Monday, January 29, 2007

Guest Editorial - The Air Taxi Market

Gunner put a pencil to the paper and tried to make some sense regarding the Eclipse claim to the air taxi market. Here is his take:

The numbers for Eclipse Production simply do not compute. They continue to tout orders that are about 10 fold what Cessna states for the Mustang. (Dec 2006, "Flying").

How is this possible?
Ostensible Answer: The Air Taxi Market

But let's examine that just a bit. From Eclipse's own site, they claim an Op Cost Per Hour of $372 vs their number of $574 for the Mustang.

Lets adjust that a bit more fairly as follows:
- Conservatively subtract $36/hr from Mustang to render the insurance estimate equal.
- Conservatively subtract half of the $40/hr from Mustang for costs Eclipse claims will be attributed only to Mustang for AOG calls, "Flight Support", "Trending and Monitoring", "Rental Engine Liability" and "Enhanced Operators 'Web Site Functionality" (whatever that is).
- Add back the $27/hr Fuel Cost differential Eclipse claims to have locked in on the Not-Yet-Been-Implemented JetComplete program.

Suddenly the hourly cost comparisons are $399 vs $517

Now, lets rough out hard costs per seat mile (assuming full fuel and full passenger payload):
- 370 knots vs 340.
- 714 lbs full fuel load vs 800
- Average Passenger Weight with carry on (FAA 2005): 192 lbs

Bare Bones Costs per Seat Mile:
Eclipse: $.29
Cessna: $.36

So, where is this Air Taxi market that has flocked to a tiny, no baggage, no lav, startup jet company while refusing to give the time of day to a proven company with a more spacious, better suited AirTaxi Jet that is already in full production?

Surely, the op costs come into play, yes. But is this Air-Taxi-Industry-In-Waiting so price sensitive that an op cost jump from $.29 to $.36 would drive demand from 2,000+ Eclipse to Zero a couple dozen Mustangs?

I somehow don't think so. The smart players in this Burgeoning New Industry would bite the bullet and start flying at least a few hundred of those clunky old Mustangs just to gain market share before Carey Limousine enters the market with its couple thousand Eclipse.

I'm sorry, no matter how you do the math, there is simply no reason that Eclipse should have thousands of Air Taxi orders while Cessna claims 250 TOTAL orders.

Even if you take into account the $1MM price differential, it doesn't add up. Cessna has a track record for longevity, reliability and stability. All Eclipse has is Vern.

And people ask why nobody believes the Eclipse model.

Gunner

32 comments:

gadfly said...

In all fairness, doesn't the egg have to hatch before you plan the chicken pot pie?

Back in "2000", Eclipse announced that the "chick" (22% size) had gone through wind tunnel flight testing, and had passed all tests (in a wind tunnel with a maximum speed of 175 knots . . . that was in the fine print had any of you taken the time to investigate the "Kirsten" wind tunnel data at University of Washington Aeronatical Laboratory). Laws of aerodynamics tell us that doubling the air speed increases the forces by four times. This "chick" could double the expectations, but four times? . . . Numbers have a nasty habit of standing firm!

The little bird was then telling the world, "I have great dreams of success . . . Someday, I'm going to fly", but maybe the world was expecting the chick to achieve the dreams of the parents, rather than what was reasonable for a chick of that design . . . but no one was paying attention. Instead, everyone was betting on dreams of making a fortune, rather than realizing that the "chick" had never been designed for the "Super BowL". Had the "chick" been allowed to grow up to be a "300 Knot" bird of modest achievement, and maybe filled a "nitch" in the process of it's offspring stepping up to a higher altitude and speed. Even the original "Williams" engine might have been "just fine" . . . we'll never know.

Maybe folks expected that a "chicken egg" would somehow hatch into an "eagle" ... not just yet, not this "chick".

What to do now?! Re-design the wing? . . . with a slight "sweep-back"? . . . maybe! . . . The Germans figured that out way back in the 1930's . . . and even Donald Douglas gained a few points in speed and "CG" envelope by "sweep back", going from DC-2 to DC-3. (Sure, that was "then", and this is "now" with jets and all that . . . but sometimes "old" doesn't mean "bad" . . . God's laws of aerodynamics haven't changed, just how "man" uses, or "mis-uses" them.)

