Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thanks...but no thanks


First person accounts from three who flirted with the Eclipse and then walked away:

Jetman said...

I purchased an Eclipse position in August of 2000 and when they were willing to sell me another position at the same price in November of 05 if I rolled over for the price increase, increased my deposit to 155k for each and released the deposit, I weighed the risks and did it.

In the Spring of 06 and before Oshkosh I started smelling a rat. I listened in on the "conference calls" and yet I was never quick enough to be able to ask a question and when all the questions were softball questions, I decided to sell my positions.

I visited Independence, Kansas last week and flew a production Mustang (MLJ-medium light jet) 355 knots at FL340 with 5 men in excess of 170 pds. A real jet coming down a real production line.

I opted for reality instead of fantasy and my Eclipse position premiums are helping me pay for it.

I had hoped to fly an Eclipse and transition into a bigger Jet if I needed more size or range. The delays, the unrealistic promises and the unlateral actions helped me decide to exit. I can only hope the implosion I'm betting will happen before Oshkosh 07 will not hurt the aviation industry.

10:28 AM, February 12, 2007

Niner Zulu said...

With regard to the number of Eclipses that have changed hands so far....it does seem that Mike Press has the best handle on what is going on in the resale market. Yes, he has a vested interest in Eclipse and makes a profit where he can - I don't have a problem with that - and if he says that 100 have changed hands then I am inclined to believe his number. My problem with him is that perhaps he is a little too enthusiastic about Eclipse's future prospects. I hope, for his sake, he is right.

If I may offer my take --- I was interested in purchasing an Eclipse position until as late as last November. After doing some homework, visiting the factory, putting out some feelers and talking to other Eclipse position holders, I decided to pass on purchasing a position.

What I discovered in doing my homework is that there are

1) a lot of Eclipse position holders who would really like to dump their position, but just haven't gotten around to it for one reason or another,

2) more than a few position holders that are just plain clueless about Eclipse and have more money than sense, and

3) there are a lot of wait-and-see'ers who just aren't motivated to do anything at this point because they haven't been asked to put up more money yet.

How many of these people are future sellers remain to be seen, but my guess is that there are a lot more out there that may sell before they take delivery and it just wouldn't take that much to start a stampede in the resale market.

I didn't need to find this blog to realize that I was being fed a lot of BS by the Eclipse factory reps and that anything they said was questionable if not downright false. My final assessment was that I don't need to save a million bucks so bad that I am willing to risk a million to buy an unproven product from an unproven company.

Eclipse has proven again and again that they are full of hot air - it's all about hype and marketing. Seriously - has anyone ever seen any airplane manufacturer advertise more than Eclipse? Their ads are everywhere and one has to wonder why. I mean, what is it they are selling - position number 3000 for delivery in 2020? Anyway, the risk of losing everything in the event that the speculators head for the exits was, for me at least, too great.

There are too many products coming on line soon from real companies like Embraer, Diamond, Cessna, Piper, Honda, and Cirrus to seriously consider the Eclipse.

So why am I still interested in this blog if I'm not interested in an Eclipse? Well, my wife wonders the same thing but the short answer is that you guys provide me with regular laughs, good heated debate over a topic I love (aviation) and good information about the other VLJ's as well, one of which I will end up owning in the near future.

9:12 PM, February 12, 2007

Gunner said...

niner zulu-

Hats off to you, guy. I actually stepped up with a deposit before I started paying real attention.

It took me 3 days to realize that the company fosters a cult-like relationship with its "customers". The lies, excuses and "corrections" begin immediately upon "joining" and quickly spiral from there. It's really pretty amazing how Vern keeps so many deposit holders in line. Seriously, who else could get away with claiming "no big deal" when the entire in-shop fleet has been found to have faulty wing spar attachments and windshields/windows that crack every few hours? And still have a chorus raise their voices in adulation of what you've "created".

Anyway, I came, I drank, I got ill, I got out.

What amazes me, though, is bright guys, savvy entrepreneurs and successful businessmen listening to the tales from ABQ weekly and STILL publicly defending them as believable.

In the end, even if you can make a hundred grand or a half mil (directly at the expense of someone else) by selling your position, you've done so at the expense of your credibility and your integrity: internet anonymity be damned.

Things have changed much in six months and one would have to be near blind (or desperate) to pretend that everything's gonna be just peachy as soon as we work out a few wrinkles like cracking windows, unsafe wing spar attachments, avionics that are still on the drawing board, flight training barely past the rumor stage, operating envelopes that look like they were drawn by Pac-Man, a year that would see 500 aircraft delivered with not one out the door as we head toward Month Three, an FAA that will NOT be left holding the ball, and performance that is measured in new terms like "air miles".

Gunner

11:34 PM, February 12, 2007

142 comments:

flight guy said...

It sounds like the information on these lemons is finally getting out there. It is finally sinking in with the flying public. It is the speculators whom are still holding out for hope and future sells.

I must admit, it has taken longer than expected. The Kool-Aid must be spiked with some really strong stuff or atleast some highly promised greenbacks.

Gunner said...

FG-
In fairness, I don't think too many of the position holders are speculators. Sure, they may have looked at selling their position as one possible exit strategy, but for the most part, I think they started out as future owners. Look at EO387, for instance.

Today, however, I think many of those former owners are "speculators" to the extent that they may perceive sale as the ONLY exit vehicle.

NinerZulu is probably spot on in his observations of the various classes of Deposit holders. Some have no clue and some haven't the time to devote to moving a position
Gunner

flight guy said...

Gunner,

Good point on the potential buyers turning toward speculating as an exit strategy.

It will be interesting to see what the majority of those whom are too busy have their next deposits called for payment.

airtaximan said...

I think most E-position-holders are banking on revenue by putting their planes under management with one of the start up air taxi companies.

I like mine PURPLE....guzzle, guzzle, guzzle....

Gunner said...

On a slightly different note, things like secondary markets appear, on the surface, to be complicated when they often are quite simple.

Take Mike Press' latest eval of the Eclipse Secondary Market in which he clearly states, "Prices have come down and are now selling BELOW factory price at a discount.

I wonder if Vern is aware of what that means? Simply stated, it means that at this point in time the market is unwilling to support Eclipse's own asking price for 500.

Early positions that were selling for more than $100K OVER Factory List two months ago cannot now be sold at Vern's own asking price.

Short of a real Eclipse Miracle, the ramifications of Press' statement are undeniable. Unless we were to attribute these discounts to things like position holders "getting older" and such, Vern's own market is sending him a very clear signal: Either the market doesn't believe the product will be worth Eclipse's price or it is unwilling to bear the growing risk of Deposit Loss to be first in line.

But then, maybe all those sellers and non-buyers are just Eclipse Bashers, too.

Gunner

EclipseBlogger said...

Cabbie said... I think most E-position-holders are banking on revenue by putting their planes under management with one of the start up air taxi companies.

More words of wisdom from the totally uninformed... Cabbie you have even less knowledge of the needs, wants and desires of the Eclipse position holders than you do of the aircraft itself and the airtaxi market. How many position holders do actually have contact with? How many of them are leasing out their aircraft? What percentage is that of the whole customer list?

airtaximan said...

E-blower,

I was JOKING - hence the guzzling cool aid at the end of the post. It would take a good few hits of the strong stuff to even begin to think it would be viable to use the E-clips for revenue - but, there are a few of these schemes already popping up. You even refered to some last week, in DEFENSE of the market for the E-clips plane.

Also, I must add to aswer your specific question: "How many of them are leasing out their aircraft?"

...the only E-clips aircraft that has been delivered is currently under management and leaseback for revenue, right?

Hahahaha! Thanks, man.

airtaximan said...

Gunner:

I think your intuition is correct, BUT, I do not think Michael Press is so reliable that we can come to any real conclusions.

He has his interest, and he only knows what he knows. Its kinda like the rest of us here. Passionate, smart (except me, of course), kowledgable and we only know part of the story. We all know why, too.

In any case, some here have offered the FACT that there are around 30 Controller ads for E-sales as reflecting the whole market. It reflects something, but certainly not the whole market.

What it means to have 30 or so positions on Controlller, or Michael Press stating there have been 100 sales at some pricing level, is indicative, not conclusive.

Just like anything out of Vern's mouth - indicative , never conclusive.

Thats the magic of this forum. We get to explain our view. Most of it is based on what we believe...

My opinion... there's way too many transactions and for sale signs for a healthy order book.

Beans...beans....

Gunner said...

AirTaximan-
I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss Mr. Press. Both sides here have pointed to him as THE Authority on sales of Eclipse positions and he remains the go-to guy.

Nor do I think we can dismiss his analysis as self serving. He'd be self serving by hyping the value of the jet beyond reality. He gains nothing by painting a dim picture.

And, let's face it, telling the world that the market will not currently support the factory price on an Eclipse 500 jet is hardly upbeat.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

If you are wondering, Mike Press's column can be read at:

http://www.spjets.com/news.htm


On the Eclipse speculators:

From the very beginning the Eclipse program has been structured to encourage speculators. A below market price point with a low entry fee.

Vern was not looking for a few hundred orders, he needed thousands to support his plans to eventually produce up to 2,000 units per year.

As I recall, one could purchase a gold position for under $40K and as a result of the Aviace lawsuit, we know that deposits for fleet operators were very favorable.

IMO, the arguement should not be how many speculators are out there but rather how solid is the Eclipse order book?

EclipseBlogger said...

Stan said... Vern was not looking for a few hundred orders, he needed thousands to support his plans to eventually produce up to 2,000 units per year.

2000 units was never on anyone's schedule of manufacturing. You can be skeptical of proposed 1500 units, but please be accurate.

Stan said... As I recall, one could purchase a gold position for under $40K and as a result of the Aviace lawsuit, we know that deposits for fleet operators were very favorable.

Following TC all deposits were released from escrow and all depositors were required to bring up their total deposits to the $150,000 levels. Fleet orders do have individually negotiated terms with regard to timing of payments, but for the most part nobody has a $40,000 deposit position. So again you are misrepresenting.

Stan Blankenship said...

eb,

Is it:

nobody has a $40,000 position or,

nobody had a $40,000 position?

gadfly said...

Let me get this straight. Everyone sits around watching the guy choking on a piece of steak . . . discussing his problem and the various things that he should have done differently, and possibly the things that might benefit him in the future. Someone from the side performs the "Heimlich Maneuver" and saves the man's life. Sure, you have all seen the TV ad . . . although I have no clue who was making the statement.

Hello!? Wake up, my friends. It does not take a genius to see the problem, and the answer. Eclipse is about to fail. Someone used the term, "implode".

We can discuss this "aircraft" (and I use the term "loosely", simply because it is able to take-off and land in a reasonable time, without fatalities) from now until the cows come home. This "aircraft" is a joke! It "can" fly . . . it "can" land . . . and there, the similarity between viable aircraft and the real world, part company.

Any similarity between it's "claims" and it's "performance" is a challenge to the imagination of a patient in an institution.

Personally, as stated before, I have nothing to gain, nor anything to lose in this aircraft. But since I have a family interest in aircraft safety, and integrity, I do care. Every time there is an aircraft "mishap" or "fatality", I examine all I can about the events that caused the accident. The "MD-11" that lost control and crashed near Long Beach . . . "was that my father's cable tension regulator connected to the horizontal elevator that failed?" . . . no, it was the jack-screw that set the angle of the horizontal stabilizer. And I breathed a sigh of relief for my father . . . having died back in 1957. But I grieved for those who died as the result of a "stupid" and needless accident.

This generation seems more concerned about making a "Quick Buck" on an unproven aircraft. Shame on all of you. Here, lives are at stake. Designers and inventors, back in time, spent their lives providing aircraft and systems within those aircraft to keep you so safe, you would never give their efforts the slightest thought.

Come on, folks. If the thing smells rotten, it is rotten. You don't need to discuss it forever. Someone expressed the possibilty . . . yeh, the probabilty that this farce will implode beford "Oshkosh 07" . . . so let it be! And, personally, I hope it happens much sooner than that. Lives are at stake, not just fortunes. Get the picture. And don't ever say you had no warning.

gadfly

Frank Castle said...

You are wrong, Stan......

It's not a $40K position. The September 07 position only has $20K equity.

Get it straight, man !

You gotta love the diehards !

Frank Castle said...

Just a reminder.... had to go back a bit.

- Feb 12: First Training Class to Start
- Feb 12-19: @2 A/C Delivered
- Feb 21-28: PC Announcement

Spring Break's gettin' closer....

