Saturday, November 11, 2006

One Buyers Experience With Eclipse

Stan-You ask about the Eclipse Owners Forum. Been there. In order to explain what I found, you’ll need some background.

I deposited on the Eclipse just prior to the July Conference Call. Immediately upon wiring the funds things started to go downhill.

The confirmation receipt I received stated, Eclipse reserves the right to revise the assigned serial number up to six months prior to the delivery of the Aircraft which revision shall not constitute a change to the Deposit Agreement. Customer will be advised, in writing, of any such change to the assigned serial number, if any." This was in direct contradiction to the Agreement that I had signed which stated, "Your serial number reflects the specific manufacturing order of your aircraft.

Meantime I had been on the owners’ site. This is what I found:
- It wasn’t super active
- Most were True Believers, especially those trying to sell early positions
- There was some concern about insurance, but very little in the way of critical thinking or tough questions. It was quite clear that the individual Depositors wished to maintain the best possible standing with the Company and didn’t want to lead any charge.

I was only on the site for a couple of days; that’s as long as it took me to demand my money back and for Eclipse to show me the door. First I brought up the issue of Eclipse’s statement that they were canceling all Serial Numbers ” Serial numbers may be changing for everyone based on refunds taking place, etc”. Early Depositors were surprised, as they’d received their framed Orders, complete with Hull Number, among great fanfare. Then I posted a link to this blog and asked if anyone knew what axe you had to grind. The silence was pretty much deafening. I felt as though I’d just kicked someone’s puppy.

Back to the Eclipse Exchange:

Micah explained by email that this was due to a change in documents and that they were no longer assigning SN’s; even if they did, that might change! I refused to accept the ad hoc change and explained that my agreement to such change would allow Eclipse to hold my Deposit, without delivery, for as long as it would like. I then posted me email on the owners’ forum. The post was promptly deleted. (If I recall correctly, ALL of my posts were). Shortly thereafter, my Login was locked and Micah responded that they’d be returning my Deposit (though it took two weeks to do so). Best Hundred and Thirty Grand I ever saved!

Below is the email that got me shown to the door:

You’re right, Micah, I am feeling misled already.

The fact that you no longer assign Serial Numbers puts your customers completely in the dark as to the number of units you have on order, gives us zero transparency as to internal “bumping” of positions, provides absolutely zero collateral to your purchasers and is a completely non-standard practice whether it be in buying a car, a boat or a plane. Additionally, in the present case, I am left little choice but to assume that Eclipse has no intention of executing the document that it required me to execute; despite the fact that you have accepted my money.

Sorry for the confusion?

I’m sorry for the confusion also. Unfortunately, it wasn’t mine yet is apparently about to cost only me. I think not.

Kindly advise as to whether we have a purchase contract or, in the negative, just how clear we are on the issue of IMMEDIATE wire return of the funds you have taken for a contract you will not execute.Yes, I’m feeling just a little misled; and my confidence in your company’s organizational and communication abilities is severely shaken. From what I can tell, your single source of revenues is from wire transfers such as mine....to find out, in retrospect that you’re not all on the same page as to the terms of receipt of that income is simply unthinkable.

Gunner

199 comments:

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Yet another dose of reality - the charter-on-demand air taxi operators are planning to fly with 2 pilots according to their website. Since nobody has seen the 6th seat in a certificated plane yet, the taxi guys are stuck with a maximum of 3 paying passengers.

The FAA standard person is 170 lbs but that has not been reality in the US since the '70's.

Just looking at the provided Avio screen shot, it would appear with 4 'average' passengers and 2 crew, there would be no payload left for a tube of toothpaste, let alone 3 or 4 laptops and a couple briefcases - too bad for the biz travelers who are, presumably going to drive the growth and success of the ‘revolutionary’ air-taxi business model. Do you have a multi-day trip that requires an overnight bag Mr. Fatcat? I am sorry – that is out of the question – we have a little room at the back of the plane but no weight left.

Does anyone believe that the plane will be operated at significantly less than full fuel on ‘air-taxi’ flight profiles that will require quick climbs into the 20’s and high cruise speeds for 300-600nm in the less fuel-efficient lower altitudes? So leaving fuel behind seems a bit limited in terms of increasing load carrying ability.

With operating costs of ~$1 per nm just for fuel and maintenance, add in $100,000 per year for two pilots (plus benefits), insurance as a 135 on-demand carrier, advertising, etc., and all appearances are that the tickets with a maximum of 3 paying passengers, one way, will just have to be much more than ‘slightly more’ than a walk up business fare.

After reading Stan’s recent blogs I visited the Eclipse website and they have 3 or 4 stress positions listed – that seems a bit much for a certified airplane. Still several design and lead positions as well. This could be in part to the development of what must have been a long list of promised options, but perhaps something else?

I am also very puzzled by the lack of the airplane, any airplane from Eclipse, at Palm Springs. Between flight test aircraft and customer aircraft, they should have at least half a dozen airplanes available. Hushed rumors at the show were that the fleet may have been grounded. What could cause that? Software for the complicated Avio system which has supposedly been problematic – unforeseen structural issues – or Eclipse-FAA relations. Even a stalwart like Cessna had to suspend deliveries and operations at Independence several years ago due to a collapse of process and quality.

Add to that what seems to be a deterioration in relations between Eclipse and customers (the post above and of course the lawsuit with Aviace), and the only thing Vern and Eclipse have going for them is their continued iron-fist control of the aerospace media. Which is great except the media are not going to buy 2000+ planes.

No serial numbers? Tell that to the FAA, might as well try to deliver an airplane with no manuals, or no N number – FAA answer – umm let us see, ahh, NO. Sounds like very serious delivery issues probably in attempt to deliver aircraft to position holders with dozens or hundreds of airplanes (the air-taxi guys) to keep them happy, and the early-adopters who initially made the program successful are likely to get screwed and that is tragic betrayal.

airtaximan said...

I read through the decision denying Aviace's injunction.
A few curious things:
1- the court must choose the course of action that will minimize the costs of being mistaken
2- Eclipse made the argument that Aviace could not be harmed if the court was mistaken because:

- "there is no evidence that Aviace, as a company, has any prior track record or established customer base in the area of real estate, aircraft sales, “jet clubs,” “jet taxis,” or similar fractional-ownership businesses.”
... AND...
- “Apart from Mr. Hilmarsson’s (Aviace former CEO) initial efforts to establish a business plan for a “jet club,” there is no evidence that Aviace has taken any steps to develop or operate a “jet club, “jet taxi,” or fractional-ownership business as contemplated in the March 2002 agreement and the surrounding contract negotiations from that period"
... AND...
"Aviace remains a startup company formed and maintained for the purpose of holding the right to purchase 112 Eclipse 500 aircraft as specified in the March 2002 agreement; Aviace has no employees or facilities beyond the minimum amount of resources needed to administer the corporation on paper"...

It is curious to me, that Eclipse now uses the fact that they made a deal with a non-existent company in 2002, in their favor, once again. Until now, Eclipse has been using the Aviace order, as part of their famous order-book for years. And now, when they need to stop an injunction, Eclipse atates that since Aviace had nothing when Eclipse gave the positions to them (no plan, no experience, no ability to execute a plan, no company or support systems beyond paper) and still has nothing today, they cannot be harmed (or less so) should the courts be wrong in their decision to uphold the injunction.

Aviace, according to Eclipse cannot be harmed today by being denied delivery of Eclipse aircraft because they have no company, really, no experience selling or operating aircraft, and have no business. Ironic, considering, somehow, in this condition, Aviace qualified for the positions in the first place, and were touted as a big order, and part of the big order-book.

A question for the courts, perhaps for later:
Why did Eclipse reserve 5% (112 planes) of their order-book (if you believe anywhere near 2000 Eclipse's have been ordered - I do not) for a company with absolutely nothing! Why would Eclipse do this with almost no deposit money? How much of their order-book is of this quality? What suppliers, investors and customer (detrimentally) relied on this sort of order-book when they made commercial decisions to participate?

- I would be very worried if I was an Eclipse Investor, or a Delivery-Position Holder (it's not really a "delivery-position"... I know, I know....)

This is really scary (around a $1Billion scary) and very sad

Anonymous said...

"The only thing Vern and Eclipse have going for them is their continued iron-fist control of the aerospace media. Which is great except the media are not going to buy 2000+ planes."

As an aviation publication editor, I can tell you that Eclipse does not have an iron-fist control on the aerospace media. If anything, the general media is enamored with Eclipse, but the trade press has presented other views on Eclipse. You have to understand that we can't simply print something about Eclipse just because we saw it on a blog somewhere, nor can we publish assumptions such as those made here without any hard evidence. I've approached Eclipse with several of the "facts" presented here, and the company has usually been able to explain why they are or (most often) aren't true. I can only print the real facts as they stand at the moment. Things can, and often do, change. And when they do, it's the media's job to report it accurately and in a balanced way. On that note, I will dig deeper into the Aviace court injunction, seeing what airtaximan has pointed out.

While I'm on the subject of balanced reporting, I've often wondered why Stan is focused only on reporting problems on the Eclipse 500 and Boeing 787. Why not also have critic blogs on the A380, Sino SJ30, Foxjet, etc? (These companies have also been making outrageous caims, and there's plenty of problems with their programs on which to blog.) His focus on Eclipse and Boeing suggests to me that his company was not awarded supplier contracts with these companies and so Stan now has an ax to grind. Stan, care to comment?

SRMach5 said...

Hmmm.....Aeroobservers writing style looks fairly familiar. I could be wrong but I suspect aeroobserver = captain zoom! This should make for an interesting exchange between Stan and Jim if my hunch is correct.

Bambazonke said...

Aeroobserver, quoting you "I've approached Eclipse with several of the "facts" presented here, and the company has usually been able to explain why they are or (most often) aren't true.?" Enlighten us, which of the salient items presented on this website were untrue?

I am particularly interested to hear what they told you about their website saying they have a MTOW of 5900 lbs and the TCDS saying 5800 lbs, and also their explanation about the moment at Gross Weight, their misrepresentation of the W&B envelope on their site, and their reasons for non delivery of aircraft.

Can't wait for the response about the NWJ, (Next Week Jet).

airtaximan said...

The aviation press has succumbed to Eclipse wallet - no bad press, unless you want Eclipse to pull their ads.

I remember all the good press from the aviation media about Nimbus - only to have a guy from some business magazine expose how Vern accepted shares in Nimbus' parent, worth almost nothing, in return for the delivery positions. It was this guy, from outside aviation who scooped the bogus deal.

Does aeroobserver really write for an aviation magazine? I sincerely hope so.

I encourage any and all digging. Someone please find out why Eclipse had no planes at AOPA Expo and cancelled their reception, why they have no delivery-position numbers attached to their deposits, why the performance discrepancies regarding their plane, what's up with the CG issue, why the continued delay in customer deliveries and why Dayjet pushed their start date, again?. Someone needs to find out and publish the truth.

Thanks

Stan Blankenship said...

srmach5,

If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck.

Stan Blankenship said...

airtaximan,

I hate to put wild speculation on this blog, but it was bbz who suggested Vern was the cause of the latest flap over user fees and Phil Boyer has had to work overtime to try and put this issue to rest. Could there be a rift here?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

There is a pattern to be noted here.

Nimbus collapses, yet order book remains unchanged. Hmmmmm. Vaporware company, vaporware business plan, vaporware investors, vaporware business. Not Eclipse's fault, customer failure.

Aviace order cancelled by Eclipse. Hmmmmm. Vaporware company, vaporware business plan, vaporware investors, vaporware business. Not Eclipse's fault, customer failure.

Williams fails - airplane redesigned. Not Eclipse's fault, vendor failure.

BAE fails - airplane redesigned. Not Eclipse's fault, vendor failure.

Avidyne fails, along with most other vendors. Not Eclipse's fault, vendor failures.

KKA needs to man-up and own the mistakes in leadership at Eclipse that allowed the program to go 3 years before figuring out that Williams could not deliver the engine the, likely ever heavier airplane, actually needed.

Same with other vendors and the integration comment is spot on. Would Stonecipher blame GE or Honeywell for a Boeing mistake?

Vern's derision of the 'old' aerospace industry will be his undoing - and the fall will be very public and very hard.

If Eclipse is shuffling delivery order to satisfy their fleet operators and screwing the real early adopters who bought in back in 2000 and 2001, it will be a betrayal that will NOT go unnoticed. If they are doing this and accepting other than cash in payment, then Eclipse is nothing more than a $700M ponzi scheme and we will all end up being affected by it in one way or another.

The airplane is promising, even with its reduced utility, but we have to wonder if the air-taxi guys have been sold a bill of goods that cannot be delivered.

The AOPA no-show and cancelled California reception is a significant event. Updates? Come on now, really that can only mean significant updates that effectively if not regulatorily grounded the fleet. And that could still mean software, or structure, or other certification IOU's.

Eclipse has not missed an opportunity to bring in the dog and pony show since the plane started flying, this just has to be much more than some 'updates' - it does not match the pattern.

If aeroobserver is who is suspected I trust we can count on him to ask the tough questions, I am afraid though that he, and the rest of the world may not be prepared for the answers, and I doubt Eclipse is ready to give them, if they even truly understand the question.

Stan Blankenship said...

aeroobserver,

1. I have been clear since day one, if there is anything posted on this blog that is not correct, we will fix it immediately. Tell us what is wrong, tell us what is right and we will correct the information ASAP.

The purpose of this blog is to get the truth out and truth is certainly not coming out of the Eclipse Public Relations office nor has the press been reporting on the Eclipse discrepent statements.

2. On the 787 blog, I have a vested interest in sheet metal airplanes. One of my companies makes presses to form aircraft sheet metal parts. The presses run $50-200k. Customers include Beech, Cessna, Gulfstream, USAF, numerous job shops and oh yes, Boeing, with presses in Arnprior, Canada, Wichita, McAlester OK, Wichita, San Antonio, Salt Lake City (6), Seattle, Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Seattle.

I do get some satisfaction in knowing that every day, thousands of aircraft parts are being formed on my presses.

My tooling company builds tools for Boeing 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers. Last year we made quite a few tools for the 747 freighter and in the morning, I will bid a big package for the 777, aluminum extrusion stretch dies for the fuselage frame parts.

IMO, the Dreamliner is a mistake, time will tell. Where else can you read about the manufacturing problems Beech encountered with the Starship, or the relative prices of composites vs aluminum or be reminded that for all the 787 hype, the risk associated with composites is only bringing a 3% gain.

3. Yes, there are a lot of shaky start-ups out there. But IMO, only Vern Raburn has a well organized propaganda campaign who in concert with cooperative media types (like Capt Zoom) intends to issue a google size IPO and let John Q. Public in on the greatest aviation scam in the world.

My wife asked the other day, "what drives you to write the blog?" I told her it was like what we do every winter on a nice mild Sunday morning. We walk the country road we live on for a mile filling several bags with trash from both sides.

Do we enjoy it? Would probably rather be doing other things but somebody has to do it, so we do.

airtaximan said...

For all you big brains trying to crack the code on the CG issue...take the source into consideration: http://www.taxijet.info/user/Eclipse%20500_3MBversion2.ppt#48

About half way through this Presentation, you'll see the "screen capture" of the CG calculation from Avio.

This is just an "image" and does not likly represent anything, except another tool in the bag of tricks to sell the airplane. It's a demo - an image of what should be displayed. I wouldn't make any attempt to reconcile this with real data, measurements or weights. Forget it. Its...marketing.

Of interest: See the slide later on, regarding the Operating Cost. There's a full calculation of JetComplete and pay as you go with no MSP.

Notice that all costs are included based on operations, UP TO only 3 years or 300 hours. So this would mean, that the Engine Overhauls are NOT included in the estimated hourly operating cost... this is a big swinger on the cost. For example, if the overhauls cost $100,000 per engine at 1,500 hours, it is around $133 per hour MORE.

Doess anyone know what the PW610F overhauls cost?

Anonymous said...

All of the posts on the Eclipse forum that "Gunner" refers to in his disertation that you posted on November 11th are STILL in tact on the Eclipse forum. NOT deleted. Makes his story seem more powerful but NOT true!

Stan Blankenship said...

eclipseowner387,

Rest easy, the CG problem that I suspected is not as bad as I thought. Flightfollowing provided information today on moment arms. So long as you use bodies that weigh the FAA standard 170 lbs, one has to work to get it outside the envelope.

These numbers were based on an empty weight of 3,700 lbs and 208.6" CG location.

Anonymous said...

srmach5: I'm not Captain Zoom, and I can attest that I do not like or respect him. His publication is nothing more than a blog to me--ANN does nothing more than print press releases mixed in with editorializing. If you're looking for facts, look elsewhere...

coldwetmackeralofreality: It's funny that you mentioned the Nimbus deal. I helped to expose the sham deal by calling the Royal Bank of Scotland, and a colleague and I broke the story in a prominent aviation trade pub. I'm now working for another aviation publication, but I can assure you that I have no aversion to printing the truth. In fact, our writers were denied access to Eclipse's press conference at Oshkosh because we've printed things they don't agree with (but were true nevertheless). Also, we currently don't have any advertising from Eclipse, most likely because they don't like what we print. Not to worry, there's plenty of other ad revenue sources out there...

Stan: While "it's probably a duck" might cut it for saying stuff on a blog, it's not enough for publication. The c.g. issue is just one example--a week ago you were skewering Eclipse for a 2.5 inch c.g. range, and now you're saying that as long as you use 170-pound pax then it's OK. For print, I must wait for the facts to emerge, and, no, speculation is not fact. The facts will come out in the end, but sometimes patience is required.

airtaximan: I called Eclipse re: their absence at AOPA and was told that the aircraft was having performance mods installed and thus couldn't make it. How do I know Eclipse isn't lying? I don't, but all I can do is print it with attribution from Eclipse. If anyone has any other info (facts, not speculation) about Eclipse's absence, then I'd love to hear it.

airtaximan said...

Aeroobserver:

In your humble opinion, does the mods excuse given by Eclipse for not flying into AOPA Expo make any sense, unless they were somehow "required" by the FAA? Vern cancelled a sales event, for the first time. This is at least curious, given that he has a handfull of planes...which have been flying thousands of hours...reliably, with no certification issues, certified in August/October - according to Eclipse..right?

Did you look into the Aviace case, regarding Eclipse's contention that Aviace was/is basically a non-existent company with no aviation experience, financing, staff or business plan? Did you ask why they would reserve 5% of their order-book for such a company?

Lastly, while you claim your publication broke the story on Nimbus...it was INC. magazine that asked the tough questions, and dug into the record revealing that Vern accepted worthless stock for the reservation deposits...not you...right?

Anonymous said...

As of the 10th of November, the entire fleet of Eclipse aircraft are grounded. This includes the experimental test aircraft.

airtaximan said...

Paul:
How do we verify your statements that the entire Eclipse fleet has been grounded since Nov 10th?

Was the fleet formally grounded by the FAA or, by Eclipse and why?

How do you know this?

Thanks

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

aeroobserver,

We can agree to disagree about Zoom but since you have twice quoted me let me put a challenge to you to ask some good questions of Vern and Eclipse since you are apparently connected in industry.

What kind of update\mod would need to be simultaneously applied to all aircraft in flight test, marketing, AND customer aircraft preventing an appearance at AOPA by even one of the rumored 6-10 flying jets?

What kind of update\mod would keep all aircraft in flight test, marketing, AND customer aircraft from being operated?

What kind of performance upgrade\mod could be being tested right now that not only requires, apparently, every completed Eclipse to be at KABQ (but not apparently flying), that would possibly be an easy retrofit which is the only logical reason to continue to delay customer deliveries? If the retrofit is not easy, why are the early adopters who actually made this pipe dream possible not proudly flying their aircraft right now?

I'll give you a thought on the last one - Eclipse can avoid a potentially embarassing, if not project-fatal Airworthiness Directive on first aircaft delivery by making whatever the mystery fix is to the obviously significant mystery problem BEFORE the aircraft are released from manufacturing.

If my suspicion is correct, than whether it is software, or structural, or process driven is irrelevant. Whether it is a problem endemic to Eclipse or a result of another 'vendor' failure is irrelevant.

The lesson is that the company which has been all about 'transparency' is covering up a potentially significant issue, significant enough that PT Barnum himself could not bring the airplanes to Palm Springs.

Eclipse Insider said...

Paul is correct. The fleet was grounded by Eclipse for a technical issue. I will not elaborate further but it is true.

Anonymous said...

I worked there as of 11/10. Among other things, the aft wing attach bushings were found to be working.

airtaximan said...

...among other things... elaborate, please.

Also, did the FAA ground them? How long before the fix?

Stan Blankenship said...

aeroobserver,

Blogs are in their infancy. True they do not set the standard of good journalism, but they allow two way participation, one can read and one can contribute.

Where else can readers get the information that is posted on this blog? From your un-named publication? How are you going to tell us anything? Your writers were denied access to the Eclipse press conference, are we to rely on them or you to give us the straight skinny?

BTW, if that happened to me, it is a story in itself and demands to be reported with banner headlines. Me thinks you tell us that so that it makes you one of us standing shoulder to shoulder at the trough, lapping up and slobbering over the speculation, rumors, mis-information and half-truths, embedded in this blog.

This is a blog, read it, read the Eclipse press releases, read Vern's public statements, then make up your own mind on where the truth lies!

All,

1. I revised my October 28 post on the CG problem. With the new information, the problem is not as severe as I suspected. While it is not a show stopper, it does dim the lights a bit.

2. My wife and I will be over in Italy ohhing and ahhing all of the nude statues in the most famous tourist traps. Will be traveling light with no lap top, so don't expect to hear from me again until after you have all stuffed yourself with turkey and dressing. Ciao.

Anonymous said...

OK, I've confirmed the grounding with the FAA, but they won't say much. I need more info from paul or others with inside info. I'd be happy to keep sources anonymous, call 941-306-2245. Please do not call if you don't have info related to the Eclipse 500 grounding -- I'm on deadline and don't have time to field calls to confirm I work for an aviation pub.

Anonymous said...

EclipseOwner387-
What I stated was "If I recall correctly,, ALL of my posts were [deleted]". Of course I had no way to reconfirm; though Eclipse continued to hold my money, I was no longer privy to the Owners' Forum.

Whether my posts were all deleted or not is not at all what makes my story "powerful". What makes it "powerful" is that, with an ostensible 2400 orders on the books, Eclipse suddenly took the position that $130K deposits would no longer earn a simple Hull Number. THAT's powerful.

As to my veracity, please confirm that my last post (email to Micah) is still up and paste it here. My recollection is 90% that that post was deleted. If I owe an apology on that score, I'll gladly offer it.
Gunner
Gunner

Robert Mark said...

As a aviation journalist - yes I get paid regularly - and a blogger, I would urge you all not to get too focused on who said what when. It's starting to sound a bit too Listserv-like to me and I think that would be a loss.

As a journalist, sure I'd need to be able to verify what Eclipse is saying before I'd run with the story. But I can also use other sources to build my case for or against a particular view. A place like this blog can offer some critical background.

I've never met Stan, don't even know what he does for a living.

But what he said earlier is important. Blogs stir the pot on issues. That's why I visit here.

Unless Stan was personally wronged by someone at Eclipse for something, why does he write about this airplane? Because he has some passion for the issue. And actually, if he was wronged, he would also be passionate I guess.

But the facts will prove him and this blog out. If he's wrong sometimes and right others, his record sounds pretty good.

The point is all of these posts are making him think. That's why I write what I do on Jetwhine. To make people think, to persuade them to interact and further the discussion.

