Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The tail end of Eclipse?


OK that's a pretty weak play with words, which I'm sure you'll forgive me for, eventually.

Some pretty damming correspondence reaches me, from several sources, about the number of instances (16, by one report) of this problem. While investigations continue, the issue would appear to be caused by 'incorrect procedures' either with a low battery initial start or wet restart. The delamination, which can be seen on the photo (top right) of the inside at about the 6.30 position, is (according to witnesses) clearly caused by excessive heat in this one location. Note that the exterior shot makes it clear that a visual inspection from outside fails to pick up the problem.

But now things get more interesting. Not only are there multiple instances in the fleet, but there does not seem to be any quick (or low cost) way to fix it. Clearly Eclipse Aviation are no longer in a position to provide technical assistance. Third party shops stuck with the problem are concerned about the consequences of a) devising a repair themselves and b) implementing and documenting it outside the normal approval cycle. This is perfectly understandable in the circumstances.

Which leads to my salient point.

What else will cause an FPJ to go AOG? We're aware of the DayJet birds, many of which had 'history' when they were flying and are unlikely to have 'improved' during (in some cases) almost a year of storage. Any PFD or MFD failures, especially on later AvioNG (IS&S displays) will certainly give an owner or pilot the jitters and leave them will little or no recourse. I'm reminded of the discussion, many moons ago now, of how the FPJ had been designed from the outset for heavy duty use. Pity they failed to design the company the same way...

The number of aircraft currently grounded, for a variety of reasons, is salient to our discussions. Clearly, the value (whatever remains) in the brand is lowered for each one that fails to fly. I'm aware of several that are 'hidden' away, sometimes in hangers but just as often on some out of the way field. It's a situation that's been building since before the Chapter 11 announcement on the 25th of November last. I'm confident that a number of these (excluding the DayJet birds) were not technically incapable of flight, but are those who's owners have decided to await upgrades. I think we should make a serious effort to a) identify those tails that have NOT flown for (just picking a number) 100 days and b) shift out those that are 'incapable' of flight.

This is not merely an academic exercise, but has real world value for any purchaser. After all, if 10 FPJ's are AOG, it's less than 5% of the fleet, and would not be worthy of further comment. But if its 50, 60 or even close to 100, then all this talk about '260 produced' rings very hollow, very fast.

Events (or lack thereof) have limited our supply of other news. Piper Aircraft is in new ownership, Adams Aircraft (version 2.0) has closed down. Cessna (and a number of others) have announced major cutbacks and/or program cancellations. Cash, for any type of investment, is very hard to source in almost any part of the world. Until we start to see some sort of economic lift it's unlikely we'll see a purchase of the assets of our very 'own' VLJ company in ABQ, New Mexico.

But I have been wrong before, and, unlike some others associated with this saga, I'm happy to admit my failings. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the Al Mann v Roel Peiper lawsuit is not a real spanner in the works, but merely a bit of local colour.

Shane


338 comments:

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Shane Price said...

Updated Snippet

Thanks to those of you who've replied to

eclipsecriticng@gmail.com

with useful information on several aspects of the original 'bubbling' problem. As one of my correspondents pointed out, in aviation most fabrication shops share 'best practice' tips with each other.

I'm happy to report that this 'dinosaur' activity continues....

Shane

Black Tulip said...

CWMOR,

You mentioned Neverland Ranch. Do you know how they tell when its midnight there? It is when the big hand touches the little hand.

But... as WhyTech pointed out, we need more discussion of flying machines.

Shane Price said...

Updated 'Auction Process' Snippet

Lots (and lots...) of the 'EAC Standard' confusion about who will (or won't) bid on June 24th. This, btw, is the most commonly stated date for the final auction of the assets.

Let's review the field:-

1. CCAC, aka 'the Chinese', who've been mentioned in dispatches with regards to almost every other GA company. I think a lot of this is down to fashion, and the rest is American inability to understand that there really isn't a simple word for 'no' in Eastern culture. Everyone thinks that a meeting with 'the Chinese' has a positive outcome, since they never actually use the definitive negative about anything.

2. Socata (makers of the TBM 850) who've also been sniffing around for something (anything?) that would extend their rather limited product line. Word on the street is that they are interested, but can only see the downside at present.

3. The EOG, who are hard to pin down when it comes to actual hard cash. Their email to each other last week was telling. In no too many words it came down to 'No cash'.

4. Other 'owner' groups (Mike Press etc) who have taken a slightly different view, but face the same fundamental difficulty. No cash.

5. A smattering of smaller efforts that appear to have been ignored (sorry ColdWet) by the Trustee, for the same reason that he's putting a date on the auction. No cash.

I think by now everyone is pretty clear that nobody has any cash to do a deal. And that's what the Trustee is (literally) required to give preference to.

Interesting times, indeed.

Shane

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

No offense taken Shane.

The only thing I am involved in that directly touches the trustee is the Motion to Compel release of the IP to the owners - and I think the June 24 date can be considered a response to the challenge of the Motion to Compel - since the trustee just a week ago was asking for 3 additional months to find a buyer.

Everyone will know a little more this week I think, then we will see where/how the majority of owners think the future lies.

I think it comes down to CCAC, the Press-Holland effort and the EOG, with CCAC taking the cake. Daher-Socata just committed a 3rd of a billion to their new twin program, don't see them doubling down on that by taking on a currently damaged brand.

My prime focus actually seeks to ignore the trustee and to separate the owners from the IP as much as possible. If the ~$500M the owner fleet represents is not dealt with soon, effectively and reasonably, the brand, and any value associated with it, is gone.

fred said...

thanks for clarification , Mr Coldwet ...

i was kinda lost in all the "who want to do what with who"

your idea has the best chances , as you wrote it , it is the first time Owners-victims have some kind of proposal "feet on ground" not "castle on a cloud" ...

in this time of hard-to-get-cash , it can make a world of difference to save the "wasted money" buying the assets has all chances to be !

sometime it make more sens to start anew , with a clean sheet ...

off-course , expect lots of nasty comments from the ones who would prefer to "keep on dreaming" with darkened skies ...

actually , i wonder if EAC bk is not one of those "special cases" where whatever the outcome , opposing groups blame(after) the burden of failing on others , because they were the only one to have "The reliable" proposal ...

grab some pop-corn , the show only started ... ;-)

fred said...

BT :

Excellent !

fred said...

so if i understood well , the role of Trustee is to squeeze the maximum juice out for the secured creditors ?

so he would be incline to push the matter on big bucks ...

what is the right spelling of "lost cause" again ?

but isn't it conflicting with Victim-owners interests ?

is that standard proceeding in the US ?

Dave said...

whoever ends up with the can of beans Can of Worms is more like it.

baron95 said...

The Trustee's job is NOT to get the most hard cash to the secure/tier 1 creditors.

His job is to get the best *VALUE* for them via one or more bids.

For example. CCAC may buy the assets for ZERO cash, but give the creditors bonds, preferred stock or common stock in a venture owning the assets with a stipulated business plan.

fred said...

thanks baron for explanations ...

i was looking to understand if it was like here ( just getting the best community interests )

fred said...

but honestly , i think that the "preferred stocks" or "creditors bonds" option :

if there is more than one (gullible)person to fall (again) in the trap , it would mean the same "stunt" going on once again ...

baron95 said...

In fact, the owners could do the same. They could offer to buy the assets for ZERO cash in exchange for giving the secure creditors, for example, a 20% lien interest on their planes.

As a matter of fact, I am SHOCKED that they didn't pursue this as an option.

It would completely get rid of this cockamamie idea of ponying cash upfront.

To me, it just shows their naiveté.

baron95 said...

If you believe that the fixes and upgrades would materialize over say the next 2 years (not that I do), then you can expect the fleet to be worth some $250-$500M (according to their estimates).

So a 20% lien on the fleet would be a $50-$100M. The creditors can then sell those liens in the open market for $40M-$80M when the market recovers. The party buying the liens collects the money as airplanes change ownership, get scrapped, etc.

Why the owners don't take advantage of their equity position on the planes (hard assets), is totally beyond me.

RonRoe said...

Baron,

Owners pledging equity in their jets is a no-go for two reasons:

1. The note holders don't want it. Valuation would be difficult, liquidity almost non-existent.

2. The banks that loaned the owners the money to buy the planes won't be keen on pledging 1/5 of their collateral to a third party.

Turboprop_pilot said...

FLASH

The Obama administration, fresh off its stunning victory in the Chrysler bankruptcy, has entered the Eclipse bankruptcy.

The President said: "We beat down those slimy secured debtors so easily, I thought that Eclipse deserved a little help too. The UAW has agreed to provide workers recently made available by declining production in the auto industry, as well as their wages, benefits and work rules. We plan to give them 53% of the company for these valuable inputs. We will provide TARP funds not to exceed Vern's $3 billion investment and expect a hybrid Eclipse 500 to set new green standards by 2015. Secured creditors will be required to provide parts at the 1,000 unit price and will receive a minor haircut of 87% on their moneys owed." The Eclipse Owners Group was heard signing Eclipse praises again: "The only specification that matters is nautical miles per gallon and now, with the Hybrid Eclipse, we will set a new standard that the antique Mustang can only wish for." When told that the batteries reduced the payload so much that only the pilot could fly for 300 miles, they said this was OK as no one will fly with them anymore.

Ex Turboprop_pilot

baron95 said...

Thanks RonRoe - I'm glad (hoping) people looked at it.

Of course, there are several ways to structure this. E.g. owners who have financed, can have unsecured notes to the creditors, creditors can re-financed the planes at a higher value, etc.

Dave Ivedorne said...

TPP / Ex-TPP said ( Tulip-style ):

We will provide TARP funds not to exceed Vern's $3 billion investment and expect a hybrid Eclipse 500 to set new green standards by 2015.

Heh. Up to $3 billion could be saved by allowing the little birds to "go green" by 2009. An AOG fleet - besides consuming no fossil fuels - will contribute to a global warming fix by providing dozens of square feet of precious, earth-cooling shade per grounded aircraft.

Would you like the sunscreen?
DI

Black Tulip said...

TPP,

I am green with envy.

On the 'old' blog we briefly had a "101 Uses for an Eclipse" contest. From memory we got up to number 23, with one entry being:

"A chock for my Gulfstream V"

Of course, the Gulfstream is probably gone by now... at distressed pricing. But it's the thought that counts.

baron95 said...

More news on Colgan ahead of the NTSB hearing tomorrow.

The WSJ has a story in tomorrow's edition faulting the crew and Colgan Air for the crash of CO 3407. It notes that Captain Renslow had flunked numerous qualifications tests and check rides during his career at Colgan, and may also have lied on his employment application. He also had only 109 hours of experience on the Q400, "an unusually limited amount of time by industry standards". Co-pilot Rebecca Shaw had a "clean" record but had flown in on a red eye from Seattle to report to duty, and complained on the voice recorder about feeling congested and that she "probably should have called in sick".

In recent weeks, the top two training officials at Colgan Air have also resigned.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124200193256505099.html

bill e. goat said...

Hi FJT,
I apologize for:
1) Saying so much,
2) Saying so little,
3) Doing both so poorly !

I hope I didn't offend your sensibilities about immigration (where we might differ) or free speech (where I'm sure we agree!)

bill e. goat said...

Hi Fred,
Thanks for the kind words, and info on the French security data provided to the CIA. Field agents at the FBI did an exemplary job- HQ did an abysmal job- our solution to failed bureaucracy ? Make it bigger !

Coleen Rowley's memo to FBI director
(edited version- original was 13 pages- and you thought I was long winded :)

In her memo, item 2 mentions:
"As the Minneapolis agents' reasonable suspicions quickly ripened into probable cause, which, at the latest, occurred within days of Moussaoui's arrest when the French Intelligence Service confirmed his affiliations with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups and activities connected to Osama Bin Laden"

There reference is to material provided by the French DGSE- General Directorate for External Security (sort of like the CIA).

It's a "head shaker" (in disbelief), as much as a "fist shaker" (in anger).

