Saturday, July 01, 2006

Falling Short

The Eclipse program was announced in the year 2000; the well reported engine change took place in 2003. The company expects certification "in a few weeks."
Here is where the aircraft will fall short based on the recently published Performance Chart posted on the Eclipse website.


1,600 nm NBAA reserves & 4 occupants
41,000 feet cruise altitude

1,280 nm NBAA reserves, 4 - 170 lbs occupants & 30 lbs baggage
41,000 feet cruise altitude
(Range to fly Phoenix to Chicago)

1,125 nm NBAA reserves, 4 -170 lbs occupants & 30 lbs baggage
Cruise altitude not specified
(Range to fly, Phoenix to Springfield, Missouri)

Cruise Speed/Stall speed:

355 kts cruise/62 kts stall

375 kts cruise/67 kts stall

370 kts cruise/69 kts stall


Takeoff 4,700 lbs
Empty 2,700 lbs
Useful 2,000 lbs
Fuel 1,330 lbs
Payload with full fuel 670 lbs

Takeoff 5,640 lbs
Empty 3,390 lbs
Useful 2,250 lbs
Fuel 1,540 lbs
Payload with full fuel 710 lbs

Takeoff 5,920 lbs
Empty 3,536 lbs
Useful 2,384 lbs
Fuel 1,686 lbs
Payload with full fuel 698 lbs


$875,000/160 orders

$1,175,000/1,357 orders plus 715 options

$1,495,000/2,400+ orders

Operating Costs:

50 cents per mile direct operating cost

Comparable to full fare coach airline ticket

$1.41 per mile direct operating cost
$3.00 per mile total operating cost

When Eclipse announced the latest performance numbers, they boasted about the increase in useful load. They did not mention an even greater boost in fuel capacity which reduced the cabin payload with full fuel. And in spite of the latest increase in fuel capacity (9%), range was reduced 12% from the 2003 prediction, 30% less than that predicted when the program was announced in 2000.

Anyway you color the picture, it is an erosion to the performance promised to the 2,400 + customers and to the investors backing the program.

Looking at the bigger picture, the dollars may be the real problem. Operating costs have tripled, acquisition costs nearly doubled. In spite of the higher prices and reduced performance, Vern continues to insist he is going to ramp production up to 1,000 to 2,000 units per year. An ambitious plan indeed.


bat said...

I question your DOC and total cost numbers.

Could you please explain how you calculate the DOC and total cost per mile numbers.

Stan Blankenship said...


Would refer you to the May 6 post which developed operating costs a charter operator would be subject to.

Some of the line items would not apply to an owner/pilot operation but for most o/p's, annual utilization is 200-300 hours per year which raises the fixed costs per mile.