"Sweep back" . . . hey, a little bit of extra thickness at the wing root . . . a little bit of extra lift . . . maybe add a couple knots to flare-out, but pick up some needed "pay-load" lift at "cruise" altitude . . . and there's a series of "could-have-beens". Put the "stir-fried-welding" on the shelf . . . not "forever", but let it "cool" for awhile . . . maybe pick it up later when it truly makes sense. ("Folks" will sooner or later see it for what it's worth . . . not much, just now!)

But time is running out and folks are looking for "quicK" solutions. Since the "Gadfly" is very much a part of the economic future of Albuquerque, it would be more than wonderful for this venture to succeed. It's like a second chance, after the local bankers turned down the first opportunity to be the center of "Microsoft". Not many communities get a second opportunity to recover a major blunder.

"Eclipse" seems to be, "too little, too late" . . . but maybe, just maybe . . . a few folks will swallow their pride, say "we goofed" . . . but we need a little time to make a new beginning, get it right, and from now on admit our problems, especially with all those who have put trust in us" . . . wouldn't that be something!

Ten years from now, all the major players will still be on the field. But the big question for a few folks remains: Will "Eclipse"* live up to its name? . . . or will it still be a player.

'Having built a successful business, I can say "It doesn't get any easier over the decades." "Eclipse" has far more opportunity to make it. Let's do what we can to contribute to their success.

Gadfly

*'Never did understand the logic of a name that seemed to spell "doom" right from the start . . . but then, I couldn't even sell "Fuller Brush" when I was working my way through college . . . so what do I know! Eclipse? . . . is that a name that spells success? . . . I wonder! . . . After an "eclipse", the sun returns!

Gadfly3

airtaximan said...

my estimate for an all inclusive air taxi Cost per Seat mile is around $0.75-$1.00 based on high air taxi utlization.

The Cessna plane is a little more.

Who cares? The real question is who is going to get out of their car and take the Dayjet at between $1-$3 a mile? If they cannot find a few customers per flight it $3 per mile, which is $900 for a 300 mile trip...in the EEEkk-lips. After a membership fee...

I doubt it...

Stan Blankenship said...

gadfly3 said:

'Never did understand the logic of a name that seemed to spell "doom" right from the start . . .

Gf3, you have to have the right perspective to see the Eclipse.

Vern looks at the sun and moon, he sees an Eclipse.

At the same precise moment, we look at the sun and moon and see the sun and moon. We're just not standing in his shoes.

BigJim said...

Eclipse is in a catch-22 with the speed/weight targets. They need more thrust to get the speed up, which requires more fuel, which adds weight, which they don't have to spare. I believe Stan mentioned it before, but what the EA500 needs is more wing area. Had they taken this approach instead of adding the tip tanks, they would have gained more fuel volume without the payload hit. The right time would have been during the downtime for the engine change. I simply can't believe they thought they could add the additional engine weight and fuel without adding wing area to compensate.

As far as Gadfly's comment about wing sweep...it wouldn't help Eclipse's problem. Sweeping the wing lowers its efficiency and hurts low speed handling qualities and stall characteristics. The big bang for wing sweep is at high Mach numbers, where the sweep makes the wing think it's flying slower than it really is. Advances in airfoils over the last 20-30 years have been able to get the same benefit without the sweep, at least up to Mach numbers in the 0.8-range. The later straight-wing Citations have Mmo's in the 0.8 range, if I remember correctly.

There's no magic bullet, but they should have made the most of the engine change and gotten some performance benefit from adding fuel volume. Instead, they added destabilizing tip tanks who's only aero contribution is drag.

bambazonke said...

I think we all agree, no air-taxi = no economically viable market.

Let's put the real numbers to the test, go to the Kool-Aid factory website, design your own EA-500 without the frills, no LX interior etc, but put what any self respecting 135 flight department is going to want, Traffic, TAWS, Co-Pilot Group, and the weight of this aircraft comes out at as follows;


Empty Weight 3652
Full Fuel 1686
Payload GW(5800)=462
Payload GW(5900)=562
Add 2 crew 370
Payload pax&baggage 92/192

The plane will have 1200 lbs of useable fuel total, start adding your average US pax to the plane and you can very soon see that with 4 200 lbs (pax and baggage) you will have 90 gallons of fuel. How far can a twin jet go on 90 gallons of fuel? The answer is probably 400 miles (and I am being generous) on a good day. One flight in the tiny cabin this bird and my bet is those 4 pax are going to drive the next time they need to travel 400 miles. I would wager as the distances get shorter, the reasons to drive will become more compelling.

This is NOT going to work for ANY Air Taxi, not only is the interior too small, it just won't haul!

