Friday, February 02, 2007

News From ABQ

Flightfollowing provided the following:

FROM ECLIPSE:

Many of you have been asking how the Performance Improvement Program is progressing. We are pleased to inform you that we have demonstrated that we have exceeded our performance guarantees of speed and range. Last week we flew N505EA with production quality performance modifications and achieved a maximum speed of 372 KTAS and a maximum NBAA IFR range of 1,156 nm. We are currently completing the FAA certification program such that aircraft delivered in mid-April 2007 will come with these improvements.

As background, please recall the following:

In June 2006, we notified our customers that the Eclipse 500 was not going to meet the performance guarantees we originally announced following our move to the P&WC PW610F engine. We predicted that through a modification plan, there would be two different performing Eclipse 500s delivered to customers. The early customer aircraft (approximately the first 100) would have a range of 1,055 nm (with four occupants, NBAA IFR, 100 nm alternate) and maximum cruise speed of 360 knots. Subsequent customer aircraft would be aerodynamically modified to demonstrate a higher maximum cruise speed of 370 knots and a range of 1,125 nm (with four occupants, NBAA IFR, 100 nm alternate).

Shortly thereafter, we revealed a detailed performance improvement plan that included the extended tip tank, a tail bullet refinement and engine nacelle refinements. At that time, we continued to anticipate that very early customers would only receive the extended tip tank. Our customers urged us to consider the ramifications of producing two versions of the Eclipse 500 with different levels of performance.

We listened to your concerns, and they were valid. In late 2006, we decided to retrofit all customer aircraft with all of the performance improvement modifications, thus ensuring that all customer Eclipse 500s will be the same with equal performance.

After making these decisions and announcements, we put our noses to the grindstone and started designing and flight testing our performance enhancements. We are happy to tell you that a number of recent Performance guarantee demonstrations have shown our ability to achieve our performance numbers of a max speed of 370 knots and a range of 1,125 nm with a slight margin.

Maximum Cruise Speed Demonstration

On Wednesday January 24th, N505EA completed a test flight to verify maximum cruise speed after the implementation of the performance modifications described above.

Three conditions were demonstrated at altitudes of 33,000, 32,000 and 31,000 feet. Autopilot altitude and heading hold were engaged for each test point, with engines set at Maximum Continuous Thrust (MCT). Each condition was maintained for 3 minutes, or until a stable airspeed was observed.

Demonstrated Speeds (averaged over test point):

Speed (KTAS) Temperature Weight (pounds) Altitude (feet)
371 ISA -5 5,406 33,003
371 ISA -7 5,344 32,002
372 ISA -7 5,290 30,999

Please note that the current guarantee is for a maximum speed of 370 knots at ISA and 4,950 pounds. When the above data are normalized, we meet our maximum cruise speed guarantee.

Actual Range Demonstration

On Thursday January 25th, we conducted a nonstop flight from Albuquerque, NM to Gainesville, FL. The flight originated from the Albuquerque International Sunport (KABQ), with a single continuous climb to 41,000 feet. N505EA then proceeded on a nearly direct course to Tallahassee (KTLH), shot a missed approach, climbed to 25,000 feet, flew direct to Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV) at economy cruise setting, descended to 5,000 feet, held for 5 minutes, and ended with an approach and landing at Gainesville. This flight was a total distance of 1,333nm and we landed with 205 pounds of fuel remaining.

GPS flight track of range demonstration flight.

The chart above shows the specific range for this long-range trip. This test indicates that your Eclipse 500 is likely to have a specific range of just over 1 nm per pound of fuel when cruising at the Long Range Cruise (LRC) power settings.

These speed and range demonstrations validate the Performance Improvement Plan modifications, and indicate that the production Eclipse 500 will exceed the committed performance as follows:

Performance Commitment Demonstrated

Speed 370 knots TAS 372 knots TAS
NBAA Range (100 nm alt) 1,125 nm 1,156 nm

An important fact to remember is that although we have exceeded our targeted performance guarantees, we are not changing the guarantees. You will most likely see better then "book" performance in your aircraft due to the better then forecasted improvements. But we are not guaranteeing the increased performance.

We are proud of the entire engineering and support teams who have worked diligently to achieve this milestone.

