (citizenship or place of residence for RiP) then Russian ...

now Chinese ???

long time ago , i wondered WHEN it would be related with Zimbabwe ...
I guess there isn't too many country's names down the road !! ;-)

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Chavez is still looking for a value proposition

fred said...

and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like to host such a magnificent project as the EA500 ...

he could drown the whole mess under petro-$ , in fact it would be petro-rials ...

and no too many brain-cells to burn in order to have some "very-good" reasons on the why "it cannot happen ..." (after many stunts)

Shane Price said...

Snippet Time1. I've been informed that the coming week will determine which of the bidders 'makes the grade'. Thereafter, discussions are likely to be on an exclusive basis.

2. Interest remains at a very low level, with several companies carrying out 'market research' disguised as due diligence. One in particular (Socata) is transparently trying to make it's mind up about the 'twin engined' TBM 850, which has been in the works for a few years.

3. Whatever happens, the current owners are going to get stiffed either directly (for service contracts, paid up front) or indirectly, when parts suppliers finally realize there is no short term possibility of further production of the FPJ.

4. FIKI was NOT released for production, as parts of the process had failed on two of the hulls (s/n 266 and 267) which were chosen as trial units. It seems those pesky windscreens wouldn't behave as expected, again.

Shane

WhyTech said...

"4. FIKI was NOT released for production, as parts of the process had failed on two of the hulls "

Sound as if FIKI will not be available until additional development/certification work is completed - no sooner than Tuesday, and perhaps, never.

julius said...

fred,

bonjour!

I think M. Ahmadinejad would be insulted if B. Obama would offer EAC to him as a sign for a better political climate.

There are some new SDRs - one nugging, windshield, and after second 300 hr. inspection problems with the horizontal stabilizer (big play).

Did Dr. O do a great job - I cannot assess that as I do not know his objectives! Easy to fly manually in FL200 or low weight are two of several other objectives he might have to look at!

Julius

bill e. goat said...

Julius,
Although it has not been mentioned, wouldn't it be ironic if Pilatus bought EAC !
(It's a strange world- maybe not that strange though! ;)

Shane Price said...

Who'd buy an FPJ...When you can have this ?

Sorry, Julius, but I can't see Pilatus picking up the bits, especially with UBS in the shape they are in.

My Swiss friends are moaning like I've never, ever heard them complain before. It's just not the time to pump money into 'speculation' since that's all EAC's assets really are.

Yes folks, I think this whole saga has been reduced to the status of an 'idea', which might someday become a marketable aircraft.

Shane

Dave said...

Yes folks, I think this whole saga has been reduced to the status of an 'idea', which might someday become a marketable aircraft.I think that's how Eclipse has always been and the mistaking the idea for the execution is why suppliers, customers and investors have lost large sums of money. I don't think the aircraft will ever be both marketable and profitable since the aircraft costs too much to make. The only way that it would be marketable/profitable would be with Verntastic sales volumes and that just isn't going to happen and the more time goes on, the more outdated the aircraft becomes.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Shane,

Because that aircraft cost about 1 million dollars more, it is slower, doesn't have a much improved range over the aircraft, cost approx 1115 dollars per hour to operate, where as the E500 costs about 615 dollars an hour to operate.

julius said...

bill e.goat,

Pilatusthat would be really strange. Pilatus does not have any experience with jets and it does not produce many a/c per year!
I think our doc O isn't very proud of the project as it is a failure -not fully certifiable in the EASA region!

There is no chance at all and it doesn't make any sense any more - not only for Pilatus!

It's sad for ABQ and what about the space port - another trial resp. plan to lay waste the desert?

Julius

fred said...

Gutten Abend , julius

oh no !!

i think M.A would be very pleased if O.B would offer the entire fleet of Fpj as a gesture of better relations ...

it present only advantages !

since O.B. is not short of a Trillion or 2 to revive the economy , he could buy-off the whole fleet , a good way to pretend in a few months "that thing never existed ..."

have them painted with stars&stripes decorations , it would make perfect target-drone ...!(on condition autopilot doesn't disengage for any reason ... like it did in past)

as soon as the first 266 are downed , the "blue-print" and IP could be given-away as an incentive to make new drones , if or when needed ...!

after a second reading :

i am not so sure it's a good idea :

Fpj with US painted on it downed by Iran-flak is not really the kind of sight O.B. could want to see...

