Sunday, January 14, 2007


HELP WANTED...
and careers that soar.
In Wichita, the message can be seen on billboards, heard on the radio and read in the newspaper.
Eclipse Job Fairs Jan 4 and 5 in Wichita and Independence, Kansas for experienced aircraft workers in multiple disciplines.
The ads tout the Eclipse 500 as the winner of the Collier, their 2,500 orders, and offer "excellent salaries with stock options."
Independence, Kansas you ask? Just a sleepy little Kansas town a hundred or so miles S.E. of Wichita with a population of about 10,000. Well it does have another thing going for it. Cessna will produce the Mustang at their Independence facility with the effort led by Ron Holter, who used to head up manufacturing at Eclipse.
Eclipse has a problem in recruiting new employees. The company has experienced a fair amount of turnover and those who have left are now working at other aerospace companies across the country. I don't think many of the Eclipse alumni are encouraging others to move to Albuquerque.
The "Hot Jobs" posting on the Eclipse web site is revealing. While many of the jobs are required to support eventual production increases, some are key slots vacant because somebody left, like the opening for the Manager of Stress Analysis, or the Lead Performance Engineer, or the Lead Weights Engineer. Would sure like to interview the individuals who previously held these positions.
Another revealing vacancy is for the Lead, Flight Quality. This person needs "Experience performing airworthiness inspections and issuing FAA standard airworthiness certificates on behalf of the FAA." It is hard to imagine the FAA granting the Production Certificate with this key slot open.
If you are going to build 500 aircraft per year, it will take a lot of deck hands. Not just warm bodies but people who know what they are doing. Yet even if the company were fully staffed, it is going to take some time to get the internal systems working right and everyone working as a team.

39 comments:

airtaximan said...

where do they come up with this stuff?

first: "DIE hard fans"

now: "Careers that SOAR" (read SORE)

Amazing!

wrangler said...

There are a lot of core technical positions open for a company that has "moved out of the development phase". These are management positions too, not beginning peon jobs. Perhaps upper level personnel who know the real status of the program see where it's heading? Just look at Holter's departure to Cessna and Reed's "retirement".

In regards to the Independence billboards, why would Vern want to hire Cessna employees? How could their fossilized skills benefit Vern's revolutionary company?

Stan Blankenship said...

The following comments were left on the previous post. I've added a copy here for better visibility.

Ken Meyer said...
I see the photos of my recent tour made it here. And, no, they weren't doctored; there really are all those planes being built up on the floor. Those and a lot more. BTW, I've got a couple more good photos if you're interested.

This was my 4th visit to Eclipse in about a year. Each time, the operation gets bigger, better, and more impressive.

I've been reading the Eclipse Aviation Critic blog for a while. It serves a good purpose--something of a counterpoint to the always positive message from the company.

And I considered very carefully all the comments here when it came time to mail the 6-month progress payment. And then I paid the money. I've got the FAA-approved AFM for the A model, and I'm pretty enthusiastic about what the plane can do.

See, I'm not a "true believer" or an "Eclipse apologist" like some, but neither am I a "naysayer" who feels the need to poo-poo everything Eclipse does. I just want a nice plane at a good price, and I think Eclipse can and will deliver it.

Ken

3:32 PM, January 14, 2007


And Ken, I'm sure everyone here wishes you well on your investment and hope you have good success with your airplane.

HotDog said...

Cessna actually started the billboard war. There was at least one billboard (maybe more) in ABQ about 6 or 8 months ago that Cessna paid for. I saw it when I was visiting Eclipse for some meetings. I don’t remember the exact details but it was something along the lines of…”We miss you.” www.cessnajobs.com

Occam said...

Yeah cessna posted billboards and had job fairs...they even went so far as to put an ad in the bathroom of a eclipser hangout. Guess cessna has a hard time recruiting too

Planet eX said...

Sounds like to me that their 12 week training school is not working.

Stan Blankenship said...

A reader suggested I check the Sunday Help Wanted section of the Wichita paper. Sure enough, there was an interesting ad:

PRESIDENT/COO
General Aviation Manufacturing
Location: Southwest U.S.

Reporting to the Chairman of the Board the successful candidate will be responsible for all aspects of organizing and operating a facility for the manufacture of an FAA certified light aircraft. In addition to building the organization he/she will have the negotiating skills to deal with governmental agencies and subcontractors as well as corporate interests. Candidate will also be expected to build national and international sales and after-market logistical support functions.