Any retail owner like EO387 should cut and run, the value of a any GA plane without support is zero. We have seen this over and over again in this industry. There just are not enough owner/pilots to make this model work. Recall that the KA factory started their marketing to the retail pilot, when this did not get traction to the extent that they needed it, they started with the BS on Nimbus, and from time to time have waivered on the Air Taxi in their marketing, but in reality were forced to stay with that model because of the size of the other market. Cessna could not afford to build just one model, the Mustang, their business model allows for the sharing of resources over a much wider range of aircraft, the KA factory does not have that luxury.

This model of one aircraft type, unless you have the Bank of Islam backing you, and allowing you to loose money on every delivery, cannot work. Vern has all his eggs in one basket, and I am afraid there is a rotten egg in the basket and it is an ugly duckling.

It is all very well for the industry to wish him success, however, this is sentimental and emotional, all the goodwill in the world will never make his ugly duckling a graceful swallow.

occam said...

gadfly said...
...Eclipse announced that the "chick" (22% size) had gone through wind tunnel flight testing, and had passed all tests (in a wind tunnel with a maximum speed of 175 knots . . . that was in the fine print had any of you taken the time to investigate the "Kirsten" wind tunnel data at University of Washington Aeronatical Laboratory).


Matching Reynolds number and mach are relevant to wind tunnel testing, not the absolute speed of the air in the tunnel.

What to do now?! Re-design the wing? . . . with a slight "sweep-back"? . . . maybe! . . . The Germans figured that out way back in the 1930's . . . and even Donald Douglas gained a few points in speed and "CG" envelope by "sweep back", going from DC-2 to DC-3. (Sure, that was "then", and this is "now" with jets and all that . . . but sometimes "old" doesn't mean "bad" . . . God's laws of aerodynamics haven't changed, just how "man" uses, or "mis-uses" them.)

vlj's fly subsonically (i.e. below the transonic regime where sweeping is useful) so there is no reason to sweep the wing, and none of them do.

"Sweep back" . . . hey, a little bit of extra thickness at the wing root . . . a little bit of extra lift . . . maybe add a couple knots to flare-out, but pick up some needed "pay-load" lift at "cruise" altitude . . . and there's a series of "could-have-beens".

Extra thickness and sweep won't result in more lift/payload. Sweep reduces max lift and thickness doesn't have much effect except at the extremes.

airtaximan said...
my estimate for an all inclusive air taxi Cost per Seat mile is around $0.75-$1.00 based on high air taxi utlization....Who cares? The real question is who is going to get out of their car and take the Dayjet at between $1-$3 a mile?


People whose time is valuable to themselves or their company. Suppose an employee has to go on a 300 mile trip for an all-day meeting. At $1/mile, the air taxi costs $600. Taking the car is a 5-6 hr drive each way, plus an overnight stay at a hotel and the employee doesn't get back until late at night the day of the meeting. Now, subtract $264 for mileage reimbursement (current gov rate .44/mile), $200 for hotel and meals and the employee has to be worth less than $150/day (about 40K annually) to break even. At $2, it's a 200K employee and at $3 it's 400K. If you can do it for $0.75, I bet you'd get a lot of people out of their cars

As far as the original post, it hinges on the assumption that air taxi's will operate with full fuel. Then it can carry only the people (or fraction thereof) that make up the remaining weight - i.e. 3.7 people for eclipse vs 4.2 for cessna. Slicing your customers up is probably bad for business at any price, but anyway, both aircraft fully fueled isn't a good comparison because the air taxi supporters aren't proposing max range missions. And this is important, because on a per-mile (or equal pax) basis eclipse costs 30% less per mile, even with the hourly "adjustments" (40% less without). And, I'm not quite sure how you can write off a 1 mil difference either, that's $100/hr or about another 10% advantage to eclipse (assuming 10k hrs and ignoring the opportunity cost of the money). So, in total 40-50% cheaper per seat mile.

Gunner said...

Occam said:
"As far as the original post, it hinges on the assumption that air taxi's will operate with full fuel. Then it can carry only the people (or fraction thereof) that make up the remaining weight - i.e. 3.7 people for eclipse vs 4.2 for cessna."


Of course you're correct or, at least, weakly obfuscating. I never intended my post to constitute a definitive cost statement for Air Taxi Miles. That should be clear to anyone with 11th Grade reading comprehension.

