Friday, March 02, 2007

The King Has Spoken, Two Letters From Vern Plus The One He Should Have Sent

To the postion holders:

It is natural for a new airplane company to experience growing pains as it transitions from development to a predictable production rate. However, our journey has introduced far more challenges than we anticipated. As a result, the 2007 Eclipse 500 production schedule has slipped. This is very disappointing to us, as I know it is to you.

Our sole focus is on delivering a safe, reliable, high-performance aircraft to you in the most expedient manner possible.

While there are challenges, which I have outlined below, we have taken aggressive action to eliminate the problems and are making excellent progress. The purpose of this letter is to fill you in on the specific obstacles we have encountered, and let you know what we are doing to remove them.

At a high level, our production issues relate to the manufacturing process, and are not founded in Eclipse 500 design flaws. At their core, these are issues with internal processes and staffing, although parts shortages and quality problems have absolutely contributed to the delay.

Following is a detailed summary of the issues, and the actions we have taken to resolve them.

Summary of Production Issues & Corrective Action

Resolution Functional Test Procedures

The initial Functional Test Procedures documentation used to verify the accurate function of airplane systems was not sufficient.

These documents have been completely re-written and approved by the FAA. They will be re-written once again to eliminate system testing duplication, which will dramatically reduce manufacturing cycle time.

Aft Wing Attach Fitting

A loose bushing was found inside the rear wing attach point. The design has been corrected to ensure stable bushing placement, and early aircraft have been reworked.

Manufacturing Workforce

Although we have been hiring many talented people in all areas of the company, we are still short staffed in manufacturing.

We have been aggressively hiring contract workers, most of whom want to become full-time employees. Tomorrow we will make an exciting announcement introducing our new vice president of manufacturing, who brings us extensive high-volume manufacturing expertise.

Parts Shortages

A number of suppliers experienced parts shortages as we kicked off production in 2006.When original suppliers fell short, we moved quickly to find new component sources.

Although our new suppliers had some start-up delays, these issues are now behind us.

Supplier Quality

Two suppliers have experienced significant quality issues that have caused production line rework and delays. Both of these suppliers are working through the root cause of these issues and taking corrective action. We have worked extensively with the suppliers and seen improvements.

Structural Requirements

Friction Stir Weld and thin skin construction of the Eclipse 500 fuselage requires different handling, assembly and repair than conventional structures.

Every situation requires engineering analysis and DER approval.We now have a deeper understanding of these structural requirements, and have developed a standard repair document that is significantly reducing the amountof time it takes to disposition manufacturing errors.

Component Failure Rates

We are seeing a higher failure rate on some components than anticipated. We have been evaluating the root cause of the failures and are making progress to quickly resolve the issues, but in the short term we have an adequate replacement stock for all of these components.

Production Rate

Achieving our target production rates requires innovation within every facet of the traditional aircraft manufacturing process.

We are employing four strategies to achieve high-rate production, which are:
1)bring in experienced automotive production leaders;
2) build-in-position through quality inspection buy-off;
3) leverage robotics in primary assembly to eliminate human error and reduce cycle time; and
4) conduct automated system testing early in the build process.

I would like to offer my overriding view of this situation.

We have had a series of unrelated problems ranging from supplier delays, to design glitches, to leadership oversights that have created something of a perfect storm in terms the start up of the production line. Collectively, these issues have significantly impacted our schedule, and challenged us more than ever before.

Of course, our critics are eager to triumphantly say "I told you so!" And perhaps they are right - for the near term. I have often told you that although Eclipse is not yet as good I believe we will eventually be at avoiding problems, I'll put our ability to solve tough problems up against that of any other individual or company.

Pundits have predicted our demise an almost incalculable number of times. Even in extreme situations such as the Williams International engine failure, we have prevailed. There is zero doubt in my mind that our current challenges will produce a stronger company, and a better product. We've done it before, and we will do it again.

One over arching commitment we have not, and will not, waver from is to provide you with the very best and the very safest aircraft possible.