The successful candidate will have a proven track record of senior leadership and strategic direction in the aviation industry and demonstrate an ability to manage change and adapt to the dynamics of a cylic marketplace.

Candidate must have 10 or more years experience in the development/manufacturing and certification of aeronautical products. The educational background of the successful candidate will require at least a Bachelors degree, overlaid with formal business, finance or management study, or experience equivalent. An appropriate graduate and experience with both domestic and international certification standards and processes would be a plus.

Reply ad #29744
Wichita Eagle

EclipseBlogger said...

I don't knowthat this is not Eclipse, but it could also be ATG. Notice that the requirements for the position don't seem to be too restrictive or selective for a President or COO position. The position is also stated as reporting to the COB, instead of the CEO, strange.

Stan Blankenship said...

eb,

The ad says location Southwest.

IMO, here are terms a recruiter would use:

Colorado = The Rockies
California = The West Coast
Kansas = The Mid-West
Texas = Texas
Nevada = Las Vegas or Reno
Arizona/New Mexico = The Southwest

Also the ad suggests a certified aircraft but it could also mean an aircraft to be certified in the future.

EclipseBlogger said...

You're probably right. I just found out ATG is in Colorado, I thought they were also in Albuquerque.

Stan Blankenship said...

eb,

Too much speculation here, but conceivably, Vern could be elevated to the COB with a new President/COO reporting to him.

EclipseBlogger said...

If that's the case, perhaps Peg Bilson will be CEO, Raburn will be COB, and they are looking to fill Bilson's current position of COO. I understand that she has been performing very well as COO.

Stan Blankenship said...

eb,

Could this mean the BOD is getting more involved?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Anybody notice that the Executive Team is short another name, Gene Garnes, apparently FORMER VP of Program Management?

With Reed's hasty departure, the absence of Garnes on the website, and the advertising for a COO sounds to me like the much needed and long overdue management shakeup is taking place or about to take place.

One wonders who else might be on the list of future EX-Eclipse Executives? VP Engineering? Maybe a Senior Fellow or two?

I find this a very ENCOURAGING sign.

Hopefully these posts will not be filled by padded\exaggerateed high-tech resumes and rather will bestaffed with EXPERIENCED and QUALIFIED aerospace executives that can take what is admittedly a very promising project and turn it into a viable, reliable and worthwhile product.

EclipseOwner387 said...

http://cbs5.com/video/?id=19971@kpix.dayport.com

David Crowe/Eclipse Story

EclipseOwner387 said...

Some AFM numbers that I heard at Maximum Continuous Thrust (MCT):

MCT 35000 ft 5500 LBS:
350 KTAS 455 pph

MCT 41000 ft 5500 LBS:
312 KTAS 327 pph

So 68 Gallons/hr = 350 KTAS

or 49 Gallons/hr = 312 KTAS

For every 500 lbs lighter you pick up about 8 KTAS at 41,000 ft.

The sweet spot will be the mid 30's for performance. Flying MCT at 25,000 ft will push fuel flow up to 90 gph and true out at 345 kts.

This is the "A" model. This is what I heard so please understand I cannot verify. I do believe it to be accurate though. In addition, David Crowe has posted on the owners forum that SN1 has performed to the numbers of the AFM. If the numbers I have are accurate then I am happy with that and am looking forward to performance reports on the modifications for the "B" model. I have not heard performance at less than MCT which may increase efficiencies when down low and shooting approaches or arrivals.

Stan Blankenship said...

eo387,

I would be interested in knowing Vmc and clean (gear and flaps up) stall speed at 5,500#.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

A freind reminds me that the COO position could be for LoPresti, they are resurrecting the Swift-Fury project just south of Albuquerque.

In keeping with trying to be like a big company, Eclipse has likely used an executive headhunting agency to find their previous executives (done reall well there, lots of aerospace experience - NOT) and so it is unlikely we would see a post for a COO position for Eclipse in a paper anywhere.

I remain encouraged that there seems to be some management shakeup occurring at Eclipse, it is the best thing that can happen for the company at this time.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Stan,

Unfortunately I do not have an AFM. These were just numbers I heard. Perhaps EB knows the answer.