My only point was the Eclipse claims that it has 2,500 orders, vs the Cessna (Dec 2006) claims that it has 250 and how we square these in terms of the Eclipse claim that it's excess is coming from Fleet Orders.

I provided a simple Aircraft Only Cost/NM analysis from the Eclipse site's own numbers and asked the question: "Why not Air Taxi Orders for the Mustang?????"

If you'd like to factor in Dead Legs, actual passenger load, baggage, distance, depreciation and acquisition costs, I'm your Huckleberry. Post 'em and show us the Eclipse advantage; I'll be more than happy to analyze and respond.

-Or-

Sell it to Cessna, Adam, Honda or Embraer; they all obviously missed something in the model despite Vern's years of public promotion.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

bigjim,

As reported in an earlier comment, part of the B mod includes new fairings around the gear doors, a new bullet fairing at the intersection of the horizontal/vertical tail and some other things.

In most drag reduction programs, it is hard to get even measureable gains. Drag goes up with the square of the velocity. A small incremental drag change quickly gets ate up with only a small increase in speed.

It might be different for the Eclipse. I say might because we are not privy to the data but, reports suggest at altitude, the airplane flies at high angles of attack.

If that is the case, less drag might mean a little higher speed, which would translate to a lower angle of attack, which would mean less drag.

Kind of like flying on "the step" that pilots have debated about for years.

At this point, I am giving Eclipse the benefit of the doubt on the drag reduction/speed increase program though I would sure like to see what the airplane would do without the tip tanks.

Maybe even look at wing extensions with winglets. Both could lower drag by lowering the angle of attack. The extensions could carry fuel and provide the expansion space as well.

airtaximan said...

occam, you said...

"Suppose an employee has to go on a 300 mile trip for an all-day meeting."

I propose that he would be better off taking a D-jet-like plane. It will be pretty much the same doorstep-to-destination time, at a fraction of the cost.

Eclipse has found the sour-spot in the market. Too small to go any real beneficial distance with multiple passengers to compare with larger more capable planes with more seats (Lower Cost per Seat) and too big to be effective competition for smaller planes designed to taxi one or two passengers a shorter (comparable) distance.

The eclipse speed advantage is pretty irrelevant for a shorter trip, chalk to chalk, from the passenger’s perspective.

The plane might be a good little private pilot (family) jet...but the market for this plane is quite small, especially considering the 12 offerings or so available.

Look at the fleet of aircraft out there, that are around $1 million -$2 million or even $4 million. It’s pretty confined. The taxi market was not the focus of the design, that's clear - only the focus of marketing after the volume was disappointing, even at $779,000 which was the first marketed price.

The market would be larger at below $1 million, but still not large enough for the rate required.

PS. for anyone who might try to discredit this by misconstruing it as fact or a report by a paid journalist...its just one taximan's opinion.

gadfly said...

When I first asked a close friend and aeronautical engineer (who has a most impressive track record with the "Airborne Laser Lab" . . . he and I continue other work), "What do you think of the Eclipse . . . ?" The first thing he brought up was the low-speed testing (under 175 Knots), and an impression that "transonic" problems would appear around the windshield area. And so, I have watched with keen interest the unveiling of this project.

My own father is the inventor of the "control cable regulator systems" and "inertial restraint system" and "quick-disconnect 5-point buckle" . . . the standard systems on many military and most commercial jets for over fifty years. Even as a little kid, I saw first-hand the importance of testing under extreme conditions . . . month after month, with nothing left to chance. Fifty and sixty years later, the importance of that testing is borne out as millions of airline passengers fly in safety, without any knowledge of what goes on within a few feet of where they sit. So, I am most concerned about safety, and success in anything "aeronautical".

My earliest memories are of my Dad working on the "YP-38" prototypes at Lockheed . . . there was a war going on, and an urgency . . . but “no compromise”. And, yes, I trained as a pilot: little stuff . . . Cessna’s, Piper’s, Aeronca’s . . . whatever . . . after my service aboard a submarine . . . and I am (or was) a licensed "A&P" (Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic). And I have a successful business as an inventor, machinist, manufacturer, consultant, business owner . . . continuing over a century of family tradition with patents on everything from farm and marine engines to micro-surgical devices. I say all this to emphasize that I want to see American inventions and new-technology survive. I like legitimate American success stories.

No-one gains if Eclipse does not make it . . . except foreign competition.