Although the delay in deliveries is very frustrating to you (and to the entire team at Eclipse), I simply will not allow anything to compromise the quality of this jet or the safety of our customers.

Our focus now is on catching up, and proving to the FAA that we are ready to take the next step. While it is impossible to predict the exact timing for the receipt of our Production Certificate (PC), we will keep you informed of our progress.

It is very important to note that we are working a parallel path with the FAA to produce aircraft under the type certificate while simultaneously working toward PC. Prior to receiving PC, we can and will continue to deliver aircraft by working with theFAA to issue Eclipse 500 Certificate of Airworthiness.

As issues arise, we will continue to move as swiftly as possible to drive to solutions that serve your best interests. In the past, I have been unwilling to discuss problems until I could also provide you with solutions. While we will always strive for this ideal communication, I have come to realize that there simply will not always be an immediate resolution to every issue. Thus, I intend to share updates with you as often as possible, whether they highlight our successes or our challenges.

As always, I thank you for your patience, encouragement and belief in Eclipse.

Sincerely,

Vern Raburn
President & CEO
Eclipse Aviation


And some incentives to cough up that last 60% progress payment:


Over the past months, we have worked to overcome numerous challenges that have delayed the Eclipse 500 delivery schedule. Unanticipated obstacles are always frustrating, but these challenges are being resolved. The specific production issues we have encountered and the corrective actions we have taken to resolve them were detailed in our most recent customer communication, which I hope you have had time to review.

As we remove these hurdles and move forward, our team is aggressively working to meet or exceed our delivery schedule for customer aircraft. Below is the updated aircraft delivery schedule for 2007:

Q1 12
Q2 59
Q3 120
Q4 211

TOTAL 402

It is understandable that some customers have become concerned about our production delays. However, we remain highly confident that the structure is in place (manpower, machinery and methods) to effectively finalize our customer delivery schedule and make the following commitments to you:

Interest on your deposit

If Eclipse is late in delivering your aircraft by thirty (30) days or more, we will pay you 0.5% per month simple interest on your sixty percent (60%) deposit with interest commencing on the 31st day after the end of your scheduled delivery month as defined in your Purchase Agreement (Exhibit 2).

Additionally, we will waive any further CPI-W price adjustment that would have normally accrued from the scheduled delivery date as defined in Exhibit 2 of your Purchase Agreement to the ultimate delivery date.

Additional compensation

In addition to the 0.5% monthly simple interest payment, you may also choose one of the following additional compensations to be activated if we are late in delivering your aircraft by the number of days indicated below, after the end of your scheduled delivery month as defined in your Purchase Agreement (Exhibit 2):

1. A discount of fifteen (15) percent against your pre-paid JetComplete subscription if the delivery is late by 45 days or more. This is only available if you pre-pay for JetComplete and is not applicable to Pratt & Whitney Canada supplied services; or
2. Eclipse will pay the cost of the jet fuel consumed by your aircraft during Eclipse provided pilot training if the delivery is late by 45 days or more; or
3. One free additional pilot type rating (involving an Eclipse simulator, not in an aircraft) for a 2nd pilot if the delivery is late by 90 days or more.

To qualify for any of the compensation described above, you simply need to finalize your Purchase Agreement, including options and color selections, and bring your pre-delivery deposit to sixty percent (60%) as described in the Deposit Agreement and Purchase Agreement.

We know you are looking forward to receiving your Eclipse 500, and we are equally eager to deliver your aircraft. We hope these commitments communicate our deep dedication to move beyond our recent challenges, and continue to build a productive, long-term relationship with you. I am confident you will be exceptionally pleased when you take delivery of your Eclipse 500, and especially proud to own and fly it.

Sincerely,

Vern Raburn

And a special thanks to Bambazonke for sharing this information.


ColdWetMackarelofReality drafted the letter Vern should have sent...