We trust you will find this information of interest and helpful in following the development and delivery of your Eclipse 500.

Ken McNamara and the Eclipse Team

21 comments:

Stan Blankenship said...

Thanks flightfollowing, very interesting stuff. And while we are not in any kind of race, the blog did beat Capt Zoom on this story. He is probably still eating his morning porridge.

On my first read through:

The release did not mention weights for the Florida flight.

The release did not mention winds which I suspect were favorable.

bambazonke said...

If this kind of press release was put out by Cessna or a real company they would say the plane flew to GNV and back, EAC continues with the BS baffling brains approach of giving one direction only. This necessitates, for those who are interested in real numbers to go and research the data and see if for once we are getting good data from the spin merchants in ABQ.

The flight took place on January 25th, consulting the winds aloft archive for this day here are the details;

Dir Spd temp
ABQ 345 5 -56
MID 225 66 -52
LIX 240 110 -57
TLH 250 104 -58

So in reality EAC are saying at long range cruise with at least a 80 knot tail wind the plane will fly 1156 miles. It will not do the range in still air..Sometime when I have time, I will feed this into Flight planning software and see what the actual LRC TAS was, I'll bet this will be another surprise for the KAK or Kool Aid Klan.

What keeps this blog alive is the BS propaganda that needs to be debunked out of ABQ at every turn...

Frank Castle said...

Good stuff. You can fly anywhere on a tailwind and a tanker.

Used to be a wing and a prayer.

Frank Castle said...

Notice the altitude changes in different aspects of flight ? They kill me with all the differing information, thinking it meshes together quite nicely.

NOT.

AJ said...

blahblahhonky,

This "press release" from what I can tell was sent to only the owners, not a public release sent to the press.

The 500 is what it is, a low cost low end jet. It should do the job for the jet's owners need it to do.

I will be the first to laugh at you and the other critics when Eclipse starts operating at a profit and all your claims are proved false. Don't you see what you are? You are the "King Kool Aid" of this blog. Keep up your rants, it will all make for some hilarious reading in the end.

-AJ

gadfly said...

Eclipse

Show the world that you can do it. Go there and back at least once a day for a week or so, "at altitude" and speed, with "full payload" (load up with adobe bricks if necessary, Albuquerque has enough to spare . . . they're friendly, and don't move around much, and don't need a potty break) . . . then you can get rid of most of this hate email.

Back a couple years, 1 October 2005, a couple guys (Bob Berben and Benoit Simeons of Belgium) traveled 2,112 miles from Albuquerque to Quebec, Canada, setting a record. They only traveled at 18,000 feet and who knows their "cruise speed". But they didn't make the return flight . . . something about "west to east prevailing winds, if you get my DRIFT"). Oh yeh . . . they had a helium balloon! (The "hot air" types during the annual "balloon festival" get a lot of press, but they don't go very far.)

Point being: You need the return leg of the flight, and show it's not a one time "fluke". Then, you can show the world that New Mexico can produce something besides "The Bomb", "The Airborne Laser" stuff, and things that go "bump" in the night.

As a "local" here in Albuquerque, we can use some positive "PR" for a change.

Seriously, do it right and share the good and the bad . . . Americans usually go with the "underdog", and will support honest effort. Most "Old Timers" remember the opportunity to see the rattlesnakes at the top of "Nine Mile Hill", west-bound on "Highway 66", and their last opportunity for gas and water before the desert. But now we need for Eclipse to succeed, to change the image. No more ignoring the man behind the curtain. This may be your last opportunity to get it right. Help us to help you . . . and get this thing off and running . . . er, "flying".

By the way, that famous poem (aluded to, in another email) has nothing to do with the present discussion, but is worthy of repeating . . . in memory of another generation for whom we are most grateful:

"Coming in on a wing and a prayer.
Look below, there's our field over there!
With our full crew aboard,
and our trust in the Lord,
We're coming in on a wing and a prayer."

As in the Bible, in the "Psalms", it says, "Selah",
"Pause, and think about it".

Gadfly3

airtaximan said...

AJ.

I'm excited to see the press release, if they dare...

It's sad - I can't wait until Cessna announces the mods to meet promised/promoted performance of the Mustang - not necessary.

