Wednesday, March 07, 2007

IS&S

Unless I am missing something, Eclipse has basically exchanged Innovative Solutions and Support for Avidyne to integrate the Avio package.

While they claim to be partnering with Honeywell, Chelton, Garmin and others, my read is these companies have been selected as equipment suppliers. And while they would likely supply technical support for their equipment, it is not likely they will be investing much time or money to ensure the success of Avio.

It will be up to Eclipse and IS&S to integrate the systems to achieve the Avio expectations and pursue certification compliance with the FAA.

IS&S is a listed company and their financials are available on the web:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=issc


Here is a quick summary:

GROSS SALES:

FY Ending

09-04 $46,100m
09-05 $63,264m
09-06 $16,722m

1Q Ending

12-06 $3,429m

OPERATING INCOME

FY Ending

09-04 $18,058m
09-05 $27,419m
09-06 ($8,523m) LOSS

1Q Ending

12-06 ($2,989m) LOSS

Draw your own conclusions!



116 comments:

Gunner said...

Well, I just finished up with the ISS conference call on the deal.

Highlights as factually as I can report them:
- All questions were answered by Geoff Hedrick, CEO

- Vern's numbers were reiterated: 402 in '07, 1000 in '08, market demand after that. First deliveries this summer. Hedrick later said a ramp-up "steeply", starting in fall; another rep later said, deliveries of the jet starting "late summer"

- They will need to ramp up and train personnel to meet demand, but they already have the manufacturing capacity

- None of the Avidyne work will be used. ISS will be system integrator for Radios, Audio, GPS and Transponder. Eclipse will be the integrator for all aircraft systems.

- The existing digital buss system should make their job easier.

- They have not been working on this for "months". There was some preliminary engineering work done (presumably to create the bid). Other than that, they're starting from scratch.

- The program will require a Supplemental Type Cert or Amended Type Cert.

- Roughly half the aircraft currently under construction will require retrofit. (No mention of what this would portend for manufacturing numbers between now and shipping dates. Does the line close down?)

- They will succeed where Avidyne failed because their expertise is in retrofits.

- When questioned as to Eclipse's "lofty production goals", Jeff said "Sunshine Bakery doesn't have an order book like Eclipse".

All in all, this was confirmation of much that we already knew or suspected in terms of the Avidyne work. I've no doubt that ISS, Honeywell, Garmin, et al, can hold up their end of the bargain by delivering integrated hardware. The ball is in Eclipse's court as to whether it's up to speed on the integration of other systems.

Bottom line:
"We've got it locked down now. Good to go in summer. Or maybe fall." Hope this one is a promise they'll be able to keep.

Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Nice report, Gunner. Thanks.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... They have not been working on this for "months". There was some preliminary engineering work done (presumably to create the bid). Other than that, they're starting from scratch.

Not quite correct as it was reported in Monday's conference call that a complete system was running on a test bench and is being estimated to be fully installed in a test aircraft in about 30-40 days.

airtaximan said...

EB,

The release a few days ago implied that the whole team of suppliers have been working for months on NG.

I got out my bazooka, and was ready to start blasting away, until I went back and looked at the statements.

E-clips was careful not to state (only imply) that the TEAM has been working like black forest elves on NG in the back room "form months"...BUT in fact, the statements CAN be perceived to mean ONLY E-clips has been working on this for months. Given their "role"..I can see that perhaps:
1- e-clips worked for months
2- they developed a spec
3- they bid out the hardware and integration
4- since the proposed harware is really "off the shelf", they can have the system running on a bench and soon in a plane.

Kinda cool.

My only question would be, if they were doing this for so long...why did they not come clean and be honest with the customers?

Is every risk going to be covered up and kept from the customers until after the failure??

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

As Stan suggested, it appears IS&S is essentially replacing Avidyne as architect and integrator for the new-and-improved Avio NfG (tm), using presumably TSO'd equipment from the other players who are supplying COTS parts and not doing ANY development work for Eclipse (smart move on their part).

EB,

Breadboard (developmental) bench systems are typically not installable (think parts and wires literally scattered over the bench), hence the need for 30-40 days, probably to get pre-production hardware ready for install in a developmental airframe.

FWIW - It is possible to simulate avionics functionality (user interface) with a laptop PC and flash animation - seen it done. Not saying that you were misled during the conference call, but after everything that has transpired, you have to admit that they could have been overstating the case to sound further along than they actually are (would not be the first time with this program).

I am very hopeful for my current and former friends at KABQ that this goes even half as well as it needs to - if it does, there may be light at the end of the tunnel that is not the Western Chief.

Sounds like Avidyne cut off the spigot with perhaps less than 20 shipsets delivered, so who will take odds that there are more than than 20 deliveries between now and OSH?

I say the number by OSH is more than 4 (total), less than 15 (total) - all delivered under TC and FAA inspection. PC will not occur before Fall.

I remember the heady days when Cessna was saying (privately) they would deliver 1000 piston units a year out of Indy (when the only announced airplane was the venerable 172), 15 years later and they are just now approaching 900 a year, across ALL piston models.

Newsflash for Vern and the tru-believers - designing and building airplanes is hard, integrating systems and avionics is hard, aerospace quality is hard, certification is hard, PC is VERY hard.

I wish the team at Eclipse good luck and God speed, but as always with this program, my hand is on my wallet as I back away.

airtaximan said...

coldfish...

check how many fingers you have left on the hand covering your wallet!

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

Very nice support work Gunner.

Thanks for the effort!

KA1

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM,

It is the only finger that matters ,,/,,

- lol.

Gunner said...

EB said:
"a complete system was running on a test bench and is being estimated to be fully installed in a test aircraft in about 30-40 days.

EB-
Step away from it and use your own common sense:

If a "complete system" was running on a test bench, why would it possibly require 30-40 days to install it in a test aircraft? This is a company under the gun from depositors, the press and its investors; and this is not a 40-50 day job when the entire factory staff is sitting around waiting for something to do.

I don't mind giving Eclipse the benefit of the doubt (over and over and over again). But, Lord, man...at least admit to a breeze when someone is blowing smoke up your butt.

My guesses:
- The limiting factor with Avidyne was Eclipse's ability to integrate the aircraft systems

- The limiting factor with IS&S will be Eclipse's ability to integrate the aircraft systems

- Announcement in 30-45 days of testing in progress with no verifiable "complete system" in place.

- Next Avionics blow-up: Oct/Nov when those 400 depositors who were tapped for progress payments are looking for their planes and the system is still in "testing".

Don't toss that handheld just yet, Mr. Crowe.
Gunner

Planet eX said...

30 to 40 days from bench to plane? Unless the have been working on it for a while, that's pretty optimistic.

Also, I agree with the statement that Honeywell, Garmin, et al are suppliers and not partners. Just like we do at my work place, we buy components that meet our specs then integrate them into a complete system.

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner wrote,
"If a "complete system" was running on a test bench, why would it possibly require 30-40 days to install it in a test aircraft? This is a company under the gun from depositors, the press and its investors; and this is not a 40-50 day job when the entire factory staff is sitting around waiting for something to do."


But...

Planetex said,
"30 to 40 days from bench to plane? Unless the have been working on it for a while, that's pretty optimistic."


???

Ken

gadfly said...

‘Just a suggestion:

Until the “computer” takes over the system, wouldn’t it be useful to devote at least one or two airframes, meaning “an entire Eclipse 500 sans computer system”, and fly the things all over the country . . . with and without “tail wind” . . . put together some of the old fashioned “dinosaur” type instruments . . . magnetic compass, “DG”, “Tip and Bend” (Turn and Bank), etc., etc. Make it an “experimental” aircraft, slap a sticker on each side, and on the top and bottom surfaces of the wing, “EXPERIMENTAL”, . . . you know, one of those ancient aero-planes . . . sort of a “flying bench-test”, to “prove” all the claims that have been sworn to be revolutionary.

‘Maybe even make a removable canopy, “just in case” . . . since “test pilots” might be in short supply, and wish to come home at night to their own families. OK, fly it over the Gulf of Mexico, or over the Atlantic (in case it joins my old diesel snorkel submarine** that was used as a target of a new over-the-horizon torpedo from a newer submarine), so there won’t be any “black holes” to embarrass the “Public Relations” people.

Fly the thing until the rivets . . . pardon me, the “stir fried welds” shake loose. Find out the limits this little air-taxi can truly achieve. Prove the critics wrong. Give the work-force something to do. At a burn rate of “$30 million” per month, what’s a couple or three airframes while the “electronics bread-board” comes together . . . times two.

Think of the headlines in the Albuquerque Journal: “Little Jet Proves them All Wrong”. Shucks, they might even make the business section of the “Orange County Register”, along side the section about noise abatement over “Corona del Mar” and Newport.

Oh, just one other thing: Don’t make the mistake of “Airbus” . . . the Germans were making the wiring harness, using an “old” version of the “Catia” CAD software (as in, “20 years old”), and the harness didn’t fit the latest and greatest “Airbus”* . . . Boeing is laughing all the way to the bank on that one.

*Now we know why the French don’t like us. Had we kept our nose out of their business over sixty years ago, the French and Germans would all be speaking a common language, and there wouldn’t be this “misunderstanding”, Ja, nein?

**“Diesel Boats Forever” . . . ‘couldn’t help myself. And the blogger that referred to my time on a “can” (destroyer . . . surface ship) . . . have you no shame?

gadfly

(All seriousness aside, Eclipse could use the time to good advantage, while the “geeks” make software and hardware speak to each other, you know, “analog to digital”, etc., . . . all that takes time, much time!)

airtaximan said...

Ken,

you wrote:

"Gunner wrote,
"If a "complete system" was running on a test bench, why would it possibly require 30-40 days to install it in a test aircraft? This is a company under the gun from depositors, the press and its investors; and this is not a 40-50 day job when the entire factory staff is sitting around waiting for something to do."

But...

Planetex said,
"30 to 40 days from bench to plane? Unless the have been working on it for a while, that's pretty optimistic."

you said:
???


I would imagine the NONE of this matters to you, really. You bit the party line at E-clips, and you placed your deposit and are waiting for your plane, right?

Soooo what's your point?


BTW, none of the other "partners" except the one losing money and dwindling business supported their E-clips PARTNER in their new venture. Curious...

Care to comment?

Gunner said...

Ken-
I suspect the apparent contradiction between Planet-Ex and myself is pretty simple:

Like CWMR, PE understands that a "bench test system" is just a down and dirty proof of concept. I read EB's statement as I think he intended: "We have already assembled our first complete test suite".

If PE's understanding is correct: 45 days is apparently too short; if mine is correct, 45 days is too long.

EB-
How did you read Monday's statement that "a complete system was running on a test bench"?

Is this first hand info or was it relayed to you?

If first hand, how is it that you're in on proprietary tel conferences if you're not a position holder and not an employee?

Gunner

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... EB - How did you read Monday's statement that "a complete system was running on a test bench"?

Is this first hand info or was it relayed to you?

If first hand, how is it that you're in on proprietary tel conferences if you're not a position holder and not an employee?


Yes, it is firsthand info. The teleconference was for the media release. Make your own inferences. The actual working suite was unveiled at a private showing and company wide meeting today at Eclipse. All of your negative specualtion is for naught.

Plastic_Planes said...

CWMOR Said:

I say the number by OSH is more than 4 (total), less than 15 (total) - all delivered under TC and FAA inspection. PC will not occur before Fall.

I would say you are probably right on this. There were quite a few planes in pipeline when I left (I am not at liberty to say how many...)

I have heard that a certain quantity is getting prepped to be presented to the FAA for CofA

The real issue is whether any AC delivered at this time will be of much value (other than the obvious "final bill") because of flight restrictions placed on them.

Th eother issue is whether or not E-Clips has gained enough credibility back with the FAA to sell these AC. No APIS, no PC, and you've got's a lot a 'splaining to do Looocey. They'll need to be 1000% right, or I think the FAA will tell them to go away and think before calling them in again. There will be no leeway given.