Stan Blankenship said...

coldfish,

Wouldn't bet one way or another.

The ad did say "light aircraft" but on the other hand it was professionally written, perhaps by a headhunter?

With the qualifications they are looking for, this guy is not going to come cheap, probably more than what LoPresti would pay.

Two other aspects tend to point towards Eclipse, the emphasis on academics and foreign certification.

Eclipse loves those impressive resumes.

While I have not mentioned it before, if Eclipse thinks they have been put thru the wringer with the FAA, wait til they get thru dancing with the European Joint Airworthiness Authority.

If my memory serves, Eclipse will be paying for the priviledge to work with these very highly trained professionals. No sarcasm intended, these guys are good, really good.

Stan Blankenship said...

eo387,

The fuel flows may be accaptable to you but they are a long ways from what Eclipse was claiming last year at this time.

Remember they were saying 375 kt cruise at FL 410 and getting about 1.2 nautical miles per pound of fuel.

Your numbers today reflect 312 kt cruise at FL 410 and .95 nautical miles per pound of fuel.

The B model will have some drag reduction improvements but also a gross weight increase, so I would not expect much change in the numbers.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Stan,

I don't remember Eclipse ever promising 375 kts at FL410. My memory (which could be wrong) was Max Speed 375 which they expected to see around FL330. FL410 was the promised ceiling but I am pretty sure they didn't advertise to me when I visited Eclipse back in October 2005 that max speed would be at FL410. I got a binder of info when I was there and if I can find it I will try to check the projected performance envelope from that "era."

EclipseBlogger said...

Maximum cruise speed was specified as 375 Kts (no stated altitude). Maximum range was specified as at max continuous thrust with NBAA reserves. They never stated 375 kts at FL410.

Stan Blankenship said...

eclipseblogger provided the following by e-mail along with a chart for the Eclipse Model A operating envelope.

Will put the chart up in a couple of days. Meanwhile, eb said:

"By the way, the President/COO position is for LoPresti, based in Belen, NM. There are no big shakeups in management at Eclipse at this time, for better or worse. There is also no big story behind the parting of Gene Garnes. The rats definitely are not fleeing the ship, not yet anyway."

eo387 and eb,

My copies of the web pages dated 06-25-06, show the famous Phoenix to Chicago flight profile, with cruise at 41,000 ft.

The assumptions state the NBAA flight profile is based on 'maximum cruise speed'.

The performance chart shows 'maximum cruise speed' at 370 kts.

And there were a whole lot of articles stating the airplane had 41,000 ft, 370 knot capability and I don't ever remember the company stating the numbers were mutually exclusive.

Niner Zulu said...

I know this is off topic, but here's an interesting link supplied by David Crowe, new part-owner of N508JA. Besides the link, he did say his Eclipse "doesn't make any noise at all" and he measured the takeoff roll at 1300 ft (with 1050 lbs useful load on board).

http://cbs5.com/video/?id=19971@kpix.dayport.com

bambazonke said...

David Crowe should get his story straight or cut back on the all intoxicating Kool Aid. This is what he posted for the Eclipse Owners;
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.

Not really 1060 lbs of useful load on take off. So let's have a little closer look at these numbers. Assuming his passengers didn't loose any weight after the miraculous landing, on take off he claims that there was 560 lbs of fuel. One can assume that most take off's will be made in this plane for IFR flights. This means he would need 60 gallons of alternate fuel,or 402 lbs. This meant that his climb, cruise and descent fuel was 24 gallons or 158 lbs. Really! How far could this wonder machine fly on 23 gallons of fuel? Why are these kinds of performance WOWS! being offered to his comrades? The only reason I can put to this nonsense is to try and hype the message on the plane, or the KOOL AID EFFECT, a new term KAE. I personally have had respect for David in the past, when I see these kind of BS numbers, I wonder if he is not on the KKA's payroll.


No performance numbers have yet to be released by EAC, they are unable to forecast the configuration that the first 100 positions, and according to an EAC missive this week, they are expecting to deliver over 80 planes by the end of March (yes March 2007) that leaves 56 days 100 planes... more of the KAE. They have yet to define the avionics functionality that these first 100 aircraft will have, yes as of this week, how does a production line function with this uncertainty? The answer is it doesn't anyone who has been around GA manufacturing (albeit stone age according to KKA) can tell you that changing orders on the production line is just not possible .