Now for a few observations:

The wing root area can pick up a few square feet if the "leading edge" were truly "straight", from the attach point at the fuselage . . . look at it, there is a severe "jog" in the leading edge. The "slight sweep back" may easily begin there, and extend to the present "tip", gaining high-speed "yaw" stability and allow the elimination of the "wing tip tanks" . . . do the numbers, and you will have plenty of volume for the extra fuel without sacrificing lift, drag, payload. And in the process, pick up a few inches of "CG" envelope. ("Big Jim", the wing thickness may, or may not need to be increased to compensate for cantilever strength . . . I don't know, but an inch would greatly strengthen the wing. Please note: Your comments about aerodynamics are not in question. There are little "gotcha's" in that "trans-sonic zone", which have eluded the best of aeronautical engineers. Consider the elevator flutter of the YP-38 which killed a test pilot, and was "fixed" by that simple double counter-weight. That was a "gotcha" way back then. There's no excuse, today, for overlooking "transonic" problems.)

The profile of the "Eclipse" is unique. Examine any successful aircraft from the Mitsubishi A6M on down, through the "Mooney", and most other aircraft. Only "one" of which I know, the "Bellanca" had a fuselage that increased in cross-sectional area behind the cockpit. Mr. Bellanca wanted even the "fuselage" to contribute to lift, which is "OK" in a slow-moving aircraft. But I cannot for the life of me find any successful business jet, which might have a surface moving in the "transonic" region, and a fuselage "growing in size" behind the cockpit . . . only "Eclipse". All others seem to maintain a constant cross-sectional area, or taper smaller. Yes, the "rounded profile" of the "Eclipse" looks nice compared to other jets, but even the "Honda Jet" brings the underside of the nose back into a low cross-sectional profile (giving it the appearance of a "chin"), and continues straight back into the empennage. Could it be that these "other" designers know something that Eclipse just might have missed?

Back when Jiro Horikoshi designed the famous Mitsubishi "A6M", he made the statement in reference to the slight "wash-out" at the wing tips, "The amount of twist was so small that it could not be seen simply by looking at the finished wing" . . . and of course, American fliers had to learn the hard way about the maneuverability of the "Zero". American designers didn’t discover the secrets of the “Zero” until they retrieved one from an Aleutian island, after the Spring of 1942, hauled it down to Seattle, and went over it with a fine toothed comb. The lesson here is that all the "bad mouthing" of the competition will not win a battle with an enemy, or with the competition. Someone has said, the Devil is in the details. (The "wash out" gave the Zero the ability to turn on a dime, as the "wing tips" were the very last thing to stall.)

Had Eclipse conducted many wind-tunnel tests, at design speeds and altitude, to gain true "empirical" data, we would not be having any of this discussion.

At my age, I have much to learn. But this I know, the competition must know something, or they would not be my competition.

Gadfly3

Frank Castle said...

I just have one question.....

What is Crowe doing with his EEEklips ? Is he still having local reporters and schoolkids taking field trips to the hanger where IT resides ? Is he bravely flying this thing close to the envelope, whatever that is ?

One more day, 1.37 in the hole. he he.

occam said...

bambazonke said...
The plane will have 1200 lbs of useable fuel total, start adding your average US pax to the plane and you can very soon see that with 4 200 lbs (pax and baggage) you will have 90 gallons of fuel.....


How do you get 90 gallons? Max ramp is 5950, you give empty of 3652, that gives a 2298 useful load. Subtract 370 lb crew and 800 lb pax and you're left with 1128 lbs fuel (about 170 gallons)

airtaximan said...
The taxi market was not the focus of the design, that's clear - only the focus of marketing after the volume was disappointing, even at $779,000 which was the first marketed price.


Not true, read he first press release on their website:

The Eclipse 500 Jet is designed to serve both the existing general aviation market and a new market, which the company terms the "air limousine" concept. Air limo service will be provided by new or current companies utilizing Eclipse's aircraft to provide air travelers with an alternative for on demand, point-to-point air travel that is fast, convenient and safe.

And the rest of the release is interspersed with a lot more about the air taxi philosophy, too much to quote here but it's easy to find on their web site

airtaximan said...

FC,

Don't be too surprised when Vern delivers a bunch of planes at once, and claims he's on track for 500 this year.

His supporters are refering to around 40 planes in completion, already...as time goes by, (it's already around 6 months of production at this point) the planes are stacking up.

At some point, I believe he could deliver and I bet he'll claim he's demonstrated that E-clips can deliver 40 a month now...you'll see... the press will eat it up.

OR NOT! Which is a complete disaster...