Let's be serious, Eclipse has been a vanguard company for the VLJ. But Eclipse management has a serious cultural personality issue that is beginning to irritate large numbers of people.

I'm not the first to ask what they might be hiding.

But then, I was also around for a few of those Jim Bede airplanes that looked, sounded and smelled incredible ... but eventually disappeared.

Let's not lose sight of what we have to gain here while we also keep an eye out for facts that don't fit.

Rob - jetwhine.com

Anonymous said...

Gunner your post on Elipse Forum:

Well folks, I can top these stories....and it just may cause me to be the shortest term Eclipse Purchaser on record.

On Friday, I executed the Deposit Agreement that I received on Thursday. On Monday, that Agreement was received by Eclipse along with the wired funds required.

Per my sales person:

Quote
Once we receive the deposit, we will send a quick welcome email with the details of your serial number and username/password for the customer only website.

Per the Deposit Agreement:

Quote
Eclipse will confirm your deposit by assigning a Serial Number on the Signature Page and returning an executed copy of the Deposit Agreement to you.

Per the Assignment docs:

Quote
ASSIGNOR hereby assigns to ASSIGNEE all of ASSIGNOR's rights, interests, duties and liabilities under and in that certain Eclipse 500 Deposit Agreement (the “Deposit Agreement”) dated ________________________ relating to serial number ______, including ASSIGNOR’S right to a $________ deposit (the “Deposit”) made in connection therewith.

Yesterday, less than 24 hours after accepting the funds, I was told that my serial number will be "assigned" 6 months prior to delivery......Ummmmm, but then, per the Deposit Agreement, they won't be legally "confirming" my deposit until sometime in 2008! Further, according to Eclipse's own assignment documents, you cannot sell a position without a Serial Number.

I questioned all this and received an email today which states, in part:
Quote
I apologize for you feeling misled already.
"Feeling misled"? I'm not "feeling" misled; I have been misled; whether that be by design or organizational incompetence matters not at all; nor am I willing to accept an email "explanation" as equal to a legally executed addendum.

The assignment of a VIN, SN or Hull Number is standard practice in deposits on cars, planes and boats. It provides for some degree of transparency to the company's process and progress. In the case of aircraft, it also provides the buyers much needed information as to the number of orders placed and their stability; not to mention the only actual bit of identification of what belongs to "you" on an assembly line should things go real bad.

Needless to say, I am not happy.
Rich

Robert Mark said...

The Eclipse grounding issue is pretty significant and that topic began on this blog I believe.

I just reported on Jetwhine.com that FAA Public Affairs in Oklahoma City confirmed the Eclipse fleet is grounded until further notice. This would explain why they did not appear at AOPA.

One of our industry sources said the problem is related to the wing attachment area.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The coverup is ALWAYS worse than the problem.

This indicates a real failure of leadership at Eclipse - trying to hide something significant like the FAA grounding the fleet indicates that Eclipse may not have been able to make that decision themselves (bad sign for an airplane company - this is not a Lexus, we cannot pull over to the side of the road).

Regardless, for a company that touted its' 'transparency' as being 'different' than other airplane companies, it would seem Vern may have been right about the second part, unfortunately it is a bad kind of different.

A quick review of the executive team shows a distressing LACK of aviation experience with a scant few notable exceptions. Manufacturing or quality issues with a laptop computer are totally different than those affecting continued airworthiness for a 3 ton 400 mph airplane.

Is this the beginning of a collapse of a house of cards?

airtaximan said...

The corporate culture that led to this cover up is in fact the manifestation of the failure and demise of Eclipse.

The sooner everyone comes to terms with this, the better off we'll all be. The aviation press has a moral role - to dig, ask tough questions, and report the facts - not the spin. It was obvious Eclipse was grounded, just not confirmed. The press needs to take a very active role. They need to find and reveal the truth about Eclipse, their misrepresentations (all of them, since 1998), and the negative impact it has/will have on the safety and integrity of the industry as a whole.

One bad apple can ruin a lot of appetites, a lot of product introductions, and a lot of ad revenue. Be pragmatic, get to the truth, and print it.

SRMach5 said...

AeroObserver, First of all you have my apologies for insinuating you were in fact one Captain Zoom. After discovering the grounding issue this evening, I personally believe tomorrow will mark a significant day for Aero-News. It has been bantered on this website and many others how Jim is the ‘lapdog’ of Verns. After the headline today about the Aviance lawsuit being dropped against Eclipse and the clear bias Zoom has exhibited towards Vern, he will be posed with a difficult task of either reporting the facts as he should, or ‘softening’ the news story as another blatant example of ‘checkbook journalism’.

I suspect this blog will receive a significant dose of credibility for those that choose to throw stones at this group. I will submit that most of us are industry professionals. When it looks like crap, smells like crap, and appears to be crap – IT PROBABLY IS. Our collective experiences have poked holes in many of Vern’s ascertations including but not limited to design issues, training, insurance, business case assumptions, production methodologies, air taxi theories, vendor relations, and good ole’ fashioned aerodynamics just to name a few.

I for one would like to echo the sentiments of Robert Mark. Eclipse has done wonders for the industry creating all of the buzz surrounding the VLJ. For that, Vern deserves an award. Funny thing….Vern did receive an award. It is called the Collier Trophy. For many of the folks on this blog when Eclipse was awarded with the Collier Trophy it was considered a travesty for a national award honoring those who had made significant achievements in the advancement of aviation. Personally speaking, I always perceived the recognition Eclipse received was due to the ‘sizzle’ Vern created with the VLJ and quite frankly, did not have a problem with it……until now.

Although Vern deserves a lot of credit for the ‘sizzle’, he has no clue when it comes to selling the ‘steak’. Let’s get this straight folks, the Collier Trophy was awarded to a company that has yet to retail deliver it’s first aircraft and the entire fleet is grounded related to a wing attachment or spar issue? Not to belabor the point, I would like to quote the National Aeronautics Association:

“Eclipse Aviation Corporation has won the 2005 Robert J. Collier Trophy "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.” The 95 year-old trophy, aviation’s most prestigious award, will be presented to the company “for leadership, innovation, and the advancement of general aviation” in the production of very light jets, specifically, the Eclipse 500.

Eclipse joins past winners of the trophy including Orville Wright, Howard Hughes, Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield, the crew of Apollo 11, and SpaceShipOne. The award has been administered by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) since 1911.

Announcing the 2005 winner, NAA President and CEO David Ivey said the selection committee’s criteria included recognition of the rich heritage of the Collier Trophy, and “the spirit of entrepreneurship, technical innovation, and the impact on American aviation,” exemplified by the Eclipse 500.

Led by Eclipse’s founder, president and CEO Vern Raburn, Eclipse is applying innovations created in the technology industry to drive down cost, increase performance, improve safety, and spur a new type of air travel—the air taxi.

Innovations to the Eclipse 500 including friction stir welding, the PhostrEx™ fire suppression system, electromechanical actuators and digital electronics with integrated software.

Perhaps the company’s greatest contribution is making jet technology available to a larger segment of the population. With an acquisition cost one-third of today’s small jets and the lowest operating cost per mile of any jet, the Eclipse 500 provides the lowest jet costs ever achieved. As a result, almost 2400 Eclipse 500’s are on order.

In an endorsement to the Eclipse nomination, Microsoft founder and Eclipse investor Bill Gates said: “True to the spirit of excellence and advancement that the Robert J. Collier award stands for, I believe the Eclipse 500 represents the best of aviation’s rich past—and its bright future.”

I wonder if Vern has any spare tarnish remover for the folks at the NAA to help buff out the Collier Trophy now.

Question of the day for everyone… Did Williams or Avidyne manufacture any of the assemblies required for the spar or wing attachment area? If not, do you think Vern will actually take some accountability on the issue?

flight guy said...

Congrats,

This blog has allowed the Eclipse consumers and customers to be more informed in their purchasing process.

Eclipse did not confess until after they were completely exposed for concealing the information. Now they want to add customer websites and customer support staff. I thought they had that before yesterday?

Did the FAA or Eclipse ground the fleet. At this point it is a matter of semantics. Did the FAA help Eclipse reach that decision? -Only Vern knows.

Let me speak to three issues, which were explained away by Eclipse officials. The first is CG-the folks at some well publicized , credible?, publications quoted Vern as saying that the Eclipse 500 is aft heavy. In addition, this is common for T-Tail configurations and VLJs. Yes, that is perhaps true, but other manufacturers add balast when they know they need it to keep the cg within limits. This fact was attempted to be glossed over by jesting that it would take a 95 lb pilot, or 120 lb pilot? Some actually think based upon the numbers of the certified configuration its a 170 lb pilot. What happens when you need to move from one seat to another? Can you see how this can be confusing to leave it up to a pilot to make the decision. Will Avio have say add weight here at this location or seat?

Second, let's talk the wing bushing. Is this a installation issue or is it a fatigue issue? There seems to be a conflicting story. Will the problem go away with these new bushings or will they still require inspections? As a customer would this explanation make me comfortable? A statement was that none of the production aircraft were affected, but they had design modifications. Why were they grounded?

Third, Eclipse publicly stated that they are still in development. I thought the plane was certified? Who is going to foot the burden for development of the E500- the owner/operators, air taxi operators, or investors? Does statements like that make you feel comfortable?

SRMach5 said...

A couple of points. Did anyone see Zoom's column on this story at Aero-News today? Was this legitimate journalism or checkbook journalism? I believe this particular story vindicates our belief of Jim's reporting style - checkbook journalism!

Secondly, I think someone needs to dig and find out whether or not it was Eclipse who grounded the fleet as they claim or if it was the FAA. Eclipse will have some tough questions to answer if the FAA states they grounded the fleet.

Also, what does everyone think of Verns statement, "As you have seen and experienced, in the past several months we have focused on certification, first and foremost. This caused our customer communications to suffer. Now, as we make the challenging transition to a predictable production company that is focused on customers and customer operations, Eclipse is re-committing to deliver consistent communications to all of our stakeholders and build upon our long-standing customer relationships."

Is concentration on certification an execuse for poor communication?
It sounds like they have spent a lot of time developing customer care initiatives in light of recent events.

Additionally, I believe Paul stated the entire fleet was grounded effective 11/10. How come it took almost a week for Eclipse to convey to Aero-News and the media their circumstances?

I suspect I won't be the only one asking questions in the days and weeks to come.

airtaximan said...

Regarding the grounding of Eclipse:

"ever so slightly -- about a tenth of an inch"

I'm sorry, whether this is the travel of the bushing or the hole elongation dimension, this is a huge number at this stage of the program. It is unconcionable that Vern tries to spin this into "no big deal".

Eclipse is claiming that the E500 WAS DESIGNED FOR HIGH CYCLE USAGE" yet after only limited flight hours, there are notable fatigue issues... and these are the ones that you can actually see with the naked eye. I would ask: What about all the hidden structure and mechanical joints which have been designed to the same design criteria.

Also, Vern's recent claims regarding MSG-3 design principals being used for the aircraft seems rediculous with strtuctural fatigue issues already popping up.

The fact that Vern finally admitted to the bushing and the windshield, only after considerable pressure and leaks to this Blog by his own concerned employees, makes me suspect there are more problems. Probably, more serious ones, which he thinks he can keep under wraps by finally coming clean on the two issues.

Remember, the leak from Eclipse employees confirming the grounding and the bushing was couched as "among other issues" - notice the plural - "issues"...

...additional issues will surface. I only hope it will be more digging that will surface them, and not something worse.

Thanks for the hard work bringing all this to light. The industry is better for it.

Anonymous said...

SRMACH5,

The news article DOES not say the production aircraft are grounded. In fact it says specifically that it is the FLIGHT TEST fleet. The production aircraft are still awaiting a production certificate from the FAA. That is the reason as explained by Eclipse for no customer deliveries. Does this clarify that point?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, last post was in response to Flight Guy. Not SRMACH5.

airtaximan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
airtaximan said...

Eclipseowner387

Riddle me this:
"How can you ground a fleet that has never been certified to fly?"

Answer: you do not need to; you just do not certify them. Why do you think the FAA has not certified the customer fleet, yet?

Even making a reference to grounding the customer planes that have not been delivered is ridiculous. And, when Vern says this in no way impacts their ability to deliver the customer planes – it does. They have to complete the redesign of the parts, the structure and fatigue tests, and then retrofit/repair all the customer planes - AND pass the FAA. I would guess there’s no impact, since the FAA won’t let Eclipse deliver any planes TODAY – who knows what the impact is? When would they have been delivered, anyway – in October as previously stated?

The situation at Eclipse is tantamount to being grounded by the FAA - Vern doublespeak on the subject, notwithstanding. His emphatic remark that there is no AD on the fleet is equally ridiculous - the FAA has not certified the fleet for airworthiness yet – right? So Vern’s comment is a lot like me noting that my bicycle has no airworthiness directives on it either. Sorry for the sarcasm – it’s frustrating to read all the garbage.

Remember one more thing:
From ANN - Raburn explained that, "While modifying a flight test aircraft with the larger tip tank, it was observed that a bushing in the rear wing spar attachment lug was displaced, causing excessive wear.

So when Eclipse described the reason for not showing at AOPA Expo, as "due to a mod of the fleet"... they actually knew about the bushing issue. It was discovered when they were doing the mod – that’s why they kept the entire fleet there.

VERY DISHONEST to not come clean, and instead try so hard to cover up the issue. Had we not pushed none of this would have come out.

Anyone notice the overkill with the drawings, diagrams, CG charts and all the excuses for not being forthright with the customers on ANN? This suggests strongly that Vern is up to his old "slight of hand" tricks - covering bigger issues at Eclipse. Do not fall for the misdirection.

Keep digging.

flight guy said...

Nice followup with Eclipseowner387, airtaximan,

I was going to respond when your text went up. You covered most of it.

Rest assured the FAA will not issue releases until the fixes are made and demonstrated to be compliant. The planes had the same bushings and windshields. Therfore, any new design changes will not meet type design due to safety. Can you imagine flying at altitude and have the windshield crack or blow out in a pressurized cabin?

What is your slated delivery position? If it is number 387 then you have time for redesign, but if you are in the early 30's there may be some risk for deliveries.

AJ said...

Vern talks about those here as
"the doom and gloom spouted by folks who seem more interested in creating turmoil than dealing with the facts of the matter"
While I can see his frustration with those here that jump to conclusions based on rumors and what not, there would be no rumors if Eclipse had not come forward with the facts in the first place. There really is no excuse for Eclipse to hide these problems from their future customers and the public in general for that matter. Sure there are going to be problems during this entire process I think the owners and investors know this already. In the situation they are in I think it is of the utmost importance for the leaders of the company to come forward with any information with regards to the safety and reliability of the E500, especially if they are over a week or so late in disseminating the information. Sure they don't need to let the general public know of every little mistep along the way but when you ground your fleet and cancel planned public appearances people are going to notice.
Personally I am rooting for Vern and the Eclipse 500 to succeed. But for Eclipse to succeed in the long term the top execs need to learn from this mistake and make sure it never happens again. Being ethical and honest is of the utmost importance going forward. There are critics and naysayers in every aspect of business for every single company. For Vern to get caught up in it only hurts his credibility. If the Eclipse 500 is as good as they say it is, then in the long run Vern will have the last laugh which is really the only one that counts. Until then Vern act like a CEO and a professional and change your ethical standards. These are jets not computers, lives are at stake. Whether the problems are big or small your customers expect the truth and it's always better they hear it from you first and not the paper or a blog.

-AJ

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

So the issue has existed for a week by the time Vern comes clean, and he suggests the customer aircraft are not affected.

How, exactly, does he know that?

Presumably the flight test aircraft were inspected numerous times during the assembly process to establish they were adequately representative of the type design (certification requirement I think).

Presumably those same processes have been followed with the customer aircraft in assembly (also required for certification I think).

If the aircraft were assembled incorrectly, or if incorrect parts were used, the failure of the process to catch this issue in the flight test aircraft would, logically, have missed this same issue in any aircraft that has had its' wings mated.

At least, that would be the case if we are to believe that the issue was discovered a week ago in flight test as represented.

So any aircraft that has had its' wings mated should REQUIRE an inspection to ensure this issue is not present.

As a customer, I would not accept that an issue like this can be solved with a visual inspection, so does that mean Eclipse will demate the wings for every assembled aircraft and check for this issue and fix it if present?

Fatigue cracks in the windshields on aircraft with less than 1000 hrs\cycles on them is a bit disturbing as well. This aircraft is supposed to be a mini 737, ready for high-cycle air-taxi\charter-on-demand duty.

People have built multi-million dollar business cases around this being true - and others have built careers on this being possible.

If 180 lbs is the minimum pilot weight, how does Vern get to 120 lbs before needing 60 lbs of ballast. Seems to me a pilot under 180 needs ballast, period.

I too noticed the pretty pictures and magic words - pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

AvWeb covered this a bit more accurately than ANN to say the least, perhaps aeroobserver hails from that e-zine.

These 3 issues are more than a little stumble coming out of the gate. My opinion of ANN has just dropped radically to be honest.

This is a far more important issue than either of them reflect in my opinion. Eclipse withheld a safety of flight issue from the public for a week, an issue significant enough that Eclipse grounded the entire fleet and cancelled the dog and pony show.

By not delivering aircraft, Eclipse is able to avoid an Airworthiness Directive on the first deliveries. It may be legal, but it stinks in my book.

How many more gotcha's are waiting in the wings (pun intended)?

airtaximan said...

Question:

I am not an engineer, so I need some help on this.

Can someone please explain to me, why you would notice anything at the wing mating point when you are doing a mod to change a tip tank? If you are doing a mod whereby you are replacing smaller tip tanks with larger ones, why would you "notice" a on-tenth-of-an-inch problem with a bushing located at the other end of the wing?

For a high utility plane, designed for reparability, I think having the requirement to remove a wing in order to change a tip tank in the event it is damaged is a bit silly.

Perhaps when Eclipse went from composite to aluminum tip tanks to obtain FAA certification, they left an increased weight, drag or stress issue aside. It was a pretty speedy switch, if I remember correctly. The planned installation of even larger tip tanks will only exacerbate the problem. Perhaps someone at the FAA noticed this problem, now, when they were doing the tip tank mod.

I do not believe Vern's story. I think the FAA inspected the fleet and noticed the bushing issue and the windshield... asked questions about the new tip tanks which could exacerbate the problem....and then GROUNDED the entire fleet.

Please tell me if my logic is wrong.

PS. I am worried about a company that has “thousands of hours” on test aircraft and only “notices” fatigue issues and cracking when they are doing a mod. They are regularly inspecting their fleet leading test aircraft…aren’t they?

Anonymous said...

I am "position" 387. While I don't follow with blind faith I also run a business and know how hard it is to please everyone (especially when you are in startup phase.) Eclipse has sent a detailed PDF outlining the windows and wing bushing problems, complete with detailed drawings. The window/windshield situation is the outer layer and at this time has required a change to the AFM to increase inspection intervals. They will undergo a redesign to improve fatigue life and reduce the required inspection intervals. They claim that the "fail safe" inner layers had NO damage. They also gave a clarification on the "CG Confusion."

The detail of the communication was impressive and was apparent that it took time to complete. Again I do not have blind faith BUT Eclipse HAS attained FAA Certification. They will not deliver customer planes until they recieve a FAA production certificate. I am sure this is a complicated process and these "new" issues must have added more delay. However, I would rather these be found now rather than later. Even the other established guys have SB's and AD's that come out post production. Hopefully they are discovered prior to a major mishap - but it HAPPENS. You guys are too quick to think it is the demise. This company has demonstrated NINE LIVES over and over again. If Eclipse fails then I will be the first to admit I made a bad bet. But thus far I still feel good about my bet.

Also, if you think Eclipse customers just sit back and follow blindly - your dead wrong. We challenge Eclipse on a regular basis to keep us informed and to answer questions in areas that are gray. Being a businessman though, I know how important it is to have some protection from competition on your designs and business processes. I take with a grain of salt all this talk about transparency.

Interestingly enough I have found that most "Critics" of Eclipse are TBM owners or the competition watching their value or future value drop like a rock. The hostility that non-stakeholders take against Eclipse is quite amazing. Doesn't add up unless they have something to lose if Eclipse does indeed succeed.

It may surprise you though that I do enjoy reading these comments and I believe the "digging" is very productive and good for aviation. However, the personal attacks and the inaccurrate assumptions/lies can only be explained by self-motivated people trying to discredit the monumental effort Eclipse has undertaken. Maybe these unsubstantiated attacks drive some customers away. But if you're guilty of this and don't disclose your conflict, then you're just a cheap Con acting like you "care" for your own self gain.

airtaximan said...

eclipseowner387

Customer Eclipses cannot be delivered, because Eclipse does not have a production certificate, and therefore the planes need to be inspected and passed by the FAA. The planes have not been passed by the FAA, and the recent quality/safety/manufacturing problems at Eclipse WILL impact their delivery. This probably already has impacted their delivery, originally claimed for October. I cannot imagine that you do not understand this.

Casting dispersions on the participants of this Blog will not change any of this. Sounds like something Vern tries to do - someone who brings up a good point is labeled someone who wants to see him fail. My 4 year old acts the same way.

Another important point - everyone on this blog IS involved in the industry, somehow, and has something at stake. We are engineers, editors, operators, pilots, educators, manufacturers, even Eclipse employees…but it’s not personal, any more personal than your stake - your "delivery deposit" (you do not have a delivery "position", if I understand the deposit agreement).

No one wants to see Vern fail - we want to see him succeed. In order to do this, he has to change the way he is dealing with the issues, and from what I can see, he is moving in the right direction - at least according to today’s news reports. He's coming clean and telling some of the truth, now. I think we've had a positive affect. Maybe some of the things you are calling “personal” have had an affect…

Our “assumptions” as you put it, are just that. Assumptions, opinions, maybe even educated guesses. They are not offered and should not be taken as anything else. This is a Blog. So far, from a million miles away, we've presented a more accurate depiction of your aircraft manufacturer than they have presented of themselves – by intuition and educated guessing. Pretty telling. This has to change in order for Vern to be successful – a fact of life for a safety culture, all part of aviation norms, values and convention.

So, you should thank us. You have a much better idea of what's going on with what might very well be YOUR airplane.

Anonymous said...

EclipseOwner387-
I think most of us actually want Eclipse to succeed. I know I do. The VLJ dream is alive for most of us.

But you have to ask why Cessna, Embraer, Honda or even Adams are not subjected to the kind of criticism Eclipse receives. The answer is simple: Unreasonably hyped claims that simply don't stand up to the light of day; unswerving condescension toward everyone else in the business; and unthinkable finger pointing at your suppliers and business partners.

Eclipse would have us believe that they do no wrong; it's the naysayers' fault; the suppliers' fault. What's next, "The FAA's fault"?

I'm sorry, but the scrutiny and suspicion they received they've brought on themselves. Still, I'd love to see them prove us all wrong.

Gunner

ps: Thanks for documenting that my earlier posts were not deleted from Owners Site. If what you pasted was my last post on that board then, as I stated, I my final challenge to them was, in fact, removed.

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan,

I am saying they DON'T have a production certificate. Was I not clear? They are trying to get the production certificate. Otherwise they would have to go the route of individual plane inspections. Why do you think I am missing something here? The Eclipse owners are well aware that the Production certificate is crucial to the high level of output Eclipse hopes to achieve and going the "Mooney" route would be insane.

Anonymous said...

Gunner,

Was not your final post. It was your longest and mentioned the misled/Micah so I thought it was the one you referenced. You continued posting two days after that post. We could both grow older trying to figure this out and quite frankly I have moved on to other more important issues with Eclipse so I will let you "win" this one rather than battle your recollection of events.

Anonymous said...