To all Eclipse Stakeholders (employees, depositors, vendors, Directors)

Effective today, March 1, 2007 I am resigning my position as President and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. As with my previous endeavors such as Slate and Lotus Development, the near collapse of this venture indicates that it is once again time for me to take my substantial ego and grand vision and to relinquish the daily control to someone who has the ability to execute.

I leave behind a team of mostly fantastic individuals who I have repeatedly blamed for failures that honestly originated from my own corner office overlooking the flight line.

As President and CEO, the responsibility for these problems ultimately resides with me. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all of the employees current and former, to whom I was disrespectful. I mistook my bully leadership style as being effective, because after a while I no longer heard all the concerns you were all trying to share.

I would also like to apologize to our many former vendors such as DeVore, BAe, Williams, Avidyne, and more. It was not right of me to condemn you in public for our lack of specification requirements, and our continually changing design requirements.

I personally grossly misunderestimated the difficulty in building a new company, raising capital, designing and certifying an aircraft, and managing this effort in a way that would create a company culture we could all be proud of.

I alone created a culture of blamestorming that led to the loss of some truly talented individuals, and the departure of some dedicated and capable vendors. Hopefully, the new CEO will be someone who can foster a culture of open exchange and respect that can focus on safety first rather than paying lipservice to it.

I have learned that the old axiom is indeed true - to make a small fortune in aviation, start with a big one.

My last act as President and CEO will be to order that we will not request nor will we accept any new order deposit or progress payment.

Knowing we are a minimum of 12 months away from being able to deliver an aircraft that even approaches the capabilities we promised so many years ago, we simply cannot in good conscience accept your money and then use it to pay our bloated executive staff or the currently unnecessary mass of manufacturing personnel we needlessly added for the purpose of keeping the illusion going.

Day to day operation of the company will fall to Peg Bilson, our COO until such time as the Board of Directors can identify and hire as person with the skills and experience to lead the tru, final phase of development of this project.

Along with myself, I have a few other staffing changes to announce: Ken Harness will leave his position as VP Engineering to lead the development and productization of our Phostrex fire extinguishing product. Senior VP and Fellow Don Burtis is announcing he will leave Eclipse to pursue other interests. VP of HR Tina Rulo will also be leaving to manage her own consulting firm.

We will also be replacing our incoming VP of Manufacturing from Ford, because we finally realized we need someone with a verifiable aerospace pedigree to help us to achieve our Production Certificate while building conforming and well finished airplanes.

Don't cry for me Albuquerque.

Vern Raburn
Guy-who-believed-his-own-rhetoric and refused-to-listen-to-people-who-actually-knew-what-they-were-doing.





112 comments:

Stan Blankenship said...

There is no mention of the windshield problem and I believe it to be as big a problem as the Avidyne problem.

Stan Blankenship said...

We need to keep the Eclipse project alive and that will take money. Let's help Vern with some other ideas that will give the position holders the incentives to part with another half-mil.

My first suggestion, T-shirts they can wear at Oshkosh imprinted with:

"I AM A SUCKER, ASK ME WHY"

Gunner said...

Fool me once, Shame on you; Fool me twice, Shame on me!

And to think, a mere twelve hours ago, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt for being [somewhat] up front in his original letter. Took him only that number of hours to become the Circus Master again!

12 Aircraft this month?
400+ Aircraft this year?
After admitting what he admitted last night?

IMHO, this second letter is the operative communication. The first one was the "Can't We All Get Along?" intro to it. How do you spell S-C-A-M?
Gunner

gadfly said...

Give the man a break. He just needs to hire a speech writer . . . someone like “Meredith Willson” . . . and some catchy lines, like “Well, ya got trouble, my friend Right here, I say trouble right here in River City” . . . (for the city on the Rio Grande). Or, “But he don’t know the territory” (by the anvil salesman) . . . or reference to “Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang” (as in “flight manual”) . . . and hire someone like “Robert Preston” to “sing” the speech, to tunes in “The Music Man”.