PS. this is not the paid contribution of a journalist, and is not to be taken as fact...just one taximan's opinion - to be clear for the die-hards...

airtaximan said...

occam,

Do you believe everything else in that press release, too?

Everything in the release has been proven wrong...why glom onto the "air limo" jargon?

According to most reports, and Verns own spewage, the program began in 1998. The March 2000 release preceded the wind tunnel release by 2 weeks...do you think they had done some work, yet?

Forget the past...do you see this as a purpose designed air limo plane? Would you design this plane for passenger service?

I really do not think the Collective Worldwide Aerospace Engineering Intelligence would have designed THIS plane for air taxi...sorry. Like I said, it perfectly missed the utlility required for air taxi service.

Too small for meaningful load for most trips in order to achieve low seat cost.

Too big to compete with only 1 or 2 passengers onboard for most trips.

Perfect miss. Vern spewage, notwithstanding...

PS. ever see the V-jet? Explains a lot.

PPS. this is not the paid contribution of a journalist, and is not to be taken as fact...just one taximan's opinion - to be clear for the die-hards...

Frank Castle said...

http://www.educatedearth.net/video.php?id=2875

It even looks like "Vern's dream"... Ha!

airtaximan said...

go to the first item in the Eclipse time line, and find the design criteria from 1998... in Vern's own words.

BIG VERN SMILING FACE:

"A former Microsoft Executive and avid pilot, Raburn was looking to change the world of aviation by creating a new category of jet based on his own need for a smaller affordable jet"

BASED ON HIS OWN NEED FOR A SMALLER AFFORDABLE JET...

unless you think Vern was going to join the ranks of personal-jet-cabbie... this says a lot...and so does just lookng at the plane, and the specs...

PS. this is not the paid contribution of a journalist, and is not to be taken as fact...just one taximan's opinion - to be clear for the die-hards...

PS. Stan, you should post the picture with the caption, its in the timeline section, under ABOUT, TIMELINE, 1998, click on the O

It's hysterical

flightfollowing said...

Capital costs have to be included in the DOC and cost per seat numbers in Gunner's post in order to have any meaning. I would be curious for gunner or someone else more knowledgable than I to include the capital costs and debt payment in the numbers. I ran VERY rough numbers, (8% interest, 1.55 million vs. 2.8 million, 5 year payments, 800hrs year utilization) and I came up with an extra $380 flt/hr savings in using the eclipse per hour over the Mustang. This makes quite a difference in operating costs, for an air-taxi scenario. Also, Eclipse has always targeted an air-taxi high utilization market for its aircraft, unlike Cessna, see Eclipse's white paper on this subject.
Eclipse already has a fleet order from one company (dayjet) larger than the entire Mustang order book, so at least some other entreprenuers are banking on a viable air-taxi market for the US.

Gunner said...

FF-
You are so right that Cap Costs need to be included....but only if we're trying to build a ProForma for Air Taxi. Then again, useful life, company stabilitry and maintenance costs would need to be factored in. Anyone seen an AD from Cessna lately about Window Replacement intervals?

Additionally, as Occam pointed out, one would need to factor in average flight distance to determine the number of passengers that might be hauled. Of course, no matter how much fuel you drain off, the Mustang STILL carries measurably more passenger and baggage weight, mile for mile.

But that's not the point, I think. I'm not trying to build a ProForma for Air Taxi, though I'm more than willing to analyze those of others. I'm simply doing the following:

a) Taking Eclipse's own "Comparison" website numbers to their logical conclusion based on their own marketing plan of a HUGE Air Taxi business just waiting for delivery.

b) Asking "Why Not" even a couple hundred Mustangs ordered for this burgeoning Air Taxi business that is the core of the Eclipse Model.

700 Million invested so far (conservatively). At 1.6 million per jet, and even a 30% profit margin, that's 1,458 jets that need to be produced to hit BreakEven.

1458 Jets is unheard of in this market, even if you ARE producing 500 per year; unless, of course, someone has the magic rabbit in the hat. The one that controls all those lucrative Air Taxi businesses that have decided the Mustang is not viable.

Only the Eclipse.
Gunner

bambazonke said...

Occam,

There was a small error in my numbers, but not the one you think;

Firstly, the TCDS (Type Certificate Data Sheet) gives the max ramp weight as 5800 lbs, MTOW is 5760. Anyhow, I gave two examples at 5800 lbs and 5900 lbs, the fantasy weight.

