Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

No doubt there are some happy folks down in Albuquerque as 'eclipseblogger' informed us earlier this evening that the company had received a Certificate of Airworthiness for the first production aircraft.

This paved the way for the first delivery as well.

Congratulations are certainly in order for both achievements.

80 comments:

Green-or-Red said...

+++++ PRESS RELEASE +++++

Eclipse Aviation Delivers First Customer Eclipse 500

Company kicks off an aggressive delivery schedule fueled by a modern manufacturing infrastructure

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - December 31, 2006 - Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world's first very light jet (VLJ), delivered its first customer aircraft today at its headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ramping up to fulfill the backlog of more than 2,500 aircraft, the company already has 37 additional aircraft on its production line in various stages of assembly. Seven of these aircraft have completed final assembly and are being prepared for delivery. In the coming days, Eclipse will hold a delivery ceremony at the company headquarters.

"For many years, the promise of this day has fueled the passion and perseverance of everyone associated with Eclipse," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. "Today, as we deliver the first Eclipse 500, our dream of opening up the world of private jet travel to a new realm of customers has become a reality."

The first customer Eclipse 500 was delivered to co-owners David Crowe, a private owner, and Jet-Alliance, a shared jet ownership company in Westlake Village, California. While Crowe plans use his time with the jet primarily for recreation, Jet-Alliance will be using it to serve the needs of their growing list of co-ownership clients.

"Although the vision of an affordable jet may have seemed like a risky investment to some back in 2000, I never doubted this day would come," said Crowe. "With my Eclipse 500, I'll not only have convenient access to my favorite places and hobbies, I'll have a lot more time to enjoy them."

To maximize his investment and Eclipse 500 usage, Crowe entered a partnership to co-own his Eclipse 500 with Jet-Alliance. Their arrangement is a fitting example of the Eclipse 500's appeal to both private owners and a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this major event in aviation history by accepting co-ownership with David Crowe of the very first Eclipse 500," said Randall Sanada, president and CEO of Jet-Alliance. "The Eclipse 500 creates wonderful new alternatives for traveling and owning a jet aircraft, and our clients have been awaiting this day just as eagerly as we have."

With new facilities and team members in place, Eclipse is poised to begin ramping production rates. The company is leveraging advanced manufacturing methods not traditionally used in aviation to dramatically increase manufacturing efficiency. These include proven automotive manufacturing techniques such as moving assembly lines and robotics. The company's current facilities are designed to support the production of approximately 1,000 aircraft a year, or four aircraft per day.

bambazonke said...

There is no mention of a PC, and in a press release I read (Avweb) it said that the PC had not been issued quote: "The company plans to aggressively ramp up production to deliver more than 500 aircraft by the end of this New Year. However, it still has not received an FAA Production Certificate that would permit such a high rate of deliveries."

This delivery took place using a method, i.e. individual certification that Eclipse said they would not use, this was done to window dress the promise of a delivery before the end of the year. Funny how they never seem to be able to release the truth behind what it is they are accomplishing, in a way trying to embellish the achievement. This is really not necessary, this is a great achievement on its own, there is no need for the window dressing, this is the reason why KKA and the gang are looked at with suspicion in the in the industry.

As to the question Stan posed the other day about owners balking at the 60% when there is no PC, well there has been some dissention amongst the ranks. The consensus is that KKA should not be asking for deposits in advance of a feasible delivery date, and there is also concern that the deposit funds are being diverted to pay of existing completions, not the aircraft for which the deposits are being extracted. There is even one comparison made by one of the disgruntled position holders to Enron. I expect that this will die down now that KKA has delivered a plane, but wait to they discover that there is no PC, this will again fan the fires in the malcontents.

EB, when do you that EAC will now sell a POH to the public?

EclipseOwner387 said...

The position holders are quite aware that there is no PC. But it does put forth a vote of confidence that the FAA doesn't believe the plane has major problems that were being covered up and now just points us toward the reality of how arduous a PC is to obtain. But if they can build an airworthy airplane they will get the PC eventually is my take on it.

bambazonke said...

eclipseowner387- in the Avweb article EAC says that they are going to produce 500 aircraft in the New Year, assuming this is 2007. How many pilots do you know of that have already been trained and checked out in the E-500? I suspect that the answer is zero. Next question; how do you think that EAC is going to train pilots at a rate that equals the production projection of 500 units per annum?

EclipseBlogger said...
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EclipseOwner387 said...

Bambazonke,

My biggest concern about this program has and continues to be Eclipse's ability to deliver the high rate of airplanes the business plan requires. Training is lumped in that concern. I know some pilots have started at least preliminary training but it is a concern. Not impossible to overcome but is Eclipse ready to handle it? I don't know the answer to that. Maybe EB has more info on this.

EclipseBlogger said...
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airtaximan said...

I wonder what Randall Sandana is promising? It seems like somehow he is offering a service that quells the consternation of the E-clips buyer. What is the promise that does away with the fear the E-clips buyer really has? Why such a prominent feature in the recent PR? It seems like this new company has some magic that is serving E-clips well. How does it serve the customer? How many "users" or "fractional buyers" do they have? Have they ever had any? What's the plan? I would worry about this seemingly vital piece of the pie - they solved a big problem for at least the first E-clips buyer, with apparently... nothing.

There are real issues with E-clips:
- residual value of a new plane
- residual value of the first planes off the ramp, with upgrades needed
- residual values with neophyte pilots
-residual values with large fleet orders from neophyte customers with zero record
- residual values on a plpane with no end in the volume of production offered by the OEM
- no residual guarantees, usualy provided by the OEM to companies backing buyers
- no remarketing money usually required from the OEM by financial institutions financing buyers

It seems like Vern has agreed to cultivate no-experience players, in order to create the impression none of this will be an issue. He has backed them with a wink and a nod...and now, my question is...when will the plane-of-cards come falling down? There's nothing behind most of the orders, their supporting companies (like alliance and dayjet) and the whole strategy. Why has not one fleet order come from any established jet fleet operator?

If the IPO does not come very soon, they are GONE.

bambazonke said...

Airtaximan interesting comments was wondering the same. A couple of other items to ponder;

Jet-Alliance is taking over the banner whilst Day Jet gets their act together. Jet-Alliance claim that they have 800+ people waiting for Eclipse positions. I happen to know that Randall was offered a position
recently to put into his operation, and the deal is you bring the plane and 10 partners and he will operate the program for you. They don't front up any money for the additional positions that they put on their program. So this is another one of those under funded operations that have a big internet presence and no substance to them. It is funny how KKA is now apparently showing them up as a poster child. When you read their website and the press, you would think that they were major players, they have one plane so far...