I really feel that Day Jet needs to get some planes out in the field so that they can start running routes to understand fuel burn, etc. Then they can better plan their business. If I had to guess, any deliveries are going to be heavily weighted towards DJ. They stand to be a big part of EAC's future, so why not try to get them some jets. They surely cannot run a business with one jet.

I do "vaguely" recall seeing quite a few DJ aircraft in the line before my departure (every customer's name is painted on the side of the AC during manufacture and assembly)

Anywho, we'll see what happens.

/s/

Gunner said...

EB-

Let's not bicker on this. In the same spirit of my honest reporting on the IS&S call, let's be just as honest as to the recent timeline of events:

- The company had a major setback with Avio at the very time Eclipse was telling us they would be producing 1.5 planes per day in '07 and would have PC within weeks; then 2 planes on the week of Feb 12 and PC at the end of Feb.

- We're now told they were unhappy that Avidyne leaked the information of the divorce in the midst of letters to the next batch of Depositors for their progress payments (Ask EO38).

- Now it's 400 planes in '07, PC "sometime soon" and Avio Whatever sometime just after the July 1 date when all 400 first depositors will be due for their progress payment.

That's factual and no negative spin is required on my part. The company CEO has admitted it's behind the curve and has much to prove. 5 Days have not changed that situation.

But you are not answering the simple question. By "complete system", do you infer this as a test system ready for install right into a plane or "proof of concept", ready for build of a test system.

Please, we're interested.

Gunner

Planet eX said...

Let me clarify a few things.

I work for one of the top ten defense contractors which is one of the four or five systems integrators in this country. I have yet to see a system go from the bench (systems integration lab) to the aircraft in less than two months and have everything work. Most times, what works in the lab has problems once production harnesses are used and it's installed in the aircraft. There's always some little glitch or two (or more) that drives the engineers mad.

I bet there isn't full functionality on the Avio system with the new components until the end of the year (who knows, Eclipse might get lucky and everything works the first time).

airtaximan said...

EB, like I said before, I can imagine how this is actually possible. AMAZING.

Q? why did Vern not tell the depositors that they were in fact scrapping Avidyne, while they were asking for their 60% deposit based on a "certified aircraft with Avidyne avionics" for months?

Q? Do you feel like you've been duped?

Q? Can we expect that E-clips will continue to play fast and loose with the truth regarding systems and or program partners (United) that are being thrown in the garbage? Are we to expect that problems such as the Avio fiasco will not be disclosed until it is convenient for E-clips? Is this the right approach regarding safety?

BTW, somehow my personal opinion is that Vern has demonstrated the ultimate disgrace with this whole Avio process. Maybe I am naive and it IS the NEW way...get the financing and deposit money at all cost - disclose and couch what you need to, when it suits YOU... this scares me a lot.

Historically, Aviation companies have not acted this way. They have been proactive with system failures and problems. It's a basic respect for human life issue.

In order for E-clips to be this advanced with NG, they MUST have been on this for quite some time.

This means that they have been very dishonest for a long time. The culture that can accomplish this WILL NEVER PROVIDE ME WITH A PLANE. Period.

Very scary...don't you agree?

Kind of cool that somehow they were able to clandestinely pull this off, under a veil of secrecy for months and months, while they threw Avidyne under a bus and developed a new avionics package for their plane...all the while they promoted the old plane, with functionality delivery dates and had the FAA inspecting planes with avionics that they knew they were throwing in the garbage.

See Dayjet's website for how integrated and important Avidyne was promoted as being, for the airplane as well as the whole air taxi-thing. AND THEY WERE revolutionary, unique, sutting edge...great...a key...and really... going in the garbage.

Funny thing - my WORD spell check comes up with AVOID for Avidyne. Think it Vern/Gates playing tricks?

Finally, do you think we'll see E-500-NG anytime soon?

airtaximan said...

plastic planes

what do you think of all this?


http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070307/NEWS/703070371/1178

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... But you are not answering the simple question. By "complete system", do you infer this as a test system ready for install right into a plane or "proof of concept", ready for build of a test system.

Please, we're interested.


They have a working system that is being further developed, tested, and debugged. Is it a final version? Of course not. But, it is not just a proof of concept either. It also totally debunks the statements thrown around here that it is just in its infancy.

airtaximan said...

EB,
you say,
"It also totally debunks the statements thrown around here that it is just in its infancy"

I personally have never said this - I think E-clips is more scary that they actually have done this behind everyone's back. See my posts...

Can you tell us how you feel about an aviation company which has duped its supplier and customers for months and has developed months and months of work to the point where they have "more than a POC" avionics replacement suite for what they obviously decided to throw in the garbage months and months ago while they were dishonestly asking for deposit money?

Help us out here?

Is it all OK - the end justifies the means?

Gunner said...

Thanks, EB.

You've been telling us for a week that this program has been worked on by Eclipse and partners for months.

According to Geoff Hedrick at IS&S today, they certainly haven't been party to this skunkworks. This in response to a very direct question on the subject. It looks like getting the info from the buses to the IS&S screens is the largest part of the job...the other components are all pretty much compatible.

Are you suggesting that Hedrick was misinformed or misleading in the conference call?

See; it's contradictions like this that lead to the speculation ad mistrust. Between the info that you provide and the info that Hedrick provides, there's a very wide gulf. Little wonder many of us are skeptics.


Gunner

airtaximan said...

FWIW,

avio is basically a computer system.

vern probably has some real expertise here. lets credit him that..OK?

it's not inconceivable that he had programmers working clandestinely for months and months to try to figure out a way to still have avionics and not pay Avidyne. The whole thing was screwed up beyond repair anyway at that point. Avidyne stopped working. It kinda makes some sense.

What I don't get, and what might burn him and E-clips at the day-of-reckoning is...

How can you work to replace stuff that is going in the garbage, and all the while NOT tell your cutomers there's a problem.

One day, this will be like Platinum Jet. An example for the FAA to INCREASE OVERSIGHT and INCREASE REGULATIONS because someone broke the code of conduct and bent the rules and was not open and honest.

Hmm...have you seen the imposed restrictions on the plane, and the training requirements and psych testing and mentoring and upset training REQUIREMENTS...

Hmmm...MAKES YOU THINK A LITTLE.
Hmmm...why have none of the 50 or so planes sitting in the ABQ-garage
been passed by the FAA?

Everyone on the inside (including the E-insiders posting to this blog) is afraaid of the plane and the company and the program. For all the right reasons, I might add.

EclipseBlogger said...

Cabbie said... Q? why did Vern not tell the depositors that they were in fact scrapping Avidyne, while they were asking for their 60% deposit based on a "certified aircraft with Avidyne avionics" for months?

Contracts had to be negotiated. Final details with Avidyne had to ironed out. There are just too many leaks to contain them all if the news were released. No big surprise.

Cabbie said... Q? Do you feel like you've been duped?

I have no reason to feel duped. I have sometimes received optimistic details regarding status, but I have never been lied to.

Cabbie said... Q? Can we expect that E-clips will continue to play fast and loose with the truth regarding systems and or program partners (United) that are being thrown in the garbage? Are we to expect that problems such as the Avio fiasco will not be disclosed until it is convenient for E-clips? Is this the right approach regarding safety?

With no aircraft, outside of those under company control, actually flying, I don't see this as a safety issue. I suspect that any problems will not be revealed until Eclipse has a handle on the cause, and a direction for a solution.

Cabbie said... BTW, somehow my personal opinion is that Vern has demonstrated the ultimate disgrace with this whole Avio process. Maybe I am naive and it IS the NEW way...get the financing and deposit money at all cost - disclose and couch what you need to, when it suits YOU... this scares me a lot.

Don't be scared. Daddy's here.

Cabbie said... In order for E-clips to be this advanced with NG, they MUST have been on this for quite some time.

This means that they have been very dishonest for a long time. The culture that can accomplish this WILL NEVER PROVIDE ME WITH A PLANE. Period.


Just one Cabbie's opinion. Not mine.

Cabbie said... Finally, do you think we'll see E-500-NG anytime soon?

I think sooner than anyone on this blog is predicting.

bill e. goat said...

Eclipse want to deliver 1400 airplanes in 14 months, more or less? I guess IS&S is going to start supplying the engines too? (I'm sure Eclipse has been working on this for many months in the background too...:) Seems to me somebody posted that P&W is expecting substantially lower deliveries.

I agree with Gadfly- build a dang testbed, with the old round gages, and fly the whilickers out of it to prove out landing gear, brakes, fuel system, fuselage, WINDSHIELDS, etc. This should have been done FOUR years ago, with cruise missile engines.

Regarding bench testing- a SIL (Systems Integration Lab) would be nice. But, I think Eclipse had one of those, and it did squat for them. So just hook the crap up on a bench, and make sure the pieces can talk to each other! That's no where near as good as a SIL, but if they couldn't get the system to work on airplanes, or in their SIL, then back up, and start with a darn bench. But they keep putting the cart before the horse with “disruptive technology”. (Maybe things will work out better this time- no matter, they just keep getting money from somewhere).

For all their fancy labs (or at least, fancy PR about labs), it seems that they just did not get the basics down. I do no know why they are pretending things will go better this time.

Unless. They Eclipse is spinning about being the "integrators" themselves. Maybe that's some legal-ize that IS&S insisted on, to keep Eclipse from suing them if things go belly up again, and Vern tries to find someone to blame.

See the IS&S press release for their PC-12 lineup. Pretty nice. I suspect it will transfer into an E-500 pretty well. Does this look like the same thing they were discussing today, maybe?

http://www.flttechonline.com/Current/IS&S%20Awarded%20STC%20for%20New%20Pilatus%20PC-12%20Display%20System.htm

I too am suspicious about why it took so long for E to announce this. I think it's a bunch of PR spin. Sounds like Avidyne walked on them, for good reason. Don't know if they were trying to schmooze the crappy present system past the FAA, and didn't want to raise eyebrows?

IS&S Exec staff looks well credentialed, according to their web site. Recent financials- maybe something we're missing- write-offs, acquisitions, ??? Otherwise, it looks problematic.

BTW, looks like synthetic vision is in the works, maybe as an option, with the new system.

Then again, maybe Vern already has synthetic vision- he sure has been living in virtual un-reality for a while. Rose-colored monocle? I hope he has enough for the BOD.

Plastic_Planes- I agree, delivery of the first couple of dozen will be another stupid “stunt”. So, it's a given that it will happen, no matter how much it diverts attention from making real progress.

Everyone waiting for delivery. Or RE-delivery, or whatever Vern is calling it. I still believe it will be worth the wait. But, the wait's not going to be short. I'd still guess, Eclipse will be lucky to get any deliveries of the “real” airplane out this year. I hope for the sake of the owners-in-waiting, things go better and faster than I expect.

p.s.- I do not doubt a "complete system" will be installed on an airplane in a couple of months. Note, that it will be a flight TEST airplane, and will continue to be a flight TEST airplane, for 6 to 8 months, or longer, before it is ready for prime time.

airtaximan said...

EB,

you wrote:
"They have a working system that is being further developed, tested, and debugged. Is it a final version? Of course not. But, it is not just a proof of concept either"

Are you talking about the just the avionics or THE WHOLE PLANE?

HAHAHAH!

The palne and the suppliers and the whole company is a mess..right? At this point, all BS aside, the E-500 is basically a proof of concept (except the Crowe/Sandana mock delivery) right?

Any other self-respecting aviation company would NEVER consider NG an upgrade, or consider the plane with all it limitations and failed FAA inspections, and buckling skind, wobbling bushings, and cracking windshields, and retrofit tip tanks, 5-not 6 seats, limited Payload-range, and half-baked training program requiring PSych training and year-long mentoring, and no credit for any pilot twin turbine expereince, and mandatory upset training, and limited avionics, and probably (careful now) flexing structure and exploding tires... a deliverable finished product...right?