That "thing" is so messy , the Iranians could see it as a declaration of war ... or at least a attempt in having them lost for a few years (decades?) to find out how to put some sens into this mess ...

and those pesky frog-eaters from Dassault are making drones for about a tenth of what cost a Fpj ...

damn !!

what use can be made of a 3 billions non-sens ??? ;-)

fred said...

Eomsiv :

where as the E500 costs about 615 dollars an hour to operate.

what ???

you want to "operate" a E500 for a whole hour ???

don't you know it reduce its lifetime of "XXX" that much ? ;-))

airtaximan said...

SHANE,

AND KEN SAID THE only REASON THE WINDSHIELD HEAD WAS COLLARED WAS DUE TO EAC CHOICE... NO PROBLEMS THERE, PERFECTLY SAFE, UNCOLLAR IF YOU WISH, WHY NOT?

ANYHOW, WHAT A JOKE.

I REMIND EVERYONE, AFTER 12 YEARS AND $3 BILLION AND 500 EMPLOYEES OR MORE, AND THE FAA'S "HELP" THEY COULDN'T EVEN GET THE AIRPLANE RIGHT...

C'MON - IN THERE LURKS A LOT OF UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS.. AND YU HAVE TWO CHOICES, BE CAUTIOUS, OR JUST BELIEVE THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS, EVENTHOUGH THEY KEEP POPPING UP.

Sorry aboutt he caps... just noticed and do not want to retype.

bill e. goat said...

Julius,
"Pilatus does not have any experience with jets and it does not produce many a/c per year!"Yes- It really IS a perfect match !
.)

Black Tulip said...

EPOMSIV,

"...where as the E500 costs about 615 dollars an hour to operate."

By convention depreciation is not included in direct operating costs. But yours is a special case.

Shane,

Regarding known ice approval... Eclipse figured that by the time the aircraft was finished, global warming would eliminated the need.

julius said...

fred,

what use can be made of a 3 billions non-sens ??? ;-)
just try to writte it off (like Freddie&Fannie and "homes") and forget it!

Lessons learnt? Do not lie, do not steal - not very new ideas!

But some people dream of a philanthropist who will dispense FIKI, anti skid brake, a working glass cockpit, jetcomplete, a design review,... , and a production - just another big pile of money to the nonsense.

Julius

Dave said...

Regarding known ice approval... Eclipse figured that by the time the aircraft was finished, global warming would eliminated the need.Perhaps Eclipse should have been called Mirage instead since everything is just a little bit ahead and stay that way for years. FIKI/EASA/500 units per year product/etc have all been mirages. Look at how much of a mirage Avio has been with the specs changing and features being postponed. With Eclipse calling in the 60% deposits that was a particularly fraudulent mirage to get money.

WhyTech said...

"Pilatus does not have any experience with jets and it does not produce many a/c per year!"Yes- It really IS a perfect match !"

Grob would seem a better product match if Pilatus wishes to move into jets.

julius said...

bill e.goat

Yes- It really IS a perfect match !
like the match wedge and hard work (not blah, blah,...)!

You are thinking of Abu-Dhabi-investors... Once and a while even they long for return of investment and not depreciation of investment!

Depreciation... what will be the total hourly cost of a fpj ... uninteresting ... without full IFR capabilities etc. ... like a SUV without limited slip differential and slicks on a muddy road!

Julius

Shane Price said...

EclipsepilotOMSIV

260 aircraft, divided by 2 years and three months 'flying', at a conservative cost for the program (to date) of $2.7 billion

equals

$532 per aircraft, per hour

BEFORE you start the engines.

Your number of $615 per hour is based on what P&W will charge to TBO this UNIQUE engine, not flown in any other airframe? Do you know what they intend to charge? Please tell...

$615 per hour based on what parts suppliers will charge you for an aircraft with no PC and whose TC will probably end up in China?

$615 per hour based on which rate of depreciation, or are you simply writing the entire thing off to zero and working back up from there?

At least the CJ will be worth something after you'd flown it for a few years.

Unlike the FPJ, which is, for all practical purposes, worth less than half what you paid for it now, and has (to put it mildly) a very uncertain future.

Shane

Kathy said...

Looks like the "loose" horizontal stabilizer issue that was discussed weeks ago is substantiated by an SDR now as Julius mentioned. Maybe someone can link to it. It's a scary read.

Dave said...