If you look at their website it has not been updated for sometime, their values on the aircraft are not realistic, and they intend to operate these midget jets with 2 crew. How much payload do they think that they will have for the retail buyer, and how far do they think the mj will go? At least they won't need any ballast in the front to keep the C of G in check.

I also know that platinum positions are falling in price, aircraft that were fetching premiums of $500k are now changing hands for a lot less. The most recent one that I am aware of sold for $1,618m with nearly 200K in options. So the margins have shrunk and I would suspect this is because of a number of reasons, not the least of which are the aircraft that EAC are easing into the market, offering Johnny come lately's positions that are more favorable than the faithful that have been supporting this program for 6 years or more. Given all the delays and the fact that deposits are being called for with unattractive demands if you don't comply, you would think that EAC would reward the faithful with a move up in positions.

More puff out of the KA factory..

EclipseBlogger said...
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airtaximan said...

EB,

I actually thought there was something to Jet-Alliance before you provided such an enlightening description of their meager state.

The issues I bring to light are real world financing issues anyone buying an E-clips (or other plane) should be concerned with. I questioned what Jet-Alliance was doing to offset the risks, and I described some strategies used by established aircraft manufacturers.

Your answer only makes the Jet-Alliance E-clips poster-child look MORE like a sham. If Jet-Alliance has really found a way to offset the risks, it would be great to know how. And since you jumped to their defense, one would presume you have some facts to present.

I do not agree that FedEx had the same risk as E-clips, as you describe. E-clips is making a plane, which involves the specific issues regarding residual value and financing that I outlined. FedEx did not have this issue.

I love start ups, and when I see one that makes a difference to some folks which is not clear to me, I wonder what value they are offering. So far, I see none from Jet-Alliance that would make me feel better about buying the E-clips...but it somehow made a difference to the purchaser of the first one. I wonder why/how?

Stan Blankenship said...

Check the new video on the Eclipse website.

www.eclipseaviation.com

Nice demo on friction stir welding.

Again, note the complexity of the holding fixture. One can see, the process can only be used in selected applications.

Would estimate the cost for the machine around two million maybe more since they are pretty rare.

EclipseBlogger said...
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Green-or-Red said...

It will be interesting how soon either David Crowe or Jet-Alliance flies the plane. It is my understanding that Eclipse is leasing the airplane back and using it as a demo.

airtaximan said...

G/R
Seems like a no brainer purchase, now...I knew someone was adding something to the mix in order to complete the sale of E-clips one. Makes sense to me now...I wonder why Vern left this out of the PR?

Thanks

airtaximan said...

EB Said: “The FedEx comparison wasn't made in relation to Eclipse, but to Jet Alliance. You seem to believe that just because you don't understand the business plan and that Eclipse mentioned them in the press release, that they are some kind of front for shady Eclipse dealings.”

So why did you bring FedEx up in answer to my question? I said “There are real issues with E-clips:
- residual value of a new plane
- residual value of the first planes off the ramp, with upgrades needed
- residual values with neophyte pilots
-residual values with large fleet orders from neophyte customers with zero record
- residual values on a plane with no end in the volume of production offered by the OEM
- no residual guarantees, usually provided by the OEM to companies backing buyers
- no remarketing money usually required from the OEM by financial institutions financing buyers I do not understand how Jet-Alliance helps an Eclipse buyer.

How does Jet-Alliance, with no money and no real business or track record, help an E-clips buyer? Apparently someone here is suggesting THEY DO NOT...Eclipse leases the plane back, and David Crowe agrees to be number ONE off the line. Randall Sandana is just a poster child diversion of the fact that Eclipse really bought its own first plane, and is letting someone else use it from time to time...they would have you think it's the other way around, with a no experience "management" company in the middle...oh yeah...plus the added advantage of the tax dodge...

If you do not know, just say that…don’t bother diverting attention, making up silly comparisons that have nothing to do with the question, or insulting people…it just makes us think you are a Vern-like-minded-e-clips-die-hard (or direct employee)

EclipseBlogger said...
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AJ said...

Vern to appear on CNBC Squawkbox tomorrow-1/03/07 at 8:40 AM Eastern time. That is of course unless there is some kind of breaking news or something more important.

I'm sure he will give you guys much to talk about.

Griper said...

Eclipse leasing the first airplane back as a demo is not unusual. Eclipseblogger is right about Cessna doing the same thing with the first customer Mustang if I remember correctly. And I'm pretty certain that I've heard of this happening on many other first deliveries by other companies. Don't waste your bytes on that one. It's just a distraction.

airtaximan said...

More on Jet-Alliance:

“Fractional Alliance.” It is similar to other fractional jet ownership programs, but without so many fingers in the pie. We simply share in the actual costs of ownership and operations of the aircraft that we own together. Included in these costs is a modest administrative fee to Jet-Alliance. As a result, others can now join our Alliance and actually experience "affordable jet ownership."

The purchase price starts at under $100,000 for a 1/16th ownership in an Eclipse 500 Jet. Ownership fees start at $2,500 per month to cover the costs of insurance, taxes, pilot salaries, and other fixed expenses. Finally, there are usage fees amounting to $892 per occupied hour of aircraft operations to cover fuel and engine reserves. There are no charges for aircraft repositioning or “empty legs.”

Given that most privately-owned executive jets are unused 96% of the time, the justification of owning a jet is further reduced.

Most fractionals require a core fleet to provide service...they don't seem to be planning this. It sounds like OURPlane in Canada.

There seems to be around 100 people (including these sorts of companies) trying to sell Eclipse positions - this seems like a lot of people on the sell side...

EclipseBlogger said...
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airtaximan said...

EB, why so defensive? There are around 100 e-clips positions for sale...it seems like a lot. Some are for sale for almost a year...seems like a long time. Just like in your small town, it would seem like "a lot" (as you put it) of homes for sale, especially if it was a newly build community, would indicate something. Perhaps pre-construction buyers were seeking arbitrage instead of actually living in the homes. There are many other possible reasons, like increased crime, overcrowded schools, poorly constructed model homes, or the homes were sold in such a slick manner that there was dissappointment when a few were actually build..perhaps the financing market became difficult and interest rates on new construction went up...even just the fear of a downturn in the market could complell people to sell off. All of this (plus many other reasons) could create an environment where there are a lot of sellers...

All I said was it seems like there are a lot of sellers...keep laughing...

EclipseBlogger said...
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airtaximan said...

EB,
69 listed here, too... keep laughing....

CLICK ON Eclipse Aviation on the left at:
http://www.globalplanesearch.com/view/all/AllBJ.htm

EclipseBlogger said...
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Niner Zulu said...

