Friday, May 15, 2009

Villains, Victims and an Honorable Crew

Since in the future the blog may be used by historians researching the Eclipse saga, we thought it might be appropriate to highlight those most responsible for the dastardly deeds and some who suffered the consequences, as well as 'the few' who tried to point out what was going astray. Stan and I co-operated to put this together (isn't the interweb a wonderful thingy) and we both trust you'll enjoy discussing our logic.


If, that is, there is any logic in this convoluted story!

The Villains



1. Easy one this. Vern Raburn, who wanted to make his mark on aviation. He did, as the biggest scam artist in its' history, with a self confessed more than '$1 billion' burned!


2. Roel Pieper, the slippery old Dutchman thought he could pull a fast one and steal an airplane company. He ended up with a tarnished image and a plane load of legal troubles.


3. Al Mann, a member of the board since day one. Should have asked more questions, demanded more answers and taken an active rather than a passive role.


4. Kent Kresa, also on the board. Like Mann another pushover who failed in his role.


5. Harold Poling, the third independent member of the board. Like Mann and Kresa, never showed any backbone, never made any attempt to pull back on the stick even though the nose was pointed straight at terra firma. These guys didn't even pull the trigger on Vern. It was Pieper, in one of his few 'good' decisions, who showed Vern the door.


6. Marion Blakey, head of the FAA. She undoubtedly compromised the integrity of the FAA with her machinations. Sadly she, proved herself to be just another one of the thousands of dirt bags in government, putting self interest above doing the right thing.


7. Nick Sabatini, now retired FAA high-level manager. Played kiss-ass politics rather than sticking up for the long standing, safety based, principles of the FAA.


8. John Hickey, career FAA mid-level manager. Sold his soul to the devil by bending if not breaking the rules at the behest of his superiors.


9. John Hickey's hand picked MIDO inspectors used to replace the Ft. Worth MIDO team. The new group of wimps, signed off on questionable manufacturing practices and overlooked problems during the inspection of new aircraft (none of which the Ft. Worth group would accept).


10. James Campbell, known on the blog and elsewhere as Capt. Zoom. Became Vern's dupe and the main conduit for the propaganda emanating from Albuquerque. Even today, Zoomie would claim it was all good journalism, despite being listed as a creditor owed $80,000. Yeh, that's real 'quid pro quo' journalism.

The Victims


1. Al Mann, again. Tops this list because he lost the most money. Just too gullible for his own good.


2. All the suppliers (except Pratt & Whitney). Got suckered into the hype with disastrous results for themselves and their employees. P & W well it's hard to feel sorry for them, they have dealt with enough start up programs. They should definitely have known better.


3. Eclipse employees who hung on until the bitter end. Not easy to find replacement jobs in the collapsing economy, not easy to sell their houses if forced to relocate.


4. The owners. The dream of owning a jet on the cheap overcame their rational thinking. Now with their dreams AOG or nearly AOG, they face an uncertain future. Well not quite uncertain, if one considers anguish as a probability.


5. The depositors. Perhaps they are the lucky ones, who only lost their deposits. They're not paying insurance or hangar rent or being recruited by the various coalitions wanting them to $ign up. This group probably sleeps a lot better than the owners, as they've taken their write-offs and can move on.


6. New Mexico taxpayers. Stuck with worthless notes paid for with million of dollars of hard earned taxpayer monies.


7. Albuquerque taxpayers. Stuck with a bunch of worthless IRB's secured by most of Eclipse's hard assets like friction stir welding machines, a gold plated flight test telemetry center, tools, assembly fixtures, furniture, buildings and whatever else Eclipse management could pawn off on the unsuspecting.


8. Brian Barents. Hoped his role on the board would pave the way to finance his dream, a supersonic business jet. The $3 billion Eclipse loss burst that bubble and serves as a reminder that starting a new aviation company is not easy especially when new technology is involved. For the record, there is a rumor floating around that he will be making a big announcement this month.


9. National Aeronautic Association committee who selected the 2005 winner of the Collier trophy. This pathetic group did not even follow the Association's ground rules for selecting a winner. The award is intended for those who have accomplished something. Not pie-in-the-sky bullshit that Vern was putting out that the committee gobbled up like contestants in Nathan's hot dog eating contest.


10. The aviation community as a whole. What was billed as a revolution that would change the aircraft industry, change the way we travel, turned into an embarrassment to us all.


The Honorable Crew


1. Stan Blankenship, who launched the original Critic Blog way back in April 2006, before blogging was popular. His very first headline posited the principle concerns about what was then the 'great white hope' for many in GA.


2. Our very own Honor Roll, reproduced below. These guys (and gals, for all I know) were singled out by EAC lawyers, no doubt instructed by Vern Raburn, with the spurious notion that NDA's had been breeched. Thanks to our next 'good man', EAC were opposed in court, Vern got fired and EAC dropped the suit days later.


3. Rich Lucibella, aka 'Gunner', who paid for his own, very excellent lawyer Norman Malinski to defend the blog in it's hour of need. To go paraphrase Winston Churchill, never was so much, owed by so many, to so few.

4. A few journalists, including Karen DiPiazza, who's singular focus on Vern's machinations got her into trouble with a whole range of people. She stayed on it though, and wrote several telling articles, most notable about the 'Midway' throttle quadrant accident.



5. The long serving blog correspondents, many of whom are now in contact with each other. You guys (and gals) have illuminated our lives over the past three years, with wit, wisdom and more than your fair share of common humanity. Our sincere thanks to each and every one of you.


Stan Blankenship (and a few lines from Shane Price)
May 2009


The 'Honor Roll', just in case anyone forgot...

TURN-AND-BURN
COLDWETMACKARELOFREALITY
NINER ZULU
BLACKTULIP
FLIGHTCENTER
GADFLY
AIRTAXIMAN
FLIGHTGUY
ECLIPSO
RINGTAIL
METALGUY
TURBOPROP-PILOT
BRICKLINNG
FREEDOMSJAMTARTS
EXEAC
EASYBAKEPLANE
PLUMER
VOVA_K
AIRSAFETYMAN
CARLOS
FRED
BILL E.GOAT
MOUNTAINHIGH
PLASTIC_PLANES
AGROTH
EXPILOT
THE REAL FRANK CASTLE
WHYTECH
ISPACE


121 comments:

airtaximan said...

I think someone needs to place Dayjet in there somewhere... Ed Iaccobucci and Jetson Systems...AKA Dayjet

Villains or Victims... you choose.

I think they were co-conspirators, used to pump the order book and deflect the reality that they actually held 1430 orders. when they admitted for years to only 229 plus 70 option.

Your call...

Shane Price said...

ATman,

Thought about DayJet....

The problem was, which list? We already had Al Mann in both and couldn't decide which one Ed fitted in.

By several independent accounts, Ed was honorable in his dealings, (pretty) up front in his communications and has wound down the company without leaving too many suppliers, customer or staff hung out to dry.

On the other hand, he allowed Vern to push the '1,400' number for far too long.

So we left him out....

Shane

uglyabq said...

Many employees also got screwed by exercising stock options based on Vern's BS.

The taxpayers of Albuquerque now owns three white elephant buildings (FSW, primary assembly, paint facility). And I wonder how much the city dumped into tenant improvements at headquarters, final assembly and sunport 9 on University. Those fancy epoxy floor coatings ain't cheap, you know.

baron95 said...

Villain????!!!????!!!!

Wow.

So having an aviation dream, a business idea, lining up funding, creating 10,000 person-year jobs, building a factory, service centers, training center, delivering 260 certified jets, and running out of funding in a tough economic environment makes you a Villain?!!!???

Yes, right. Lets round out all the villains and just leave the non-risk-takers, give me my steady paycheck folks in the country.

Lets see how wonderful it will all be.