In regards to both Shane and Kathy first here is an SDR from 1/22 on replacing windshield:
DURING A POST FLIGHT INSPECTION, IT WAS NOTED THAT THE INNER PANE OF THE PILOTS WINDSHIELD HAD LOCALIZED HAZING IN THE CRITICAL VISION AREA, AS DEFINED BY EA500 AMM 06-117751, CHAPTER 56-00-00, FIG 601; JUST BEHIND THE GLARE SHIELD MOUNTED OPTIONAL ELECTRIC ATTITUDE INDICATOR. ACFT WAS FERRIED TO SERVICE CENTER, UNDER LIMITED ALTITUDE OF NO MORE THAN 12,000 (UNPRESSURIZED) FEET WITH AIRSPEED OF NO MORE THAN 250 KNOTS, FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF PILOTS WINDSHIELD.
CONTROL NO. CUXA2009-00001
Then this is on the stabilizer that was reported on 3/14 by what seems like an ex-Eclipse employee:
LAST YEAR ABOUT THIS TIME WE WERE PERFORMING PERFORMANCE MODS ON THE ACFT. FOUND THE MAIN WING ATTACH POINTS TO HAVE EXCESSIVE PLAY ON BOTH WINGS WHEN ACFT WAS ON JACK. ENGINEERING LOOKED AT THE DATA WE PRESENTED TO THEM AND SAID "THE PLAY WAS WITHIN LIMITS." HAVE WORKED MANY ACFT AND NEVER SEEN THIS CONDITION ACCEPTABLE. IT HAS APPROX .020 TO .030 PLAY AT MAIN WING ATTACH FITTING. WHICH AT THE WING TIPS = OUT TO ABOUT 8 INCH. ENGINEERING DID NOT SPECIFY ANY ADDITIONAL INSP REQUIREMENTS. BELIEVE THIS WAS A COVER UP BY UPPER MANAGEMENT AT THE TIME SO THAT THE PRODUCT WOULD NOT BE DAMAGED. I AM HIGHLY CONCERNED THAT IS AN UNSAFE CONDITION AND NEEDS TO BE LOOKED INTO. THERE ARE MANY OTHER ITEMS ON THIS ACFT THAT NEED TO BE LOOKED INTO AS WELL SUCH AS AVIONICS SYS. FIRE PROTECTION AGENT IS SEVERALLY CORROSIVE WITH IN A DAY IF THE AGENT IS NOT FOUND LEAKING IT EATS STAINLESS STEEL AND ALUMINUM VERY QUICKLY. THE RT ENGINE IS EFFECTED SEVERAL BECAUSE THE IMPENDING BYPASS SWITCH FOR THE FUEL CONTROLLER IS DRIPPED ON BY THE AGENT AND COULD CAUSE AN UNSAFE CONDITION IF THERE IS BLOCKAGE WITH FUEL THE INDICATION MY NOT BE RECORDED. AT THE TIME,DID NOT REPORT IT BECAUSE MFG SCARED EMPLOYEES WITH THERE NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT AND TERMINATION IF ANY INFORMATION WAS LEAKED OUT. AC NR SERIAL NR 28 WAS THE AIRCRAFT THAT THE WINGS WERE FOUND LOSS ON.

Shane Price said...

That SDR you were looking for, Kathy3. Major Equipment Identity
Manufacturer |Model |Serial Number
(a) Aircraft |ECLIPSE |ECLIPSEEA500 |000024
(b) Engine |PWC |PW610FA |


4. Problem Description

HORIZ STAB FOUND TO HAVE EXCESSIVE FREE-PLAY DURING INSP OF DEICE BOOTS EAC WO 6029759. IT IS UNKNOWN WHAT WO THE CONDITION WAS ACTUALLY REPORTED ON. THE ACFT WAS UNDERGOING A WORK
PACKAGE FOR IT'S SECOND 300HR INSP. UPON FURTHER INVESTIGATION FOUND FWD MOUNT FASTENERS (2 EA. PN: NAS1997C12DT) WOULD TURN BY FINGER WHEN ANOTHER TECH SHOOK THE HORIZ STAB. UPON REMOVAL OF THE HORIZ STAB IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT THE COUNTERSINK BUSHINGS PRESSED INTO THE FWD LUGS OF THE STABILIZER WERE OFFSET DRILLED OR MILLED/REAMED LEAVING A FRACTION OF THE 100 DEGREE REDUCED HEAD FASTENERS MAKING CONTACT WITH THE COUNTERSINK BUSHINGS ON THE HORIZONTAL STABILIZER. THE PRESSED BUSHINGS ON THE FWD LUGS OF THE PN: 55-1039271 VERTICAL STRUCTURE COULD BE PUSHED OUT WITH FINGER PRESSURE. THIS MECHANIC WAS RELUCTANT TO SUBMIT AN SDR AT THE TIME SINCE IT WAS THOUGHT THAT EAC WOULD CONTINUE BUSINESS AND ENGINEER A SOLUTION. THE BANKRUPTCY OF EAC PREVENTED THAT. THERE IS CONCERN THAT OTHER EARLY SN AC MAY HAVE OR DEVELOP THIS CONDITION.
Ooops...