Before you know it, “Eclipse” will be a household word . . . the possibilities are endless, anything to take the focus away from the delays and design. Folks will be marching down Gibson Blvd., in their new “pilot’s uniforms”, singing the praises of “76 new jets on the taxi way, 110 more planes right behind . . .” ‘Just the thought is enough to excite the imagination and give a person goose bumps!

gadfly

hrr said...

I especially enjoy the part where the magician waves the empty hand to distract the audience's attention. "It wasn't our fault! It's the suppliers who are to blame!!" I've heard that line before.

Rick said...

I am the #1 A-HOLE QA guy that Mike is reffering to. you can rest assured anyone involved directly with the aircraft knows who I am I have been following this blog for about 2 mo up till now I have refrained from commenting as I still have many good friends working for this joke parading as an aircraft company just like Mike I was not fired I tried to be as proffessional as possible while dealing with an unproffessional company I gave my 2 week notice and in my notice I explained my reasons for leaving I take offense of folks like Ken who are firmly convinced that all of us QA guys who walked were fired and disgruntled employees. 10 Inspectors walked out during the 9 mo that I was there and not a single one of them were fired. I would like to give you a brief rundown of my background I left my job as a Chief Inspector and DAR at a 145 repair station performing heavy maintenance for several airlines to take the job with eclipse. I have 33 years in the aviation industry my first problem aviation industry not the medical field not automotive and as everyone knows we in the aviation field do not understand innovative and what is this FAR stuff you keep bothering us with that is for all those other ancient aircraft folks to deal with we are innovative we can' be bothered with all those out of date regulations. when I first got to Eclipse I was assigned to Fligt test as the production line had not started yet. I knew after the first two weaks I had made a big mistake taking this job but I'm here try to make the best of it. and nurse these guys into the real world of aviation. when production started I was assigned to SP 10 and I lived with AC 1 and 2 from the first skin welds to completion as I was the guy who set up the conformity inspection system. conformity inspections you say Jeeze we didn't know we had to do that. I spent 9 wks building a data base to track the conformity inspections. now move ahead to oskosh marketing has promised ship one and two will be there I had over 100 open conformity inspections on ship one and 200 on ship 2 this means that many items on each aircraft that have never been inspected. the words safety and reliable should never be used in the same sentence as eclipse. and parts traceability try to get an 8130 on the parts installed on the aircraft what do you mean we have to record all the serialized parts. don't get me wrong there are alot of good dedicated hard working proffessional inspectors still there but look who they work for QA manager a medical guy whose aviation background is handing the stewardess his ticket now an automotive guy no matter how hard these QA guys try they will get stepped on by management. the list goes on and on and on. I consider myself lucky drinking the kool aid and getting suckerd into moving to ABQ only cost me $15,000 dollars to sell a house not 1.5 mill.I really wish they could pull this off I could give a shit about Vern and his flunkies but I really hate to see the hard working good people at the company unemployed. just like Mike and the other ex employees I managed to escape with my self respect and integrity. there are so many things I wish I was at liberty to address to the public.I apologise if seems to ramble my point is forget the money side of this aircraft and lets look at safety and reliability if anyone has any questions of me I will answer them to the best my ability.

airtaximan said...

"order by midnight tonight"

all time low...

Thanks, Vern.

gadfly said...

“Aside from that, Captain Smith, Mr. Ismay thinks we could buy some time by moving the deck furniture to the port side . . . And tell the passengers after breakfast!”

gadfly

Jake Pliskin said...

rick & mike;
do you have any insight into the windshield problem? a "person" at cessna recently told me cessna believed the cracking was due to excessive airframe flexing, not simply fixed by adding a bushing or soft mount.

Jake Pliskin said...

Stan said: "There is no mention of the windshield problem and I believe it to be as big a problem as the Avidyne problem."

maybe that's what he is addressing by referring to "component failures" being higher than expected?

not too worry though, plenty of replacement windshields in stock.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The letter Vern should have sent.

"All Eclipse Stakeholders (employees, depositors, vendors, Directors),

Effective today, March 1, 2007 I am resigning my position as President and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. As with my previous endeavors such as Slate and Lotus Development, the near collapse of this venture indicates that it is once again time for me to take my substantial ego and grand vision and to relinquish the daily control to someone who has the ability to execute.