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gadfly,

You nipping at the bottle again? I thought you quit that right after WW2. But nonetheless, with your obvious and extensive knowledge of aerospace techonology you should get on a plane (not an eclipse of course - too dangerous) and get to washington asap! These idiots at the FAA certified a killing machine. They would most certainly listen to you with your grand pappy's and pappy's experience in your hip pocket.

Gunner said...

Frank-
Those dates were recanted late last week. Seems we couldn't trust the anonymous source that provided that info, but we can trust the anonymous source that assures us the delay is due to FAA budget problems.

Gotta love a good comedy.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

fc,

Been stumbling of late and jeopardizing the credibility of the blog.

The other day said the airplane was 6-7 years late when I should have said customers have been waiting 6-7 years (they're still waiting).

Then overstated Vern's production goals. Said the company intended to produce 2,000 per year when "their reality" is 1,500 units per year, 4 per day, 365 days a year!

EclipseOwner387 said...

Here is the training announcement:

February 13, 2007

To All Eclipse Customers and Pilots,

It is my pleasure to announce that with the completion of the Flight Standardization Board (FSB) we are beginning the process of pilot training for staff and customers at Eclipse.

At the following link, you will find a communication from Tom Norton, Manager for Flight Training Operations, describing the overall training program: http://customers.eclipseaviation.com/FlightTrainingWelcomeLetter.pdf. You will also be receiving additional training materials in advance of your training events. Initially, we will send these materials to the first 100 delivery positions over the next four weeks.

The entire training staff has worked diligently on the program and we think you will find it to be a comprehensive, challenging and rewarding training experience. A program that will make you feel comfortable operating your new Eclipse 500.

You will be contacted by Customer Care with details on your training schedule. Please feel free to call us at 505-944-3255 with any questions.

We look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks and months.

Sincerely,

Ken McNamara
Vice President, Customer Care and Product Support
Eclipse Aviation Corporation

Gunner said...

EO-
Cheap Shot at Gadfly.
Ad Hominem.
Pointless personal attack.
A new low.

The man's points are well taken. Once upon a time Aircraft Desgn was about safety and longevity. In the Raburn World it appears to be about smoke and mirrors. Still, nobody here has accused the "Revolutionary Jet" crowd of smoking crack have they?

Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

He deserved it. He is basically saying all the hard working people at the FAA are idiots. And he is the expert.

Gunner said...

I don't see anyone calling the FAA idiots. After all, how many Eclipse Jets have they certified? Under what limitations? The FAA only approves aircraft to fly and states the conditions under which they can fly (VERY limited for the EA500). The FAA is not in the business of determining whether the aircraft meets it's marketing hype or is a viable business product.

No way you're gonna spin this such that, if it fails, it's all the FAA's fault. Vern "invented" this plane. Vern submitted the paper work that allows it to fly VFR, at low level, with daily wing spar checks and low hour window replacements.

Sounds to me like the FAA is doing its job.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

EO,
I guess this announcement:

"with the completion of the Flight Standardization Board (FSB) we are beginning the process of pilot training for staff and customers at Eclipse."

Is supposed to satisfy the "first training class to start Feb 12?"

(In know, you are not responsible for what someone told someone who told you. BUT, Someone at Eclipse obviously told your buddy something that SEEMS to be an exaggeration of progress with training. Why would I think they told him a fib to keep him online with his position? Just a hunch...

I feel a little short-changed regarding the first customer training being only "we're sending out manuals soon to some of you...celebration/self-congratulatory email.

When is the first training class?

Why only the first 100 positions receiving training materials over the next MONTH? (3 training manuals a day? They are producing 2 PLANES a day, right?) What gives?

Sounds a little strange if I've placed my deposit and am receiving my plane soon (one of the first 500 positions in the next 10 months) - why can't I have my training materials?

smelly...

Gadfly, pass me over the breathalizer, I need to use it on someone else...

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

TC and COA are good enough for the one out there. How many has gagfly even seen let alone inspected? I think it is fine to debate about Eclipse management problems or financial concerns. However, to throw out the CLEAR evidence that the FAA has certified the aircraft will not go unchallenged. THEY ARE THE ONLY INDEPENDANT REPORTER OF THIS PROJECT AND THEY HAVE PASSED THE AIRPLANE AS SAFE. Unless gadfly wants to go on record claiming the FAA is on the take or incompetant, he should be a responsible man and recant his post declaring Eclipse airplane as unsafe. He has no credentials. The FAA has more insight than any other poster on this blog about this airplanes airworthiness.

bill e. goat said...

I think most of us visiting this blog identify with Gadfly's concern about aircraft safety and sound design practices. And in a technical world, hype and b.s. are sure signs that someone is covering up a bad technical design, and it is appropriate to question the safety of the associated product.
The design and flight test staff is NOT a bunch of yahoos and yes-men; they are among the most talented and devoted aviation enthusiasts that can be found anywhere, and on a company-wide per-capita basis, I would say are unrivaled in aviation. The product WILL be safe when it reaches the users.
Flying qualities are good from all the (well, basically independent) press reports.
Performance goals are still somewhat off spec, but improvements are in work.
Systems are still immature, but improvements are being made.
There are some structural issues, but these too are being addressed.
But, I found it rather unsavory that Eclipse and the FAA Administrator were touting “Certificated...............(provisional)” at Osh Kosh. Yeah, sure, it's legal, but what b.s. Then there was the “First Delivery”. More b.s. And I think it is this b.s. that makes all us technical types a little (or a lot) uncomfortable. But, I think it IS important to note, the b.s. is coming out of the marketing/media machine, not the engineering side, of Eclipse. Yes, there are technical issues. But yes, those ARE being addressed. In reality, this is a new company, with a new airplane, and a twin engine, jet, glass cockpit airplane to boot (gee, if they'd only made it fly-by-wire too- ha!). Anyway, if it takes three years from first flight to first real delivery (with all the systems operational and reliable), then that's not too shabby for any company, especially a new company's first design. It doesn't live up the PR hype Eclipse is spewing, but, ALL PR departments spew- that's their function.
And, Gadfly, please keep the comments coming. I think we are all concerned about safety, and the buyer's (and investors) financial well being. And, let's all make (good natured) fun of Eclipse's “interesting” media releases, rather than each other! (sorry the airplane is so late for those deserving owners- but those with ill tempers and unsavory manners on this blog will be penalized 100 "positions"- ha!).

flyforfun said...

Where do the mentor pilots fall into this training senerio. It would seem that they need to be typed and up and running before all of these new jet pilots get there planes. My friend who is #130ish picked out colors and paid the big money but has no clue who he will fly with. He is for the first time since writing that check in AZ becoming a little nervous and discussing flipping his number. But,he wants a jet, not the profit from his position.

Gunner said...

EO387 said:
"However, to throw out the CLEAR evidence that the FAA has certified the aircraft will not go unchallenged."

Nobody here has made that insinuation, EO. The FAA has certified this bird to fly low level VFR, VOR to VOR, with daily checks by a Certified Mechanic and window replacements every few hours.

That translates to a CLEAR FAA statement that the plane IS dangerous if used in the manner suggested by Eclipse's marketing or in any generally accepted GA manner whatsoever. The placards alone must weigh more than the average passenger (by Vern standard computation).

FAA is doing its job. Their limited certification basically spells "Trash Today". It's up to Eclipse to change that to "Jet Tomorrow".

Instead they announce that Pilot Training has begun, with the trickling out of some Training Manuals over the next "30 days" for owners and Eclipse Staff (which I assume means Mentor Pilots).

Do the math. This company took your progress payment on a 6 month promise. How long do you think it'll be before owner #100 is certified to fly it, even if Eclipse actually produces it and the FAA actually approves it to fly under real world conditions?

The answers are staring you right in the face. All you have to do is look.
Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

Do you own an airplane? Do you know what an MEL is? I have been on plenty of safe airplanes that don't have a lot of things we take for granted today (i.e. GPS - do you know that many jets still fly without gps?) But in any regard, do you think as certified that the FAA believes the Eclipse to be safe? Simple question.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

Also, I have not been asked to make any progress payment as of yet.

Gunner said...

Do I own an airlane?
Yes, I'm on my third in 15 years and 3,300 hours.

Do I know what an MEL is?
Yup. I also have a pretty good idea of single pilot workload at 41K. The Eclipse has a VERY long way to go to meet that workload even for pilots that admit intent to occupy the right seat. Of course, when you're trying to manage a plane full of nervous passengers (well, maybe 2 in the EA500), it's also helpful to have someone in the right seat to operate the handheld Garmin. ;-)

Do I know how many jets fly without GPS?
Nope. But I do know how many are flying right now with required daily inspections of the Wing Spar and windows that crack like crystal in a hurricane. Besides, we're not talking about Dinosaurs here; we're talking about a jet that will revolutionize air travel wth it's all glass Avio Panel.

But in any regard, do you think as certified that the FAA believes the Eclipse to be safe?
Yup If, is you fly it VFR, VOR to VOR, at low level; if you bring a mechanic along for all overnights to check the integrity of your wings the next day; if you have a van follow you round the country with replacement glass. If you do these things, it's probably safe enough. Just not safe enough for me or any precious flesh around me.

Now, I've answered all your questions directly and honestly. Your turn:

Had you owned position 100, rather than 386, and been asked to come up with your progress payment, knowing what you now right now, tonight, would you pay, fight or sell?

Gunner

bambazonke said...

I think that the debate is starting to unearth the issues here, instead of KKA and his gang of sales people selling what his engineers had designed and built, KKA has placed the pressure on the engineers to build what he is selling. This I fear is the recipe that many of the aviation veterans that subscribe to this web are having issues with.

This is not the traditional way, it is not the safe way and it is not the proven way that companies in the aviation arena bring their product to market. Whilst I have sometimes thought to myself that this is why we all detest KKA and his antics, I don't believe it is, our concern comes from an ingrained sense of foreboding with what we see happening here, a bit like the dot.com bust, nobody could make sense of the PE ratios on the share prices when they were running up, we all new in our bones that it could not last, everyone in Silicon Valley (read ABQ) were giddy with success, and somehow we all wanted a piece of the pie, but then it all came tumbling down. Bear in mind KKA's roots.

Every time something comes out of ABQ it raises more questions than it answers. For example this training.. Read the release, it has these unnecessary stupid marketing hype stories like 'The program far (my emphasis) exceeds FAA minimum requirements..Why the hype, the people that this is being sent to have already bought into the program, they don't need this kind of crap on an aircraft that is years late, the training is late and behind schedule, and does not have a full complement of avionics, no DME, no de-ice, no RVSM, and here these same poor suckers that have been waiting around forever, some of them having lost their medicals in the meantime they waited so long for their jet, are pummeled with this crap. It will be now interesting to see just how long it takes for these manuals and materials to get to the first 100 pilots. I bet this will be the next round of delays, waiting on someone to sprinkle holy water on the printer or some other lame excuse.

They go on to hype the training by saying that 'Training on the Eclipse 500 is unlike any conventional general aviation program available today. The Eclipse 500 training program adopts the principle of the FAA Industry Training Standards (FITS) program. Which rock was the guy that wrote this hiding under...

They go on to say that the Eclipse 500 simulator will be ready late 2007. So the way I read this is those that get trained beforehand will not have the benefit of an Eclipse 500 simulator, this from the company that on the one hand is telling their captives that they are being trained to the highest of standards, "far exceeding the minimum FAA" standards... Surely the minimum FAA standard will be to train in a simulator which replicates the kind of plane you are going to be flying. So, if KKA manages to turn out 400 EAC-500's prior to the simulator being ready, what standard are they applying?

These are but a few of the questions raised on the latest submission, like almost every other announcement out of ABQ at first blush seems to be something concrete and legitimate, BUT..then the questions start to stream in..before long there are more questions than answers and it turns into sosdd.

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"The FAA has certified this bird to fly low level VFR, VOR to VOR, with daily checks by a Certified Mechanic and window replacements every few hours.


The plane is not limited to VFR, is not limited to VOR-to-VOR navigation, does not require a daily check by a mechanic and does not need window replacement every few hours.

Other than that, the post was very accurate :)

If you have to lie to knock the plane, it must not be all that bad after all.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

Bambazonke wrote,
"the training is late and behind schedule, and does not have a full complement of avionics, no DME, no de-ice, no RVSM,"
.

Uh, oh, more mistruths :(

It has DME, de-ice and RVSM. The training is late, but "late and behind schedule" is kinda redundant, don't you think? :)

If you have to lie to knock it, it must not be so bad after all, eh?

Ken

Gunner said...

Ahhh, finally a man with the definitive answers.

So, tell me Ken:
- Exactly what are the window inspection/replacement intervals on David Crowe's jet?

