Monday, September 11, 2006

Eclipse Answers - Guest Editorial

niner zulu has contributed his e-mail exchange with Eclipse.

Following is the text from an email Eclipse sent to me on August 10, 2006 in reply to my email to them (the names have been xxxx'd out, and unfortunately the chart would not paste into the Comment box for the blog so it may be a little hard to interpret...)

Dear Mr. XXX,

I am sorry to hear of your concerns. However I believe you have been misinformed with several points and I hope the below answers will provide greater insight. I will encourage you to ask for a Sales Representative or Sales Manager at these shows. Many times we employ product specialists who assist us in logistics and staffing, however they are not specifically employed with Eclipse in the Sales Department.

1) is it true that some person or company has purchased (approximately) 100 positions on the Eclipse, and is feeding them out to the market 1-2 positions at a time for a profit. Also, is it true that there may be hundreds of more spec positions waiting to be dumped on the market? If so, this would kill the market for resales.

To the best of my knowledge, this specific company I believe you are referring to no longer holds the right to that number of aircraft. There is less than 3% speculator purchases based on today’s data, and we have over 2,500 aircraft sold.

2) is it true that the climb rate of the Eclipse is currently only around 400' per minute at altitudes somewhere between FL350 and FL410.

The climb rate in that altitude range is comparable to other light jets that have ceilings of FL410. You can expect anywhere from 250fpm to 600fpm depending on a number of factors. This is not uncommon for jets of this size to have reduced climb rates above FL350 because of the density of the air. Even the Bombardier Challenger 604 aircraft has less than 500fpm climb rate in the upper 30’s, lower 40’s.

3) I heard that the cruise speed at FL410 is only about 305 kts, and this is with a nose-up attitude. Is this true? If not, what is the nose-up attitude in cruise at FL410 (I have heard it is as high as 7 degrees nose-up) and what would the TAS be?

Level flight at FL410, at Max Continuous Thrust (MCT) will yield 360kts. The “sweet spot” for the Eclipse 500 is at FL350 based on max continuous thrust to achieve the maximum cruise speed of 370kts.

4) is it true that there are problems with the tip tank design with regard to lighting protection? If so, has the problem been resolved and what is the solution?

Yes, we had a minor issues with the lightning tests conducted with the tip tanks, specifically the composite was presenting some issues. We have corrected this by eliminating the composite and replacing the structure with all aluminum. Keep in mind, the only composite component of the tip tank is the forward leading and trailing edge. The actual fuel tank portion is aluminum. This change validates the use of aluminum and that an all aluminum aircraft like the Eclipse 500 will prove to be one of the strongest and safest aircraft in history. Installation of the aluminum tip tanks is imminent.

5) what is the flight configuration i.e. altitude, power setting, and true airspeed for maximum range and what is the range. Is there a performance chart available that shows power settings, fuel burn and range at various altitudes?

Attached below:
Max Continous Thrust
Distance Block Time Flight Time Block Fuel Flight Fuel Max Speed During Trip Cruise Altitude
200nm 0:51 0:40 435 lb 384 lb 362 kt 25,000 ft
200nm 0:53 0:42 385 lb 344 lb 366 kt 35,000 ft
600nm 1:57 1:46 1,123 lb 1,072 lb365 kt 25,000 ft
600nm 1:59 1:48 885 lb 834 lb 369 kt 35,000 ft
1,000nm 3:10 2:59 1,224 lb 1,173 lb360 kt 39,000 ft

Long Range Cruise
Distance Block Time Flight Time Block Fuel Flight FuelMax Speed During Trip Cruise Altitude
200nm 0:58 0:47 398 lb 347 lb 273 kt 25,000 ft
200nm 0:56 0:45 375 lb 324 lb 302 kt 35,000 ft
600nm 2:27 2:16 954 lb 903 lb 273 kt 25,000 ft
600nm 2:17 2:06 814 lb 763 lb 302 kt 35,000 ft
1,000nm 3:26 3:15 1,140 lb1,089 lb 331 kt 41,000 ft

6) at what altitude does the Eclipse cruise at it's advertised speed of 370 knots, and what is the fuel burn at this power setting

See above chart.

