Guest Contribution - Eclipse Correspondence
bambazonke posted the following three messages from Eclipse. They were a bit off the radar screen and deserve higher visibility:
Of utmost importance to Eclipse is the trust that you, our customer community, has placed in us. More specifically, we are sensitive to your concerns that our production schedule will not be met and that the additional payment (to bring your cumulative deposit up to sixty percent) is therefore premature.
To address your concerns Eclipse is announcing that for customers with a scheduled delivery date on or before September 30, 2007, we will reduce your final payment due at delivery by 0.5% per month (6% annual interest rate) of the additional payment we are asking you to pay now.
Attached is an Aircraft Purchase Agreement Addendum that will be added to all Aircraft Purchase Agreements where aircraft delivery is scheduled on or before September 30, 2007. Please note that Eclipse has a one-month grace period before the interest calculation takes affect.
Vern RaburnPresident & CEO
and another one;
Earlier this year, we announced that the Eclipse 500 had fallen short of our guaranteed performance numbers and we declared a refund event. At the same time we committed to a plan to improve those performance numbers. We also told you that there would be two different configurations of the airplane based on our implementation plan for the performance improvements.
The following Customer Technical Communication outlines the final Eclipse 500 Performance Improvement Program and I am pleased to report that the performance improvement program has met our expectations. Through engineering re-design and flight testing, Eclipse has identified and tested improvements that enable the Eclipse 500 to achieve the promised speed of 370 knots (TAS) and 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR with 100 nm alternate).
In addition, contrary to our previously announced plans, Eclipse is now committing to go beyond our initial pledge. We will retrofit all aircraft with these performance modifications, ensuring that there is a singular aircraft fleet with the above mentioned performance numbers.
I, and the entire Eclipse team, are listening to you, our customers and working diligently to deliver your Eclipse 500.
Vern RaburnPresident & CEO
Customer Technical Communication Item No.: 2006-12-004
Title: Eclipse 500 Performance Improvement ProgramOverview:
This past summer, Eclipse Aviation revealed the performance numbers for the Eclipse 500 and the plans to improve those numbers. We are pleased to report that the performance improvement program is progressing quite well. Through engineering re-design and flight testing, Eclipse has identified and tested improvements that enable the Eclipse 500 to achieve the promised speed of 370 knots (TAS) and 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR with 100 nm alternate). In addition, contrary to our previously announced plans, Eclipse has now decided to retrofit all aircraft with these performance modifications (paying for labor and parts), ensuring that there is a singular aircraft fleet.
The initially-certified Eclipse 500 has fallen short of its performance guarantees in speed and range. Eclipse embarked on a performance improvement program one year ago to improve this situation and committed to meeting the speed guarantee of 375 knots (TAS) +/- 2.5%, but would not meet the range guarantee of 1280 nm +/- 5%. This work resulted in a plan that would yield a speed of 370 knots (TAS) and a 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR with 100 nm alternate).
Based on that fact that the Eclipse 500 would not meet the published range, Eclipse declared a refund event for our customers. During this event, Eclipse announced a performance improvement plan that included different modifications for the first 100 aircraft versus subsequent aircraft. The first 100 aircraft would only see a speed of 360 knots and a range of 1,055 nm. Additionally, Eclipse committed to its customers that the company would continue to explore the possibility of retrofitting additional improvements to these aircraft. We realized that the best and most expeditious solution is to have one fleet; therefore, we will be retrofitting all aircraft with the performance improvements that yield a speed of 370 knots (TAS) and 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR with 100 nm alternate).
To date, two flight test aircraft have been fitted with the extended tip tanks (ETT). Additionally, one of these aircraft has also been fitted with additional prototype performance modifications. This aircraft has completed development flight testing and proven that these modifications will give the anticipated performance results. Once the wing bushing installation is completed (due to the previously communicated wing issue) on these two aircraft, we will start the certification program for these improvements. Procurement of the production parts and mod kits are well under way.
The changes to the airplane to achieve this performance include:
1. Extended tip tanks (ETT): ETT modifications are finalized and add 25 gallons of fuel.
2. Horizontal/vertical (bullet) fairing: A newly-designed tail bullet fairing has been incorporated to smooth out the flow between the interface to the horizontal and vertical stabilizers.
3. Flight controls: We have added covers over the hinges on the elevators, rudders, and ailerons. The elevator and rudders have been extended eliminating the gurney tabs that added significant drag. This change has also improved the control forces.
4. Engine pylon and nacelle: The pylon skin will be stiffened and the trailing edges modified. In addition, the lower nacelle panel has been modified to reduce the aerodynamic losses.
5. Landing gear and wheel assembly: Main landing gear fairings and more aerodynamic wheel covers have been added.
6. Engine thrust schedule adjustment: The Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) software will be changed to enable thrust preservation at cruise altitudes from 25,000 feet through the certified max altitude of 41,000 feet. This is NOT an increase in the 900-pound thrust rating of the engine, but results in more thrust at typical jet cruise altitudes.
7. Miscellaneous: Drain hole scupper and rig pin hole covers have been aerodynamically improved.
Modifications to the wing de-ice system are no longer needed to achieve these performance numbers.Aircraft
The results of the performance improvement program have been phenomenally successful. With the drag reduction fixes in place, we now have data and flight testing that give high confidence that the speed and range specifications will meet the target of 370 knots (TAS) and 1,125nm (NBAA IFR range with 100 nm alternate). These improvements will be reflected in an updated Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) and Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM).
Implementation of Modifications:
* All aircraft will be modified to meet the specification of 370 knots (TAS) and 1,125 nm (NBAA IFR range with 100 nm alternate)* Aircraft modification will be conducted at an Eclipse Service Center.
* Eclipse will assume the cost of the modification (labor and parts only). The modification is estimated to take three weeks. We are working various approaches to reduce this time.
* At this time, we expect to have this configuration certified sometime between mid-March and mid-April 2007.
* We are refining a production incorporation plan that deliver aircraft with these full modifications immediately upon certification of the configuration.
* Aircraft delivered prior to certification of this configuration will be modified on an as-scheduled basis after aircraft delivery. This activity will be coordinated through Customer Care, which will be providing further information in the coming weeks to clarify specific serial number impact, and provide more detailed performance data and modification details.
THIS IS NOT AN ECLIPSE AVIATION SERVICE BULLETIN.