News Update from ABQ
Mass Raid on Eclipse Facilities
By Jim McKlain
Journal Staff Writer
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Following months of delays, the Very Light Jet (VLJ) manufacturer Eclipse Aviation has inadvertently unleashed a veritable storm cloud of low-cost jets into the New Mexico skies - well, parts at least. Last Thursday, as reported by local state employees located adjacent to the Eclipse facilities (located at the Albuquerque International Sunport), a crowd of hundreds of angry depositors stormed the manufacturing facilities in an apparent attempt to lay claim to literally thousands of incomplete airplane parts.
While not entirely clear what prompted the mad rush for these semi-built VLJ’s, one witness claimed to overhear the crowd yelling chants of “I can build this damn thing faster myself!” and “Take my money to pay for someone else’s airplane – I’ll show you.”
While Eclipse has made claim to be the first to certify the Eclipse 500, there has been little to no sign of actual ability to manufacture or deliver these little “wonder jets”, while other more traditional “latecomer” companies have made significantly more progress.
Amidst the confusion, Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse, was seen wandering apparently aimlessly and somewhat dazed amongst the strewn out parts, repeatedly chanting "We make the fuselage in three sections, starting with the belly.", intermixed with "I think part of what the Eclipse 500 is today is a direct, absolute reflection of my knowledge and my experience from the computer business,". The quotes were reportedly random portions of previous press releases related to the long-overdue, and vastly over budget development of the little VLJ.
One apparently furious depositor was reportedly seen stuffing several rolls of gaffers tape into Mr. Raburns mouth, yelling “stir fry weld this!!" The source of the reference is unknown. Mr. Raburn did not seem to resist the effort, but did continue to mumble something about if he could just get more deposits.
The confusion apparently died down after about an hour of scavenging and several fist-fights, where some depositors had to be taken to the local medical facilities for minor treatment. An apparent source of frustration between the battling depositors was confusion over who exactly had paid for what specific parts. At one point, four separate depositors were seen struggling over a single windshield, each claiming to have paid for it. The windshield eventually fractured into four parts, whereupon the depositors moved quietly on to collect other components.
When one depositor was stopped and asked what he intended to do with the parts, he stated that he intended to hand them over to engineers at Cessna to “see what they could do with them”.
Just as the preverbal dust was settling, a debris covered individual was seen frantically running from the scene yelling “We fully expected this minor set back and will be back in the air and flying within a couple of days, at most”. The individual was later found panic stricken and huddling in a storm drain, and identified as Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom. Police had determined that Mr. Broom had actually been one of the early casualties of the entire incident and had been wrapped in duct-tape, along with Mr. Raburn, and hung out on the advanced, state of the art flight-test telemetry antenna just outside the main facilities.
It’s unclear the long term impact this new outcome will have on the companies future, but Mr. Raburn appeared to be in a chipper mood at the local hospital, after receiving skin grafts on both his shins.
Thanks, metalguy for bringing this important story to our attention.