Thursday, August 03, 2006

Transparency Lost

Vern Raburn has promoted program transparency as a responsible way for a start-up company to do business. Lately, his transparency has been on the wane.

As an example, he makes the statement that all range figures are based on maximum speed. Does that mean the throttles are jammed all the way forward and the airplane is going as fast as it can or is the airspeed pegged at the redline? And at what altitude is the mission flown? Are step climbs involved?

His website used to diagram the flight profiles showing a direct climb to 41,000 ft and cruising at 375 knots. Now Raburn is just throwing the numbers out and letting the audience draw whatever conclusions they may.

As pointed out by a reader of this blog, Vern was interviewed in early July by Aviation International News, Vern mentioned further performance shortfalls for the first 100 deliveries, range will be 1,050 nm rather than the 1,150 nm as published and planned for the later aircraft. Nowhere on his website will you find this information.


Stormy said...

You go Stan. It's nice to finally see someone put in writing the questions that the industry rags should have been bringing on for the last 3 years. Vern gave himself a month to pull this together for cert. Will he or will the house of cards come tumbling down?

Stan Blankenship said...

Thanks, working on the next post.

engineguy said...

It was clear very early that Eclipse would, at best, have a very difficult time in delivering on the promises that they made. Even getting close is a very difficult proposition. There are reasons other than industry group-think that many of the ideas espoused by the folks at Eclipse haven't come to fruition prior to now. Eclipse is just now learning the lessons that the likes of Cessna, Learjet, Raytheon and all the others have learned and relearned.

The big one that none ever seems to learn is that big promises do not make happy customers.

Stan Blankenship said...


Thanks for your comment.

Can you expand a bit on the "reasons other than industry group-think."

I agree that Eclipse is just now learning lesons well known to the rest of the industry. Do you think Vern still defines the industry as "fossilized" or has he learned it is difficult to be too innovative?

engineguy said...

Certainly. Early in the development/promotion of the Eclipse, Mr Raburn made a statement (several times, I believe) that "just because the established manufacturers say it can't be done doesn't mean that it can't be done." While those are probably not the exact words, they certainly capture the flavor of the comment. My "groupthink" comment referred to the dismissal by Raburn of an immense library of data that has been accumulated by those of us in the industry. While I sincerely hoped that he would succeed with his grand plan, I found it highly unlikely that he would completely remake the industry. Perhaps Eclipse has or will create some breakthroughs. Certainly, the avionics system could be considered to be a major advance - if it works as advertised. I know that other companies are pursuing similar systems. Still, there are valid reasons that aircraft manufacturers tend to us incremental steps in the development of new products. High risks can be lucrative, but they more often break the bank.

Stan Blankenship said...

Maybe technology advances differently in the computer industry.

A rogue genius gets an idea, quits his regular job, raises a little venture capital and goes on to make a gazillion dolars.

Sixteen others do the same thing and end up sending out resumes but we don't hear about them.

Aviation is a mature industry and as I say in in my Boeing 787 blog, small gains come at a high price.