I leave behind a team of mostly fantastic individuals who I have repeatedly blamed for failures that honestly originated from my own corner office overlooking the flight line.

As President and CEO, the responsibility for these problems ultimately resides with me. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all of the employees current and former, to whom I was disrespectful. I mistook my bully leadership style as being effective, because after a while I no longer heard all the concerns you were all trying to share.

I would also like to apologize to our many former vendors such as DeVore, BAe, Williams, Avidyne, and more. It was not right of me to condemn you in public for our lack of specification requirements, and our continually changing design requirements.

I personally grossly misunderestimated the difficulty in building a new company, raising capital, designing and certifying an aircraft, and managing this effort in a way that would create a company culture we could all be proud of.

I alone created a culture of blamestorming that led to the loss of some truly talented individuals, and the departure of some dedicated and capable vendors. Hopefully, the new CEO will be someone who can foster a culture of open exchange and respect that can focus on safety first rather than paying lipservice to it.

I have learned that the old axiom is indeed true - to make a small fortune in aviation, start with a big one.

My last act as President and CEO will be to order that we will not request nor will we accept any new order deposit or progress payment.

Knowing we are a minimum of 12 months away from being able to deliver an aircraft that even approaches the capabilities we promised so many years ago, we simply cannot in good conscience accept your money and then use it to pay our bloated executive staff or the currently unnecessary mass of manufacturing personnel we needlessly added for the purpose of keeping the illusion going.

Day to day operation of the company will fall to Peg Bilson, our COO until such time as the Board of Directors can identify and hire as person with the skills and experience to lead the tru, final phase of development of this project.

Along with myself, I have a few other staffing changes to announce: Ken Harness will leave his position as VP Engineering to lead the development and productization of our Phostrex fire extinguishing product. Senior VP and Fellow Don Burtis is announcing he will leave Eclipse to pursue other interests. VP of HR Tina Rulo will also be leaving to manage her own consulting firm.

We will also be replacing our incoming VP of Manufacturing from Ford, because we finally realized we need someone with a verifiable aerospace pedigree to help us to achieve our Production Certificate while building conforming and well finished airplanes.

Don't cry for me Albuquerque.

Vern Raburn
Guy-who-believed-his-own-rhetoric and refused-to-listen-to-people-who-actually-knew-what-they-were-doing

Niner Zulu said...

CWMOR you are too funny! You guys continuously crack me up as I watch the saga unfold. You're right though - Vern needs to go. You can't expect him to fix the problems because he is the person responsible for causing the problems in the first place.

Here are some observations from the Eclipse Owners forum:
- Someone has posted a link to this blog under the "Who is replacing Avidyne" thread. Another frustrated buyer, no doubt, who is not getting any real answers from Eclipse.
- Ken made a comment to another member describing some of the people here as being "naysayers who are having a field day" suggesting that the Avidyne divorce will set Eclipse back a year. He also described the new delivery schedule as "fantastic". Ken, I believe you are becoming a perfect example of an Eclipse diehard that is going to be rudely separated from their money in the very near future. I'm just thankful that it is you that is sending Vern that next $600,000 payment and not me. Not that you would listen to me, or anyone else for that matter, but there is nothing but your ego stopping you from cancelling your Eclipse order and putting your money back in your pocket, and flying something else until Eclipse sorts out it's mess. You could always jump back in after the problems are solved and meanwhile you'd sleep a lot better and probably be a nicer guy, too. That's what this "naysayer" did - and instead of paying for empty promises I'm enjoying flying a new glass panel aircraft backed by a real company with decades of experience. It's tucked safely in it's hangar and I can watch Eclipse safely from the sidelines.

gadfly said...

This windshield cracking problem is greatly overblown. Here in New Mexico, we simply use “Duct Tape” and plastic sheet . . . also works for “running lights”, provided you can find a used red or green plastic bag. And the vinyl sheet will flex with the fuselage.

