Monday, November 27, 2006


Wing Fittings

The attached photo was taken at Oshkosh 2003.

The suspect wing fitting is just above the flap track in the image. It is not real beefy so it was never intended to carry much load.

The forward link is also pretty light and would not be able to do much work, leaving the center or main spar fitting to carry the majority of the wing loads.

All of this has been static tested to the predicted loads. It is conceivable the bushing in the aft fitting was incorrectly installed causing the .100" slop. It is also conceivable loads in the real world were higher than predicted causing the the holes to elongate.

In either event, a fix would not be too tough to achieve.

43 comments:

wrangler said...

Stan said:
It is conceivable the bushing in the aft fitting was incorrectly installed causing the .010" slop.

AVweb quoted Raburn as saying it was .100", not .010".

http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/12_46b/leadnews/Teething_Problem_Eclipse_193758-1.html

The picture you posted seems to show a poor design. Carrying the main load through a single point will lead to much higher torsional stresses than with a two point design. I think the wing bushing, windshield cracks, and the (rumored) skin issues all point to a design that is simply not suited to the proposed high-cycle airtaxi market. Any issue can be fixed, but it takes money and time. What other problems will appear once these aircraft are put into heavy use? Vern has done an excellent job of stringing along the investors but even the greatest salesmen have limits. I just hope we don't see a lot of smoking craters before they get fixed.

Since EclipseBlogger brought up the issue again, Vern has repeatedly set himself up as a "David and Goliath" against the competition. In particular, he accused Cessna's Mustang as being a "late-entry" to take advantage of his "revolutionary" idea. According to a well-placed source, Cessna considered the Mustang design long before they made a public announcement. I don't know if they've worked on the Mustang as long as Eclipse has worked on the E500 but compare the initial announcements to the finished product. Cessna made sure they could deliver on their promises before going public. On the other hand, compare the first E500 specs to the (finished?) aircraft.

Maybe being able to deliver on your promises is what Vern meant by calling them "fossilized"?

airtaximan said...

That wing attachment reminds me of the Eclipse display of the EJ-22 compressor perched on a scale at the shows. I guess they were pround of how how light it was.

I wondered: "why are they showing this to the public. Do they think it's a selling feature?"

The extremely light overall weight and fingernail size tiny little blades inspired zero confidence. It looked flimsy, risky, and certainly not something designed for fail-safe durability.

A reasonable design criteria and specification for an "air taxi" plane would have never resulted in the Eclipse 500. Engineers are better than designing a plane for high cycle dispatch reliability and durability, only to have the windows cracking, bushings working, and maybe etc., etc., etc... if we believe the reports of brake issues, skins.. this early on in the program.

Cessna's Mustang breezed along, with little fanfare...sold a few hundred planes, and never mentioned the Mustang as an air taxi plane. Why wasn't this approach good enouph for Vern?

I guess his low priced bonanza-jet didn't sell enouph to justify high rate production and the resulting low cost...700 or so E500s sold to individuals (if you believe the reports on this blog), over a 7 year period of intense and expensive marketing and promotion...at prices intially below $1 million with greater performance and payload range.

Folks placed big non-refundable deposits based on a lower price with greater performance and little or no competition. With honest payload range and speed specifications, the higher price and active competition, perhaps Eclipse sales would be even lower.

No large market for individuals...hence, the air taxi...the problem is, everyone knows this plane is no air taxi.

EclipseBlogger said...
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Bambazonke said...

A friend of mine sent me some news from Vern that was apparently posted on their website tonight. Seems that the skin story might have some legs;

Dear Customers,

For the past several weeks, many of you have been waiting for the news that Eclipse Aviation has delivered the first production aircraft (AC1) after being awarded a Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A). That important milestone event has not yet taken place and in turn, this may be impacting your confidence that Eclipse can perform, and more importantly meet the schedules we have projected for delivering your aircraft. Some of you have specifically asked whether it will still be appropriate for us to invoice for the upcoming 60% progress payment due for aircraft scheduled to be delivered through June 30, 2007. The following letter addresses this question and other issues surrounding our transformation from a development company to a production company.