And they have the goll to boast about being "customer-centric...they are "customer-deposit-centric" - right?

This whole situation is truly rediculous at this point! No respectful aviation company would act this way. What a shame.

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... According to Geoff Hedrick at IS&S today, they certainly haven't been party to this skunkworks. This in response to a very direct question on the subject. It looks like getting the info from the buses to the IS&S screens is the largest part of the job...the other components are all pretty much compatible.

Are you suggesting that Hedrick was misinformed or misleading in the conference call?


I don't think Geoff came right out and said that, but I'll have to re-listen to my recording to confirm it. I think he was being very careful not to say anything that was not fully disclosed in Monday's conference. Eclipse was not specific in their details in how long this has been in the works. For ISSC to have already completed hardware modifications for Eclipse, they obviously had to be in the loop for longer than he revealed. Also as the software integrator, they had to be involved from almost the very beginning.

airtaximan said...

Daddy,

glad you are here..BTW my dad was a drunk...

you spewed:
"Cabbie said... In order for E-clips to be this advanced with NG, they MUST have been on this for quite some time"

you dsigreed.

How did all this magically come together? They did not cover this up for a long time, enouph to develop a working system that is more tha POC?

Come on...

Do you think the guys who were backdating stock options were unaware they were doing something wrong, too?

Did someone from E-clips visit you last night and inject you with some mysterious substance...I thought you were coming to?

Gunner said...

EB-
Take my word for it...he was pretty specific. I know, because the direct question was asked by one of my own contacts and I took ntes on the answer.

What he said was essentially:
"I don't want to say we just started on this on Monday. But prior to that there was no development work being done. There were engineering feasibilities and the like."

Hardly equivalent to creating a Bench Model that displays on IS&S PFD's and MFD's to. Hardly deep "symbology" programming. Yet you claim Eclipse has a working bench model, which must (at a minimum) accomplish these functions.

How do you square the apparent disparity between your statements and Geoff's? Either I'm lying or one of you is misinformed, no?
Gunner

airtaximan said...

EB said,

"Eclipse was not specific in their details in how long this has been in the works. For ISSC to have already completed hardware modifications for Eclipse, they obviously had to be in the loop for longer than he revealed. Also as the software integrator, they had to be involved from almost the very beginning"

RIGHT! they have been involved in a coverup...the great AVIO caper - just like when the Hamburgler stole the milkshake from Ronald McDonald! I knew it.

Sad.

Lying to depositors for a long time...lying to their supplier for a long time.

Dayjet raise a bunch of money - I wonder if their investor knew the avionics were being thrown in the garbage?

505_Systems_Engr said...

Regarding the original message: ISS is a VERY small company, 138 employees according to MSN Money:
http://moneycentral.msn.com/companyreport?symbol=ISSC
And they are losing money.

Some random thoughts and questions:

So what does it mean to be the "integrator" in this case? Does it mean you are the software developer that provides the "integrating functionality" between the various subsystems? Or does it mean you buy the subsystems, hook them together in the lab, and then beat up the "integrating" SW developer until it works?

And does their architecture allow partitioning of safety critical HW/SW from non-SC? How is this system not DO-178B Level A across the board?

And how much hardware development is required to provide "form/fit/function/interface" replacement LRUs?

And the most critical question in my mind is how the FMS plays into this integration.

My experience is that while providing the "integrating functionality" is not a trivial undertaking, it is a much easier and less risky endeavor than developing the FMS.

A small company like ISS could easiy be put under if they have a significant software development role. I wonder what their business model is for this relationship? Whether they are self-funding the development or getting paid, either model seems very high risk given the state of their balance sheet.

airtaximan said...

EB, to be clear...

Cabbie said... Finally, do you think we'll see E-500-NG anytime soon?
and you said:
I think sooner than anyone on this blog is predicting.

I meant a whole "new" plane the E-500-NG? A jet that approaches what was sold, based on established companies COTS integrated into a jet that performs similar to what was sold?

NG...in my book, designates "replaced what was 'No Good' despite the hype and hundreds of millions spent trying.

NG

So, do you thin Vern will finally deliver the E-500-NG?

A new plane designed for high utlization air taxi, and lives up to the payload range and speed sales figures?

When?
Who will be the Partners that will pull it off, finally?

airtaximan said...

billy..

you are right on the money man. Right on.

Gunner said...

505-engineer-
Welcome.

In answer to your last question, Hedrick was asked specifically if they would be the systems integrator. He was pretty clear in stating that they would be integrating the off-the-shelf avionics to the ISS displays, but that Eclipse would be responsible for integrating aircraft systems (gear, engines, fuel etc) to the system.

I'm hardly at your level of expertise, so I'm not certain what the exact ramifications of that statement are. Input welcome.
Gunner

Niner Zulu said...

OK - I was at ABQ in late September and saw the Avio test platform firsthand. It was very impressive - almost like a simulator except with test instruments, easily accessible wiring harnesses and plugins, climate controls and you-name-it. Now, unless they were hiding a totally seperate test platform somewhere then that is the ONLY one that they had/have. So if they've been doing development on another system for "months" then it has probably been no earlier than October - now take out Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and even Presidents Day and they can't have had anything in the works for too long. Sounds like more of the same BS to me.

The sad thing about all of this is that I REALLY want to see Eclipse do well and start delivering planes. The only difference between Ken, EB and myself is that they seem to believe everything coming out of the Eclipse PR department and I don't.

EclipseBlogger said...

Cabbie said... Daddy, glad you are here.. BTW my dad was a drunk...

That explains a lot.

bill e. goat said...

EB-
Five glasses of KoolAid. No ice. No sugar.

airtaximan said...

9er,

very nice.

The important thing to me is the sanity.

Sometimes I'm amazed that some of these guys are die-hard-core

wouldn't it be nice if E-clips would produced a robust 20,000 hr air taxi plane with 4 pax seat that had the initially advertised P/R and functionality/relability?

airtaximan said...

EB,

I've had many years of experience dealing with drunks, intervention, dissonence...etc.. so I can tell you first hand...you fit right in!

I'm kidding of course ;)

you seem like a harmeless drunk

505_Systems_Engr said...

Gunner said...

"In answer to your last question, Hedrick was asked specifically if they would be the systems integrator. He was pretty clear in stating that they would be integrating the off-the-shelf avionics to the ISS displays, but that Eclipse would be responsible for integrating aircraft systems (gear, engines, fuel etc) to the system."

This tells me that there are three significant software development efforts: (1) ISS to integrate the avionics subsystems; (2) EAC to integrate the aircraft subsystems; (3) Chelton to provide the FMS.

Perhaps no hardware development is required (OTS avionics, displays), but then there may be form factor and interface differences which will drive installation design changes (mountng, harnesses, connectors).

As an old avionics systems guy, looks like it would be a fun project!

airtaximan said...

505_S_E

If E-clips claims of "revolutionary" systems, advanced and new computerization and novel and unprecedented concepts for AVIO are accurate, would this raise some red flag for you regarding the seemingly simlicity involved in swapping our Avidyne and replacing it with the new cast of COTS equipment?

Is this just a silly attempt to remain somehow novel? or, is this really no big deal?

What insight could you provide (speculate...we all need to do this in order to get a handle on what's really going on) regarding the potential degree of difficulty in the job, the realistic timefram it would take to develop a working bench, then installation hardware, and then certification conforming systems?

If Avidyne ran into a brick wall, or E-clips ran into a brick wall with Avidyne, assuming it was technical and not financial, why would this work better?

Finally, what is the realistic path to certification? Is the previous proving work garbage? Timeframe? Level of effort and cost?

Imagine...you'll probably be right.

Thanks, and welcome.

Planet eX said...

I sure as hell hope that Eclipse has got some really good engineers. Integrating components to come up with a system is not a trivial exercise. It requires months of work (that's why we use SILs for every new installation). However, once it's out of the SIL and in the airplane there's more work to do to make sure every piece of equipment is happy with it's mates. Sometimes unexpected problems arise that never happened in the SIL no matter how much testing was done.

As for IS&S, they make solid products - some of their instruments are used in the KC-135 and RC-135 fleets (that's where I have experience with them).

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I seem to recall seeing a picture or description somewhere that the radios for the Avidyne system were essentially part of the display (someone with better info please correct\clarify if possible).

If the Avidyne radios were some kind of PC card in the displays, and all the 'new' CNS components are basically TSO'd off-the-shelf items, would it not stand to reason that just like the engine change, there will be significant changes in mounting hardware, structural requirements, weight and balance, wiring harness, etc.?

This could be the design equivalent of a snowball rolling down Mt Fuji, touching major portions of an already taxed airframe.

Imagine a 1/2 ATR remote radio box compared to a PCMCIA card - now imagine the changes necessary to mount it, provide power to it, get signals to and from it.

I don't think we are in Kansas anymore Toto.

Gunner said...

505-
Fun AND easy?

See, here's where my Eclipse BS Meter clicks in. Avidyne was working on the exact same system (with different flat panel displays) for years. They're not incompetent fly-by-nights (like Williams and BAE). They've got some pretty handy guys on board. And they had an order book for 2500 shipsets as quick as they could produce 'em.

So, why was Avio I a failure? I Can only conclude:
a) Avidyne wasn't paid: Implausible, given the money Eclipse raised. Though Avidyne may have been stiffed in the end.

b) Eclipse simply wasn't capable of handling its end on the integration side. Management kept seeing blank screens. Avidyne took the well known pavement ride under the next passing bus.

So, why is it that the exact same paradigm that couldn't be formulated after years, is suddenly put into Avio Superlative in months?

Again, common sense tells me there's not much difference is in what Avio I was and what Avio 2021 is promised to be, other than failure after 5 years vs success after 5 months. It simply does not compute.

See where we get our sense of skepticism?
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

Pretty lively discussions of late.

Gunner- I agree. I just don't get why the Avidyne gig failed- it would seem, those root causes have not been rectified just with a change in vendors.

CWMOR- I'd heard the same thing about the radios being inside the displays- this just seems to nutty to be true. But I guess it is. Or was. Or ???

Planet Ex: regarding engineers at Eclipse. I think they are good. Both of them.
Raytheon had years of problems with the certification on the Premier-I (FAR 23, I think) and Horizon (FAR 25). Raytheon has hundreds of engineers. Eclipse has...dozens.

505_SysEng: Level A. I was surprised, but a few threads ago, someone said the code for this plane didn't have to be level A. Sure sounded like it could result in catastrophic failure. Got me curious, and turns out there is some caveat that if the airplane is less than (around 6500 lbs?) then catastrophic is okay with level B. Go figure. Guess they don't expect it to do much damage to people on the ground...

ATM- Dayjet raised $50M I think. What are they spending it on? I think they have one employee (a VP no less, flight ops director). Probably a few more. But probably not many more. And their "infrastructure" is a "virtual operations center" (oh please). I think Dayjet is legit, but what are they doing with the money? I would suppose building a few small kiosks (well, okay, I've heard remodelling or something like that), and the rest ??? are they ponying up 60 % to Eclipse??? Or sitting on it? I can't figure this one out.

EB- if you promise to be good (well, as good as the rest of us, whatever that's saying, you can come back out and play).

Ken- hang in there man!!!

505_Systems_Engr said...

gunner, I never said easy!

Making a couple of basic assumptions:

No HW development is required.
No SW re-use from Avidyne (FMS or otherwise).

Including the FMS, this will be a significant SW development and system integration effort. Planet-Ex is right on, getting to the lab is hard, getting out of the lab is harder, and getting it on the airplane is very hard.

FOrgetting about any installation redesign, just the SW and system integration effort I would guess to be 2-3 years best case, depending on staffing level. Probably a 6 month effort just to get a basic functioning SIL with harnesses, avionics HW, models, etc.