Congratulations are due to Eclipse on delivery of their first jet.

But I am still skeptical about their claim that they will produce 500 jets this year.

Some basic math:

500 jets per year = 41.67 jets per month. According to Avweb today, Eclipse expects to deliver only 7 jets in January. That means that there will be only 11 months left to produce the remaining 493 jets or an average of 44.818 jets per month. Now assuming they don't quite hit 44.818 jets in February....well, you can see where this is going.

Any guesses as to the actual number that will be produced? I'm willing to stick my neck out and say less than 100, and I think I'm being optimistic.

This wouldn't be such an important issue if the company were able to turn a profit on smaller production numbers. But by their own admission, they need high numbers to make a profit. So far it's been 8 years of red ink, and my guess is that 2007 will not be profitable as well.

Maybe they should rethink their business plan and come up with a plan B.

AJ said...

9'er ZULU,

Vern says they will deliver "a bunch of jets" in January.

http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2007/01/01/daily6.html

The argument will be whether seven is considered a bunch.

Stan Blankenship said...

aj,

From your quoted article:

Raburn said, "After almost 1o years, we've finally left the development phase behind..."

What about window and windshield installations that don't crack?

What about bigger fuel tanks to try and get somewhere close to your promised range?

What about Avio and the promises made here?

What about flight into known icing that was promised last September?

What about your weight reduction program?

What about valid numbers for the POH?

This company should have been named Dreamworks!

EclipseBlogger said...
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Stan Blankenship said...

eb answered in the best spirit of this blog, entertaining and informative!

Thank you.

airtaximan said...

EB said,
"Yeah, and I found (4) listings for S/N 122, (5) for 498, and multiple listings for several aircraft dealers."

You once accused me of having so much time, that I must have been the receptionist - hilarious, considering the time and effort it took to sift through all the for sale ads on the site.

I maintain, you rae employed by E-clips...it's the only way to explain your attitude, defensiveness, tactics, examples, knowledge, diversions, insults and attention to detail to disuade any comments regarding E-clips failures, over-promises and problems.

I commend you and E-clips for the ankle-biting it takes to deal with the skeptics on this blog who have watched and listened to the bullcrap for years....congrats.

EclipseBlogger said...
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flyforfun said...

Congrats to Eclipse for getting #1 out the door. While I am not a huge fan of Vern's I must admit they have taken this further than I thought it would go when I had the chance to fly to AZ and put down a deposit. I didn't but the friend I had lunch with today did and right now he looks pretty damn smart at least from a financial point of view. His plane optioned out at 1.125MM and it seems right or wrong that he could sell it tomorrow for at least 1.6+MM. That looks like a hell of a return for a 155k risk. I tryed to get him to take the money and run but he wants a jet. How Eclipse will get pilots with SEL-Inst. up to speed and running is beyond me. I met a guy who was in the top 20 and had been to training and he said his sim work was in a United 757. He said he came out of the whole deal a bit confused. The training concerns me the most of this whole deal. SEL to typed in a jet in 6 months equals trouble.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Fly for Fun,

Most of the position holders that I have chatted with have multi engine experience and turbine time. I don't have any multi time and have a single turbine. I have a full time pilot/cfii that will fly my Eclipse for quite sometime. I will be a good "co-pilot" and will take it slowly. I may never get type rated - but with my private ticket I feel I bring "two pilot" operation safety. I am told by an owner that has actually flown an Eclipse that it is a dream to fly. He is a retired airline pilot. So who knows, I may eventually get typed but it is a major commitment. Thankfully I have pro pilots lining up to get a chance to fly an Eclipse. My view is that solid pilots won't be the training issue.

PS: The review from an owner on the Boeing sim was that it was awesome to land and fly a 767.

EclipseBlogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EclipseOwner387 said...

Flyforfun said: "SEL to typed in a jet in 6 months equals trouble."

One more thought about traning:

My ex-airforce turned ATP pilot friend loves flying my Cirrus SR20. Said he only had 15 hours of piston time provided by the USAF before they put him in a jet. A 6000+ hour pilot with about 100 hours of piston time now. So jet training can be taught with little prior experince. It is the caliber of the PILOT and the TRAINING. I think it is more dangerous for new high performance singles to hit the markets that a Cessna 172/182 pilot can just jump in and fly because the FAA requires no real training other than CFI endorsements. The TYPE rating will make the pilots go though a serious program.

twinpilot said...

Regarding training and getting insurance to fly the E-Clips or any other jet, it doesn't matter what you think or how easy it is to fly, the only thing that matters what the insurance company thinks.

One of the biggest obstacles to selling any twin, let alone a twin jet, is the insurance requirements. If you have a high performance piston single and want to buy a twin you have to start in a trainer i.e. Aztec, Seneca, Travel Air etc. before transitioning into a high performance twin. The insurance company wants about 200 hrs. in twins before writing a policy for a pressurized twin. That is why many single owners who want more performance go the turbine single route. Yes the turbine single requires some training, but it is not as difficult to get insured.

If you have 500 hrs. in a King Air, and 2000 total time, the first question the insurance underwriter will ask the agent is " yeah, but how much jet time does he have?" Then it goes something like this: "Oh, he doesn't have any. Let him ride with an instructor for 200 hrs., then we'll talk."

Anybody that has an airplane and has dealt with the insurance companies in the last 5 years knows that if you were to buy an E-Clips the insurance issue would have to be addressed. VR represented it would be no problem, they have a program blah, blah, blah, and the faithful bought it hook line and sinker. Yes Mr. 600 hr. A-36 owner, the E-Clips is easier to fly than your Bonanza and we have the training handled so just sign here and deposit your check in the slot. Then it was "you will have to get a twin rating, then we can run you through the sim and you're good to go." Now the reality is: professional pilots will have no problem. That was always the reality. We will have to wait and see what the requirements are for a Cirrus or A-36 owner to get insurance. Because of insurance issue, the next airplane for them will probably be the D Jet.

Stan Blankenship said...

Posted yesterday on a www.airliners.net thread related to the first delivery by Eclipse.

"My company makes the interior, and Eclipse just released us to begin producing in quantity. They want 10 shipsets in Jan, 20 in Feb, and a ramp up from there, but there's no way we're shipping 500+ this year..."

Posted by Exarmywarrant

EclipseOwner387 said...