AC1 Delivery Delays

The following are the facts and circumstances which have caused the delay in the C of A for AC1 and subsequent customer delivery.

Prior to entering the process for conformity to the FAA Type Design, AC1 was flown by Flight Operations, checked by Flight Test, and was submitted for the inspection process discrepancy free. Additionally Flight Test, Production and Quality Assurance found AC1 to be safe, met all of our quality standards, and ensured that the aircraft was ready to submit to the FAA. There is no issue with the airplane. However, through the process of working with the FAA, we did find that there is an issue with our internal conformity process.

The process required for awarding of a C of A and eventually our Production Certificate (PC) is both an inspection and testing process. Most importantly, it is an administrative review by the FAA of Eclipse's compliance to our processes and procedures used to build and test the aircraft. This process and review is designed to show that the accuracy and repeatability of the production process demonstrates that the type design that the FAA certified is indeed the airplane that is being built. This administrative review process is very well defined, detailed and unforgiving. It is what will give the FAA and every customer confidence that all Eclipse 500s are safe and meet the same TC conformity as any aircraft on the line.

In high-tech product development and aircraft manufacturing, the Quality organization is the guardian and the mentor for excellence in manufacturing. The reason that the delivery of AC1 is late is due to the fact that the Quality process designed for achieving aircraft C of A was not sufficiently designed and tested resulting in administrative quality escapes. The quality escapes we have experienced are characterized in two content areas including conformity to the aircraft build instructions and the clarity of the functional test procedures. With the problems identified, we elected to completely stop the process, evaluate the circumstances, develop a corrective action plan, and only then, restart the FAA inspection. We did not want to restart the process with the FAA until we were confident that the result will be an awarding of C of A for AC1. After meeting with the FAA in Fort Worth last week, the action plan has been written and coordinated with them. The Eclipse internal resources are in place and we are focused on completing the conformity process. We will work our way through this issue.

This learning experience has given us the following immediate actions to refocus and strengthen the quality oversight and process routine.

Manufacturing will re-conduct the conformity checks on AC1 before we invite the FAA back. All activity the week of November 27th will be focused on process correction and preparation to restart the C of A process. This correction process is being conducted in cooperation with the FAA. The FAA team will return to Eclipse during the week of December 4th to begin the formal certification process.
Conforming audits and inspections will be increased on the production line prior to starting the formal C of A inspections.
Please note that none of these internal delays are related to the recent communication of wing attach issues on the test fleet or window issues we disclosed to you.

Aircraft Delivery Schedule

Eclipse fully intends to meet its obligation for the delivery schedule. We are positioned with an achievable plan to deliver approximately 10 aircraft in 2006 and 515 aircraft in 2007. It is important to note that the delay caused by AC1 is not a day for day delay. We have parts and components coming in from suppliers and are hiring manufacturing personnel consistent with this production and delivery schedule. We have over 30 aircraft in various stages of assembly (pictures below) per our schedule and are actually ahead of schedule in primary assembly. Aircraft 3 and 4 have been through their engine runs and are scheduled to fly in the coming week. Additionally, there have been positive results in production rate attainment and significant reductions in instances of non-conformance throughout the production line.


Sunport 11 Initial Assembly


Sunport 2 Final Assembly - all of these aircraft will be delivered this year!

The receipt of the six month progress payments is connected to the continued flow of parts to build your aircraft. This payment schedule is tied directly to the production schedule, and is an integral part of the acquisition process for your Eclipse 500. Our Customer Care organization is the primary point of contact to help you complete any optional equipment selections, the aircraft purchase agreement, and submit the required progress payment. If you have questions or issues regarding this process, please let us know how we can to make the experience and our delivery processes as thorough and efficient as possible.