Like you say, back to:

Airplanes !
Helicopters (?!?)
Eclipse :(

bill e. goat said...

Hi Dave,
I hope the border situation doesn't worsen. My fear is that economic inequality will lead to social turmoil- the drug dealers probably will be financing the turmoil and benefit from the chaos. The murder of policemen, judges, and political candidates has been a third world horror story.

How our two neighbors, Canada and Mexico, can differ so much, is something we should study and learn from.

bill e. goat said...

Hi Ex-TPP
"Secured creditors will...receive a minor haircut of 87% on their moneys owed."

I think Wedge was the "ultimate" (!?!) barber !!

bill e. goat said...

Hi Shane,
"I think a lot of this is down to fashion, and the rest is American inability to understand that there really isn't a simple word for 'no' in Eastern culture. Everyone thinks that a meeting with 'the Chinese' has a positive outcome, since they never actually use the definitive negative about anything."

Hmmm- I didn't realize Wedge was Chinese !

I think the investors and depositors would agree that at least he spoke the "language"!
.)

(That is, until RiP broke his "fortune cookie" !!)

baron95 said...

BEG, hard to comment on such a one side stance on immigration.

You and others made the classic faulty assumption that immigration and jobs is a zero sum gain. But it is not.

Far from it.

Even if an immigrant came in and took your job away, that is one more person in the US who will pay taxes, buy a car, buy/rent a house, buy furnishings, create wealth (by say building a plane or milking a cow), have kids, grow the population, etc...

As a matter of fact, on average, immigrants inject a lot more "velocity" in the economy than a native born person on a per capt basis.

As to lowering wages in this country, that is a good thing compared to the alternative of sending that job offshore.

If I can only sell a sofa for $200, and I can only pay $20 for 1hr of labor to support that sale, then I have 3 options:

a) Find workers (immigrants or native) that will take $20 or less.

b) Loose money, go out of business and fire everyone.

c) Move the plant to a place that can support $20/hr labor+allocated shipping/overhead costs.

I think most Americans would agree that "a" is the least bad.

Except, of course the UAW. They have no problem seeing hundreds of thousands of jobs moved overseas and south, just so that the "chosen few" could continue to receive labor+benefits at a rate of $76/hr.

But hey, they won't be around much longer.

bill e. goat said...

Hi Baron,
Thanks for the link to the WSJ article. I think we were speculating back when the accident happened, about the different recovery techniques for tail plane stall, versus main wing stall.

I've been told the Saab and Q-400 have different recovery methods- I guess one is more prone to one type of icing stall than the other- not sure which is which, but the Capt had been flying the Saab until recently I believe.
Air Safety Week, Feb 23, 2009

bill e. goat said...

(There I go saying something about airplanes, and look what happens :)
----------------------------------

Hi Baron,

I enjoy our economics debate, so here we go:
.)

"hard to comment on such a one side stance on immigration".

And yet you proceed to do exactly that- and make the one sided capitalist's argument.

(Hey Mr. Pot, there is someone I want you to meet .)
----------------------------------

The argument you present is this: Mr. Sofa, Inc. can sell more sofas, if he can make them cheaper, by hiring cheaper workers.

My arrangement is this: A $10/hour laborer can't afford to buy as many sofas as a $20/hour laborer. So he buys one from China, and the factory in the US goes out of business.

Pretty well proven track record of events, I believe.
----------------------------------

What goes unacknowledged is- society is stuck absorbing the cost of low-wage labor, who do not pay as many taxes as higher-income workers, to support infrastructure (schools, health care, police), while the business owner is one who reaps the reward from more sales. The benefit society reaps, is a $190 sofa, instead of a $200 sofa- that's a 5% savings. But wages went from $20/hour to $10/hour- a 50% cut.

And even that is falsely optimistic, because the public does not benefit from a cheaper sofa- the sofa manufacturer keeps that $10 as extra profit. Worker's salaries are cut in half, yet the sofa costs the same.

"As a matter of fact, on average, immigrants inject a lot more "velocity" in the economy than a native born person on a per capt basis."Illegal Immigration Could Cost Taxpayers Trillions"The National Academy of Sciences estimated that each immigrant will result in a $100,000 net annual cost to taxpayers.".

How much more "velocity" can we take ??

Unlike this Grippen pilot>, the economy doesn't have a parachute- it requires responsible piloting to avoid a "crash".

.)

baron95 said...

Sorry BEG, but that is deeply flawed.

Even if the corporation, in fact made huge profits, they'd be paying equally huge taxes.

Mercedes Benz, BMW, Hyundai, etc, would never, ever, even consider assembling cars in the US, if the Southern States they are located in were non-right-to-work states with the UAW work rules and wages.

Is it not a good thing that wages in SC are lower than in Michigan?

Isn't it better that there are thousands of auto assembly jobs being created in Alabama and South Carolina, vs in Mexico or China?

You have the perfect contrast.

Option A - Keep the unreasonable unions (UAW), wages, benefits, and work rules, and see the auto workforce around Michigan decline from 2M to 200K in two decades.

Option B - Accept somewhat lower benefits and better work rules and create 100K+ jobs in SC, AL, etc.

No US corporation WANTS to manufacture half way around the world to serve US consumers. It is a logistics nightmare and expensive. It increases lead time, decrease inventory turns, adds costs, etc.

They do it because unions (primarily) and gvmt regulations made it impossible to do it in the US, or at least in certain states.

This is critical for aviation. While aviation is still not as competitive as consumer electronics (virtually 100% manufactured overseas), or autos (trending to 50% manufactured overseas), it is getting there.

From the Skycatcher to the Dreamliner, the trend is clear, a substantial amount of content is moving overseas and away from union extortion.

It looks like this recession will fix some of the UAW extortion practices. But I don't see anything fixing Boeing's for example.

You should have no doubt that the work WILL flow to the lower cost sites of the world. The only question is if some of them will exist in the US or not.

So far, for auto manufacturing, some sites do pretty well in the sunbelt states. And Boeing spun off Spirit etc there, but more is needed.

fred said...

Billy & baron :

sorry , you are both wrong !

what is needed is balance ...
(in almost anything and everything)

due to the very nature of US economy ,it may be very difficult to lower wages ...

lower wages means a lot of unrest , and eventually , a case where most low-paid workers have nothing left to loose thus refusing to work , pay back their credits , no income tax ...

but at same time they cost a lot to community :lack of production , unrest , riot-police to be paid , geared , moved from places to places ,it can go to some extent as burning down public building , disrupting transportation , etc ...

on the other hand , if production-costs (which is the real matter) can be lowered , why a multinational firm wouldn't take the opportunity ?

this is where where a few evidences have to appear :

Globalization of markets is good ONLY when you are on the good end of the gun ...

Ultra-liberalism IS a failure !

so if you put it back in the USA case :

richness (as in GNP) is made at 76% by consumer's spending ...

spending vastly financed by (unreasonable) credits ...

the vast majority of those spending are made by the "bulk" of peoples ...
(the ones who have so much stress to make ends meet)

peoples who face a simple situation :

They get even less money , they get a job , jobs that won't allow to have a share of the "american dream" by any other mean than "on credit" ...
(until they finally understand that the game is rigged right from beginning , so why fight like a damned ?)

this is NOT a workable solution ! it has some benefits , but only in (very) short term ...
(funnily enough , it might be a good explanation on the WHY of Obama's election = in this case he would have been a Mr Nice elected for the wrong reasons ...)

or

Wages are raised , but it means only two things :

if protectionism is back , prices of US produced goods brings inflation ...(and it needs to put a lot of US workers back to works in fields and factories )

if protectionism is not back in force , US produced goods are not competitive , not even on their own market ...

so , what is the answer :

1° REGULATIONS : for both bosses AND workers ...
not anymore the fight of the mighty against the weak , which is closer to the European System ...

2° Destruction of $ as a form of value :

if the $ has no more value (on international market, inside USA it will keep an "inside value") , the effect is that prices of US produced goods will be affordable by US citizens while becoming very cheap for outside markets ...

off-course , in such a case to have a Production-system working close to its maximum possibilities is a must ... (to maximize the output without depending on foreign importation and to have "something" to sale ... which means a lot of work has to be done on quality of products )

which in return is a quasi-certitude to wave bye to all those too-well paid jobs in services such as Wall-Street and the like ... (not for all of them , but a majority of it)

so (to finish before Mr ColdWet puke like hell ...) the answer is Balance as i believe :

it is probably going to be BOTH of those 2 things ...
in the medium term , USA will adopt somehow something close to the European System ...

because what most seems to fail understanding =

No Action Without Reaction !

it is always better to have a car , a plane or whatever with a sum of average parts ...
than an item with ONLY one part complete-revolution and the rest good for garbage ...

Fpj is a very good example !

fred said...

billy :

It's a "head shaker" (in disbelief), as much as a "fist shaker" (in anger).

well , you say so ...

if now you can have access to who was owner of WTC prior 9/11 , why a few months before "rights" were transfered ... , for how much the building was insured and especially who was the recipient of insurance ...

if you combine those things with the fact that in the WTC compound where was the NYPD & NYFD crisis command center , build to resist a nuclear blast and that this center has been destroyed after the attack while not being touched at any time in the attack ...

then the Anti-french hysteria following (later) has a whole new smell...(not exactly a good one !)

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

Baron,
I believe that position is very myopic, so much so that it is either an exercise to build up confidence in it by repeating it so often people believe it (and wearing out dissent- guess again :), or is the mantra overheard in Dick Cheney's Reaganomics Tiki Bar.

(Watch out for the "Red Ink Koolaid"- it tastes good going down, but there is a BAD hangover afterwards).

But, I appreciate the examples you bring up- some are intriguing, about the auto "transplants", and some less substantiated "better that wages are lower in SC than Detroit".

Stay tuned, economic sports fans !
.)

bill e. goat said...

Fred,
I agree about a middle road approach to the economic delima.

Regarding misdeeds (by those other than the hijackers), I think the appropriate interpretation is:

"Never attribute to malice, that which can be explained by simple ignorance".

Well, perhaps we became a little less ignorant after 9/11, despite the good attempts by the DGSF and others (I think the Israelis as well) to give us a less painful school'n experience.

Regarding anti-French sentiment, I believe it has largely evaporated, and was mostly noise to capture the spotlight on some politicians with attack ads. It's fizzled out, I'm happy to say!

fred said...

billy :

"Never attribute to malice, that which can be explained by simple ignorance".

if you would have added "and/or arrogance" at the end ...

it would have been nearly perfect !


on the economic middle of the road :

ignorance/arrogance works as well ...

i am quite sure that most of your citizens believe to be well-off compared to a lot more others in other lands ...

if for most of planet , it can be true , it is as well where ignorance/arrogance plays a good part ...

you see , in France (as an example , i could do it with lots others , but it would be even more boring that it is now ...)

average Net salary per month = 2.000 Euros or 2730 US$ , today exchange
(this is once tax are taken out , health-care being paid ,no worries to send kids to university [free] and job-insurance included )

it might sounds like small amount in USA ...

but if so , why french average have a debt-ratio of only 1/3 of an american average ...
while being owner of his house (at least one) for 68% of population ...
while traveling a world more and having 5 or 6 times more vacations ?

why is that , for a french average , to experience so much difficulties to get over this average ...?

answer : because it serve national-politicians interests that peoples on both sides see only what is supposed to be , not exactly reality !!

you see ignorance/arrogance on both sides ...

i have been advocating (without any success , unfortunately) for some times that youngsters get out of our High-school system to be given a ticket to anywhere far away , to stay there for a year at least ...

BEFORE getting into university , just to know the smell of living abroad and fully understand what are the + and - of our system = the best way to improve it !

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

i forgot :

arrogance is ALWAYS a form of ignorance ...! but of a special type : the one to make you unable to see your own failure ...

Deep Blue said...

B95 said:

"What the heck is going on with aviation?"