They probably could get some basic control/display functionality (ie, no FMS) sooner (maybe 18 months), but even this probably has some Level A criticality which is a big cost and schedule driver.

And don't forget equipment lead times, every giants like Honeywell don't typically stockpile avionics for speculative purposes.

And what about the autopilot? Is it a separate subsystem already done or is it integrated with the rest of the avionics (esp FMS)?

Gunner said...

505-
Oh, my...not because 2-3 years is so astounding; but because it's so familiar. That's just about the time span Avidyne was on the case.

Those are lead times none of the most pessimistic of us would have thought. Understood that your estimates are based on large assumptions, from third hand info. But I truly thank you for hazarding an educated estimate.

Others will certainly respond by questioning your credentials, your motives, who pays your salary and whether you attend church regularly. It comes with the territory. If you're not an Eclipse aficionado, you generally are against "progress" and all that.
Gunner

Mouse_in_the_house said...

Someone asked how many planes were under construction, and how many might be delivered in the near term.

#36 airframe was placed in the fuselage skin join last Tuesday morning. There were 4 airplanes presented to the FAA for inspection about 3 weeks ago. The FAA arrived to find none of the 4 planes in a condition for inspection. They were not completed (key components missing), they had missing documentation, and incorrect documentation. The FAA team left disgusted, and felt that their "time was wasted" and the aircraft "were not in condition for inspection now or in the near future".

Planet eX said...

I've been trying to find more information on the Honeywell (Bendix/King) KTR-2280. No joy finding anything.

Different subject - with the change in avionics, will there also be a change in the list price of the aircraft or is Eclipse going to take a slight profit hit? Honeywell and Garmin radios are not cheap.

The Garmin GTX-33 is around $5,000 and the 33D is close to $9,000. I'll have to check my Honeywell catalog at work to see what a KTR-2280 is going for (that model does not show up on their website - although it is part of the Primus Apex system).

Maybe, just maybe it will be relatively easy to get the IS&S displays to work the Garmin and Honeywell units - it's the rest of the Avio NG system I'm wondering about (i.e., aircraft systems).

Mouse_in_the_house said...

Regarding the AVIO NG changes. Keep in mind how critical space allotment is in the EA-500. Drawing changes will be significant to allow for new fastener locations, support structure, Etc. Eclipse may very well have to move components quite a bit if the size of the new "partners" boxes are different, which they are. The wire harnesses will have to be modified in the very short term, and completely redesigned and manufactured for production.

All of the wiring diagrams and maintenance manuals will require rewrites, Etc.

It's also important to remember with regards to parts/component changes, Etc. that there are big lead time issues and S/N block incorporations to be determined and planned for.

Every day the 2007 production quantities are not adjusted, and every day another plane does not get delivered only adds to the pressure to ramp and produce aircraft in less and less time.

New HIRF testing will be reguired, and this can be a huge delay. There were significant issues in the engine nacelle area and the engine mount and structure with HIRF and bonding.

While the new system is very doable, it is no walk in the park. These legacy suppliers are not known for working fast or thinking outside of the box.

Metal Guy said...

The other subtlety is that it sounds like the IS&S systems are coming from Level A. This was promoted as an advantage, but in reality is typically a hindrance. Once an avionics company develops their processes to the point to support Level A development, it is very hard to scale this back effectively to a lower software level. It would be like asking the military to develop a Cessna 152 – they just can’t refrain from adding hard mounts to the wings – it’s just they way they do things. It’s hard to de-tune engineers. The result is more schedule slip than one might expect.

(start of rant)

It seems, all factual nit-picking aside, one core topic is the question of whether Eclipses stated schedule is vaguely realistic. If it is, they actually should be in fairly good shape, assuming all of the other issues magically get sorted out.

More importantly, and probably much more applicable, is what happens if they are off by a year. Another 1/4 billion in (either through deposits or more fund raising), and oddly enough, they can probably ride this through also. The order book will simply keep them viable no matter how much they screw up.

So it seems that it all comes back to the actual viability of the air taxi model and the ability for the aircraft to work in that model. If the market is really there AND the plane ends up being durable, safe, reliable AND the company becomes more transparent and trustworthy, etc. etc., they are probably in good shape, regardless of recent avionics setbacks.

BUT, if the plan falls short, in ANY of the above categories, it’s a crash and burn scenario that no amount of money can fix. Air taxi may continue, but with something like the Mustang.

I tend to agree with ColdWetSmack, that probably the smartest thing they could do is back off of claiming these silly schedules and focus on getting it right – the very large risk they run is more egg on their face, which is the path they are heading down right now. However, we all know that they won’t do this.

From everything I have seen from the company, it’s fairly obvious that they are simply not “mentally” mature enough to meet what will be the exceedingly high expectations and demands of the air taxi model.

These air taxi guys are going to need real working equipment, phenomenal reliability, prompt service, honesty, tough as nails design, predictability, on and on, everything that commuter aircraft need today and then some.

Everything both the aircraft and more importantly, the company itself, are failing miserably at on a day-to-day basis.

Compare their overall nature with successful companies like BMW, Acura, Honda, Toyota, IBM, Apple, etc… It’s night and day.

In summary, I believe that Eclipse lacks a strong MORAL foundation, which will most likely be the root cause of their failure.

(end of rant)

mouse said...

All of the existing and startup air taxi companies seem to miss the boat on why it's so difficult to make money in this business. The issue is maintenance. You can charge and make a lot of money on the front side, but I assure you the losses are pouring out the back side of the equation, which is maintainability and dispatchability of the planes they operate.

The leagacy aircraft have at least the historical data and costs associated with their fleet. The EA-500 is 99% new (unproven) components with no operating history. In fact the Crossbow units are consistantly failing with a whopping 85% failure rate so far/to date.

The vendors are all meeting their life cycle guarantees (to Eclipse) by marking up the cost of their components to cover premature (unknown) failure rates for the designed life Eclipse demanded. While this seems good for Eclipse, and maybe even to the owner/operator, what about the downtime to replace the component, the # of spares available, and out of warranty it's anyones guess. And what about recertification of the part(s) following repair or overhaul? They will have to be tested against the AVIO computer system, and will Eclipse allow their proprietary data to anyone? Vern wants to control all of this as well.

Basic troubleshooting is to swap out components. Maybe not the best method, but its easy and quick way to see what might be not working properly. With the EA-500 the computers control everything, from the trim actuators, to flap operation and asymetery, to the baggage compartment light, fuel quantity, Etc... Hope you have plenty of spare computers because it's going to be the blame (rightly or wrongly) for almost every problem. Swapping components most likely will no longer work. And will a different rev P/N work with the current rev level of the computer? If the software is updated on the AVIO system will the components have to be swapped out so they work correctly? Will the usual sources have suitable spares (i.e. Duncan)?

How robust is the system that simple little issues like improperly grounded refueling trucks which is the norm in GA? At least the military and the airlines have tight controls and are sticklers for following routine. Most smaller airports try hard, but line service personnel are often times untrained, unsupervised, and have marginal equipment.

It's rarely big problems that cause problems, but the simplest things that turn into bigger issues. With no way to check the fuel quantity during a preflight except by the fuel gauges, which require the computer to be booted up and stable, will pilots launch with not enough fuel? The wing is so small, and the filler cap and wing depth at that point, anything less than the final few gallons is not visible from the filler area.

Lots of non-General Aviation typical fasteners may make access an issue.

Lots to think about...

mouse said...

How many planes will Eclipse build?

Does anyone at Eclipse realize that most owners will be trading up to another airplane thats bigger, fasters, newer in 18 - 24 months, so there will be a lot of planes on the used market.

If/when the new air taxi models pan out, will they sit still for a plane that only carries 2-3 passengers? Will passengers take to getiing out of the plane to accomodate the baggage being loaded/unloaded throught the cabin? What about inclement weather? The cabin is too small to allow shifting bodies to remove/add bags...

The wings on the Eclipse are low enough due to its size that all sorts of obstacles begin to be an issue. Fuel hydrant boxes, snow banks, Etc. Sure most GA planes are the same size, but they are not operated on-demand, in poor weather, with people in the back who have schedules to keep, and are paying to be moved quickly as part of their routine operations.

Most jet pilots ever check their fuel sumps and drains, however it may be much more important when your fuel is coming from the 4300 smaller airports where jet fuel sits a lot longer in the ground or truck, and quality checks are accomplished weekly or monthly instead of every 8 hours.

The wheels on the EA-500 are so light weight that they require NDT inspection at each tire change. Since it will be costly to carry around spare built up wheels/tires, will you tolerate sitting in the hangar for 4 hours while a tire is changed and the wheel inspected? Will the shop even have a dye penetrant inspection kit, and an qualified person to signoff the NDT work?

Will they have the manuals and the required training to perform maintenance on the plane? What is the requirement for maintenance and who is teaching that course?

Will they have the cables necessary to download the maintenance data?

Will the smaller airport have a Ground Power Unit (GPU) that is required to start the engines depending on air temperature and other parameters?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Buckerfan said...

Another question for all you hard core Eclipse Blog afficionados. How much of EAC's much vaunted 2,500 order book is accounted for by Dayjet? Dayjet just raised $50million in additional funding. Now most startups wait as late as possible to do additional fundraising, so its a fair bet that Dayjet has about $50million as of today or a very little more. I figure they would need to reserve a good 10 or 20 mill for start up losses, working capital, realestate, service eqipment etc. That leaves about $30mill to buy actual planes. So thats about 30 planes right (at the special discounted money losing price). The rest of the Dayjet order is completely unfunded, and thus highly speculative.

Metal Guy said...

Buckerfan,
I was plugging these numbers into my magic IPO spread sheet to determine Return On Investment (ROI) – This is all a guess, but anyone see any major errors?

Note this is only one paying passenger at a time, but also assumes an instant "on" capability of 30 aircraft on tap.


DayJet Model:

Investement $50,000,000
ROI 10
Expected return $500,000,000

Number of aircraft 30
Max time per day 6
Total flight time per day 180

Average price per flight $500
Average flight time 2
Gross per flight hour $250

Gross per day $45,000
Gross per year $16,200,000

Operating Profit Margin 20%
Annual Net $3,240,000

Years to ROI 154

It gets alot better if the number of aircraft go up to over 1000, but then there are probably lower profit margins given the overhead..

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"Hardly equivalent to creating a Bench Model that displays on IS&S PFD's and MFD's to. Hardly deep "symbology" programming. Yet you claim Eclipse has a working bench model, which must (at a minimum) accomplish these functions. How do you square the apparent disparity between your statements and Geoff's? Either I'm lying or one of you is misinformed, no?"


An Eclipse customer in Albuquerque for L-39 training answers the question...

"I was at Eclipse today, finishing my EST course. I will report on more later, but I did get to see the new Avio displays. They had been on display in the morning to the employees then moved back to the "undisclosed location" (a rather inconspicous hanger on a back access road). After my escort managed to negotiate through security (ringing the bell turned out to be effective after all else failed) I got to be, apparently, the first customer to see the new displays. They are great! Much better than the Avidyne displays in viewing angle and brightness. Also there are a number of features that are implmented in the demo that did not exist in Avidyne."

Gunner continued, "The limiting factor with Avidyne was Eclipse's ability to integrate the aircraft systems

- The limiting factor with IS&S will be Eclipse's ability to integrate the aircraft systems"


Bear in mind that all the important systems pages in Avio worked under the Avidyne implementation. Eclipse's part of that job got done. That's why the plane was able to be certified. You don't have to have a GPS or FMS for certification, but you have to be able to run the plane :)

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

buckerfan wrote,
"Another question for all you hard core Eclipse Blog afficionados. How much of EAC's much vaunted 2,500 order book is accounted for by Dayjet?"


If I recall correctly, the Dayjet order was 239 aircraft with an option for 70 more.

Ken

Gunner said...

mouse_in_the_house-

Do you have any insight as to why Eclipse has avoided including legacy backup avionics in the panel? Is stuff like mechanical compass, airspeed, HI and rate of climb pretty much unnecessary due to the bomb-proof nature of (or plans for) Avio NexGen?