Other than some idiosyncrasies in style, circle the wagons blame others and less than candid communications when things got tough, what exactly makes Vern a villain?

This villain/victim angle and culture is disgusting.

There are no guaranteed results in startup, high-risk ventures. Least of all in aviation.

All we can ask for is for individuals to try and give it their best. I am reasonably sure that Vern tired hard and gave it his best.

I salute him for that. And I hope this shameful headline post does not discourage others from trying.

airtaximan said...

OK, I'll bite:

Ed stated he ordered 229 + 70floptions from Vern, when he actually ordered 1430 of 2600 or so...

And Baron... the deceit is the reason for calling Vern a Villain, not the failure. Yu are correct that without trying and failing, the world would be a pretty boring place, and we'd be living in the dark ages...

BUT, this does not excuse Vern for being dishonest. I would not give him credit for anything, except finding and arranging for huge amounts of burnable capital.

Everything else was already done before.. small jet plane, dial-a-jet plans... ladeedah...

He just blew more money and created more smoke and mirrors problems than anyone else, IMO.

fred said...

Baron :

are you seriously writing this ?

if yes , i would almost say that you deserve to be screwed by your banker , lawyer , adviser , wife , etc ...

when you would be on the leaving of what was once your home ...

asking the sky "why you" all the said persons would look at you and say :

"there was no guarantee linked with it " with a nasty smile on the corner of mouth !

almost ...

because there is Ethics , the detail Vern lacked ...

so few things never to be done , neither wished to anyone ..

RonRoe said...

The real villain here is whoever murdered the proofreader:

_Villians_, Victims and an Honorable Crew

the biggest scam artist in _its'_ history

the _principle_ concerns

_Normal_ Malinski

And, most egregious of all, you forgot to put quotes around "journalist" when referring to Karen DiPiazza :)

And to think some people complained about "quality escapes" at EAC.

I know, I know, I'm nitpicking syntax when it's the semantics that count. Let me just say that the content is every bit as high quality as the spelling and punctuation.

Jim Howard said...

"creating 10,000 person-year jobs"

It really bothers me when someone who is spending other people's money claims to have 'created jobs'.

In point of fact it is highly probable that MORE than 10,000 jobs were destroyed when capital that could have gone into productive investments went down this rat hole.

Every school child should be taught Parable of the broken window.

Starting with the President of the United States.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The same $3B that was incinerated in the EAC furnaces could have provided nearly 50,000 man-years of employment at the US median income ($47K plus bennies).

EAC itseld on reached 1000 employees during the last 3 years or so, with direct employment (including contractors) averaging more like 400-500, so it was really maybe 5000 man-years at EAC, and likely 2/3 that much in the vendor base.

A 5X better ROI, and no black eye for start ups, IPOs, or aviation as a whole - I call that a winner.

The cleverness (real or perceived) of the concept does not in any way insulate Vern or anyone else from the consequences of wrongdoing, morally or legally.

After all, Jim Bede has had some pretty good ideas too. And, to his credit Jim has gone to far greater lengths than any on the HMS Eclipsetanic to repay those unfortunate folks injured by his failureS, and yet look at how he is seen by many.

Shane Price said...

RonRoe,

Thanks for the corrections. I never said I was perfect, unlike Vern and his principle (I prefer it that way...) cronies.

And he still ranks as the biggest in its' history.

Not in it is history.

Which is what you want me to say, if I write in it's history.

Glad I got that off my chest...

Shane

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

baron95,

All we can ask for is for individuals to try and give it their best. I am reasonably sure that Vern tired hard and gave it his best.

I salute him for that.
The exbosses of Lehman, GM,... all did their best. Even Mr Medoff can say "I did my best but the economics in 19XX or 200x forced me to start "Nimbus" deals etc.".
(At least some Medoff business partners got a return as promised -quite different to EAC customers!
Some bankers were lucky about the big yields - at least most of the time!)

The wedge was/is a pilot.
Everybody expects that a pilot starts to fly an aircraft filled with paxes only when he is sure that he can safely handle it under normal circumstances....


But... perhaps you mean: the wedge tried, but could not give it his best - there was/is nothing to give!
Your salute is pure sarcasm!


Julius

Black Tulip said...

"...running out of funding in a tough economic environment makes you a Villain?"

The economic downturn had little to do with Vern’s failure. Eclipse could have burned through another billion or two. It would still have ended in a smoking crater, just a bigger deeper one. Vern’s character was ill-suited for the task and he made too many bad decisions.

Another villain is the Aero Club of New England, the oldest aeronautical club in the Americas. Last year ACONE honored Vern with its (formerly) distinguished Cabot Award. It was clear then that the wheels had come off the wagon.

RonRoe said...

Shane,

You are correct that "it's" is a contraction for "it is", but the possessive form of "it" is spelled "its". No apostrophe (or apology) required.

The word _its'_ is not generally accepted usage.

And, you're welcome for the corrections.

Of course, it's your blog, so you are allowed to abuse and misuse the language any way you want. I just thought to save you a bit of embarrassment in the eyes of "historians researching the Eclipse saga."

RonRoe said...

Shane,

I also forgot to mention that "who's singular focus" should be "whose singular focus."

baron95 said...

CW said....The same $3B that was incinerated in the EAC furnaces could have provided nearly 50,000 man-years of employment at the US median income ($47K plus bennies).
----------------------------

I would expect that from the French contingent, not you. I'm sure you know the math.

It takes approximately $300K-$400K to "create" and support for a year a manufacturing job in the US. [this from our our US govmt DoL]
Eclipse nailed the lower end for the direct jobs created.

baron95 said...

And 20-odd people that did nothing more than just sit behind a computer and anonymously posting empty (at times) criticism are called....


drum roll.....

members of the Honor Roll.

WOW.

Just shows the value system of this blog.

Empty keyboard typing = Deserving of full honors.

Starting a company, employing 10,000 person-years, building 260 sub-6,000 lbs certified twin jets = villain.

Wow.

Just Wow.

baron95 said...

ATM, as I said, one of his faults was being less than candid. Frankly I think the man tried very hard to paint things as favorable as possible without lying (he probably failed a few times).

But, we have to take things into context...

He took money from sophisticated "Qualified Investors" as defined by US law and all had sign release forms that the investment was highly speculative and their entire investment was at risk.

He sold planes and options, again to sophisticated investors (Ed, Pieper, etc) and individuals that would ALL qualify as "qualified investors" and ALL had at least one opportunity to cancel their order and take the money back, most had more than one.

So this is not a guy selling girl scouts cookies to grandmas.

Investor and buyer beware. Not excusing his behavior, but his required standard of care was much lower than in other situations.

baron95 said...

Julius, I'll salute those who tried and failed after giving it a real shot, before I self-nominate people sitting behind a keyboard (myself included) to any honor roll.

baron95 said...

BT siad... The economic downturn had little to do with Vern’s failure.
-----------------------

Really? The company runs out of investment capital right after the financial system grounded to a halt with ALL the key approvals (EASA, FIKI, AVIO 1.5 in hand), and that had little to do with it?

Amazing.

airsafetyman said...

"I'll salute those who tried and failed after giving it a real shot,"

Just what was the miserable excuse for delivering this class of airplane without functioning weather radar? Three billion dollars is not enough money to buy a few radar installations?

baron95 said...

Excuse? No excuse needed?

Has anyone done better? Has any one started a company to build certify and deliver a jet before in say the past 4 decades?

Has anyone gotten close?

What was attempted was incredibly difficult. Chances of success, even partial, like was achieved here were incredibly remote.

Only people that have attempted to create something new and launch a company around it and failed can comprehend.

People that sit behind computer keyboards point out other people's shortcomings can never hope to comprehend it.

So by all means, carry one. Vilify all who try and fail without being 100% perfect all the time.