We are asking that all of our customers work with us and support us during this transition from a development company to a production company. Now is the time for shared communication and mutual support. We will continue to give you the information you need to prepare for your Eclipse 500 delivery. As our production process moves up the learning curve, we will project more specific aircraft delivery dates. Eclipse is focused and committed to complete this production certification process and deliver your aircraft.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best regards,

Vern Raburn
CEO and President
Eclipse Aviation

airtaximan said...

bambazonke,

Sounds to me like a cry for help.

There's nothing specific in the communication, which is suspicious, to say the least.

Quality is not an afterthought, and is being described as such by Mr. Raburn. The contention last week that they have no quality check upon receiving shipments from suppliers is in line with his statements. Anyone who’s been through a QMS development will recognize the communiqué as a joke.

I read:
"Send me your money. It'll be OK, I swear, this time..."

Thanks for the update.

airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

By wrangler stating Cessna had the design for the Mustang long before their announcement, I think he was suggesting years not a few days as you described. Only the folks following your statements on this blog could understand how/why you would make that mistake.

The point is, Cessna, and many other manufacturers have very active and talented Advanced Design teams, and it’s naive to think they did not have small, light jets on the drawing board well before Vern.

The established manufacturers did not accept the risk of relying on the FJX2/EJ22 engine as reasonable, and they did not want to blow a few hundred million dollars paying for or waiting for the engine to show up. It’s not a reasonable bet - Vern and his investor's expereince noted.

Vern did in fact blow a few hundred million dollars financing the development of the EJ22 engine, designing a plane around it, and selling and marketing it with huge money spent on publicity. When the engine failed, Vern had an order book and stories about fleets of air taxi planes. He eventually prompted Pratt Canada to finish the PW600 engine, and supply it to Vern for alot more money than he was paying for the EJ22. Cessna and eventually Embraer all benefited as did Eclipse...and the programs were born or as in the case of Eclipse -re-born. Since then, the FJ-33 went to certification as well, enabling even more activity in the market. The FJ-33 was in development for years prior to the EJ-22 (the PW600 engine as well, since the mid 1990s), and many of the VLJs are using this thrust class, not Vern’s EJ-22... Someone there has to be asking if only....

Vern's contribution to the aviation world so far, has been disproving the EJ22 at his cost, and encouraging Pratt to finish the development of the PW600 engine. He did this with huge sums of marketing and publicity dollars. Vern’s description of Cessna as a late-comer is a joke, to everyone except maybe the die-hards.

If you think Vern invented small jets..VLJs, microjets...whatever you want to call them...check out:

www.machdiamonds.com

(already posted on this blog) for some edification. Even Gulfstream had a VLJ design, way before Vern. Just to be clear for you, many years before....not days.

Stan Blankenship said...

wrangler,

Thanks for the correction, have changed the post.

Like you, I am not impressed in the way they are reacting wing loads into the fuselage, that is why I took the photo in 2003.

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat. The Eclipse approach is one way, but it is not the lightest way to go and as you say, concentrates nearly all loads at single point.

bambazonke,

I have read and re-read and re-read and re-read Vern's statement. He is turning into a real silver-tounged devil.

He defines his problems as "quality escapes". I would describe their problems as not knowing what in the hell they were doing evidenced by the fact that last week they had to meet with the FAA in Ft. Worth to get a basic course in quality requirements.

The following was my comment posted September 12, it is worth repeating:

Type certification is an engineering issue. The task for the Eclipse engineers was to design an airplane that met the criteria and then prove that all requirements were satisfied.

A Production Certificate is a totally different kettle of fish. The basis for a PC is the Quality Control Manual. It becomes the operational bible for the company. FAR Part 21 provides the guidelines, not many pages...not many words. But the breadth in scope and depth in detail the regulations govern is immense, far more than can be covered here.

The objective of the PC is to provide:

- 100% traceability for all parts
- 100% accountability, who did the work, who did the inspections
- 100% documentation
- 100% repeatability

The rules apply to Eclipse and all suppliers.