Gunner

Metal Guy said...

Actually, I take that back, after fiddling with the spread sheet, it appears this simplistic model does not change the time to ROI with the number of aircraft. Therefore the simple table for a single aircraft, minimal ROI of 2x, is as follows:

Number of Aircraft 1
Price per aircraft $1,200,000
Captial Overhead 130%


Required investement $1,560,000
ROI 2
Expected return $3,120,000

Average flt time per day per a/c 6
Total flight time per day 6

Average price per ticket $800
Average flight time 2
Average pass per flight 2
Gross per flight hour $800

Gross per day $4,800
Gross per year $1,728,000

Operating Profit Margin 20%
Annual Net $345,600

Years to ROI 9

Gunner said...

Ken-
The Eclipse owner you speak of: did he see the panels actually function? I mean real time with Eclipse specific screens?

Also, you said in a previous entry:
"Gunner, you must have missed the news that the DME has now been approved.
I can't find any evidence to support that claim. Source, please?

Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"I can't find any evidence to support that claim. Source, please?"

Sure. Same source as the original information that it didn't work--the owner of S/N 1. It was confirmed later the same day by the company in a customer communication.

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
It's really impolite to, umm, "intentionally mislead". You have repeatedly confirmed to this board that the Synthetic (Virtual) DME is working. You have done so once again, just now.

How do you square that with what you recently wrote on the owners' board:

""REALLY??
That shouldn't be. Vern Raburn was crystal clear in his presentation to us on 9/30/06 that Synthetic DME was part of the original TC.
It wasn't?? And FIVE MONTHS later it still isn't?? And, as a result, you are limited to FL240. That's not right. And it's not right either that we were told synthetic DME works if it does not. That's the kind of thing that contributes to the growing credibility gap Eclipse is suffering from.
Ken
""

Where I come from, we call that "B-U-S-T-E-D”

Now, I'm not gonna come right out and use the "L" word here. But it's pretty clear that you are willing to support Eclipse at ay cost, including your own veracity and integrity.

Any comment?
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

"How do you square that with what you wrote on the owners' board within the past 48 hours:...

Now, I'm not gonna come right out and use the "L" word here. But it's pretty clear that you are willing to support Eclipse at ay cost, including your own veracity and integrity. Any comment?"


Sure. You're wrong. I didn't write that within the last 48 hours. In fact, the comment was written on March 2, almost a week ago.

I call them like I see them. I wrote that when I learned the DME was INOP and I was angry to find out it didn't work. It was supposed to work and the AFM said it worked. I do believe in full and open disclosure, and in this episode the company certainly didn't fully disclose the problem.

However it turns out the Synthetic DME was indeed included from the start as Vern had said, but the GPS database it relied on could not be updated. That rendered the DME INOP. They have now fixed that problem.

But since you're dredging up old posts, here's one from you a few months ago:

"I guess I'm the New Guy around, having just signed my order and submittted my deposit. I looked pretty closely at Adams and have been following the three front runners for VLJ's for about a year now. For my money, Eclipse is the ticket. Of course, I recognize that it's a risk, but nobody twisted my arm.

All that said, I have an opening question that I hope will not be contentious; having run a discussion Forum since '98 that now numbers 40,000 Registered Members, I know that can happen; but I'm hoping a commonality of interest and investment here will lead to cool answers rather than hot debate. So here goes:

Has anybody heard of Stan Blankenship?
http://eclipseaviationcritic.blogspot.com/
Stan's obvious fixation with Vern Raburn is unmistakable to anyone who reads his site. I'm not at all interested in that, except to the extent that it might color his criticisms...

Again, not real interested in any personal feuds between him and Eclipse. I take those as a given, having read his comments."


Holey moley. They sure got you mad when they reserved the right to switch your serial number, didn't they? Now, instead of "Eclipse is the ticket," you've decided Eclipse is the devil himself :)

Ken

mouse said...

Gunner,

the plan was to have these all along. Sometime after the switch to P&WC power the instruments were dropped. Vern wanted an all clean panel devoid of old technology and I would imagine a little more of that "Disruptive Technology"

I had suggested an idea to please all by putting the 3 basic instruments behind an openable cover so they were there when you needed them, and not visiable when they were not needed, back when the discussions were on-going...

airtaximan said...

buckerfan,

I've seen numbers like this:

- around 600-700 individual owners with deposits
- the rest are air taxi fleet operators "orders" and options

the numbers vary with the source and dates...

I've heard Dayjet has as many as 1000 planes "on order"...

Vern has claimed 2400 orders or so for at least 4 years now.

airtaximan said...

mouse,

great questions every established jet operator has asked...that's why the e-order-book is from neophytes.

I wonder how the GPU "dirty-power" issue will affect the AVIO electronic system?

Look for wheels-and-brakes-NG soon. They are being developed in a secret hanger, I'm told. There are three guards...one for each set of wheels.

Send in your deposit money, they are going like e-hot-cakes-NG!

Gunner said...

Mouse-
Thanks for the info. Personally, I'd rather land with an "unsightly" dashboard, than crash with a "clean" one. :>)

Ken-
I'll let the Bloggers and Lurkers decide. March 2 was not "almost two weeks ago" (except by Eclipse Development Calculations). It was LESS THAN A WEEK AGO! How many times, before and after did you claim we were lying, misleading or misinformed on this very subject?

On Feb 13, you stated here:
"It has DME, de-ice and RVSM."

On March 6 you stated here:
"the company has confirmed, that whatever the issue with the synthetic DME was, it has been resolved."

Yet, just prior to that last, on March 2nd, you told the other Depositors:
"And it's not right either that we were told synthetic DME works if it does not. That's the kind of thing that contributes to the growing credibility gap Eclipse is suffering from."

While the discussion raged here as to whether the Little Jet was limited to FL24; while EB was claiming that DME worked and your own assertions hung in the air, you remained silent on the subject, except within the confines of the Eclipse Owner's board.

There, you seemed to have taken the exact same position that you chastised the rest of us for; in rather smarmy fashion, I might add.

B-U-S-T-E-D
Gunner

Gunner said...

Ken-
As an aside, thanks much for posting part of my first message on the owners' board, from July 2006. Wanna tell the Class what the response from Cult Eclipse was? If I recall, I felt like someone had just farted in church, it got so deathly quiet.

That message was posted, what, two days before I took my leave, having glimpsed as much of Eclipse's innards as my soul could bare?

Don't answer that. Rhetorical question, posed only to keep the timeline straight.

Gunner

airtaximan said...

metal guy, when you say:

"These air taxi guys are going to need real working equipment, phenomenal reliability, prompt service, honesty, tough as nails design, predictability, on and on, everything that commuter aircraft need today and then some.

Everything both the aircraft and more importantly, the company itself, are failing miserably at on a day-to-day basis.

Compare their overall nature with successful companies like BMW, Acura, Honda, Toyota, IBM, Apple, etc… It’s night and day.

In summary, I believe that Eclipse lacks a strong MORAL foundation, which will most likely be the root cause of their failure."

you are on the money. no jet operator stepped up and said, "yes", this e-fleet makes sense for me, my customers and my business.

-the plane was NOT designed as a taxi
-the cracks, loose bushings, flimsy tires, failed avionics, etc... demonstrate the plane was NOT designed for high cycle air taxi.

What MOUSE writes is absolutely correct too. You would NOT want to try to provide passenger service in this plane...and

without the fleet orders (whether they have deposits or not, real or not) you cannot even begin to make a case for high rate, low cost.


All the e-customers here have stated "it's value becasue it's the only $1.5 million plane. That's why I'm buying one"

Well, without the taxi orders, its not even close to $1.5 million.

Ammortize the development cost (almost $1 billion) over normal GA delivery rates...heck, double the deliveries... and just the load alone is hundreds of thousands of dollars per plane...

no taxi = no cheap jet = no market
Many folks will take a bath.

Stan Blankenship said...

Avweb published an article today on DayJet. The meat of the article quoted Tallahassee and Lakeland newspaper articles. For the full text:

http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070307/BUSINESS/703070309/1003

and

http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070307/NEWS/703070371/1178

Thanks Tom for the heads up.

Green-or-Red said...

i love the headlines and some of the quotes from the AvWebFlash today...

ECLIPSE, UNITED VLJ TRAINING PACT DISSOLVED
"We are currently in negotiations with an exceptional new training partner that will deliver on the Eclipse vision of comprehensive, scenario-based flight training through the curriculum we co-developed with United…we are in the final stages of a detailed multi-month selection process [and] plan to announce our new training partner within the next few weeks."

A BETTER BRAIN FOR THE ECLIPSE 500
Dubbed Avio NG (for next generation), the upgraded version of the very light jet's deeply integrated avionics system has been in development "for many months and is scheduled for production and delivery this summer." A hot-bench Avio NG suite is currently being evaluated, and a test Eclipse 500 will fly with the new system in "about 35 days." Eclipse promises a faster timeline for Avio NG functionality; according to Eclipse, it was Avidyne's failure to deliver functionality on time that caused the rift between the two companies. Aircraft delivered with the Avidyne avionics will be retrofitted with Avio NG by year-end. The retrofit is expected to take less than 10 days to install.

DAYJET'S FIRST FLIGHTS 90 DAYS AWAY
The on-demand, per-seat operator’s reservation system will be online within the next 30 days, and DayJet’s fleet of Eclipse 500 jets should start arriving about that same time, according to company COO John Staten.

cherokee driver said...

Ken

If you go to AvWeb and read the better brain story then click the faster timeline link you can see the current Avidyne functionality highlighted in yellow. DME is still white. Eclipse must have forgot to talk to you before they released that schedule.

http://www.avweb.com/pdf/AvioNG_FunctionalityChart.pdf

mouse said...

Order books? In September of 2002 the order books were at 2100, and last year in the spring/summer the numbers being released were 2400, and now 2500... Hmmm, seems like momentum is slowing, and somehow not a reduction, not even one... Well, not exactly. I remember Vern saying they lost a handfull of orders when the dropped Williams...

I would count any fleet order as a 30% sale. The business plans just don't support anything more than that IMHO...

I would estimate the "real" buyers, somewhere around 500. How many of these will hang on for there real delivery date?

I also saw an average flight time of 2 hours on the DayJet formula above. That would be a good estimate at the daily flight time. I estimate the average time-in-service leg for an air taxi operator using a VLJ somewhere around :45 - 1 hour.

The passenger load of two and any baggage or boxes + fuel + 2 pilots / the size = not much tolerance for anything longer...

airtaximan said...

Mouse...careful when you say not a reduction in the orderbook, not even one.

One day they had a 1,000 order from Nimbus, the next day...it was gone.

Gunner said...

IS&S' gross was down from $63MM in '05 to $16mm in '06. Still, it's a good company with good products. But let's do some math:

Assume even $15K per shipset, including integration revs (way low)

2007: 400 units = $6MM Additional Revenues = 38% increase in Gross

2008: 1,000 units = $16MM Additional Revenues = 94% increase in Gross

The stock jumped 25% on the news. I'm placing a short; not doubting IS&S, but it seems like a good financial bet with any Vendor who believes they're gonna see a windfall from business with Eclipse.

Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"I'll let the Bloggers and Lurkers decide. March 2 was not "almost two weeks ago" (except by Eclipse Development Calculations). It was LESS THAN A WEEK AGO!"


Gunner, I think you're mixed up or purposely distorting reality; either way you owe me an apology.

I said March 2 was "almost a week ago." You changed my own words to "almost 2 weeks ago." If you're going to quote somebody, it's valuable to read what he wrote carefully to accurately relay it.

You said I wrote the message on the Eclipse owner's forum "within the last 48 hours" when in fact it was on March 2. That was not "within the last 48 hours."