That, apparently, is the new american way.

For crying out loud. Didn't Christopher Columbus cause the death of most of his men, the loss of most of his fleet. What a freaking Villain.

Didn't most of Leonardo DaVinci's inventions remain unfinished, unproven? What a freaking moron he was.

michal said...

Really? The company runs out of investment capital right after the financial system grounded to a halt with ... and that had little to do with it?It only forced the timing, not the final outcome which was inevitable in any market environment. BT was absolutely correct. This point has already been discussed before ad nauseam.

TBMs_R_Us said...

Baron,

The wheels have come off your rant that the blog was all about empty criticism and that Eclipse did something magnificent in their attempt to certify and produce a new jet. Completely come off. First off, while all bloggers post empty posts at times, you included (e.g., bitching about how bullshit the $3B number was when you were the original source of it, etc.), the blog on the whole was the only source of actual realistic analysis of what was happening with this company, while at the same time the company and the media were promulgating complete fabrications about it. Burning through all of the money, if the attempt had been meritorious, would have been one thing, but the merit of the project was missing from early on (Williams engines on demo flight to snag deposit money, etc.). Many on the honor roll contributed valuable information to those not in the know (which of course, never included you).

The fact is that Eclipse Aviation was a bad joke, defended by liars and thieves, and rightly criticized for it by the bloggers here. Your rants about how far off base the bloggers have been are lame and totally worn out. Your defense of Eclipse is now, and always has been, ridiculous. Wow! Oh, and BTW, there are some of us on the blog who "have attempted to create something new and launch a company around it and failed", and still comprehend that Eclipse was a bad deal from the beginning, not something worthy of praise.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

What was attempted was incredibly difficult. Chances of success, even partial, like was achieved here were incredibly remote.I'm having trouble following your argument. Was Eclipse a bad idea from the start, or was it a terrible execution that doomed it? It sure has to be one or the other.

Only people that have attempted to create something new and launch a company around it and failed can comprehend.Only losers can understand? Is that why you see things the rest of don't? What about the competent folks who started a company and succeeded? They must be pretty stupid folks who can't figure out how to fail.

People that sit behind computer keyboards point out other people's shortcomings can never hope to comprehend it.Isn't that what you just did, pointing out how others can't comprehend this failure? Also seems to me that you presume the rest of us aren't worthy to judge this situation and you are. Maybe it takes an ego to know one.

That, apparently, is the new american way.Yes, it is. We are RESULTS driven. I don't know what wimpy place you come from that rewards failure so highly.

Christopher Columbus...
Leonardo DaVinci's...
You have so totally lost it comparing Vern to those guys. They were great discoverers who built upon the knowledge of others and found new things unknown to the world.

Vern was an arrogant SOB who refused to learn from the industry, alienating them in the process. Then he proceeded to ruin his company in exactly the way that was predicted from day one. Vern was all about NOT learning something.

Vern's portrait goes right next to DeLorean, not Columbus or Da Vinci.

baron95 said...

TBM, I said the criticism was empte AT TIMES. Not always.

But hey, if you think it takes great courage, principle and entrepreneurship to post anonymously on a blog criticizing someone's effort, good for you.

I think it takes zero courage and little effort and should never be assign any higher value.

I enjoy posting and reading here. But I never thought I was doing anything more than idle chat with no higher purpose of qualities.

But hey, if some people here think they belong in an honor roll and are saving the poor innocent lambs slaughtered by the evil Vern, that is their prerogative.

I happen to think that is just sad.

baron95 said...

Flyger asked...I'm having trouble following your argument. Was Eclipse a bad idea from the start, or was it a terrible execution that doomed it?
-------------------------

Excellent question, Flyger. I do not know the answer to that.

I think it was a bold idea and a stretch. When people pursue a "stretch goal" the end result can be all over the place, depending on how many things go your way or against you.

When you toss a coin, we all know that, on average, 50% of the time it will land heads and 50% tails. But most people forget that there is a very fair chance of getting 10 tails in a row, or 10 heads in a row.

I think things lined up more against Eclipse than in favor of Eclipse.

I believe that early one things lined up correctly. William and the AGATE program came to the front, money was "loose" and Vern managed to raise it, the small jet air taxi idea was being pursued, GA and Biz Av were experiencing an renaissance. That was the right time to pursue that "stretch goal" of launching a company and a jet at the same time. Kind of how things lined up for Lear in 1960.

Then there were some tough breaks (many self inflicted). Loss of a plane, Williams losing its way, Avidyne losing its way, etc.

Then another series of good breaks. PWC reengining and the airframe redesign went as well as they could have gone.

Then more bad breaks culminating with the inability to sucker in the Russian money. One days Russians were throwing money at anything, the next they were broke and out.

So I think that is the answer. It was a bold idea that maybe had a chance if all the breaks had gone Vern's way.

I know they seldom do, that is why I attempt very few far out stretch goals.

But we need the people that try against all odds.

What odds would you give that two bicycle shop owners would make airplanes work by spending some time in the NC Outer Banks?

Thank god they tried, and tried, and tried.

baron95 said...

Flyger said...Vern's portrait goes right next to DeLorean, not Columbus or Da Vinci.
-----------------------------

I don't know much about DeLorean, but I think I kind of agree with that characterization.

Do you consider DeLorean a villain?

From the dictionary:
vil⋅lain - noun
An evil or cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime;

baron95 said...

TBM said...and still comprehend that Eclipse was a bad deal from the beginning, not something worthy of praise.
---------------------------

I'm not praising Eclipse or Vern. Obviously they both failed.


But I don't consider them villains.

I consider them what they are/were. A bold and imperfect attempt at doing something incredibly difficult with predictable results. Both imperfect and flawed, but not villains alone in one side with the "honorable" keyboard bangers in judgment on the other.

baron95 said...

Russian GDP shrinks 23% quarter over quarter.



Clearly that had nothing to do with Russian money not materializing for Eclipse.

fred said...

Baron :

you're (standing for You Are ! ooopps , sorry Ron ...! ;-) ) really funny man ...

just hope you're making fun on purpose !

The Russian downturn of Economy has NOTHING to do with The Merry band of Crooks not getting the Money they said they were waiting for ...

if you want to believe all what this bunch of scumbags said , RP wrote a form of excuses in saying the bank supposed to lend the money was bankrupt ... just at the time the bank was helping other sectors of business with Billions of $ !

please DON'T play the "i believe what part i want in the story ...."

should i remind you that one of the first intention i had when writing in the Monsieur Stan's blog was :

to make sure most US readers wouldn't believe what was said by the Merry Band when they were portraying Europe as LOOK LIKE USA ... (in term of : distance , needs to compensate for very poor infrastructure of public transportations , roads , etc...)

since your comment on the French Perfume prices in USA , i really wonder if you know what you are talking about or if your integrity is of the same value of Wedge's one !

never came to your mind that with all the prejudice ideas you seems to have , when you actually entered a perfume shop in France , they probably have a first guess of you in the form of "what a nice turkey to roast " ? is that bad ? NO , it is exactly the same that what you are saying about this nightmare called EAC...

off-course , when you are in the line of fire , it has an other taste !!

michal said...

I enjoy posting and reading here. But I never thought I was doing anything more than idle chat with no higher purpose of qualities.OK, so let me understand this statement. Are we to assume this is just idle talk and no matter how silly the argument we should just consider everything you write as a joke?

And by the way you must be bloody joking when you bring Russian economy into this subject. The only way to make Eclipse a viable business - by having it bailed out by a goodwill of a former KGB officer??

fred said...

yes , michal ...

you are right !

in fact , i would consider the current crisis (in EAC and the Merry band eyes ) :

A God Blessing ...

if the situation would have remained the same as it was previously ...