[Sigh]
I wasn't trying to "win" anything. I simply don't appreciate being called a liar:
"Makes his story seem more powerful but NOT true!"

I was as polite as possible in offering you a chance to retract that statement, but I think that's pretty much moot, given your reactions here.

Let it go. The exchange here is far too civil and informative for the personal sidetrack.

Anonymous said...

All,

Have we confirmed that the FAA grounded the fleet? Eclipse strongly denies it was a mandate from FAA and that Eclipse made the decision. Aeroobserver on this blog said it was "confirmed" that FAA grounded and the Jetwhine guy either used that or "confirmed" it himself. Should the TRUTH in this be something we should know. If Eclipse or FAA? Plus it begs the question why say FAA if not true? If FAA didn't, then why did two "journalists" on this blog say FAA? What is the real story? Any retractions?

Anonymous said...

Gunner,

My point was that you exaggerated your story to sensationalize the experience. Your a publisher, maybe that is what publishers do to make for a good read. You stated that the Eclipse owners forum did little in challenging Eclipse yet in your post that I scraped from the Eclipse site you start with - "Well folks, I can top these stories....and it just may cause me to be the shortest term Eclipse Purchaser on record."

Now if we didn't have challenging stories why would you need to start a post like that. I was very active during your short tenure on the board and I felt you were there to start something. Your very first post was about this very blog!!!!! Yet you acted so excited to be a customer. I recall vividly thinking you were a short timer and even thought - this guy isn't here to really buy a plane. And sure enough you become an Eclipse critic adding content to this blog (or maybe you already were a critic just pretending to be an excited new client.)

Obviously pure speculation, but heck blogs are ok for that right?

And, accept my apology in advance.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I risked $130K on an unsecured investment to make trouble and post to a blog some 4 months later. Or, just perhaps, my deal went sour 24 hours after they received my funds.

You're right. I AM a publisher of a worldwide news stand magazine that's been around two decades. One thing you learn from that: be certain of your facts.

Like I said, let it go; unless, of course, the sidetrack is of value to you. It no longer is to me. Back on topic, please.

Gunner

flight guy said...

Why all the mud slinging. We were having such a civil debate until someone upset the fruit cart. Sounds perhaps the constructive criticsm hit to close to home. Perhaps to many truths were released that should not have been to the uninformed and uneducated.

Yes, we can be civil because most of us are industry professionals whom realize the value of civil discussion and want the most for aviation. That is why media types actually are looking for scoops here. With this blog, some of the industry's greatest minds can collectively consider and voice themselves freely without worrying about the media backlash that comes with differing from Eclipse's outlandish promos and ultimately Bill Gates backing.

For those whom are not civil, I question your own objectives. This blog was not created for sniping. If you are looking to pick fights go to Eclipse, I here they're employing 20 employees a week for 2500+ aircraft. They can use that kind of passion and may actually fit in with the management style. We are here to discuss the real issues and banter amongst ourselves is not one of them. Unlike what you previously had implied, most of us want the VLJ market to be the greatest phenomenom known to man. The real professionals, the ones found here, don't want to look and be taken for fools in the process. We can smell coverups from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Also, as readers we know when Eclipse makes listings on this blog to distract from the discussion.

Good Luck and Good Day!!

twinpilot said...

I just heard about a prospective customer who was offered an early position by Eclipse for 1.750 million. Evidently someone canceled, or because no one has serial numbers, it is easy to slip a couple of high paying deliveries in every once in a while, and no one will be the wiser. If one of their customers cancels an order or 100 orders do the other customers move up a position or two? I think they should but maybe that is not what the agreement said. Maybe the purchasers never thought about it. (Why, who in their right mind would ever cancel an order for the greatest airplane in the world for $837,000?) Eclipse is evidently trying to retail the slot to a new purchaser at a premium price. If they can sell them, this might greatly improve the bottom line at Eclipse. Maybe it is perfectly legal but to me it smells bad.

Read with interest 387's post about the windshield where he said: They claim that the "fail safe" inner layers had NO damage. Pressurized airplanes that fly above FL310 must have dual layer windshields and windows because no single failure can cause the cabin to climb above 15,000. cabin altitude. If the outside fails the windshield is still "safe" because the inner has not failed yet. The reverse is also true. There is no fail safe layer. The assembly is "fail safe" because if one layer fails you are still "safe". You are not really safe and you can't takeoff again because you no longer have a fail safe windshield or window. Maybe no one cares about this type of thing but it is just indicative of the misinformation and double talk I hear from this company. They seem to be trying to assure everyone you are still safe because the fail safe layer is ok when in fact you are not at all safe and should immediately descend and land at the nearest available airport.

Anonymous said...

Flight guy,

I am not with Eclipse. I was countering the unsubstantiated and refuted elements - so I am not civil??? It doesn't sound like you guys like to hear both sides of the story here. I think if someone says FAA confirmed grounding and that is refuted in the public release then where is the back up? It sounds like mud can only be slung at Eclipse here. I own a Cirrus and I think it is a ground breaking airplane. Is it perfect? No. Cirrus is always coming out with fixes to things that they thought were ok at the time. I am reasonable, I would suspect no airplane has been "perfect" from day one. Especially a new generation airplane that has captured the attention of that aviation industry. I also own a Piper Malibu amd a JetProp. The Malibu was put thru the wringer back in the late 80's but has turned out to be an INCREDIBLE airframe. I suspect Eclipse will be successful, even inspite of themselves. I am like Fox news.. attempting to bring balance and the otherside of the story....

But rest assured, I do not work for Eclipse and I had a heated run in with them back in August. While I was ready to sue them over an issue they did do the right thing after a few days of "discussion." The problem was once again lack of communication and that was the reason why they caved in to me. But they did do the right thing and I appreciate a company that can do that. These guys are not Cessna or Boeing. But they are serious and by all accounts have built an impressive airplane - and I agree with a lot of pain and suffering along the way. Am I happy that the plane is going to be slower and have less range? No. But surprisingly, most of the owners are OK with this. It is still a great value even with the miss. While I am sure you Eclipse naysayers don't like me. At least I am here to give an honest view from an Eclipse position holder point of view. And I will be honest - I will not "cover" anything up. I also will not take Eclipse at blind faith. I was one of the forum posters asking ther questiuons as to why has Eclipse disappeared. But another view is, if you know you have the product and your in the red zone, then take it in for the touchdown and don't get distracted. Proff will be the delivery now. I can understand that - unfortunately these issues nailed them at a bad time and the delays will cause unrest accross the board. I do not dispute any of that.

Have a good night.

Anonymous said...

I gotta tell ya. This blog is a wealth of misinformation. I am an Eclipse customer and supporter. Yes, they have their problems, but your collective imagination doesn't fail to build off those. Where's the blog to bash the Mustang and Adam?

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger and eclipseowner387,

Please offer us the kind of bullcrap we've received from Vern regarding his plane - from Cessna for the Mustang and from Adam for the A700...and I would be glad to spend some brain power on refuting false claims and revealing the truth.

So far, Vern is the only one worth spending time refuting rediculous claims and cover ups.

I have not seen anything of this sort from Cessna, Adam, Honda, Piper, Embraer...or any other company in the VLJ market.

Every company misses performance, has ADs, quality issues, etc...ony Vern is dishonest about his.

Provide us with examples of this behavior from the companies you point to, or accept the fact that only Vern he has provided a uniquely disgusting situation in this business, which calls for our attention.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

eclipseblogger,

Would that be the misinformation that there was a grounding? Seems to me that turned out to be true.

Or would that be the misinformation that there are technical issues with the airplane? Seems to me they are putting additional inspection requirements on the windshields due to unexpected fatigue.

Or would that be the misinformation that the wing attach was having issue? Seems to me Vern copped to that, 2 weeks after the fact.

Or would that be the misinformation that the CG and useful load might be a bit restrictive compared to what had been represented? Seems to me pilots under 180 require ballast, and that useful load is a bit lower.

Or would that be the misinformation that Eclipse is shuffling delivery positions? Seems to me a former position holder has provided info that has been verified by another position holder.

This is not wishing ill on Eclipse, I think that most folks want to see Eclipse succeed. I think most folks want to see Eclipse customers get their jet(s), and to see the operators also be successful.

These are reasonable questions and reasonable criticism of the highest profile aviation project going. There are businesses planning hundreds of millions of dollars in purchases, hundreds of employees, national infrastructure.

These customers, and you, have been exceptionally patient and understanding through numerous delays, price changes, reduced capability, and now significant issues and a failure by the company to communicate them in a timely and transparent manner.

Many of the folks on this blog probably have qualifications in industry that exceed having a spare $1.5M to plop down on a personal jet and include actual experience in the design, certification, manufacture and operation of aircraft. Some of the folks posting here apparently work for or have worked for Eclipse.

The measure of a man, or of a company, is how they handle adverse news, how they behave when the chips are down.

Vern and the team at Eclipse have achieved some truly amazing things in the last 8 years. Those achievements do not however insulate Eclipse from criticism. Vern has talked a game and been so petty towards the industry as a whole that there will no doubt be some crow to be eaten - and some folks will take glee in that.

Hopefully, your customer number will result in a delivery after the first hundred or so planes and these issues will be long solved by the time your plane rolls off the line.

Bambazonke said...

It is amusing to witness the Eclipseowner387 come out and bash the people on this board, the TBM owners, etc. Where do you get off on this crap? Please tell us why you think that the TBM owners are bashing the Eclipse on this board, why you think the people on this board are Cessna supporters, or Adam supporters? Please wake up, the Kool Aid is getting to you and occluding your vision. Vern Rayburn is the 'doyen of aviation' who went after the rest of the world, saying that the 'other' manufacturers just did not know how to work with the FAA, Eclipse managed the TC in record time, (his records maybe), there was no reason for him to cast such aspersions on other manufacturers. Are you surprised that when he is falling on his butt that people stick the oar in? Before you jump on me, yes I heard him myslef, this is not heresay, it is fact.

If Jack Pelton came out to the Mustang SERIAL NUMBER owners, (note SERIAL NUMBERS) not micky mouse position numbers that have no relevance to the aircraft itself, and told them that he was going to deliver them a Mustang, and that because Cessna was a company of integrity that stood behind it's buyers, it was going to give them each a brand new GARMIN 496, because the unit in their panels were not working, the world would come down on him like a ton of bricks. Rayburn was almost accorded a pass on this when he made this idiotic comment and gesture, who in the right mind after $700 million has been spent on development can feel good about offering a handheld to be used in a Jet? Rayburn tries to distract people from the facts of the weight and balance envelope by chucking this silly number of 120 lbs out there, he knows that the weight of the pilot needs to be greater than 170 lbs, the numbers that Eclipse has used all along, why the deception, people see straight through it every time.

I have been in this business about 30 years, I tried to rack my rusty brain to recall a similar series of failures so soon into a new models life and could not, there might be some folks out there that recall one, but I don't. This wreaks of really poor and troubling engieering, nothing else and if Vern was not such a snake oil salesman he would see it as such. The FAA will not accept Rayburns lame duck excuse on the windshield, trust me on this one. If YOU think that it is safe to fly a delaminating windshield, don't fly whilst intoxicated with KKA's KA.

I am going to check myself continuing to attack the comments you made, read what is written here, if you think that a comment is not realistic, true or inaccurate, why not take the poster to task on his topic, but do a better job than you did on Gunner. By the way, on a little less range... try a lot less range...

Anonymous said...

I'm not at all certain that anyone here will be able to convince an Eclipse position holder that we are anything but drive-by Vern bashers. The cognitive dissonance engendered by having a large chunk of change invested in the Company, as an unsecured creditor, almost requires a specific type of Double Think.

Back when he was just a guy with "an axe to grind" and Eclipse was an industry darling, Stan was easily dismissed by the Owners group. As his early predictions become reality, though, the reaction turns to sheer rage.

It's unfortunate that some of the owners think their goals are different from the goals of the posters here. To the extent that everyone wants to see the VLJ industry, and Eclipse, get off the ground, nothing could be further from the truth.

Still, I think we're witnessing te beginning of a rather acrimonious Board War. That would be unfortunate, given the level of insight and expertise I see here.
Gunner

Anonymous said...

airtaximan said: I have not seen anything of this sort from Cessna, Adam, Honda, Piper, Embraer...or any other company in the VLJ market.

Then you haven't been looking real had. What about Adam? Certification deadlines extended and missed for how long, a year and a half! How many times did we hear dates for their TC, only for them to be missed, extended, rescheduled, and then only to receive such restrictions on the Adam 500 that the airplane was next to unusable? Limit seat configuration, no pressurization, 10,000 foot altitude restrictions, day VFR only... What about Adams 50 gallons of unusable fuel? How can an aircraft of this size and weight be designed with 300 lbs of unusable fuel? Talk about ferrying costs. Adam is great at dismissing all of their problems, and claiming 70% interchangable parts, and going to be the first VLJ to get certification. I guess that hasn't happened yet.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said: Seems to me they are putting additional inspection requirements on the windshields due to unexpected fatigue.

The inspections are to get the test fleet back in the air. Yes, there is a problem. The problem has to be resolved. The test fleet needs to fly to test any solution, and to do further mod testing. In order to get the FAA to allow the fleet back in the air, something has to be put on paper as to how this is going to happen, and what safety procedures will be followed. Are these inspections the final solution? Of course not. No one can live with a 100 flight window replacement. Do you think they are going to install the windows with zippers?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said: Or would that be the misinformation that the wing attach was having issue?

In real business, when you identify a problem, the first thing you do isn't to run to the press or customers to report it. The problem gets analyzed, and a solution is sought. Had this been something simple, it would have been fixed and there might have been no need to report anything. It didn't turn out that way. That analysis does take time. When it was determined that this would take a some further engineering and time, the information was released. If you think that this blog forced the recent memo from Eclipse, you're must be pretty high on yourself. With the fleet grounded, something had to be said and Eclipse came forth when all the details and a future plan of course was in place.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said: Seems to me pilots under 180 require ballast, and that useful load is a bit lower.

I've flown many aircraft that require ballast. The Mustang has a significant chunk of ballast bolted to the airframe. No one wants to talk about that, though. Ballast is a loser if you have to lug that extra weight around ALL OF THE TIME. If you only have certain unique conditions where ballast may be needed, common sense will tell you to deal with those unique conditions, and not penalize all flight configurations.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said: Or would that be the misinformation that Eclipse is shuffling delivery positions? Seems to me a former position holder has provided info that has been verified by another position holder.

There has been no proof of this. You're taking the word of someone on a blog? How do you know who anyone is here? Talk about being naive.

Bambazonke said: Rayburn tries to distract people from the facts of the weight and balance envelope by chucking this silly number of 120 lbs out there, he knows that the weight of the pilot needs to be greater than 170 lbs, the numbers that Eclipse has used all along, why the deception, people see straight through it every time.

Put some lose change in your pockets when you fly alone. How many of you are less than 170 LBS. Your egos alone weight more than that. You're really pulling at straws if you think that many flights will be conducted with less than 170 LBS of pilot and "pilot stuff" onboard.

Bambazonke said: The FAA will not accept Rayburns lame duck excuse on the windshield, trust me on this one.

Again, this is just to get the fleet into the air until a good engineering solution has been installed. No one said this was the final solution. Trust me.

airtaximan said...

Eclipseblogger,
How did you learn all this about Adam? I think, they told you. Like I said, there are always performance, program and other issues...Adam seems to be more open about them, or at least does not pro-actively cover them up. I have never heard one rediculous excuse regarding missing a step, from them either.

Where's the Cessna example? You refered to Cessna - probably a higher benchmark for us to follow. Any examples of them covering issues? I'd love to see Eclipse actaully compare to Cessna in this regard.

You refer to Adam and Cessna as if what Vern is doing is right in line with SOP for this industry - it is not. He is an outliar (misspelling intended) - I pray this is never considered normal for this industry.

Do you think Eclipse knew they were going to miss the garanteed range by 20-30% more than a week before they received provisional FAA certification? I sincerely hope so with years of flight testing and the best performance modeling software and expereinced engineers....but they waited a long time to tell the depositors...all along they scoffed at the critics who did not believe the range...this is still the case today. They scoff, and try to explain critics away by insinuating we have an axe to grind. They even stuck Oliver Masefield in a closet when he revealed to the press that it would take a 75% improvement in drag to meet the stated garanteed performance. Imagine not listening to your Chief Engineer, and banishing him, because he was honest regarding performance.

Do you really believe or want to believe that Cessna (or even Adam)acts this way?

Stop defending Eclipse - I think you want a better company with a different attitude, producing and supporting your plane.

Anonymous said...

All I said was that the FAA confirmed the grounding, but they wouldn't say whether it was voluntary on Eclipse's part or mandated by the FAA. In fact, the FAA would say only that the fleet was grounded because of a technical issue and then said Eclipse would have to elaborate. To Eclipse's credit, Vern Raburn called me immediately after he landed from a business trip -- pretty late on Wednesday night, mind you -- to explain the situation and answer any questions I had about the program. Vern said the grounding was voluntary and affected only the test fleet, not the production fleet. Just minutes after I filed my story, I also received a copy of the owners communication, as Vern and Eclipse's spokesman promised earlier that evening/night. Don't read anything into the timing, because I was told that the letter would be sent out very late, and I had enough detailed info from Vern that I didn't need to wait for the letter to be released to write my story.

From what I can gather, Eclipse wanted to find a solution and communicate that solution to the owners before running to the press. The owners are paying customers after all and deserve to find out this type of information first hand, not from a publication. Wouldn't you be pissed if you were a customer and had to find out this information from a third party instead of the company itself?

One more thing -- should an aircraft manufacturer be crucified for trying to be proactive when it comes to safety of flight issues? We should instead be praising this type of behavior. The truth is that most manufacturers are reactive, not proactive. One only needs to look at Raytheon's initial response to the Beechjet dual flameout issue. They tried to cover it up, until four Beechjets essentially became gliders and they could no longer do so. It took a candid article (written by yours truly) to get Raytheon to respond publicly, and then magically a safety communique came out two weeks after the article was published. Compare that with the Eclipse window and bushing situation -- see the difference?

Anonymous said...

[i]There has been no proof of this. You're taking the word of someone on a blog? How do you know who anyone is here? Talk about being naive.[/i]

Eclipseowner:
You've already validated my position as a former Eclipse Customer by my posts to the Owners Forum. I state unequivocally that Eclipse had me sign a contract which called for them to immediately provide a Serial Number in return. They refused and demanded that, in essence, I sign a waiver, surrendering that right until 6 months before my Jet was produced. This is completely at odds with the standards used by TRANSPARENT companies for selling planes and jets. I have made very specific statements regarding who said what to me on this issue. I stand by those statement.

BTW, the Purchase Agreement requires that you transfer a Serial Number if you wish to sell your position. Pretty tough to do when you don't have a Serial Number to begin with. In essence, their requirement, after the fact, would have put me totally at their mercy in terms of delivery time and transfer, in a manner inconsistent with the rest of the industry.

You and all of Eclipse know who I am and where I am (nor do I mind if Bloggers here learn that). But lemme just ask you something:

If I were lying about my experience with Eclipse and the fact that they refused to sign the very Agreement they induced me to sign in order to secure my deposit, that would be one hell of a LEGALLY ACTIONABLE lie, would it not?

Like you said, I'm a Publisher. Think I might know a thing or two about the pitfalls and dangers of libel?
Gunner

Anonymous said...

Accept my apology Aeroobserver - your explanation makes total sense to me.

Anonymous said...

airtaximan said: How did you learn all this about Adam? I think, they told you.

Adam never came out and told us anything. As the dates came and went, it just became obvious. I never saw a press release from Adam that said, "the date we specified is here, and oops we are not going to make it." At some point beyond that date they just came out with another one.

airtaximan said: Do you think Eclipse knew they were going to miss the garanteed range by 20-30% more than a week before they received provisional FAA certification?

The Eclipse owners knew it. Don't blame Eclipse if you didn't have the information. We were all told of the reduced numbers long before Oshkosh. With all your infinite wisdom, how come you didn't have current info? Participants of this blog spout off the "facts" they have, whether they be old specs, current specs, or just specs they read elsewhere on the blog that have little to do with reality. If you read it, it must be true.

Gunner said: You've already validated my position as a former Eclipse Customer by my posts to the Owners Forum.

Yes, we've seen your posts on the Customer Forum site. From the beginning your posts were confrontational, and had the tone that you were looking for a fight. Yes, the contract was legally incorrect. You made your deposit at a time where Eclipse was revoking previous S/N assignments and stating delivery positions by manufacturing month following first delivery. Had you really wanted to, you probably could have worked out the differences and had the contract corrected.

AJ said...

Someone please correct me if they know exactly how this works, but don't most of these air taxi companies have options to purchase more jets should they want more? From what I have read, most of these companies have contracts to purchase say 10 jets, then options to purchase 30 more. Well if they decide they want or don't want the 30 more it would seem to me that Eclipse can't officially asign anyone exact serial numbers because of this issue.

Twinpilot says:
"I just heard about a prospective customer who was offered an early position by Eclipse for 1.750 million. Evidently someone canceled, or because no one has serial numbers, it is easy to slip a couple of high paying deliveries in every once in a while, and no one will be the wiser."
I am calling BS on your statement, looks to me like you (among many others on this blog) just like to stir the pot. I would guess that if Eclipse was sued by one of the owners in line because of this issue they could explain and prove exactly where everyone stands.

Anonymous said...

eclipseblogger said:Yes, we've seen your posts on the Customer Forum site. From the beginning your posts were confrontational, and had the tone that you were looking for a fight.

Correct. Because, within 24 hours of my signing the Agreement, Eclipse attempted to change it substantially. Never had that problem with Cessna or Beech.

eclipseblogger said:You made your deposit at a time where Eclipse was revoking previous S/N assignments and stating delivery positions by manufacturing month following first delivery.

Thanks for validating this as fact. So they ended up revoking everyone's Serial Number, huh? Is there any wonder that the Aviation Community has serious questions regarding the number of firm orders Eclipse actually has? After all, the orders are their sole source of revenue and self-sufficient viability. Can't you see why eyebrows (including mine) were raised over this?

eclipseblogger said: Had you really wanted to, you probably could have worked out the differences and had the contract corrected.

Touche. Of course I could have worked it out. In fact, I tried. I offered (by email to Micah) to accept an addendum stating that my SN might decrease in number but would not increase. Sounds pretty reasonable to me, no? After all, why would the temporary (1300's) SN I'd received ever need to be increased, unless they foresaw the possibility of bumping my position on the assembly line. Eclipse chose to refund my deposit; and then took two weeks to do so (by snail mail).

Look, despite the fact that some of this discussion is about my experience, it is not about "me". I offer the experience by way of one man's Real World interaction with a company that was, at best, in disarray regarding it's sole source of income and, at worst, completely inflexible and opaque in its dealings with new Customers.

Gunner

Anonymous said...

Bambazonke,

I never said exclusively to this BOARD when I said TBM owners.

Prime example:

Do you know who Terry Winson is? President of New Avex. New Avex is the US dealer in TBM. Terry Winson joined the Cirrus Forum for one purpose and one purpose only as determined by his posts: to bash Eclipse. His first posts were anonymous (did not reveal his conflict) bashings about Eclipse. A total of 6 posts all about the pitfalls of Eclipse. When a COPA member called him out on his affiliation he finally filled out his profile as to who he really is. The other vocal poster on COPA is a guy that I generally agree with on most subjects but he is a TBM 700 owner and he is another major critic of Eclipse. These guys all fear a drop in the Turbo Prop value. Maybe turbo props drop maybe not. I own a turbo prop and have found interest from VLJ enthusiasts that want to build turbine time. I have the opinion that single engine tp's will hold value in the long run BUT it does appear they lost ground as Eclipse appeared eminent. So, I do have facts to support my case, the NUMBER 1 TBM guy in America a joined a forum like COPA to spread his WEALTH (sarcasm) of knowledge. I would find it more credible if he just tried to sell me on the true value of a TBM 850. Really lost respect for the guy. The truly funny and ironic thing is I bought my position 387 through Terry Winson! However, when he was acting as broker selling me and making money - he kept his mouth shut on the negatives of Eclipse. Par for the course with this cat.