7) is it true that there are some problem certifiying the AVIO system for IFR flight?

The AVIO system has been the area for many of our minor delays, specifically a few key suppliers that have not followed through to their schedule. However, we currently have a timeline in place to work with these suppliers to ensure IFR capability by the end of August, at which time we expect to receive the full Type Certification from the FAA. Most functionality will be complete by Q4 of this year, however the auto-throttle and some operational options will not be available until March 2007. Please keep in mind these future changes will simply be a software update, since most hardware is currently installed and waiting on integration. The AVIO – Total Aircraft Integration is going to be one dynamic and phenomenal suite to make flying safer and easier for the single pilot – there is not a comparable system out there that is available on any aircraft below $20 million.

8) when do you expect the first Eclipse deliveries will occur.

First deliveries will occur by the end of August.

9) is the buyer for the first Eclipse delivery really not going to take delivery (or, if he does, then sell it?). What made him change his mind?

Mr. XXXX is still taking delivery in conjunction with a fractional company, and they will both be utilizing the aircraft. Many customers choose to partner with a fractional or charter company in order to help justify ownership and offset the cost.

10) I was told that the letter that gave Eclipse position holders was carefully worded so that, if they did not cancel their positions by a certain date because the Eclipse wasn't going to meet the range promised, that the end result would be that they lose their right to cancel get their deposit back if any of the other performance specs aren't met as well. Is this true?

We guarantee the performance for your aircraft. If a certain performance guarantee is not met, we will inform all customers of the refund event and allow 30 days to request a refund so we can manage the refunds. This occurred when we updated the range on the aircraft, however we only lost about 8 customers out of 2,500 aircraft on order, continuing to validate the Eclipse 500 as a phenomenal value and performer.

11) Why does Eclipse continue to advertise the price as $1.3 million? I can't buy one for that, at least not from Eclipse.

The list price has been adjusted to reflect today’s dollars adjusted for CPI-W from June 2000. In June 2006 dollars, the list price is $1,520,000 as stated in the Eclipse 500 Deposit Agreement. You will find the baseline for our pricing has been set in June 2000 up until the recent Oshkosh airshow, rather than confuse folks by updating by CPI-W on an annual basis. Most aircraft manufacturers conduct pricing this way for new aircraft to hit the market.

I hope the above information will help to mitigate your concerns.

Please find attached the latest product specifications for the Eclipse 500.

Best regards,
Joe XXXX
Aircraft Sales
Eclipse Aviation Corporation
Ph: 505.724.1682
Fx: 505.241.8717
Web: www.eclipseaviation.com
11:56 AM, September 11, 2006

3 comments:

Griper said...

Jeepers, the comments sure have slowed down since the mustang got certified. It got real busy there for a while. Anyone want comment on why they are posting as much?

Saw that Eclipse has a new veep of manufacturing which means the old one left and from the rumors that guy went to Cessna. That's a lot of junk going on just when they are supposed to be shifting into high gear for production.

Stan Blankenship said...

griper,

Since you brought up the subject, the Eclipse press release for Paul Schumacher mentioned lean manufacturing, interchangeable assemblies and a high ratio of machined parts to formed parts. Not one mention of friction stir welding.

Time will tell if he can get the job done.

Several years ago, I wrote the only first person account on how Bill Lear built the Lear Jet. One of the chapters describes the guy who finally got the line moving, albeit with tragic consequences.

http://www.aerotalk.com/Lear_Landers.cfm

flight guy said...

Griper,

It definitely has been quiet here on the blog. I imagine that is because Eclipse celebrated prematurely with the provisional. Since then the FAA has been looking at the paperwork. Unevitably, something always pops up that needs reworked. At least Eclipse knew about the tip tanks. Usually, a company doesn't know what they don't know. To me it appears that Eclipse has been trying to buckle down and get some things completed rather than make additional premature headlines and additional targets for critics to shoot at with objective criticism. At least it has been confirmed that the PW 610F was officially approved by the FAA on Aug. 23, which leads me to believe there are further airframe and avionics issues left undisclosed.