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!
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.
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)
The 'Honor Roll', just in case anyone forgot...
THE REAL FRANK CASTLE