The FAA will give Eclipse six months to earn the PC. In the meantime, the FAA will come in and fully inspect each completed production airplane to ensure that each was built to the engineering, and all documentation as mentioned above is in place. On completion, the FAA will issue a Certificate of Airworthiness for that airplane and it can be sold to a customer.

These FAA inspections will be time consuming and tedious. FAA manpower resources are limited. An Adam Aircraft sales rep told me at Oshkosh, their delivery rate will pick up once they get their PC.

After Eclipse earns a PC, the inspection department working within the framework of the QC Manual, will be authorized to issue C of A's for production aircraft.


How long will it take Eclipse to earn a PC?

If they have done their homework during the past six years, have a complete QC Manual, can demonstrate to the FAA that all policies and procedures function properly, and they have a qualified and trained staff to implement the plan, the PC should come before the first dozen are delivered.

Ideally, Eclipse would have a retired FAA inspector or a grizzled old cantankerous inspector from the industry on board to help establish the ground rules. Either would understand the requirements and not bow to management pressures to bend the rules.

One of the intangible aspects the FAA will want to see before issuing the PC is some measure of independence on the part of the inspection department, as in, don't have inspection reporting to the head of manufacturing.

On August 14, 2006, Eclipse announced the hiring of Saul Pacheco as VP of Quality Control. He comes from the medical technology field and Motorola. He has no reported aviation experience nor experience working with the FAA. But I bet he can do a good power point presentation.

EclipseBlogger said...
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airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

Wee-jets have been on the drawing boards of the manufacturers for years. None of them wanted to accept the risk Vern took, and pay Williams to productionize and certify the engine. No one was offered this deal - Vern made it - it was very risky and costly. Cessna did not make that deal. They did however proceed with the development of the Mustang, when there was a viable engine, in their opinion. Looks to me like their assesment of the risk was pretty good. Vern's was pretty bad.

Your defense of Vern accusing Cessna's Mustang as being a "late-entry" to take advantage of his "revolutionary" idea, is silly.

EclipseBlogger said...
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observer2 said...

I have not seen any discussion on this topic as taken from the Eclipse web site in their schedule change log:

"Because the Eclipse 500 was awarded a 10,000 hour life following the results of static testing, we have moved the assembly of the fatigue airframe to after certification."

23.571 appears to allow analysis as the main source of compliance data. If they have extroplated their static data in fatique without running a full scale conformed fatique article, could this be the source of their latest findings?

airtaximan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

You state:
"I congratulated Cessna for starting their design later than Eclipse and finishing earlier."

Cessna and many other OEMs had VLJ type aircraft designs before Eclipse. None based their designs on the Williams technology demonstrator engine because of the high risk, and predictable lower than acceptable operating performance, cabin size and payload range ..that was left to Vern.

Your sarcasm noted.

Stan Blankenship said...

observer2,

Here is my guess on the fast track to 10,000 hours.

The static test article was heavily instrumented with strain gages at the critical points like the spar caps, wing fittings, around door openings, near gear attach points etc.

The recorded stress levels were sufficiently low enough to establish a minimum 10,000 hour life pending further testing.

Buckerfan said...

Question for Stan, and perhaps some others who also know a bit about aeronautical engineering:

Is a VLJ with 4 to 5 seats (ie 1000lb passenger/luggage load), a 1200nm IFR range, decent fuel economy (lets say 1nm per pound in cruise), and a price tag af about $1.5 million a theoretical possibility. Eclipse seems to have blown it materially on both the range and payload fronts. But I am curious if the right redesign were made what would the plane have to look like to achieve the above. Stan, you have suggested that the Eclipse wing is fundamentally too small. Is this the only fix that would have to be made. Would you suggest other aerodynamic improvements . Are the P@W engines appropriate in their current form, or do we need a better engine design. Would a composite fuelage, or total airframe improve matters, or is FSW of aluminum the right way to go.