WHO could they have blamed for all the small details that has cost only 3 Billions $ ?

the small details that NOW mean all the ones who have dreamed along are left with something that could be more or less called a plane if it wasn't such a joke ...!

at the same time , i cannot resist laughing my ass off with the comment on "french contingent" ...

in one side = it is the "vast superiority "of the US system that permitted a half-seasoned crook to raise so much money and try ...Bla-bla-bla ...

on the other side = it is the responsibility of a STATE BANK supposedly with GOVT APPROVAL to make the whole thing fail because they didn't WANT ( not that they couldn't , they just used their brain capacities to understand the situation ) to send money !!!

this is on other example of :

DO as i say but NEVER do as i do myself !

Shane Price said...

Repair Update Snippet

The TAIL PIPE BUBBLE PROBLEM
So far, so good, They have all the materials.
They have an In-House DER Approved 8110-3 for Composite Structures Repair (and taa-daa, this one is one of the few in the industry that is all inclusive of any type of aircraft, no manufacture or airframe specific.

However...

Due to temperature, thermal shocking and thrust, they think it would be prudent to go the extra mile on this one

This is a known failure area, and the Eclipse Owners Group recommend everyone inspect their tailpipes regularly.

A repair only may not be the answer. This could turn into a 'repeat failure' issue that may bite back.
This from a source close to the 'action'. Make of it what you will.

That's one of the things the blog has done well over the years. Share important info that helps everyone.

Shane

WhyTech said...
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WhyTech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beedriver said...

If vern had shipped completed functioning airplanes with FIKI etc I would defend him for doing the good effort and failing because the market was not there. that is the definition of a real entrepreneur

however there were a number of very questionable business shinagians like flying the airplane at the last minute with engines that were nothing like the production ones and then using that event to embezzle deposits from unsuspecting customers.

Vern is in the same category as Madoff in my book.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

I think it was a bold idea and a stretch.I don't believe in this revisionist history. The EA500 was not some lofty goal like putting men on the moon. It was a simple small jet. Really! There were no real technical challenges to such a project if you make some careful but obvious choices along the way. Folks in the industry were practically YELLING at Eclipse to change path from day 1. But no, Elcipse had to gratuitously inject risk and ego into this process. The WCSYC buttons are, in fact, an admission that Eclipse didn't listen to the advice they were given.

So I don't buy all this talk of how bold, courageous Eclipse was. That's total BS. Eclipse was not doomed by the intrinsic difficulties of what they were trying to achieve, they were doomed by their inexperience and total failure to learn from the industry. That would be like Columbus trying to find the new world by sailing through the north pole. Not a great plan and doomed to failure. And so was Eclipse. Vern is the CAUSE of their failure.

Then there were some tough breaks (many self inflicted). Loss of a plane, Williams losing its way, Avidyne losing its way, etc.All of those were fundamentally self inflicted. Eclipse either chose the wrong vendor to start with, or alienated them along the way. Name any other program which had vendor problems anywhere near what Eclipse had.

So I think that is the answer. It was a bold idea that maybe had a chance if all the breaks had gone Vern's way.Vern created his own bad breaks.

But we need the people that try against all odds.Do we really need such fools?

What odds would you give that two bicycle shop owners would make airplanes work by spending some time in the NC Outer Banks?

Thank god they tried, and tried, and tried.
You misunderstand their work. They engaged in a very serious and careful plan of development, inventing ideas and concepts well before anyone else. It has become fashionable to promote this image of two bicycle mechanics miraculously building a flying machine, but that is far from the truth.

The common thread with all the folks you mention is that they were successful, they learned from others, and they did their work carefully and competently. Vern is batting zero on those points.

WhyTech said...

"There were no real technical challenges to such a project if you make some careful but obvious choices along the way. Folks in the industry were practically YELLING at Eclipse to change path from day 1. But no, Elcipse had to gratuitously inject risk and ego into this process."

Exactly! A well written, insightful post which captures the reality of the situation perfectly! Wish I could have expressed it as adequately.

Deep Blue said...

I assume this new post is mainly for sport? I think B95's first response was at least, good perspective.

Allow me to add some more.

During the time EAC was in production operations (let's say roughly 2002-2007) the US airline industry lost (i.e. operating cash losses on the income statement) nearly $50Billion; $50Billion in cash burned, for what; on what? Flying old airliners around the country, trying to "compete."

The US airline stock index (on the American Exchange) lost nearly $100B in value over the same period; if you were long, your investment was incinerated.

Where's the outrage there? What venture or productive purposes were being pursued in the name of aviation on this one? None.

How about US military aerospace programs? The F-22 for example? Here's a sample write up on the program:

"In April 2006, the cost of the F-22 was assessed by the Government Accountability Office to be $361 million per aircraft. This cost reflects the F-22 total program cost, divided by the number of fighters the Air Force is programmed to buy; and which has so far invested $28 billion in the Raptor's research, development and testing. That money, referred to as a "sunk cost", is already spent and is separate from money used for future decision-making. The Unit Procurement Cost was estimated at $177.6 million in 2006 based on a production run of 181 airframes. This unit cost will decrease if total production is higher. This cost includes $3.233 billion already spent on research and development by 2006. By the time all 183 fighters have been purchased, $34 billion will have been spent on actual procurement, resulting in a total program cost of $62 billion or about $339 million per aircraft. The incremental cost for one additional F-22 is around $138 million. Nn 6 April 2009, as part of the 2010 Pentagon budget announcement, Secretary of Defense Gates called for production of the F-22 to be phased out by fiscal year 2011, leaving the USAF with 187 fighters. Spending on F-35 acquisition would be increased. Gates noted that although the US was currently engaged in two wars, the Raptor had yet to fly a single mission supporting either one."

Any angst from anyone about this?

The one central feature about EAC I think, that rubs everyone's fur backward is the dishonest marketing and the production volume obsession which adulterated the entire program, including engineering.

But the money? There are much bigger craters of loss out in the market that don't seem to generate any ire, and done with just if not not more arrogance, stupidity and deception.

Not sure I agree on Dayjet; Ed appears to be a more honest broker, but he's just as responsible (perhaps central, really) to creating the expectations of a mass market that drove so much of the hysteria around this project. Ed is the "Albert Speer" of this drama; gentile and calm but still just as culpable. He was just as much of a huckster as VR, just not as insufferably arrogant in appearance.

michal said...

That would be like Columbus trying to find the new world by sailing through the north pole. Not a great plan and doomed to failureI agree, very well stated.

baron95 said...

Flyger said...The common thread with all the folks you mention is that they were successful, they learned from others, and they did their work carefully and competently. Vern is batting zero on those points.
-----------------------

Again we agree - there was an enormous lack of grace and humility in Vern's way.

That, in my book, makes him obnoxious, not a villain.

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

Good Lord-
Are you all still here?!!!!!!

Damn, I feel like I just stepped out of the cold into a warm (Irish) pub; fire goin' and Laphroaig flowin'! ATMan, ASMan, CW, Shane, Stan, Baron, Fred. Even WhyTech and the Tulip. If that isn't Deja Vu all over again!

Good to know you guys are still keeping it real in aviation circles. For our part, we've been head's down with too many projects for our own good. In aviation, we still have the build going with Epic (we're next in line for engine) and we still have the three D-Jet's on order.

Just a heads up: we may be left no choice but to take Norman off his leash soon. I don't relish that thought. But, if we do, y'all will be among the first to know. It won't be a happy day for me or for GA.

Stick around. ;-)
Gunner

baron95 said...

DB,

The US airline industry (as opposed to some foreign ones) is perenially losing money. Ditto for the US auto industry. And the GA industry, always losing money, going from bankruptcy to bankruptcy and being bought and sold for close to $ZERO.

As of late, even banking, one of the surest ways around to make money is losing value.

The issue is that most industries (save health-care, govmt, education, maybe defense) in the US is becoming hyper-competitive.