- Exactly what is the wing attachment inspection interval on David Crowe's Jet?

- Exactly what is the system by which David Crowe's jet provides DME?

Gunner

bambazonke said...

Gunner,

Ignore Ken, his method is to make statements that he is unable to back up.

He has access to people like Ken McNamara at the KAF, he would be able to bring some documentation to support the FIKI, RVSM, 'virtual DME' and the GPS that he is now trying to portend that this aircraft has, but he does not bring it...Clearly it is not there or he would be ramming it down our collective throats.

If he took the time do the research and ask the same questions that the critics have asked, then maybe he would be of the same mindset, but then again, maybe his ego is getting in the way of reality and he is hell bent on taking delivery of his jet, and does not like us peeing on his parade, so be it.

I have already spilled more ink in this reply than what a response to his dribble is worth...

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"So, tell me Ken..."


You don't suppose it might have been better to find out first before writing your version?

I would think in your line of work, you'd be careful about writing stuff that isn't so.

Ken

Gunner said...

Another Raise and Check Player?

Calling a man a liar without backup on the internet is called a "drive by". Poor form at best. Something much lower, at worst.

Calling a man a liar without backup to his face will often result in a gift that just keeps on giving.

But it's OK, Ken. I'll let it pass based on your obvious emotional state: You have no information to refute my statements but you're certain I must be lying. A mind really is a terrible thing to waste.

You're dismissed now, Ken. EB oughtta be along any minute for the tag-off. ;-)
Gunner

Vmc said...

EAC has a propensity for existing in the realm of antagonistic showmanship. This is consistent with Vburn's character and similar to the behavior that one might expect from an adolescent only-child (just an analogy--not suggesting that Vburn IS an only-child, just acts like one). Why is this pertinent? It serves as a reminder of the reasons why we have that sense of concern for safety that have recently been expressed here.

As noted previously by Bambazonke, "KKA has placed the pressure on the engineers to build what he is selling." This is not speculative assumption by Bambazonke, but cold truth. Much of the initial design work was accomplished by contract engineers, driven to take on the inherent risk of working for a start-up company by generous hourly wages coupled with copious amounts of 1.5x overtime. The contractors have little at stake (nature of contract engineering) and therfore typically subscribe to the "take it or leave it" mentality. The direct employees were (believe it or not) often wet behind the ears, having little to no experience in the ground-up design of an aircraft. Don't get me wrong, the value added from people like Masefield and others truly saved the program from its own demise, but they simply did not have the design team to pull it off at its onset. Early management mis-direction like this largely effected the baseline design, which is a large part of why Vburn is forever trying to prove the worth of this bird.

Okay, in fairness, all programs have their start-up heartaches, but few come to mind that have been so destructively manipulative through their customer/investor marketing tactics as EAC has been. It's apparent that Vburn needs to capitalize on core functions of the company that he understands and can control, such as marketing and fund-raising. In the hands of an expert, these two core functions are as easily manipulated as the temperature of your home. While conceptually intangible, marketing and equity fund-raising afford the manipulator plenty of opportunities to exploit the uninformed and unsuspecting into believing that your way is the best and quite possibly only way. Talk about perpetuating groupthink. If the product truly represented all that it claims to, we would have nothing to blog and many of us would be happily awaiting the delivery of our very own revolutionary 500. Vaporware comes to mind when I look at the amount of energies directed to the public perceptions of the program rather than the realities of strapping yourself and family members into an aluminum tube to hurtle through the atmosphere at 41,000 feet. Should it come as a surprise that we get a little concerned about safety? The FAA is doing their job, just as they should, assumptively with no allegiances outside of their mandated mission. It's not the FAA that will be answering to a jury when the lack of concern for realities results in a smoking hole.

my $.02

Vmc

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... You're dismissed now, Ken. EB oughtta be along any minute for the tag-off. ;-)

Ok, my turn... I have to say, this blog is getting lower and lower, even by my standards. It used to be about the perceived technical shortcomings of the design, now it is just about being critical of PR hype. The incorrect statements that are carried over from one post to the next is just as irresponsible as the claims that Eclipse PR makes. You guys are no better.

For Gunner, the aircraft is RVSM approved and the pilots are required to get RVSM training and certification to fly in those realms (check the TCDS). It does have virtual DME from the GPS receiver. The GPS receivers are operational, but the moving map display is not. The purpose of the handheld was that since the AVIO spec contains a moving map and weather datalink that is currently not functional, the Garmin was provided to enable those situational awareness features. Also, there is no restriction that the Eclipse must only fly on airways.

There is no "daily" bushing inspection. That's another myth that was incorrectly posted, and picked up by other bloggers. The Window inspection/replacement interval is still 50/100 hours, but the revised design has been complete and being introduced into the current manufacturing line. Once the FAA approves it, the 50/100 restriction will be lifted and it should go back to the original 3500 hours replacement at engine TBO.

Let's summarize:
RVSM capable - YES
Virtual DME - YES
Flight to FL410 - YES
Daily bushing inspection - NONE
Window inspections - 50/100 hours (to be lifted)

EclipseBlogger said...

Sorry,

Let's summerize (continued)
FIKI - NOT YET

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

Wow EB, I am surprised of your simplistic response; "...this blog is getting lower and lower, even by my standards. It used to be about the perceived technical shortcomings of the design, now it is just about being critical of PR hype." I expected more of an intellectual angle filled with insightful Vernacular rather than your blanket dismissiveness. Guess you didn't appreciate the complex interwindings of why Vburn has to constantly remind everyone of how great his product is rather than let it speak for itself. Seems to me that this blog is still very much focused on the technical shortcomings. The EAC PR machine has simply created the necessity to comment on it...see how this all folds together so neatly?

Of note; "capable" does not equate to certified. When will RVSM be cert'd?

flight guy said...

GPS....handheld. - Yes
Fliight into Known Icing - No


To respond to earlier discussions on the FAA, any word on the Production Certificate?

EclipseBlogger said...

VMC said... Of note; "capable" does not equate to certified. When will RVSM be cert'd?

It is RVSM group certified. "Capable" means it is dependent on the pilot's qualification.

bambazonke said...

EB, you are wrong about the DME and the functioning GPS. Go back to the EOG bulletin board, recall how Dave Crowe explained in the last couple of weeks of how he navigates point to point using the hand held GPS bearing to the way point and the heading bug on the Auto Pilot. Now why would he post something as really stupid as that if he had an operating GPS??

The inspection by the mechanic is daily, this I have confirmed myself, if someone at EAC is telling you differently you are talking to the wrong guy.

Back up the Group RVSM Cert with some documentation, where do we find this? BTW Group Cert does not mean it is compliant dependent on the pilot qualification either, suggest you get another source for your information.

EclipseBlogger said...

bambazonke said...
Now why would he post something as really stupid as that if he had an operating GPS??

Your reading comprehension is as good as Cabbie's. As I said, the GPS is functioning and provides the virtual DME. The moving map is not functioning, nor is the FMS, therefore you do not have a means to enter waypoints or display them. But the GPS is functioning. Dave Crowe may be navigating by GPS using the handheld to provide off airway headings.

The RVSM group certification is part of the TC. RVSM compliance requires both aircraft certification and pilot certification.

Ken Meyer said...

Bambazonke wrote,
"Back up the Group RVSM Cert with some documentation, where do we find this? BTW Group Cert does not mean it is compliant dependent on the pilot qualification either, suggest you get another source for your information."


It's right in the TCDS. It's also in the AFM (so's the stuff on the DME and some of the other things you werew wrong about). Where are you getting your incorrect info, anyway??

EB's source is right. That's how RVSM works. The plane is either group or individually certified (the EA500 is group certified); the operator fills out some forms and gets individual approval before he can actually fly above FL280. That approval is, in part, dependent on showing the pilot is properly certified, just like EB said.

I think maybe you ought to review some basic RVSM information before you make more statements about it. You can learn more here:
http://www.faa.gov/ats/ato/150_docs/Aprv_Chklist-US_Jan_19,2005.doc

Ken

Gunner said...

EB-
So let me understand this:
You consider a handheld GPS as acceptable equipment for traveling other than VOR to VOR in a 1.5 million dollar aircraft?

Is that the new standard that Eclipse is setting? And don't tell me about it being a temporary solution. Eclipse has been living on continued "temporary solutions" for months now.

The point is that these planes should not be hyped as sporting working avionics until the critical systems are all installed, certified and functioning; nor should Progress Payments be demanded on the "promise" that they'll all be worked out within the 6 month build cycle. And ESPECIALLY not when the company is bemoaning the fact that FAA is "unable" to keep pace with Eclipse's breakneck development speed.

If the Mustang were being delivered in a state anywhere near as unready, Cessna's Board would demand a house cleaning from the top down.

Given Eclipse's penchant for exaggeration, the avionics capabilities that you cite are vaporware until such time as they're installed, working and certified, EB. Vaporware.

On to the windows:
Oh, I see. So, customer aircraft have been delivered with an AD to replace the windows every 50-100 hours. But I'm "lying" when I state that because it's gonna be "fixed" and the AD lifted by an FAA that doesn't have time to certify the planes that are coming off the assembly line faster than breakfast muffins at Dunkin Donuts. Deny this: IN CURRENT PRODUCTION, you will have to inspect/replace the windows about as frequently as the rest of us change or oil.

On to the Wing Attachment Inspection:
There's an AD on that one, also. Quote it for us. There is absolutely no reason why position holders should not have this information for the asking....and my info is that they're asking for that and a lot more with less than satisfactory answers.

Look, nobody here is denying that the performance shortfalls might be corrected; that the window issues might be corrected; that the wing attachment issues might be corrected; that the avionics issues might be corrected. We are only pointing out what is being delivered TODAY to the owners who paid for a safe, practical, usable jet. What the company has accelerated deposits on meets none of these criteria.

Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"Oh, I see. So, customer aircraft have been delivered with an AD to replace the windows every 50-100 hours."


Nope; that's wrong. Go to the FAA website and see if you can find such an AD, okay? Or don't bother; I'll tell you straight out, there is none.

"On to the Wing Attachment Inspection:
There's an AD on that one"


Nope, wrong again. Check it out yourself.

You're not doing so well :)

Ken

Gunner said...

Not an AD on these, Ken?
OK, I'll bite.
In what form do these inspection requirements come?
What are the ramifications of failure to comply?

You guys ask lots of questions and inevitably get direct answers. Yet you never seem to reciprocate.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"Not an AD on these, Ken?
OK, I'll bite.
In what form do these inspection requirements come?"


Gunner, it's really not my function here to provide fodder for you; I'm just trying to keep the discussion honest and accurate. Sorry.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... So let me understand this:
You consider a handheld GPS as acceptable equipment for traveling other than VOR to VOR in a 1.5 million dollar aircraft?


No, I never said it was acceptable, and that is not what we were promised. But, for the time being that is what's being offered. As AVIO progress is made, the units in the field will be upgraded through software changes. All hardware is working, the user interface is not.

Gunner said... Deny this: IN CURRENT PRODUCTION, you will have to inspect/replace the windows about as frequently as the rest of us change or oil.

Some of the production aircraft will have to have the windows swapped out with the new design. That is expected to be done when the aero-mods are installed. The aircraft on the line with the new windows may have to comply with the 50/100 hours intervals until the FAA is satisfied with the replacement design. At that time the interval will be increased to reasonable time periods and the restriction will be removed from the AFM.

Gunner said... Not an AD on these, Ken? OK, I'll bite.

If it is an AD, it should be in the FAA database. I don't see one, so I can't present it to you. Please show me where that is. This is the first time I have ever seen an AD that does not show up in an AD search. The FAA must be incompetent, or is it Gunner?

Gunner said...

Accurate, perhaps. Honest, I think not.

Fact is you cannot fly the plane without inspecting/replacing the windows about as often as you change your oil, can you Ken?

Fact is, you cannot fly the plane without a Certified Mechanic inspecting the wing attachment area regularly, can you Ken? (Strong rumor has it that means DAILY! Easy enough to refute. Just provide the info that Eclipse evidently refuses, even to you).

Fact is, Eclipse's idea of cutting edge is a hand held GPS and has been since July '06, hasn't it Ken.

No, you won't answer simple questions other than with "Depends what the meaning of 'is' is" responses. Yet you demand (and receive answers to your own).

And you just told us why. Every answer to a reasonable question leads to righteous guffaws.
"Well of course you can go off airway. Use the handheld"
"Well of course a lot of positions have been sold (even though we denied that 30 days ago). After all the owners have gotten 3 years older and can no longer get insurance."