As I have reported on this blog, I was an Eclipse deposit holder for about 18 months and was an avid reader of the Eclipse "customers only" website. I have to tell you however, in the last few months your blog, Stan, has become a far more useful source of insight and critique of the Eclipse. I would love to see the scope of your blog extended to cover not just the latest gossip on Eclipse, but news and views on the whole VLJ phenomenon. It is with this in mind that I pose my question above.

Stan, perhaps your blog could become THE source for the nascent VLJ industry. Perhaps this could be a commercial venture, start to take a little advertising. I dont know where else people can go to find unfiltered news on the industry, with lots of insightful commentary. Just a thought. The need is certainly there.

AeroObserver said...

Buckerfan,

Blogs might contain news, but that doesn't make them a news publication. They also contain opinion, speculation and plain flat out incorrect facts. If a newspaper or magazine contained all of these things, they'd quickly be sued and put out of business. Take what you read in blogs with a grain of salt -- be sure to check the "facts" that are posted.

That said, this blog does raise some interesting questions. Questions are good...that's how we learn.

Stan Blankenship said...

Buckerfan,

If you are suggesting a twin engine cabin class airplane for around $1.5 million, then it's probably a stretch.

A single engine 4-place, no aisle, no john, perhaps.

Look at the price differential between a Bonanza and Baron even though there isn't much difference in the airframes.

Regarding mods to the Eclipse, Vern is hell bent on adding more fuel. His tip tanks add more weight, more drag and are inherently de-stabilizing. When they were first announced, the company said they would not carry that much fuel, just provide space for the FAA fuel expansion requirements.

I would like to see what the airplane would do with 3 foot wing extensions on each tip. They could provide volume for expansion and perhaps lower the angle of attack and lower the drag at high altitude cruise.

Composite airplanes have yet to show any advantage in either lighter weights or cost than comparable aluminum airplanes. They are an advantage to the startup designer. Build a few molds, lay up a good looking aircraft in a few months, head to Oshkosh with a handful of brochures and a ton of optimisim.

Thanks for your kind words on the blog but it is not all that much fun. It takes a lot of negative energy, not that there is not plenty to write about.

Take for instance the Honda Jet. The first announcements made a big deal about their extensive wind tunnel tests and how Honda had achieved laminar flow over most of the nose section. Of course their tests lacked the joint for the radome, pitot tubes, angle of attack vanes, bugs and dirt, all of which will trip the boundary layer after the first few inches.

airtaximan said...

buckerfan,

The question could be posed differently...and you might get your answer.

What would the volume production need to be in order for the benefits to kick in so that a very useful aircraft could be produced and sold for around $1.5 million?

What market would it be designed for, and what is the product spec that satisfied that market. What is the market size, and how affordable can the aircraft be?

I would put forth that the right air taxi jet (not a VLJ, the size is wrong, and they are not robust, economical, comfortable passenger aircraft with payload range for affordable seat prices and airliner durability) could satisfy the market size for many aircraft. I stress the word COULD. If you believe passengers will pay full-fare airline prices, there could be millions of people switching to air taxi. A lot of things need to fall into place.

This could require many planes, which could bring the price down.

The VLJ manufacturers, except Eclipse, have not really promoted their planes for this type of service, have limited by comparison orders, and better planes planned at lower production rates than Eclipse. They are not much more expensive when all things are considered, especially the lower production volumes planned.

The aircraft prices could come down, if the production volume was attractive enough, given learning curves, and other production advantages.

I believe you'll see programs headed for the air taxi market, with larger planes, at remarkably lower prices than you may be accustomed to seeing, based on higher volume. None will be VLJ's even though some will be less expensive than some VLJs.

The next step is in this direction...

flyforfun said...

Concerning the letter from Vern today, I heard from an informed source that one of the problems encountered during conformity was the thickness of one of the wing skins. TC indicated milled thickness of 40k and was found to be 32K. No supporting docs. for this were found.

Eric said...

Long time reader, first time poster...