Everybody better get used to making it on supermarket (1.5%) or Walmart (3%) type margins.

Shane Price said...

Gunner,

Hope it's not me your aiming Norman at. That's one fight I'd be pretty certain I'd lose!

And good to see you back, my friend.

Baron,

It strikes me that you're missing a central point about the Honor Roll.

Nobody ever sued Vern who wasn't owed a lot of money, yet he went around spewing lawsuits like a flu epidemic.

Including suing 'us'.

Remember, he started the fight. Norman (currently on his leash) finished it.

So, in my book, where the bad guy is the loser, that makes us the 'good guys' because we won.

Vern, you might remember, lost. His company, his dream and his credibility.

Oh, and a self confessed '$1 billion' of other peoples money, while he was at it.

I'm pretty sure he's the villain of this particular piece. It was his dream and his company.

Where he went wrong was the way he went about wasting 'other peoples' money'. That's what turned him from a lousy businessman into a villain.

Plus he was an arrogant tit who ignored sound advice.

Not for nothing is he fondly remembered here as The Wedge.

Shane

baron95 said...

Shane,

There is no question that Vern suing the Bloggers was a stupid and ridiculous move.

There is also no question that the Bloggers organizing to fight and winning was an admirable display of how to treat a bully. [I wish people would do the same with zoom]

I just think it is a stretch to call that group "The Honorable Crew" of the Eclipse saga, with the rest being the villains.

But there is no question in my mind about the bloggers being on the right side of history and Vern being on the wrong one.

I simply have a slightly more nuanced view of things.

Vern is not *all* bad and that bloggers are not demi-gods either.

baron95 said...

Good to see you Gunner.

Any insight on the goings on with the DJet at Diamond?

How does it look on weight and first deliveries?

julius said...

shane,

do you know to which extent the the fpj was designed when the Pronto company was passed to the wedge?
Did the wedge and his team just try to continue Williams's concept of a mini jet?

NAA Collier Trophy: Criteria

The Robert J. Collier Trophy is awarded annually, "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.
If the wedge has some guts he will return the trophy...

Julius

airtaximan said...

DB

"Not sure I agree on Dayjet; Ed appears to be a more honest broker, but he's just as responsible (perhaps central, really) to creating the expectations of a mass market that drove so much of the hysteria around this project. Ed is the "Albert Speer" of this drama; gentile and calm but still just as culpable. He was just as much of a huckster as VR, just not as insufferably arrogant in appearance"

Beautifully said..

Welcome back, Gunner... I feel Djet in your sights...

airtaximan said...

flyger...

There were two ideas, IMO... probably formed after some revised thinking along the way...

1- make a much more affordable twin jet.

2- find a way to finance the above, using technology as the hook... becasue the tech money was inexperienced money as far as aviation is concerned.

I also think from Day-1, Williams took Vern... used him so to speak, to get money from his buddies.

Yes Vern was a more-than-willing particiapnt, but in the end, when he woke up, he was in knee deep - THEN he created/found Nimbus and then Dayjet - both aviation neophytes (pretty much)... and the Dayjet/Ed connection goes VERY deep - I'd say, they were buddies for years before Jetson/Dayjet from Citrix (acquired by Microsoft).

Anyhow, the BS flowed continuously since Vern took over from WI... this is the reason for calling him a Villain.

airtaximan said...

while I generally agree with BAron, regarding the fact we should not take ourselves too seriously, here...

I also remember being the only source of insght into what was going on (I left out "really) at EAC for a long time - and, the CEO thought it was importnat enough to shut us down, so we muct have been doing something right...

I can also appreciate an analogy such as the Watergate reporters busting open Nixon... they really were a conduit of information from someone (or a few folks) with good intel... so for this I commend Stan and Shane...

I remind everyone here, there was always two sides to everything posted here - any issue was pretty much rebuffed by some die-hard, and they did a good job of it. They could ALWAYS rationalize, opine, provide their own view, promote EAC, for whatever reason - sheer self interest, belief... whatever.

For this FACT alone, I think the blog was of value beyond just poking or posting. I think it became a place to put forth ideas, theories and perhaps some inside info... to try to shed some light on what was a very deceptive string of PR, statements, advertising and the like.

So, I think the blog served a good purpose - and I think Vern would agree. This is why he tried to shut it down.

airtaximan said...

regarding AGATE etc..

once again, if we learn anything we should learn that this was a gov't program... and someone with commercial sense should have realized that you get low cost from high rate- and smaller deos not necessarily equate to the right value for high rate. A plane of similar utility compared to a much less expensive prop, will not attract a large market.

The SR22s are doing OK in air taxi... the eclipse never made it -not even close.

So, the AGATE was in the wrong direction really for an air taxi - it should have concentrated on a larger, easier to manufacture, more durable engine. This might have resulted in a new plane that was of the right utility for a taxi.

Just my opinion.

sphealey said...

> ATM, as I said, one of his faults
> was being less than candid.
> Frankly I think the man tried very
> hard to paint things as favorable
> as possible without lying (he
> probably failed a few times).

When they risked the lives of the test pilots and everyone under the flight path to "fly" the prototype with engines they knew could fail - potentially catastrophically - within the time span of that flight.

And then reported "success" and collected the position holders' escrow dollars and various 2nd round funding dollars.

And THEN announced that the Williams engine would not work and they were going to P&Ws 600 lbs heavier.

That's when the barrier between "risky innovation" and "lying" was crossed.

sPh

Deep Blue said...

ATM:

very nice balanced post on value of the critic blog; sometimes one wonders what it's about; in this case a unique example of the power of the Internet, along with a specific subject that drew expert and/or seasoned opinion and wound up being a "voice of the market" that outperformed stacks of studies, interviews, focus groups and sadly, investors and their counsel.

Speaking of a 'case:" might I suggest that the Eclipse Critic blog would make an excellent business school case (not kidding); many important lessons about the Internet, web log development,free speech, business due diligence, marketing, law, leadership, government-private sector issues, you name it (not to mention some highly entertaining drama/comedy; e.g. the Dutch Connection).

Shane/Stan: you might send an outline to Harvard as a case submission. Having been to business school, I sense this would be a home run (or if you want to stay on the east side of the Pond, try London Business School).

Deep Blue said...

Flyger:

very wise, insightful post on 16 May 759am.

I don't believe the Wright brothers had any outside money, either, did they (initially)?

Many interesting lessons to contemplate on such a seemingly old story. For example, their collaboration/cooperation (and their relative secrecy and focus on privacy).

If only VR had a true equal partner in his venture; he truly did "go it alone" vis-a-vis management structure/authority; and that may speak to the "ego" you mention as much as anything else he did wrong (BTW, Ed Ioccobucci at Dayjet didn't have an equal partner either [he'd say it was his wife, but that's not accurate]; yet ironic how much partner collaboration there was at Citrix).

It is interesting to note how many successful ventures flowered from two individuals collaborating as equals, (as opposed to a single inventor or a top-down authority) with separate and complementary strengths (Jobs/Wozniak and a hundred others).

One might generalize and say that high-risk ventures almost demand an equal-partner development model; in fact many wise VC's tend to run from the one sole, lonely "visionary" model.

It is also interesting that EAC's capital structure was relatively shy of venture capital; it was deposits, vendor finance, State funding, some debt. One wonders if the majority funds were VC risk equity with VC pros on the Board (and in management) if the situation would have been different (I would say likely so).

In this regard, VR/EAC was missing two central, vital ingredients for success: an equal partner to VR and smart VC discipline (of course, VC/private equity may never have come into this project at the early stage and certainly not to the degree other forms did, pre-revenue).

Lastly, shall we say in contradistinction that Cirrus has been a relative success due in part to the "Klapmeier" brother team? (a modern version of the Wright brothers?). They also have a sharp management team.