Which brings up another question that you can avoid. Given all these non-AD limitations on the little bird, is Eclipse still claiming insurance costs at significantly less than the Mustang? Hmmm, who's providing that insurance at ANY cost?

Gunner

Gunner said...

EO said:
"All hardware is working, the user interface is not."
Bwa-Ha-Ha-Ha.

Case in point on the types of answers I'm talking about. What on earth does that mean? Is that like, "No, the windows are fine. It's just the outer shell that gets compromised".

or

Windows Vista ver 2:
"It works perfectly. But we can't demonstrate that because it won't accept a mouse, keyboard or monitor hookup."

Oy.
Gunner

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... Case in point on the types of answers I'm talking about. What on earth does that mean?

It means that there are versions of the software that are functional, but they are not certifiable in their present state.

Just to head you off... Is that acceptable? No. Is it fact? Yes.

Gunner said... Strong rumor has it that means DAILY!

That's the basis your superior knowledge? What's a strong rumor? One that was stated here?
In your own words: "Bwa-Ha-Ha-Ha". And you're a publisher?

Vmc said...

Hey Gunner: Not an AD, but issued as a "Customer Technical Communication" (?wtf?) in a letter from Ken McNamara dated 11/15/2006. I presume they (EAC) were able to avoid AD's through the following dispositions:

Regarding the wing rear attach fitting issue; "Production aircraft will then be retrofitted with the new procedures and we expect NO EFFECT ON CUSTOMER FLIGHT OPERATIONS."

Regarding the cockpit windshield/side window issue; "...the following inspection and replacement intervals were added to Chapter 4 of the Aircraft Maintenance Manual:
Cockpit Windshield: Inspect every 50 flights, replace every 100 flights. Cockpit Side Window: Inspect every 50 flights, replace every 250 flights."

Clear as crazed windshields, eh?

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"Fact is you cannot fly the plane without inspecting/replacing the windows about as often as you change your oil, can you Ken?"


Dang, if we aren't going around and around here. That's not right, either.


"Fact is, Eclipse's idea of cutting edge is a hand held GPS and has been since July '06, hasn't it Ken."

And you can back that up, right? Because Eclipse has been very open about what their idea of cutting edge is. You can read about it here:

http://www.eclipseaviation.com/eclipse_500/avio/

It's pretty cool stuff, really. And it's fair to say (i.e. it is my opinion) that the reason Avio is not fully functional yet is that it is capable of so much more than the G1000 system in the Mustang. IMHO, Mustang was a low-risk endeavor for Cessna. There's very little new or creative in that plane. The Eclipse is full of new, creative and groundbreaking ideas; some of them are taking time to reach fruition.

Ken

Gunner said...

EB said:
"That's the basis your superior knowledge? What's a strong rumor?"

Just couldn't resist, couldya? :-D

I use the same sources that you guys do when you claim:
- Two Aircraft will be delivered the week of Feb 12
- No aircraft will be delivered the week of Feb 12 because we're moving too fast for the FAA to keep up.
- There is no requirement to check the Wing Attachment area daily.
- None of the production fleet was affected by the wing spar problem.
- PC will be granted at the end of February.
- PC will not be granted at the end of February because we're moving too fast for the FAA to keep up.
- The avionics all work. We just can't demonstrate that or use them to any practical purpose. Here's your handheld.
- The avionics don't work because we're moving too fast for Avidyne to keep up. If we had it to do over again we'd go Garmin.

All of this, EB...ALL of it is easily put to rest by a company that honors its public commitment to transparency.

We don't need to know trade secrets. Just provide honest answers to the Depositors and the aviation community to whom you are trying to sell your product. It's OUR user fees that the FAA nearly increased, largely as a result of Eclipse claims. It's OUR airspace that your flying these birds through, with God only knows what "temporary" fixes. It's OUR taxiways and runways that are being shared with this WunderJet. It's OUR insurance rates that are affected by this jet's future reliability. It's OUR regulations and aircraft prices that are affected should a complete meltdown occur down the line.

So long as those answers are not forthcoming, we operate on best available info. You on yours, me on mine.

At the end of the day though, we do have some hard facts:
- Zero Eclipse jets have received CA since Jan 1, even though we were promised the ramp up was complete.
- The windows on the entire production fleet are unsafe, even though we were assured it only affected the test aircraft.
- The wing attachments on the entire fleet are unsafe.

With a record like that (just in the past few weeks), I'd suggest my sources are more spot-on than yours. After all, we know who your source is and we know that source's track record.
Gunner

Gunner said...

Correction to the above:
Should read:

- The windows on the entire production fleet are unsafe.
- The wing attachments on the entire fleet are unsafe, even though we were assured it only affected the test aircraft.


Wouldn't want to be accused of "lying" or anything. ;-)
Gunner

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... All of this, EB...ALL of it is easily put to rest by a company that honors its public commitment to transparency.

I can agree with that.

Sandy said...

That is pretty funny about the hardware working but the user interface is not.

One observation from watching this is that it’s almost impossible to determine what capabilities are actually present on the aircraft, as there is no transparency from Eclipse.

The little that does come out is weasel worded in a manner to leave wide open for interpretation. More specifically, worded to imply a specific interpretation, just not the correct one.

One can guess all day long, but with obtuse statements like the one from EB (as a typical example), which just boils down to “it works, it just is available” WTF does that mean? Avidyne has had moving maps since day one. Something does not add up. Perhaps certification of the GPS itself? That would explain why moving maps would have to been disabled...

Let me dial in on a couple of specific ones:

EB: You stated that the GPS is functioning and provides the virtual DME. Please provide a specific answer to clarify your specific statement:

- Is the GPS currently certified for use as a virtual DME?

For your sake, the answer better be a resounding “yes” or your reputation is just shot.

Other questions:

What about traffic? What about terrain? What about weather? What about approval for part 135 operations? What about all of those fancy AVIO features that makes the Eclipse sooo much better than everyone else in the industry.

Or to flip the whole scenario around, when Vern is stupid enough to insult the whole industry to its face and prance around like he’s better than everyone else, please provide a list of what promises Vern has actually delivered on. I can’t think of ANY off hand.

He better put-up or shut-up in my opinion.

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"The wing attachments on the entire fleet are unsafe, even though we were assured it only affected the test aircraft."


But that version is not right, either, Gunner.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... At the end of the day though, we do have some hard facts:
- Zero Eclipse jets have received CA since Jan 1, even though we were promised the ramp up was complete.
- The windows on the entire production fleet are unsafe
- The wing attachments on the entire fleet are unsafe.


Hard Facts? Please. As a publisher your should know fact from fiction from opinion. The only fact list is: "Zero Eclipse jets have received CA since Jan 1"

EclipseBlogger said...

Sandy said... Is the GPS currently certified for use as a virtual DME?

Yes.

Sandy said... What about traffic? What about terrain? What about weather? What about approval for part 135 operations? What about all of those fancy AVIO features that makes the Eclipse sooo much better than everyone else in the industry.

No, No, No, No, No.

Vmc said...

Ken: Yes, this is an equal opportunity blog, but for the sake of everyone's sanity, please provide some follow-up to your assertive proclamations when discrediting other's statements. There is nothing more irritating than a constructive argument with one-sided follow-through (read corroborating statements) and the other side acting like a teenager by saying, "no, you are wrong; no, you are wrong again". It grows tiresome and results in loss of credibility.

tinman said...

Lots of words to get a few facts. The Avio is a very ambitious undertaking, and I suspect that versions of the complete software to make it all work have been written. As an integrated system, each portion has to be certified on the airframe. While I'm not privy to all the details, I do know it's a lengthy process, and, I would guess, a major learning experience for programmers who are more accustomed to testing their wares in the marketplace and revising with bug fixes as they occur. Early Garmin G1000 equipped aircraft were also delivered with promised features not working pending certification. Vern's not the first person in this business whose reach somewhat exceeded his grasp, but Eclipse appears to be better equipped than many to work through the problems. Time will tell. In the meantime he's an easy target for bloggers.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The only status that matters for all of these ridiculous defenses of KKA and the wonderjet from the usual suspects is what is currently certified by the FAA.

The aircraft is NOT certified for FIKI according to the TCDS. Boots are installed but, presumably, are to be rendered INOP (real or virtual circuit breaker?)and not used (operational limitation in AFM?).

RVSM Group certification means that the altimeter and static system (and for EFIS airplanes the displays) have demonstrated the required accuracy, and that there are maintenance procedures for maintinaing that accuracy - that is all.

The TCDS states that RVSM 'capable' systems, sensors, displays and autopilot are installed.

Question for the True-Believers - Is the autopilot fully functional as presently certified (the only status that matters)? Specifically, can the autopilot hold RVSM standards or is this fintionality not present as currently certified (the only status that matters)?

Part 91 says that GPS DME can substitute for VOR\DME for navigation above FL240 AND for use on all but NDB approaches without a GPS overlay but there are several limitations when an alternate airport is required.

Question for the True-Believers - Is the GPS DME display effected by the user interface\display issues as presently certified (the only status that matters)?

If the current AMM says the windows have a 50 hr replacement it applies to ALL aircraft, period. So, unless and until the 'new' windows are certified (the only status that matters), then ALL aircraft are effected, period. Don't believe me, read the TCDS as it expressly calls out the Limitations section of the AMM that VMC quoted.

As to the wing bushing issue, no AD is required as all of the aircraft are currently under Eclipse's direct or indirect control - remember, only 1 aircraft has been certified to date after 8 years and $700M.

If the issue was discovered after 4 or 5 or 500 aircraft had been delivered it ABSOLUTELY would have been an AD. In other words, Eclipse currently controls all but one of the aircraft that could be effected, and can show the configuration of that one aircraft since they are operating it on leaseback - if you can prove you know the configuration of all aircraft and can control the operation of all aircraft, an AD is not necessary - certification 101 guys.

Does anyone know if Section 4 of the AMM says anything about the wing bushing inspection? If so, then the answer to our question is there. If not, Eclipse probably issued a service bulletin or similar to Crowe for the one and only certified customer aircraft. If there is no documentation of the issue, the inspection and the limitations that go along with it, then they are breaking the law - Continued Airworthiness 101.

The questions that seem to be the bane of the Tru-Believers would not exist if Eclipse actually WAS transparent, rather than claiming it loudly while clutching the data so close to their vest.

Jake said...

"But that version is not right, either, Gunner."



Ken, at this point your credibility is zero because you are incapable of producing any statement beyond "no its not"

Sandy said...

EB:


So if there is certified GPS and certified moving map (which Avidyne obviously has), what gives? Again, lack of specifics as to these gaping holes is one of the components that keep this blog alive and well (just in case you were really wondering).

Were you able to think of any accomplishments that Vern has actually lived up to? FSW and PhostrEx are both off the table as he nor did his company invent.

Part 135 operation without terrain, traffic, weather, FMS? Add no de-ice?. There seems to be a substantial reality gap going on here. These are obviously all just time and money, but how much more time and how much more money is the key question. Another 2 years and half a billion dollars to get it all right?

Considering that Eclipse is light years beyond the Cessna’s of the world, claims of “unprecedented level of reliability” and “significantly safer and easier to operate than those of today” just don’t seem to hit home like they used to. Nice web site though.

It’s obvious that Vern has VASTLY miscalculated what it takes to bring an aircraft of this type to market. (And pissed of virtually everyone in the industry to boot - good judgment call there ol boy – don’t worry, we’ll get your back side for you when you are down).

As much time and money as has been spent to bring the existing feature set to market, just imagine what it will take to actually get it right… Down-right scary.

I know, let’s give him an award for how smart he is. Does he have to give the trophy back when the company fails? Probability of success in my mind: 10% and falling rapidly. It’s almost time to get the popcorn.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Jake,

What credibility do you have? Ken is staking HIS name that these accusations are false.

Ken Meyer said...

Jake wrote...
""But that version is not right, either, Gunner."

Ken, at this point your credibility is zero because you are incapable of producing any statement beyond "no its not"


Gunner wrote "The wing attachments on the entire fleet are unsafe, even though we were assured it only affected the test aircraft." That's wrong. Several of the prototypes were modified, a Service Bulletin was issued for S/N 1 and its repair is complete. S/N 2 and above will be delivered with the revised bushing design (i.e. shims). So, it is way, way wrong to say that the entire fleet is unsafe.

The problem, Jake, is that the blog is just strewn with inaccuracies. It's obvious there are a dozen people who will make up anything to belittle Eclipse. And I really haven't got the time or the inclination to answer each and every inaccuracy. My function is more of putting up a red flag for impartial folks to say, "Hey, here's a guy that says this stuff is wrong; I better check it out myself before believing it. Maybe it is baloney." And that's good because a lot of it is baloney.