Great post and questions; and it puts EAC in an interesting perspective: why are there so many difficulties getting new designs out the door? VR said it's an "industry that eats its young." Perhaps.

My response to your very strategic question is that risk management has become maybe a bit too sophisticated or perhaps a bit too abstract; in the end, maybe a bit too naive and certainly focused on the short term.

Take Boeing: it's run by an ex-consultant and non-aviation career employee; not an entrepreneur or investor/developer. The place is swarming with consultants giving advice to a Board and some senior execs that don't have enough confidence of their own as to where they want to go. They tore the place apart in an "outsource" effort to save costs (they thought) and are now scrambling to put it back together.

Airbus, similar situation; some less pressure to be on the public stock treadmill (with more government backing) but think about the guts it had to build Concorde, compared to the corporate culture there today.

There's nothing wrong per se with "outsourcing;" "corporate partnering" or "distributed assembly" but it is a sure sign of one over-riding objective: cut cost; save money; increase margin; make something as fast as you can as cheap as you can; it is almost never fundamentally developmental vis-a-vis breakthrough (versus incremental) technology. Of course, you can't blame just the OEM; they live in marketplace that thinks (and demands) the same.

America use to be (because it had to be) a place of fundamental invention; enormous personal risk taking; all against overwhelming odds (look at our space programs of the 1960s versus today). Today it is a high mass consumption consumer society; our core industrial base "outsourced" to China, et al (OK, off my podium.)

You mention Mustang as an exception; it may be. Interestingly, Cessna is one of the most vertically integrated aviation OEMs around (they don't outsource as much, at least for now...).

Another factor (there's several that could be explored here) is competition: there's probably too many manufacturers all killing themselves to make their "numbers" and airplanes coming to market from all over the globe: Brazil, Canada, US, EU, Japan; next China.

In the meantime, where is the blended wing body concept; the hypersonic suborbital transporter; a simple Mach 2 passenger jet? The $849K VLJ!

fred said...

yes , Deep blue !

may be it is the "Culture of success" ?

who wants to try ?
who can stand the risk of being seen as a looser ?

too much to loose when image is gone , sad ... but an effect developed systems ...

the ones in place want to keep benefit , salaries and standard of living ...

this is probably one of the only quality Vern ever had ...

but he was lacking ethics and honesty !!

bill e. goat said...

Deep_Blue,
Good post- ditto for Baron and Fred.

Fred,
Re: arrogance vs ignorance.

Arrogance results in willful ignorance; willful ignorance results in arrogance.

Unintentional ignorance sometimes does, and sometimes does not, result in arrogance.

All three usually have unpleasant outcomes though!!
.)

bill e. goat said...

Although, not to think of all things negatively- sometimes unintentional ignorance permits delightful discoveries to revealed.

(Whereas intentional ignorance usually results in substantially less long-term delight ! :)

baron95 said...

Yes Deep Blue, but the same factors are in play, even more so, in every industry.

Auto manufacturers, electronics manufacturers, etc are under much more severe cost/competitive pressure. Yet, what do we see?

Autos are becoming faster, safer, more fuel efficient, cheaper (adjusted for content), and incredibly more reliable and durable, even in the face of intense competition.

Maybe the answer is that what works for high volume products, does not work for low volume projects.

Maybe aviation is trying too much to emulate the automotive or electronics industry and failing.

Which low volume manufacturing segment has seen huge improvements? Military shipbuilding (building an A380 may be more like building a DDG, than a Ford), is equally plagued with cost/schedule overruns.

Maybe we are losing our ability to handle big industrial projects.

I can't imagine, what would happen, if we had to build the Hoover Dam or the Apollo program today. I'm certain it would take perhaps 10 times longer and cost 20 times more adjusted for inflation.

Sad testament to our civilization.

baron95 said...

Fred manufacturing wages have been going down in the US for decades - there is no sign of unrest (present recession included). Quite the contrary.

It matters not how much you make. What matters is how much stuff you can afford to buy.

In the US, prices (adjusted for content) of consumer goods, food, travel, clothing, furnishings, appliances, cars, etc has been going down much faster than wages.

Housing, healthcare and education are the general exception, because we still have not introduced competition in those areas. But that too will come.

What is now a trickle of Americans seeking education, healthcare and residences abroad will steady increase.

So please GO AHEAD. Cut my salary by 10% over a decade. So long as you cut the prices of clothing, computers, food, TVs, washing machines, building materials, cars, etc by 20% I'm still ahead.

That is the Walmart math. Coolest math since e=mc2

WhyTech said...

"That is the Walmart math. Coolest math since e=mc2"

B95,

I am not one given to lavish praise, but I am compelled to say that when you are on your medication, you are often brilliant.

( The other side of the coin however: off the medication = bizzaro! ;-) )

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

I can't remember if I took the pill today ;)

But I'm in such a boring meeting - I even answered a Fred post.

fred said...

Fred manufacturing wages have been going down in the US for decades

yes , up to now most in the US compensated with credits ...

if the US are in the situation they are now , it is mainly because of this very cause !

don't worry , i won't cut your salary by 10% ...
but i doubt very much you will still be 20 % ahead ...

because WallMart is making so simple Math , that they are mainly chinese ...

the same Chinese who starts to understand that the best way for their political system to remain in power is to develop their own "customer's market" instead of financing your deficits , they could raise their life-level , make their own peoples to spend and by this way remain in power ...

talking about simple math :

with average US citizen the maths are very simple as well :

they are buried under debts (for each $ they make , they spend an average of 1$ 14 cents )

so if there isn't raising in income , somehow ...

how would they save more than the average 49.000$ in pension funds ?
(living with interests on such a sum doesn't allow you to spend much = remember 76% of US GnP is made by consumers ...)

how they are going to repay the few Trillions which has been wasted lately for about no results ?

in fact , you are right ! i am amazed that most didn't realize yet that the game is rigged ...

they make 76% of the GNP of the country , if they stop consuming , they will be told : "sorry , it is a crisis due to the lack of consuming , therefor your job are terminated or your wages are lowered ...!"

but at the same time , wages are not raised to help them "consume" ...

and now crooks banker did took what was left to be stolen to make ponzis ... and pay themselves extra-bonus ...

WOW , americans are much too kind !

we are (you and me) fortunate enough to be above the average ...
still a bit of humility is a + when times are tough !

fred said...

What is now a trickle of Americans seeking education, healthcare and residences abroad will steady increase.wow ...

could you explain me , then , why there is about 20 times more germans + frenchs visiting USA for 13 days in average ...
than there is US citizens visiting Europe in an average of 6,5 days ?

billy was right ...
stop the mantra ...

or i will have to ask you :

"are you trying to convince me or yourself ?"

baron95 said...

Fred asked...could you explain me , then , why there is about 20 times more germans + frenchs visiting USA for 13 days in average ...
than there is US citizens visiting Europe in an average of 6,5 days ?
------------------------------

Sure thing.

Europeans land in America (say MIami, Vegas, etc...) for $20/day they can rent a full size car. For $100/day they can stay in a hotel room with lots of space. They can eat "all you can eat" dinners with free drink refills for $5 (Florida) to FREE (Vegas). They can drive a V8 and pay $2/gallon of gas. They can go to Target or Walmart of Sacks Fifth Ave and load up on products for a fraction of the cost of what the same items cost in Europe. They can do it with convinience e.g. go to Walmart Sunday at 10PM.

A swiss watch in the US costs a fraction of the same watch is Switzerland. French perfume in the US costs a fraction of what it costs in France.

Now, in contrast, an American going to Europe has to pay $50-$100/day for the priviledge of driving a tiny subcompact with an underpowered engine and pay $8-$10/gallon for fuel. Meals, hotels, etc are all incredibly expensive.

We can't buy anything there as it is so much more expensive than the same items in the US.

So there you have it. Lower the freaking prices in Europe and more of us will visit. :)

Black Tulip said...

It is heartening to read these positive comments about improved international relations. Let us hope these discussions lead to ‘hands across the sea’ especially between the United States and Europe. In the interest of fostering even better dialogue may I repeat one of the eternal questions:

“Why are the boulevards of Paris lined with trees?”

“So the Germans can march in the shade.”

baron95 said...

More on Colgan 3407 from the NTSB Briefing.

Pilot had failed his FAA checkrides for: Private Instrument, Commercial, Commercial Multi-engine, ATP on Saab 340.

How the heck does a guy with such poor performance gets hired by an airline?

http://documents.nytimes.com/investigating-the-crash-of-flight-3407#p=1
Anyway this dude pulled power to idle with altitude hold engaged, then hung back on the control column for over 20 seconds while stick shaker, stick pusher and airframe bucking tried to get him to do the right thing.

For crying out loud.

It will be horrible for family member to read and see on the news that their loved ones died due to this level of incompetence.

baron95 said...

BT - the Germans don't "march" anymore.

They now "stroll" like Parisians away from the conflict.

Which is all fine and good. Have to keep them focused on engineering those fine automobiles.

Dave said...

Co-founder Mike Press, a leading VLJ dealer, says New Eclipse is raising sufficient private equity to win Eclipse Aviation’s assets “unless someone comes in and throws $200m down”.

Ceri said...

Why is aviation/space/etc in such bad shape?

Two answers:
1. In the 50s & 60s we were designing to achieve the first 90% (say) of available performance. Now we're focused on the second decimal place, looking for tiny incremental improvements. This means that the designs are optimized to meet the safety factors exactly, rather than overengineering to comfortably exceed them. It's a much more difficult engineering task.

2. To obtain the optimal performance, everything is computerized - design, flight controls, you name it. Digital failure modes are not like analog failure modes - not a graceful degradation of performance, just a scary 'nothing works any more'. That's one reason why it is proving so difficult to come up with a moon mission that has any reasonable timescale - Apollo was nearly all analog, predictable, friendly. Its 21st C replacement - if it happens - will be digital, and will need a bunch of redundancy to achieve the same safety (which we won't actually be able to demonstrate, because it's nearly impossible to establish the safety of a complex digital system of this type).

Third answer: we care more about people dying these days. Kelly Johnson designed a number of aircraft which fulfilled their functions pretty well; but some of them were lethal (to the pilots, I mean). I find it difficult to think of the man who designed the F104 as anything other than rather cold-blooded; ditto the U2. He knew they would kill pilots, but that didn't matter as much in those days. (Or maybe: the exigencies of the Cold War meant that it was acceptable. Take your pick).

Ceri said...

Acutally, now I come to think of it, fourth answer:

Most people can't begin to comprehend how much more complex a large software/hardware system is than a large mechanical system.
However many parts your aircraft has, if you add a fully integrated or fly by wire control system you probably quadrupled the complexity of the system.

The reason the project management seems worse is that the projects are much more complex. That and the fact that people actually try to use MS Project for managing projects, I guess; in which case the project management is probably just worse.

I see I'm BEGing, so I'll shut up again.

airsafetyman said...

"I find it difficult to think of the man who designed the F104 as anything other than rather cold-blooded; ditto the U2."

I believe Kelly Johnson flew in the F-104 himself many times. KJ was an out and out genius. It was originally designed as a day fighter for the USAF. The problems started when Lockheed tried to make it an all-weather interceptor for Euroland. There are still deep craters in Germany where they went in. The Spanish in sunny Iberia had an outstanding safety record with the F-104. The last version with the J-79-19 engine could go supersonic without afterburner - something that the F-22 is claiming it can do now. The "Raptor" is about 54 years late.

bill e. goat said...

Hi Baron, You posted a lot of interesting material today- thanks.
I offer the following posts not as confrontation, but as critical commentary.
-----------------------------------

"Sorry BEG, but that is deeply flawed."

Sorry- I don't see ANY flaw in the argument. At all.
It matches theory, and it matches observation.

So, I will simply repeat what I said before. I believe it illustrates THE central themes of the larger discussion.
-----------------------------------

"The argument you (Baron) present is this: Mr. Sofa, Inc. can sell more sofas, if he can make them cheaper, by hiring cheaper workers.