And the guy who owns the TBM on the COPA site uses the "kool aid" expression quite often... could it be... hmmmm

Later.

SRMach5 said...

Look folks....a lot of this banter is really starting to drag down the blog. Clearly, we are missing Stan and his wit and wisdom while he is oooing and ahhhing at the statues in Italy.

I would like to echo the sentiments of many other 'critics' on this board. WE ALL WANT TO SEE ECLIPSE SUCCEED. Again, I would like to re-iterate, our problem is with Vern and the way he has chosen to do business.

If you really think about it, we have moved away from some of the informative and stimulating discussions on the aeronautical debates and turned to more personal 'he said / she said' type of non-sense.

My very humble opinion in summary is that Vern's assumptions on annual production rates in the 500+ range are absolutely UNSUSTAINABLE. Yes, folks - UNSUSTAINABLE. I don't care what anyone says about the new theories on the Air Taxi market, there are not enough purchasers for this aircraft on an annual basis.

Let's get back to some basics here. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Mac McLellan from Flying magazine. I believe his analysis and expertise is SPOT ON when it comes to Eclipse. This guy is arguably one of the most proven writers in our industry and somehow he is being ignored by the Eclipse faithful as an un-educated writer on the subject. Who do you trust more when it comes to aviation journalism, Zoom or Mac? If you want to know more about what I am talking about, please read the following article: http://www.flyingmag.com/article.asp?section_id=12&article_id=656

As for other manufacturers not taking criticism for what they do right and/or wrong. Obviously, many of you don't look at COPA (Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association), MMOPA (Malibu/Mirage Owners & Pilots Association)just to name a few which can be HIGHLY critical of their respective manufacturers. Since I do not have a position on the Eclipse, I have not been to the owners website, however; from what I have gleaned, anyone who is a 'troublemaker' and doesn't drink the Kool Aid is ostracized.

For those of you who did drink the Kool Aid, I hope it does not give you an upset stomach!

SRMach5 said...

ElipseOwner 387:

Terry Winston isn't the best example of someone who has a sterling name in aircraft sales for whatever that is worth.

Also, I concur with your assessment about the single-engine turbo-props. I believe they will be a key aircraft for individuals needing to build turbine time in order to fulfill the insurance requirements for flying a VLJ. The single-engine turbo prop will probably make for one of the most cost effective mechanisms for pilots to get high-altitude turbine time. The TBM700, 850, PC-12, Meridian, & Jetprop should all do pretty well over the next several years. As a matter of fact, last time I checked, the TBM850 is selling extremely well, the PC-12, well I don't know if I can say enough good things about that aircraft. I think they are selling out over a year in advance, the Meridian was built as an entry-level single engine turbroprop and is doing well and the Jet-prop is a niche aircraft, but their owners really love it.

Bottom line, is aviation has a very bright future. Some of us differ though as to which aircraft will be successful in the future.....which of course is part of this spirited debate.

Anonymous said...

SRMACH5,

I absolutely agree with the concerns over Eclipse's ability to turn out the high rate of production their plan calls for. I have boxed my two biggest risks as the following:

1. Eclipse runs out of time/money before they can really deliver airplanes for a profit. Which could be nagging design flaws that delay or a major miss in the amount of planes they can produce per annum. My Position 387 may become a mid 2008 or worse rather than the mid 2007 projection when I took over the position.

2. One or more planes crash early with unknown reason that spook buyers (i.e. forward cash flow) before my plane is even produced and Eclipse finds itself stuck in costly litigation.

I had an earlier postion that I decided to sell inorder to give Eclipse time to work out the "bugs" that I expect will be unavoidable in a brand new design. I hope I picked the right delivery time frame but what I was hoping to be a 2007 is not looking likely.

Anonymous said...

Eclipseowner387-
I had the same line of thinking as you, only a bit more conservative. I have been watching Eclipse, Adam and Cessna for some time but didn't want to be the first in line on any. I decided on the Eclipse when they were projecting next in lines in 2008. I figured, by then, we'd have seen enough flown miles to be comfortable with the design.

But there's a 3rd possibility here that you haven't put forth: the possibility that Vern's business model absolutely requires some huge numbers of aircraft to be viable. If that's the case, your Risk 1 is not getting your jet late, but not getting it at all.

I hope that doesn't happen. I hope the Eclipse works; for myself, I seldom have more than two passengers and a pup with me; I have no need to maintain an onboard lav for <4 hour flights, and I'll gladly give up Lincoln Continental space for increased speed and fuel efficiency. All that points to the promises of Raburn. Unfortunately, his track record and his attitude have created the number of critics he now faces.

Gunner

airtaximan said...

Eclipseblogger,

you state:
"Don't blame Eclipse if you didn't have the information. We were all told of the reduced numbers long before Oshkosh."

Well, sorry if you do not have perfect info on all other aircraft programs either.... Everyione was apparently told of Adam's schedule change, before you.

You brought all this up, and its really not the point - but you seem to be hell bent on trying to defending Vern. Are you Vern?

You compared eclipse's cover up and puffery to CESSNA...Where's the problem with Cessna? Like I stated before, and I am finished with you and this topic because you are just distracting and silly about it... wouldn't you rather have Cessna as the example of how to conduct an aircraft company?

You brought it up...so I'd just like a YES or NO? It's a simple question, based on the comparison you brought to bear. Isn't Cessna a better company than Eclipse when it comes to meeting stated performance and schedule? Also, Cessna seems to be more professional and forthcoming with performance, ADs, fleet grounding, certification and manufacturing issues than Eclipse? NO? Wouldn't you feel safer the Cessna way?

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan,

I will give my answer to the Cessna versus Eclipse. Yes! I would be very interested in a Cessna VLJ IF (and this is the big IF) it was truly all the options Eclipse is offering for reasonably the same price. I will own the EA 500 for over a million less than a Cessna platform. Hard to not make that bet - for me. My wife supports my aviation habit but to push that would be tough. The Eclipse is an incredible value - IF THEY DELIVER. I expect that they will. If not, I lost my money and I move on. I still have a JetProp that is one bad A$$ airplane! And isn't that much slower than the Eclipse so I won't "starve" if I am wrong!

airtaximan said...

eclipseowner387 and srmach5,

Vern's business is based on air taxi operators providing sufficient orders for high rate production and therefore lower cost. This is not happening. The orders are drying up - -112 lost last week from the European "customer" that had no business plan, no experience with aircraft, no staff, and no deposit money down on the aircraft...but gone, nonetheless.

With the admitted durability issues now in the open, eyebrows are raising regarding Vern's claims that the eclipse was designed for high-cycle, required for air taxi...everyone's talking about this fact in the operator’s world, especially the financial community.

There are a growing number of skeptics. Even Dayjet (how many planes on order? Any real deposit money?) has put off their launch date (again) until next year - and they are still searching for financing….they were supposed to take delivery some time ago…still looking for financing? Sounds like Aviace when Vern gave them actual delivery position numbers to help them with their bankers…

So the lower priced jet, enabled mostly by the promised/promoted massive order book, is fading.

Sorry, but you'll all be looking at price-to-performance decisions for Eclipse based on a $2.5 million or more aircraft price, soon...based only on the owner-pilot market which justifies around 100-200 units per year...and you'll chose another plane all day long. On every important element of value, Eclipse loses to the other guys at realistic price points based only on the volume available from the private pilot market.

Unless, of course, you are "a die-hard" Eclipse fan!

Anonymous said...

Aurtaximan,

You know how happy I will be if Eclipse becomes a $2.5 Million platform! I would be over a mill in the good! Woohoo!

:-)

(And no need to say "if they deliver" ... I know that already)

Anonymous said...

airtaximan said: You brought it up...so I'd just like a YES or NO?

As eclipseowner387 said, give me a Cessna with the same functionality and price. The difference comes down to the $1M difference.

I know you'd love it, but no I'm not Vern.

airtaximan said: The orders are drying up - -112 lost last week from the European "customer" that had no business plan, no experience with aircraft, no staff, and no deposit money down on the aircraft...but gone, nonetheless.

More of your misinformation. The Euopean company wants to carry through with the contract. The contract has not been cancelled, only the first delivery due to differences in interpretation of the sales contract relating to progressive payments. The courts sided with Eclipse.

airtaximan said: ...everyone's talking about this fact in the operator’s world, especially the financial community.

Just another example of your wild statements without any basis or fact. Who's everyone? Where have you seen this is print anywhere?

airtaximan said: There are a growing number of skeptics. Even Dayjet (how many planes on order? Any real deposit money?) has put off their launch date (again) until next year - and they are still searching for financing….they were supposed to take delivery some time ago…still looking for financing?

Again, what facts do you have? Have you seen DayJet's deposit agreement? Have you seen DayJet's financial statement? Do you know what price DayJet is paying per aircraft? Of course they delayed their launch. You can't launch without an airplane fleet. Talk about silly statements.

Niner Zulu said...

Wow - I don't check the board for a couple of days & come back into the middle of WWIII.

I really appreciate the input from everyone. Stan, if your wife is wondering why you started this blog, it's because no one else has had the cajones to bring up the important issues and say what needed to be said. The Eclipse marketing department was running unchecked until you came along. I believe most of us want Eclipse to succeed, but they can't just spew out whatever facts and figures they want and not be held accountable. Their BS affects thousands of potential buyers and lives. If they can't take the heat, then all they had to do was just shut up and build a good product and then sell it. Well, you've got their attention now - especially Verns!

As for me - you saved me from putting up hard earned cash on an Eclipse resale, only to learn that not only was my deposit not secure, but that the delivery date could be months (years?) away from the date promised by Eclipse. Add to that all the problems and false performance claims - it would have been very upsetting to our family and I would have had some explaining to do to MY wife. I didn't hear anything from Eclipse about their "teething problems" - it was all gung-ho BS from day one.

So I'll be flying something else for a while until Eclipse gets their act together. I can always buy one - no rush. Taking a wait-and-see approach appears to be the smartest choice for us at this time - no worrying about an unproven product. It would take very little to ground the Eclipse fleet - that takes the fun out of flying and I just don't need the stress.

So to Stan and everyone else who contributed here, thanks for all of the intelligent dialog. I hope one of you will start a blog on the single-engine VLJ's - I'd really like to hear more about the D-Jet, Piper Jet and upcoming Cirrus jet.

Anonymous said...

Niner Zulu said: Wow - I don't check the board for a couple of days & come back into the middle of WWIII.

I'm not trying to create WWIII. I just thought it was time for someone to point out the wild statements that appear on this blog. All of a sudden I've touched a nerve.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

I asked a few questions regarding Dayjet's order with Eclipse, based on the data reported to the court by Eclipse regarding Aviace, and you say I am mischaracterizing things. I think this blog is designed for raising good questions. When anyone has answers, they go up. We seem to get a lot of good answers, except from the die-hards.

Do you think that my Dayjet question is a bad one? Eclipse promoted a 112 aircraft order fom Aviace, who they describe in court as a company with no money, no aircraft experience, no business plan and no staff? I think it's valid to ask whether this is the case with some of their current fleet orders? I asked a question...stating that I am wrong and have no proof does not make it a bad question.

Finally, do you really believe that Aviace will purchase the remaining 111 Eclipse planes, as you stated in the reply? You believe Vern should keep 111 "orders" from them on his books? If you do, I would like to know why? They have no money, no experience, no staff, and made no payment for the first plane? I would like to know why you think anyone should be behind these guys in delivery?

Anonymous said...

eclipseblogger:

You said "I gotta tell ya. This blog is a wealth of misinformation." In a later post said "I've flown many aircraft that require ballast. The Mustang has a significant chunk of ballast bolted to the airframe. No one wants to talk about that, though."

You can count yourself amongst the purveyors of misinformation. I can tell you from first hand knowlwdge that there is NO ballast on Mustang. The only time the Mustang was ballasted was during flight testing to hit the full C.G. range front to back. Perhaps your sources aren't any good. You're welcome to your bias as "an Eclipse customer and supporter" but you should get your facts straight before posting.

Anonymous said...

airframer said: I can tell you from first hand knowlwdge that there is NO ballast on Mustang.

As I suspect you are a Cessna employee since you said you have first hand knowledge, you should possibly better educate your travelling salesmen to that fact - I got it first hand from one of them at a local VIP fly-in where the Mustang was displayed.

airframer said: Finally, do you really believe that Aviace will purchase the remaining 111 Eclipse planes?

What I think about that doesn't really matter. Aviace was a new startup in a new industry with newly proposed aircraft. At the time, in 2001, they had a business plan, a proposal, and enough backing to place over $2M on deposit. If you really want to know what I think, at this point there are several options. They can revert back to the original plan and become an airtaxi and/or fractional club, they can cancel outright, or Eclipse may cancel if they choose to continue to represent themselves for resale. If they do cancel, I would expect the order to be removed from Eclipse's bookings. As far as cancelling the order, well Airbus has cancellations too.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

you are terribly wrong - you wrote:

"At the time, in 2001, they had a business plan, a proposal, and enough backing to place over $2M on deposit."

The court testimony of Eclipse states"
- “Apart from Mr. Hilmarsson’s (Aviace former CEO) INITAIL EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH A BUSINESS PLAN for a “jet club,”
-AND-
...Aviace has no employees or facilities beyond the minimum amount of resources needed to administer the corporation on paper"...

they have no business plan, they fired the guy who was initially trying to develop a PLAN, after they got deposits from Eclipse.. so they had nothing.
Also, they did not make a $2 million deposit - I think it was $100,000 or so on the first years proposed deliveries. Almost nothing...

So, again, fair question?

wrangler said...

EclipseBlogger said:

you should possibly better educate your travelling salesmen to that fact - I got it first hand from one of them at a local VIP fly-in where the Mustang was displayed.

I find that hard to believe. You described the ballast as being "bolted to the airframe". That implies a permanent installation. No experienced aircraft designer would include dead weight in the design, and Cessna has a lot of experience. Is this more of Vern's tactic of insulting the competition such as the "fossilized" and "Honey, I shrunk the CJ" comments?


EclipseOwner387 said:

You know how happy I will be if Eclipse becomes a $2.5 Million platform! I would be over a mill in the good! Woohoo!

No, you wouldn't. Who would buy an aircraft of questionable reliability, questionable performance, and definite limited space when you could pay the same amount for an A700 or Mustang? Both of which provide more space and the Cessna offering has an established reputation. You could also spend less on the PiperJet, which is also built by people with a lot more experience.


I would also like to comment on Raburn's spin on the wing attach fitting. His claims that it does not affect production aircraft and that 1/10th inch is no big deal are absolutely ridiculous. The wing attach fittings are the most highly stressed structures on any aircraft (along with the engine beams). ANY deformation in these fittings is a huge deal. His assertion that it does not affect production aircraft is asinine. Consider an AD, an AD is issued for all aircraft with a particular design flaw, even if it has not failed yet. If the production aircraft were manufactured with the same design/method, then they are affected.

One more thing, let's stop the personal critique of other posters. It does not further the discussion.

Anonymous said...

eclipseblogger:

As far as I know Cessna doesn't employ "travelling salemen".

I'd be surprised if a Marketing person actually said something like that. They are necessarily well informed on everyone's products.

Fact remains, no ballast on the Mustang.

When did I say "Finally, do you really believe that Aviace will purchase the remaining 111 Eclipse planes?" It looks like you're misattributing something.

Anonymous said...

How long till they admit to the brake problems & compressor stalls ?

Anonymous said...

Wrangler,


My price is locked in with a modest inflation factor. If it was selling for 2.5 million then I would be happy. Don't you see that? Would I pay 2.5 million? Probably not! I would sell it and take the big profit. Now if it costs 2.5 to make and no one is buying them then I understand your point but that is not what I was saying. But then I would just sell mine for $1.8M and still have more money that the guy who is waiting on Adams.

;-)

airtaximan said...

densityaltitude,

how do you know this about the brakes and the compressor stalls?

Please elaborate.

I've watched VErn, and noticed a pattern...so I suspected more problems, and that Vern came clean on the windshield and bushing,(only because he had to frompressure and leaks) to divert attention from other issues. That's the reason for the overblown diagrams and excuses, and the renewed concern for customer relations... distractions...he's acting worried and defensive...

Please elaborate on the compressor and the brake issue, or clarify that you are merely speculating...

airtaximan said...

eclipseowner387

the point we are trying to make is...no one would buy THAT plane for anything close to $2.5, and you would be stuck with yours...if they had the checkbook to get it made.

Your delivery-position might be a lot closer to 35 (thirty-five)than 387, though...the benefits of no assigned slots!

Anonymous said...

airtaximan said: you are terribly wrong - you wrote:

"At the time, in 2001, they had a business plan, a proposal, and enough backing to place over $2M on deposit."

The court testimony of Eclipse states"
- “Apart from Mr. Hilmarsson’s (Aviace former CEO) INITAIL EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH A BUSINESS PLAN for a “jet club,”
-AND-
...Aviace has no employees or facilities beyond the minimum amount of resources needed to administer the corporation on paper"...

they have no business plan, they fired the guy who was initially trying to develop a PLAN, after they got deposits from Eclipse.. so they had nothing.
Also, they did not make a $2 million deposit - I think it was $100,000 or so on the first years proposed deliveries. Almost nothing...


Airtaximan, you think it was $100,00 or so? You don't think, you make it up. You can't even read a factual report and get the facts right. How much more of your rantings are simply made up as you go along?

Taken directly from the court documents on page 10:

38. Aviace AG paid Eclipse the initial deposit of $2,010,000 on the twelve Early
Aircraft within the time frame contemplated in the March 2002 agreement; the funds for this
initial deposit came from the group of individuals who invested and purchased shares in
Aviace AG at the time of its formation, and did not require Aviace AG to obtain financing
from a bank.
39. In the months immediately following the signing of the March 2002 agreement,
Mr. Hilmarsson began marketing Aviace’s planned “jet taxi” or “jet club” business to
potential customers; these marketing efforts included the development of a website
advertising the company as “a Switzerland-based, international private jet club.”

Anonymous said...

Wrangler said: You could also spend less on the PiperJet, which is also built by people with a lot more experience.

Again more bad info. The PiprJet has already Been announced at a price of $2.19M. Can anyone on this blog get their facts right? Do you collaborate to make up your own facts?

Anonymous said...

Airframer said: When did I say "Finally, do you really believe that Aviace will purchase the remaining 111 Eclipse planes?" It looks like you're misattributing something.

Sorry, that was Airtaximan. My mistake.

Anonymous said...

"It would seem that when backlash faces backlash, we have polarization. When we have polarization there is little room for discussion. Much as we might like to reason together, this serves no purpose when our adversary has already made up his mind, with or without reason. Thus the nation faces a crisis unprecedented since 1861. Since there is little point in argument we must fall back on prayer.

Jeff Cooper, The Gunner's Guru"


;-)

Stan-
Hurry home.
Gunner

Anonymous said...

Kudos to a fantastic blog that is finally showing The Emperor the mirror. As a long-time member of the av community, I heralded the VLJ concept as brilliant when first initiated with the Williams FJX derivative engine. IF the engine had succeeded, the VLJ concept would look tremendously different than it does today. I mention this tidbit of historical significance as a reminder to us all that this industry still has room for significant improvement. As we know, new technologies in the engine world often equate to savings, both in weight and money per pound of thrust.

I applaud EAC for HELPING to validate the VLJ concept and for bringing money to our industry that would not have normally found its way there. Considering the slew of new innovation from companies like Avidyne, Williams International, BAE, and others (many of which were fired by EAC), we have all benefitted through Vern's private equity fundraising. Sheds a little light as to why the program had to raise approx $700 million to date...

Many folks have expressed concern about Vern's attitude and the style of leadership that he employs to lead EAC. This is a very valid concern and something that should be raised to the ominous Board of Directors. The future of EAC and the success of this iteration of the 500 is dependant on a solid leader who is more concerned about safety and longevity of this volatile program than public perceptions and IPO. EAC has made few friends in the industry, opting for the pen of litigation rather than reasonable compromise. This was highlighted by the lawsuit brought against two former EAC employees who risked their financial livelihood to develop and certify (TSO) a product that improves safety and functionality for GA operators. In the lawsuit, EAC claims rights to their product, but seemingly has absolutlely no use for it. Eclispeblogger: Care to comment?? Seems to me that EAC is trying to seek retribution for what purpose? They will gain nothing from this frivolous filing but a continued loss of respect as The Emperor's lack of clothing is acknowledged.

Regards

wrangler said...

EclipseBlogger said:
Again more bad info. The PiprJet has already Been announced at a price of $2.19M. Can anyone on this blog get their facts right? Do you collaborate to make up your own facts?

Wrangler said:
One more thing, let's stop the personal critique of other posters. It does not further the discussion.

I'll stick to that statement and ask a question instead. EclipseBlogger, considering that airtaximan already responded (correctly) to your criticism, why do you accuse me off "making up my own facts"?

Unless my math is worse than I thought it was, 2.19$ is less than 2.5$.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

my appologies...I remembered around $100,000 per plane for the early planes, but in fact you are right, it was around $2,000,000 - Vern immediately advertised a 112 aircraft order, so that's 112 planes sold with $2,000,000 deposit - $17,860 per plane.

Why did they fire Hilmar?
The court record stands - no company, no plan, no employees when Eclipse gave them the positions... now they have a lot of Eclipse deposits. I wonder what they are going to do with them, if they cannot sell them?

airtaximan said...

Wrangler,

I think eclipseblogger doesn't see the market dynamic for his Eclipse plane the way you and I do. I do not understand his logic, but you must admit, he's pretty emphatic about one thing.

No matter what, he's getting a heck of a bargain with the Eclipse...

wrangler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kaptain Kool-Aid said...

Wow, a quote from the recently departed Jeff Cooper on an aviation blog! Nice one, Gunner!

Do you publish Soldier of Fortune?

There is much discussion taking place and that is a good thing, but let's please keep it civil.

The issue that is going to hamstring Eclipse and piss off more of their customers than any other single issue can be summed up in one word: Avidyne

Vern has made it clear that he is not happy with the way things have gone thus far (I doubt Dan Schwinn will be eating turkey next Thursday in Albuquerque) and, more importantly, does anyone think that Avidyne will magically transform themselves into a customer driven company overnight capable of providing the level of service that will be demanded by the Eclipse 500 owners?

Folks, I'm here to tell ya when Johnny Jet Pilot gets word that his beloved steed is going to be down for two weeks because Avidyne doesn't have the necessary spares to ship out immediately... well, let's just say I wouldn't want to be the guy with the title "Director of JetComplete" on my business cards.

wrangler said...

Oops, my previous post didn't take the hyperlink. Here it is again.

No one has posted any comments on friction stir welding in a while so I'll add one:

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/
2275/3753/1600/cows.jpg

I'm very curious as to how many rivets will be found on production aircraft. If I remember correctly, there were quite a few on the ships at Oshkosh.


p.s. Gary Larson draws the best cows. Too bad he retired.

Anonymous said...

Captain Kool-Aid said: Wow, a quote from the recently departed Jeff Cooper on an aviation blog! Nice one, Gunner!