Sounds like some of those early birds need a fair bit of work.

And thanks for that SDR, which came from a 'friend of the blog'. You know who you are...

Shane

Dave Ivedorne said...

Maybe someone can link to it ( the SDR ):

Well, not really...

I found the FAA'a SDR database is a bit fiddly to deal with, and it doesn't appear to support deep linking. From the linked page you can do a manual search, or pull up all the EA50 SDRs.

The horizontal stab play has control# 2009FA0000258

The windshield hazing SDR has control# 2009FA0000189

The loose wing attach fitting SDR has control# 2009FA0000228

I guess we'll find out how vigilant FAA is these days. 260 ticking time bombs, or 260 AOGs?

The FPJ owner who paid $895K and has flown 400 hours by the time it's grounded has $2237 per hour into it. Add EPx's $615, and you have $2852 per hour. A CJ2 is starting to sound dirt cheap by comparison.

But don't worry - I've seen all sorts of demonstrations that the time bomb is safe until shortly after it stops ticking. At which point you simply get away from the aircraft before it "goes off". So just keep on flying 'em. Somebody else will discover that it's really a bigger problem - not you.

Would you like an AD with that?
DI

airtaximan said...

hello,

Pandora, you in there?

Oh what fun it is to fly.... though

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

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Shane,

Because that aircraft cost about 1 million dollars more, it is slower, doesn't have a much improved range over the aircraft, cost approx 1115 dollars per hour to operate, where as the E500 costs about 615 dollars an hour to operate.
EPOMSIV,

I get what you are saying regarding the higher CJ purchase price and operating costs--assuming an alternate/future reality of Eclipse being a fully functioning company with a fully functioning airplane (which has been discussed just a bit so I won’t weigh in there ;-)).

A couple of quick things, though. The CJ2’s (not the +) book max-cruise is 410 knots (40 faster than the E500), and a max range of around 1,500 NM (350 NM+ vs. the E500?). Are you maybe thinking of the original CitationJet (still faster but more comparable performance-wise)? Those can be had for less than $2M.

Speaking of CJ’s, whatever happened to cj3driver?

agroth said...

Side note: Even though it shows fine in the preview, the software doesn't recognize a line space and sticks "EPOMSIV" to the italicized quote upon publishing.

bill e. goat said...

Julius,
re: Horizontal Stab- It's begining to sound like an SUV with a flat tire- and no spare !!

HA HA HA.

Okay, got that out of the way.

<:(

(That's Wedge with a pointy head).

Now, on to serious (!) matters.
Did our friends at EAC ever do a fatigue test? It seems like the horizontal stab bearing thing would have shown up then. But- I doonoo if it was ever done. I guess since the FAA gave them 10 years to do it, maybe it was put off. That seems a bit unusual to me- can anyone comment on that, if it's normal to say, oh, 10 years from now, it would be nice. (Kind of like TC !!).

Of interest, the airplnae in question was undergoing it's second 300 hour inspection. I think that's fairly impressive- sounds like some of the planes are racking up some time. And, it sounds like the pilot didn't notice any "buzz", so hopefully it's not too bad- does sound like inspections are in order though.

So- what's going on with that guy's airplane I wonder- still locked up in a dark hangar?

(Is the owner locked in the hangar with it? That would be a tough call- I don't think I'd want to leave it unattended... :)

bill e. goat said...

Shane and EPx,

What time is it??
Time for another exciting episode of:

FUN WITH NUMBERS !!I'm curious (and curiouser- as Gadfly would say- I think he was the original poster of that).

It seems like a pair of Jim Dandy new PWC-610's is around $500K-ish. I think the TBO is 3500 hrs (?), Soooo,
500K/3500 = $142 per hour.
For nice new pretty ones.
Since I'm lazy, let's round that up to $150 per hour.
Yep- I know, new ones versus hot section, etc.
We'll come back to that.

Figure 1 lb/nm, 7 lb/gal, $3.50/gal, 300 knots = $150/hour for go juice.

Now, I think the bidders were soliciting service contracts for $450 per hour.
That sounds nutty high to me- so let's make that $400.
(Which, I think is still pretty nutty high, but we'll get back to that too).