Anyone who believes Eclipse fell short "to their surprise" after a ton of money and engineering for years, is a fool - and they and their moeny will soon part.

Anyone who doesn't understand they've been duped, is blind.

I suspect, had Vern been able to extract deposits out of enough paper-holders, he would have never gone ahead with the mods. Nice to know you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

But now that the mods are here, its nice to know how simple it was to modify the delivered and certified aircraft -the one they tried to pas off on their customers will lower than expected/promised/promoted/sold performance.

My only question today is, with all the talent, money and equipment, why did they wait? Why did they not produce and deliver what was promised.

They had a lot of time to make sure they presented the best plane to the FAA and their coveted customers, no?

Curious, at least.

Congrats on the mods. I wish we had real numbers to compare it with, and real information to assess the true performance.

I guess we'll just have to trust Vern - Maybe NOT! Given the last 9 years.

Gunner said...

Bambazonke-
PLEASE do the flight computer thing. My (very poor) finger abacus guesstimates the no-wind range for this flight at just around 1,020 NM.

All vitriol aside, I'd like to get an answer to what is gonna be a very foolish question:

- When an aircraft company stipulates a Range profile, is it not traditionally, if not inherently, understood that such range assumes 0 Kts Wind or have I been mistaken these past couple of decades?

The reason I ask is specifically pointed out by aj's observation: this is not a Press Release but a statement to the Position Holders (unsecured Debtors).

But it represents far more than that. It represents a formal claim that they have eliminated any "default event" that might be claimed based on missed speed or range guarantees:
"Performance Commitment Demonstrated
Speed 370 knots TAS 372 knots TAS
NBAA Range (100 nm alt) 1,125 nm 1,156 nm
"

If my interpretation of the Eclipse statement is correct, AND they have not demonstrated a 1,125 nm NO Wind Range, I sure would love to be a fly on the wall in the Owners Forum tonight!

Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

aj,

Investment in this company is approaching a billion dollars.

The claimed order backlog is over $2.5 billion.

Serious money and no place for shenanigans.

Using a tailwind to prove range capability is a flim-flam unprecedented in this industry.

occam said...

bambazonke said...
So in reality EAC are saying at long range cruise with at least a 80 knot tail wind the plane will fly 1156 miles. It will not do the range in still air...


The distance from kabq-ktlh is 1330 miles or so (as the press release says) and the result is advertised as a 1156 nm range. So it is corrected for winds. An average of about 47 kts tailwind based on 3:45 block (block time from their website).

bambazonke said...

Occam,

I appreciate that the KKA and his bunch are part of the changing paradigm in aviation, but I haven't heard that they are changing the paradigm of cartography. Taking the route that is on their funny little map accompanying the news in the owners release it approximates to the airways.

Flying the airways, remember this plane has no GPS so this is a likely route; ABQ-J72-J58-J50-J2-DCT Distance= 1179 miles, not 1330. This changes their block speed from 340 kts (with the tail wind which was better than 40 kts!) to 302 kts with the tail wind.

Frank Castle said...

"The 500 is what it is, a low cost low end jet. It should do the job for the jet's owners need it to do."

Oh, that's good. use a low cost low end jet for air taxi ops. That's laughable.

Kinda like the Ford POS in Men in Black. Only, EEEklops doesn't have a "big red button".....

Frank Castle said...

Maybe we can't be a flyon the wall, at the Yahoo Owners group, but you can see the message history on the front page.

OOOPSA ! Did I let that slip ? hehe.

SpeakTest said...

Occam said...
The distance from kabq-ktlh is 1330 miles or so (as the press release says) and the result is advertised as a 1156 nm range. So it is corrected for winds. An average of about 47 kts tailwind based on 3:45 block (block time from their website).

The overall distance flown was 1330, but the ABQ -> GNV leg is only 1155, and that is the interesting number on an NBAA IFR flight profile.

bambazonke said...

I put the numbers that Bob Broders released on the owner's yahoo site on the A model into FliteStar, then added the winds that prevailed on the day of the magic carpet ride from ABQ to TLH and I am absolutely shocked, stunned and not the least bit amazed to find out that the B model is slower than the A model. The A model would have made the flight in under 3.4 hrs, the B model made the flight in 3.7 hrs.