Do you publish Soldier of Fortune?


Nope, that's my Little Sister, Col Robert K. Brown. He's a friend and mentor and he has a sense of humor, depending on his menstrual cycle.You may quote that.

I knew Jeff and hunted Africa with him. But I was too much in awe to ever call him "friend". Janelle called me tonight on a piece I did in remembrance. She gave me what may be the highest compliment of my life.

I'll miss him. Many will. Much of his writing will be transportable for years to come. That particular quote came to mind, given the context.
Gunner

Anonymous said...

Wrangler if you were comparing the $2.5M Mustang or hypothetical version of an Eclipse at $2.5M, then it's my mistake. My interpretation was that you were comparing the Eclipse at $1.5M to the PiperJet.

VMC said: In the lawsuit, EAC claims rights to their product, but seemingly has absolutely no use for it. Eclispeblogger: Care to comment??

Finally a constructive thought and a well written post. I don't know all the details of the Aspen suit. What I do know is that Eclipse filed suit for work allegedly done on their time, developed on their computers, and discussed on their tab at trade shows. The product is a great safety feature, but it was allegedly developed, at least partially, at Eclipse's expense. As far as the reason, I can only speculate, but perhaps Eclipse had originally planned to use the pre-Aspen internally developed TAWS box instead of the L3 boxes being offered today.

Anonymous said...

Wrangler said: I'm very curious as to how many rivets will be found on production aircraft. If I remember correctly, there were quite a few on the ships at Oshkosh.

Overall, there are a total of 263 welds on the aircraft with a total length of 5,354 inches. The welds replace 7,378 conventional fasteners. That's approximately 60% of the rivets on major structures, which still leaves about 5000 rivets.

Bambazonke said...

Eclipseowner387, my goodness but when called you come back with an empty bag..to quote you verbatim "I have found that most "Critics" of Eclipse are TBM owners", you name 2, a salesman and and some owner or another, let me assure you there are many more critics than this, for you to think that these 2 people make up most of the critics shows the same kind of of Kool Aid babble that is coming out of ABQ, and no I have never owned a Cirrus, so I am not your guy..

I had a friend look up the 6 posts from winson, and once again your characterizations are way off key, the first posting he made was quoting a flight international article on the Eclipse, the second was to announce the sale of SN-1, the third to offer a link to the sale of SN-1 to back up the remark when questioned about the voracity of the sale of SN-1, the fourth to advise that his profile had been updated after a member had requested he update his profile, the fifth was to post the numbers from Flight Tracker on the Eclipse that were originally posted on this website, and the last post was to bow out and appologise if members thought he was being too partisan.. Like the other wide ranging comments that you have made, this also does not meet the test and I quote you "A total of 6 posts all about the pitfalls of Eclipse. I don't think that this looks like a guy with a hard on for the Eclipse, hell there is a lot more pointed and serious commentary here, what is the matter with you? When a COPA member called him out on his affiliation he filled out his profile as to who he was do these posts I have referred to above match the description you have given here? You also said, and I quote you again - "His first posts were annonymous" another piece of misinformation from you, every one of his posts were signed twinson. I also think that you owe Gunner another appology for making him out to be a liar on the Cirrus website, it appears that his posts were deleted, I think that you should correct your statement there. I had my pal look up your "Full Disclosure Profile" and it gives nothing more than your name and "Manager" under your occupation.

I am fast getting the impression that you are a stoolie from the KoolAid Brigade in ABQ, I for one will be looking at your posts as extremely suspect, you obviously have an agenda, and I am happy to debate you on the attributes or lack thereof of the Eclipse, but to be making the wide ranging comments that have no substance is just wrong. These are not opinions you are expressing, you are making statements about what people said or did not say, how they signed off on their postings etc. and you are not reporting accurately.

I am sure that there are other items that we could add if we get this winson cat involved in the fray, but this is about the Eclipse and the main man there Vern Rayburn, and the Cavalier, bombastic approach that he has to aviation. I fear, and eclipseowner387, this is an opinion, not a quote, that the damage that KKA is going to do to this industry is going to be long lasting. This is not the damage to the single engine turbo prop market, this is the damage to the capital markets where start ups raise their money, the collateral effect that an Eclipse failure could have on the ancillary markets that have geared up to support the hyped up production that he has predicted, and of course last but not least the employees at the KoolAid Factory. This is not to say that I am wishing him ill or failure, but the more targets he misses the greater the impact is going to be. Aviation has never been a place for Mavericks, the last one to fail in the industry was Howard Hughes, and believe me KKA is no HH. When I say fail in the industry, don't bounce back and tell me how successfull Hughes Aircraft was or is, I don't know that KKA is reaching for people looking for one way rides on missiles or trips to the moon. I am talking about the Aviation Industry as it applies to transporting people, and the example I am pointing to with HH is the Convair 880.

I had hoped eclipseowner387 that you would have heeded the caution in my last post, but seems that you keep coming back for more, let's focus on the Eclipse, not on those with whom you might have an axe to grind, this project is in trouble, the sooner you and the other KoolAid fountain drinkers realise this and start to put pressure on KKA, the sooner you will see results out of ABQ.

Anonymous said...

IF your wallet was as big as your ego you might be able to purchase an Eclispe!

SRMach5 said...

OK, there seems to be a lot of discussion about KKA, Kool-Aid, Kaptain Kool Aid, and now Kool-Aid Drinker 1. Would someone please step forward and clarify who is grape, cherry, and orange?

Anonymous said...

Wrangler,

You are a piece of work. His "annoncements" of the sale were to in his own words asking "What do you think of the owner of the first serial number selling 1/2 of his position immediately?"


His parting post was the following verbatim: "Mike,

You are right, I should behave better and not make these comments, particularly if they come across as partisan. There is plenty of room in the market for all. This post was not meant to be self serving but to offer other points of view I apologize for offending you and others.

For the record though, TBM-850 sales are doing particularly well, we are sold out through June of next year.



Life is short, fly fast.


ALL of his posts had a negative bent on Eclipse. EVERYONE!! You are misleading and trying to dispute my facts. I can bring up more examples but this is proof enough. You are wrong wrong wrong. I am probably hated in ABQ. I am NOT an Eclipse insider. I just felt I should provide balance to an obviously out of balance blog.

And while Terry was referencing a guy named Mike in that post... I am not Mike. Also, I broke a COPA rule to post that but I felt it better to bring to light YOUR inaccurate attack. I think COPA will forgive me - I am a positve influence there and in aviation. I am not here to tear down any organization. Contrary to you and some of your cohorts.

Also, I will tell you exactly who I am. My name is Dennis Crum in Louisville Ky. I am in the energy brokerage business. I have a science and engineering background but found more money could be made in the financial world. I am not an aviation professional so I have nothing to lose if Eclipse wins. I do have risk (as I have vividly disclosed) if Eclipse fails. BUT my investment is relatively small and I am not a KOOL AID drinker as you like to say. YOU ARE A COWARD WRANGLER. Hiding behind a cloak and acting like you have these great facts to discredit me. I posted what I know. I would apologize to Gunner but he DID sesationalize his story and he knows it. Eclipse gave him the refund he asked for so go away.

Here is his VERY FIRST post on Eclipse website:


Hi everyone. I guess I'm the New Guy around, having just signed my order and submittted my deposit. I looked pretty closely at Adams and have been following the three front runners for VLJ's for about a year now. For my money, Eclipse is the ticket. Of course, I recognize that it's a risk, but nobody twisted my arm.

All that said, I have an opening question that I hope will not be contentious; having run a discussion Forum since '98 that now numbers 40,000 Registered Members, I know that can happen; but I'm hoping a commonality of interest and investment here will lead to cool answers rather than hot debate. So here goes:

Has anybody heard of Stan Blankenship?
http://eclipseaviationcritic.blogspot.com/
Stan's obvious fixation with Vern Raburn is unmistakable to anyone who reads his site. I'm not at all interested in that, except to the extent that it might color his criticisms. But I am interested in his critique of the expected performance of the Certified Product....especially as is related to commercial applications, since these are bound to determine the ultimate success of the Eclipse 500.

Again, not real interested in any personal feuds between him and Eclipse....I take those as a given, having read his comments. I am very interested in responses to some of his claims, by those here with the engineering background to be able to respond to his negative claims.

Best regards-
Rich Lucibella
Publisher
SWAT Magazine


As he said in his post... no one twisted his arm. No one is twisting your arm either. He researched the competetition and chose Eclipse. Wow. 2-3 DAYS later he was their worst enemy. Hmmm - the exact same time it takes to revoke a contract. NO ONE IS TWISTING ANYONE'S ARM TO BUY ECLIPSE. BUT the ones who have the MOST to lose if Eclipse succeeds seem hell bent on bringing them down. Who are you wrangler? The "twinson" doesn't mean anything to a novice. I clearly stated I am EclipseOwner387. That is pretty much all the disclosure one needs to know of my conflict. BUT TWINSON??? Give me a break.

And I know you guys think you broke the GROUNDING STORY. But did you mention Windows??? If you did I apologize but I don't remember windows. You said Eclipse is only responding to this Blog. If so - then why did Eclipse report the window issue??

Oh and Adams called me again today. I guess to tell me they were wrong about a 4th qtr cert on the A700. But I didn't take the call so I can't be for sure. The guy seemed so sure when I met him in person though. He and Vern must have went to the same school.

DON'T YOU DARE TRY TO DISCREDIT ME AGAIN. IF I AM WRONG I WILL ADMIT IT BUT DON'T ACT LIKE YOU HAVE FACTS THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE.

Good night.

Anonymous said...

All,

Please replace "Wrangler" with "Bambazonke" throughout my lastpost. Apologies to Wrangler, my Internet device is hard to read in this format...

Anonymous said...

Bambazonke,
I almost forgot...

You mentioned capital markets. What do you really think is going to happen to capital markets if Eclipse fails??? Airplane companies haven't gone bankrupt ever? Like maybe every other year for the last 30 years would be my guess (just a guess no facts here.) I am in the energy biz. Enron and Dynegy and recently Amaranth and Mother Rock have lost BILLIONS. Not great for anyone involved BUT, guess what, energy still riding along just fine. Matter of fact the NYMEX (leading legacy energy exchange) just went public today and is a record setting IPO. More than doubling its placement price. So get off the Capital Markets high horse. That is not an issue. There is more money out there and their memory is very very short.

Also, I don't expect YOU to agree with me. Your mind is made up, but I do hope I help an innocent newbie see more than your slanted view.

Anonymous said...

eclipseowner387 said I would apologize to Gunner but he DID sesationalize his story and he knows it. Eclipse gave him the refund he asked for so go away.

Hmmmm, well did I now?

Dennis-
You do more damage to your fellow Eclipse Owners with every post. I sensationalized nothing here. I described what actually transpired with Eclipse. Contrary to your claims that they have become my "worst enemy", I'd still buy an Eclipse. All they have to do is live up to their claims. Somehow I sense they continue to go in the opposite direction. If I'm wrong, I pay for a jet and go flying as an agnostic. If, on the other hand, YOU'RE wrong, you eat your losses, your words and will never again be taken seriously on any investment site. If you're wrong, your reputation as a zealot follower is yours for life.

I truly thank you for relaying my first post on the Eclipse Owners Forum. It demonstrates the fact that I approached that group with a very HEALTHY skepticism; that I was not buying anyone's hype; that I was looking for honest answers. That post reads a bit different from the "looking for a fight" attitude you've previously claimed.

See, I'd put my money where my mouth was, just like you; unlike you, I did not require my mouth to follow my money. Stan's writings concerned me and there wasn't a single person on the Eclipse Owner Forum that could refute what I found here. Meantime, Eclipse management was busy stroking my forehead and attempting the Jeddi Mind Trick. (It evidently works on some.)

And so now you've outed me for my true identity. Ouch, that really hurts my feelings....I was being so careful about to conceal it up to now. ;-)

The fact is this, son: Your posts here have reached a crescendo of shrill ad hominem, having utterly failed in the factual arena. You do neither Eclipse not the Owners Group any service with your personal attacks, sequential replies or technical insight. In fact, you paint both as somewhat foppish.

Now, have you been bandying my name about on the Cirrus Owners Forum also, Dennis? A forum where I cannot respond? That'd be real uncool, there, son. But I think I'll live thru it. See, I have have a personal validation tool which you evidently don't: It's called Google. I plug in "Rich Lucibella" and get a pretty good picture of the man from those who have dealt with him. I plug in "Dennis Crum" and can't seem to find anything of significance.

I think we're done here, other than your demands that you be taken as someone with a track record. ;-)

Rich

SpeakTest said...

VMC Said: EAC has made few friends in the industry, opting for the pen of litigation rather than reasonable compromise. This was highlighted by the lawsuit brought against two former EAC employees who risked their financial livelihood to develop and certify (TSO) a product that improves safety and functionality for GA operators. In the lawsuit, EAC claims rights to their product, but seemingly has absolutlely no use for it.

SpeakTest says:
I don't know how things work in the aviation industry, but this is absolutely standard in the software industry. All employees sign a contract stating that anything they develop during the course of their employment (even in their "spare" time) is owned by the employer. If you want to write video games as a sideline to your job as an accouting DBA, you better get a signed waiver, or you'll lose everything when you try to sell it. Maybe these guys were sleeping during their employment interviews, but from a software developer's perspective, they don't have a leg to stand on, and we all know, EAC is a software company at heart.

EAC hasn't sued anyone in the industry have they (I don't think Aviance counts). Surely Williams deserved a lawsuit didn't they? Or am I wrong that they completely failed to deliver the miracle powerplane they promised, or was that Vern's failure as well?

I think Vern pissed off the industry when he called them non-innovating dinosaurs (my words). That is why this blog exists, isn't it?

Anyway, I think the Signal to Noise ratio is getting pretty low here. Can you guys be quiet so we can listen for some real rumors? Come on DensityAltitude, what about those Brake and Compressor issues? Or were you just stirring the hornets nest?

airtaximan said...

DensityAltitude,
and anyone else?

what about those Brake and Compressor issues? Any real info on this?

wrangler said...

EclipseBlogger said:
Overall, there are a total of 263 welds on the aircraft with a total length of 5,354 inches. The welds replace 7,378 conventional fasteners. That's approximately 60% of the rivets on major structures, which still leaves about 5000 rivets.

I'm wondering about reality and I don't think Eclipse press releases count as reality. Just like the performance figures, we'll have to wait until they actually deliver an aircraft to see the true numbers.

Technology development is a great idea but, in general, it's not good to put all (or most) of your eggs into one basket. Look at what the Starship did to Beech when they tried to build an airplane using unproven methods. I suspect we'll see a lot more than 5,000 rivets in the finished product. But I could be wrong, we'll see.

airtaximan said...

speaktest said,
"EAC hasn't sued anyone in the industry have they (I don't think Aviance counts). Surely Williams deserved a lawsuit didn't they? Or am I wrong that they completely failed to deliver the miracle powerplane they promised, or was that Vern's failure as well?"

1- you'll find it more important to know that at least one supplier had to sue Eclipse to get paid in full on the prototype structure and fixtures. Vern thought he could stiff them, and because it was a huge deal for them, they would cave...they did not, but they were hurt... it took the court to get paid

2- Regarding Williams and who was at fault: Vern has brought supply chain management and procurement techniques to aerospace from software, right? He paid Williams to develop the engine AND aircraft. Not a lot of aerospace folks would do this...trust an engine company to develop an aircraft, and pay Williams to productionize a NASA demonstrator engine. This is a very risky and complex endeavor. Many even say it was naive. At that point, we could all agree he was avisionary, because no one else thought the engine would work, or that Williams was the right place to develop an airplane. No one can fault Vern, it got him investors from the software industry, and a prototype, and a scapegoat. I am sure if he had a case, he would have sued Williams, especially since he roasted them in the media for failing. He took no responsibility. Personally, I do not think Williams would have agreed to garantee anything to Vern on this experimental/development program - just my intuition from some experience doing busines with them. In any case, the OEM who bases a program, and an aircraft design on a tiny little experimental engine with fingernail size compresor blades, needs to take some responsibility. Even procurement/supply chain management in software would agree with this? So, I do not think VErn could have, or should ave sued Williams. And, he didn't.

airtaximan said...

wrangler,

You make a good point.

Eclipse never talked about reducing cost through outsourcing/offshoring until they recently made a deal to produce 500's in Russia, and they outsourced some production to Fuji. It begs the question as to the real use/advantages to friction stir welding (labor hours), their previous explanation for lower cost and lower weight. I am not suggesting there is none, just asking.

Thinking about it - friction stir welds weigh something, right? I am curious about the weight savings of elimination half the rivets, and replacing them with welds. Anyone know how much 5,000 rivets weigh compared to welds required to take their place? If this is not a huge number, then why try to save weight with FSW? I guess it was to save labor...then why outsource/offshore?

Can anyone solve this riddle?

Anonymous said...

airtaximan asked I am curious about the weight savings of elimination half the rivets, and replacing them with welds.

The weight saved should be the total weight of 5,000 rivets. FSW requires no filler material and bonds the two metals directly.

For a guesstimate of the weight of 5,000 rivets check here:
I'm not Aviation Mechanic but it appears the weight would certainly fall under 10 lbs.
Gunner

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot the link to the rivet weights:
http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/hapages/solidalumrivets.php

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan said: Eclipse never talked about reducing cost through outsourcing/offshoring until they recently made a deal to produce 500's in Russia, and they outsourced some production to Fuji. It begs the question as to the real use/advantages to friction stir welding (labor hours), their previous explanation for lower cost and lower weight. I am not suggesting there is none, just asking.

A few things here.

First, Eclipse is not manufacturing anything in Russia. The news story you are probably referring to was started by a guy who proposed becoming an aircraft distributor in Eastern Europe. The story was found to be a misstatement by the Russian paper. You won't find that story in any mainstream papers. It also states, "Russian aircraft factory will assemble Eclipse 500 jets designed by Microsoft head Bill Gates", which is also obvious not true.

Second, the weight savings in friction stir welding comes from the loss of the rivet and design changes that allow less structure in the areas of the weld. When last I checked, Eclipse chose not to reduce the structure as much as they could have to make the joint rivetable in case friction stir welding did not get certified. The joint can still be conventionally riveted. Therefore the total weight savings has not been realized in the current design. The real advantage is the speed at which the weld can be completed, it's repeatability, and the reduced cost of labor. The big disadvantage, however, is a large capital investment in tooling.

Third, the wings have been outsourced to Fiji in Japan. The original weling gantry was shipped to Japan for their use. Fiji ships a complete wing assembly back to Eclipse which can essentially be bolted onto the fuselage.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,
thanks for the clarification on the Russian thing. I read that there was even a large investment in the Russian factory, by Eclipse. I am surprised its not true.
Regarding FSW...why outsource it to Fuji, if the labor reduction is so great? Also, do you believ the 10lbs weight savings quoted by Gunner? If this is so, its quite funny, no? The rsik associated with FSW, is also that Boeing has been using it for years, but only on unmanned applications - rockets. Low life requirement - no corrosion issues. They believe FSW has corrosion problems over time, and do not use it in aircraft.

Anonymous said...

FSW is used by Eclipse for stringers and formers on open skins. It cannot be used in tight areas due to the size of the mill head, and the pressures that must be exerted. When you consider that half the rivets can be eliminated by a process that only takes 8 hours to achieve the same joints, the labor savings is significant.

Nose assemblies are made is Chile, and tail assemblies are made by a British company soon to be located in Texas. Why not have the wings made in Japan?

Boeing uses FSW in their rockets on thicker skin applications. Eclipse was the first to do this on thin skin applications. You can toss about on the corrosion issue all you want, but Eclipse has a patented and certified process that the FAA has reviewed and approved. If you know more than they do, my hat's off to you. Boeing also would not use FSW in most applications since the tooling charge is so high, not for fear of corrosion. It just doesn't make sense for them to have multimillion dollar tools for a few hundred cycles of use, if the economics don't make sense. Eclipse is planning for high production rates than 747s (I know, you doubt the Eclipse order book numbers).

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Offset agreements and risk sharing agreements, such as Fuji making the wing for Eclipse, or the wing for the Hawker Horizon, are rarely taken as a labor savings, and they rarely cost less at the piece-part level than parts made domestically - especially with freight costs from Japan to Albuquerque.

These kind of agreements usually involve the vendor (e.g., Fuji) taking on the risk and cost associated with the design and manufacture of the subject part, making the dollars of the integrator (e.g., Eclipse or Raytheon) go farther.

Given the hype surrounding Eclipse when the arrangement with Fuji was made, and the state of the program at that time (raising beau-coup money to deal with the Williams fiasco) I would not be surprised if Fuji had been required to make a more, "direct", investment for the 'privelege' of being on the program.

Also, Eclipse appears to have a unique approach to friction stir welding for man-rated aircraft, and Fuji may have actually purchased or licensed that technology, or partnered for the purpose of stealing the technology. This kind of thing happens all too often in industry.

Reading the stuff on ANN about the Eclipse-Aspen suit, I have to say I don't get how a VSI with a moving map display has anything to do with the jet - especially since the moving map on the airplane doesn't even work (reason for the handheld Garmin with every delivery).

Given the issues with certifying, building and supporting the magic-jet. Given the challenge of making whatever product improvements are necessary to deliver an aircraft approximating the one some 2000 operators are expecting; let alone dealing with the other inevitable teething problems the first operators will uncover; one would think Eclipse would have far better things to spend very precious time and money on than harrasing former employees who have gone out and started their own business or suing vendors.

In all the talk of failed vendors it is the height of arrogance to assume that Eclipse was always innocent. It is insulting in fact. Most integrators work hand-in-hand with their vendors, developing specifications, negotating deliverables, reviewing development progress and prototype parts, sharing engineering data. It is in no ones' best interests for a vwendor to fail yet this program has seen failures of every major element (engine, avionics, systems). And in each case, PT Barnum gets up and points fingers and makes very public statements that simply ring hollow to people with actual experience in a relatively small, highly skilled industry.

I am curious if the position holders believe that suits against this Aspen company, or other former employees, or even vendors who, together with Eclipse, have failed massively, is a responsible use of resources, or if those resources might better be spent identifying and solving technical issues, achieving a production certificate and actually delivering aircraft?

Anonymous said...

airtaximan said...
densityaltitude,

how do you know this about the brakes and the compressor stalls?

Please elaborate.

Will do as soon as I can, same source as for the windscreen issues (first heard of in August). My information has always been spot on (first to post the old Williams engine problems on www.pprune.com). More to follow when I can.

Anonymous said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said: I am curious if the position holders believe that suits against this Aspen company, or other former employees, or even vendors who, together with Eclipse, have failed massively, is a responsible use of resources, or if those resources might better be spent identifying and solving technical issues, achieving a production certificate and actually delivering aircraft?

As a position holder I find the number of suits discomforting. Nobody wins when you have to resort to the court system (except of course the lawyers).

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

You seem to agree that FSW savings are not related to weight.

The savings are related to labor.
So why export the jobs?

In order for Eclipse to make the trade, FSW would need to be very efficient as far as saving fabrication time goes. Adopting FSW when there is a small gain would be a poor trade.

If FSW made the trade, why save some additional pennies going offshore and paying high freight, added risk from a far-off supplier, added cost managing them, and export this valuable technology overseas?

Sorry, FSW might sound good from 41,000 feet, but it really makes little sense. My take is that FSW is nothing of added value, just hype.

Consider seriously your statement that FSW is more advantageous to Eclipse than Boeing - a line of reasoning from Vern. A reason why its good for Eclipse but not Boeing - dispells the reason of corrosion and technology risk, designed to explain why Boeing does not use FSW on man-rated aircraft, when Elcipse can.