Now, I've answered in detail one of the complaints, but I'm not going to do that for each inaccuracy that crops up. I'm just going to wave my little flag that says, "foulball!" and be done with it.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said... Question for the True-Believers - Is the autopilot fully functional as presently certified (the only status that matters)? Specifically, can the autopilot hold RVSM standards or is this fintionality not present as currently certified (the only status that matters)?

The autopilot is not fully functional, there are some features that are not operational, but the capability of altitude hold is one of the features that does work.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said... Question for the True-Believers - Is the GPS DME display effected by the user interface\display issues as presently certified (the only status that matters)?

As I said earlier, the virtual DME is functional and is not limited by the limited AVIO functionality.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said... If the current AMM says the windows have a 50 hr replacement it applies to ALL aircraft, period.

Also as I said earlier. The AMM could conceivably be amended to included inspection based on the version of the windows the same as AD's do. Therefore it does not necessarily have to apply unformly to ALL aircraft. I have not seen the actual notation.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Thanks for the clarification EB.

To add though, I believe Section 4 of the AMM is FAA Approved data. Unless Eclipse has certified the new window\windshield design AND added part revision specific inspection criteria to Section 4, then the limit would in fact apply to all aircraft with the effected windows\windshields. THEN they have the issue of dealing with varied limitations for varying aircraft serial numbers or ensuring that all aircraft are brought to a uniform configuration - scary!

If Eclipse issued a Service Bulletin for the windows\windhsields (unlikely but possible) it would apply to all aircraft with the suspect windshields, and the Section 4 limitation would be unnecessary. Service Bulletins are also, I believe FAA Approved data.

The overall point is that the aircraft, as delivered, to one customer so far, is a far cry from what is being sold today, and what was being sold 6 and 7 years ago at Oshkosh.

It is reasonable for us to comment on and critique Vern's own promise of PC following a 'meeting with the FAA' in early January; as well as 50, er 20, er 12, er always 5 or 6 deliveries in 2006; as well as full functionality in Q1 '07; as well as production aircraft not being effected by the window\windshield limitation; as well as production aircraft not being effected by the wing bushing issue - the list goes on and on.

Calling BS on someone who has routinely overstated and exaggerated things is not bashing, it is doing what the aviation press used to do.

Imagine if BMW released a car that had a climate control system (that you could not use), a sunroof (that you cannot open), a back seat (that you cannot use), and a non-functioning odometer.

Sure it's a BMW with all the status you would expect driving a BMW, but it's not a practical vehicle, and it does not do what the brochure said it would do. Never fear though, the engineers in Bavaria have an asnwer for all the concerns you might have: "We are working on that".

Would you not expect some criticism?

EclipseBlogger said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said... Would you not expect some criticism?

The criticism is warranted, the make-believe facts are not. It makes those brandishing them sound as full of BS as Vern.

airtaximan said...

I love it when someone calls another's opinion "make-believe".

Piecing things together, a required activity when dealing with V-clips due to the lack of real data, is tricky.

Personally, I trust the skeptics', not the supporters' conclusions. Why?

Check the history. Check the track record. See bull for what it truly is.

Many lies, to try to sell a plane that will never materialize.

NEVER.

What was promised is gone. We are on to V-bern 2.0, which is full of bugs and does not live up to the promise. Defend the pathetic little plain plane that it is, if you must, but admit, it's not what he sold.

We live in a world of patches and fixes never seen before in Aviation for a brand-spanking-new-plane. THANKS.

Thanks for saving GA MR. V-burn. You've done a wonderful job.

Gunner said...

All of this back and forth comes down to one question, which I posed to EO386 and which he either missed or studiously avoided. I ask it again now, EO:

Had you owned position 100, rather than 386, and been asked to come up with your progress payment, knowing what you now right now, tonight, would you pay, fight or sell?

I know you don't like being put on the spot in front of Owners' Group lurkers and I'm sorry for that. But it's a fair question that deserves an honest answer.

Gunner

Jake said...

EO387 said: "What credibility do you have? Ken is staking HIS name that these accusations are false."

his name means no more than verns to me. My point is his posts are never more than "no its not" or "not true" and if ken is in position to have intimate knowledge, i want details. As i've stated before "we" have some interest in eclipse should it prove to be what is claimed. When the company suddenly goes quiet in the face of some problems a gigantic red flag appears to "us" a potential buyer. This red flag gives more strength to the endless speculation on this site. If ken knows enough to say a certain statement is untrue he must have some details to back it up and i want them.

bill e. goat said...

BMW's and Eclipse ?!?
Perhaps someone knows if there is a German translation for an aviation version of the old VW ad "Farfenugen" :)
With the recent schedule slips, for the sake of our gentile fellow bloggers, perhaps a few other comments ought to be published only in German, or some other language indecipherable to the layman. (hmm, sort of like Eclipse media releases!)

Old Troll said...

Ken Meyer said...

...S/N 2 and above will be delivered with the revised bushing design (i.e. shims).


Thanks for the exposure of Vern's false information. He said the bushing issue "does not affect production aircraft" and that "it is an installation issue".

S/N 2 and above sounds like production aircraft. Or has Eclipse redefined the term "production"? Also, why do a redesign if was an assembly problem? Adding more parts (e.g. shims) would make the installation slightly more complicated, not less. In general, shims make up for a sloppy design to begin with.

Ken Meyer said...

Old Troll wrote,
"Thanks for the exposure of Vern's false information. He said the bushing issue "does not affect production aircraft" and that 'it is an installation issue.'"


I think you need to reread the customer communication, perhaps a little more carefully this time. The communication does indeed say it was an installation problem, but it goes on to say that the design of the lug did not positively retain the bushing, and that spacers would be added to the design to prevent the problem in the future.

The communication stated that no production aircraft demonstrated the wear problem, however the communication was also crystal clear that all aircraft would be getting the spacers just the same.

I'm really getting the feeling that you guys are springloaded to dump on Eclipse. I'm hoping that by identifying some of your inaccuracies, we can move on to a more mutually-beneficial discussion of the genuine issues rather than a constant barrage of inaccurate slams against Eclipse.

Ken

Planet eX said...

Go to Butler.Com and do a career search for New Mexico.

You'll find:
Aircraft Manufacturing Technicians - 12 (01242007 date)
Aircraft Painters - 10 (01242007)
Aircraft Engine Mechanics - 4 (01/24/07)
QA Flight Inspectors - 13 (02/07/07)
Quality Inspectors - 2 (01/11/07)
QA Receiving Inspectors - 8 (01/25/07)

Sounds like quite a few contractors needed - all to me sound like Eclipse.

flightfollowing said...

Gunner,
To add a bit of info to your pointed question, Eclipse instituted a no penalty swap for people due to pay their 60% deposit. Those who's payment was due could swap with someone further out to avoid the payment and get a later delivery, and someone further out could get an earlier delivery by paying immediately, and taking over the near position.
If it were me, I would swap with someone further out. However, I think that swap option is still an absolute minimum and and poor deal on Eclipse's part, and Eclipse should simply delay progress payments until they get their aircraft in order, which they may have done.

Old Troll said...

Ken Meyer said...

The communication does indeed say it was an installation problem, but it goes on to say that the design of the lug did not positively retain the bushing...


Again, thank you for exposing the misinformation provided by Eclipse. As a bonus, you also provided a perfect example of their doublespeak. They claim it is an installation issue but go on to say it's a design problem. If the design "did not positively retain the bushing", a perfect installation per the design would still result in a failure.

It seems the "assembly problem" was a smokescreen to hide the core problem. Vern only mentions assembly in this quote from aero-news:

Raburn explained that, "While modifying a flight test aircraft with the larger tip tank, it was observed that a bushing in the rear wing spar attachment lug was displaced, causing excessive wear. Eclipse’s plan to correct this finding on flight test aircraft is to replace the bushing with a larger size bushing, and add spacers to prevent the bushing from moving in the hole. We determined that this was due to an installation error and the installation procedure of the bushing itself has been modified. We have found no evidence of this condition on production aircraft."

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken,

I have only been around 9 or 10 Part 23 and 25 certification programs in my time in industry, and that was at those old 'dinosaur' aircraft companies, so forgive me if I am being a little obtuse but I have to ask -

Would you be kind enough to explain how aircraft that have not experienced any cycles should have experienced any wear in the first place?

This is precisely the kind of kool-aid response that get people's dandruff up. Of course there was no sign of wear, the damn airplanes had not been flown yet. I mean yeah, the wear was so bad it was discovered by being 'heard' on an aircraft with only a few hundred hours on it - but put the kool-aid down long enough to think for yourself.

Rather than honestly admit it was a design issue (you yourself allude to the Customer Communication where Eclipse said:

"...it was an installation problem, but it goes on to say that the design of the lug did not positively retain the bushing, and that spacers would be added to the design to prevent the problem in the future."

Vern did in fact say, to ANN, and to AvWeb, and to anyone else who would listen, that production aircraft were not effected because 'they showed no sign of wear' - see above for why that was such a laughable statement.

Would you say that a lug not positively retaining a bushing meets type design? That is, did Eclipse intend for the lug to retain the bushing, or no?

Would you say that a lug not positively retaining a bushing when installed as designed could be characterized as a flawed design if not a bad design?

Would you make a change to ALL aircraft to 'prevent the problem in the future' if you did not expect to HAVE the problem in the future?

Old Troll is right, shims are a cheap quick fix. The other fix is to redesign the rear wing attach which is integral to the rear pressure bulkhead on this little bird as I recall.

Another band-aid on a sucking chest wound.

Not everyone is springloaded to 'dump' on Eclipse, but many of us do take an interest in an airplane that, supposedly will be sharing the skies with us by the thousands in the 'not too distant future', at least according Vern and his disciples.

Does it not bother you that Eclipse rushed a single aircraft to delivery to meet its own media hallucination, one that is not even remotely fully functional (no FMS, no Moving Map, no FIKI, no actual DME which might effect 135 operators, significantly reduced range compared to what was sold, ballast requirements for pilots at or below the FAA standard weight, repetitive structural inspections, cracking windows and windshields)?

Does it bother you that Eclipse SAID they skipped AOPA because they planes were 'too busy', when they were, in fact, not only not 'too busy' but not actually airworthy at that point in time? The test fleet was, as Eclipse admitted, 3 weeks later, grounded as was originally suggested here while AOPA was still in session.

And if you are going to bother to give onther one of your springloaded 'red flags' on any of my claims above bring proof. Your drive-by 'refutations' are funny - all of the above is from the various customer communications which have been quoted here, or from press releases, media interviews, and so on.

gadfly said...

To those with contempt for the "gadfly", and the many other bloggers . . . that’s OK, but you may be missing the point. The discussion might be better served by staying focused on the “claims” and integrity of Eclipse Aviation and the airworthiness of the “500".

The FAA folks are attempting to determine the safety of the plane, and use their best judgment according to the rules. They perform according to a good set of regulations . . . not perfect, because “aviation” is not a perfect science. They are to be commended.

The many workers at Eclipse are doing all they can, to please their employer, and to follow, to the very best of their ability, what they have been trained to do. ‘No small thing . . . many families have placed their trust in the future of this project. Wives and families depend on the integrity of Eclipse Aviation, and the paychecks earned.

The "gadfly" is not an authority in the design of an airframe, nor in all the subtleties’ of aerodynamics, nor does he claim such (although as an ex-pilot and “A&P” aircraft mechanic, I know how to inspect and repair them). But the “gadfly” has designed, and has built certain classified devices, mounted externally and internally on the Airborne Laser Lab (Boeing C135 and Gulfstream G2) reaching speeds and altitudes of which Eclipse can only dream. Those in charge seemed to have confidence in me, requested that I design and build the electronic-electro-mechanical device, integrated in an aerodynamic “package” of my own design, to be mounted directly under the “chin” of the aircraft. The “pylon, fairing, and double probe with servomotor operated doors”, performed correctly the first time, and consistently thereafter “at altitude and speed”, at minus 40 degrees C (or F . . . take your pick). ‘Hope this helps with gadfly’s “credibility”.

That so many can afford to purchase this little plane is impressive. I'll never equal your financial "bottom line". That's OK . . . more power to you. My life has had its share of excitement . . . most of my many dreams have been fulfilled. May each of you be so blessed.

What did the Lord say? . . . in another context: something about “ . . . strain at a gnat and swallow a camel”? In this case, substitute gadfly for gnat. (‘Pardon my "humor".)