"My arrangement is this: A $10/hour laborer can't afford to buy as many sofas as a $20/hour laborer. So he buys one from China, and the factory in the US goes out of business.

"What goes unacknowledged is- society is stuck absorbing the cost of low-wage labor, who do not pay as many taxes as higher-income workers, to support infrastructure (schools, health care, police), while the business owner is one who reaps the reward from more sales. The benefit society reaps, is a $190 sofa, instead of a $200 sofa- that's a 5% savings. But wages went from $20/hour to $10/hour- a 50% cut.

"And even that is falsely optimistic, because the public does not benefit from a cheaper sofa- the sofa manufacturer keeps that $10 as extra profit. Worker's salaries are cut in half, yet the sofa costs the same."
-----------------------------------

Baron notes-
" Even if the corporation, in fact made huge profits, they'd be paying equally huge taxes."

I don't know where the "huge profits" comes from; the issue is, profits - huge, or otherwise - either go to the corporation, which pays taxes; or goes to workers in form of wages, who pay taxes. So that issue is a complete wash.

In fact- If one considers the family living on $10/hour, is rather living on $20/hour; the cost to society for food stamps and social services is eliminated- so it is NOT a wash- there is the same tax dollars coming in, and fewer social services dollars going out- a net benefit to the public treasury.

bill e. goat said...

Hi Baron,
Now, for "the rest of the story":
(I had not heard the news; Paul Harvey, September 4, 1918 - February 28, 2009; guess we were too wrapped up in economic events to have noticed).
-----------------------------------

"Mercedes Benz, BMW, Hyundai, etc, would never, ever, even consider assembling cars in the US, if the Southern States they are located in were non-right-to-work states with the UAW work rules and wages."

Yes- and ??
BMW- Spartansburg, SC (X5 and Z4)
MB- Tuscaloosa, AL (M, GL, R)
Huyndai- Montgomery, AL (Sonata and Santa Fe)

I believe the answer is; these products are large vehicles, which don't suite their home markets.

Plus, they get tax incentives in impoverished southern states to locate there.

I suspect there are income tax breaks in the USA for them and/or they don't have to pay as many health care costs- no retirees to pension out, yet. (And, I wonder about what they save in contributions to the expense of a nationalized health care system, like in their home countries.

And, the Japanese originally located here in the 1990's, for fear of quota limitations restricting their sales.

Let's face it- they did not locate where they did as an international good will exercise, they located where they did for maximum profit.

----------------------------------

"Is it not a good thing that wages in SC are lower than in Michigan?"

No- not if you ask the residents of Michigan.
No- not if you ask the residents of South Carolina.
No- not if you ask the residents of Germany.
No- not if you ask the residents of South Korea.

"Isn't it better that there are thousands of auto assembly jobs being created in Alabama and South Carolina, vs in Mexico or China?"

Why, certainly ! Because, it creates $20/hour jobs, instead of $10/hour jobs. Better yet if it created $30/hour jobs in Detroit.
-----------------------------------

"You have the perfect contrast.

"Option A - Keep the unreasonable unions (UAW), wages, benefits, and work rules, and see the auto workforce around Michigan decline from 2M to 200K in two decades.

"Option B - Accept somewhat lower benefits and better work rules and create 100K+ jobs in SC, AL, etc."

Uh, the missing math there: 2M - 200K = 1.8M

Seems like losing 1.8M jobs, but gaining 100K, rather demonstrates the model of the past 20 years is not working very well.
-----------------------------------

"No US corporation WANTS to manufacture half way around the world to serve US consumers. It is a logistics nightmare and expensive. It increases lead time, decrease inventory turns, adds costs, etc. They do it because unions (primarily) and gvmt regulations made it impossible to do it in the US, or at least in certain states."

No, they do it for one reason, and ONLY one reason- maximum short term profits.

Unions don't make it impossible, not at all.
Government doesn't make it impossible, not at all.

They do it simply to maximize short term profits.
-----------------------------------

"This is critical for aviation. While aviation is still not as competitive as consumer electronics (virtually 100% manufactured overseas), or autos (trending to 50% manufactured overseas), it is getting there."

(Well- I'll be darned- we agree on something !! :)
I point out, that there was NO reason to go to overseas manufacturing, except: to maximize short term profits.

"From the Skycatcher to the Dreamliner, the trend is clear, a substantial amount of content is moving overseas and away from union extortion."

The trend is clear- companies will do ANYTHING, including giving away strategically critical corporate, and national, technology, to maximize short term profits.

"It looks like this recession will fix some of the UAW extortion practices. But I don't see anything fixing Boeing's for example."

In an attempt to maximize short term profit, Boeing gave away the farm- outsourced everything to minimize investments, which would have paid off in the long term- but instead, they wanted to maximize short term profits.

"You should have no doubt that the work WILL flow to the lower cost sites of the world. The only question is if some of them will exist in the US or not."

Yes, that is happening. Soon those lower cost sites will provide the same wages as in Mexico. But companies will maximize short term profits. Schools, health care, police protection- will have Mexico-level financial funding, and will soon equal their Mexican equivalents.

"So far, for auto manufacturing, some sites do pretty well in the sunbelt states. And Boeing spun off Spirit etc there, but more is needed."

Something else we agree on! Egad!
.)
-----------------------------------

Baron, you mention unions only 4 times in that post:

UAW work rules and wages
UAW (unreasonable unions)
union extortion.
UAW extortion

Which I gather you think "unions" are responsible for our economic ills.

I, however, have a different mantra for our ills : "maximize short term profit".

I will start using it more frequently.
You will note, I was able to work it in a total of 8 times this post.

I'm not sure if I like "maximize profits", or "maximize short term profits" more (sort of like unreasonable unions, versus extortionist unions... :)

Regarding "union extortion", let's think about what companies do when shopping around for factory locations, the tax incentives they demand of a locality. Boeing did it to Washington state on the 787. You can bet Mercedes, BMW, and Hyundai did the same thing.

Now, I was being a bit (but not too much) contrairian. Baron points out what IS happening, and will probably continue to happen, although I think the argument evades the central issue: a corporation will do anything for self-interest, no matter how it damages the public or the nation- a corporation is UTTERLY self interest, and sometimes self destructive, when focused on short term profit- and one way, the cheapest way, to maximize short term profits, is to maximize exploitation.

bill e. goat said...

Baron (part three- the last one- for today !:)

Hi Baron,
"That is the Walmart math. Coolest math since e=mc2"

Hmmm, try, ZERO instead.

Income versus education; 1991-2003
----------------------------------

Baron,
"So please GO AHEAD. Cut my salary by 10% over a decade. So long as you cut the prices of clothing, computers, food, TVs, washing machines, building materials, cars, etc by 20% I'm still ahead."

Ah, er, ...

"Today's economic malaise caps a prolonged period during which the typical American lost ground.

"From the end of the 2001 recession through last year, median household income fell almost every year even as the economy expanded and individual workers became more productive. The most recent official data indicate that in 2006, half of all families made more than $58,407 and half made less. That compares with an inflation-adjusted peak of $59,398 in 2000.

"This financial stall marked the first time since World War II that the typical family was worse off at the end of an economic expansion than at the start, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a left-of-center think tank in Washington, D.C."
uSA Today, June 08, 2008


"As the graph shows, the average wage rose from $2.40 per hour in 1964 to $15 per hour in 2003.
"BUT
"$15 in 2003 had the same spending power as $2.40 did in 1964."
1964 to 2004
----------------------------------

"What is now a trickle of Americans seeking education, healthcare and residences abroad will steady increase."

Sadly, there go those investment dollars, and jobs- research labs, health research, real estate.

(Nice for us to get "out and about" though ! :)
----------------------------------

"In the US, prices (adjusted for content) of consumer goods, food, travel, clothing, furnishings, appliances, cars, etc has been going down much faster than wages."

You know, there is this thing called the CPI...

Wikipedia, CPI 1910-2008

I hate to break the discouraging news, but prices have been going UP, ever since 1955!!
.)

bill e. goat said...

i Fred,
"lower wages means a lot of unrest , and eventually , a case where most low-paid workers have nothing left to loose thus refusing to work , pay back their credits , no income tax ...but at same time they cost a lot to community :lack of production , unrest , riot-police to be paid , geared , moved from places to places ,it can go to some extent as burning down public building , disrupting transportation , etc ..."

Well put- that was EXACTLY my fear in the late 1990's, with the poverty of the inner cities a stark contrast with the dot.com era boom. I really expected something horrible to ensue, it was then, and still is, the economic slump after 9/11 was a Godsend, and defused the situation before most people recognized it.

What, nobody smelled fire, or even saw smoke? True- but the tender was dry, and all it would have taken would have been a spark. The rain came, and dampened the situation, and now we're all convinced the Arab boogie men are out to get us.

(And some of them are~!)
-----------------------------------

"Globalization of markets is good ONLY when you are on the good end of the gun ...Ultra-liberalism IS a failure !"

I would have to say, I think NAFTA has been an unmitigated disaster for the USA. I was unsure when it was being voted on, good voices on both sides of the issue- my intuition was against it; no more doubt in my mind now.

I am laboring (non-unionized, so far) to come to grips with protectionism, vs the "race to the bottom".

I think you are correct about:

"1) REGULATIONS : for both bosses AND workers ... not anymore the fight of the mighty against the weak , which is closer to the European System ..."

I am less sure about:

"2) Destruction of $ as a form of value : if the $ has no more value (on international market, inside USA it will keep an "inside value") , the effect is that prices of US produced goods will be affordable by US citizens while becoming very cheap for outside markets ..."

Step 1 above is essential, to avoid a "race to the bottom" though!

bill e. goat said...

Make that "Hi" Fred, but
"i" think you know what I mean !
.)

bill e. goat said...

Hi Baron,
"I can't imagine, what would happen, if we had to build the Hoover Dam or the Apollo program today. I'm certain it would take perhaps 10 times longer and cost 20 times more adjusted for inflation."You are sure right (!?!) about that- it will be scary to see how the new Orion and related Constellation will cost;

"The total funding of Project Constellation through 2025, inflation-adjusted and without any other increases to NASA's budget, is estimated at $210 billion"

bill e. goat said...

Hi Ceri,
re: ""Why is aviation/space/etc in such bad shape?"I wouldn't blame digital avionics too much- if the analog stuff were better, OEM's would still be using it.

Boeing did a great job on the 777, and it was fly by wire. Developed almost 15 years ago, delivered on time.

You are right about the greater emphasis on safety and structural and aerodynamic "margins".

But I suspect the real culprit in effective technological development is undue concentration on profit "margins" !

"I see I'm BEGing, so I'll shut up again."Uh, well, thank you !
(I think ! .)

bill e. goat said...

Hi ASM,
Thanks for the interesting bit about the F-104"The last version with the J-79-19 engine could go supersonic without afterburner - something that the F-22 is claiming it can do now. The "Raptor" is about 54 years late."Talk about "losing our way" technologically !!

bill e. goat said...

Thinking about Walmart mathematics a bit more...

If wages have been flat, when one throws in private and public debt, it looks like the "sum of the equation" is not ZERO, but rather a negative number.

(I know keeping track of debt, whether public or private, seems sort of like an exercise in imaginary numbers to some ... :)

One other aspect of household income we have not addressed is both adults working, and working longer hours.

Baron points out that some product quality has gone up, but some has gone down as well ("disposable appliances" we mentioned some time ago).

It's not all bad, but it's not all good either. Zero. I can live with, but I feel we should be progressing as a nation, rather than stagnating.

fred said...

French perfume in the US costs a fraction of what it costs in France.

really , i don't know what you are smoking , but i would like to try !

i suppose you're being right ...

that probably the reason Germans love to build cars they cannot afford ! (are you driving a GM or a chrysler ?)

and the reason why Frenchs are having so many wines and foods ...

= just for the pleasure of sending them abroad ... ! :-)

you are being so right , that i start to wonder if you ever left USA , actually ....

off-course , you may have been somewhere else ...
but probably not long enough or/and a mind open enough to understand this :

In European Union , i know it's a bit amazing , but there electricity in the plug and water in the tap ... ! ;-)

fred said...