You contend high rate production is available for Eclipse and not Boeing, making FSW more advantageous for Eclipse than Boeing.

CONSIDER THIS: Boeing delivers an AIRLINER a day...these planes weigh 340,000 lbs empty and 850,000 lbs MTOW.

How do you or Eclipse expect anyone to believe that FSW is more valuable to Eclipse because of higher production rates than Boeing. Boeing delivers (already) the equivalent of more than 100 Eclipses per day, by empty weight. We’ve all heard Vern on this – and LAUGHED!

Your comment that Eclipse would be more able to afford the machinery than Boeing is equally laughable.

How many miles of rivets would Boeing save, how much time would Boeing save if the advantages you are claiming about Eclipse's use of FSW were true. They might even have a weight savings...many more rivets avoided.

Eclipseblogger, I think you are at a watershed moment here. It might be time you admitted that the "Eclipse storyline" makes little sense regarding at least this one issue... you should admit Vern's story is a silly misdirection of the facts on FSW.

Give Vern credit for FSW, it was a cool looking technology that attracted the facination of the uninitiated, and their money. A nice tricky move. We need to come clean, and not fall for any of the argument regarding savings of time or weight. It’s obviously silly. Right?

Anonymous said...

You obvious know little about FSW. Have you seen the facilities at Eclipse? Have you seen the size of the gantry and tooling required to perform the weld on parts the size of the Eclipse? Now scale that gantry and tooling to the size of a small part for an airliner. You don't jus hold two pieces of skin up in the air and say, "weld this".

As far as manufacturing parts overseas, Fuji is not little supplier. They are one of the biggest manufacturing companies in Japan. They manufacture parts for Boeing & Airbus. Freight cost are not all that you think they are, especially when you consider that Fuji is also bringing in cars. By your thinking it just wouldn't be economical to ship a $20,000 Subara from Japan to the US.

The potential of FSW in weight saving could be exploited in the future. In this case, it was not designed in as much as it could have to avoid risk in FSW not being certified - good management assessment. Perhaps we'll see weight savings in the future.

Anonymous said...

Eclipseblogger said You can toss about on the corrosion issue all you want, but Eclipse has a patented and certified process that the FAA has reviewed and approved.

So did the Aero Commander:
www.casa.gov.au/airworth/papers/AeroCommander.pdf

"Consider performance and flight handling. Both can be estimated by comparatively
robust analysis, but the value of expensive and repetitive flight tests is accepted.

Flight tests repeatedly highlight faults not predicted by analysis. Fatigue is no different. Analysis without testing is even more uncertain and can be just as fatal.

There are two reasons why aeroplane companies resist fatigue testing: over-confident designers and short-sighted accountants."

________________________________


This is not to say the Eclipse FSW process will fail, by any means. But it does point up that FAA approval is not infallible. I first read about the corrosion concern on this very blog. One need not be a metallurgist to pick up on the fact that it is a concern that runs trhu every article on the subject.

If the Eclipse 500 survives to full production, it'll eventually answer many of these FSW concerns, one way or the other. I, for one, would be very interested in an Eclipse authored article responding to the corrosion concerns and explaining how their process surmounts these problems.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

I guess you are still listening to Eclipse on this...

Your most recent contention is that Eclipse can effectively use FSW, while Boeing cannot, because the Eclipse 500 is small, while Boeing planes are big.

Boeing uses FSW...on rockets, not on planes...for “some” reason. You have dismissed any reason (corrosion, fatigue, risk, etc...) except the size argument you offered. You claim Eclipse can leverage FSW while Boeing cannot due to the smaller size of Eclipse...

But, Boeing uses FSW on rockets, all day long.

How small do you think Boeing Rockets are? They must be pretty small for them to use FSW on them, but not on their planes, if this is the reason. Especially true, if Eclipse can use FSW and Boeing cannot, for this reason. So the rockets would need to be as small as an Eclipse?

Check this out:
http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/space/delta/delta4/gallery/deltafour.htm

They look pretty big to me...almost as big as an airliner...or bigger. Certainly, not Eclipse-size.

Regarding Fuji...of course I know they make Subarus. But FSW is being touted by Eclipse as a rivet replacement that saves weight (not much any more) and a lot of time...my question was, why go off-shore, with all the added risk and cost (especially at 3 planes a day based on lean inventory) if the labor savings of FSW is so dramatic. We have to admit that there is a corrosion question - it’s a risk. There is risk because it’s newly applied technology, as well. Boeing does not seem to accept it for planes. Why would Eclipse need the added risk of off-shoring if FSW was such a strong labor saving solution for manufacturing? It does not add up.

You offered that Fuji competes and cost effectively ships cars to the US. Fuji’s cars are not FSW, and they do not compete with a car that is FSW made domestically. I do not see the point you are trying to make with the car analogy - except Fuji has lower labor and can compete with US car manufacturers on labor. This is my point -they have a labor advantage. My question is, why would you need it (with added risk of outsourcing) when FSW saves so much labor? It does not add up – it sounds like something Vern would say.

Look critically at the eclipsisms – use the thinking you are employing to refute almost everything anyone says on this blog, and I am sure you’ll come up with the same questions. Its like the Williams engine, having Williams design the plane...many other global issues/reasons given at Eclipse - some things just don’t add up...sorry.

twinpilot said...

Regarding FSW:

Welding has been used in aircraft for years. The cracks always start in the heat affected area next to the weld. Whether it is in a welded aluminum fuel tank or steel structure, or an exhaust system, a welded part is more likely to crack and and the crack likely to propigate. One thing is sure about FSW, when it cracks due to stress, corrosion or what ever, there won't be any of those pesky rivet holes around to "stop-drill it." It will just unzip the whole joint. Now I am sure FSW is not the same, doesn't have any of those weld like properties, etc. etc. etc. it is just magic.

I don't think any Eclipse buyer will ever admit or even understand that FSW isn't a good idea. It was one of the reasons given for why Eclipse could build an airplane that only cost $837,000. when all of those other morons were charging 1.8 to 2.3 million. It is just one of those brilliant Eclipse developments that allowed them to show the world how it is done. Eclipse buyers have bought the story hook, line and sinker and no blog or blogger is going to convince them otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The FSW issue really IS an important one for Aviation; moreso, if Eclipse proves it viable than if they don't.

But I have a question for some of the Bloggers here most familiar with FAA test procedures:
Are corrosion tests part of their protocol for approval of new techniques or do they focus only on fatigue testing? Is there a corrosion protocol up front, or is that only addressed if and when a design exhibits corrosion problems down the line?

Anyone?

Gunner

airtaximan said...

twinpilot and gunner,

For me FSW is important only because it’s like a number of other aspects of Eclipse and Vern Raburn - a bunch of b%$$ S&@!.

It’s important to keep the discussion going, and let the deposit-holders and Eclipse shills fill these pages with the company line. People need to see the flavor of cool aid in detail, on as many issues as possible. The snappy answers - all the reasons given for why Eclipse is so much better than the rest of aviation... then bring the points home that expose their eclipsisms for what they are.

You will not convince anyone who put down money on the Eclipse and bought in to eclipse hook-line-and-sinker. Buyers remorse comes a lot harder...it will not occur from this blog. It’s really not the point.

It’s funny that according to one guy, eclipse already knows about a brake issue and a compressor issue...and is not telling anyone. When the leak gets a little bigger, Vern will claim it was "noticed recently" while changing out the windshield or something - imagine a compressor and brake issue noticed when changing a windshield!... it’s like a bushing at the wing root and windshield cracking being noticed when doing a tip tank mod!

Entertaining stuff, for those who do not have a deposit at risk.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan said: For me FSW is important only because it’s like a number of other aspects of Eclipse and Vern Raburn - a bunch of b%$$ S&@!.

With all the talk of Kool-Aid, it seems that Airtaximan may be an imbiber of the Stan Blankenship version of the brew. It's amazing how long after Stan has left the country that the Kool-Aid still affects Airtaximan's closed mind.

oairtaximan said: You claim Eclipse can leverage FSW while Boeing cannot due to the smaller size of Eclipse...

No, what I said was that it may be more practical on a smaller high production scale. In any case I did find this - so it appears that Boeing is now using, or attempting to use, FSW in the 747...

Raj Talwar, Boeing manager of Metallic Processes in Phantom Works, replies:

Even though FSW is a simple process and requires only a few variables such as tool-rotational and travel speed, we have been working for the last several years in advancing the design of the FSW tool. Every time you change the tool design or change the aluminum alloy or the type of joint or the joint thickness, the weld properties change. So we have been working on a point design for a specific application, alloy, tool and thickness. Bottom line: We have both static and fatigue properties of commonly used aerospace alloys. It is sometimes difficult to compare welded joint properties with riveted joints, so we have been comparing welded joint properties with the base material properties.

Wichita has decided to implement friction-stir welding on the 747 cargo barrier beams and asked FAA to approve the process for use on this application. Wichita has a machine in-house and this machine will start fabrication of the production hardware soon.

The use of friction-stir welding on Eclipse aircraft does make it easier for Boeing to implement the process on Boeing products. Eclipse aircraft have lower stresses and lower fatigue life requirements. Implementing this process on the primary structure of Boeing aircraft will still require Boeing to demonstrate joint properties, process robustness and corrosion properties, and validate non-destructive testing techniques.

twinpilot said: The cracks always start in the heat affected area next to the weld. Whether it is in a welded aluminum fuel tank or steel structure, or an exhaust system, a welded part is more likely to crack and and the crack likely to propagate.

With FSW the heat is well below the melting point of the material, and therefore does not alter the properties of the base materials. Crack propagation tests have actually shown crack growth moving away from the weld.

wrangler said...

EclipseBlogger said:
With FSW the heat is well below the melting point of the material, and therefore does not alter the properties of the base materials.

The statement that material properties are not altered is simply wrong. Temperature is not the only thing that affects the properties of a material. I'll admit I'm not an expert on FSW but I would guess that it imparts a tremendous amount of work hardening to the material. If not, it would have to generate enough heat to anneal the material as it welds. If the latter is the case, it would be incredibly difficult to maintain constant anneal times in a thin material on a moving weld. Either way, the properties of the weld would definitely not be the same as the base material. This property transition zone is where failures tend to occur.

There are additional issues regarding grain structure and precipitation hardening (depending on the alloy) that greatly affect the properties of the material.

Was Eclipse the source of the statement that material properties are not altered?

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

Once again, offering meaningless details about something that does not matter, as a sidetrack. All of your arguments have failed, so you try to find additional stuff to throw into the mix.

Your comment about Fuji - never revisited, because it was making a contrary argument to the point you were trying to raise.

The point about Boeing...well now, apparently Boeing WILL be "Implementing this process on the primary structure of Boeing aircraft (but it) will still require Boeing to demonstrate joint properties, process robustness and corrosion properties, and validate non-destructive testing techniques.”

Boeing will try to pass the tests, with reams of material data, that Eclipse does not have – common knowledge – a start up lacks this info – a critical element in all programs for mitigating/understanding risks such as these. Or they won't use FSW. So far, because of all the risk, they have avoided it –despite all the data and the time Boeing invested in it.

I thought you said Eclipse had a patented FSW process – how is Boeing using it? Is it identical? If not, why not? If so, where’s the patent? Tough questions.... I trust Boeing over Eclipse on this, for sure. And like someone smart said before, Using the statement that Eclipse FSW passed the FAA in order to inspire confidence regarding quality etc...only works on the uninitiated... no one here will buy this argument, nor should they.

But, Eclipse is NOT a better vehicle for applying SFW because it smaller, as you tried to argue before...nice try. Even Boeing is planning to use FSW on aircraft. The huge machinery argument you put forth – gone too.

Also, FSW does not save weight - as you have admitted, or just gave up the argument. 10lbs of rivets –max.

And, FSW is not a time saver - Eclipse is off-shoring to save on labor. I thought this wonder-tool saves a lot of time and results in a low cost jet – I guess not – lower cost labor results in a lower cost jet –especially at the learning curves associated with thousands of Eclipses – pipe dreams.

Keep trying - if you are not on Eclipse's payroll, you should be. You are a very creative person, and adamant about defending Eclipse at all cost. Even insulting (like Vern himself) when all else fails.

Anyone reading this blog can see you are grasping and grasping - If anyone at Eclipse actually did the trades (beyond the value added of sensationalizing FSW for unsuspecting investors and depositors) - I'd love to hear how they justified it. Like I said, it’s like banking on the experimental engine by Williams, or trusting Williams (and paying them) to make an airplane - not a risk anyone would easily take, unless they did not SEE the risk, or talked themselves into thinking it was not a risk. PIPE DREAMS.

There’s a lot still at risk. Especially given the attitude at Eclipse. Fool’em, fool’em, fool’em again. Don’t come clean. Deny, deny. Make stuff up....keep making stuff up...

wrangler said...

I don't like to be uneducated so I went looking for FSW information. I found a couple items of interest.

First of all, this link puts to rest the idea that FSW does not create a heat affected zone (HAZ). It has a good cross-section view as well as a discussion of the areas.

http://www.msm.cam.ac.uk/phase-trans/2003/FSW/aaa.html

0.8 Tm will significantly affect the properties of the welded material. Go get a welding handbook if you don't believe me.

The second item says more about Eclipse than the process of FSW. The first link is from TWI, the company that developed the process. The second is from Eclipse.

http://www.twi.co.uk/j32k/unprotected/band_1/fswintro.html

http://www.eclipseaviation.com/about_eclipse/innovations/friction_stir_welding/


Paragraphs 5 and 6 on the Eclipse site were copied straight from TWI, no recognition, no acknowledgement. Not only is the Eclipse marketing department misleading, they are lazy as well.

There are also semantic critiques of the Eclipse blurb. Under Superior weld quality on their FSW page:

Joints with the highest quality can be achieved through friction stir welding.

The operative word is can. The casual reader would probably interpret this statement as meaning FSW will create the highest quality. This is far from proven. Also, which qualities are the highest.

...the FSW tool produces a joint with a finer microstructure than the parent material.

This is not a good thing. A finer microstructure (grain size and shape) does tend to be much stronger, as they point out. What they don't mention is that it's also much more brittle, which lends itself to fatigue cracks. As a comparison, many turbine blades are manufactured with a process that creates a single crystal. This is done for other reasons but it proves the point that finer is not necessarily better. Also, katanas (samurai swords) were made with a fine grain structure on the cutting edge and a large structure on the back. This yielded a hard edge that was supported by material that wouldn't crack. So again, finer is not better.

EclipseBlogger, I'd still like to know your source for saying that FSW does not create a HAZ.

Airtaximan, calm down and take a deep breath. Your arguments will still be valid without criticizing EclipseBlogger's motives.

wrangler said...

One more thing regarding the Eclipse blurb on FSW. This quote demostrates more of the Eclipse arrogant and condescending attitude.

(Oh, sure, FSW has been used by rocket scientists for the space shuttle’s fuel tank, but Eclipse has figured out how to use it on thin-gauge aircraft aluminum.)

Once again, the rest of the aerospace community owes Eclipse a tremendous debt for showing us the error of our ignorant ways. I would like to thank Vern for saving us from our own stupidity. Where would we be without him?

I'm taking up a collection for a statue in his honor. Would anyone like to contribute?

Anonymous said...

As far as Wrangler's comment.......

(Paragraphs 5 and 6 on the Eclipse site were copied straight from TWI, no recognition, no acknowledgement. Not only is the Eclipse marketing department misleading, they are lazy as well.)

Perhaps he is the lazy one! Or is he just misleading this Blog with wrong information!

The acknowledgement is posted on the same page that Wrangler quoted from on the Eclipse web site.................

(Note: This document contains a compilation of information gathered about friction stir welding from several sources. Primary sources for this information were The Welding Institute (www.twi.co.uk) and High Tech Welding (www.frictionstirwelding.com).)

wrangler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned that the fuselage skins between structural elements (stringers, frames) are .025" instead of the .040" called out in the manufacturing prints.
I guess Vern forgot to tell anyone.

wrangler said...

Koolaid-drinker1, you got me. I secretly work for a cabal of VLJ competitors. Adam, Diamond, Piper... they're all in on it. My mission is simple, discredit Eclipse through any means necessary. Obviously, the best way to accomplish this is to post arguments and links to supporting information. That way, no one could possibly figure out how I formed an opinion.

In reality, I missed the "fine print" because it was so small I had to enlarge the font on my computer to read it. In general usage, "compilation of information" does not mean the same as "copy & paste". So my point stands anyway. Regardless, I admit my error.

I checked their sources. One of the links is the one I provided earlier and the other is dead. I wonder how much they copied from that site?

Nice job, though, picking the most irrelevant part of my post on FSW in order to discredit all of it.

Anonymous said...

Wrangler,

My reference was only to your comment...

(Paragraphs 5 and 6 on the Eclipse site were copied straight from TWI, no recognition, no acknowledgement. Not only is the Eclipse marketing department misleading, they are lazy as well.)

Not to your post in it's entirety. You just had your facts wrong regarding no recognition, no acknowledgement for TWI (which you now admit "sort of").

Your the one that discredits your post yourself with sarcasm, and back handed compliments. I find that the information that you bring forth both interesting and informative, I just find the delivery method a bit melodramatic.

Just remember, Kool-Aid comes in many flavors!

Anonymous said...

Wranger said: In reality, I missed the "fine print" because it was so small I had to enlarge the font on my computer to read it.

In reality you miss a lot. The purpose of your posts are only to discredit as you see fit. You have a very closed and limited view on any topic, and although some may find your rantings "interesting and informative", you are not fooling anyone not drinking the same brew as you.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

the fine print details have been explained away, and are boring and irrelevant to the point.

Care to come back on FSW and all the dispelled claims?

Also, are you concerned that someone is stating that Eclipse has not come clean on some issues they must already know about (if they are true)?
- Brakes
- Compressor
- .025 skins used instead of .040

..BTW, according to my calculations, the thinner skins could save Eclipse around 35lbs... but might create a big FAA delay...I wonder if it was a sub-contractor error, or a deliberate move by Eclipse...did they disclose it to the FAA? I cannot imagine a manufacturing discrepancy like this getting by their quality system. At least, someone would have noticed...

I was told by a visitor to NBAA that they noticed shoddy workmanship at the point where the Eclipse nose meets the fuselage on the Dayjet display plane on the floor. Their description matches this sort of problem. Skins did not meet up properly. Eclipse apparnetly tried to fill the gap...it looked like a poor mate.

Anyone know how long to get these planes through the FAA, with this kind of issue?

Anonymous said...

airtaximan-
I think we do this Blog a real disservice when we start speculating that anyone at Eclipse is incompetent/shady enough to allow a significant substitution of the skin material, absent any credible evidence.

YMMV
Gunner

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan said: Also, are you concerned that someone is stating that Eclipse has not come clean on some issues they must already know about (if they are true)?
- Brakes
- Compressor
- .025 skins used instead of .040


I haven't heard anything about this. So I can neither confirm or dispute these claims. I would like to know more facts on this, not speculation.

Airtaximan said Care to come back on FSW and all the dispelled claims?

This has already been addressed, by myself and others, and you have already stated your view as:

"For me FSW is important only because it’s like a number of other aspects of Eclipse and Vern Raburn - a bunch of b%$$ S&@!"

So, why bother trying to debate it further with you. You've already made the point that you are not interested in meaningful discussion, only your own narrow point of view, which is unwaivering and childish.

Anonymous said...

I have direct experience with the fuselage skins. There is also a problem with the pax window frames cracking at rivet holes.
As far as QA checking vendor supplied assemblies, they don't.
The parts go straight from the shipping container onto the assembly line.

airtaximan said...

guys...
there's a real pattern here...

Paul brings up an undisclosed quality/manufacturing/certification issue at Eclipse...and it proves to be accurate.

(and, if you believe Paul, my intuition that there's a quality relating to the skins, was right on plus Eclipse knows about it, and has not come clean - this sounds all too familiar)

Regarding Paul's issues, some folks begin thinking and trying to explain what could be going on at Eclipse. Piecing things together, and offering their thoughts as "speculation" - trying to figure out what might be going on, and raising questions.

Some folks immediately try to dismiss any questions or thoughts on what might be going on. Usually by referencing what Vern or Eclipse is saying on the subject.

The issue is that Eclipse has not been accurate, timely or honest. The technical issues, performance shortfalls and certification delays require our thought, judgment calls and intuition, in order to get to the facts - because they are not offered by Eclipse. Sometimes the facts come out when the leak is big enough. This is the biggest problem.

In some cases, we are fortunate to have a reference point for when eclipse knew, and when they fessed up – this is a big deal.

I am sorry if you do not like the fact that I bring it back home...but the dishonesty and cover ups are the major issue. Perhaps one would add incompetence – I give Eclipse more credit than that, but I do not know. I do know that there is a gap between what Eclipse says, what is realistic, and what is finally reported.

Whether its performance, CG, cracking, bushings, range, payload, blaming suppliers, certification delays, promised delivery dates missed, deposit-holder position issues, lawsuits, production aircraft issues, the FAA - and now brakes, compressor, additional window cracking and assembly skin thickness issues – this is all subject to a discussion, because people are concerned that Eclipse has not been reliable on this. It all relates to the Eclipse culture, safety and integrity, which presents risk to us.

I apologize if it gets frustrating reading some posts that are merely the Eclipse line from their website or PR – it’s not necessary to fill these pages with that - everyone can/has read it. Most of these discussions are based on the fact that Eclipse's line is no longer credible. Sorry if I called it bull crap. Despite many lines taken from Eclipse, you still lack a credible argument for most of the issues.

Anonymous said...

airtaximan wrote Whether its performance, CG, cracking, bushings, range, payload, blaming suppliers, certification delays, promised delivery dates missed, deposit-holder position issues, lawsuits, production aircraft issues, the FAA - and now brakes, compressor, additional window cracking and assembly skin thickness issues – this is all subject to a discussion, because people are concerned that Eclipse has not been reliable on this.

Pretty tough to argue with that track record, agreed.
Gunner

twinpilot said...

Many of you have stated that you hope Eclipse succeeds. Given the fact that they have already failed miserable (see Stan's previous posts) are you really saying you hope Eclipse survives?

If they really have say, 1,000 real buyers with say $100,000. at risk that is 100 million. I totally agree it would be a shame for those enthusiast aviation supporter to lose their money, even if we dinosaurs think they are a little to easily fooled. Now would be the perfect time for the investors to pony up another 200 million then put someone in charge who knows something about aircraft manufacturing. With a few hundred million, this new guy could iron out any problems with the design in about 6 months to a year and come up with a realistic production schedule and price that may salvage the company. I am sure there are numerous very talented aviation people at Eclipse who deserve better than the current management. The current manager could then say he has taken the program through all of the hard times and now that it is just a matter of turning the crank, he could leave, receive a lot of other trophies and such and copious adulation by all of the media etc.etc.

If you look at what has been achieved (not promised) you will find you have a 1.65 to 2 million dollar twin fan jet airplane design that you can probably manufacture and sell in sufficient quantities to show a profit. If I were a position holder, I would be calling for this guys head on a platter, and a new manager who could iron out any known problems and I would be happy to wait a while to get the problems solved before deliveries began.

Anonymous said...

In surfing for further information on the recent fleet grounding at Eclipse, I came across a few bits of relevant info:

Regarding the Wing Bushing problem: "We found a problem that came from accelerated usage," says Raburn.
http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles/2006/11/20/210657/eclipse-500-vlj-deliveries-stay-on-course-despite-grounding.html

That takes some real cheek. "Accelerated usage" in FIVE test aircraft with a TOTAL of 3k+ hours at low altitudes? Aircraft designed for a booming Jet Taxi industry?