Twin Pilot,

The insurance issue is an issue with all complex/HP airplanes. Mentor Pilots will be the key to any program. Most of the insurance companies that have insured my Piper Malibu - for instance - want 400 plus hours of retract and at least 25 - 50 hours TIT and 1000 TT and flight safety. If you are going to spend a million dollars on an airplane and you want it insured then you do what the insurance company requires you to do. Yes it is a pain but this happens all the time. Why do you think a D-Jet will be that much less of an ordeal? The 25K ceiling? Single vs twin? It will still require a type rating. Seriously, you guys are acting like twin engines jets have never been around before and that ONLY idiots are buying Eclipses that don't understand what it takes to fly it LEGALLY and SAFELY. I will state again - I know plenty of high time twin jet pilots that would love to get their hands on an Eclipse. They will act as pro pilots and mentors for the transitioning pilot. End of story. Focus on the real issue which is - can Eclipse keep up with providing training if they build planes as fast as they say they will.

airtaximan said...

EB,

It’s funny to watch you make a long involved argument about a lot of E-clips planes on the market – how it is just like a lot of homes on the market in your small town. Since that made no sense, you go off on another tack and spend your time counting ads on some site I found with a bunch more E-clips sales. We all know there are “a lot” of E-clips-paper-holders trying to sell.

I expected you to offer some reference to the tiny percentage for sale relative to the mythical 2500 orders Vern claims – to your credit, you did not try this.

I think the sellers are the guys trying to bail now rather than pay the rest of the deposit and live with the plane. It's probably a percentage of a few hundred position holders - a pretty high percentage. Seems like a lot...which is what I said when you started freaking out.

The E-clips seller situation makes me think of an old war story about a can of beans being sold and re-sold again and again, from one person to another…always at a profit. The price went up and up, until some hungry person opened up the can and found the beans to be rotten. When he went back to the seller, the seller said: "You idiot, those beans aren't for eating, they're for selling"

Keep laughing...

PS. I like the interior guy's post...makes me have a lot of confidence in Vern, again. You might ask why everyone is so skeptical…

EclipseBlogger said...
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twinpilot said...

Eclipseowner387

It sounds like you have a realistic idea of the insurance requirements when you are ready to take delivery of you jet. I am not sure everyone is as realistic. What has the insurance company said about you being able to fly the airplane when you get one? For your information, to them there is no such thing as a Mentor pilot. That is another one of those E-Clips feel good words. The insurance companies are going to issue a policy with a named pilot like one of your airline pilot friends. They are not going to issue a policy to a low time pilot as long as he has a "Mentor Pilot" in the right seat. That idea doesn't exist in the insurance world although I wish it did. Maybe VR will be successful in changing all of that. I hope he is.

Don't kill the messenger he I am just trying to explain what happens in the insurance world. For instance, Citations have been around for a long time, and yes they are fan jet powered. They are very easy to fly. However, that doesn't matter to the insurance carrier. All of the training in the world is great, but what they want is experience, just like your example of 400 retract etc.

My point is that VR has downplayed the insurance issue and I am not sure the new owners have any idea what will really be required.

I think the D Jet will be easier to insure for the same reason you could easily transition into a Meridian but not into a Cessna Conquest. It only has one engine and you may not have the "twin experience" that they require.

Stan Blankenship said...

eb,

Forget the source of the numbers, start up rates of 10 and 20 for the first couple of months are far more realistic than the outlandish claims made by Eclipse.

In terms of credibility, does Eclipse have any left after 10 years of falling far short on nearly every goal they have set?

airtaximan said...

EB said:
"it just goes to show that there are always people that willing believe anything in print."

- Eclipse buyers
- Eclipse financiers
- you

I guess it depends on what print, right?

You must admit, there's been a lot of bull from Vern...and you always defend him.

Green-or-Red said...

From the ABQ Journal today
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Owners Coming to Albuquerque Today Will Get the Keys but Not the Eclipse Plane

The first owners of an Eclipse 500 jet are expected in town today for a ceremonial transfer of keys and documents for the first "delivered" jet, but they don't get to take it home just yet.
Eclipse announced Sunday it had transferred ownership of the first plane to a Westlake Village, Calif., business partnership, Jet-Alliance/David Crowe LLC— meeting for the second time in as many years a self-imposed deadline with only hours to spare.
But, as it plans to do with some of the other first planes to be delivered to customers, Eclipse will lease the plane back from its new owners for six months' worth of marketing appearances.
Eclipse also has to finish training two pilots who will primarily fly the plane for its new owners, who got the twin-engine, six-seat jet for just under $1 million.
Eclipse will also make the plane available to its new co-owner, Jet-Alliance— a fractional-ownership company founded in 2000— for its own marketing, Jet-Alliance president and CEO Randall Sanada told the Journal in an interview.
"There's no such thing as an easy accomplishment in this world, especially in a regulatory environment," he said. "The FAA, alongside Eclipse, has made sure the plane, the company and the manufacturing processes are always in good form. We've been more than satisfied to wait patiently."
The ceremonial delivery will be a milestone for 9-year-old Eclipse, which has had to contend with a midstream engine swap, an unexpectedly lengthy certification process and various technical snags as it raced to be the first to market with a so-called "very light jet." At the outset, Eclipse expected to begin customer deliveries in 2004.
The company finally achieved Federal Aviation Administration type certification in September; it had planned to deliver multiple planes by the end of 2006, but continuing difficulties, such as problems with FAA paperwork, kept the first planes on the showroom floor.

Looking for jets
Jet-Alliance is a subsidiary of a family-run wealth management firm, Alliance Financial Group, also based in Westlake Village.
Sanada said the aviation division was first created to supply the transportation needs of its clients, and later grew as partners and clients expressed interest in fractional aircraft ownership.
The company considered several light jet offerings, including Colorado's Adam Aircraft and two now-defunct light jet contenders, Century Jet, formerly of Albuquerque, and Florida-based Safire Jet.
"Eclipse is the one that has emerged as the leader," Sanada said, adding that he has personally flown an Eclipse 500.
"It's an amazing aircraft," he said. "It's extremely quiet and docile."
Jet-Alliance already owns a Cessna Citation jet, which is larger and considerably more expensive than an Eclipse 500, and has three more Eclipse jets, as well as one of Honda's recently unveiled light jets, on order.
Jet-Alliance exemplifies the typical customer envisioned for Eclipse, which aims to make personal jet travel affordable to a whole new class of pilots and businesses with a plane that costs a fraction the price of its nearest competitor.
To keep the price low, Eclipse aims to use volume production techniques not typically found in the aviation industry, such as friction stir welding to replace some rivets, advanced mechanization and outsourcing of key assemblies, such as tails and wings.
An Eclipse 500 now costs about $1.5 million.