At 5800 Max ramp weight, less the Empty weight of the plane, we have 2148 payload. Assuming full fuel, there is now only 462 lbs of Payload (2148-1686= 462). We will add 2 pilots (the skinny variety) weighing 370 lbs this leaves exactly 92 lbs of passengers.

Now we need to add our passengers, and as we add our passengers we obviously (unless we are doing KKA maths) need to remove fuel. We only have 1286 lbs of fuel that we can remove, because we need 400 lbs of fuel for reserves, assuming these Air Taxi flights are made under IFR.

We know that we had 92 lbs of payload after our crew, add this to the 1286 lbs, this gives us a payload of 1378 lbs, before we start loading the bodies and bags. Assuming we stick with the 4 x 200 lbs pax, 1378-800 = 578 lbs of fuel for the midgejet to fly on, so my error appears to be appears to be 4 gallons in the wrong direction, because now I have only 86 gallons of fuel, not 90 gallons as in the previous example, as the plane is currently certified. In the event KKA gets the increase in the GW, and let's assume it is 150 lbs, this only adds another 22 gallons of fuel, not much in a twin jet..

Make sense?

Gunner said...

Bambazonke-
I'm showing 2,400 for useful load:
5,950 - 3,550

What'd I miss in terms of their stated 5,950 and your use of 5,760 for Gross and 3,652 vs 3,550 for empty weight?
Gunner

Lloyd said...

For all of you salivating about Eclise:

Eclipse #1 landing on 2700 ft runway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abIP31lI0iU

Eclipse #1 takeoff in 1315 feet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1ozYbqNYh8

Old Troll said...

Regarding the video, the devil is in the details. Short takeoff/landings are possible with an anorexic pilot and flying on vapors. Without weight information short field performance is simply unimpressive.

If you read Richguy's flight review, you'll see another stunning performance of almost 250 kts at 13,500 ft. WOW!!!!

Several people have defended Eclipse' secrecy by saying they're not through development yet. That's fine for pre-TC flights but they now have a "fully" certified A model. If the ongoing development is only to boost top speed by 10 knots, why the continued stonewall? That would be akin to Lear hiding the model 24 until the 24B was certified. Besides, uncle Vern said they have moved from development to production.

It was previously asked if Vern was a dishonest fool. He's no fool but I challenge you to explain how the Nimbus "deal" was anything but dishonest.

bambazonke said...

lloyd! Welcome, I suspect that you are a position holder.. Just so we are all in the loop on the landing in the video, and to back up Old troll's post here is the post from the pilot/owner on that flight;

From: david crowe
To: EclipseOwners@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 6:51 PM
Subject: [EclipseOwners] Short field fun


Today, we flew into one of my home airstrips located near Carlsbad.
It is Pauma Valley (CL33), 2,700' between thresholds with 2,950'
total asphalt, elev 760'. Hilly terrain. Density Altitude was
2,600' winds calm.
Fuel on landing 600lbs, people total 400 lbs. Touchdown on the
numbers, off the brakes just past midfield, slow coasting to exit.
Fuel on takeoff 560 lbs, people total 400 lbs. WOW at measured 1,300'
of roll, just before midfield. Video coming soon.
20 or so pilots on hand to witness landing/t.o were very impressed
with the airplane in general, the performance and low noise in
particular. So was I. Short fields really show off this machine.


560 lbs of fuel, 83 gallons and 3 people weighing 400 lbs! Remember his reserve fuel is 60 of those gallons, so he really had 23 gallons of mission fuel.

WOW is right, this is about as clever as trying to tell pilots to use a handheld GPS to NAV with by using the heading information from the GPS and dialing that into the plane via the heading bug. Yes, this was Dave's latest stunt..

Just what kind of demo is this, it is almost like a cheap stunt? Remember he said that the plane was being shown to pilots, real pilots don't run around with 23 gallons of fuel in a twin jet, not those wanting to live long enough to retire..

How about asking ole Vern to spring with the manual and let us see what this bird really does, rather than bs'ing us with these mini quips..


As someone told an Eclipse Sales person at Sun N Fun when I was there, after trying to get real numbers from the poor guy (who was obviously not allowed to give any substantive numbers to prospective purchasers) becoming frustrated with the sales guy's BS, he asked the guy if the EA-500 used BS for fuel, because if it did it would fly a loooong way.

Jet_fumes said...

Considering that takeoff fuel at 560lb is less than landing fuel at 600lb, it doesn't take a PhD to understand that he meant 1560lb takeoff fuel.
Why don't we focus on real issues?
This blog had some real potential, but frankly it's becoming hopeless.

flightfollowing said...