Soooooo,
$150 /hr engine reserve
$150 /hr fuel
$400 /hr maintenance contract

$700 /hr total

Now, knock the engine reserve down to hot section & overhaul, and maybe, that $500K could be halved?
(knock off $75/hr)

Comes out to $625 / hr.

EPx and I agree.
(Something must be wrong in the universe !!
:)
-----------------------------------
Depreciation, Taxes, Insurance, etc- I think are not what EPx was refering to regarding operating expenses.
(I think?).

bill e. goat said...

<:(

(That's Wedge with a dunce cap).

bill e. goat said...

<<:(

That's Wedge wearing a dunce cap on his pointy head.
.)

agroth said...

WhyTech Said:

Grob would seem a better product match if Pilatus wishes to move into jets.WhyTech,

That’s a wonderful idea! Both airplanes have a similar aim from a utility perspective (including, among many other things, the SPn being able to operate from grass and very short fields), and the cost differential is enough (something like $3M+ last time I checked) that the SPn wouldn’t pilfer PC-12 sales.

I’m going to go on a bit of a BEG tangent here :-), but I was at Grob’s factory right after the SPn was announced at the Paris Air Show. I sat in the mockup which was really nice, but it turned out to not be the most exciting part of the visit. Walking around the corner of one of their buildings I spotted their huge and very lonely looking Grob Strato 2C sitting in the grass. I was a teenager when this plane was being designed, and with its potential 80,000 foot operational altitude and 2-day endurance, my imagination had been captured. My host thought it was funny that I was visibly more excited over the 2C than the SPn, so he tried to open the door for me to get inside. Unfortuately, it was stuck. I’ll bring a blowtorch next time. ;-)

P.S. Really interesting stuff on helicopters.

bill e. goat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill e. goat said...

Agroth,
Thanks for the link to the Grob Strato-2C, that's COOL !!

Surfing around a bit, Wikipedia has a nice (but brief) article:
"one aircraft was built in the 1990s, but was abandoned despite setting a world altitude record for piston engined aircraft on its last flight."Wiki: Grob Strato 2CI'm glad you enjoyed (/tolerated:) the diversion into roto-land. Speaking of which :),
"the record set by the CH-1B remains the highest altitude ever achieved by a piston-powered helicopter.[1] The CH-1C was the first helicopter to receive IFR certification by the FAA"Who was that ??
Cessna !!

(well, sort of- they bought a Wichita helo company, Seibel- the altitude record was set after six more years of substantial development by Cessna though).

"The single, twin-bladed main rotor helicopter used a front-mounted reciprocating engine which gave the aircraft a stable center-of-gravity (CG)."Hmmm, interesting- I wonder if there was a real-world advantage to that...
Cessna CH-1"the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama has the YH-41A Seneca prototype as a part of its collection although it is not currently on display."(That must be a really neat place- too bad so many articles are not on display...)
Army Aviation Museum

bill e. goat said...

It's fun to see what the specs on a CJ2+ are.
I don't know how much "+" it is compared to a CJ2, but, probably sort-of close (except for the number regarding price :)

CJ2+
Range 1600 nm
Fuel 4000 lbs (about)
Full Fuel Payload 750 lbs
Max Payload 1750 lbs
2+6 seats

Hmmm, full fuel payload isn't that impressive (750 lbs).
But, know the fuel on board 25% (1000 lbs) to the EA-500's range of 1200 nm-ish, and payload goes up to max (1750 lbs), or all 8 seats filled, and a couple hundred pounds of bags. That's pretty nice.

The pricing tab shows:
$1075/hour (418 kt max cruise)
$2.87/nm

Interesting, about twice per hour what the EA500 costs (?), and a MTOW about twice what the EA500 has (12500 vs 6000). The "price per pound" arguement seems to hold for operating expense. BUT, to my disappointment, it's way off for (6.0M-ish), unless the EA500 is priced at $2.9M (....?... :)

Jim Dandy new CJ2+

jet_fumes said...

I agree the CJ2+ full fuel payload of 750lb is not impressive.
A better number would have been 500lb where you would have 250lb more fuel to increase range when flying single pilot plus one other occupant.
Hard to see a justification for this reduced capability.

WhyTech said...

"I’m going to go on a bit of a BEG tangent here :-), "

That was a pretty mild tangent. No one does tangents like Billy!

Shane Price said...

New post up.

Thanks again to Stan, and to all those who's kind words help make this little effort worthwhile.

Shane