First in line
Sanada said David Crowe, a retired businessman who lives in San Jose, Calif., was "one of the first people in line," when Eclipse opened sales of the aircraft six years ago. The price has steadily climbed since then.
Sanada said Crowe contacted Jet-Alliance about sharing the jet as he "contemplated the cost of ownership."
Jet-Alliance offers several levels of fractional jet ownership.
Its least expensive level, one-sixteenth interest in a jet, costs about $95,000, plus a continuing proportion of maintenance and operating costs, and would offer the "member" about 50 hours of time with the jet annually. Sanada said Jet-Alliance's pilots would typically fly the planes, though in some cases, such as with Crowe, owner-pilots will also fly them.
The planes will also be flown as charter aircraft, and the fractional owners will share any revenues generated.
Sanada says Jet-Alliance has also been contacted by other early Eclipse buyers for possible co-ownership deals and will explore such opportunities.
Jet-Alliance has about 800 people registered on a waiting list to be fractional Eclipse 500 owners, he said.

A long wait
Sunday's ownership transaction occurred the same day the FAA issued a long-awaited Certificate of Airworthiness for the first Eclipse 500, and it was completed by faxing documents to the FAA's aircraft registry center in Oklahoma City.
FAA inspectors had been in Albuquerque over the holidays participating in and observing tests.
Eclipse founder and CEO Vern Raburn told the Journal in an interview this week that Sundays are normal business days for Eclipse, which operates 12 hours a day, seven days a week. But he acknowledged time was of the essence.
The delays have fueled rumors that Eclipse has not being candid about its recent challenges.
"We really wanted to deliver the first plane in 2006," Raburn said.
Eclipse pulled off another 11th-hour feat Dec. 31, 2004, when its test aircraft once again took to the skies after two years of redesigns to accommodate new Pratt & Whitney engines.
"We're getting really good at this," Raburn said. "It sort of sucks. I want a real holiday."
Raburn said the ceremony today will end an era for Eclipse, which has orders for 2,500 planes on the books and has raised hundreds of millions in financial backing from investors that include Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the state of New Mexico.
"Phase One took a long time, but we are really and truly at the end," he said. "Now's the time for Eclipse to transition from development to a production and product support company. Those are going to be challenges in and of themselves."

A few more months in Albuquerque
The jet leaseback arrangement is a relatively standard practice for new planes in the aviation industry.
Raburn said Eclipse plans to do the same for many of the first planes off the assembly line so it can keep a fresh crop of marketing planes, while turning over the others to new owners in like-new condition.
"We need as many airplanes as we can get for marketing purposes," he said.
Under the terms of the leaseback with Jet-Alliance, Eclipse will exert operational control over the plane, meaning its own pilot or pilots will have to be in the plane as it is being flown by trainees.
As pilot training is completed, Raburn said, he expects planes to start heading to their new homes in late January or early March.
Though the first few planes will likely go out the door with Certificates of Airworthiness from the FAA, Eclipse is also working toward a Production Certification from the FAA that will allow it to issue its own Certificates of Airworthiness.
The production certificate was expected in 2006, but problems with paperwork proving compliance to manufacturing standards held it up.
"In December, we made some mistakes that in turn caused the FAA to increase their scrutiny," Raburn said. "At this point, those issues have been ironed out. We've got to continue to earn the FAA's confidence."
Nearly 40 planes are now under construction, Raburn said.

airtaximan said...

Vern said,

"We need as many airplanes as we can get for marketing purposes"

Why?

tinman said...

WRT to the number of positions advertised for sale, Eclipse gave position holders 30 days to drop out when the Williams engine was dropped and the price went up. I believe about 75 positions came open at that time and existing Platinum position holders were given the opportunity to take them up at a price below the new buyer cost. I'm guessing that some of those second aircraft speculations are on the market now.

EclipseOwner387 said...

I have actually bought and sold in the secondary market recently. I have a decent handle on the market and have talked to many of the "sellers." There are only a handful of sellers offering at prices that I would consider to be close to market clearing. The other sellers are offering out a high price hoping it will get there eventually but have no "axe to grind." The listings for fractional ownership are mostly comrpised of companies trying to piece together buyers so they can GO BUY an airplane. They aren't really selling one they have (at least when I talked to them.) So all this talk about "so many" for sale is really an uneducated view with no credibility. There is NO fire sale going on. Are some position holders trying to sell before they have to put up more money? Absolutley. These may be the same people who bought on spec and now want to take profits. Perhaps they never had any intention in owning the airplane and/or their personal situations have changed over the years. I am embarrassed to tell you how much money I made on flipping a postion that I held for only 3 weeks. So EB is right when he says that just a cursory view of listings doesn't come close to revealing the realities of the marketplace. I am in the financial brokerage industry and a market is not defined until you are showing FIRM bids and offers and put money on the line. These are the facts from someone who has truly participated in the secondary market so please save yourself the embarrassment of trying to dispute this post.

Stan Blankenship said...

eo387,

OK, your a pretty savy investor who has put your money where your mouth is and are capable of evaluating the risks, what is your view of the Eclipse program?

Can they survive this critical year financially and cover the costs related to the ongoing development and certification efforts, plus the retrofit costs, plus delivering airplanes priced below the cost to build, plus the costs for an ongoing promotion effort to firm up existing orders, plus cost to ramp up the production line, plus, plus, plus?

And does the quick departure of the CFO give you any pause for condern?

EclipseOwner387 said...

Stan,

I consider my deposit with Eclipse to be HIGH risk capital and a Call Option Premium. I allow a small portion of my portfolio to fall into this asset class. I tend to use it for more fun/hobby oriented and start up enterprises. My feeling is that Eclipse has enough support from position holders and investors to see this through. Even with all the negative issues you state (i.e CFO departing) I still have a 75% confidence I will get my airplane. I am an entrepreneur and CEO that understands the trials and tribulations of running a start-up enterprise. I also bought two positions and hedged myself by selling one for a profit as I stated earlier reducing my risk. I bought the positions because I KNEW the price was too low for this jet based on the projected price for a single engine D-Jet and the Mustang. Eclipse new positions prices from the factory are escalating. Can Eclipse lose money on the initial orders and then eventually make money on later sales at higher prices? That is the part that remains to be seen and is a risk that I have decided to take. I understood the risk but I also want to see EA500 become reality as it is a very cool product IF it is as billed - EVEN with the miss on the initial performance guarantees. I hope this helps you understand my risk profile. I would not suggest this for my In-Laws retirement fund! But I will not be significanlty hurt financially by a failure other than being disappointed that I made a bad bet.

Stan Blankenship said...

eo387,

Good insight into the mind of a buyer. It adds to the mosiac for this facinating program

Two further thoughts:

1 If your remaining position is 387, I trust the decision on the 60% progress payment is still in the future and the deposit Eclipse is holding (or has already spent), was covered with the premium from the sale of the other slot.

