A significant number of Vern's 2,400+ orders are "spec" orders. Like scalpers at a football game, speculators buy in at the beginning of a program hoping to cash in big, offering early delivery positions at prices lower than what end-of-the-line deliveries might represent.
Offers on the web are popping up like dandelions in my neighbors yard. Here is how a typical offer reads:
A New Mexico speculator has put down $155,000 on Serial Number 003. He is willing to sell the position for $655,000 which puts a half-million premium in his pocket. This payment is due on certification. The buyer pays Eclipse $840,000 on delivery (was scheduled for August 2006).
This same speculator makes the same offer for S/N 015, 072 and 143.
You can find actual offers on the following sites:
Speculators have "visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads." They are betting they can re-sell the positions at a premium. Their bet is on an airplane they believed would fly 375 kts at 41,000 ft and have 1,280 nm range. As the previous post suggests, the airplane Vern will deliver may only fly 330 kts at 30,000 ft. A lower cruise altitude means higher fuel flows: range may be reduced to under 900 nm.
With reduced performance, the premium value and the odds of selling the aircraft change dramatically. Even legitimate buyers who intend to utilize the airplane for their own purposes may have second thoughts. This could result in a flood of cancellations.
It might be like a "run on the bank" in the 1920's before the FDIC. Depositors would get nervous about a bank's liquidity and start withdrawing funds. The word would get around and pretty soon all of the customers would run to the bank demanding immediate withdrawals. The banks would have to lock their doors, often permanently.
A 2006 "run on a shaky airplane company" might get interesting. It's a dilemma for the speculators, hold on and hope for the premium risking that if the company goes "tits up," they lose their ante. Unfortunately for them, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation does not cover deposits for over-hyped airplanes.
If Eclipse has more performance then what they are showing, take a "legitimate aviation writer" for a ride. Load the airplane with full fuel plus three adults and demonstrate your ability to climb to 41,000 ft and fly to a destination 1,000 nm distant.
That is exactly what we did on May 23, 1975 when people questioned Lear's claim for range on the new Model 36. With five on board, we flew from Toronto to Vancouver against the wind, shot a missed approach (or low-and-over as the Canadian controller advised), then returned to Calgary for landing. The leg west was 1,807 nm, then 370 nm to Calgary. I was over 6 hours in the co-pilot seat, never unbuckled my seat belt.
A legitimate writer would be somebody like Mac McClellan from Flying Magazine. The buffoon from aero-news.net who has been Vern's lap-dog media outlet would not qualify. Others have posted pages of material on the checkered past of James "Captain Zoom" Campbell. While Campbell claims it is all lies, you will have to find this material on your own just as I had to by googling - james captain zoom campbell.
And yes Campbell and I have clashed over Eclipse issues. We had a two hour running gun battle via e-mails on the morning of July 4, 2006. He accused me of stalking and harassment. Threatened to call the police, he was in Florida, I am in Wichita. I threatened to put copies of his e-mail up on a blog, he threatened to sue for copyright violations. The fireworks started early that day!