"2) Destruction of $ as a form of value billy , didn't meant this is going to happen ( thus i could bet on it )

more that it has all the aspect of a logical move for any US admin. over the next few years ...

it present almost only advantages :

debts are libeled in $

Trade deficits would be cured if the Walmart (chinese) product would double or triple in term of US purchasing cost ...

it would cure as well the dilemma of USA , now = why bother trying to produce anything good since we can buy it for cheaper if from abroad (productive eco. VS services eco.)

etc...

fred said...

I think NAFTA has been an unmitigated disaster for the USA.

well , i wouldn't be so sure ...

i would be incline to believe that as usual it has some good and bad ...

bad which have just been amplified by the aspect of "Ultra-liberalism" in USA lately ...

this means to maximize ONLY the short term benefits ...

and when short-term is already too far away in future : make it even shorter term !

as example:
this is one the reason of the "electric black-out" experienced in USA already a few times ...

a sane approach to this kind of business would be something like :
make profits , spend some of those profits to maintain what already exist , spend some more for investments and research ,spend most of what is left to make the system better

Ultra-liberal approach : i put one million $ on table today , i want to amortize it within the next XX months ...
anyone asking for anything contradicting this aim get an answer in form of "screw you!"

on this , yes , you're right it has many aspect of a race to the bottom ...!

Afterburner said...

Reaganomics? Obamanomics? French Perfume?

Must have been away from the blog for a while...

Where is Ken? At least he talked about Eclipse...

--burner

Dave Ivedorne said...

Where is Ken? At least he talked about Eclipse...

So true.

Kids these days!

They never call, they never write...

I s'pect Ken is busy working, so he can afford whatever input is necessary to get his little bird airborne again. ( I don't categorically know that 85SM is down - but if he was flying the blasted thing, wouldn't he have stopped by to talk about it? )

DI

fred said...

wouldn't he have stopped by to talk about it?

yeah , sure ...

with many details on how many teaspoon of fuel he saved ...

or on how many miles more he did , with the same teaspoon ...

and on how much bigger his thing is compare to ours ...

oops ... that an other subject and an other person ... ! ;-)

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Fred can you please stop pinging my Eurodouche meter?

Thanks

baron95 said...

Ceri,

Interesting comments on digital vs analog and trying to extract the last few percentage points in performance.

However, that still fails to explain, why other industries seem to be able to pull it off.

My car has 10 or 12 airbags (I forgot how many), each controlled by a variety of accelerometers, sensor inputs, including some that measure the weight of the front passenger, the distance of their face and bodies from the dash, etc to decide when and how to deploy. It has stability controls measuring and controlling yaw angles, power distribution and brake application to the wheels. It has on-screen navigation, weather and traffic alerts, a variety of entertainment devices a highly stressed many hundreds of horsepower power train, etc, etc, etc. It's structure is a combination of various materials from multiple grades of steel, aluminum, composites, etc, all perfectly placed and stressed by computer design. It is designed to deform in precisely controlled manner to the point that a 70MPH crash into a stopped similar car is basically a non-event to ocupants.

And it all works all the time, every time.

So why would aerospace have any trouble with digital technology and meeting cost and schedule.

Jaguar and Porsche are relatively low volume manufactures. Ferrari and Lambo are truly low volume, on the scale of GA/BizAv volumes. Yet, you don't read about these folks standing still in performance for decades or missing development schedules by 400%.

There has to be something fundamentally wrong with Aviation projects as of late. They are not performing on par with other industries.

And that is sad.

Regulation is a reason.

Low volumes is a reason.

But that hardly explains the whole thing IMHO.

fred said...

sorry you've lost me here ...

what is "Eurodouche" ?

baron95 said...

BEG, assignment for you.

What percentage of the worldwide auto production was done by UAW workers in 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 (est).

Got my drift?

So what is the problem?

It can't be corporate culture or executives? GM kicks ass in Brazil. Ford is competitive in Europe.

It can't be the US worker. The non-UAW US assembly plants in the South have great productivity and quality.

The ONLY constant in the US auto operations that substantially underperform the market and lose market share are UAW/CAW plants.

Why is that?

Freaking coincidence?

bill e. goat said...

Baron,
Assignment received- thanks.

One for you:
Why is Saturn being shut down?

You were saying something about...unions instead of management?

bill e. goat said...

Fred,
I'm not sure either- I think it means "patience of a saint".

(Yesterday, you mentioning something about arrogance...)

bill e. goat said...

Baron,
Uh, was it the UAW that broke Eclipse also ???

No doubt, the overtrained and overpaid 12 week grads (kudos to them, but the way).

But if they would have only worked for $5/hour, and lived off of free sodas, EAC surely would have made it.

bill e. goat said...

Uh, but, re: Mustang vs Eclipse, isn't ah, Cessna unionized?

What was that again, union? Management??

Don't change your socks- I'd hate to see you ruin another pair !
.)

baron95 said...

Oh, one last thing....

Before someone repeats the argument that lack of national health care, progressive tax rates, blah, blah, blah have ANYTHING to do with it....

Let me just point out that the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers) union in Canada which has national health care and some other European style constructs, has EXACTLY The same issues as the UAW.

I should change my question from UAW to UAW/CAW.

baron95 said...

BEG, I don't think Saturn will be shut down.

I think Saturn can do very well as a distribution channel for foreign brands.

I welcome the dissociation of dealerships from automakers.

Dealerships should be like Best Buy. The dealer selects how to stock the shelves.

So I believe the Saturn Brand/Dealer will be spun off and will source cars from overseas brands. You may not like that some of them will prob be Chinese products, but the concept is sound. A nice experiment.

My candidates for Saturn:

Fisher Karma
Lotus
Chinese (in a few years after they learn to build safer cars) SUV and subcompact.
Saab (perhaps)

It could work. And it could set a nice trend.

Another benefit of the latest recession.

baron95 said...

As to linking UAW/CAW and Eclipse, even I will have a tough time making the connection.

However, I'll say this....

Aerospace corporations HAVE HAD to locate assembly sites AWAY from the concentration of skilled aerospace workers in order to seek:

1 - States with more open labor laws/costs (compared to the Union-sponsored restrictions in CA, mid-west, Washington, etc).

2 - Ditto for taxes.

3 - To distance themselves from union organizers, tactics and workers.

THAT, probably contributed to the Eclipse demise, as experienced workers and an experienced supply chain could have made a difference.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if Boeing et al were not so militantly unionized, and Washington State et al was not so restrictive and over regulated, Eclipse migh have chosen to locate near Boeing or in Wichita or in Tolouse or in São Jose dos Campos and taken advantage of the experienced pool of aerospace engineers, assembly line workers, suppliers, manufacturing experts in those areas and succeeded.

Who knows.

But the very fact that business are forced by union extortionist wages, benefits, rules and sponsored-restrictive-regulation, to locate in sub-optimum locations (from a human resources standpoint) CAN contribute to failure.

So there is you union-Eclipse link.

How did you like that?

gadfly said...

baron

Your thinking of Eclipse locating in Washington has great merit. But the decision to come to New Mexico had some other possibilities . . . the best politicians that money can buy, and the need to hide the lack of expertise in aircraft design/manufacturing from those that are able to quickly observe the problems, and expose them.

Your thoughts and comments?

gadfly

fred said...

This is Hilarious ...

if you want to have skilled workers = you need to pay them ...

if you don't , one day you open the doors of your firm just to be amazed that almost all employees are "exotics" , you can feel lucky if they know how to count after 3 ...

Ps: this argument about Unions and car-makers is a non-sens ...
did you know that the Car-maker you love so much , is NEVER taking any decision without a talk before with local union ...

instead of UAW , it is called IG-Metal ...

so you see , without workers = there is no boss ...
without boss = there isn't any workers ...

it is a synergy before anything else , failing to understand this only lead you in the mess you are now !

if there isn't any well paid jobs in mass for average peoples :

who is going to buy what you sell in order to get rich yourself ?

simple answer : no one and you won't get rich , either ...

fred said...

Mr GadFly ...

admirable !

for sure , if Wedge would have been among experts , it would have been a lot more brief !

fred said...

Billy :

thanks for the explanation ...

i was afraid it would have been a mention of "Douche" (shower)

so it it would have made "euro-shower" ...

good grace , we are not that modern over here ... still the good old bucket of icy water !

may be one of the reason why so many of this side go to your side to "taste modern way of life " ... ;-))

baron95 said...

That is absolutely not true Fred.

Mercedes Benz just decided to downsize the Alabama plant that built my last MB (R500) without talking to ANY union. Simply because there is no UAW or any other union there.

You seem to always preach an "international view", but you seem to pretty cocooned in Europe to notice that the world has changed and is changing very fast.

The fact that Mercedes/BMW/Porsche/Audi extreme engineering talent combined with the German extreme export incentives and YES the productivity of the German assembly line workers is mitigating the competitive effects, doesn't mean it is not happening.

All the above companies are shifting production to non-unionized locales and will continue to do so.

airsafetyman said...

Lets see, Boeing makes the 777 with unionized workers and unionized engineers and it works out superbly, but then Boeing decides to move their headquarters to Chicago (WTF?), outsource pretty much everything, spinoff the Wichita subsidary so that workers can reapply for their old jobs under "new" management, outsource virtually everything to third world gomers, hire a CEO with a Harvard MBA and NO experience in aircraft manufacturing who then gives a plastic airplane the green light. The program/company craters and it's all the fault of the union? Think Ive got it now.

baron95 said...

ASM. Nope.

The 787 fiasco (to date) is entirely the fault of poor execution and supplier oversight on the part of Boeing.

But again, if the unionized workforce at Boeing was, lets say, easier to work with, Boeing might have chosen a different (more effective) work share.

So yep. Mgmt screwed up this one big time. Hopefully they'll will recover. And hopefully they'll do better next time.

Toyota and Honda also had a terrible time when they first came to America - now few will argue that was a good choice.

You should have NO DOUBTS, that unless the Boeing unions make substantial concessions, their work share on BCA projects will continue to go down.

Yes, the US gov still forces the military side of Boeing to manufacturer here and that is a market anomaly that provides some union protection.

But the trend is clear.

If you want to have crazy work rules, full defined benefit pensions, job banks, seniority rules and the likes, you better be either incredibly productive (e.g. German auto workers), be in a protected job (e.g. defense, public education) or milk your bargaining power while your company out of business (e.g. PanAm, Eastern, Chrysler, etc).

Yes, govmt can delay the inevitable like Obama is doing with Chrysler. But at some point the forces are just too great.

gadfly said...

Some remarks were made concerning “Kelly Johnson” . . . and terms were expressed that maybe he was “cold blooded . . . but that didn’t matter as much in those days”.

The “gadfly” has fought hard to bite his tongue, and refrain from comment. But I cannot remain silent. My conscience will not allow it.

“Back in those days”, and before, my own father was working on one of Kelly Johnson’s famous aircraft, the YP-38 “Lightning” fighter/bomber” . . . and a test pilot was killed while testing the aircraft, then in an accelerated program to get it into the hands of our military to stop the killing of tens of thousands of people, throughout the European and Pacific theaters of war. The death of that single test pilot was taken as a serious matter, but the project was not interrupted for the sake of “one”, and fear that another might be lost. Improvements were made, based on the knowledge of the time, and aviation moved forward at a phenomenal pace. (The “gadfly” was about five or six years old at the time . . . so please forgive my memory about the accuracy of the events as they happened . . . I can only tell it as I remember it.)

[For perspective, the “War” began in 1939, or shortly before, and was over in late 1945 . . . more was done in aircraft technology in that short period than probably any other period in history, except for the short period of time that Orville and Wilbur financed and invented the first practical powered aircraft, that initiated most of what we now understand as “aviation”.]