Don't get off track. Keep focused. All the opinions, accusations, and “name calling” in this blog site don’t mean much seven miles above the ground. Regardless of "high hopes" with this little plane, make sure you really have a "plane" . . . and be sure it does all that it claims to do, is proven safe, and “Eclipse” will “be there” when you need them.

gadfly

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

Sorry for the delay in replying. Haven't had much time today to play. Doesn't matter the SN. I am fine with waiting it out. In fact, I asked Mike Press today to see if I could move up by having someone swap an earlier position with me that may want to postpone the 60% payment. At the pace of deliveries, getting an earlier position would be good since I am in for the long haul anyway.

Cheers! Hope everyone had a great Valentines Day! I did! ;-)

Gunner said...

EO-
Thanks much.
I give you great credit for faith. You've looked at it from all sides, I think, and are still a believer. Something to be said for that.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Coldwetsomethingorother wrote,
"Ken...I have to ask - Would you be kind enough to explain how aircraft that have not experienced any cycles should have experienced any wear in the first place?"


Sure. The problem is that your premise is wrong. The planes in question have a great many cycles and have accumulated a total of over 3600 hours.

Ken

Gunner said...

It's time for a bit of levity. If you've heard a slightly different version of this Urban Legend exchange, it's only because there's so many out there.

Bill Gates addressing a group of Wall Street Analysts some years ago:
"If Henry Ford had used our methods for bringing his product to market todays cars would cost about $350 each"

Lee Iacocca's Response:
"If Henry Ford had used their methods for bringing his product to market todays cars would be crashing about 3X per week".

Ba-Dump-Bump.

airtaximan said...

Ken,
Put down the pipe man...the production planes that Vern claims show no wear, HAVE NOT LEFT THE GROUND.

What's your problem?

Quote:
Raburn explained that, "While modifying a flight test aircraft with the larger tip tank, it was observed that a bushing in the rear wing spar attachment lug was displaced, causing excessive wear. Eclipse’s plan to correct this finding on flight test aircraft is to replace the bushing with a larger size bushing, and add spacers to prevent the bushing from moving in the hole. We determined that this was due to an installation error and the installation procedure of the bushing itself has been modified. We have found no evidence of this condition on production aircraft."

I have another question: why did they only notice this while they were modifying a flight test aircraft? I guess if they were not doing a mod, this issue would have not been discovered...until perhaps... kinda makes you think...

Ken Meyer said...

Airtaximan wrote,
"the production planes that Vern claims show no wear, HAVE NOT LEFT THE GROUND."


Actually, that isn't true. The earliest production planes started flying back in July, remember?

And it doesn't matter anyway. The modified installation method is not to fix a problem identified in production aircraft; it is intended to ensure the problem cannot occur in production aircraft.

I guess if they were not doing a mod, this issue would have not been discovered...until perhaps..."

Actually the company clarified that even a total failure at this point would not result in a crash because the aft wing attach fitting is only a secondary attachment point.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

These are the same issues that were already beat to death on previous threads. I guess you just have a need to go around and around on this, or you are running out of anything new to discuss.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

I think you are refering to production conforming aircraft which are part of the test fleet.

Why didn't Vern say this? He did not. He said "production" aircraft, and at the time, deliveries of production aircraft were imminent.

I do not agree that he was refering to the test fleet - he could have just said this.

EB is right about this subject, though. I should have remained on the sidelines becasue there is no new info.

Some believe there was dishonesty, some don't. Truth is, except for the interpretation of the statements or lack there of, there's no conclusive proof. Vern has done a wonderful job at this.

In fairness, we were told some time ago by an "insider" who seems to have disappeared, that thin skins, many more quality issues and delays would begin to appear.

I wonder what happend?

Stan Blankenship said...

eb,

Since you are willing to talk about something new, I would like to know if know if the two computers for the Avio System are still located side by side, just below the floor and forward of the carry through?

While the two provide redundancy, their close proximity also leaves them vulnerable to a single event like a spill of liquids or a leaking refreshment cooler.

This relates to the discussion on the board a few days earlier on what one can get certified with the FAA vs. what represents good design practice.

Stan Blankenship said...

atm,

Here is what I eventually heard about the thin skin business and I never wrote about it because it is a non-issue. Cosmetics really!

In the fuselage skins just aft of the wing fairing, excess weight was removed in the panel areas between the longitudinal stringers and fuselage frames by chem-milling (actually removing metal by exposing the area to a strong acid). The drawing called for a minimum thickness of .025. Apparently, these panels would wrinkle on the ground as fuel was added to the airplane.

The fix was to increase the chem-mill pocket thickness from .025 to .040 except, somebody forgot to tell the skin vendor. So there may be a little discrepancy between what the drawing calls out and the thickness of the pocket for who knows how many airplanes. If all this tracks with reality, I would not expect this to be a safety issue since the pressure test vessel and static test article probably was tested with the .025 pockets.

I suppose it was caught during their conformity checks.

EclipseBlogger said...

Stan said... I would like to know if know if the two computers for the Avio System are still located side by side, just below the floor and forward of the carry through?

I don't have the documents in front of me, but my recollection is that both computers are inside the pressure vessel, one in the front of the cockpit, and one under the raised portion of the rear baggage floor, not below the main cabin floor. The refreshment center would not be located forward of, but not on top of the rear computer.

airtaximan said...

EB,

so that's across the aisle from the lavatory, right?

Just KIDDING.

EclipseBlogger said...

Sorry correction....

The refreshment center would be located forward of, but not on top of the rear computer.

airtaximan said...

Airtaximan simple math,

1,000 employees
$40,000 average salary
E-clips burn just for salaries: around $700,000 per week.

Just for salaries.
(Does not include, advertising, rent, printing of training manuals, or even aircraft lease-back payments!!!)

Is this not a big scary number?

The 500 airplane deliveries in 2007 bathwater must have been laced with something pretty strong for the company to go and hire so many people. This risk is probably the greatest one, yet. Why would anyone take it?

Example: DAYJET - same result - $20 or so million spent waiting for a e-taxi since 2003/4 timeframe. Hired a bunch of folks last year, and expected some planes by November...6 more months of no revenue, BIG payroll.

It could have been so nice:
"we're going to deliver around 30 planes under CofA, which might take 6 months or so. We need to understand how the FAA works, how careful they are with new companies, and how long this could take. It's only fair to allow for a reasonable amont of time to ensure compliance and safety for our fleet."

Hire appropriately, plan conservatively, and ramp normally -lower risk, better plan, cheaper in the long run.

The last thing anyone can handle in this business is a fully burdened program, with a dealy for months. Welcome to E-clip.

occam said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Would you be kind enough to explain how aircraft that have not experienced any cycles should have experienced any wear in the first place?

This is precisely the kind of kool-aid response that get people's dandruff up. Of course there was no sign of wear, the damn airplanes had not been flown yet


Did the company actually say that? The direct quotes that have been posted say "...We have found no evidence of this condition on production aircraft". It seems more likely that 'this condition' means the installation error, which actually makes sense, not no evidence of wear which doesn't make any sense at all.

Would you say that a lug not positively retaining a bushing when installed as designed could be characterized as a flawed design if not a bad design?

Sure, but how is this relevant? They claim the source of the problem was an installation problem

Would you make a change to ALL aircraft to 'prevent the problem in the future' if you did not expect to HAVE the problem in the future?

Given the problem they might opt (or, the FAA might insist) on a belt and suspenders solution

Old Troll is right, shims are a cheap quick fix. The other fix is to redesign the rear wing attach which is integral to the rear pressure bulkhead on this little bird as I recall.

Cheap and quick is the best kind of fix. Are you arguing they should have opted for the most expensive and time consuming fix?

And as for the comment (by old troll) that shims make up for sloppy design, have you ever seen a metal airplane that doesn't use shims?

Stan Blankenship said...
Since you are willing to talk about something new, I would like to know if know if the two computers for the Avio System are still located side by side, just below the floor and forward of the carry through?

While the two provide redundancy, their close proximity also leaves them vulnerable to a single event like a spill of liquids or a leaking refreshment cooler.

This relates to the discussion on the board a few days earlier on what one can get certified with the FAA vs. what represents good design practice.


One could not get that certified with the FAA! Functional hazard analysis, which certaintly includes common mode failures, have to be addressed to certify an airplane. Anyway they show the location
here
, and they are separated

Gunner said...

Occam-
I can't tell exactly where on the aircraft those dual units are, but they sure do appear to be pretty much adjacent to each other, as opposed to separated by the length of the main cabin as EB suggested.

As to the wing spar, CWMR's point remains: how does an "installation problem" on one unit become, in the next sentence, a design problem caused by a lug not positively retaining a bushing? Answer: By smoke an mirrors. It was a DESIGN FLAW, but Vern couldn't admit that. No, he had to use semantics to say it only "affected" one test aircraft, while admitting the fix needed to be applied to the entire, in-build, customer fleet.

How many more "installation problems" of this type might we expect now that the company is churning out 3 aircraft per day?

Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
" It was a DESIGN FLAW, but Vern couldn't admit that. No, he had to use semantics..."


Oh, good grief, gunner: Foul Ball!

The customer communication clearly says, "We have made many improvements to the final design based on what we saw and experienced throughout our flight test program" and "the design of the lug did not positively retain the bushing in position, allowing it to migrate out of its lug and erode some lug material. Spacers are being designed to ensure a stable bushing placement." Only a diehard Eclipse critic could say they're denying they ever find and fix design problems or that this particular problem was portrayed as solely an installation problem.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

EB said... I don't have the documents in front of me, but my recollection is that both computers are inside the pressure vessel, one in the front of the cockpit, and one under the raised portion of the rear baggage floor, not below the main cabin floor.

It appears that I may have been thinking of the placement of the Air Data Computers which are against the forward bulkhead. The AVIO system computers are both shown to be in the main cabin, one under the floor and the other on the sidewall in the baggage area.

My bad.

Gunner said...

Ken-
You're quite incorrect. Wrong, I'd say.

The problem with the grounding of the test fleet ONE DAY PRIOR to appearance at the AOPA(?) event was clearly stated to be an INSTALL problem that DID NOT affect the PRODUCTION FLEET at a time when pictures of the factory floor were being distributed showing aircraft in various stages of completion. Yet, the fix clearly describes a DESIGN PROBLEM.

That is the only point that's being made here. There was Design Problem. It grounded the Test Fleet and required retrofit of a Design Solution to those aircraft and whatever Production Aircraft had proceeded beyond that stage of completion.

Yet is was described by Vern hisself as an "install problem" that DID NOT affect the Production Aircraft. That is false....patently.
Gunner

Metal Guy said...

Since you are willing to talk about something new, I would like to know if know if the two computers for the Avio System are still located side by side, just below the floor and forward of the carry through?


The locations of the ACU’s should not lead to common mode failure of a physical nature – they are separated one up, one down.

However, it’s the only aircraft I’m aware of that has multiple software common mode failures. Identical PFD’s, Air data computers, ACU’s, AHRS, etc… If there is a bug in the software, it will show up in both of the “redundant” systems at once. There is no actual independent backup for any of these that I am aware of. But given how reliable software is, there should be no bugs in any of these systems that would cause resets, lockups or other aberrant behavior. Apparently certifiable, but risky.

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"The problem with the grounding of the test fleet ONE DAY PRIOR to appearance at the AOPA(?) event was clearly stated to be an INSTALL problem that DID NOT affect the PRODUCTION FLEET at a time when pictures of the factory floor were being distributed showing aircraft in various stages of completion. Yet, the fix clearly describes a DESIGN PROBLEM."


You have some documentation of your version Gunner? I'm looking at the customer communication of 11/15/06 which clearly states that the production fleet demonstrated no abnormal wear, but nonetheless would be retrofit with the elements of an improved design because the original design was found to be imperfect. You've seen that communication, right? If not, I can point you to it.

It seems to me their approach was prudent and forthright, not deceptive. What's your evidence it was actually a big deception perpetrated by management?

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
Is this the part where I just tell you to do your homework? That my job is only to report your "falsehoods", not to provide the proof of your "deception"? According to your playbook, that's exactly what I should do.

But that's not appropriate in polite debate unless the other party is clearly and continuously attempting to obfuscate...a condition which you are bordering upon.

As reported by ANN:
http://tinyurl.com/2jlrs7
“Our investigation uncovered that the bushing was not installed correctly.” The bushing fell out of position during assembly and consequently wore out some of the fitting material. The repair involves installing a larger bushing and adding spacers to keep the bushing from moving, but this applies only to the flight-test pre-production airplanes. Production Eclipses show no evidence of this problem, and Eclipse has modified the installation process to make sure this doesn’t occur on the assembly line.