If all this is true, you are in a better position than those having to invest another half-million now when there are more questons surrounding the program than answers.

2. I suspect you may be typical for a lot of buyers in that you want the airplane more than you need it. Otherwise, why wait 5-6-7 years for delivery when one could but a used Citation for less money and less risk.

bambazonke said...

Here is the MEL for the E500.
http://www.opspecs.com/AFSData/MMELs/FINAL/transport/EA-500%20R0/EA-500%20R0.doc

Griper said...

I'm sure everyone will continue to beat this particular horse (post) to death but I, for one, would like to see a new post to generate some new discussion points. Obviously, there can be a lot of griping about the fact they still have not been able to obtain the production certificate.

Gunner said...

Unknown to me why all my former posts now come up as "Anonymous". No matter.

I've relegated myself to lurking rather than posting of late, as I haven't had anything of significance to say and am not much interested in the personal sniping.

But I just can't let EclipseOwner387's last post go without comment:

EO387-
When I strip away the pseudo financial "analysis" of your post and disregard the mundane lecture on buzz-concepts of "Arbitrage", "Risk Aversion" and "Future Value", I come to one inescapable conclusion. Your interest in the Eclipse is far different from the rest of us.

We're looking for it to be a viable light jet; backed up by sound manufacturing, honest relationships and credible management. You're interest is whether or not you can make money on the project.

And, to that end, you slip in the age old financial analysis ploy which I call "The Bigger Fool Than Me Theory". So, while the rest of us try to ferret out whether this bird will be viable, you lecture us on BCG Cost Benefit and Investment Analysis, pointing up that even if the project is a bust, you stand a chance of finding a "Bigger Fool" to pay you a premium for your position.

Well, Duh? It goes without saying that any product (even a complete scam product, which the Eclipse is NOT), might be sold to someone else at a profit. One needs only look to Ebay to know that.

But that fact has nothing to do with whether the product is worth the investment to the end user which, I think, is the POINT of this Blog; not whether you can escape with cash in pocket should it be a Market Failure. I doubt you're a fool and am confident you WILL make money. Enjoy the "success".

Your last post explains to me why you are such a die hard Eclipse Apologist; you have a real vested interest, not in the truth, but in Market Perception.

Gunner-
Wharton MBA, 1982

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

I didn't have the heart to say what you brought up. Its getting tiresome ferreting out the truth from the opinions of those who are promoting for their own (financial or other) interest.

See the "can of beans" story... a few posts back.

Thanks

PS. it would be nice to have some intel on the plane, manufacturing, performance, etc...to discuss

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

You are all wet as usual. I own THREE airplanes. I have a Piper Malibu that I bought to take me back and forth from my home base to NYC for business (6-7 hour round trips.) The Malibu is a great airplance but I wanted more speed to reduce the time enroute to NYC. That is when I started looking at the Eclipse and determined it was my LOWEST COST choice for my mission. Since then I have bought a Piper Mirage and converted it to a turboprop to get TURBINE experience. I also bought a Cirrus SR20 that I use for training and familiarization of glass cockpits to assist in preparation for the Eclipse. As all these actions point toward preparation work to take DELIVERY of an Eclipse. I did not get into the Eclipse for financial gain. But it is important for me to buy right - this is my personal money. That is my nature and is the reason I went to the secondary market looking for a bargain and earlier deliveries. The risk though is my amount at risk is much greater than than the deposit when buying directly from Eclipse because I have to pay the seller their "equity" in the airplane. I put $800K on the line to take on two postions when my intention was to only buy one. I did this because when negotiating with two sellers I realized the prices were too low and ended up buying TWO at the same time. I immediately started to market the earlier platinum position as they were in more demand and sold it for the nice profit I mentioned. I was the unintentional investor. So your characterization is just plain wrong as usual. You have tried to discredit me before and failed badly. If you are so smart Mr. Wharton MBA, why did you put a deposit down on an Eclipse in the first place? To most of the folks on this blog that would make you pretty stupid. Go back to lurking.

Airtaximan,

My posts about the market was to clarify misleading posts on the Eclipse secondary market. Sorry it wasn't about engineering or aerodynamics. However, with the FAA certifying the plane this blog has turned to other areas to criticize since the aerodymic issues are drying up. It appears to me that this blog may be drying up with the lack of activity and Gunner's only post recently was to manufacture a false statement against me.

Stan Blankenship said...

All,

Be prepared for a big slowdown in news from Eclipse. Who knows how many airplanes the FAA will inspect before Eclipse earns their PC?

The Jan 4 article from the Albuquerque Journal said:

"Though the first few planes will likely go out the door with Certificates of Airworthiness from the FAA, Eclipse is also working toward a Production Certification from the FAA that will allow it to issue its own Certificates of Airworthiness."

How many is a few?

Each will take a considerable amount of time. We don't know to what extent Eclipse has done its homework or how many 'quality escapes' they are dealing with.

gunner,

What little checking I have done, your name (as is every other one) is still associated with the individual comments. Other than the recent slight change in format, no other editing changes have been made on this end.

EclipseBlogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan Blankenship said...

gunner & eb,

OK, I see what you are talking about but don't have any answers. Have contacted google, their blog software is just coming out of beta testing.

flight guy said...

Don't expect any real customer deliveries until these design changes are made. I'm not talking about the hand shaking ceremonies. I am talking about customers actually flying away to home base. FYI, interesting note about software changes for the engines to operate between FL 25 and 41. This answers the question why Eclipse cannot have enough marketing aircraft.

Design changes continue on Eclipse 500

http://www.ainonline.com/Issues/01_07/01_07_eclipse_16.htm

By Matt Thurber / January 2007

Eclipse Aviation has further refined the Model 500 very light jet’s design to reach performance goals, according to a customer technical communication sent to buyers on December 4.

These refinements are part of a year-long performance improvement program designed to help the Model 500 reach the promised speed of 370 knots and 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR, 100-nm alternate).

Eclipse told buyers that all 500s will be retrofitted with the improvements, with Eclipse paying for parts and labor, “ensuring that there is a singular aircraft fleet.”

Design changes include a new empennage bullet fairing, hinge covers on control surfaces, pylon and nacelle improvements, new main landing gear fairings and wheel covers, improved drain hole scuppers and rig pin hole covers and software changes so the engines deliver more power between 25,000 and 41,000 feet.

Another change is a further enlargement of the 500’s original seven-gallon composite tip tanks. New metal tanks will now each hold 19.5 gallons instead of 16.5 as announced at the provisional certification press conference at the Experimental Aircraft Association meeting in July. Total fuel capacity is now 249 gallons.

