Saturday, August 12, 2006

Recap

Thus far, this blog has 18 posts which may be a bit much for a new reader to wade through. Here is a summary of what has been written:

August 5, 2006
Money Money Money Money Money Moneeeee
With the infusion of another $225 million of investment capital, development funds will total between $600 million and $700 million, a huge sum and very difficult to recover by building airplanes.
This post describes a scenario whereby Eclipse can issue an IPO, then as long as Vern can keep the stock price pumped, he and all of the original investors can cash out before the new stockholders figure out the Eclipse project is a money loser and always will be and their stock prices go down accordingly.

August 4, 2006
Cinderella's Magic Slipper
Compares how the aircraft turned out against the goals set by the Eclipse V.P. of Engineering in 2002. What he wanted and what he got was two different things.
A critical opportunity was missed when they changed to the Pratt engine. The design needed more wing, instead they added tip tanks. Now due to even more performance shortfalls, they are enlarging the tip tanks which are sooo uncool, mid-20th century, clunky and out of technical style. Winglets are the rage today...sleek and sexy and sooo 21st century.
More empty weight growth reported, by now a familiar story.
And about Cinderella's magic slipper, you will have to read the post.

August 3, 2006
Transparency Lost
Points out Eclipse is no longer providing specific performance information. Web diagrams used to show flight profiles with a direct climb to 41,000 ft and high speed cruise at 375 kts.
Now only statements:
Maximum speed 370 kts (but at what altitude?)
Airplane cruise altitude 41,000 feet (but at what weight and at what speed?)

August 2, 2006
Oshkosh Report
Compares Vern's claim of "Type Certified" to Bush's "Mission Accomplished" banner. In either case, the job is not done and may take some time to complete.
Discusses further erosion in Eclipse performance claims.
Questions the inconsistency of claims the airframe is friction stir welded when 90% of the assembly uses conventional rivets.

July 12, 2006
Hi'ya Bill, this is Vern
Projection of the Eclipse business model as they go forward and run out of money.
A fun read!

July 2, 2006
Eclipse Takeoff Performance
Explains the safety issue related to the Eclipse claim for exceptional high altitude takeoff capability.

July 1, 2006
Falling Short
Details the erosion of predicted performance, escalating purchase costs, escalating operating costs from inception, to the Pratt engine changeover, to the latest published data.

June 26, 2006
Certification Delay
Raburn is always quick to blame suppliers for problems and delays, but never accepts any blame for late changes by Eclipse.

May 29, 2006
Eclipse - Customer Deposits
Discussed the ethics of using customer deposits to fund development which puts those monies at risk rather than keeping the deposits in escrow accounts which is industry standard for start up companies.

May 21, 2006
Eclipse - Empty Weights
First evidence of an empty weight problem was revealed in a Flight International magazine article.
The test flight for the FI writer never got above 32,000 feet.

May 21, 2006
Eclipse - Return on Investment
Post reminds us when the switch was made to the more expensive Pratt engine, the company did not increase the sales price on existing purchase orders. This will reduce profit margins on these units even more and push the recovery of development costs further out in the future.
This will be an item to check in the prospectus when the IPO comes out.

May 18, 2006
The Problem With Small Turbines
Details the difficulty small turbines have with developing sufficient bleed air for pressurization and adequate thrust for high altitude cruise.

May 15, 2006
Message to Eclipse - Corrections Welcome
Eclipse was invited to provide any needed corrections to this blog. None were requested.

May 14, 2006
Eclipse Performance - What Happened to the 5% Guarantee?
Discovered the removal of the 5% performance guarantee that was previously posted on the Eclipse web site.
Noted that none of the dozen or so reporters who had test flown the Eclipse had been above 32,000 feet.
This post suggested there may be a warning flag (related to performance) flying over the Sandia peaks...there was!

May 7, 2006
Vern Raburn has enough hot air to float all the balloons in the Albuquerque Balloon Fest
Explains why the Eclipse is so quiet. It is hardly flying at jet speeds and is powered by an engine with not much more thrust than my wife's vacuum cleaner.

May 7, 2006
Eclipse - House of Cards
Exposed the shaky foundation of Vern's three-legged business plan: Unprecedented high volume production, Extremely low costs, High sales rates; each leg interdependent on the other.

May 6, 2006
Eclipse Charter Rates
Destroyed the myth that the airplane could operate at 50 cents per mile direct operating costs and that charter rates would approach full fare airline ticket costs.

April 11, 2006
Eclipse - Four Topics for Discussion

Introduction - Compared to the achievements of the Lear Jet program 40 years ago, Eclipse Aviation does not have too much to brag about.

Part 1. Predicts empty weight problems for the Eclipse and discusses the importance of the subject.

Part 2. Challenges the Eclipse use of friction stir welding. Cites Boeing and Cessna concerns for corrosion developing in these welds.

Part 3. Questions how Eclipse can recover nearly a half-billion dollars in development costs.
Refutes Vern Raburn's claim that he was the first small aircraft company to use a high-end CAD system (Unigraphics) for airplane design. I personally purchased a UG system 23 years ago to do a small kit airplane.
Refuted Vern's claim regarding the accuracy and how "leading edge" Eclipse was by using a Faro Laser Tracker. I own one and use it in my business, it is industry common.
Refuted the Eclipse/United Airlines claim to be the first to utilize a major airline for business aircraft training. Learjet tried the same thing with United in 1966, sent them a photo of a Learjet painted in United's colors.

Part 4. Questioned why, if Eclipse has 2,000+ orders, the company is doing all the promotion and self promotion? (we got our answer in August)

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