The company announced that the problem with the Synthetic DME has been resolved. They announced that after I wrote my message on March 2. That is simple enough, isn't it?

I don't know what your game is, but you're on my ignore list until you retract your inaccurate statements and accusations.

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken -
Apology offered. You did say "almost a week ago", not two weeks ago.

Happy?

Of course that changes nothing. The FACTS are that during the very (recent) period, while you were huffing and puffing about us being "wrong", and our information being "false" you were simultaneously complaining to the Deposit Holders that DME was not, in fact, operational as we had been asserting. As has been pointed out here today, IT STILL ISN'T, according to news sources.

Spin this anyway you'd like, Ken. Nitpick any inconsequential typo you wish. Ignore anyone you choose. But the facts remain, you've seeded this board with at least one major falsehood in your attempts to defend Eclipse's Culture of Deception.

In short, you're B-U-S-T-E-D

I know it and you know it. Your credibility in carrying the Eclipse PR Machine water is shot.
Gunner

mouse said...

airtaximan... my timeline for no cancellations was after the big Nimbus lie...

Just for the record, does anyonethink Eclipse ever plans on producing the plane this year? If they deliver the plane there is no where to have it serviced, you can only fly it with their approved training program at United, ooops, no more United... You have to have a second-in-command... Ooops, they NEVER had a second-in-command training program, (SIC required unless you have a functioning auto-pilot, which does not exist before, or now)...

So to recap:

No maintenance - Check
No Training - Check
No Planes - Check
No valid TC - Check **

Looks like the only thing they have is checks, and they need more.... So keep sending in your checks...

** OK, they have a TC but it is essentailly worthless now

airtaximan said...

mouse...yup, you are right..

what about the AVIACE loss, though?

hmm...112 planes?

Ever count those as "gone"..

over

Stan Blankenship said...

mouse/atm,

You guys don't use the correct terminology. Here is how Eclipse deals with what you would call cancellations:

"Your serial number has moved up to XXX due to compression over time in the production schedule."

Trust me, I don't make this stuff up!

gadfly said...

Once in awhile, there’s a glimmer of understanding. Within the past 24 hours, Mr. William “Eclipse” Goat got it. Even “Brother Rat” has it.

Until you have an airplane, you don’t have an “air taxi” . . . you don’t have a “personal jet”. As an “ex-ramp serviceman” (United Airlines), and an “ex-A&P mechanic”, I firmly believe that every aircraft designer should be required to spend at least a year loading luggage at ORD or LAX, and another year as an “A&P Mechanic”, . . . timing the twin magnetos on the rear engine of a Cessna 337. ‘Just like every automotive designer in Detroit should be required to “commute” for a year, in the back seat of any car they design. Detroit would not be a dying industry . . . but that’s another story.

At this point in time, the King has no clothes . . . the little bird has no feathers.

The “NG” system (two other words came to my mind) is equivalent to Dumbo’s “Magic Feather”. It may be the best “magic feather” ever, but if Dumbo loses his feather, he’s on his own . . . and hopefully, he’ll be able to fly without the “feather”.

“ . . . I've seen a peanut stand and heard a rubber band. I seen a needle that winked its eye. But I be done seen about ever'thing When I see a elephant fly . . .”
‘apologies to Walt Disney.

And for those who may be “intoxicated” with the claims of the “little jet”:
Look out! Look out!
Pink elephants on parade
Here they come!
Hippety hoppety
They're here and there
Pink elephants ev'rywhere
Look out! Look out!
They're walking around the bed
On their head
Clippety cloppety
Arrayed in braid
Pink elephants on parade
What'll I do? What'll I do?
What an unusual view!
I could stand the sight of worms
And look at microscopic germs
But technicolor pachyderms
Is really much for me
I am not the type to faint
When things are odd or things are quaint
But seeing things you know that ain't
Can certainly give you an awful fright!What a sight!
Chase 'em away!
Chase 'em away!
I'm afraid need your aid
Pink elephants on parade!
Pink elephants!
Pink elephants!

gadfly

mouse said...

The AVIACE deal was another vapor order to show some european interests... Again, any of the fleet deals are 30% at best... The only real numbers are those orders from "real" people, with "real" money deposits, Like Ken. The rest are meaningless except for trying to sustain a backlog order book for fundraising purposes...

Smoke and Mirrors...

The VLJ really does nothing to add to the air taxi market. It's not so much the plane (I explain in a minute), its the mindset of how you run the business.. the old model was buy the plane for the trip (charter) and pay for wait time, empty legs, Etc... The new model is just charge for the single leg.

VLJ's are nothing more than turboprops without propeller blades... The cost as much as a turboprop to buy, operate, crew pay, maintain, fuel, runway length, pax load, Etc... the market however wants to ride in a jet.

The cost of a real VLJ is $2.2M no matter how you slice it. I told Vern that back in '99 and '02.

I am confident that Eclipse will not deliver an airplane until it reaches that price point. The piece parts of the EA-500 in the "old days" when we built the first flying prototype was way above the $795K selling price (way, way above), and that did not include assembly, tools, ROI, any overhead, misc. hardware like rivets and screws, Etc...

The original sales price was just another ficticious number to stimulate sales and more importantly order backlog to stimulate investment and fundraising... Ever wonder why the price was tied to the old dollars for years, instead of quoting the actual current price?

Why the current position holders have not filed a class action lawsuit for fraud is amazing to me. One only has to line up the press releases, with their statements and dates and you can see the whole story...

The EA-500 Whimpy-Liner operates on money today for a plane tomorrow, except there is no plane tomorrow... and if there were, you can't fly it, fix it, insure it, use it, Etc...

Every time another crappy vendor let Vern down he said they were to blame... Funny, at each of these let downs there should have been a ramp or hangar full of planes built except for that particuliar vendor's missing parts...

No Williams, but also no 6 planes looking for their engines...

If the data was correct there should be several hundred airplanes sitting around waiting for parts, but instead there are 4 that were presented to the FAA 3 weeks ago, and even they were not done... The original delivery date for production and certification was 2003... Looks like production and ramp rate is 1 a year, and another 1 per year (average) for the test fleet airplanes...

Just MHO... Squeak >^o^<

Gunner said...

Stan-
How times change! Back in July, I found myself writing the following to Eclipse:

"In short, no, I will not accept an unsolicited, non-binding email addendum to my existing Deposit Agreement; an addendum which grants Eclipse free rein as to the term that it will hold my Deposit and the order in which it will deliver the aircraft I have contracted for. I see no reason to allow for increasing that number; but would be amenable to a MUTUALLY AGREED WRITTEN ADDENDUM that allows Eclipse to DECREASE the SN, based on further failed orders and cancellations."

Seems like they don't know what they want. One day they want to revoke all SN's, ostensibly to make room for more "fleet" orders, the next day they're "compressing" the schedule.

Gunner

gadfly said...

A few thoughts from the “gadfly”:

As I work on other projects on my CAD system, every once in a while its good for me to take a sip of coffee, and relax my brain, and look at the “latest” wisdom of folks who are emotionally caught up with the Eclipse. And here are a few of my observations.

Personal pride seems to take the number one spot . . . no surprise.

Financial gain seems to be “number two” . . . the “quick profit” motive.

At this point, I lose track of number three, four, and five . . . ad nauseum . . . somewhere in there I would hope to find just the shear joy of flying, to “ride on the wings of the wind” (Psalm 104:3) . . . . but I didn’t find that . . . all those motives that inspired me to learn to fly, somehow they seem to be of another time, another place.

Down near the bottom of the list, a few express concerns about safety, and simply “surviving” a trip on the “little jet”, or any aircraft, for that matter. Sooner or later, somebody’s “Daddy” is going to take a ride on this air-taxi . . . and the only thing in that little one’s mind is the safe return of the most important person in their world. “Big folks” get over it, well maybe, but some of us never get over the loss of a loved one . . . we grieve, even fifty years after the loss. I am somewhat amazed at the motives expressed, or just implied, by the financial aspects of the entire fiasco . . . and it is truly a fiasco.

Fortunes come . . . fortunes go! Life is not so easily put aside. At this point, I would like more than anything to speak of spiritual matters . . . but that would not be appropriate, considering that I am here at Stan Blankenship’s party as a guest. And I am most grateful for his hospitality.

The “gadfly” is going to turn seventy in October, and God has blessed me with four children, four “families”, and seventeen grand-children (so far) . . . some are true miracles in their births. Believe me, life is precious.

Every decision you make concerning “Eclipse” pales in comparison to the real issues of life and eternity. Go slow . . . think twice before you attack someone to support your own “ego” . . . recognize the “real concerns” and problems of Eclipse. One way or another, whatever they do, is going to affect many people, for good or bad. Don’t allow “ego”, “pride”, and “the love of money” to hurt the many people who may sooner or later put the trust of their lives and loved ones in this little jet.

It’s obvious that this “company” has serious problems. Make sure that your suggestions contribute to a “good” solution, and not just something to support an “ego trip”.

Will Eclipse survive to see “2008" . . . I have my own thoughts on that one. In the mean time, don’t destroy yourselves in a useless dog fight . . . it isn’t worth it. Instead, think through your suggestions . . . make your thinking “count” for something profitable. Any one can “bad mouth” another . . . takes absolutely “no brains”, that’s why so many do it.

Plastic_Planes said...

Mouse said:
Funny, at each of these let downs there should have been a ramp or hangar full of planes built except for that particuliar vendor's missing parts...

Well, not necessarily true. In the beginning, many of the shortages were structures parts that prevented any future assembly ("gee, can we build a plane without an upper RH cabin skin?")

Traveled work became the bane of our existence. AC were moved down the line with shortage books attached. Then we figured out (duh!) how much time we were wasting to pull components out to install the ones that went underneath them.

If the data was correct there should be several hundred airplanes sitting around waiting for parts, but instead there are 4 that were presented to the FAA 3 weeks ago

Again, where would they put them? I heard the new paint facility (SP3)was being used for storage of partially built planes. Maybe 7 Bar? Hangar 5 could fit five or six....

I'm sure that SAP wasn't doing it's job either - what plane is missing what part, etc. MES sucked. I do remember all the paper books on AC 1, 2, and 3. I can't fathom trying to sell that to the FAA. Especially with Glen's departure, as well as Gary, Ken, Larry, and all the other "Airplane" QA folks. Poor Saul must feel like the floodgates of Hell opened up on him...

/s/

Old Troll said...

I was shown something interesting today. Go to ANN and look at their misc classified section. Someone is fishing for a class-action against Adam. I wonder if this will soon be aimed at Eclipse.

Nerdy Engineer said...

I think Eclipse' stated schedule for the avionics change is absolutely ridiculous. Like I said before, no amount of simulation can replace a real test on a real airplane. The bench setup is just that, a simulation. There will be problems in the air that did not occur on the ground. When you consider the time to fix these problems, combined with the paperwork that goes with each fix, it will be much longer that three months to service. It is not an easy task to integrate components from so many vendors.

Eclipse has shown time and again that they are absolutely incompetent regarding schedules or are outright liars.

...my two pennies on the schedule discussion.

Black Tulip said...

For fellow readers - suppose the phone rings tonight and you're told that the locks are going to be changed tomorrow, the reorganization is starting and you're expected to be in Albuquerque as part of the 'work-out' team. Where to start....

- Call a hurried telephone board meeting reminding the members of their obligations to shareholders even in a non Sarbanes-Oxley environment. Find out who wants to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

- Check to make sure the directors and officers insurance policy is paid up and that you and the new team are covered.

- Call together the technical team you trust, divy up the hardware, software, documentation packages, regulatory issues. After a few days of inspection, call a critical design review... can this thing be built under any circumstances or is the technology just a little too disruptive. Is the idea of thousands of lines of software code with friction stir welded aluminum wrapped around them an idea whose time has come?

- Depending on the outcome of the above, pull together a realistic estimate of cashflow requirements for the next two years. Trim or axe the workforce as required. If key capability has to be cut, consider farming out some of the production elements.