Stan mentioned the HondaJet and its laminar flow:

I was also pretty skeptical that the actual production airplane in normal operations would be able to achieve this type of laminar flow. In my aircraft design class and aerodynamics class we went over all the shenanigans different manufacturers went through to coax as much laminar flow over an airframe and wing as possible. Turned out, once the airplane was in the real atmosphere with the bugs, dirt, and all the other crap that adheres to an airframe, the boundary layer was tripped and all the design efforts were pointless as the air went turbulent.

Now this is from memory so it might not be 100% accurate:
I seem to remember how North American had put a laminar wing on the P-51 and, in order to defeat the bug and dirt problem, put tape on the leading edges of the wings. After takeoff and heading up to cruise the tape would be removed revealing a shiny, polished, and clean leading edge. Apparently, they were somewhat successful with it but it was not practical for actual operational use.

P.S. Do not ask me how they removed the tape, I don't remember.

Stan Blankenship said...

flyforfun,

Your comment is precisely the type that sends aeroobserver into obit.

A serious defect, unsubstantiated. OK for a blog, not OK for publication.

It may or may not be true. All of us, including aeroobserver, will tuck this info into a file folder in our respective brains and wait until events either prove or disprove your comment.

And I would ask aeroobserver, what should flyforfun do with this information, wait until he gets the information from a second independent source or share the data as unsubstantiated?

airtaximan said...

Stan,

We all know it's a blog! If the tidbits offered here turn out to be true, then we have a benchmark for how long it takes Eclipse to fess up. It is important for owners to know this.

For now, like you say, tuck the rumors away, and see when the facts emerge. It’s been a long time since the fleet was grounded, and Eclipse's report provided only a couple of problems: cracked windshields and the bushing. If these rumors are true...it’s very telling.

So far...there's been a lot of accuracy.

AeroObserver said...

Stan,

flyforfun can say whatever he wants on this or any other blog. It's when people expect these kinds of comments to show up in a news publication just because they were posted on a blog that "sends [me] into obit.

As proof, I got an e-mail last night from a reader about our recent coverage of the delays at Eclipse. He seems to think we're going too soft on Eclipse, but I'm constrained by printing only the facts that I can back up. Blogs are not constrained by this, so they are more free to speculate. I acknowledged that blogs have a purpose in my last response, but no one obviously read it. I'll repost that comment here: "That said, this blog does raise some interesting questions. Questions are good...that's how we learn."

airtaximan said: "So far...there's been a lot of accuracy." Yes, and there's been a lot of inaccuracy, too. It's left up to the blog readers (bleaders?) to figure out which is which.

observer2 said...

Stan, your relaxed answer is confusing. Taking static loads and an S/N curve and showing 10,000 hours life seems quite a stretch. Particulary for an airplane intended for heavy cycles. Their windshield issue is perhaps an example of this. Other OEM's complete or have fleet leading fatique articles that catch these issues long before the operator. Not saying we have a "Comet" in the making. Just an observation that the risk would not appear to off set the reward. Do you think that the customers are aware of this and potential significant field activity if their testing uncovers issues? Warrenty burdens would be extreme for the company.

EclipseBlogger said...
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EclipseBlogger said...
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Bambazonke said...

Listened to the interview with KKA, still thinks that they are kicking Cessna's ass...makes comparisons with Cirrus and Columbia and their PC problems, surely he does not equate the complexity of what he is trying to acheive with a piston engine manufacturer. He continues to knock the other manufacturers, compares the Eclipse to the Boeing 777 and the equivalency of the flight testing that was done between the two aircraft. Minimizes the windshield cracking..claims cracking windshields is nothing new..first time I have heard of this happening on flight test aircraft..

Jim Campbell is a soft interiewer and did not ask probing questions.

Anyone who wants to waste some time here is the link ; http://www.aero-news.net/podcasts/casts/3/ann-special-feature-2006-11-29.mp3

No questions about the skins, compressor stalls, phugoid oscillations etc.