This should not surprise Stan as I think he said early on that the second tip tank carries the fuel for the drag of the first one, or something to that effect. Sorry if I butchered that Stan.

SpeakTest said...

Bambazonke said...
I put the numbers that Bob Broders released on the
owner's yahoo site on the A model into FliteStar, then added the winds that prevailed on the day of the magic carpet ride from ABQ to TLH and I am absolutely shocked, stunned and not the least bit amazed to find out that the B model is slower than the A model.


I believe the numbers from the owners group site are Max Continuous Thrust. It is not surprising that this is faster than Long Range Cruise (even after the new aero mods).

Why are you guys so hung up on the concept that Max Range flying is not done at Max Speed? When you buy a car that claims 0-60 in 6 seconds, and 25mpg, do you expect it to get advertised mileage when you hammer the throttle at every stop? Of course not. Airplanes don't work that way either.

airtaximan said...

like I said,

"Congrats on the mods. I wish we had real numbers to compare it with, and real information to assess the true performance."

It is not surprising that VErn kept the operating performance of the A model under wraps.

Making a true comparison between A and B is going to be tough...probably by design.

Planes are a trade-off, (range, speed, cab vol, etc...) and to magically come up with mods that significantly improve range without adversely effecting speed, after you've certified a plane, and tried as hard as you could (years of time and tons of money) to reach guaranteed performance, only to fail, is probably pretty tough.

The real comparitive results will be hard to come by.

It seems like Vern is trying to claim (quietly in the background) the speed of the A with the range of the B...

SpeakTest said...

Airtaximan said:

Planes are a trade-off, (range, speed, cab vol, etc...) and to magically come up with mods that significantly improve range without adversely effecting speed, after you've certified a plane, and tried as hard as you could (years of time and tons of money) to reach guaranteed performance, only to fail, is probably pretty tough

This seems to echo another theme on this site: if you increase speed, you will hurt range. Don't drag improvements pretty much automatically improve both?

I know significant drag improvements can be difficult, but it seems like Eclipse was in such a hurry to beat Mustang to TC, they may have left some easy improvements on the drawing board. For instance, to meet certification requirements, they had to add gurney tabs on the elevator and rudder. These delay flutter onset, but produce lots of drag. The B model has slightly larger tail surfaces to solve the flutter problem without the drag inducing tabs.

They also dialed up engine power at altitude. This obviously increases top speed when flying at Max Continuous Thrust, but doesn't change the range at all because long distance flights are flown at lower power settings anyway.

You guys are also complaining about the tip tanks -- all they do is produce drag and ruin handling qualities. Eclipse should have made the wing bigger, etc.. Well, based on STCs available for other airplanes, tip tanks do not create lots of drag (cruise speeds are similar with and without tip tanks). In fact they create significant lift, just like making the wing bigger. That is why adding tip tanks usually comes with a gross weight increase.

airtaximan said...

Speaktest,

what you say makes sense, but when you state:

"but it seems like Eclipse was in such a hurry to beat Mustang to TC, they may have left some easy improvements on the drawing board"

I find it hard to buy this. They spent years and years on this aircraft. They spent tons of money. They had risk associated with losing deposits due to missed guarantees. I don't think it makes sense to believe that a few aero mods would result in the performance impprovement they require, and they left them on the table.

Usually mods come years after an aircraft has been in service. New technology or designs are applied as a mod. Improvements are seen. This is not that case.

E-clips is modifying/trying to improving a design they have been working on for years, and just completed. It's been touted as a technological revolution. They had a lot of time to get it right...why didn't they? I don't buy the rush argument.

ST, I'm not saying your opinion is impossible. This is such a strange situation for a new plane, I find it hard to believe they did not try as hard as possible to meet their guarantees. It doesn't seem plausible, especially, given the trickery that led to all this.

Green-or-Red said...

I beleive most of the new aero mods were originally omitted to keep the cost down. I think that the cost of the aircraft is going up and/or the profit margin going down.

airtaximan said...

G or R

Drop in the bucket stuff.

Larger tip tanks, more aero for covers etc..

JOKE-level added cost, for sure.

Its a scheme to get depositors on the hook. The sum total of "improvement" is going to be negligeable, for sure. Just a way to claim the deposits.

I smell a class-action suit.