- Call an all-hands meeting to lay it on the line.

- Hold a conference with shareholders on the new reality. Early investments have been flushed but 'you can still be part of this.'

- Address deposit holders with a realistic estimate of aircraft performance, revised pricing and production scheduling. Find out who is willing to ante up under the new reality.

- Make amends with past suppliers, current vendors and the regulators.

- Carefully re-examine the business model and the impact on others. Is the air taxi concept at all viable or is this little machine a stepping stone between the Baron and a heavier very light jet (HVLJ - a new oxymoron)?

- While in Albuquerque, enjoy the fine red and green chile... or the combination, ordered at restuarants as 'Christmas' by those in the know.

- Retire to your previous activity and wait for the phone to ring again.

Ken Meyer said...

mouse wrote,
"Just for the record, does anyonethink Eclipse ever plans on producing the plane this year? If they deliver the plane there is no where to have it serviced, you can only fly it with their approved training program at United, ooops, no more United... You have to have a second-in-command... Ooops, they NEVER had a second-in-command training program, (SIC required unless you have a functioning auto-pilot, which does not exist before, or now)..."


I believe you are misinformed. The company has its first Part 145 service center approved and running with more slated to open in the coming months. The plane can be operated just fine without an SIC, but it would be under Part 91 (which it would be anyway until the third AHRS is operational). The approved training program, contary to your suggestion, is cranking out pilots as I write this and there are at least 9 who have successfully completed the program.

As to your first question, "does anyone think Eclipse ever plans on producing the plane this year?" I certainly do. The company says it does. My guess is you don't agree with their assessment. Want to make a small wager on it? :)

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"Apology offered."


Thank you, Rich.

Ken

airtaximan said...

mouse,

Ken is right..they DO plan on producing it this this..

they also planned on producing it last year..

AND

They planned on producing it in 2002, as well.

WHO CARES?

Are you saying they are not really prepared to produce and support the plane in the quantities they are telling everyone?

Well, once again - they were not prepared after 8 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to deliver the plane as promised... it didn't work the way it was sold...not even close.

They were prepared last year to certify and deliver many planes - even though the KNEW they had garbage for avionics..right? They had serious cracking problems requiring unrealistic inspection periods.

Whether they think they are prepared is not the point - they have always thought they were prepared - and they were not.

TODAY - they are not prepared to train pilots - and they had the audacity to anounce a few weeks ago that they would begin training pilots in earnest - and they were distributing training materials to the first 100 position-holders. They knew then that they had lost UNITED...right? They now say they've been working hard for a while to overcome this problem, too. PREPARED?

I do not trust their idea of preparedness one bit. That's the point.

When they say the are prepared - it means they are prepared to talk about it, and try to get money from talking about it. Even the TC milestone achievement was a scam...

Dayjet - we'll they are serious about starting operations in 3 months, too. They were also serious about a jet rollout a year ago, and rolled out a contest instead.

The whole thing is a farce. The genral public has no clue, which makes it easy to get deposits (maybe not so many, right?) and investment dollars...

this is the name of the game in the new E-world order...welcome to E-viation...have a safe trip - it's going to be a wild ride.

Fasten your Wallets!

PS. Vern's mouth created the use fee nightmare we all now face - just a little progress, in case GA needed his kind of disruption.

BTW - I've talked to literally thousands of customers, pilots and operators - no one has ever said to me - WOW! that Eclipse plane is really something, and I'm excited to get on Dayjet! They all say, out lound - the plane is too small... it looks unsafe, and scary...and I would never ride in it.

All of them. It amazes me. So I guess my contacts in the industry and my customers really are stupid backward idiots - all of them - becasue they would never get on that little plane as a passenger, and cannot imagine operating one for revenue.

It's just a farce...

airtaximan said...

BTW,

I would just ignor Ken at this point.

Saying you can service 400 planes delivered in one year at one or two or even three (if constuction is completed) service stations, and and train sufficient pilots for 400 owners, especially when mentors are required for everyone is just, well, rediculous. He's either swallowed the hook, or just being disengenous as he was last week on this blog compared to the E-clips forum on DME.

Here goes:

The AVfIascO redo aside.
All the retrofits aside.
The FAA refusal to certify planes again...aside.

You know, E-clips HAD the money to do a few things right...especially training and maintenance.

They could have really developed sims, and really had solid partnerships where training was available for many pilots, at this point. THEY DO NOT.

If they cared, one simple approach would have been to have approved maintenance providers trained and ready to go, today across the country. What existing maintenance provider would not want to provide fleet maintenance for thousands of jets? The space requirements are minimal compared with grown-up size jets...and the e-clips is reportedly "designed for maintainability" (sorry, I just came back from empying my air sickness bag on that one)...so maintenance will be cost effective to provide and quick and profitable, right? There are thousands of shops who would do this work...around the country and around the world...WHY DIDN'T E-CLIPS arrange this?

They do not care.
They do not understand the word "prepared"
They are not "customer-centric"
They are screwed up chasing their tail
They are trying to continue picking the pcokets of their die-hard depositors...this is the scheme at this point

They have developed stories regarding world-class partnerships, when convenient, to raise money and "sell" planes...but follow through has been a disaster.... on all fronts.

There was a better way...

...unless you want to just listen to Ken talk from both sides of his mouth

airtaximan said...

nerdy-engineer,

you say:
"Eclipse has shown time and again that they are absolutely incompetent regarding schedules or are outright liars."

How do you explain the unmittigated support by some here for Vern and E-clips, and their steadfast refusal to acknowledge they've been lied to and/or E-clips is dangerously incompetant?

HELP...

Ken Meyer said...

airtaximan wrote,

"How do you explain the unmittigated support by some here for Vern and E-clips, and their steadfast refusal to acknowledge they've been lied to and/or E-clips is dangerously incompetant?

HELP..."


That's an easy one. Your "facts" are almost entirely wrong.

One cannot deduce logically correct conclusions when one starts from invalid premises. Everybody knows that.

Ken

mike said...

Ken, I got some beachfront property in Florida - the Everglads to be exact.... Good deal wait'in on ya.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Apparently some remedial lessons are needed for our die-hard kool-aid drinkers.

FACT - DME was INOP at Provisional and "Full" Certification, and remained INOP until, apparently, earlier this week - repeatedly stated here and denied by the kool aid crew

FACT - the plane can not be flown single-pilot based on existing autopilot functionality according to the FAA's FSRB report

FACT - Eclipse has tried two times to earn its' PC and has FAILED twice - originally stated here

FACT - Eclipse LIED about why the aircraft were not at AOPA and did not come clean until 3 weeks later - originally broke here

FACT - Wing Bushing affects ALL aircraft which Eclipse originally denied - originally broke here

FACT - Wing Bushing was a design flaw which Eclipse originally denied - originally suggested here

FACT - Windshields and Cockpit Side Windows require repetitive inspection and replacement at intervals that would be laughable for a kitplane, let alone a $1.5M twin turbine aircraft purporting to be the most advanced light jet on the market - reliability issues originally brought up here

FACT - Apparently up until this week no E-500 was equipped appropriately to operate under RVSM - repeatedly stated here

FACT - aircraft was not approved for FIKI at Provisional Certification, nor months later at 'full' certification, and is STILL not approved for FIKI - repeatedly stated here

FACT - aircraft was not approved for TAWS or TCAS at Provisional Certification, nor months later at 'full' certification, and is STILL not capable of TAWS or TCAS functionality

FACT - Eclipse flew a publicity stunt flight to 'demonstrate' range and used a profile that does not match the NBAA or GAMA profiles

FACT - Eclipse demanded 60% progress payments from 400 position holders either KNOWING that Avio as currently designed was a TOTAL FAILURE and DID NOT INFMORM THEIR CUSTOMERS or Eclipse is completely incompetent and did not know until a couple weeks ago that their integrated avionics fit was a TOTAL FAILURE - either way it does not speak well for the company - originally broke here 2 weeks before announcement

FACT - Vern himself alluded to higher than anticipated failure rates on unspecified components

FACT - The only major accusation made here so far which has not YET been independently verified (and compared to the others seems relatively minor now) is that there are significant reliability\wear issues with the tires and brakes

FACT - Eclipse has publicly blamed all failures on the vendor, even though Eclipse is responsible for the development of requirements and specifications and is responsible for integration - each time claiming in their press release they would finally get what they wanted from 'real' vendors - the list of companies tossed under the bus includes such erstwhile examples of incompetence as British Aerospace Systems, DeVore, Williams International, Avidyne and now even United Airlines

Of course, that is just off the top of my head - I am sure others can add more interesting tidbits

mouse said...

Ken, forgive all of us who choose to ignore you. I feel sorry for you because I think that everyone on here who responds to you, and try to help you to understand you are being ripped off only makes you want to believe that much more.

If your only qualification is that you are a depoist holder, than I understand your viewpoint. However, do your self a favor and realize that the remarks by others are real, and correct for the most part.

Chances are pretty good that if it looks like Sh-t, Smells like SH-t, feels like Sh-t, and tastes like Sh-t it most likely is Sh-t...

Unless your real name is Vern you need to think about watching out for yourself, and others if you really care about the other position holders.

The only milestones that have been accomplished, and matter to Eclipse are those milestones that they must meet to keep the money, lock in the money, bring in more money, Etc.

What Part 145 repair station is up and running? The only plane ever certified is in the care, custody and control of Eclipse so what is this repair station maintaining? What parts do they have in stock? What tooling do they have? How many trained technicians do they have with Eclipse maintenance training?

Eclipse is breaking ground on a training center at Double Eagle, but not a manufacturing building... How many airplanes do you suppose you can build in a borrowed set of hangars at Sunport? How many tractor trailers can you belly up to how many loading docks to support 1.5 planes a day? Look around at the infrastructure... it does not add up.

How long is the training program? Figure a lead time of 2 weeks, you will need to add an average of 3 pilots for training a day to match the current dream of production X 2 weeks =

Day 1 = 3
Day 2 = 3 + 3 = 6
Day 3 = 6 + 3 = 9
Day 4 = 9 + 3 = 12
Day 5 = 12 + 3 = 15
Day 6 = 15 + 3 = 18
Day 7 = 18 + 3 = 21
Day 8 = 21 + 3 = 24
Day 9 = 24 + 3 = 27
Day 10 = 27 + 3 = 30
Day 11 = 30 + 3 = 33
Day 12 = 33 + 3 = 36
Day 13 = 36 + 3 = 39
Day 14 = 39 + 3 = 41

By day 8 you will have 1 hour per simulator per pilot and no time for simulator maintenance. You would need 20+ mentor pilots, and they will need to be trained as well. I think the most you can plan a simulator to operate is about 14 hours per day. You will need how many instructors? Well at least three for around the clock operations. Are the class rooms and 12 lockers enough for this many people?

How many flights do you suppose will need to occur every day to support test flights off the line, training, Etc? The numbers are staggering. Do you see the infrastructure to support all of this today? If not today, when? The plan up until a couple of weeks ago was to be already producing 1.5 planes per day but yet there is no training, no planes, no simulators, no mentors...

Please do me afavor Ken, and don't respond. We feel for you and your dream, but lets not have to snicker behind your back any more.

For all of aviation I want Eclipse to survive and deliver. If they fail we all look bad. They just need to be honest, accept that they cannot change the system, and stop spreading such false information that they are actually destroying the business they want to grow in.. Vern started the rumor which has the ignorant worried about darkening skies, and brought us user fees (trying at least), Etc.

Eclipse is an entry level jet, period. How many business plan on taking over the world with an intro level product? How many people who bought a Pinto, Vega, or Neon, and still drive it? Did Ford, GM and Chrysler have any plans beyond these cheap entry level cars? Yep, they were stepping stones to the Lincolns, Cadillacs and beyond.