Stan Blankenship said...

observer2,

Your guess is as good as mine but here is mine.

The fatigue spectrum is based on the loads experienced over a given time period, let's say a 1,000 hours.

During that period there would be so many hard landings, so many soft landings and so many in between. Same with gust loads, X number of occurrences of a 25 ft/sec gust, so many at 24 ft/sec etc. Same with maneuver loads.

If during static testing the max stress level recorded was 8,000 psi for the extreme conditions as an example, Eclipse engineering could correlate the max stress level to the spectrum and the S/N diagram and justify the 10,000 level.

If Eclipse has not run the fatigue tests yet, they would have to pencil whip the problem. I agree, 10,000 is a lot of hours, a lifetime for a lot of corporate jets.

Again, I don't buy the fatigue issue for the windows. Do the cracks occur after 150 pressurization cycles or one hard landing in a cross-wind that twists the fuselage from side loads on the nose gear?

Stan Blankenship said...

eclipseowner387
eclipseblogger,

Let's assume your airplane falls in that block of airplanes scheduled for delivery before June 20, 2007.

If you elect not to send in the additional 60% progress payment, do you forfeit your deposit?

Do any position holders such as yourselves, have any rights to cancel with cause and receive a deposit refund?

Buckerfan said...

Stan, the Aviace dispute might shed some light on your question. If I undersand it correctly, Eclipse sent Aviace the notice for the 60% deposit payment and Aviace refued to pay it. This could be because they felt there were legitimate questions about whether Eclipse had truly met the bemchmarks in the agreement, or beacuse they did not have the money, or perhaps both. In any event it seems Eclipse simply cancelled the Aviace deliveries and kept the original 10% deposits. On the Customers Only part of the website some speculated that Eclipse was loking for any excuse, minor breach etc to declare early deposiitors in default on their deposit agreements, so as to avoid having to deliver the early planes at the locked in (and money losing) roughly $1mill price.
The only opportunity for the deposit holders to cancel and receive the 10% back was if Eclipse failed to meet the specified guarantees (range, max cruise, stall speed etc) or of they failed to receive TC by the due date. If I recall correctly, if you did not take the chance to get the refund then, there would be no further chance. This is all rather amusing when you consider that they are now presumably asking for the 60% deposits for deliveries "scheduled" in the next six months on a plane that is grounded and to be built om a production line that is having major QC excursions.

EclipseBlogger said...
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Stan Blankenship said...

Let's back up about 10 hours and start over without the acrimony.

Capt. Zoom has published his interview with Vern on aero-news.net. There is plenty to talk about here.

eclipseblogger,

My guess is who has what serial number might be a moot point. Those waving another $500k will probably go to the front of the line. At this point, the speculators will be happy to let others go first.

airtaximan said...

From AVWEB:
Vern Raburn says: The FAA found problems with Eclipse's conformity process -- not the airplane itself -- and the company must rectify those issues before it can start deliveries. Eclipse is working closely with the FAA to create a plan of action to address all of the concerns.

Plus in the ANN interview, Vern seemed to say that two very experienced employees did not follow the process exactly as laid out, and that resulted in the problem, not the product of their work. The FAA notice this upon inspection.

Does any of this make sense?
-how would the FAA find conformity process problems that are not reflected in the airplane? Is Vern trying to say that the TC is still in tact, its just the PC that is the problem...is it that global a statement, or is there something specific here? How does this relate to the cracking windshield and the bushing issue. In the ANN interview Vern goes on about how insignificant the bushing is, how small it is and how it creates no safety problem whatsoever. Can this be true? Are these conformity process issues? They are treated seperately, as if they have nothing to do with why Eclipse is grounded.

-do you work with the FAA to create a plan of action to address ALL of the concerns? What does this mean? How many conformity concerns, non-conformities reflected in planes or conformity process issues that do not result in a non-conforming plane (as Ver would have us believe) are there? Does the FAA get involved with creating action plans?