KKA has told us before that his company has the most advanced telemetry available, getting over a zillion data points per second of in-flight data, and we learn that after 8 years of messing around with this project they are still flight testing the wing tip tanks and tail bullets...

Consistency is what these people lack, the only consistency that there is coming out of the KA factory is an inability to hit their forecasts. Nothing I see allows me to believe anything other than this is one of the largest Aviation Hoaxes in history, and although we all want to believe that this 'Collier Award Winning Corporation' is not a hoax, I have yet to see any substance in anything they have forecast.

BTW, all this debate above whether the plane would fly the range at 375 kts, Eclipse did say that the range published was as Max Cruise Speed, here is a quote from a letter that Eclipse sent to an owner who asked them to identify at what speed the range was achieved on September 12th, 2006 ""identification of the “long range cruise speed” was indeed an error in our document. We are working to fix this on our end, but it should actually state max cruise speed for the range"". So EB I disagree with you, they did in fact advise that the figure was Max Cruise Speed not MCT and this was posted on the owner forum, and to date has not been corrected by EAC.

On Saturday 30th September KKA gave a call in conference to the disciples (read position holders) at this teleconference he told us that the LRC at FL-410 is 331kt, MCT at FL-410 is 351 kts. EO387 says now that the number for MCT is 312 kts which is significantly below the LRC, let alone the MCT numbers that KKA said were being achieved. Bear in mind at this conference KKA said these ARE the numbers being achieved, these were not forecast numbers.

Brigid Wainright in a 'Customer Technical Communication' bulletin issued on 12.4.2006 said "The following Customer Technical Communication link outlines the final Eclipse 500 Performance Improvement Program and I am pleased to report that the performance improvement program has met our expectations. Through engineering re-design and flight testing, Eclipse has identified and tested improvements that enable the Eclipse 500 to achieve the promised speed of 370 knots (TAS) and 1,125 nm range (NBAA IFR with 100 nm alternate)". The wording clearly states 'has met our expectations' past tense, not we are hoping to or expecting or anything implying that this was speculation, this was a done deal. Now where does this plane do 370 knots and 1125 miles.

Doing simple flight planning maths, at FL-350 the plane is burning 455 lbs according to EO387. The plane needs 400 lbs for IFR reserves, this leaves enough fuel at the 455 lbs per hour for 2.8 hours of flight assuming full tanks at take off, at the speed of 355 knots this is 980 miles. There is no way that this plane can fly 1125 miles at 370 knots period. IF the plane can fly at 370 knots (which I doubt) it is obvious that it will be at a lower altitude than 350, this means more fuel, less range. EB where does this plane meet that performance gtee?

The lofty guarantees that were promised to raise money for KKA's dream in the desert are just not materializing, it will be interested to see how long the faithful followers stand in line..

Gunner said...

Great analysis, bambazonke

Here's something that I don't understand. Let's say the range really IS 980 NM. Is that so big an issue that it would cripple sales if the company stated it up front? Adam is only projecting 1,100 at this point; that is not likely to increase.

Seriously, the Eclipse offers a major price point advantage. Would an additional 145NM at the margin really be the deciding factor for the Position Holders, if all the other promises of safety, economy, etc played out? I think not.

So, if the 1,125 is a fictitious number one really does have to ask "Why?" and "What other 'minor' shortcomings will be revealed before this bird actually goes commercial?"

Gunner

Green-or-Red said...

bambazonke said "KKA has told us before that his company has the most advanced telemetry available, getting over a zillion data points per second of in-flight data, and we learn that after 8 years of messing around with this project they are still flight testing the wing tip tanks and tail bullets...

My sources say that the flight flutter testing with the extended tip tanks is occurring this week.

Also one source told me that in ABQ restaurant restrooms Cessna advertised early last year.

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

you've fallen into a trap...you must remember, its a 6-place, twin engine jet, with a lav, that flies 375 knots, at 41,000 feet, and goes 1200 miles..its a workhorse, designed like a Boeing...for high utilization passenger Service - it costs 56 cents a mile to run, and there are thousands and thousands already sold!!!! THOUSANDS. Oh yeah...its under a $Million in 1956 dollars. The plane is in such demand, there is a wild aftermarket already, where people are paying a PREMIUM for an early position! Its AMAZING!!! WE DIDI IT, we're first, WE WON THE RACE!