“Cold blooded” is a strange term to apply to those who went through those desperate times, when life was extremely precious, and every death was honored and displayed with those gold stars in windows . . . and us little kids, attempting to figure out our world, with “blackouts”, “ration coupons”, and aircraft with guns flying over our house on a daily basis, fresh off the assembly line at Lockheed, and on their way to England, or across the Pacific.

Today, of last count, our own nation has made it legal to “have a choice” . . . and a few tens of millions have never been allowed to take their first breath . . . and our “president” is on record (at least three times in Illinois) for approving the throwing into the trash, those that survived the first round, but were previously slated for termination.

This is supposed to be a discussion of “Eclipse Aviation”, but of late a wide circle of topics has been drawn into the net . . . and some of you folks have forgotten, and touched on areas of much greater concern than the little bird from ABQ.

gadfly

(And as some of you know, I served in the Submarine Service, when we had to “hide” from our own ASW Lockheed P2V Neptunes, and Lockheed Constellations, sneaking under the “DEW” line (Defense Early Warning), to travel thousands of miles to spy on the nation that promised to “bury us”, inside their own harbors. So, the value of life is not a casual thing, for me, nor is the sacrifice of “One” to save the many, taken lightly.)

gadfly said...

Post Script is generally understood to be some “after thought” (an “after writing”) that occurred after the main text of a letter . . . but I plead guilty, of using it as a ruse to place further thought into your brains . . . and thought processes.

Maybe the discussions that have been stimulated will go beyond the subjects that would seem most apparent (I speak as to people of above average intelligence):

The discussions of late, and earlier, have dealt with business ethics (paramount, for sure), technology, manufacturing (little understood within the confines of the little jet), metallurgy (understood in theory, but not practice), machining (“yes” and “no”), overall design and integration (“yes”, sorta, and “no”, in spades), management and training of personnel (“What? . . . such a thing exists?) . . . and the list could go on forever (“sorta”).

So, here we are . . . standing around (or sitting, if your arthritis affects you like mine . . . and that scar tissue from a quintuple bypass . . . “Man, I could do without that!”), waiting for someone to appear on the platform, say some kind words about the departed, and get on with the ceremony.

For those of you have been hoping for a “resurrection from the dead”, you better be following along in the Holy Scriptures, and the invitation given, and not a game plan for the recently deceased little jet from ABQ, because me thinks you will be most disappointed.

Based on the best understanding of technology, overall knowledge of things that make heavier-than-air-devices fly, and other mysterious studies, this parrot is among the departed . . . little question about it.

gadfly

(The “Brit” was right . . . the bird has, indeed, dropped off the twig.)

Shane Price said...

Service (or lack thereof) Snippet

The following email reached me (indirectly, I hasten to add) and I thought it might be 'illuminating' to share it with you. While the tone is hopeful, the message is pretty bleak.

Good evening from the Eclipse 500 Team.

We have started on a very stressful venture to try and support Eclipse 500 Aircraft. Check us out at www.eclipse500service.com we are currently in search of a few items to help. We are taking the necessary steps so we can put as many left over folks to work as possible. We Have gotten our paperwork strait and stc’d the Garmin install on the Eclipse 500 Aircraft, we are lacking a couple things and are reaching out to ex eclipse support to try and fill the gaps.

The following are some key components to the rest of what we are looking for, to help speed things up.

EFIS 1.5.1

500-99-004 FIKI

500-52-009 Cabin Door Proximity Sensor Upgrade

500-31-016 Instrument Panel, Left Red Electrical Switches

500-11-005 Bilingual Placards (as required) Where was eclipse getting placards anyway?

500-34-020 Standby Attitude, Altitude and Airspeed Package

500-11-004 Fireproof Identification Plate (as required)

500-31-XXX ACS Software Update (includes trim in motion update)

500-73-003 FADEC 4.04 Software Update

Other than that we are all set and will push on. But in hopes to put things together faster we were hoping that some ex eclipsers would maybe help out a little. We have aircraft lined up and are just waiting for all the pieces to fall. We also have legal support insurance and established engineering firms willing to support.

We as Eclipse 500 Service as will to put people back to work soon, and we will take the hit for liability, per our attorneys we are well within our rights to perform the work we are doing and planning to do.


I've one small piece of advice. Never trust a lawyer who says 'you're well within your rights' as what he's really forward to is a boost for his retirement fund when you get sued.

By another lawyer, who's decided the opposite.

Shane

baron95 said...

Hear, Hear, Gadfly.

One should be careful to judge those from the past or different circumstances using our present standards.

Different times, different circumstances, different standards.

As to innovation in aviation from 39-45 being the very top, I may disagree.

I think the beginning of the real jet age say 57-63 with the 707 and the Century fighters and the space program were breathtaking.

RonRoe said...

bill e. goat says,
"Uh, but, re: Mustang vs Eclipse, isn't ah, Cessna unionized?"

Goat,

The Mustang is built in Independence, Kansas, at Cessna's NON-union plant.

Ken Meyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Meyer said...

Dave wrote, "I s'pect Ken is busy working, so he can afford whatever input is necessary to get his little bird airborne again. ( I don't categorically know that 85SM is down - but if he was flying the blasted thing, wouldn't he have stopped by to talk about it? )"
Bad guess. Actually, I am a little to busy to check in very often here right now, but the plane's been flying great. Here's a shot I took Sunday over the Sierras:

Sierras from Eclipse at 36,000 feet 5-10-09
We shot this one departing the Bay Area yesterday:

Eclipse leaving Bay Area 5-12-09
And this one from a few hours ago shows the plane does a nice, honest 365 knots at FL 350 (we were getting better than 6 MPG):

Eclipse panel 5-13-09
Still love it.

Ken

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

Shane

When lawyers inherit the world, who are they goin’ to sue? Me thinks they don’t want to inherit anything . . . they know that they will lose the ultimate case (And I have that on good Authority).

baron

You do not disappoint . . . you came through, as I knew you would. I could only speak as an “eye witness”, and not as an authority from another time. Oh wait! . . . I was working for United at the time you mentioned, and “loading” those “720's” and “DC-8's, etc. . . . and they were most impressive, to be sure . . . but I’ll stand by my earlier comments, even though my own father had many inventions/patents in the aircraft you mention. He did not live long enough to know how much he contributed to the things you mentioned . . . and maybe that’s good enough.

gadfly

(The day they allowed us, as employee’s to visit the first “Boeing 727" . . . that was a day to remember. The thing sat there at “ORD” . . . and we made our way around this beast . . . the “Fowler” flaps seemed to extend down to the ground, in three sections (inboard), then another group of two, with Krueger leading edge flaps, along the inboard third of the leading edges, and “slats” extended from there, outward. The pilot spoke, not of “degree of flaps”, but of “percent of wing dis-assembly” . . . and we knew he was not kidding. For another couple years, when that aircraft returned from the first “round the world trip” showing off its feathers, I would spend many a day, and cold winter night, loading and un-loading those birds, outside the “Windy City”, at all hours. Yes, baron, those were excellent days . . . but considering the times, the early days of WWII were beyond belief, to any who did not live in that time . . . and all without computers.)

Ken

Your work is most worthy. And if we could "humanize" the little bird, the term "hospice" would have much relevance to your continuing support. But, of course, it's only a collection of metal and human technology, and an investment of money. Sometimes, it's best to simply walk away . . . and get on with better things.

May 13, 2009 3:46 PM

RonRoe said...

gadfly said,
"Sometimes, it's best to simply walk away . . . and get on with better things."

Gad,

You give good advice, but it seems like you don't take your own advice. If your mission here was to warn people away from the company and airplane you despise, then "Mission Accomplished" and job well done.

But the corporation you loathe is now defunct. And if there is anyone who isn't aware of the shortcomings of the E500 by now, then they have no business messing around with them.

So, why not take a well-deserved break? Why not give it a rest?

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

But that hardly explains the whole thing IMHO.

tolerances are a much bigger issue in aviation... cause when something fails and you (may )die.

this effects design, testing, mnanufacturing and overall approaches to things... very tough

also

competitive aqdvantages from new designes, configurations, or systems, take a hell of a long time, and require extensive prooving - and must deliver an advantage in an already confined market space.

Its a lot more expensive to develop advantages in lower risk tolerant environment of aerospace, and the low volume makes the price hit for planes really damning. So, you better make damn well sure your advantages are real, not based on crazy production, and you need a long time to infuse the technologies into the products, OR, you lose $3B and 12 years trying.

In the end, the advantages need to be significant compared to the existing products - price needs to be halved, speed needs to be 30% greater, cabin volume needs to be much bigger, fuel burn needs to be 30% better... etc.. for it to make any appreciable mark on GA.

Otherwise, you have a niche product... and this automatically results in risk. Pricing risk, obsolesence, etc.

Just my 2 cents.

did you miss me?

bill e. goat said...

Oh Ron...
"All of the components and subsections of the Mustang are built in Wichita and shipped to Independence for assembly."
Flying Magazine, September 2006

"Production is ramping up at the Independence, Kansas plant opened in 1995 to build Cessna's piston singles. This was chosen because the main Wichita plant did not have the capacity to build the Mustang in the volume expected, but also because the Independence workforce is used to building essentially standard aircraft, rather than the customised jets Wichita produces."
Flight International, Oct 17, 2006

"Look for, the union label..."

:)

gadfly said...

RonRoe

"So, why not take a well-deserved break? Why not give it a rest?"

Would it be all that simple! The little bird has done serious damage to the community in which I live, and have a business. It has affected all of us . . . and we attempt to clean up the mess, and recover . . . Not so easy to do!

gadfly

(And do not forget, that as taxpayers, many of us do not wish to pay out more for a lost cause . . . we already paid our "dues" . . . and have a firm suspicion that we'll be charged a second . . . and third time.)

michal said...

Eclipse panel 5-13-09
Still love it.
Ken
Very nice photos. But it looks like VOR-to-VOR navigation.

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

Airsafetyman:

You nailed it concerning Boeing 787 failures.

B95:

Unions/work rules (not necessarily 'employees' and who, BTW, at these companies, including the 'CEO' isn't an employee?) are indeed causal to productivity and production cost, as you nicely point out with MBenze in Alabama.

But fundamental strategy (the 787 program for example) is a function of management judgment; however as as ASM said (I believe) there's an overwhelming interest in 90-day financial reporting versus hitting earnings with CAPEX.

As for your excellent and provocative comments concerning automotive features and technology development, versus aviation's relative stagnation, my first thought was:

you're almost sounding like EAC.

(i.e. copy auto or computers; design, e.g. auto models; and production, e.g. Dell, where McConnell came from) and fundamentally lower the cost of production and stimulate demand.

But the missing ingredient between auto and GA is indeed demand: millions upon millions of regular, reliable auto buyers across all business cycle (globally); versus as aircraft purchasing which looks more like cyclical capital investment due its relatively high cost.

Time for some blasphemy:

Vern was right. Just too early.

baron95 said...

Hey Ken - I'm in Alameda this week - you must have flown overhead ;)

Too bad I have to fly AA back home tomorrow - I'd rather be in a VLJ doing the flying.

How many hours do you have on the bird now? You seem to be getting quite a bit of use from it.

baron95 said...

Gad said...The pilot spoke, not of “degree of flaps”, but of “percent of wing dis-assembly”
-----------------------

Gad, thank you for that nugget. I've never heard it before, but I can see how it would apply perfectly for that wing.

The 727 was not one of my favorite planes, but boy, you had to respect that wing. We now forget how radical a shape that tri-jet had when it came out. And that wing just makes my point. I mean there was no CFD, no FEA, yet that wing was a marvel of efficiency. The high lift devices were equally impressive.

It took the awesome B757 (my favorite narrowbody) to dethrone the 727. Another baby with incredible wing performance. So much so, other planes must maintain a "special" distance behind her or they risk being on their backs in 0.6 seconds.

baron95 said...

Hey DB, not advocating copying auto industry at all. Just contrasting.

As for volume, it goes hand and had with price. BUT there is an elasticity limit there, that is not that great in aviation - the barriers to growth (pilot requirements, airport limits, ATC limits, etc) are great.