WhyTech said...

"One wonders if the majority funds were VC risk equity with VC pros on the Board (and in management) if the situation would have been different (I would say likely so)."

I would say absolutely so. And VR would have been gone much earlier in the game. I will speculate on a few reasons why there was no VC pro involvement:

1. VR had worked with VC's in at least one previous venture and could not tolerate the high level of involvement that most VC's require in their portfolio companies. This notion is supported by the passive board that he assembled, which gave him almost totally free reign in decsison making. Pro VC's would have never allowed him to run open loop and he knew this.

2. Aircraft manufacturing firms do not have a profile that fits mainstream VC investment criteria, and there has been no comfirming pattern of VC success in this market segment. VC's generally like to see a large served market, a favorable competitive market structure, low capital intensity, fast growth, and early out potential (5-7 years being ideal). Aircraft manufacturing has none of these characteristics, so even if VR had been open to VC investment, it likely would hve been difficult to obtain even if VR had a record of success in other ventures in other markets (which he did not AFAIK).

WhyTech said...

"I sense this would be a home run "

And I'll bet that you could even get VR to show up in class to present his side of the story. I recall this happening fairly often in the good old days at HBS.

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

Harvard....

Ah, it's very tempting. I actually like the place, it's very easy to access from my (pretty far western) side of Europe and I'm pretty sure I could persuade a few of the 'crew' to join me in a proper forensic discussion of what went wrong.

Or right, depending on your baseline position.

However (and it's funny how there always is an 'ever' in this story) I don't think they'd be that interested.

After all, what Vern tried to do was a simple Ponzi scheme, which is not something that the Dean of the college would be too keen to be associated with.

When Stan surfaces (yes, he's off 'blowing bubbles again, the lucky sod) I'll discuss the idea.

Shane

Deep Blue said...

WhyTech:

Yes, good points, 1 & 2. VC firms would never have bought the order book, the development costs and certainly would have been all over management and production (they would likely have pretty much rejected the entire business plan). This is not to say that VC is always right; they often miss--alot, both during the opportunity filter and later, in execution.

VR did have Gates as an early investor (supposedly) but I suspect that traunche was "favor money" or he felt sorry for him!

It is odd that "VC" is often an entrepreneur's best friend, while so many other financial participants are utterly passive, including venture boards. The "Madoff Factor" (people are drawn to personalities when investing, as it is largely an emotional decision) still reigns supreme in the world of finance, venture or not.

I might take some exception with your characterization of VC in aviation; yes, I would agree that VC firms (as opposed to VC per se) have a thin resume here; and some recent examples like Piper and Cirrus attracted later stage private equity funding either post-revenue or as a turnaround; the VC layer in aviation ventures has usually come in as significant "angel" with little discipline behind it (unfortunately) but there has still been material and regular participation of early stage fundings across aviation history, including of course from the military. Other varieties include very large commitments in sovereign settings like Dubai, but that's not quite apples to apples.

At any rate, when raising any capital for aviation ventures I describe the risk not as venture, but a stage beyond: Adventure capital! (It's a shame the depositors in EAC didn't realize they were adventure capitalists; or maybe they did and liked the thrill).

Gunner said...

I do believe UBS raised a fair chunk of change for EAC, though I agree this was hardly the type or percentage we think of when we think of Venture Capital.

I do seem to remember Vern having a REAL VC deal in 2007. Of course, that was with a relative bottom feeder, because none of the majors would touch the it and he ultimately blew it up with a "Better to reign in Hell..." rant.

Baron-
I've no inside scoop on the D-Jet weight issue. This was always far more important to you than I, I think. For our part, we pretty much knew the bird wouldn't fly with the originally spec'd engine and weight constraints. At least, not with a full grown human sitting in the cockpit.

As we suggested when we did our deal, they went to the Cirrus engine as soon as it was certified.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

"This is not to say that VC is always right; they often miss--alot, both during the opportunity filter and later, in execution."

You got that right! I've been doing early stage venture capital for 20 years and have many more misses than wins (and I am not alone - fairly typical). Done right, the winners far more than offset the losers.

My comments on VC's in aviation were mainly oriented to large, mainstream, brand name early stage firms. There are many other private equity investors out there who would be more likely to consider such an investment. With a failure rate of very nearly 100% over several decades, its a wonder!

Deep Blue said...

WhyTech said:

"With a failure rate of very nearly 100% over several decades, its a wonder!"

Yes. Perhaps aviation is the greatest of all success stories: against all odds indeed!

Although of course we have to define "failure."

The money has rarely been made at the project, OEM, or operating level: the value is always extracted by the users of aviation; and what value it is!

As Igor Sikorsky said, "aviation was neither a science or a business, but a miracle."

This all does make one wonder however if we should come up with a new financial instrument just for aviation "investment."

Something like a 100 year zero-coupon; debt-in-perpetuity or Treasury-backed Aviation Bonds (with this Administration, they all work).

Perhaps even a new currency, one printed at an "Aviation Central Bank" (that's actually not a bad idea...including the Av Bonds).

WhyTech said...

"Something like a 100 year zero-coupon; debt-in-perpetuity or Treasury-backed Aviation Bonds (with this Administration, they all work). "

OK, but those of us who invest OPM (other people's money) woud not survive long doing this kind of deal. I am imagining how to explain this to the Limited Partners and live to tell about it!

baron95 said...

Deep Blue said...Yes, good points, 1 & 2. VC firms would never have bought the order book, the development costs
------------------------------

You are giving VCs way too much credit. Compared to some of the pipe dreams that got tens or hundreds od millions from VCs in the past decade (ranging from .com to Global Crossing), the Eclipse deal was one of the sanest one for VCs Up until 2006.

WhyTech said...

"After all, what Vern tried to do was a simple Ponzi scheme, which is not something that the Dean of the college would be too keen to be associated with"

You might be surprised - business ethics is very much front and center at business schools these days.

Deep Blue said...

B95 said:

"You are giving VCs way too much credit. Compared to some of the pipe dreams that got tens or hundreds of millions from VCs in the past decade (ranging from .com to Global Crossing), the Eclipse deal was one of the sanest ones for VCs, up until 2006."

Well, all I can say is.....you're right, although it would have taken a very special VC firm to have navigated a successful path with EAC or any other GA venture(where "successful" means even staying alive). Look how tough a time the ex-Bain guys are having with Hawker Beech, and that's a mature entity.

It is startling what a non-asset, "infinite-scalability" investment thesis will do to apparently rational money. The D-coms will, in general, go down as the biggest buffoonery VC ever fell for (though the Internet is still in its infancy and still, alot of money was made).

EAC may have indeed been a very good investment with hard corners put on the plan (like I think, Cirrus has turned out to be generally).

I can remember when "venture" rates of return were 30%. The 1995-2000 period so affected expectations (until probably just about two years ago) that 200% over 3 years was considered table stakes. Hell, AAPL stock was the large-cap tech passive investment to heaven between late 2003 until early 2008.

WhyTech: understood. Long-term money is an awefully hard thing to find (where "long" = even 7 years, let alone 30 or more) which is why I think we just need a new currency and venture central bank!

Shane Price said...

Whytech,

You might be surprised - business ethics is very much front and center at business schools these days.

Good point. And it wasn't that simple a scheme either, since I'm pretty sure he started with a sound idea, but went 'wrong' somewhere around the 'Williams first flight'. That's when Vern sucked in all that deposit money when he knew the EJ-22 didn't work.

Shane

julius said...

Shane,


the "Nimbus-order" was before the first flight.
IIRC even before that time the wedge/EAC missed the budgets (needed all the time new money...).

The wedge always needed someone who controlled/led or ousted him!

Julius

eclipso said...