"As with most small jets, the c.g. is naturally a little aft," Raburn told AVweb. "However, this poses a problem only when there's a 95-pound [sole-occupant] pilot and a light fuel load," implying that few, if any, customers will have c.g. issues with the airplane under normal operations.
http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/12_46b/leadnews/Eclipse_Windscreen_Cracks_193759-1.html

Which is it, 95 lbs, the 120 lbs that he was previously quoted as saying or the 180 lbs that has been calculated on this Blog?


"Eclipse revealed that cockpit windshields and side windows have cracked seven times due to a “combination of thermal and pressurization loads causing a fatigue failure of the outside layer of the acrylic.”

http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles/2006/11/16/210606/eclipse-aviation-grounds-flight-test-aircraft.html

Gunner

airtaximan said...

twinpilot,

problem is...how many folks would pay $2 million for the Eclipse considering the alternatives already in/close to production?

Many folks with $2 million also have $2.5 million...the Eclipse market was (at the beginning) the tradeup market for guys with aircraft valued at around $700,000
- high performance singles and twins...not many can afford a $2 million plane.

Who would buy an Eclipse at $2 million, considering the alternatives? Enough to keep the price at $2 million? Especially considering the $700,000,000 spent on development which needs to get recouped?

twinpilot said...

Airtaximan,

Not many people would pay 2 million, and you are right anyone who has 2 million also has 2.5. Some buyers however, according to the controller adds are already paying 1.65 million. Some buyers may want a small airplane. One that they can fit in their existing hangar etc. You know just a personal toy. Do you think there is potential for the Eclipse to be more desirable than a 1.9 million dollar Meridian? I think so after any airworthiness issues are worked out. Maybe they can sell 100 per year at 1.875. Maybe they can sell 125 per. year at 1.68 million. Don't know. Someone will have to do the math and see if it is viable and at what price/volume.

About the 700 million, that money is spent and short of a big IPO there is no way to recover it. Fortunately to Bill and FOB's (friends of Bill) it is only 700 million. It is not even a billion.

Anonymous said...

paul said: I have direct experience with the fuselage skins. There is also a problem with the pax window frames cracking at rivet holes.
As far as QA checking vendor supplied assemblies, they don't.
The parts go straight from the shipping container onto the assembly line.


Come on Paul. Give us some facts, not just snippets and rumors. How about some details: what type of brack problems? Window cracks where, how long, how many times, which windows, which aircraft, after how many hours? Which thin skins, from which supplier, on which aircraft?

As an insider with first hand info, you should be albe to answer these direct questions. Otherwise you're no better than Airtaximan making accusation after accusation with any fact. Let's get to the bottom of this. I'd really like to know.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to ask Paul about compressor stalls. When did this happen, and under what conditions and on which aircraft?

By the way, Airtaximan, with all of his experience and wisdom, doesn't know the difference between a compressor and a compressor stall.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, from my previous post...

As an insider with first hand info, you should be albe to answer these direct questions. Otherwise you're no better than Airtaximan making accusation after accusation withOUT any fact. Let's get to the bottom of this. I'd really like to know.

twinpilot said...

Eclipseblogger,

If you would really like to "get to the bottom of this," just give Vern a call. As a position holder I am sure he would be happy to take your call and be totally transparent with you.
By the way, what do you think an Eclipse would sell for (what is the most you would pay) for an Eclipse with no airworthiness issues, current projected performance, and a production rate of 100 per year. Did you buy the airplane to turn it or are you planning on keep it? Would you like to take delivery now with some issues to be resolved later or would you rather wait until they were addressed to your satisfaction?

By the way, Gunner asked: But I have a question for some of the Bloggers here most familiar with FAA test procedures:
Are corrosion tests part of their protocol for approval of new techniques or do they focus only on fatigue testing? Is there a corrosion protocol up front, or is that only addressed if and when a design exhibits corrosion problems down the line?
The FAA doesn't care certification wise if there could be issues with corrosion down the road as long as your continued airworthiness documents call for inspections to find the corrosion before it becomes an airworthiness issue. As far as they are concerned, when your inspections reveal corrosion or cracking or any other airworthiness issue you can come up with a suitable repair and have them approve it or simply replace the airplane. They are not concerned with financial issues.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

Every piece of info on Eclipse (leak) thus far from Paul has been spot on...way in advance of Eclipse coming clean...it shows that they are aware of these issues way in advance, and do not tell the public.

Your remark about me referring to the compressor stall issue as “compressor issue” in a long list of Eclipse problems/cover-ups which are the subject of this blog, together with your demands of Paul for minute details on what he knows is...well...revealing...

Paul has been correct on the issues at Eclipse - way in advance of any Eclipse statements. Your comments are doing nothing to discredit what we are saying - they discredit you.

Why don't you just state that you know 100% that Paul's recent statements are untrue. We all know his previous disclosures on Eclipse have already been proven correct. He’s been way in advance of any release, statement or clue from Eclipse. And he’s been accurate.

Since I am not inside Eclipse, I only have the ability to provide my view...you may not agree, or my opinions may not fit your purpose. That does not make my view wrong.

Eclipse on the otherhand, has in fact been proven wrong over time, on many issues.

wrangler said...

EclipseBlogger said:
In reality you miss a lot. The purpose of your posts are only to discredit as you see fit. You have a very closed and limited view on any topic, and although some may find your rantings "interesting and informative", you are not fooling anyone not drinking the same brew as you.

Why did I bother asking airtaximan to stop insulting you? I'll not stoop to name-calling but I will respond to your comment.

To start, please show me what else I have missed. I provide sources and supporting information for my opinion so that others may analyze my arguments (like Koolaid-drinker1 did). On the other hand, you have not provided your source for either the HAZ statement or crack propagation away from the weld. If there is solid data to support the use of FSW I would love to hear it.

As far as the "fine print" is concerned, if you copy something verbatim from another source, you should put it in quotes. Ask any high-school english teacher.

As far as my sarcasm goes, Koolaid-drinker1's reply sounded like he was accusing my of deliberately misleading people. If that was my intent, why would I provide the source? I made a mistake and I admitted it.

Would it make you feel better if I threw some insults? Ok, I'll give it a try. "You empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

Anonymous said...

Ouch, a pox upon you.

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan said: Your remark about me referring to the compressor stall issue as “compressor issue” in a long list of Eclipse problems/cover-ups which are the subject of this blog, together with your demands of Paul for minute details on what he knows is...well...revealing...

What's revealing is that Paul has made accusations and provided >>NO<< details.

What is the purpose of this blog? If it is to seek the truth, then let's reveal the facts, make them public, and blow Eclipse out the sky. If Paul has facts, I would love to hear them. If he's been correct in the past, great. But that's history. If he's got new info on cover-ups, bring them on. But so far, he's barely written one sentence on each of the new accusations, and already you've got that hangman standing by the noose. We need a body.

Paul said: I worked there as of 11/10.

Paul, do you still work there? Or, were you fired? Is that the reason why you are making these accusations? Is that your motivation to see Eclipse go down in flames?

airtaximan said: (referring to Paul's latest accusations on brakes, compressor stalls, and window cracks) ...among other things... elaborate, please.

Airtaximan, you asked for further information as well.

SRMach5 said...

Wranger, you are my hero. Anyone who can quote scripture and verse from Monty Python & the Holy Grail deserves kudos.

Do you think Vern modeled the Eclipse after an African or European swallow?

.....there's some lovely filth over here.......

Anonymous said...

Received an e-mail today from one of my freind's who suggested I should log back in here and see what is going down.

I am not going to respond to eclipseowner387 here.

In case there is a similar reaction to comments posted as there was at COPA, my profile can be seen on my blog site..I sell TBM's for a living, and thankfully sales are brisk and life is good. So although there are members of this site that think any adverse comments posted here are sour grapes or anti-eclipse because our space is being invaded, persish the thought.

This latest problem with the skins is something I stumbled on at NBAA. Whilst trying to look in through the tinted window on the Day Jet aircraft that was on display in the convention hall, I noticed that the skin flex was excessive. It was so bad that I could push the skin in with my index finger. The first thought that crossed my mind was that this was a mock up, so I looked under the aircraft and noticed that the actuator had signs of operating, and was for real. I frankly could not believe what I saw on this skin, so I went and got a colleague of mine whose opinion I respect to come and give me his opinion.

Whilst I was demonstrating the flex in the skin behind the pilot window and then between the side windows, a lady in an Eclipse uniform came up to me and told me that if I pushed the skin again, she would call security and have me removed. Well as you can imagine was I was quite shocked to receive this comment, but before I could get into it with her, the manager of fleet sales for Eclipse came across and told her that he would handle matters.

This gentleman whom I shall refer to as J asked me why I was pushing the skin like I was, I explained to him that I was stunned that there was so much flex, and opined that this plane would look like a blow fish when pressurized and this was probably the cause of the speed issues, and secondly that this amount of flex would cause fatigue. His response was that 'they' were aware of the problem and they had considered adding another stringer but were bumping up against the weight limitation. I asked him what the thickness of the skin was and he told me that he thought it was .40, in my experience this skin did not have the appearance of .40 thickness skin.

What I am reporting here is factual, not conjecture, and it is supported by what Paul is adding.

In response to the question of would I like to see this project succeed, the answer is an unqualified YES, if the program can deliver what has been promised. However, if other businesses need to suffer because the program is over hyped, the sooner the truth comes out the better.

Around the industry we have all been saying that we cannot wait for the Eclipse Flight Manual to be published, then the truth will come out and we will see if this is really a wonder jet.

VR has not been wise in the way he has gone about his strategy of marketing this plane. Anyone that is accepting orders like the Nimbus order, the Aviace order and then commiting significant funds to producing aircraft for companies of no substance is a high risk player, and I would not want him running my business. Aviation is serious business, by nature the companies that have succeeded are the ones that have taken a conservative and cautious approach. Safety is paramount to longevity.

The claim of 3600 hours, if correct, on 5 aircraft is not something I would agree with VR as being the extra mile, 600 hours on any one aircraft, assuming they flew all the same hours, is not a lot of time on a start up POC aircraft. The fact that 7 windows have cracked is a cause for concern, this manufacturer is talking about releasing a high performance jet into a relatively inexperienced user group. In addition to this relatively inexperienced user group, and this is not meant to be a slight on Eclipse owners, but from what I read few of them have Jet experience, few have high altitude experience and none of them have any experience with the Avio system, couple this to the fact that the plane will have no radar, GPS and other equipment that I would consider a no go item on a Jet, (like FIKI certification Flight Into Known Icing) we now have window issues and other little surpises that might add to the work load.

It is understandable that individuals who have large amounts of money in unsecured deposits really want to believe that this project will succeed, I would as well. If this project does not succeed the confidence of the flying public in start ups will be severely damaged, and whether or not investors will be found to support further development, who knows..

According to J the person I spoke with at NBAA, there are about 700 positions that are retail positions going to end users, the rest are institutional or fleet operators. BTW, according to J, who told me half of the TBM owners had orders for Eclipses' which if this is to be believed is 25% of these orders owned by current TBM owners, which kind of blows the theory by eclipseowner387 that the TBM owners are the biggest complainers. IF this is all correct, and I have no reason to believe that J would have an agenda to give information that was inaccurate, this puts a lot of pressure on Eclipse as these air taxi companies are very dicey prospects at best, and certainly not a project that any prudent businessman I know would risk $700m on.

Lastly, the Eclipse has not moved outside ABQ, and the issues on the plane with relatively low hours have been serious. What is going to happen when this plane is 500 miles or more from base, this is going to be the real test for Eclipse. If there are owners with planes on ramps not moving because of maintenance issues the wheels will come off in a hurry. An owner with a broken plane is not a good thing... The more aircraft that they deliver the bigger problem this is likely to be. If the ramp up and delivery 700 aircraft next year, and everyone is happy, I shall be pleased to publicly congratulate VR, or Kaptain Kool-Aid as he is so affectionately known.

Anonymous said...


Twinson said:
BTW, according to J, who told me half of the TBM owners had orders for Eclipses' which if this is to be believed is 25% of these orders owned by current TBM owners, which kind of blows the theory by eclipseowner387 that the TBM owners are the biggest complainers.


I never said ALL TBM owners. Just the ones that are afraid that the 50% who are moving to the Eclipse could put a lot of pressure on the TBM secondary market. It is naturally unsettling to find their $2+ Million dollar "Investment" can be replaced for considerably less with a superior product. Is it superior? That is up for debate BUT if it IS then there is the rub. SO, if you are invested heavily in a TBM then a successful Eclipse could depreciate your investment. I see the TBM as a different animal and believe when you say sales are brisk, but when Eclipse was promising more range and more speed than where it is promised today, the Eclipse was serious competition to a TBM. And I still think the Secondary TBM market could take a hit. Hell, I am concerned about my JetProp market possibly taking a hit - but I am hedged. I have an Eclipse "option."

I agree with you that an Eclipse without FIKI and the other things you mention pretty much relegates it to a trainer until those items are certified.

I am glad that you made a full disclosure of your conflict. I found it hard to believe that you hope Eclipse succeeds - I would find it perfectly natural for you to hope they fail. It's business. But I will take your word for it.

PS: It was a TBM Owner that first introduced me to the idea of purchasing an Eclipse position. He was early in with Eclipse and told me Eclipse is for real. So I would never have said ALL or implied ALL TBM owners. He loves his TBM - what's not to love? Great airplane. But he can't wait to trade UP to an Eclipse.

unsafe@anyspeed said...

Well no one else has said it, so I will. CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG!

Actually, I have enjoyed most of the banter, but some of it is getting tiresome. I just have this image of Stan, somewhere in Italy, sipping wine in an internet cafe (while his wife is checking out a shop) and he checks the blog (with a borrowed laptop, because he didn't take his) and he finds 160 comments on his last post. Does he open the comments or walk away? Will his next joke be told with Tony and Luigi as the characters?

Let's review where we are at, Eclipse has a certified airplane that:
1)weighs more than they thought
2)costs more than they thought
3)isn't as fast as they thought
4)doesn't go as far as they thought
5)took longer than they thought
6)has them in lawsuits, and
7)has made some of their customers upset.
As Bruce Willis said in the first Die Hard movie, "WELCOME TO THE PARTY PAL!!" Sounds alot like another aicraft maker in the news lately. (Airbus)

Every few years somebody with a dream and some drive comes along with a new idea for an airplane. And they all are going to be 30% more effecient than all others. They usually die off slowly, with design failures or funding problems. Popular Science is littered with examples, but Vern pulled it off and you have to give him his due. He may be the patron saint of aircraft dreamers.

However, I am not a Vern fan. The statements he has made, the things he has done to vendors are ungentlemanlike. Does he deserve the criticism? Sure he does.

As far as the grounding, I don't think it will close down the company. For PT Barnum, this is not the big tent falling down or the elephants trampling spectators, it is more like the clowns getting stuck in the little car and having to use the jaws of life to get them out. Embarrassing yes, but not a show stopper. Eclipse has suffered much worse, they will deliver eventually. The question is where will they be in 5,10, or 20 years. That seems to hinge on the air taxi market.

I have worked for four different aircraft companies, and they all have airplanes with cracks, system failures, bad parts, handling problems, etc. They just get to work them out w/o employees leaking them on a blog. Eclipse probably should have been quicker with the press release when they no showed AOPA. But airing some of the company's dirty laundry is not fair. If you confirm rumors that are already out, that's a little different. If you don't like them quit, but you owe them more.

The jury is still out on FSW, but Eclipse was able to take the plunge because they didn't have the infrastructure that the other companies have. Most of the aircraft companies have probably looked at FSW, but didn't make the change because the business case wasn't justified. There may not be enough advantage to justify the change to a new process that would have to be certified. Eclipse had the advantage of no existing process and infrastructure. (and a boss that is a tecnological risk taker) I think some may be waiting to see how it works for Eclipse, time is on their side.

Now for the whole air taxi thing. I find it interesting that two of the biggest backers (Vern and Ed) are software guys. The software business is the one always looking for the "killer ap", so when these guys get into aviation they are looking for the killer ap. They find it with the air taxi. But this was the industry that also touted the "new economy" vs "old economy" before the dot.com bust. Just because you think it exists doesn't mean it is there. If the market was there it wouldn't need a new airplane to prove it. I think the main problem for the air taxi will be the same problem as the fractional market, dead head flights.

If I don't reply immediately it is because of the holiday. I hope everyone enjoys and remembers the things that that they are thankful for.

Now for the Monty Python quotes-
Vern: I'm not dead yet.
Stan: He will be soon.

Unsafe

flight guy said...

This was posted on AOPA online this morning. It clarifies and reconfirms some of the assertions on this post. Interestingly, check out how often the windows will need to be inspected and changed!


http://www.aopa.org/members/?COOKIELOGIN=NO&

FYI, a membership is required. The complete article is posted below in its entirety.

Eclipse grounds test fleet, changes maintenance manuals

Excessive wear of an improperly installed bushing inside the rear wing attach point has resulted in the temporary grounding of the five-airplane Eclipse 500 test fleet. No production aircraft have shown similar wear and therefore are not affected by the grounding. Eclipse says that it could not have led to wing separation or failure. The affected aircraft will be repaired and returned to testing duties. In addition, a second customer memo warns that the test fleet has exhibited seven incidents of cockpit windshield cracking and seven separate incidents of side-window cracking, due to thermal and pressurization loads. While the outside layer of acrylic failed, the fail-safe interior layer was undamaged in all cases. The aircraft maintenance manual has been changed to temporarily require inspection of both windows every 50 flights, and replacement of the windshield every 100 flights, while the cockpit side window is to be replaced every 250 flights. Finally, a third bulletin clarifies that ballast will be required for single-pilot operations if the pilot weighs less than 180 pounds. A letter from Eclipse Aviation CEO and President Vern Raburn pledges more regular communication with customers, but warns there will be times when internal challenges are proprietary and require confidentiality.

airtaximan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
airtaximan said...

with 2600 orders, and admittedly only 700 from individual-owner-operators, one would ask, how the air taxi companies feel about the cracking, bushing, skin and other issues which apparently substantiate that the Eclipse 500 was in fact NOT designed for high cycle air taxi utility?

While many GA planes may experience the same "teething issues" claimed by Eclispe, none have had the "high cycle air taxi focus" promoted by Vern as their design criteria. NONE.

The big deal about Eclipse was that it was disruptive technology, designed to enable a new market for air taxi - a very large NEW market - apparently, NOT.

Changing the windshield every 100 hours is going to be a hassel. Thin skins, and other issues reveal a lot about the design criteria for the plane.

Anyway, with only around 700 orders from the non-air-taxi market, how can Eclipse make it?

I guess this explains why you can still obtain an Eclipse slot (really, you'll place a depsit with no slot) in 2008 directly from the factory.

Either they have a secret plan to produce and deliver a few thousand aicraft by 2008, or, as I suspect, Even Eclipse does not believe in their air-taxi based order-book claims.

airtaximan said...

from flightguy
Vern Raburn states:
"No production aircraft have shown similar wear and therefore are not affected by the grounding."

Why would the production fleet show any wear? They are for the most part on the floor, right? Are they durability tested or even flown a great deal, so they would show wear? - I do not think so. Why is Vern making the statement that the grounding has no affect on the production fleet? Can he deliver today? What affect could this have - grounded means not able to be delivered, no? They cannot deliver according to the FAA anyway. They admt the production planes will have the fix...so can they fly or be delivered without the fix? NO...isn't this an affect?

What is Vern trying to do with this statement beyond confuse the issue or create misdirection?

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan, you are such an a$$. You talk about the problem without bothering to take the time to understand it.

The problem was an enlarged bolt hole due to a slipped bushing. The fix was to enlarge the hole (make it round again) and install a larger bushing to fit the larger hole, using the same bolt (bigger OD bushing, same ID bolt hole). The production aircraft appear to have the bushing in place, therfore do not have an elongated hole, and therefore do not need larger bushings installed. I do not know what the reason for the slip was. Eclipse states incorrect installation. At this point I assume that they will be installing a bushing system that has a physical stop that will not allow the bushing to slip laterally.

As far as deliveries, Eclipse still does not have a PC, and therefore the FAA must inspect each aircraft for conformity. That's what's taking the time. It's not the FAA's fault, it's just a lot to inspect and verify.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

OK, now I understand. The airplanes on the ground should show durability and wear problems as well. Excuse me for being such an ass.

Keep defending Eclipse...as Vern would, with equally retarded statements.

I guess the windows cracking should show up on the planes on the ground as well. Perhaps the engine issues should show up on the engines on the assembly line, too.

HAHAHAH!

By the way...all the production planes are having the bushing fix as well...even though there's no problem with them, according to you.

Lastly, I never heard you state that Paul's stements are 100% wrong. You claim perfect knowledge about Eclipse, why not take a firm position, instead of insulting Paul. Keep flinging dung...but never take a firm position, eventhough you claim to know better that people who have learned to be skeptical...and have been 100% correct piecing things together.

I guess, according to you, there's no skin issue, as well. Until its confirmed, by VErn himself. Are you his wife Dottie Hall, VP MArketing, who stands on the far side of all Eclipse pictures so that no one really knows she is his wife?

Take a position on the info Paul provided...state he's 100% wrong, so we will be able to pin you in the future.

Anonymous said...

"The problem was an enlarged bolt hole due to a slipped bushing."

On ALL 5 test aircraft? Yet the assembly line aircraft are fine? How is that?
Gunner

wrangler said...

EclipseBlogger, why have you ignored my previous post comparing the bushing situation to an AD? Did you not take the time to understand it?

I have three points to make.

Let's first consider definitions regarding the "production aircraft are not affected" statement. If Vern means only that they do not have elongated holes, he is correct. They have not flown so they would not be stretched out yet.

Secondly, as I mentioned before, this does not mean they are not affected by the "assembly" flaw. Any aircraft built using the same method/design will fail when put to the test. As a result, production aircraft are affected by the flaw.

Finally, I would like to opine that Vern's statement that it was an assembly flaw is total bullshit. If it was an "assembly" mistake, why are they installing spacers on production aircraft? Spacers sound like a design fix to me. If the problem was in assembly, why not just re-assemble the parts? Why add spacers?

Feel free to let loose with your usual tirade against me. Here are a few suggestions: "You're close-minded (you don't recognize Vern's greatness)", "Wrangler is ranting again", or "Wrangler is just Stan's bitch"


p.s. I'm still waiting for your FSW source. I'm also waiting for you to show me what else I missed. Please, I beg of you, enlighten me.