Why worry about a few knots or a few miles, at this point?

Its pretty funny.

bambazonke said...

Gunner, to some it would not matter, but to the average true blue American male, when you make a deal, you keep your end of the bargain. Now throw in to the mix how us mid-westerners feel about a guy bare faced lying to you, well that may go down O.K. in NYC or Cali, but not around here!

Seriously, position holders have been duped into parting with hard earned dollars on a promise of a certain level of performance, this is not being delivered. BTW, the range and speed is just one element.

If you take the time to spec out a 135 plane as most of the position holders will be buying on EAC's comparator you will end up with a weight of 3778 lbs. Remember this puppy has a certified gross weight of 5800 lbs, we all know unless we are 'Dave' we are going to take off with full fuel every flight, this now takes us to the next little fib or understatement, the plane now has a full fuel payload of 342 lbs. Remember Vern promising an average equipped plane would have a payload of a 200 lb pilot, and 3 by 170 lbs passengers, last time I added this up it was 710 lbs. Seems that this is a long way from the 342 lbs we now have....I heard that Eclipse are now offering a Jenny Craig course for 5 people for one year if you buy an Eclipse.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Come on Bambazonke, everyone knows Nutri-System more effective! They pioneered the glycemic index. (Similar to friction stir welding.) Are we going to have to argue that point now too? Dan Marino has a new nickname - Skinny!

EclipseOwner387 said...

Bambazonke,

BTW, Brigid is referencing the "B" Model mods with the 370/1125 performance guarantees. How they know they will work is something I can't answer but that was the new pledge. The first 50-100 planes will be manufactured under the old max speed of 360 and 1055 nm NBAA IFR range. They have now promised to retro the new mods once certified to all early planes. Time will tell. Keep in mind the performance guarantees have tolerences like +/- 2% if memory serves me.

I don't think Eclipse has been very clear at all when advertising the numbers - I will agree with that. BUT, in the purchase process they displayed a projected performance chart at different altitutdes which clearly showed top speed WAS NOT at FL410. Also, the 312KTAS at FL410 I demonstrated earlier was at 5500 lbs. The speed increases to 328 KTAS at 5000 lbs in the AFM. The problem with any LRC number is you must weight to the performance equation to compare apples to apples. I don't think Eclipse demostrated the weight or perhaps they used a flight profile that would have only 1 hr of NBAA fuel left when calculating an average speed.

bambazonke said...

EO387, Good one!!

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

By no means am I saying this range issue is no big deal; what I'm saying is that it didn't HAVE to be a big deal. Only in context of the other misrepresented promises can a 120 mile "miss" begin to grate.

Personally, for my usual configuration the Eclipse still makes the grade. But, with their hype about range, payload and speed, I begin to question fundamentals: like avionics promises, reliability, repair profile and overall safety.
Gunner

Green-or-Red said...

I believe the new MGW will be close to 6000 #. If it goes over, I think a whole new set of FARs come into play for the certification effort.

Green-or-Red said...

From AIN Alerts today...

Eclipse 500 VLJ Fractional Set To Fly
Scottsdale Ariz.-based fractional operator JetsAmerica is scheduled to take delivery of its first Eclipse 500 by the second week of March, ................

bambazonke said...

Green-or-Red sed I believe the new MGW will be close to 6000 #

The Provisional TC lists the certificated weight as 5800 lbs. You are correct that if the plane goes over 6000 lbs it is a different certification, which includes the requirement of producing balanced field length data.

On the subject of shifting targets, bear in mind the target range for the midgetjet was 1700 lbs when KKA first wrapped his lips around a microphone..

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

EO387 quoted Eclipse...

"The first 50-100 planes will be manufactured under the old max speed of 360 and 1055 nm NBAA IFR range. They have now promised to retro the new mods once certified to all early planes."

I have to ask again, putting aside the idea of a start-up company footing a modification bill of say $50-$150K for perhaps 50 to 100 aircraft ($2.5M to $15M), what about service capacity, to make even a 2 or 3 week modification for again 50 to 100 aircraft - while also supporting a, presumably growing fleet.

Seems to me that 2 to 6 years of modifications might tax the service capability of even an established company, let alone a brand new company still working certify and deliver product.

Sounds like more of the same to me - pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.