"When you toss a coin, we all know that, on average, 50% of the time it will land heads and 50% tails. But most people forget that there is a very fair chance of getting 10 tails in a row, or 10 heads in a row."

And on rare occasions, it WIL land on the edge.

As far as the the "Honor Roll" rambling, it was enough for the DOT/IG to have sworn depositions drawn up. NDA's should probably not be violated, however, when anyone with enough aviation experience knows of safety-of-flight conditions exist, it become an OBLIGATION to violate ANY NDA

Black Tulip said...

Whytech said,

"You might be surprised - business ethics is very much front and center at business schools these days.”

I recently attended a continuing education course for public company board directors. The feature presentation was a Harvard Business School case centered on business ethics, or lack thereof. If the subject were Eclipse I could imagine Vern standing beside the professor telling us how we had it all wrong.

The Eclipse story would also make a fitting epilogue for two classics – “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles MacKay and “Famous Financial Fiascos” by John Thain.

fred said...

eclipso :

it become an OBLIGATION to violate ANY NDA


YES , ABSOLUTELY !

if that would be enforced more often , the results would be far greater than any inconveniences ...

thinking of , even some armies in the today world admit this ( refusing to execute an order illegal , amoral or against own beliefs is lawful )

if such things would be on , the top of the pyramid would "human beings" instead of "profits " and money ...

almost ideal ...

fred said...

Gutten tag , Herr Julius ...


Wie geht es Ihnen?
es ist lange Zeit gewesen, die Sie nicht anschlugen...

The wedge always needed someone who controlled/led or ousted him! i think (feel , smell) that you are touching a sensible point here ...

If Wedge would have just been a follower with an ego over-sized enough to believe to be a leader ?

result would have been what it has ...!

julius said...

fred,

bonjour,

yes, in February I was under (and) down under and March, April had been very busy - and then two weeks on Tenerife (family).
(Economy in Spain or Tenerife:
more than 15% unemployment etc...)

I enjoyed you comments - nothing to add! There is a little bit more than a pond - west of the Biscaya!

I rather would like to know who made the first drawing (and/after the related market analyses) for this little bird. If one compares at Embraer the floor plan of the Phenom 100 , Mustang, and fpj
( Phenom 100 floor plan ) one has the impression that the fpj is just a pressurized jet version of Cessna 206 or any other small six seater!
That might be ok for Ken and his wife or Col. P with wife, dog and golf bag - but with kids or skis?

I think the wedge needed the "airtaxi" sticker to attract money...

What are the differences between Frank D. Robinson and the wedge?
It's not only the current bad economic condition!

Julius

Shane Price said...

Ooops, Snippet

My remarks on Saturday about Lineair (which I've deleted) are, I'm assured, unfounded.

They continue to operate as per normal, and have no plans to enter Chapter 11.

A heartfelt 'sorry' to the folks over there.

Shane

airsafetyman said...

"The feature presentation was a Harvard Business School case centered on business ethics,"

Ah, the Harvard Business School and "ethics". How many Harvard MBAs went to jail in the Enron fiasco; how many Harvard MBAs have been implicated in hedge fund frauds? Not to mention the former Harvard MBA who started an illegal and unnecesary war in Iraq that has costs the lives of thousands and thousands and maimed tens of thousands more. Maybe Harvard should just skip giving seminars and look at just who the hell they are awarding degrees to?

michal said...

who started an illegal and unnecessary war in Iraq Off topic but who decides if war is illegal? Just curious.

WhyTech said...

"Maybe Harvard should just skip giving seminars and look at just who the hell they are awarding degrees to?"

Yep, no question: we should all be in the slammer.

airsafetyman said...

"Off topic but who decides if war is illegal? Just curious."

Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution. But, hey, it's only the Constitution. If you're a Harvard MBA from Texas or his fruitcake VP from Wyoming ignore it at your leisure.

airsafetyman said...

"Yep, no question: we should all be in the slammer."

I can't think of anything that would be more beneficial to the country right now.

michal said...

Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution.I don't follow...
The Congress did vote for this war...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Article 1 Section II specifically names the President as CIC.

We have not been, and are not now, 'at war' with Iraq or Afghanistan. War as a descriptor for combat operations is not the same as the definition contained within the Constitution.

Bush, nor any other President, have ever 'Declared' war, in, of or by themselves, since the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are not, by definition 'war', no 'premission was required, hence no violation of Article 1, Section VIII. That said, remember the hearings and the vote to authorize the use of force which the then out-of-power Democrats demanded so as to get their face time.

Iraq and Afghanistan were initiated and conducted under full repsect to separation of powers - had the Dem's actually believed it be an illegal operation they have had the ability for more than 2 years now to remove funding or require a pullout - and neither has actually happened.

Can we talk about airplanes?

Shane Price said...

I just wanted to point out that here in Ireland, we've never declared war on anyone.

Ever.

And, the way things are set up, it's considered almost impossible we ever would.

What a good idea....

Shane

Shane Price said...

Auction Update, Snippet

Ummm.....

..... there isn't one.

What a surprise.

No interest, from anyone, for the company as it stands.

I'm hearing is that the breakup value is higher than the 'indicative bids' for the entire. It would appear that the Trustee thinks there's $50 million, minimum, to be had from tooling, the IP, the 29 (pretty much finished) birds on the line and the other odds and ends (fire suppression system, slightly abused, anyone?) which could find alternative homes.

End of June (24th or 25th) is mooted as the date for the auction.

To me, it looks awfully like we're in endgame now, unless someone steps up to the plate with actual cash, and does so really quickly.

Shane

Beedriver said...

Hope springs eternal. here is another company wanting to build a VLJ they just need 12 million.

It will cruise at 480 knots or so and cost $2,000,000

http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090515/BIZ0102/905150387/1001/NEWS0

michal said...

Can we talk about airplanes?I think it is an excellent idea. There has been a whole lot more logic in Eclipse 500 than in the claim that "the war was illegal". This forum is getting a bit ridiculous .. less and less about airplanes.

gadfly said...

This morning, coming into the parking lot, I noticed over the fence a “Sheet metal slip roll” next to the Dempster-Dumpster . . . and thought to myself, why would the shop next door set that out next to the trash? Later, the neighbor came over for a key into the back area . . . and I asked him about it. He said, he thought about repairing it . . . but it wasn’t worth the effort. And believe me, when this person says something is that far gone . . . it’s really gone, like the parrot of British fame.

And then along came Shane’s snippet . . . and evidently even the “die hard’s” might have a clue, that some things are beyond “fixing”.

gadfly

(‘Ever heard the story about the little old lady with her dead dog, being charged for the final report by the “Veterinarian”, after the “cat scan” and the “Lab” report? . . . OK, never mind!)

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

Quote:
Hope springs eternal. here is another company wanting to build a VLJ they just need 12 million.

And from the article:
Lemaire, who is French but has a home in Bend, is a computer industry executive who’s also worked in aviation.

You've got to be kidding!!

baron95 said...

michal said... who decides if war is illegal? Just curious.
--------------------------
The winners, of course, who else.

airtaximan said...

Heard this today -

Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. - Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.


2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered – Auto Industry fixed.

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis fixed.



It can't get any easier than that!

Deep Blue said...

Shane said:

"Just wanted to point out that here in Ireland, we've never declared war on anyone. Ever. And, the way things are set up, it's considered almost impossible we ever would. What a good idea...."

Shane: You're joking here, right? I'm sorry, but your country has declared war on themselves.

And going on what, now, 35 years or more? Catholic vs. Protestant; North versus South: blood, vengeance, riots, killings, bombs, terrorism. Ireland is one of the most violent war cultures on this planet (my Mother from Cork; I know).

Off topic; back to aviation.

WhyTech said...

"Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations: "

Absolutely freaking brilliant! ATM for President!

gadfly said...