Computer use exploded when it moved from the main-frame/mini-computer data-center to the PC-table-top format with the corresponding drop in price by a factor of 100 to 10,000.

Automobile dissemination started in force when Ford caused a price discontinuity with the M-T and was copied by others.

GA took off when there was all the surplus pilots and planes from the war.

Personal jets are "trying to appear", but, in my view, they need another round of engine, avionics, systems tweaking.

If we put the Phenom 100 Prodigy avionics and single sheet checklists on a D-Jet-size airframe pushed by a single PWC-619-3 (yet to be built), we may get a bit closer. But prob not enough.

A fixed geat and/or auto flap configuration, always on auto pilot, relaxed FAA certification and the emergence of 100 hrs ZERO TIME TO IFR FAA approved flight training, with 50%+ on full motion sims, would probably be needed.

Chances of it happening in 20 years? 1 in 5.

fred said...

Baron :

Wake-up ... my little son ...

when i was talking about your loved little car (AMG) i was referring to IG-Metal ...

as far as i know :

IG-Metal is NOT a US Union ...

Mercedes-benz is NOT a US firm ...

so if we see the car from Benz (and its special section AMG with no plant in USA) being your loved car = it must be painful for you that the MAIN plants of the manufacturer are managed in such a style that it has been a reference in European Union of a successful firm working with unions ...

Alabama being downsized ? i thought you , on the other side were the ones with the purchasing power ?

it must be an other case of "manufacturing half-way across the world ..." to make more profits ...

wait a second , they do not transfer the production capacity to China , but to Germany ...

Country well known for its way of dealing with Unions ...

the biggest one being named IG-Metal !
(sorry "International" is not restricted to your belly-button)

it seems to me that you are advocating something like :

"No unions at all" and "better made abroad than here with unions"

at same time , if you DO NOT pay well your workers , what is to be expected is : they leave you for better ...

this is where i don't really understand your hate against Unions ...

is that an effect of your "Black or White ; Friend or Foe"

or an effect of my lack of understanding ...

i am neither for or against Unions , just say it is a SYNERGY , if both parts fail to work "cleverly TOGETHER " then you are in for a mess ...

may be you should try to REALLY understand "How" it work in some other lands ...

and NOT the nightmare that has been put into your mind what your system ...

Not like an american in europe or an european in USA ...

at least , you wouldn't be stating such non-sens as "the perfume" one ...!

baron95 said...

Sorry Fred, I can't follow you.

I just told you, and gave you the example, of Mercedes moving production to non-union, right to work states in the US and hiring, firing, setting wages, with no consultation with Unions. Mercedes workforce in those facilities will closely matched the ACTUAL demand for the cars produced there and will rise and fall as such.

They will NOT have fake job banks or pay people to do nothing like at UAW and IG-Metal plants.

Therefore, over time, MB will have more "free market" plants and less "straight-jacketed" plants, unless IG-Metal adapts and concedes (which they are doing some).

MB will also form alliances (with BMW already announced) to cooperate on power-trains and other technologies like EV propulsion. That will further reduce the need for IG-Metal controlled plants.

Same assignment that BEG got on tracing the percentage of worldwide auto production produced on UAW/CAW plants over the decades, to you.

Figure out, what percentage of MB production is done on IG-Metal controlled facilities in say 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 (est). See the trend?

fred said...

They will NOT have fake job banks or pay people to do nothing like at UAW and IG-Metal plants well , you lost me , here ...

since Germany is the country with the world second best result on exportation ...

since IG-Metal is one biggest Union in Germany ...

Since in Germany , everything producing something is either with IG-Metal or with Verdi (the second "Big" Union )

i do not really see how they can achieve this result ...

may be , Union aren't so demoniac ? ;-)

MB is still making the BIGGEST part of its production in Germany ...
(Including your loved ones : AMG)

so may be , it is your view of what is Union-role which is very americanized ...!

in Germany , it works quite well that way ...

fred said...

you see , in German language , words explain a lot ...

you probably have noticed that Germans firms names are followed by "A.G." for Aktiengesellschaft ...

Gesellschaft is the meaning for :

Firms
Community or Company ( in the way : in good company of nice , friendly , etc peoples having a common aim ...)

so here you might have a start of explanation WHY a German firm is traditionally NOT always trying to screw as much as possible its workers ...

but you give a whole new light of an interview of Carlos Goshn (the CEO of Nissan/Renault) talking about when he took over the US Nissan plant ...

he said that the first thing he had to work "beyond his imagination" was the exchange staff and management had together , and to scrape all the conflicting relations they had together !

curiously , the one from BMW said about the same of his own plant in USA ...

go wonder ...

fred said...

i forgot :

Carlos Goshn : Brazilo-lebaneese guy bearing a french passport and acting as CEO of a Japanese firm ...

don't know about you , but to me that sounds quite international ! ;-)

airtaximan said...

"Personal jets are "trying to appear", but, in my view, they need another round of engine, avionics, systems tweaking."

the definition of "personal jet" is curious - to me anyway...

Is a personal jet one that is by definition affordable for persaonl acquasition and use? As opposed to a professionally pilotted jet?

Is a personal jet on that is tailored for a personal mission?

Seems like, we'd do well to examine this issue, because perhaps we already have "personal" jets. just not affordable (enough) ones...

Does the plan really need to be miniaturized?

Does the plane really need to be payload range limited?

Or

Does it just need to be cheaper?

How much cheaper?
Does anyone know?

If perhaps, say a real OEM came to the table and said, I am going to produce 1000 of X model that we ususally make 100 of - next year and sell them for 1/3 the price? Would this work?

Or do we really need another round of new technologies to bring the cost and weight down in order to have a personal jet?

This whole rationale is suspect to me... if its about price... there are probably easier ways to get to the "persoanlly-priced" jet... and its by increasing its utility (and corresponding market size), not decreasing it...

IMO

baron95 said...

ATM, the characteristics of a personal jet and, most importantly the "personal jet enabling environment" are:

1 - Ease of Operation, by non-professional pilots, that may fly as low as 25-50 hrs per year, which seems to be the new non-professional yearly average.

2 - Training programs tailored for busy, but driven individuals. E.g. Marathon weekend sim sessions, Marathon weekend actual approaches to 15 different airports, mentoring.

3 - Support environment including a/c mgmt, insurance, recurrent training, dispatching sonsulting (e.g. international flying, personalized route briefing including altitude selection around winds, weather).

4 - A ready pool of fractional, partnership mgmt, leasing and financing to make different forms of ownership easy.

5 - All in price with much longer warranties (e.g. 5 years+ with everything but fluids included on price or based on annual + by the hour).

6 - Lexus stile FBOs with ready rental car, etc at more "personal" destinations.

7 - FAA approval for 100hrs ZERO to IFR training with heavy SIM use, with all training on jets.

8 - Elimination or simplification of type rating for jets under 6,000 lbs and a few other conditions.

So, you see, it is the environment and industry mind set.

I think the planes need to be much simpler still. There should be a single-engine, fixed gear training and sub-600mile jet. A single engine 1000 nm 4 pax jet, and so on.

These jets should have single page normal and emergency procedures checklists. Option for always on A/Ps, synthetic/enhanced vision, GPWS, traffic, probably auto flap configuration, and hopefully FBW with control law preventing out of envelop operation, auto depressurization descent, etc.

I know it is all a tall order, but until most if not all of the elements are in place, personal GA/personal jet will be a miniscule and diminishing economic sector.

I know some of the old timers and experinced pilots think all of the above is BS.

Thing is, if you walk up to the average airline captain and ask him to "go get that 757 that is parked over there and fly it to Brussels on your own", they'd have no idea how to do it.

They are used to have a whole department in charge of maintaining the planes, another one making sure it is legal, another one making sure payments are currents, another one in charge of making sure it is fueled and paying for fuel, another one analyzing the weather and winds, filing flight plans, securing landing and over flight permits, etc, etc, etc, another one in charge of scheduling recurrent training, line checks, etc.

If an airline captain needs that much help to fly a jet, shouldn't a personal flyer have AT LEAST that much backup if not a whole lot more?

baron95 said...

Fred said...MB is still making the BIGGEST part of its production in Germany ...
----------------------

Operative word - STILL. I'm glad you phrased it properly. ;)

But don't take me wrong, I have absolutely no problems with IG-Metal or unions in general. My issue is when the "few" that are in, make such uncompetitive demands, that the whole enterprise is destined to fail.

That was absolutely true with the UAW/CAW the second competition came in.

It is NOT yet true with IG-Metal and the Boeing unions for example, for the most part. I think they are more productive, better informed, less militant, but most importantly subject to less competition.

And I do love those German, British and Italian (some) cars. They are awesome. And I am on the side of anyone involved on designing and building them.

I support them every year or two with my hard earned money, and will likely to continue to reward them in the foreseable future.

But I like it much better when they are assembled in free country by free workers like Alabama or South Carolina USA.

I gave them a shot with the Alabama built R500 for the kid-mobile. Came close to replacing it with the Alabama built G550, but found it too boring. The AMG got downsized to an Ian Callum designed Tata car.

fred said...

Billy :

being from both sides :

i can give you some data to be amazed about (in baron's view !)

do you know why france is so messy when it comes to work related things ?

do you know why in germany the same topics are almost always treated and resolved in a peaceful atmosphere ?

simple to understand :

in france less than 10% of working population is in unions ...

in germany about 14% of working population is NOT in unions ...

so it is a bit like "Man 's plug" story : the one who talk the most about is always the one to have the smallest one ! ;-)

airtaximan said...

BAron... seems like you pretty much left the real issue by the wayside...

How much does the plane need to cost and cost to operate, so that folks will really prefer a jet to a prop?

Payload range?
Price?
Op cost?

Once you settle this, you can determine if a wholesale modification of the opspec and safety/training aspects of the industry are worthwhile...

My sense is, a prop is fine for the personal jet mission, except for some minor issues of inconvenience... as yu pointed out.

At what price does it make sense to have wholesale modification of the "mindset"... a $1M twinjet? HOw many would be sold? $2M? etc...

I think jets are for a certain mission, and think so are props... same for pricing... and who drives...

IF you want a lower priced jet, the best way is find a huge market - this is my only point. It probably comes from more as opposed to less utility. Another point.

gadfly said...

It would seem that an entry level “private jet” would need to have most of the following:

Four place/750 payload, plus full fuel . . . twin engine . . . 30,000 ft ceiling/ 330knot cruise/900 nm range . . . Garmin plus Steam gages . . . under $1.2 million . . . “potty” . . . oversize landing gear/anti-lock braking/rivet construction . . . comes with a roll of bailing wire/a “Model Tee” wrench/ and a first aid kit . . . and guaranteed not to rip, run, or bag at the knees. Oh yeh . . . leave it “shiny” aluminum . . . looks great, easy to spot in the mountains, and (most important) easy to inspect . . . and a lot cheaper to produce.

In other words, as simple and safe as possible . . . and do what the “J3" or “Cessna 150" did to get folks safely into the air in the 1940's and 1950's.

gadfly

(And don’t attempt to make it a replacement for the “Checker Marathon” of taxis.)

(Don’t nit pick over details . . . you get the idea . . . fill in your own numbers, but keep it simple and safe. And forget the economy stuff . . . no entry level pilot/owner is going to fly the thing enough to save any fuel costs versus investment . . . that’s a myth!)

gadfly said...

A footnote to the earlier comments:

In spite of the selection of the Williams engine . . . there is a silver lining to that selection. What is the normal life of a turbine these days . . . 3,500 hours? (I’m guessing, since I have been out of the loop for some time . . . and No!, I’m not “loopy”, as some of you would claim.)

Suppose an engine were selected that had a safe life of only 1,000 hours . . . that was the old standard back in my day as an “A&P” for major overhaul of a piston engine. That is a lot of flying for any private pilot/owner . . . the distance from earth to the moon on average for my “pretend” jet. (Of course, you’d need to replace the engine on arrival, if you wished to get back in time for supper.)