I work for an air taxi company and I am not that familiar with this end of the business...can anyone clarify? Is it fair to be skeptical about what is being said?

flight guy said...

Aitaximan,

I would be skeptical. Vern is talking from both sides of his mouth. If it is truly misaasembled there would be no need for design changes. QA would just affirm that the manufacturing was completed to design print.

The production aircraft would not have fixes to the problem. Most importantly spacers or shims would not be required to fix the wing bushing. All that would be required would be corrective action that ensured the assemblers installed windows and bushings to print in the form of process controls.

EclipseBlogger said...
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airtaximan said...

flight guy,

eclipseblogger is right. When a plane has a problem, like cracking windows and excessive structural parts wear, a redesign is probably in order. Unfortunately, Vern does not seem to agree.

In the Spectrum case, one where the issue was in fact an assembly mistake, Linden Blue immediately stated they would redesign.

At Eclipse, where the issues are parts wear and cracking, Vern states emphatically that there is no problem with the plane, only the conformity process.

BIG difference... big enough to require media interviews and letters to the customers to make sure no one thinks there's a problem with the plane(s), just the "conformity process". Somehow, this differnce is going to mesmerize some Eclipse customers into ponying up their 60% deposit.

Linden Blue could have easily said, there's no problem with the plane, just that the assembly instructions were not followed...HE DID NOT say this - he is doing a redesign.

Why can't Vern act this way, and make us all more comfortable with Eclipse? Perhaps he's afraid of losing his self-assessed "A" for the Eclipse design (funny), or perhaps he's trying to get as many 60%-ers on the hook as soon as possible...there must be a reason.

flight guy said...

Eclipseblogger,

So do you believe someone would could possibly die. I thought according to Vern it was no big deal. The fail safe acrylic was in place for the windshield and the bushing only moved slightly. According to Vern, none of the production aircraft were effected. Vern can't have it both ways. That is the point everyone is trying to make clear. Were they safety issue or weren't they.

Spectrum had misinstalled the cables,, which according to reports is true. Not too publicly known was that the design was a simple experimenatal system that was not production "worthy". Unfortunately, the accident was incentive for Spectrum to make the change with the correct belcrank design. That is the difference in experimental and production aircraft. Vern is learning this now the hard way.

airtaximan said...
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airtaximan said...

flight guy,

You are missing eclipseblogger’s point:

If the problem(s) at Eclipse is purely assembly, Vern should even in that case decide to re-design. He is correcting your statement that in case of a mis-assembly, no redesign would be required. He offers dead pilots at Spectrum as (morbid) proof.

But remember, eclipseblogger also believes that no redesign is required at Eclipse...strange, since even if its just an assembly problem and not design or manufacturing issues it would require redesign - but I guess Vern said so. According to PT Vernum, there is no problem with the planes - period. Anyone who says there is a problem with the planes is a liar. The only problems are with the "conformity process" – today’s Vern and churn on:

http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/52939.html

It’s only a paperwork problem, there is no design issue, the planes are perfect....
I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

NO REDESIGN REQUIRED AT ECLIPSE. Period. The windshield cracking and structural wear on the bushing are the result of "conformity process" issues.
Nothing but paperwork issues. You are all lying!

Flight guy:
Now do you understand?

EclipseBlogger said...
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airtaximan said...
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airtaximan said...

eclipseblogger,

(I'll try to make this not only blogger-proof...eclipseblogger-proof)

I gather, you agree that Vern is wrong when he states it's just a paperwork problem?

Parts need to be redesigned? Right?

Things are cracking and wearing...probably a BIG case for re-designing parts...right?

And this is a special case, not just business as usualy re-design over the normal life on an aircraft. This is a grounded fleet, trying like mad to get a first customer delivery. This is a big deal, not simply design improvements - its trying to get the first production plane passed the FAA sold to a customer. Its different than the daily job of improving an airplane in service, right?

Why did it take so long to get to this admission?

EclipseBlogger said...
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