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.