Until the mods are certified (scheduled for March or April) and installed, the Eclipse 500 will have a 360-knot cruise speed and 1,055-nm range.

Gunner said...

EO387 said:
"You are all wet as usual"
[snip]
"So your characterization is just plain wrong as usual. You have tried to discredit me before and failed badly. If you are so smart Mr. Wharton MBA, why did you put a deposit down on an Eclipse in the first place? To most of the folks on this blog that would make you pretty stupid. Go back to lurking."


And you wonder why people on this Blog fail to deal with you politely? I've "characterized" nothing about you other than pointing out that your lecture tome about risk and investment is sophomoric, at best.

I'm not particularly interested in how much money you have invested in what plane, as it really doesn't cause me to raise an eyebrow.

I clearly stated I didn't think you were "stupid". I do think you're arrogant, without call; officious, without cause; and offensive, without reason. Kinda like Vern.

So, how 'bout we leave the smarmy personal attacks at that and continue to talk about the merits of Eclipse. I don't think anybody here is very interested in the size of the checks you write; I know I'm pain bored by it.

Stan-
Never thought the name deletions were something you had done. I'm certain it has to do with Blogger move to the new system.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

flight guy,

All these changes are mind boggling, the airplane as certified was half-baked.

The designer can not achieve gains without paying a price. Eclipse is telling the world what the performance gains are but not telling us what they will cost i.e., higher stall speeds, longer takeoff distances, higher fuel flows, CG restrictions, empty weight increases etc.

eo387 and gunner,

I started this most recent debate between you two by asking eo387 how he evaluated risk.

From what we are hearing, Eclipse is able to line up at least a sizeable number who in spite of 6-8 years of failed promises, still have confidence in the program and are willing to send in the 60% progress payment.

Where are they getting the confidence? Of the bunch, only eo387 is talking on this blog.

If it were my money, I would be in line behind gunner and asking for a return of my deposit.


Will have a new post up in the next couple of days.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

Your post was sending the message that I am only backing Eclipse for financial gain and wasn't really interested in the airplane. You are incorrect. The details of the efforts I am making to OWN the airplane were not intended to brag like your Wharton MBA post was intended (and that bored me as well.) Also, I did not post on this blog until after all my transactions had been completed so I am not here to protect or promote a sale of an Eclipse position. Stan asked me a question as to how I decided to take on the risk of an Eclipse position. I answered it. HE ASKED ME. My original post was to counter incorrect assumptions of the secondary Eclipse market. For one who says he is so civil your post held zero value in trying to dispute my intentions. I have been very clear as to who I am and the facts behind my dealings. I do not have any ownership in Eclipse and am looking forward to my "Sophomoric" Call Option to pay off when they deliver my airplane. I will own a $1.5+ million jet for about $1 Million due to my "Sophomoric" approach. I have seen a lot of approaches to doing good deals but I am still much more impressed with a good horse trader than the analyst with a fancy MBA.

Gunner said...

Stan-
Good point re the other Depositors.

Let's look rationally at where we are:
- The Eclipse business plan requires that they churn out an unheard of number of planes in order to meet the low cost objective. Yet, no one can say where all these new owners will come from and Eclipse's own "numbers" for "orders" have remained stagnant at "2,500" since last March.

- The Eclipse Business Plan hinges on "new technologies" to produce planes quickly and cheaply. Whenever we ask what these are, we're told the Assembly Line is "State of the Art" and then receive a new lecture on FSW. Yet, it's been proven that FSW accounts for a minimal portion of the fabrication and reasonable estimates of the rivet weight saved are paltry.

- The Eclipse Business Plan depends on good relations with its partners, including Avidyne and the FAA. Yet Vern's continued history of burning bridges he hasn't even crossed leaves a huge question mark on both of those relationships. (Personally, I don't think AVIO stands a chance of materializing at this point).

- The Eclipse Business Plan requires that the Company develop a Rock Solid reputation for product longevity and manufacturer honesty. Yet, long after the Champagne Cork was popped, we were suddenly apprised of minor problems like cracked windshields and windows and damaged wing spars.

- The Eclipse Business Plan requires progress payments from Depositors as their planes are 6 Months out. Yet, Eclipse has apparently demanded progress payments from a group that it can't possibly believe is within that 6 month window.

Now, you ask where the other Depositors stand. Where would you stand? (Rhetorical...you already answered).

Even EO387, a staunch Eclipse defender, has come to hedge his posts of late by explaining that his decisions on the jet were spot on. After all, even if the wheels come off, he's gonna make nothing but money as a result.

Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Stan,

One other thing that I forgot to mention. About the same time Gunner was putting his deposit on an Eclipse I was asking for a return of my deposit on a position that I inked directly with them over a year ago. When Eclipse missed the performance guarantees, I took that opportunity to get a full refund with interest and buy an earlier third-party delivery being offered at a discount. I basically made the same decision Gunner made - Eclipse was the best choice for VLJ. I just didn't have the run in with Eclipse he unfortunately had. Gunner may not remember this but I sent him a PM on the owners forum when he was having his issues and told him he could get a better deal if he decided to get a refund and buy a postion like mine that I had for sale. His reply was that if he did decide to get a refund he was going to go a totally different route. Eclipse did pay me back my deposit with interest - no questions asked. Gunner got his refund. Eclipse also didn't charge any processing fees for the exchanges on the positions I bought and/or sold. Pretty solid for a company plagued with "false" promises and probably in need of cash for operations.

A note concerning credibility:

I have been involved in pretty much every phase of how to buy or sell an Eclipse position and I believed this experience would be useful to the blog. I can't offer much up in the form of engineering or aerdynamics other than what is talked about on the eclipse owners forum so I usually stay out of those discussions especially with EB's participation. That is why I haven't posted much lately. I have concerns about Eclipse and I have been fair about my concerns (i.e. training, production capacity, financial health, etc.)

My "agenda" is to learn from the blog and to add knowledge where applicable since I have a true vested interest in the outcome of the program. If Eclipse fails I will LOSE money (contrary to Gunner's assesment - my hedge reduced my risk to the equivalent of an original deposit holder but did not eliminate it.) And my risk will escalate greatly when my progress payment comes due in the near future. So in full disclosure, this makes me NOT a neutral party, BUT I have strived to be fair.

Gunner said...

Hats off, EO387-
That WAS fair. And polite. And articulate.

Congrats-
Gunner

Green-or-Red said...

Now that Eclipse has delivered their first aircraft has anyone heard what the repair was for the wing rear spar issue? Have they actually verified a repair or are they using a periodic inspection to insure there is no problem?

airtaximan said...