Observer said...

Jake P,
I talked to a designer at another airframe manufacturer. He believes what the "person" at Cessna told you... that the windshield issue is due to airframe flexing. This is not a simple fix. This would be a structural issue.

Maybe Rick and Mike can add some more information about the windshield issues.

gadfly said...

Normally, the “gadfly” is full of nothing but satire. But today, let’s get serious. At least two former employees of Eclipse have come forward, to “bare their souls”, as it were. Finally, for whatever reason, we have people discovering the freedom that comes with owning up to “things gone wrong”, and alerting others to the facts . . . and that man behind the curtain.

Back in “olden times”, those of us who took the manufacture of aircraft accessories most seriously, did not lightly put “profits” ahead of the lives of those who flew in commercial and military aircraft. Extensive testing was conducted in everything, from the basic design, on up through everything that found its way into the final product. The safety of modern aircraft did not come at little cost, and casual attitude of the safety of the ultimate user, especially the products coming out of Lockheed, Boeing, McDonald-Douglas, . . . and all the other modern versions of companies like “Sikorsky”, “Bell”, “Hiller”, “Hughes”, “Consolidated-Vultee”. . . on and on!

By the way, even back in the “1940's, 1950's, 1960's . . . the testing was far beyond anything I have learned about this little attempt to be a form of “jet travel”.

My own part in devices that every one of you who read this blog, have affected each and every one of you. And the many inventions and patents that show my father as the inventor, have kept each and every one of you safe as you travel on virtually any commercial or military aircraft . . . need a list? . . . I’ll provide it if necessary.

The very control devices, the “cable tension regulators” . . . all have worked without failure for over sixty years . . . you didn’t even know they existed, but they kept all of you safe as you flew, literally, around the world . . . from the old Lockheed Constellation, through the DC series, right on up through most of the “Boeing’s” . . .yes, I was there at each and every point when it happened . . . all this to say that I do not speak in ignorance.

When I passed the many tests for my license as an “A&P”, I knew exactly what a “weld” or “spar-splice” or “rivet joint” must perform . . . the failure of any one of those tests, I would have been failed from school. Back then, the “Bible” was “CAM18", for you “old timers”. And I personally built the two machines that calibrate each and every one of the inertial restraint systems used daily, aboard almost every American built commercial jet. Later, I would design and build devices for other aircraft (mentioned in earlier blogs) that would require higher standards that those on the “little jet”.

All this to say the following:

From what I have learned about the “little jet” in question, I am thoroughly appalled that anyone would spend endless hours discussing the “economics” of their position, in taking delivery of this thing. Listen: You do not yet have a product. Don’t you understand that, yet? And until proper testing is accomplished, you reveal that economics, the “quick profit” of the thing, is more important than the lives of others . . . even the lives of your loved ones.

It is not my place to judge the “design” of this thing, but until each and every item is thoroughly tested, and “PROVEN”, you have no right to risk the lives of others on an unproven aircraft. STOP PLAYING GAMES with the lives of others, treating them as if they are merely a matter of profits. You buy a jet, someone pays for a “taxi ride”, trusting the “little jet” to get them to their destination. You have used the reputation of others . . . we who have spent our lives convincing the public that air-travel is safe . . . an unsuspecting passenger has assumed that the “little jet” is as safe as a Boeing, or whatever . . . discovering too late that not all aircraft are created equal.

Am I angry? . . . you better believe it. Please, stop treating this as an exercise of investment in the stock market. It is not a new version of “Windows Vista”. In this game, the players do not get a second chance for an “upgrade” to version 2.1.