Between "WT" and "ATM" and their math, me thinks I know why Eclipse went south.

'Better get back to airplane talk, . . . and fast.

gadfly

WhyTech said...

"Between "WT" and "ATM" and their math,"

So what's $40 trillion among us fellow Americans? The way things are going we'll soon be paying that for a loaf of bread. Roll those presses at Treasury!

airtaximan said...

Gad,

whats the issue?

BTW, I am not 50 yet...

airtaximan said...

whytech,

pretty funny!!!

gadfly said...

ATM . . . what's the issue? According to the present math coming out of DC, there is no issue. But WhyTech nailed it!

gadfly

(That's 40 with 12 zeros . . . and according to the present administration and congress, those zeros mean "nothing".)

gadfly said...

ATM . . . looking at US Labor statistics, there are 142 million workers employed (and dropping). So, the tax burden would be placed on 102 million (142 minus the 40), of which 50% in the lower half of incomes pay no income tax . . . leaving $784,000 per employed person in the "upper half" (not counting all the other trillions of debt that have now been placed on the taxpayers). . . and that just might be you. (FICA and State Taxes not included).

gadfly

("Mean" (average) = $35,499 per year income

"Median" (half above/half below) = $24,325 per year income)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

So the 'leaders' of the stillborn Air Taxi operation Pogo are now offering their 'valuable', umm, 'expertise' on a consulting basis for other would be Air Taxi operators.

Some days you just cannot make this stuff up.

airtaximan said...
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airtaximan said...

gad,

but the retirees would open up jobs for the unemployed of today - so you could get to very low unemployment...

Also, you cannot force retirement, so some would take it some not -

I figger, we could pay back 20million home loans, generate demand for 20 million new cars and employ 20 million new employees!

Man, I almost feel like Vern.

gadfly said...

ATM

You should run for congress, or a position in the president's cabinet. It's a "shoe-in".

gadfly

WhyTech said...

"Man, I almost feel like Vern."

Your proposal takes Obamaism to a new "plane." His ideas seem small time along side yours. Talk about redistribution of wealth!

baron95 said...

Just substitute 40M Americans for 400,000 UAW (current workers and retirees) and that is EXACTLY the plan that is being implemented at GM, Chrysler, and, by extension, Ford.

$33B and counting have been sent to these companies with the express condition that the UAW gets majority ownership and their VEBAs funded fully.

Except that the media dares not make that connection.

airtaximan said...

CW,

where you getting the pogo/consulting gig thing from?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM, check Darth Campbell's.

fun to follow these goings on said...

OK Lets get this blog focused on eclipse again ;-)

Latest from the Financial Times

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/270e7462-3dd6-11de-a85e-00144feabdc0.html

fred said...
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fred said...
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fred said...

Mr ColdWet ...
(sorry to bore you to puke with such details ...)

on your comments on the War status ...

you are right !

unfortunately , USA is not the first one to use such ropes ...

technically speaking :

Nazi's Germany didn't start WW2 , it is the British and the French ...
what Nazi's Germany did was to retaliate against polish gangsters who raided a German radio station ...
ok , the "polish gangsters" were german SicherheistDienst officers dressed as polish for the occasion , and they retaliated by invading Poland .... but that is only "details" ...

the same french who NEVER fought a war in Algeria ...

officially (up to a very few years ago) the War in Algeria was only "Peace Keeping" ...

once again : just a shame No one look at History ... ;-)

fred said...

oooooh guys ....

make a retirement-fund for anyone over 50 ?

what for ?

it would have made more sens to "JUST" spread the cash given to those selfish bastards of W.S. into the US population ...

to make it simpler and not raise polemics , i take ONLY the deficits of 2009 (roughly) while i cannot resist to say an old adage :

the deficits of today are ALWAYS the tax of tomorrow ...

(so , in such , Whytech has all chances to be right ... 40 billions for a loaf of bread [i inherited from parents a simple German post WW1 post-stamp for inside the country : face value only 450.000.000 deutschmarks ;-) ] , that's about what a german was paying at the end of 1929 crisis ... just a shame no one look at history ! ;-) )


so 1.840.000.000.000 $ divided by 300.000.000 persons =

6.133,33 US$ per person taking the average household as : father + mother + 2 kids =

24.533,32US$ ...

problem : next year is already known as slightly more ...
and the year after ? all chances to be even worse (after getting addicted to Tarp , why W.S. gurus would give it up ?)

this is not even addressing the overall deficits (over 370% of any one year GNP )

which is about 200.000US$ for any baby born last minute ...

who need to have a retirement fund , then ?

funnily enough , not a single Eco.Journalist working in W.S. pointed out that with masses of cash dumped into the market , Baron should be dancing a Gig to celebrate the DOW at 40.000 since last week ...

julius said...

fred,

bonjour,

more than a million for a loaf of breadthat's still possible: in Somalia, Zimbabwe (now they use the §/€- printing became too expensive!)... who is the next...



The entry ticket for a small jet production is about $150M and the jet may cost $2M... but where did the wedge actually burn the money? No finance plan, no production ramp-up plan, ...?


Perhaps Peter Reed will explain that happening?

Julius

Black Tulip said...

In order to reduce unemployment the French adopted a 35 hour work week in year 2000. What the United States needs is a 10 hour work week. Then we can employ everyone plus pay for medical coverage and retirement. The Obama administration would be well advised to consider this.

fred said...

BT :


yes , in france it is forbidden (if employee) to work more than 35 hours per week (mind you ... everybody has at least 6 weeks of paid vacations per year )

it COULD have been a good thing IF they would have reduced the state spending ...

because if you compare the situation with a cake ...

the production of (new) richness is the totality of the cake ...

so what your wife is doing when your mother-in-law comes home ?

she makes a bigger cake (this is where NEW is important ...)

what happen if on top of your mother-in-law , all the sisters and brothers of your wife arrive unexpectedly ?

she can either go back to oven and make some more cake (here it can be compared with productivity improvement ...)

or ask your kid to run to the bakery to buy an other cake ...
(which is actually the US situation ...and can be compared to credit and debts accumulation )

nonetheless , the outcome is deadly simple to predict ...

if the cake is a finite quantity , the more peoples having a share , the smaller the part ...

this is where the french "socialist idea" was wrong ...
if no one want to make the cake bigger and no one want to reduce his slice = not everybody will have one (unemployment )

in the case of the US situation , the kid run to the bakery , take an other cake ... (credit)

but the day after , either your wife will have to make 2 cake instead of one (one for family , one to give back to bakery )
or
the baker will take the one your wife made , but you will have zip !

in both case (french or US) what is primordial :

understand what all is about , try to keep some control and balance ...!

ps: wow , now we are talking cakes and bakeries stuff ...
Mr ColdWet must be again knelling in front of the toilets ...! ;-)

fred said...

Mr Julius :

Gutten tag ...

who is next ?

i don't know , i have a quite good feeling about but who can say "i know future for sure " ? ...

only one thing can be safely assumed :

it is going so better for our politicians to use "the easy way out" (creation of inflation) ...

i just hope that our ones will be "clever" enough to remember the dark period between the 2 wars ...

like this : no problems , everybody will be so busy counting the few millions it takes to buy anything ... that no one will actually remember all their mistakes , mismanagement and BS ...

that is the most problematic aspect of any democratic system :

not a single politicians can get elected by saying to the voters "You are already TOO fat , no more cake !"

still they are the ones with the hand in the printing-machines command ... ;-)

airtaximan said...

BT, or how about...

requiring a few more years of high school?

This would limit the workforce/unemployment as well...

fred said...

ATM :

or make new graduated helping students for one or 2 years , for free .... off-course ! ;-)

Shane Price said...

New Post up.

Mike Press is making further efforts to attract money.

I'm interested in your reactions, which I'm sure will be 'illuminating'....

Shane