What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?
This post was revised November 14 after receipt of weight and moment arms from flightfollowing. While I am not sure of the source of these numbers, they paint a more favorable view of the CG problems for the Eclipse airplane.
With four 190 lb occupants in the front four seats and fuel to bring the A/C up to max TO weight, the airplane is outside the forward envelope. Not good, but not as bad as I thought. If the occupants average 180 lbs, then the CG is in the envelope.
Extending the sloped lines on the CG envelope shown on the type data sheet up to the 5,920 lb weight Eclipse was predicting, and the CG travel would be zero, so I suspect the FAA may have limited the gross to 5,760 lbs where there was at least 2.5 inches of travel.
Flightfollowing's information shows a 3,700 lb empty weight. This empty weight, with the TCDS max TO weight and new fuel number shows 1) a reduction of cabin payload with full fuel from 724 lbs to 576 lbs and 2) a reduction of 162 lbs of fuel.
The question remains, what did they know and when did they know they had further reductions in performance and utility?
The first of October when the airplane was certified or in June when we were told that all testing was done and that software development was the only issue holding up certification?
Eclipse should have known about this situation last June. If there was an easy fix, engineering had five months to correct the problem. Obviously, it didn't happen!
I can't help contrast the Eclipse program with the Mustang. Several months ago, Cessna transferred most of the Mustang engineers to other programs. But then, Cessna got the airplane right the first time.
Eclipse did not get the airplane right; too small of wing, insufficient fuel, insufficient thrust and a flawed basic design. Eclipse's web site show openings for numerous engineers, they still have a ways to go.
Nearly every performance target has been missed, costs are up, delivery dates are missed, aviation's self-anointed Messiah has turned into a false prophet.
This is a failed project, it just hasn't failed yet! Money, not a successful design is keeping it alive.