Enough for now,

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

I'm still a believer man !!! (in the airplane, 90%; in the company, 80%, in the management- oh be nice now):

It occurred to me I might be piling on the woes our long-suffering friends here who are owners-in-waiting (OIW), with my satire about the one-wing, one-engine Mustang knock off.
I really did not mean to disparage the Eclipse (ah, E-500, not E-501 or E-502).
My performance references were ludicrous.
However, my intent was to point out how ludicrous the finances are at Eclipse.
I'll reiterate, I think the OIW guys really ARE going to get a good airplane, and at a good price.
We are lamenting the current avionics fiasco, and the airplanes are undeliverable as-is, but this really will get fixed, with enough time and money. Which is what leaves me so flabbergasted- where on earth does this money come from- what can be the possible business plan at this point?).
Although I can't see where the money comes from, it does keep coming, and the avionics problems will be rectified. If this were a “normal” company, NO WAY- it would have gone belly up years ago. But, if it hasn't by now, it won't, for reasons beyond my comprehension. And I'm glad, because from what I've read, it really will be a nice plane.
Good things (outstanding, perhaps stellar- oops, I'm swigging kool-aid too fast- and getting a little dizzy- ha) that are getting overlooked of late:
1)it is a safe handling airplane. Since all the negatives seem to get pointed out (um, pretty regularly), it seems they flying qualities must be pretty good.
2)it is structurally sound (probably more procedural than design- hypothesis later) and the FAA did give it, um, a “provisional fatigue approval”, or some bs.
3)there probably are some real QA problems (more to say about this too, later)- maybe quite significant ones. But, so far, nothing unsafe has been delivered (because, nothing has been delivered). And, let us all hope, for the sake of the customers and company, the FAA will continue it's due diligence.
Anyway, the mysteries of the hour are:
1)Where does the money come from?
2)Who will be the avionics vendor?
3)Will there be a realistic time line released? (or just more b.s., or should I say v.s.)

bill e. goat said...

Oops- I didn't catch the second (and third) part of this thread.
Guess the schedule is already out: 400+ airplanes this year. I mean, in the next 10 months. I mean, in the next 9.8 months. Yeah, it could happen. Please pass the sugar for my Kool-Aid.

bill e. goat said...

Hoo boy.
Vern has got to practice up on his press releases. This one only took less than an hour to figure out.
I had just posted a blurb about "where does the money come from".
Well, it comes from 402 people making 60% progress payments.
I'm a financial moron (please, other would argue my "field of expertise" extends into other areas as well!), and if I figured this out, well, the Eclipse PR machine better get oiled.
I hate to admit it, but this IS beginning to sound a little tentative.

airtaximan said...

BILLY,

PR1 - designed to convey:
1- I've changed
2- please don't ask for your deposit back

(even Gunner fell for it)

Hours later, PR2 - designed to convey:
1- If you fell for PR1, send money now
2- If you are even close to believing PR1, here is some fake cash I don't have (door no1= Vern's "interest-on- your-money-down-the-road-if-we-ever-deliver"; door no2= some "Jet-complete-cash"; door no3= E-clips-pilot-training-cash)...which I promise to pay in the future, so send in your real cash right away!

The second PR was exactly like the Nigerian email bank scam that's been around for years. "I promise to deliver something of value tomorrow, I just need your money today to make it happen".

Basically... a scummy trick.
Unabashed, given the few hours between PR1 and PR2.

Desperate, I'd say.

One thing we all know, like any good pyramid-scheme, the earlier deliveries are now dependant on the later deposit money. Nothing happens today unless future money is put in. No repairs, no business improvements, no C/As, no deliveries, no PC, etc... will not happen unless there's more cash.

So, from now on, read everything coming from Vern in light of this. They will stoop lower, and do whatever they can to get more deposit money... this is the goal.

mike said...

I would rate the windshield problem as on the same level as avidyne. I need to think of how I can explain this without getting into trouble. Give me a bit.

airtaximan said...

From the KING:

"Tomorrow we will make an exciting announcement introducing our new vice president of manufacturing, who brings us extensive high-volume manufacturing expertise"

I'm not an engineer, but i find this whole proposed process and the statements from E-clips very disheartening.

High rate production requires DESIGNING the product for high rate, no?

Using "Robotics" requires the product to be DESIGNING with the robotics in mind, no?