So, they announced to the world that this was a one-off INSTALL problem and they had changed the INSTALL procedure, but later admitted they had instituted a DESIGN FIX. Why? Because it was never that a "bushing was not installed correctly" as they originally reported, it a flawed design of the damned Wing Spar attachment; and found to be so AFTER certification and while PRODUCTION planes were coming off the line. Which, once again begs the question, what other critical items in that design are going to show "abnormal wear", resulting from a single aircraft "install problem" and fixed by a design change on all aircraft?

You don't get to have it both ways, Ken. You don't get to quote a letter that says it was an install problem, followed by a letter that states they've instituted a design fix and claim neither attempted deception; at least, not while you call me a "Liar".

OK, OK, OK?
Gunner

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... So, they announced to the world that this was a one-off INSTALL problem and they had changed the INSTALL procedure, but later admitted they had instituted a DESIGN FIX.

I think you and Ken are talking about semantics as to whether it was an installation problem or design problem. If an installation error was allowed to take place, I consider that a design flaw that should be corrected. These are not engineers on the line that perform the actual assemblies. If it can be done wrong, it should be designed to reduce that chance.

The information coming out of Eclipse certainly could have been more complete and straight forward. I don't think anyone disputes that. The problem was a bushing issue and has now been identified and corrected, whether it be in one plane or all of them. Issue fixed. Let's move on... or at least post this discussion back about 10 threads where it already took place.

Gunner said...

Agreed, EB, as to the "already been settled" part. But it's most certainly not a "semantics" issue. We all know what an "install" problem is...it affects one or several planes; and we all know what a "design flaw" means...it affects the entire fleet. In this case, it was a potentially catastrophic design flaw still coming off the line after Certification. Again, are there any others? Who knows.

I just don't like seeing history rewritten under the headline, "You're all lying. Nothing was amiss." We all know what happened with that fleet grounding, what the source of the problem was, what the fix was and what Eclipse's conflicting public announcements stated.

It's done. We have transparency on this issue....the hard way.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"But that's not appropriate in polite debate unless the other party is clearly and continuously attempting to obfuscate...a condition which you are bordering upon.

As reported by ANN:
http://tinyurl.com/2jlrs7..."


EB is right, this issue doesn't deserve so much attention. It's history and doesn't mean anything anymore. But the method you're using to attack Eclipse deserves a little more scrutiny so folks can see what you are really doing.

You are quoting from an AIN article. That's okay. But you left out one part. The article specifically tells the reader where they got their information. It says "In Customer Technical Communication 2006-11-001, Eclipse Aviation explained that technicians found..."

AIN is saying that they read the very same customer communication that I quoted from. The one in which the company acknowledged that the design needed tweaking.

So you think that because AIN missed the part of the letter that talked about tweaking the design, that is good evidence that Eclipse deceived us all. Sure.

Anybody who wonders what the M.O. is around here can see it crystal-clear in your message.

Ken

airtaximan said...

Ken:

you interpretation of Vern's remarks regarding the "production aircraft" not having the bushing issue and claiming that he ws refering to the test fleet aircraft reflects the sort of stretch you make in E-clips favor to end up with your conclusions.

To many, this makes no sense...
Their lack of detail and unclear statements lead some to believe that they are not committed to honesty, safety and integrity.

I guess other's read into the statements what they wish to see...

Gunner said...

And they wonder why radicals can't be reasoned with!

Ken-
I think it's a vast right wing conspiracy.
- I'm involved.
- AIN is involved.
- ANN is involved.
- AvWeb is involved (They claim Vern represented to them it was an "improperly INSTALLED bushing") http://tinyurl.com/2mgu9p
- ComPilots is involved: Eclipse reported that the "problem does not affect production airplanes". Why fix a non-existent problem?
http://www.compilots.com/article2094.html
- SkyControl is involved. Their sources report the problem didn't affect 4 production aircraft with the wings already attached.
http://tinyurl.com/yppqfc

Each of these sources get their info ultimately from the Horse hisself. NOT ONE of them reported the retrofit on production aircraft of the DESIGN MODIFICATION. They all reported a simple install error.

But you just keep diggin' that hole, Ken. I believe I hear Chinese choir voices. :-D
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Airtaximan wrote,
"you interpretation of Vern's remarks regarding the "production aircraft" not having the bushing issue and claiming that he ws refering to the test fleet aircraft reflects the sort of stretch you make in E-clips favor to end up with your conclusions."


I get the feeling you haven't actually read the communication on this issue. Have you? If you did, you would not write what you wrote.

For one thing, the communication didn't come from Vern Raburn! You and the others keep saying something like "Vern lied." But that's wrong; it's not his communication in the first place. And, if you read it, it tells you exactly what they found, which aircraft are affected, and what procedures are being changed moving forward.

Making an issue out of this communication by misattributing it to your nemesis, and misrepresenting what it says, is illustrative of the techniques used on this blog.

Here is what the communication actually says, so everyone can judge for themselves:

"Background:
Eclipse decided early in the design phase of the Eclipse 500 that the flight test program
would go above and beyond what is required for FAA certification. To that end, the five flight test aircraft have accumulated over 3,600 flight hours of which over 1,300 are in a mode called BETA testing which is a high utilization environment to find any problem areas before releasing the product to the customer base. We have made many improvements to the final design based on what we saw and experienced throughout our
flight test program. During the fitting of the new larger tip tanks on a flight test aircraft, a bushing inside the rear wing attach point was found to be loose inside the attach point hole. Eclipse then conducted a detailed inspection on the entire test fleet and found similar conditions to varying degress. Eclipse then conducted a detailed inspection on all production aircraft built to date AND FOUND NO EVIDENCE of the same or similar problem. The wing fitting in question is identified as “A” in the diagram below. It is important to note that while all the information is not yet compiled, the highest time aircraft in the fleet, the sales and marketing aircraft, had very limited wear. Eclipse decided through its very thorough process called Eclipse Aviation Safety Review Board, (SRB) to temporarily place a no flight limitation on the FLIGHT TEST AIRCRAFT ONLY. It is important to emphasize three points: 1) This limitation does not apply to any production aircraft; 2) This is not related in any way to our ability to deliver the first production airplane; and 3) This was an internal decision and not an FAA mandate. There is no Airworthiness Directive (AD) on the Eclipse 500 resulting from this finding.

Technical Description:
The aft wing attach fitting on the fuselage carries the loads of the wing induced by several load cases, the most significant of which occurs during a heavy landing. The fitting as currently designed has proved capable of carrying these loads. This wear
condition is not due to a loading exceeding any design expectations. Our investigation uncovered that the bushing was not installed correctly. Because of the faulty installation, the bushing fell out of position during aircraft assembly. Also the design of the lug did not positively retain the bushing in position, allowing it to migrate out of its lug and erode
some lug material. Spacers are being designed to ensure a stable bushing placement.

Aircraft Operational Impact:
Once flight test has tested the loads on the flight test fleet with the changes, no further impact on those aircraft’s operation is expected. Production aircraft will then be retrofitted with the new procedures and we expect NO EFFECT ON CUSTOMER
FLIGHT OPERATIONS."

Ken

airtaximan said...

It's NOT Vern's communication -

Now THAT's funny.

Gunner said...

Eclipse then conducted a detailed inspection on all production aircraft built to date AND FOUND NO EVIDENCE of the same or similar problem.
What on earth does that mean, Ken? Is that the same as Ford reporting that they "found no evidence of Pinto gas tanks blowing up in cars on the production floor"?

OR does it mean, 3 years down the road:

"We have not found this problem with any of our 2,100 production aircraft, except the ones that created these nasty smoking holes in the ground"?

This is NOT a semantics problem, Ken. In aviation, we don't refer to symptoms as "problems", we refer to the CAUSES as the problem. Every Eclipse then completed or in production had the same problem. Period. It was not an "install" issue at all; it was not a minor annoyance. It was a potentially catastrophic design flaw that Eclipse (which = Vern Raburn, by the way) attempted to whitewash...with your rather impotent assistance.

To pretend that Vern had nothing to do with a memo regarding a two week Fleet Grounding just prior to delivery of Aircraft #1 is an absolute absurdity.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"Eclipse then conducted a detailed inspection on all production aircraft built to date AND FOUND NO EVIDENCE of the same or similar problem.
What on earth does that mean, Ken? "


I guess it means you need an interpreter :)

They did not find the wear problem on any of the production aircraft. They decided to institute a minor design change to ensure that mis-installation could not occur again.

Vern didn't write the customer communication.

I think your obstinance is very telling. I can't help you any more on this issue. You don't want to understand it. You just want to slam Eclipse. I thought otherwise; I was wrong.

Ken

airtaximan said...

"Eclipse then conducted a detailed inspection on the entire test fleet and found similar conditions to varying degress. Eclipse then conducted a detailed inspection on all production aircraft built to date AND FOUND NO EVIDENCE of the same or similar problem."

So, Ken, the production planes are apparently NOT planes that have accumulated time in the air, while you previously stated they HAD flown 3600 hours.

as they say in some parts of the world..."I think you need to grow a brain".

This could have been so simple:

- we grounded our fleet becasue we need to redesign a faulty bushing. There are signs of wear in all of our planes that have flown. It will not take too long to do a redesign, and this will not impact our ability to deliver planes. We cannot deliver planes anyway, the FAA won't let us yet, so this bushing will not create a delay.

Thank you,
NOT VErn

Frank Castle said...

You know, I have come to the conclusion that some of the Die-hards may be right......

There have been some here, that literally grind the so-called "issues" into the tarmac. And, it's getting to be a yada-yada-nya-nya-see-I-told-you-so (I'm trying real hard to watch my language here) turd-throwing contest.

Yes, I work for the competition, and it's not easy being cheesy. But, I have things to do, taking care of our business, and our customers. I could sit around here, and go along with all the yaya's about how this is happening, they are lying, etc.

EAC does NOT need your help to hang themselves ! Yes, they have loyal supporters. So did Manson. So does Gulfstream, Cessna, etc.

Goes along with some that fly, kinda like some that drive, ie, I wouldn't drive a Ford if you gave it to me, or I couldn't fly a Mooney if you gave it to me, etc, etc.

I challenge you ALL. After you post a few HUNDRED more posts about this and that, then let Stan pick a date (very soon) and keep yer yaps shut for a month. Or so. See what happens. See how many wil or won't be delivered. See what news comes out of ABQ, but don't say a word. Oh, hell,won't ~that~ be a switch. I'll even let you go to my blog and vent.

BUT NO DISCUSSION, OR ANALYZING, OR I'LL BOOT YA.

One of the Yahoo Owners sites has had very little activity so far this month. They may be all over here, I don't know, but try it. You may like the results.

Stan ? Your thoughts....

Stan Blankenship said...

fc,

A reader e-mailed the other day with the observation -- for a blog, this one had a pretty high signal to noise ratio.

OK, so it sometimes gets bogged down a bit splitting hairs, but through it all, we are learning from the collective discusson, plus we occasionally get a good laugh along the way.


All,

Our fellow blogger bambazonke, has e-mailed some highlighted comments from the Eclipse training/mentoring program.

So I'll give you a heads up on this one. Go the the Eclipse site and bone up on their program, I'll make a new post tomorrow on the subject and you can start knocking heads again.

Ken Meyer said...

Airtaximan wrote,
"So, Ken, the production planes are apparently NOT planes that have accumulated time in the air, while you previously stated they HAD flown 3600 hours."


I believe you misunderstood what I wrote. You need to reread it because I did not say that. The prototypes have flown over 3600 hours; it is unlikely the production aircraft have flown that many hours yet.

"There are signs of wear in all of our planes that have flown."

That is wrong. The company specifically reported that the abnormal wear condition was absent from each and every production aircraft.

The comment about "growing a brain" is inappropriate in any venue. You are now on my "ignore" list until you retract it.

Ken

airtaximan said...

Ken,

from your post of the entire communication:
"Eclipse then conducted a detailed inspection on the entire test fleet and found similar conditions to varying degress."

From your last post, replying to my contention that there was the problem found on every e-clips that had flown:

"The company specifically reported that the abnormal wear condition was absent from each and every production aircraft."

Regarding this issue, that you say I am worng, and have called people liars: HERE's YOUR REPLY..

Coldwetsomethingorother wrote,
"Ken...I have to ask - Would you be kind enough to explain how aircraft that have not experienced any cycles should have experienced any wear in the first place?"

Sure. The problem is that your premise is wrong. The planes in question have a great many cycles and have accumulated a total of over 3600 hours.
Ken"

But Ken: non of these planes had flown at this point...right? Only the test fleet flew..right? Before you refered to the production planes having 3600 hours of flying...I am sorry, but you have some real problems if you still do not see the light.