Drive around the country with your little jet for a couple or three years . . . pull in to your friendly “Albuquerque Jet Oasis”, . . . buy the “two pack”, pop out the old, plug in the new . . . and you’ll be back on the road before you have a chance to finish the “Car and Driver” in the waiting room . . . all mounted, balanced, and aligned with your “Warrantee” in hand, with the “$10,000" rebate coupon (don’t lose the thing) ready for the wife to fill out and send in the paperwork. (And they’ll even check the tire pressure.)

(‘Just put a new set of Michelin’s on the wife’s Lexus, so I’m up on this sort of thing. ‘Had enough time to enjoy a good cup of coffee before I had to pay the bill, and get back to the shop. And, yeh, I gave the wife the rebate stuff . . . I don’t do coupons.)

No, I have not lost it! . . . It’s time that we recognized the realities of differences between commercial aircraft, “true” business jets, “taxi service”, and just plain old “planes”, flown by rich folks that want the convenience of “all of the above”, without the restrictions.

In my opinion, in spite of the ego thing (which is the major downfall of Eclipse), the other somewhat minor problems had to do with something I would term as a “blunderbuss” mentality . . . that ancient firearm that spit out “shot” like a trumpet, attempting to hit every target, and missing everything in the process.

The disposable car has been part of our lives, since Honda told Congress, “Can do!” . . . and introduced the “Civic” with the three valve per cylinder CVCC. It was a revolution! And it’s time the aviation industry caught up with “ancient technology” (who would have thought!).

‘Just some thoughts of the “gadfly” . . . begging your pardon!

(Ain’t this fun!)

gadfly said...

One other addition:

A man is never so serious as when he seems to be speaking in “humor” . . . listen closely to what a man seems to be saying in “jest”, and you will understand the man, and read his very soul.

And that is no joke!

gadfly

WhyTech said...

"I know it is all a tall order, but until most if not all of the elements are in place, personal GA/personal jet will be a miniscule and diminishing economic sector."

It wont happen in our lifetime. Thank God! There are enough idiots out there flying way in over their heads as it is.

"I know some of the old timers and experinced pilots think all of the above is BS."

Not really. I have made a very similar point on this blog more than once. Its all about utility. Until acft are as safe and easy to use as a car, there will not be a large market for any acft, piston or jet.(The propulsion system is mostly irrelevant - its required pilot skills that matter.) Mainstream folks will not and cannot maintain ATP standards. Only way to dumb it down is to take the "pilot" out of the loop.

Deep Blue said...

Whytech said:

"I have made a very similar point on this blog more than once. Its all about utility. Until acft are as safe and easy to use as a car, there will not be a large market for any acft, piston or jet.(The propulsion system is mostly irrelevant - its required pilot skills that matter.) Mainstream folks will not and cannot maintain ATP standards. Only way to dumb it down is to take the "pilot" out of the loop."

I'll say it again:

Vern was right. Just early.

bill e. goat said...

Dave I,
"Kids these days! They never call, they never write..."
.)

bill e. goat said...

Baron,
"There has to be something fundamentally wrong with Aviation projects as of late. They are not performing on par with other industries."Good description of autos- sounds like you have a very nice one. (I've got an ash tray and a spoiler though!)

I often lamented the difference between a Ford Tempo, and a BMW 325. Surely, not more than $1500-2000, to make the Tempo adequately competitive- not as good, but, dramatically more comparable.

But, Ford went after mass market, minimum quality, and maximum volume. BMW took just the opposite approach- maximum quality (well, for that segment of car, anyway), and settled for lower volume. The profitable aircraft companies are doing the same thing- Gulfstream, Dassault, Learjet.

The airplane companies that are struggling (just about all the others), are competing on volume, and price.

Part of the reason the high end players remain profitable, is their clientele are less affected by downturn- still good market research by their sales depts.

Boeing is focusing on volume with all their airliners. I'm glad they are, and I think it's a good call. The reason for their current trouble, is the old adage, to paraphrase- you can have two out of three for free:
quality, schedule, profit.

But getting all three in some measure, is tough.

I propose: Boeing was focused ONLY on profit.

The other two suffered as a result.
And they wound up with none of the three.

bill e. goat said...

Baron,
"So what is the problem?"

"It can't be corporate culture or executives? GM kicks ass in Brazil. Ford is competitive in Europe."

"It can't be the US worker. The non-UAW US assembly plants in the South have great productivity and quality."

"The ONLY constant in the US auto operations that substantially underperform the market and lose market share are UAW/CAW plants."

"Why is that?"

Saturn is "in the south", with non-union labor, and they are out of business.

You want to know who is to blame for Detroit's problems:
The answer is simple.

TRIVIALLY simple.

It's not workers.
It's not management.
It's not unions.

It's stockholders.

Greed and demand for short term profit.

CEO's make the BoD happy.
The BoD makes stock holders happy.
Short term profit makes stock holders happy.

It really is as simple as that.

Long term strategy sacrificed for short term greed.

Too many stockholder's don't give a damn about the company- it's just a piece of paper to be "flipped" within a few months.

Why are auto factories in the south, more successful?

BMW and Mercedes are luxury products- just like Gulfstreams, so they are less affected by down-market conditions.

Hyundai and Honda and Nissan- Asian ownership- with long term strategy. Not short term greed.

Why are GM and Ford more successful in Europe? Because they have more competition. The fact is, there is no dominant brand in Europe.

I would argue there should have been no dominant brand in the USA either, but congress let Detroit evade anti-trust legislation, and buy up competitors, and create monopolies. GM is Pontiac, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Hummer.

Better I should think, if those were all independent companies, rather than one conglomerate. More competition, better product.

"Aerospace corporations HAVE HAD to locate assembly sites AWAY from the concentration of skilled aerospace workers in order to seek:"

No, they HAVE NOT had to locate.

That is SIMPLY NOT TRUE.

THEY HAVE NOT HAD TO LOCATE.

They have elected to relocate, to maximize profits.

Just like refusing to make R&D investments for the sake of short term profits.

It's as simple as that.

bill e. goat said...

Baron,
Good post on car dealers and brand association.

Rather than blame unions, I would point out, that at least where I live, the Honda, Toyota, and Ford dealers are criminals. They abuse the customers, gouge them on the showroom, gouge them on maintenance. I wish another Honda or Toyota dealer would come to town, and put them out of business with good service.

But, the dealer's territories are protected- another monopoly enforced by the car companies- unions don't have anything to do with it.

bill e. goat said...

Ken,
"am a little to busy to check in very often here right now, but the plane's been flying great"

Ken, thanks for stopping by- I'm glad your airplane is working out so well !!

bill e. goat said...

Baron,

"Same assignment that BEG got on tracing the percentage of worldwide auto production produced on UAW/CAW plants over the decades, to you (Fred)."

You will no doubt be giddy with the obvious answer- I trust you do not think it is a surprise to anyone here:
The percentage has been going down.

Now- home work assignment for you-
What has the national debt been doing
"in say 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 (est)."

"See the trend?"

bill e. goat said...

Hi Gadfly,

I agree about the 1940's being the most exciting time in aviation (although I too marvelled at the 727 wing!). And Baron is right about the space program being pretty cool. Same with the F-14 (exotic swign wing and radical radar), F-15 ("zoom" climb !!), F-16 (fly By wire) programs, developed in the mid-1970's.

And the light plane guys were really busy all though the 1970's with lots of cool things. 1940-1980, forty years of fun !! (Of course, it is no coincidence that ERcoupse reached their lofty pinnacle of development in that period!).

bill e. goat said...

Hi Fred,
Thanks for the intriguing information about French and Germany unionization. I remember when Peugeot were sold here in the states. (I almost bought a 405).

(And you are right about the "man plug" thing !! .)

bill e. goat said...

Gadfly,
"t would seem that an entry level “private jet” would need to have most of the following...a “Model Tee” wrench"

Just the thing for starting on those cold mornings!!
(As someone said, you can't "hand prop" those turbines- but this might help get around that problem !! :)

bill e. goat said...

Deep_Blue,
"Vern was right. Just early."

Yup, that's the REALLY sad part.
Because he knew he was early, but rushed to "get 'er done" before the technology was ready, just so he could be first.

Wedge was concentrating on short term profit, instead of long term viability.

(No unions involved. Just short-sighted greed).

fred said...

But I like it much better when they are assembled in free country by free workers like Alabama or South Carolina USA.baron , once again ...

wake-up my little boy ...!

who is "FREE" and who is not ?

in a very personal view , i believe European are now much more "free" than our american friends ...

anyone here can criticize his Govt without being look-at as "anti-whatever" , "anti-patriot" , that is one of the funny way of democracy and his "old buddy" ; "freedom of speech" ...

it goes rusted ONLY if you do not use it ...!

we never get arrested for anything , we don't go to jail if we don't pay tax , etc...etc...

so be careful about use of words !

at the same time IF the freedom you are talking about is only a consequence of the poorness or lack of development in a specific area : for me (still a very personal view) it is much closer to slavery than it is to freedom ...

never actually came to your mind that IF they do not have Unions , may be it is because they "know" (feel or guess) that if they open a bit too much their mouths , they'll loose theirs jobs ??
and is there any possibilities to get an other job without having to move hundreds or thousands of miles away ?

you see what you call "free" , to me sounds much less ...!

fred said...

It really is as simple as that.

Long term strategy sacrificed for short term greed.
Billy :

i lower my hat (to the floor) in admiration to your post ...

OFF-COURSE , i am pretty sure that Baron would prefer to drive a Ferrari or MB AMG made in USA ...

NO i don't think Unions can be blamed alone ...
(as i pointed out , if Unions are a minority thing = to be heard they feel they need a revolution-like action ... this is the French-like problem , since almost no one is in Unions , who join unions = Extremists and peoples who cannot loose their jobs ...)

Management ? :

almost but not entirely !

who put them in place and remove them ?

the answer is quite obvious !

at the same , WHY such firms as BMW , Peugeot , Mercedes , Porsche are in much better position ?
Long term planning !

funnily enough , a german car-maker got into troubles not long ago ...

Wolkswagen !

Stock-holders decided a coup !

now , if you know that one of biggest stock-holder in BMW said not very long time ago that :

"peoples buying our stocks for short-term profits should be crucified !"

and one of the MB said : " we should not have any consideration for dividends on stocks , in fact it should be worked out this way :
no dividends to be paid for the first few years of ownership ! if dividends are used to improve the value of the firm , it would benefit everybody inside the firm , including the stock-holders WITHOUT all the gesticulations of the stock-markets ..."

this is the type of guy ,i personally like !

at contrario , in the other side of the pond ...

when was the last refinery to be build ?
when was the last CEO of an electricity producing firm said " this year we WON'T pay any dividends , because we will use all our money , results and debts engagement to make our firm better so more valuable for its customers and owners ..." without being shorted in NYSE ?

Billy in your post , you touched the USA main problem (IMO) = peoples would like to try to benefit of income , they didn't even started to work for ...

short time policies replaced by shorter-time policies ...!

airtaximan said...

"Vern was right. Just early."

Right about what? That many pilots would want a $1M twinjet instead of a more expensive prop or jet?

This is so funny...

I guess every snake oil salesman was right, too? Everyone wants the miracle potion for $10 a bottle.

C'mon guys... its all about what you deliver, not what you promise.

I would say Tony Fax was also right... as were some other folks promising affordable jet planes.

Maybe Cessna is right too? It really cannot be done, for less than about $3M?

So who ws right about what?
Who was too early?

I think Vern was only right about the money-raising part. That's about it...

fred said...

ATM

I think Vern was only right about the money-raising part. That's about it... no ATM , you are wrong ...

He was right ...

much too early for most to understand in what kind of a mess they were getting into before too late ...

Shane Price said...

New post up.

It's kinda unique, in that it's a joint post, by both of 'us'.

We hope you enjoy discussing it as much as we did writing it.

Shane

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