Eclipse's own "numbers" for "orders" have remained stagnant at "2,500" since last March


Actually, since 2002....its a joke....

bambazonke said...

eo387, Could you give us some of the performance numbers that are posted on the yahoo site for the Eclipse?

How do you maintain your confidence in this program as you mention, with KKA not publishing the data on the plane? Surely this is the essence of your decision to purchase the plane i.e. the performance. EAC have not met any of their guarantees to date, why would you believe that they were going to meet the performance guarantees? Especially in the light of them not publishing and making the data available to position holders. We know KKA has bragged about the number of data points per second that EAC get off each flight, yet performance data when asked for does not materialize. I notice that Dave Crowe doesn't answer the questions that he is directly asked in this regard on the EAC owners site either..

Blogs like this do not exist on the Mustang because of the integrity of Cessna. EAC's lack of disclosure reinforce blogs like this because people in the industry and other interested parties are curious to see if these haughty and ambitious claims that KKA has made can materialize, unfortunately their lack of disclosure leads to a lot of speculation, rumor mongering and in some cases bad information being disseminated.

preacher said...

So, what do you think about the employability of this company ? Are they someone to go to work for ? Sounds like they may need lots of help.....

Green-or-Red said...

Preacher
In a recent news article in the ABQ Journal Vern stated that Eclipse was a 7 day a week company. If that is what you call a life, then go to work for them. Typical work week for salaried employees is 60 - 70 hrs a week.

Stan Blankenship said...

60-70 hours per week! That's the way it was in the early days at Lear Jet.

Bill Lear would be hard at it before we got to work in the morning and still going strong when we drug our tired ass out the front door at night. Was in my early 20's and couldn't keep up with the 'old man'.

Twenty years later, at a reunion of early Lear Jet employees in the California home of Bill's secretary June Shields, I cornered her and asked about Bill's stamina and that couch in his office.

She confirmed my suspicions, every afternoon, he was taking a 30-60 minute nap.

bambazonke said...

The AFM for the Eclipse states that the de-ice system on the aircraft needs to be deactivated. This means that the CB's are collared and there are warnings that the de-ice system cannot be used.

This is about as mickey mouse as the hand held GPS that is being issued with each aircraft, except that this could cause someone some real problems flying the aircraft. What EAC is setting out to do is deliver a 'Jet' no less, that has no ability to shed the ice that it will encounter, as other real jets do, in the normal course of flight.

I am really surprised that the FAA are condoning this with the issuance of an 'airworthiness certificate'.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Back in June Eclipse had forcasted FIKI cert by end of 2006 once they had winter weather. If they do get FIKI cert in the next 30 days or so then this won't be much of an issue since the "owners" of the early deliveries are either leasing the planes back or won't have the type ratings yet anyway. If it drags much past that timeframe then they will be relegated to VMC (or IMC above freezing) trainers until the cert. I wonder if you could put experimental on the side of the plane and "de-collar" the circuit breakers after you take delivery? Anyone know the answer to that hypothetical? And if you go experimental can you come back once certified?

bambazonke said...

I believe that there are some limitations on aircraft that have 'Experimental' on the side of them when it comes to flight planning and area of operations. Next thought is I am willing to bet that there isn't an insurer that would be willing to underwrite a fresh private pilot in an experimental jet, and this would have ramifications as it applies to the financing of the aircraft, as no financier will finance an aircraft that is not insured.

Lloyd said...

Micah was kind enough to take Shari and me on a tour of the factory today. There is a lot of activity going on. It's a busy place, and things are really cranking up now. We met many enthusiastic employees, proud of their work and happy to see us coming through, like this nice guy who showed us how they put fuselage segments together:



We saw many planes in production. They're going to need more floor space pretty soon:





We watched S/N 10 undergoing its first engine runup test on the ramp, and here's the lineup of airplanes just about ready for that big step (S/N 12 in the foreground):



Work continues on the test planes--undergoing upgrade to the new tip tanks, new bullet and other aerodynamic modifications that will turn A models in B's. The new tip tanks look nice!

All in all, a great afternoon and indeed a very reassuring visit. Thanks Micah!

Ken

Niner Zulu said...

Here's the (unconfirmed) text from the AFM with regard to the deicing equipment:

"SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT LIMITATIONS

Pneumatic De-Ice System

The use of wing deice (boots) is prohibited. The following wing deice Electronic Circuit Breakers (ECBs) must be collared: INBOARD WING DEICE L, INBOARD WING DEICE R, OUTBOARD WING DEICE L AND OUTBOARD WING DEICE R.

Windshield Heat

The use of windshield heat is prohibited. The following heat ECBs must be collared: L/R WINDSHIELD HEAT."

What a nightmare this must be for the deposit holders who have committed hundreds of thousands of non-refundable dollars and are following the progress closely.

EclipseOwner387 said...

NZ,

I think most all of the position holders understand that the FIKI cert is a process that will take time but a low risk in not getting certified. Nothing special about the system - proven and basic technology. The contingent are probably more disappointed that Eclipse isn't using one of the more cutting edge FIKI technologies. This is not a nightmare for me, especially since my delivery won't happen until later in the year at best - and MOST of the position holders are in the same boat. BTW, maybe not typical but I have only had to use my boots 1 time in 400 hours of flight time in FIKI aircraft (and even then it probably wasn't needed.) BUT WHEN I DO REALLY NEED IT I WILL BE GLAD I HAVE IT.

flightfollowing said...

I am pretty sure that you would not want to certify your aircraft as experimental, simply to be able to activate your deice gear, it might be very difficult to undo. You could probably treat the aircraft as another of the myriad aircraft with deice gear that is simply not certified for FIKI. Avoid icing conditions, but if you encountered them and deemed it important enough, pull the circuit breaker collars and activate the equipment, that is better than icing up.

BigJim said...

eclipseowner387 said...
I think most all of the position holders understand that the FIKI cert is a process that will take time but a low risk in not getting certified. Nothing special about the system - proven and basic technology.

I wouldn't make the assumption that FIKI is a low risk cert effort. The FAA has had icing in the crosshairs since the ATR accident in 1995(?) near Roselawn, IN. There's a ton of new regulatory material out there. As mentioned here before, the Mustang sprouted a boot on the vertical tail during their cert program. My guess is that it was driven by something more than asthetics.

The longer it takes to get FIKI cert, the more aircraft Eclipse will (theoretically) have in the field. That's a risk of more mods in addition to the "B" model aero improvements. I'll venture a guess that when/if Eclipse gets FIKI, it'll involve a lot more than just pushing in circuit breakers and updating that phantom document known as an AFM.