People here laughed at Vern's claim that no sign of the bushing problem was in the production fleet. It had not flown. You must admit this. Confusing, perhaps, but not that tough to see, right? So, why would Vern say this???

It's a trick. It seems to have mesmerized YOU...a lot...

You insisted that the production planes had 3600 hours on them...I just said NO Ken, the test fleet did...the fleet that showed signs of wear on every plane. SEE the quotes you provided. READ them. Its confusion, I know, but NOT that confusing.

I's sorry I said "grow a brain" but c'mon man... you can't keep writing stuff like this and think anyone will respect your position.

You post accusatins that people are lying, you say "no", with no arguments or facts that prove their position. The FACTS that YOU post are flat out opposed to your stated position without - this is aggrivating.

Trying to protect Vern by saying it's NOT him aming the statements...c'mon...

Gunner said...

Let's give this one to Ken.

The wing attachment design flaw that was caused by improper installation did not have any effect on the production fleet that had flown 3,600 hours while on the assembly line, though wear was seen in all planes that had flown but only affected one of those planes to the point of required grounding even though it was still perfectly safe to fly because this wing attachment point was never important in the actual design. The rest of the fleet was in for a wash and wax at the time.

These facts were clearly explained in a memo from Eclipse which was not reviewed by Vern, which demonstrates both he and Eclipse have once again shamed the rest of the industry with their honesty ad integrity. Anyone suggesting otherwise is a liar and anyone debating this rational account of the events of November is to be ignored.

Nice ring to it. Sounds like a Vern Conference Call I sat thru in July. ;-)

Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"Let's give this one to Ken."


Thanks; I'm glad to see you finally understood it.

Ken

bambazonke said...

About 40 post ago I gave you all some advice on Ken, maybe next time you will all listen to me...

Ken Meyer said...

Bambazonke wrote,
"About 40 post ago I gave you all some advice on Ken, maybe next time you will all listen to me... "


Oh, you're just sore 'cause somebody interrupted your little hatefest with some badly-needed reality, something that's been kinda lacking around here, it seems :)

By the way, I just heard that Cessna had to cancel the Mustang's appearance at KFTW today because the G1000 dumped and couldn't be fixed. Mustang's a nice plane, but this report suggests it is not immune to teething pains.

Ken

Gunner said...

The G1000, huh?

Imagine the problems you'll have with Avio, given Verns own admission:

""Raburn told AIN that Cessna did a “much better job of picking vendors” for its VLJ, especially Garmin, which provides the G1000 integrated avionics system for the Mustang. “If I had to choose an avionics supplier today for the Eclipse 500, we’d certainly have to go with Garmin and its G1000."
http://tinyurl.com/284hct

Probably just another misquote.

Gunner

Planet eX said...

Has anyone seen this little gem powerpoint presentation I found on faa.gov?

www.faa.gov/news/conferences_events/new_tech_2007/presentations/media/day2/harrington.ppt

It does mention that flight training will be done in the customer's aircraft. So...for training to start, you have to take delivery on an aircraft.

Planet eX said...

Oops...

Make that:

http://tinyurl.com/ynjw9k

Frank Castle said...

"By the way, I just heard that Cessna had to cancel the Mustang's appearance at KFTW today because the G1000 dumped and couldn't be fixed. Mustang's a nice plane, but this report suggests it is not immune to teething pains."

Interrupting our little hate-fest with one of your own ?

Stan Blankenship said...

ken,

Since you have brought up the subject of avionics failures did you ever hear of one of the Eclipse demo airplanes having a little problem enroute to the 2005 NBAA, or is an ex-employee just feeding me bad information?

Specifically, here is what he told me:

"..the plane experienced a single point failure which provided a 100% failure of the cockpit panel. No lights, no displays, no gear indicators, gauges, no displays... They had to fly by the tower to confirm no gear down, and then use the emergency deployment system."

Ken Meyer said...

Frank Castle wrote,
"Interrupting our little hate-fest with one of your own ?"


Oh, my goodness, not at all. I'd love to own a Mustang. However, it does have a few problems of its own:

--It weighs roughly 50% more
--It carries roughly 50% more fuel
--It uses roughly 50% more fuel
--It costs roughly 50% more to buy (actually 60%+ more)
--It costs roughly 50% more to operate

But it doesn't go 50% faster, or 50% farther. And it doesn't carry 50% more payload.

I still like it, but it's really just a smaller Citation. There is very little new and groundbreaking in it. If it sold for the same price as the Eclipse, I would love it! However at 50% more (and then some), it is, to me, relatively unexciting.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

Stan wrote,
"Since you have brought up the subject of avionics failures did you ever hear of one of the Eclipse demo airplanes having a little problem enroute to the 2005 NBAA, or is an ex-employee just feeding me bad information?"


I have no idea if that story is manufactured or not. But if you look at the systems, there is no single point failure that can do all that.

Ken

Frank Castle said...

yea, well, it's 100% MORE CERTIFIED. Including FIKI.

airtaximan said...

Stan,

I was at NBAA when the AVIO system started showing red X's instead of data/images on the Dayjet plane. Panic set in, and they rushed a guy from the Eclipse booth over, and made everyone leave the area. After he worked for a while, he just shut down the system.

this was on the ground...

airtaximan said...

Ken says:

--It weighs roughly 50% more
--It carries roughly 50% more fuel
--It uses roughly 50% more fuel
--It costs roughly 50% more to buy (actually 60%+ more)
--It costs roughly 50% more to operate

But it doesn't go 50% faster, or 50% farther. And it doesn't carry 50% more payload.

Ken, there is usually a trade off for the lower Eclipse weight and increases promised performance that you refer to. Baring any advancements (FSW, AVIO, ENGINES do not result in the improvements you refer to) that we are unaware of...

Do you think there is some penalty that is being paid for the "improvements" you are buying?

If we do not buy into the low price due to high rate, are you getting a bargain? Cessna can do it for twice the price at 1/10th or 1/15th the production rate - so, do you really believe you are getting a deal, all things considered?

bambazonke said...

Ken,

Don't flatter yourself, you have not added a single shred of evidence that would convince anyone other than fool drunk on Kool Aid that you have any argument.

Re the term you use glibly groundbreaking this might become synonymous with the word Eclipse .

I don't wish to insult all Eclipse purchasers, but does anyone here have a good reason why a buyer; read the one in the driving seat, would sign a contract that had the following verbiage; I am putting the clause numbers in so Kenny can run and look them up quickly for his response;

15.5 Attorney Fees. If Seller is prevailing party in any action to enforce its rights under this Agreement, Seller shall be entitled to its fees, costs and expenses (Including attorney's fees and expenses) in connection therewith). What about the Buyer's fees enforcing the contract..SOL?

Under Disclaimer and Release.

ii) Except for the obligations expressly undertaken by Seller herein, Buyer hereby waives and releases all rights, claims, and remedies with respect to any all warranties express, implied or statutory (including without limitation, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness and any implied warranties arising from liabilities in tort or contract arising by law or otherwise including (1) LIABILITY FOR SELLER'S OWN NEGLIGENCE, (2) STRICT LIABILITY OR PRODUCT LIABILITY AND (3) ANY OBLIGATIONS OF SELLER WITH RESPECT TO INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF USE, OR CHANGE IN MARKET VALUE OF THE AIRCRAFT. THIS SECTION 9.ii shall not be interpreted to affect in any way Seller's obligations, if any for third party claims for property damage personal injury or wrongful death. (My emphasis on the caps above). What person in their right mind would give away their rights for the negligence of another, particularly an outfit like this...

iii) IF AN ALLEGED DEFECT THAT WOULD BE COVERED BY THIS LIMITED AIRCRAFT WARRANTY CAUSES THE DESTRUCTION OF THE AIRCRAFT BEYOND ECONOMICAL REPAIR, THEN AND ONLY THEN, BUYER HEREBY WAIVES AND RELEASES FOR ITSELF AND ITS INSURERS ALL RIGHTS, CLAIMS AND REMEDIES WITH RESPECT TO ANY CLAIMS AND REMEDIES WITH RESPECT TO ANY CLAIMS FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE VALUE OF THE AIRCRAFT OR THE LOSS OF USE OF THE AIRCRAFT WITH RESPECT TO ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES EXPRESSED (INCLUDING THOSE PROVIDED IN THIS LIMITED WARRANTY) IMPLIED OR STATUTORY (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS), DUTIES, OBLIGATIONS, LIABILITIES, IN TORT OR CONTRACT ARISING BY LAW OR OTHERWISE INCLUDING (1) LIABILITY FOR THE SELLERS OWN NEGLIGENCE OR (2) STRICT LIABILITY OR PRODUCT LIABILITY. THIS SECTION 9 iii SHALL NOT BE INTERPRETED TO AFFECT IN ANY WAY SELLER'S OBLIGATIONS, IF ANY FOR THIRD PARTY CLAIMS FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE, PERSONAL INJURY, OR WRONGFUL DEATH.

I would be interested to know how many spouses know of the rights that have been signed away for negligence of the Seller, equally important, how many Insurance carriers that have quoted the risk on the wonder jet, know that their remedies and rights for Seller's negligence have been waived..

Given this companies track record of coming clean, I would feel particularly naked having waived these rights against their negligence.

Or maybe I am reading this wrong..what do you think Ken?

Gunner said...

Ouch!

This should be fun.
Gunner

Jet_fumes said...

Gunner, just for the record, Vern selected Avidyne because he used to be on their board at the time.

Metal Guy said...

But if you look at the systems, there is no single point failure that can do all that.

Ken,
That's a pretty bold statement. That's like saying two Windows machines sitting side by side can't both crash on the same Word document because the computers are not connected together.

airtaximan said...

jet fumes,

and at the time, he paid them a lot of money for the development of the E-clips avionics.

Is he not on their board, anymore?

flight guy said...

Didn't Vern say last year that the Avio was the Eclipse "Market Differentiator?"

Makes me now wonder what kind of market it really has today.

The Camera Fanatic said...

Great blog.

I own both the Nuvi 660 and the 760, I'm writing this review for people having trouble deciding between the two as the price difference between the two products at the time of this review is about 100 dollars. I'm not going to focus on the feature differences, as that information can be easily obtained from specifications and online reviews. The 660 was a fine product back in 2005-2006, but the new 760 outdoes the 660 in practically everything, but there are some key usability fixes that make the 760 a better buy for the frequent user.

http://tinyurl.com/gnuvi760

1. 760 has much better fonts for street names than the 660. This may seem like a trivial update to some, but the 760's fonts greatly improve visibility. The 660 uses all capitalized text for street names on the map, and the font is incredibly cartoonish and unaligned, something like the scribbling Comic Sans font on the PC. The 760 uses your standard Verdana-like font with street names in capitalized and lowercase letters. The fonts on the 760 are smaller, cleaner and surprisingly much easier to read while driving. The maps end up looking professional, and not some cartoony children's video game.

2. 760 has better rendering in 3D map mode than the 660. In the 660 when you are zoomed in under 3D map mode, the roads close to your car are displayed incredibly large, so large that they run into other roads, making the zoom function essentially kind of useless for dense roads. The 760 does not oversize your roads just because you zoomed in to view smaller roads in detail. This fix is very nice for those who drive in places with dense roadways, like New York City.

3. No antenna on the 760 makes hooking up your Nuvi to the cradle one step easier. On the 660 you need to flip up the antenna before attaching the cradle. For people who park their cars on the street overnight, removing the GPS from the cradle for storage in the console or glove compartment is a must, and it's a lot easier hooking up the 760 to the cradle than the 660. It's hard to aim the 660 to its cradle in the dark as you have to align both the bottom edge and the charge port under the antenna. In the 760, the charge port is directly on the bottom of the unit; you can attach it to the cradle with one hand in the dark easily on the 760.

4. It takes the 660 a good 45 seconds on average (sometimes longer than 2 minutes) after boot up to locate the satellite on a cold start. If you have firmware 2.6 installed on the 760, the satellite acquisition time after boot up is between 10-20 seconds. After the firmware update, my 760 also holds a stronger lock to the satellites than my 660, I can get satellite lock inside my house with the 760, whereas I can't get a lock with my 660 (adjusting the antenna does very little).

5. The ability to set multiple ad hoc viapoints on the 760 means it's a lot easier creating alternate routes (very handy to avoid a specific interstate or a high traffic road). Whereas the 660 gives you just one viapoint.

UPDATE: This GPS is currently on sale at Amazon… now is your chance to buy one, if you haven’t already. You can find the product page here:

http://tinyurl.com/gnuvi760