Ask Cessna and Beech/Raytheon how important loyality and up-growth is to their business... In order to sustain the entry level vehicles you have to have the up scale product to keep growth and funding moving forward...

Instead of designing and testing a growth airplane, Eclipse is still spending everything they have (and more) on the first entry plane...

Look around you, and if you are still a believer, stay quiet and keep dreaming & praying... Might help to click a pair of ruby slippers...

Gunner said...

CWMoR-
You ARE cold, man. You paint a very ugly picture, guy. Very cold.

You should get an award as the Eclipse Aviation Critic Institutional Knowledge Base. Thanks for documenting all that. I regret there is not a way to "bookmark" it. Doing so would save a whole bunch of us uncounted minutes retyping the same facts over and over and over again.


Ken-
Are you still here? Responding with smug "You are misinformed" statements? Only to reply with, "The company says it does."?????

Are you really kidding?

I didn't want to do this, but let's you and I take your credibility to a new low, shall we? You've earned it with this last attempt to derail the discussion.

You proferred the challenge, "Want to make a small wager on it?"
I'm your huckleberry.

Fifty Thousand Dollars (count 'em), half to be held by EO38X and half to be held by Stan; or ALL to be held by The Gadfly.

The bet: Eclipse will not certify 400 planes above FL24K in 2007.

Not good enough odds for you? OK. Eclipse won't certify 200 planes above FL24K in Calendar 2007. I'm betting you EVEN money, they won't meet HALF their promise, in this year alone.

$50,000, ken. Put up or chill the Eclipse PR rhetoric.
Gunner

Plastic_Planes said...

How many airplanes do you suppose you can build in a borrowed set of hangars at Sunport? How many tractor trailers can you belly up to how many loading docks to support 1.5 planes a day? Look around at the infrastructure... it does not add up

Mouse:
Actually, 1½ AC a day is easily possible out of the existing facilities at the airport property (SP10, SP11, SP2, SP3, and Hgr 5). There are three dock doors at SP11, 6 at SP10 (2 shipping, 4 receiving), and two at SP2. In addition, there is offload space at Hgr 5 and SP2 for additional support.

If E-Clips can build at around 1500 hr/AC (which is entirely possible if they can get a steady stream of parts and get some of the mnaufacturing problems behind them (yeah, I know...), then there shouldn't be any issues.

Why hasn't this happened?
1. Engineering Churn - they are still developing this AC.
2. A broken supply chain. Parts come in irregularly or not at all.
3. Lot's of new manufacturing employees being absorbed into the process.

Believe me, a manufacturing plan to support 200 or so planes a year is not a pipe dream. There is ample space to build an aircraft of this size at the rate you say is impossible. It's simply a matter of accruing hours in a consistent manner. There isn't room to rework every operation two or three times, though. Last I checked, manufacturing was working 7/24 over four shifts. This is not unusual in manufacturing industries. I have worked in many that do (I am currently working in a 6/24/4 shift company).

Believe me, I spent a great deal of my time working on production plans.

/s/

bill e. goat said...

Ken and Gunner,
You are both right.

Eclipse WILL produce the final version (maybe only 1 or 2, but probably will have a deliverable final configuration, with TC, or STC, and PC- maybe :) It will be r-e-a-l-l-y tight, but I think they can just barely make it.

No, they won't have 200 airplanes buzzing around above 24K (probably not anyway. I keep waiting for things to "click", but they haven't yet, and I think the clicking I hear is the snapping of the BOD's patience).

Please take solace in the fact you are both smart guys, and can both be right at the same time.

(A friendly wager okay, anything more gets to be an unseemly demonstration of ego. How 'bout a round of beer and toast to the "most correct" in December. I volunteer to be the surrogate for both of you. I'll drink a beer on each of your behalf's, and proclaim to everyone in the blog, "See I told you _____ was right!").

Ken Meyer said...

Interesting conference call with Vern Raburn discussing the Avio NG program and production status. You can find it here:

http://easylink.playstream.com/eclipseaviation/avio/1694581.mp3

Among the highlights:

--New panels are higher resolution and better wide angle readability, eliminating previous necessity for left and right PFD part numbers

--MTBF is much better: 7000 hours vs 1400 hours for the Avidyne panels

--Pilot can monitor up to 4 VHF frequencies with new system

--Chelton FMS is existing system in use for several years; Eclipse will write a software wrapper to give it the Avio look and feel

--Less than half the aircraft delivered this year will have the old Avio

--Production certificate--announcement on that due in the next couple of weeks

--Initial Part 135 deliveries will have a mechanical AI until 3rd AHRS system is certified

--Aerodynamic mods are in final stages of certification; retrofitting will begin late in April or early in May

--Windshield problem: the fix has been found. It will go out as a service bulletin in the next 30 days and will entail only a minor change to remove the interim inspection requirements

--Deliveries will resume "very soon"

--Avio NG retrofit does not require a new harness. It does require some changes to the panel and mounting brackets behind the panel

--Avio NG panels are only about 1.5 inches thick and do not contain the radios like the Avidyne version did. Maintenance accessibility will be improved through the change

--Avio NG test hardware is right now on the bench "working and integrated." It will be flying in 35-40 days

--RNP 0.1 is in the cards for down the road. WAAS

--Performance envelope of B model: tip tanks improved roll authority and roll trim authority. Speed and range estimates have been met. Aircraft achieves better than 1 nm per pound of fuel at FL410 in longrange cruise

An upbeat and positive conference call. Some items speculated upon here were clearly incorrect.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

That URL got truncated. Try this one instead:

http://tinyurl.com/32otyt

Ken

bill e. goat said...

Ken,

I agree, less than half the airplanes delivered this year will have the old avionics (because, ... :).

It certain does make things interesting- I don't see how it can happen in less than six months, but...

I figured the FMS was already existing. How much “tuning” it will take, TBD I should expect.

And HIRF/Lightning retest, etc., not trivial, but not rocket science either. (Actually, it probably does involve some rocket science, somewhere in the math...)

Glad to hear the radios are not in the panels anymore- that was way stupid.

Sounds like the new displays must be pretty nice.

Thanks for the posting. Hope it all works out well, and soundly. (I figure it will, but not sure how long it will take- in time for my December beer, I trust!)

airtaximan said...

bill.e.goat,

If this was so easy, why didn't they just finish the job with Avidyne?

a) they didn't want to pay them the 50% they owed them

b) it's not really gonna be that easy

c) the system developed by E-clips and Avidyne was somehow already obsolete eventhough they sold it as cutting edge

d) the NG system is actually less expensive

c) some combination?

d) we will never know the truth?

Ken Meyer said...

"If this was so easy, why didn't they just finish the job with Avidyne?"

I think that's an easy one. At the core of the problem is that they needed a Flight Management System. That was the most important single item missing from the original Avio implementation.

The trouble is it became apparent that Avidyne just wasn't going to produce an FMS for whatever reason. They're a small company with a lot going on right now, and maybe the job turned out bigger than it sounded, who knows? It doesn't matter; they didn't do it.

So, Eclipse turned to an existing, off-the-shelf FMS from Chelton and split the other Avidyne responsibilities up into bite-sized pieces. All the key elements of this package have been used previously. The software for the underlying elements all exists; the hardware is already TSO'd. Even if you don't like Eclipse, you have to admit it was a pretty clever move.

Ken

Frank Castle said...

Hey, talk abut SP11 !

A "shout-out" to my homeys down dere. Actually, I know several people in ABQ. Many won't be there for long.

Take my buddy Sean. Been callin' him Sharkey from way long ago. Works in SP11, but not for long. Seems his supervisors can't get a straight word from upstairs on what to do with the packed-up planes and pieces. So they fake it, roll these things around from day to day, try to make more room, but Vern keeps tellin' 'em to keep on building, we can deliver on time.

This guy has endangered so many lives and affected so many families in a negative way, it's lucky that Uncle Bill and Vern have anything left of ABQ after these people leave.

Steve, Bill, Tracy, Noni, "Juice", and, yes, my long-ago bud Sharkey. Come on, we got you covered.

Frank Castle said...

So much of that screams BS, kenny.

Vern's just tryin' to insure his money don't go bye-bye.

All I want to know is when the next delivery will take place, I'll be there to ask His Koolaidedness,

"Is that a complete aircraft with all working accessories ?"

He'll LIE if he says anything but NO. Too many people from manufacturing and engineering are coming out of the closet, no longer afraid of the BS ol Vernie can dish out. We are finding out more everyday, and as the "former employee" stack gets larger, one thing to look forward to is the amount of payroll he's burning. It's less and going to be lesser, then when it's time to ramp up, hey, where'd all my peeps go ?

Should have treated them better, instead of just letting them hang out to dry, like you and your management buddies did, just to make the numbers come out to your own obviously mentally impaired version of satisfaction.

YOU ARE A LAUGHINGSTOCK, VERN.

And these folks like Sharkey know they aren't the ones being laughed at, but rather, they do not want to be associated with a bunch of mental idiots who can't realize when they are.

Gunner said...

Ken said:
"Interesting conference call with Vern Raburn discussing the Avio NG program and production status."

At last. A credible source.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Ken:
you say:
"So, Eclipse turned to an existing, off-the-shelf FMS from Chelton and split the other Avidyne responsibilities up into bite-sized pieces. All the key elements of this package have been used previously."

Hmm...sounds like BS to me.
Why did they not just take this appraoch and integrate the Existing FMS into the Avio system WITH their partner Avidyne?

You describe it as "clever" to divorce Avidyne...their key competitive advantage, becasue Avidyne couldn't develop the FMS...but therewas one that was available to the "E-clips/Avidyne avio partnership"...and according to you, Eclipse is doing the integration on all this - so...

If it was that simle...whay did they not just plug the Chelton system in, and move right along?

I call BS. again, and again. Maybe you think BS is clever? I don't...I think its just BS.

Wake up...smell the ...

Gunner said...

Question:
How can the company ask for 60% progress payments when they haven't demonstrated speed or range guarantees yet?
Gunner

Green-or-Red said...

Some info from my sources...

E-clops must deliver planes by end of Q1 or they will be in deep doo-doo.

FAA is back in ABQ working on C of A's.

Fatigue test will get started late spring or early summer at the earliest. Why is this taking so long?

And a rumor...control surfaces binding during flight..has anyone heard about this?

And a question...why has not CFO Reed been replaced? Also, inside info has it that VP of Engr and VP of Training are to be replaced.

Ken Meyer said...

Gunner asked,
"How can the company ask for 60% progress payments when they haven't demonstrated speed or range guarantees yet?"


They have reportedly demonstated both numbers using the modifed B model test frame. But the real answer to your question is that those are guarantees, and the company is legally bound by them. However, they don't actually have to prove them ahead of time any more than a TV manufacturer must prove his product lasts 3 years before he can sell it with a 3-year guarantee.

Ken

Gunner said...

Interesting, Ken.

So, you pay your money.
You get your training.
You take delivery of your plane.
You fly you plane.

300 hours down the road, the B-Mod numbers (with Avio Next Grift) are in and they don't make the guarantees.

What happens then? You get your money back?

Gunner

airtaximan said...

Ken:
Actually you are wrong, it a 3 year warrantee, not guarantee.

They wouldn't even be able to sell it, if for example, if they advertised it to have certain functionality which it lacked -

for example: it only had 24 instead of perhaps 41 channels.
another example: if the volume control did not work properly, or if the remote control failed to actually change channels.

catching on yet?

PS. I am not sure, but I do not think anyone makes progress payments in advance to reserve TV, today... another element of risk in your scenario whih does not exist for TV but is a BIG risk for e-depositors

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

Frank Castle said...

"So much of that screams BS, kenny.
Vern's just tryin' to insure his money don't go bye-bye.
All I want to know is when the next delivery will take place, I'll be there to ask His Koolaidedness,

"Is that a complete aircraft with all working accessories ?" "



Frank, better start out for KABQ, can you get there by tomorrow 03/10/07?


KA1 :>)