Jetfumes, I am not too sure about that. You are assuming that they refueled. But the other possibility is that they simply used 40 lbs in taxi between landing and takoff.

Gunner said...

FF-
I certainly read it the way you did.
They landed with 600 and took off with 560. No correction has been posted since, according to my sources.

Somehow I don't think the world owes it to the Eclipse to start adding a thousand pounds of fuel to the reports of their own stake holders in order to make those reports somehow more "mainstream".

After all, what would the Eclipse say of you if you simply "corrected" his post by claiming he must have needed "2,300" feet rather than "1,300" for take off. You'd never hear the end of it.

David said it. He hasn't corrected it. It's his first hand report. He owns it.
Gunner

gadfly said...

The numbers all add up . . . lowering the takeoff weight by 1,400 pounds makes the 1,300 foot takeoff roll consistant with the Eclipse specs. But that's not the amazing thing in the story.

Ever since those two brothers (Ernest & Julio) made it possible for the average man to fly, the weight was calculated at about 170 pounds per passenger. Now at "133 pounds per passenger", including the pilot, think of the economic benefits and reduction of dependence on foreign oil.

Gadfly3

baron95 said...

I think the best realistic scenario for Eclipse is:

a) One more redesign "C Version" witn a PW615 (not 610) and a fuselage tank (no tip tanks).

b) A steep price increase (25%-33%).

c) Decrease in annual production to something like 50/year ramping up to 100/year in 3 or 4 years.

d) Investors taking compleely over the business as they trade cash infusion for equity.

e) A bumbling 3rd tier GA jet mannufacturer way, way behind Cessna.

Lloyd said...

The first is an eclipse pilot discussing features of the plane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf8mgD3N1Pw&mode=related&search=


second is a post flight interview of a pilot and passenger that just completed a demo flight
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYIPpO58faM&mode=related&search=


Also:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3NCKL0YURQ&mode=related&search=

Gunner said...

Positively riveting, lloyd.
The objective interview style was exceeded only by the perfectly scripted commentary. I especially liked the way the interviewees answered all those tough questions from the "reporter". Makes me want to run right out and buy one of these AND a Moller Sky Car.
;-)

Gunner

Jet_fumes said...

I stand corrected, he used 40lb on taxi.

Nonetheless, the Eclipse performance is short of advertised numbers but is in line with other VLJ's (if a little bit worse).
My point is that the performance of the 500 should not be subject to debate. It is a known quantity.

Let me think out loud about one specific issue: Is Eclipse financially viable?

They have spent three times more than Cessna did on the development of the Mustang - a real shame. And what is the operating margin at the current selling price? Why do they keep pretending to deliver 500 A/C this year, while Pratt has no plans to produce anywhere near 1000 610's this year? The only reason I can see is that suppliers contracts are priced with production volumes. If they say now that they will really deliver 200 A/C in 2007 (which in itself would be an achievement), I'm quite sure they will owe their suppliers a couple hundred thousands more per shipset. In other words, they lose money on each aircraft! Probably with 500 deliveries/year already. Definitely with 200. Eventually they will have to come clean financially with their suppliers. Just look at their DOC comparison chart. It's clear that Eclipse has become master at fuzzy accounting.

The only financial way out for Eclipse is a larger 600 (three more feet cabin length, couple more inches wider, with a lavatory!, and bigger wing with more fuel, etc.) all those things adding only $50,000 to $75,000 to the manufacturing cost, retail it at $2.2M, ask all 500 deposit holders to upgrade and refund those who won't.

Since it was incredibly stupid no to do the 600 when they switched from the EJ22 to the PW610, one has to wonder if Eclipse will make the right decisions now, and if it is not too late anyway.

I also cringe whenever I read that Eclipse "invented" the VLJ.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

If it wasn't for Williams, there wouldn't be any VLJ today.

The concept of the 500 was a followup to the V-Jet II, the brainchild of Sam Williams.

The concept of what became the Mustang (which started out as a turboprop project by the way) was nicely laid out by Century Jet. And the Century Jet was a result of the development of the FJ33, the engine that really kick started the VLJ market. Century Jet wasn't successful because Bill N. was scary when let loose in front of investors, but that's another story.

Anyway, my question is: is Eclipse doing the right thing now? The 500 is a financial dead end and we don't want an Enron in our industry.

bill e. goat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.