There's more of that pesky sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Another Customer's Experience:
167 posts ago this started as "one customers experience with Eclipse". I thought it would be interesting to post a few details of my own experience with Eclipse.
After a few conversations with a very friendly and helpful salesperson at Eclipse I made my own deposit on an E500 in the early part of 2005. There were two pretty disturbing announcements in the suceeding months; very soon after my purchase agreement was signed Eclipse increased the price by $120K, and later the commitment to deliver by serial number was voided. These both troubled me, especially the price increase. However I kept the faith and eagerly awaited certification.
It was the circumstances surrounding the "provisional certification" and the demand for the second portion of the deposit that tipped me over the edge.
I was much more concerned about the miss in the range guarantee than many of my fellow deposit holders seemed to be. By my calculation the skimpy information released by the company suggested that the effiency of the plane was a good 20% less than promised. To me this was a major issue. I was not at all impressed with the idea of fitting even bigger tip tanks as an attempt at a "solution". But what really irked me was that Eclipse then made a new guarantee, ie that there would be some aerodynamic mods that would improve the speed and range at some unspecified time in the future, but they demanded a decison immediately as to whether to keep the psoition and pay the second portion of the deposit. I held the view very strongly that the only ethically right course was for Eclipse to roll forward the decision time for the second deposit payment until such time as the mods were installed and the performance of the model I was actually supposed to buy could be assessed by the customers.
What annoyed me even more was that Eclipse absolutely refused to answer any questions on fuel flows. I, and I believe many others asked for some simple numbers on long range and max cruise fuel flow at some representative altitudes, as well as climb and other flows. This refusal struck me as very strange as by this time they had flown the plane for some 2,500 hours and were at certification, so the numbers were clearly well known to the company. Secondly, in the meantime I had been in touch with Eads about possibly purchasing a TMB 850 instead, and I was struck by how much info they were prepared to release. They had the whole AFM in my hands within 24 hours and would answer any and all questions on fuel flows etc etc.
Thus, with some sadness on my part I requested my deposit returned. I did eventually receive it, but not without numerous polite and not so polite reminders from me, and not within the time frame contemplated in my deposit agreement.
But do you know what bothered me most of all about Eclispe; the absolutely shambolick approach to "customer care". Both before and after my decision to get my deposit back I desperately wanted to speak to the Customer Care department. Initially to ask questions, and later to let them know that I am still VERY interested in being a customer one day (but not until someone else buys the early planes, they get some miles under the belt, and the customers can see the AFM and whatever else thay miught reasonably request).
In the two month period surrounding these events I must have called twenty or thirty times. Not once did a human being answer the phone. In every single case my calls ent to message machine. Not once were my calls returned, and I left perfectly polite nad reasonable messages. I tried emails as well, and once again did not once receive a reply.
I spent twenty years running a sales orientd business, and having phones answered was my pet peeve. How can you talk about revolutionizing the customer experience when no one ever answers the phone, let alone actaully reply to messages. An absolute disgrace.
I still hope to own and fly an Eclipse one day, but it will not be until they stop trying to sell planes three years in the future, get the product sorted out, and start looking after the customers they have now.

wrangler said...

I have one more comment and one clarification regarding the bushing issue.

If it was not a "safety of flight" issue, why was the entire fleet grounded? If the aircraft is safe to fly, go ahead and fly it.

In my previous post I said the production aircraft have not flown. I should have been more clear that they have not flown enough hours to cause the bushings to fail. Considering that all of the test aircraft developed the same problem, it's safe to say that the production aircraft would have as well. I just wanted to clarify that statement before the Eclipse cheerleaders jumped my ass for a minor mistake.

airtaximan said...

I have to express my appreciation for everyone's contribution to this resource. If you read the record, there are a few die-hard Eclipse fans, who will not use their brains, provide silly remarks, and will not reason. Its compeletely evident by their posts, especially compared with to the wisdom of the group.

Thanks...

Bambazonke said...

Well, things have been mighty active since I was last here... God knows what Stan is going to do to catch up when he gets back next week..

Well news from the flight test department is not so promising, sure KKA will do the 'splaining' and we will have a 'splanation', but this window deal was known for quite some time. However of more interest is the large tanks apparently make this puppy a little unstable to say the least and the term has been used before, but a phugoid oscillation at altitude is apparently pretty bad. So bad that the quoted test pilot said that it was difficult to fly the bird on raw data. According to my source hand flying the plane in IMC at altitude is a not a practical idea because altitude excursions of 400 feet or more in a few seconds are common. Now chuck that into the mix with the wet behind the ears jet-jock wannabes and we are in for a ripe ole time.

Apparently this is also one sick puppy at hot and high temps, unable to maintain 100 fpm at temps above 105 degrees on one engine with 2 people on board..

Now let me state for the record, that this is information from a person who claims to have been a test pilot at ECA. Did not call the Human Factors department at the KA factory to verify his employment, so this is blog material at this point, yet to prove out in reality, just rumour mill, and at this time is only, repeat only, Blog material, like the material about the windows, the skins, the grounding,etc.etc. No, he was not the guy he landed the plane gear up either..

BTW, anyone read the Eclipse Purchase Agreement? The Buyer is required to indemnify Eclipse against THEIR (Eclipse's negligence) and the buyer is also required indemnify Eclipse against the Buyer's insurance coming after Eclipse for Eclipse's negligence...Never seen this on a contract before, not sure I would sign this even if my wallet was the size of my ego and I could afford to buy one.

wrangler said...

The number of comments and thought streams on this particular thread is getting unmanageable. I took a few moments and created a new blog with a slightly different format.

http://civilizedeclipsediscussion.blogspot.com/

Since the introduction was the first post, it's at the bottom. Please pay attention to the title. Show respect to other posters (even if you don't think they deserve it) and focus on the issues.

Regards,
Wrangler


p.s. Stan, enjoy a nice Chianti for me.

Anonymous said...

Buckerfan,

I am curious what postion number you had with Eclipse for an early 2005 deposit?

Airtaximan,

Your last post was pure genius.
(Pesky sarcasm included for free.)

All,

Is it not possible on the bushing issue that what Vern was saying is that the "elongated hole" is not an issue on the production models. Makes sense because production models not stressed yet. So FIXES to the elongated holes not necessary on THE PRODUCTION AIRCRAFT. The assembly however will be corrected on the production models so that the elongation can't occur. This is not rocket science guys! Oh, er, I guess it is.... So a blog would be hard to keep it from getting confusing. But come on guys, attaching a wing issue will be fixed! So stop making such a big deal over it. Wings have been attatched successfully for nearly 100 years now (exaggeration so don't hold me to it.)

And Flight Guy, DO YOU REALLY THINK ECLIPSE BELIEVES THE WINDOW AFM MODS ARE A FIX???? They have been very clear that they have made a temporary adjustment to the AFM so they can feel good about flying the test aircraft until the window issue is fixed. WE ALL AGREE THAT THE WINDOW ISSUE IS AN ISSUE IF NOT FIXED!!! Why would you make such a bogus and ludicrous remark? Are you really that naive? Do you think Eclipse won't come up with a fix??? Seriuosly, I want you to state your reputation right now. DO YOU THINK ECLIPSE WILL FAIL IN A WINDOW FIX? Or is this just more exaggeration form the Eclipse critics?

PUT YOUR REPUTATION ON THE LINE AND TELL US WHO YOU ARE AND GIVE US SOME ROCK SOLID PREDICTIONS THAT YOU WILL STAND BEHIND.

I don't think you will.

I think you will just hide back there and make outragous and unintelligent remarks. Maybe those who don't see through it will believe you. But come on dude! That is just plain stupid. No one will ever believe that Eclipse could succeed if customers have to replace windows every 100 flights!!! They know it and you know it so why try to act like Eclipse is ok with it? You lose credibility with the thoughtful, practical and intelligent people in this world when you decide to gnaw on a dog bone that is truly irrelelavant. My bet is Airtaximan wouldn't even believe Eclipse is going to try and sell an Airplane that requires windows to be replaced every 100 flights. Am I right Airtaximan?

Later...

Anonymous said...

Wrangler,

I was impressed with the setup of your new blog. I encourage you to fill out your profile so vistors/posters can truly understand your background and fascination with aviation and Eclipse. I think it is proper and ethical. It would bring credibility to your efforts.

For those who ask why my profile is not filled out:

I don't have a blog so profile not needed and EclipseOwner387 pretty much says it all. But for those that are curious. I am a businessman in Louisville (as stated earlier in the blog.) I sold but still operate the business I started in 1993. It has been a blast and now I have the resources to pursue my childhood dream of aviation (really it was rocketry/space travel but general aviation is as close as I can get.) I turned 40 this year so now is the time to really enjoy life before it goes the wrong way. I love to share my toys so if you are ever in Louisville - look me up and I am sure we could arrange to go flying.

I share this stuff so you know that I am just real person trying to make a difference and enjoy life. I am from horse country. I like to pick winners and I have a good track record of winning. My friends like to say that I am not always right but I am seldom wrong. I really think Eclipse will produce a viable product. It will not be what they promised but it will still be cutting edge and ground breaking.

airtaximan said...

Eclipseowner387,

You said:
My bet is Airtaximan wouldn't even believe Eclipse is going to try and sell an Airplane that requires windows to be replaced every 100 flights. Am I right Airtaximan?


Eclipse is trying as hard as they can to sell the airplane that requires window replacement every 100 hours. Also, the plane has many other problems. Eclipse will try as hard as they can to sell their airplane, even to the point of exaggeration, coverup and non-communication with their customers - that's the point of this blog.

Only a few are buying.

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan,

You really think Eclipse THINKS it will deliver and continue to sell airplanes with window problems? Do you think Eclipse will not be successful in a window design fix?

Answer me those two questions specifically please. Please be realistic in your answer. Not your I hate Vern answer but a practical answer.

Also,

Wrangler,

You have content! My guess is it will be hard to get folks to switch from Stan's riveting (pun intended) blog but I threw a slow pitch in for those who want to hit it out of the park and try to get you some traction.

Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan said: I never heard you state that Paul's statements are 100% wrong. You claim perfect knowledge about Eclipse, why not take a firm position

I never said they were false, just unsubstantiated and I was asking for more details so I could, or others could, investigate further. Let's find the truth. But tell us what we're looking for. I don't know everything about Eclipse, but I would like to learn more.

Airtaximan said: I guess, according to you, there's no skin issue, as well. Until its confirmed, by Vern himself. Are you his wife Dottie Hall, VP Marketing, who stands on the far side of all Eclipse pictures so that no one really knows she is his wife?

Again, I was asking for more details on the skin issue from Paul, as well as details on the brakes and compressor stalls. I don't know whether his statements on these issues are true or not. I'd like to find out. But since you know all, why don't you know that Dottie is not longer with the company. Seems like you are always one step behind the times, and the facts.

I did find out one thing about the brakes. Taxiing while riding the brakes causes them to heat up to levels where the o-ring seal melts and oil leaks out of the cylinders onto the ramp. The oil and heat combination have actually caught fire on several occasions. Some of these fires have totally enveloped the wheel assemblies, and have also destroyed several wing assemblies... oh, wait that was Cirrus. Point being that we all know that even very successful aircraft have problems long into the production cycle. I don't expect the recent problems to be the last. I do expect solutions to be found. I hope no one gets hurt. Paul, more details please, if you have them and you haven't just made up these claims.

Anonymous said...

eclipseowner387 wrote
"I have the resources to pursue my childhood dream of aviation"


No offense, guy, but from your statements, affirmations and defenses, the operative term here appears to be "dream" rather than "aviation". ;-)


buckerfan-
As the two former Eclipse depositors here, I salute you. We both wanted to believe; we STILL want to believe. But, for people like us, it's not the blogs that interfere, it's the fact that, along with aviation, Eclipse evidently wishes to "revolutionize" Customer Service.

Last time I was treated in that manner, I switched from Microsoft to Apple. I've never looked back.

Gunner

Anonymous said...


Gunner said:

Last time I was treated in that manner, I switched from Microsoft to Apple. I've never looked back.


See I knew it! You are out to get Bill and Vern. An old vendetta!

Before the zealots come to Gunner's defense - I am just joking. I will never be as accomplished as Gunner (whoever he is.) Hell I could never own a Mac. I am not that cool.

Anonymous said...

EclipseBlogger said...
"I never said they were false, just unsubstantiated and I was asking for more details so I could, or others could, investigate further. Let's find the truth. But tell us what we're looking for. I don't know everything about Eclipse, but I would like to learn more."

While I respect your efforts in defending EAC, it would be most helpful to everyone on this blog for an admission or denial of your status as an employee of EAC. Why is this important you ask? Your responses to date are chock-full of information that requires some level of corroboration so that the rest of us can rest easily in your EAC-laced statements of dispute. Only a closely held client or employee of EAC would have both the access and concern enough to "investigate" the sources of the "leaks". I suspect that your interest in more information from Paul is not to "find the truth" regarding the supposed issues, but to bait Paul from the closet of anonimity. If accomplished, Paul will certainly face the pen of litigation for breach of confidentiality and imminent termination if he is still employed with EAC. Remember Eclipseblogger, The Emperor has only seen glimpses of the mirror. It is safe to assume that Paul is not a lone wolf and others will come forward as well. It would be in Vern's best interest to play his hand face up.

EclipseBlogger said...
"But since you know all, why don't you know that Dottie is not longer with the company. Seems like you are always one step behind the times, and the facts."

Again, information from within; although, you left out a few important details that may bolster your inside scoop. Out of respect for D and V, I defer to you.

Vmc

Anonymous said...

VMC said While I respect your efforts in defending EAC, it would be most helpful to everyone on this blog for an admission or denial of your status as an employee of EAC.

I thought I said the I was a position holder in the beginning. If not, my apology. I am not, and never have been an employee of Eclipse or any related vendor, etc. As a position holder, I have a greater interest than most, and I read any information having to do with Eclipse, relevant or not. That's what led me to this blog.

You may consider Dottie's leaving inside info, but it's no secret that she is now working for TESLA marketing. Anyone knowing the inner workings of Eclipse's problems, as Airtaximan has claimed, should be up to date on that.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

my downfall with you seems to be that I DO NOT HAVE ANY INSIDE INFORMATION. I am not an "insider". I have been relegated to knitting pieces of information/misinformation together, like the rest of the public. I find that when you state sarcastically that "I (airtaximan) KNOW THE INNER WORKING OF ECLIPSE’S PROBLEMS" you are sorely mistaken. I have never claimed to have better knowledge than anyone regarding the inner workings at Eclipse – only my opinion from watching all the misstatements, missed dates, over promises, performance shortfalls, and quality issues… and all along Eclipse’s disregard for the truth.

You are the one who refutes OTHERS, claiming you have better information than them. My points regarding your statements come from observing Eclipse’s statements and applying logic. I state my questions as questions, and my opinions as opinions. You seem to take extreme offense regarding my questions and observations, while some of the very smart, probably inside, and more technically inclined folks here seem to think my questions are valid, my observations are correct. In fact, they provide some corroborative comments, insights and details. Only the die-hards call me an idiot.

Many others on this blog believe that your die-hard position makes you appear as if you work for Eclipse. That was my feeling as well. It’s pretty much the only explanation we come to, when we read your comments, statements, defensiveness, and parroting of Eclipse's stated position/excuses/fingerpointing on all their problems. You even sarcastically bring up other programs to misdirect. With the 8 year history of Eclipse misses and dishonesty, it's difficult to think that anyone who is not being paid by Eclipse actually believes what you are writing.

I am an observer of Eclipse. I've listened, hoped, and been very disappointed. Now I am just worried that because Eclipse is duping the public, it will hurt aviation and air taxi service as a whole.

From your posts, and if you are not employed by Eclipse, my worries are well-founded. The public IS being duped.

Anonymous said...

Airtaximan said: You even sarcastically bring up other programs to misdirect.

I was not trying to misdirect, I was making a point. Since your grasp may slower than others here, I will restate it for you:

"...oh, wait that was Cirrus. Point being that we all know that even very successful aircraft [as Cirrus has been] have problems long into the production cycle. I don't expect the recent problems to be the last. I do expect solutions to be found. I hope no one gets hurt. Paul, more details please, if you have them..."

Bambazonke said...

Bloggers, lets look again at the purpose of this blog, this is detereorating into a tit for tat back and forwards school yard one upmanship boring banter. Yes, I too have been guilty of this, but this needs to stop, the posts are becoming long boring attacks on each other and basically are reduced to criticism of semantics. This is a website for Eclipse Critics, not personal attacks. We will lose readership if this continues, and people like Paul who have been valuable sources of information will fade away if we are hell bent on trying to identify him.

He has given us good information to date, let his track record be his pass. The cracks in the stringers won't fix themselves, KKA will need to come clean on this sooner or later. What we should be debating or speculating on is why these holes or cracks are there in the first place.

This aircraft has all the markings of an aircraft, as previously reported on, of a plane whose engineering and production are driven by a Maverick. I know of Oliver Masefield's reputation before Eclipse, he was a person of respect and stature in the industry. If he had been given his way at Eclipse, another airplane might be on the ramp. I can say for certain, in his previous environment he would never have approved a hand held Garmin 496 as a substitute for a functioning navigation system on an aircraft. The QC procedures in his previous work environment are exemplary, not what we hear about the way the KA kids in ABQ are going about their work.

The slow progress with the FAA on the NWJ is also testemonial that maybe KKA does not know how to work with the FAA has he had previously boasted. This product is getting a very close look over by the FEDS before they issue that PC, much longer than I have seen in my previous experiences of this kind of certification, and these little issues that Paul is bringing up are more than likely surfacing and causing the delays. A company that has no incoming QC will be stopped dead in it's tracks during this FAA audit, this is a cardinal sin in the world of AC manufacturing, particularly where there is a large amount of out sourcing.

You notice that KKA is no longer giving a prediction on delvery, so we might have to change the name on KKA pocket rocket from the Next Week Jet, to the STJ, Some Time Jet.

All of these items are going to shake out like dimes hitting the floor from an over flowing slot machine when this plane is put in retail hands. This organization has great PR on their website and in their propaganda, but there is no substance behind them from a support perpective, and like the dimes running all over the Casino floor, there are going to be Eclipses scattered on the four corners of every airport needing attention.

Bambazonke said...

Bloggers, lets look again at the purpose of this blog, this is detereorating into a tit for tat back and forwards school yard one upmanship boring banter. Yes, I too have been guilty of this, but this needs to stop, the posts are becoming long boring attacks on each other and basically are reduced to criticism of semantics. This is a website for Eclipse Critics, not personal attacks. We will lose readership if this continues, and people like Paul who have been valuable sources of information will fade away if we are hell bent on trying to identify him.

He has given us good information to date, let his track record be his pass. The cracks in the stringers won't fix themselves, KKA will need to come clean on this sooner or later. What we should be debating or speculating on is why these holes or cracks are there in the first place.

This aircraft has all the markings of an aircraft, as previously reported on, of a plane whose engineering and production are driven by a Maverick. I know of Oliver Masefield's reputation before Eclipse, he was a person of respect and stature in the industry. If he had been given his way at Eclipse, another airplane might be on the ramp. I can say for certain, in his previous environment he would never have approved a hand held Garmin 496 as a substitute for a functioning navigation system on an aircraft. The QC procedures in his previous work environment are exemplary, not what we hear about the way the KA kids in ABQ are going about their work.

The slow progress with the FAA on the NWJ is also testemonial that maybe KKA does not know how to work with the FAA has he had previously boasted. This product is getting a very close look over by the FEDS before they issue that PC, much longer than I have seen in my previous experiences of this kind of certification, and these little issues that Paul is bringing up are more than likely surfacing and causing the delays. A company that has no incoming QC will be stopped dead in it's tracks during this FAA audit, this is a cardinal sin in the world of AC manufacturing, particularly where there is a large amount of out sourcing.

You notice that KKA is no longer giving a prediction on delvery, so we might have to change the name on KKA pocket rocket from the Next Week Jet, to the STJ, Some Time Jet.

All of these items are going to shake out like dimes hitting the floor from an over flowing slot machine when this plane is put in retail hands. This organization has great PR on their website and in their propaganda, but there is no substance behind them from a support perpective, and like the dimes running all over the Casino floor, there are going to be Eclipses scattered on the four corners of every airport needing attention. Hell these guys are not able to answer position holders questions at this critical time, how are they going to handle customer distress calls..

Bambazonke said...

Cessna released their POH to their position holders today, well laid out, good detail in the numbers particularly the performance data. Will take a few days to analyze the data and work out some flight plans, look forward to comparing this to the subject of this blog, the STJ.

Griper said...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Niner Zulu said...

Wow! What a bunch of long, boring rants!

Don't any of you guys have anything better to do?

This blog used to be good - now it's a real yawner.

Stan, please come back soon and use your delete key liberally!!

Anonymous said...

Eclipse 387 asked me for the serial number of my order when I madee my deposit in early Q2 05. As I would dtiell like to have the option of purchasing an Eclipse assuming they get their issues sorted out one day I am not willing to provide that info. But I will pass on something I found interesting. I was an Eclipse deposit holder for almost 18 months. My plane was scheduled for delivery in early Q2 08. When I finally decided to cancel my contract in late Q3 06 they were selling positions for delivery in Q3 08. Ie it seems they sold about 6 months of planes in 18 months. Nothing wrong with that as they had already lined up orders for an incredible number of jets, but it certainly looks to me that the buyibg public has decided to wait and see just how the plane will truly perform before making further numerous commitments.

airtaximan said...

my curiosity lies in the delivery positions and order book.
How can Eclipse claim there are postions available for 2008 delivery, if they have sold 2400 -2600 planes? In a year or two, they will deliver so many planes that you can still get one for 2008 delivery? I think an explanation is in order...

Anonymous said...

airtaximan said: my curiosity lies in the delivery positions and order book.
How can Eclipse claim there are positions available for 2008 delivery, if they have sold 2400 -2600 planes? In a year or two, they will deliver so many planes that you can still get one for 2008 delivery? I think an explanation is in order...


Fleet positions, which comprise the majority of orders on the books are scheduled out through 2010.

Buckerfan said: it certainly looks to me that the buying public has decided to wait and see just how the plane will truly perform before making further numerous commitments.

Makes sense. Why commit funds at this time until the details are sorted out. If you wait a week, a month, or a couple of months, to make a deposit, the delivery date does not change by that much, assuming the production numbers come in as Eclipse has planned for the future.

airtaximan said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Still two comments recently made here peak my curiosity on this subject.
1) There are around 700 individual buyers (not fleet customers)
2) Eclipse can reassign your position.

If there are around 700 orders , PLUS fleet orders for a total of 2500 or so orders, there must be at least a few hundred fleet planes deliveries scheduled for pre-Q3 2008 as well.

IOf Eclipse reassigns positions, I would assume that they would reassign orders earlier in order to not peeve their individual customers...but perhaps I'm wrong on this.

My question remains, how does one receive a delivery position in Q3 2008?

Stan Blankenship said...

You guys did a heck of keeping the blog alive.

At times there was a slugfest going on with a few low blows thrown in, but overall there were good discussions on both sides from individuals knowledgeable on the subject.

Comments from both Eclipseowner387 and eclipseblogger helps me see both side of the issue and adds to the value of the blog. Don't leave us.

Unsafe, yes I was able to keep up with the comments from various internet cafes while my wife shopped. A couple of sessions got expensive.

Buckerfan, am going to add your experience with Eclipse up to the home page to make it easier for future readers to hear about your experience. Thanks for sharing.

Otherwise:

If done correctly, FSW is stronger than conventional riveting. Keep in mind, putting holes in for rivets weakens the joint. The more rivets, the more holes.

I am not aware of any FAA requirement regarding corrosion protection or testing. For instance, I don't think there is a requirement to use zinc chromate or any of the other corrosion inhibitors in aircraft fabrication. It is just good practice to avoid future problems.

To avoid knife edges on the countersink, every manufacturer's design manual I have read limits countersinking rivet holes to material .040 and thicker. Thinner material should be dimpled.

The use of .025 material in the Eclipse is probably "O-too-thin".

Griper said...

Welcome back Stan. It's been interesting while you've been gone. But getting kind of old. .025 is too thin probably for a high cycle, long life pressurized aircraft as this one is purported to be.

EclipseBlogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gmcjetpilot said...

SHAME ON ALL OF YOU. This building experimental aircraft for profit is what has alerted the FAA and the GOV to look at and consider changing the Experimental Aircraft / Amateur built airplane laws, that have been blessedly liberal and nonrestrictive since the 1950's. THANKS FOR NOTHING. The amateur built class was made NOT to circumnavigate the certification process or profit. It's always a few that ruin it for the rest of use. If you can not build 51% of your turbine plane yourself, than you can't have an experimental plane. Captain George