I find this whole argument for "high rate" and "automotive manufacturing techniques" and "robotics" highly suspicious, especially given that TODAY, they are bringing someone onboard to handle all this.

They do not design a car and then figure out how to build it fast with robotics...right?

Engineers' comments?

Gunner said...

Bill e:
This "bottomless well" stuff is a myth. People like Gates et all don't throw money away, simply because they have lots of it. They are the target of more scams than we can possibly imagine and they don't like being taken anymore than we do.

The decision tree on a Billion Dollar investment is no different than that on a $10K investment: "How much will I make?" and, when it starts to go downhill, "How do I get out with my lungs?".

In the case of Eclipse, money WILL solve their problems, assuming major management changes. But the investors still ask, "What's my return?" When the return has to cover investment amounts some 7 or 8 times greater than competitive companies (absent a cogent articulation of far greater sales), they begin to look for exits:
"Can we double the price?"
"Can we sell the company?"
"Can we find [non-equity] sources of investment?"

This is pure conjecture, but I suspect Vern is ow on a very short leash with his investors. His feet are to the fire to find others to fund the project: thus the second email- he's gonna tap the Depositor money. It affects the return on investment for the money guys, not one whit.

Again, pure conjecture, but I believe this is a company with serious financial woes, in addition to design ad production problems. I doubt Avidyne walked out simply because they didn't like the cafeteria food.

If Eclipse had that big of a War Chest, they absolutely would have come out along the lines of CWM's parody: "We are asking nothing more of Depositors until we get this straight. We are hereby announcing a default event; if you don't think we'll get 'er done, we'll give you your money back." That would have instilled some confidence.

The only confirmation I can offer to this conjecture just now is the appointment of an Automotive guy to manage the line (agree with AT's comments): they're looking to save costs first, and get 99.998% reliability second. Time will tell.

Gunner

Metal Guy said...

Mike,
Perhaps the windshield is used as a structural component of the airframe as opposed to a floating sub-structure? It seems that the simplest approach would be just to make it thicker, but I suspect it's not that easy. Would that ripple into other major structures that can not easily be changed? It sounds like they may be producing a bunch of airframes that need to be scrapped if this is such a big technical issue as you hint at.

Oh yeah before I forget:

Vern (you dumb sh*t), we told you so.

We all have our reasons.

airtaximan said...

Windshield:

Again, I'm mo engineer...BUT,

Passing the FAA with a windshiled used for structural integrity seems a little crazy.

One bad windshield, one bird, one failure... and you lose the aircraft?

HHmmm.... I sincerely hope this is not the case.

I can see the proble being something like:

The structure is thin, the glass canot be thicker than a certain thickness in order to fit and not be Fugly as well as aerodynamically penalizing.

Basically, the solution involves thicker glass, and it is probably very difficult to fit, if not impossible... well nothing is impossible...just a lot of money and redesign, test, tooling, scrapped planes, etc...

..but, I'm no engineer.

BTW. I'd like to see the "design- for-air-taxi-high-utlilization" criteria that was used for the airplane, that led to marginal windows...etc...

It's bunk.

Nerdy Engineer said...

Concerning robots:

It's always a good idea to consider the mfg method when designing anything. But you can design a robot to do almost any job. It's just a matter of cost. To put it in perspective, imagine purchasing a five-axis CNC machine for each individual job. Cost quickly becomes astronomical. Even minor design changes become expensive because you can't just give a robot a new drawing. It has to be reprogrammed and possibly replaced. This is why none of the other manufacturers use robotic assy. They have skilled employees who can do the job well. They also have skilled inspectors to verify that job (which you need regardless of assy method). You would need to sell much more than 2500 aircraft for robots to save money.


Concerning windshields:
I don't have first-hand knowledge of the issue but the frame problem makes sense. If it were just attach fittings I would have expected it to be solved by now. The solution would be a stiffer frame so that the loads "flow" around the windshield as opposed to through it. This would affect the loads on the surrounding structure so it could be a major change. I can't say without first-hand knowledge.

On the plus side, it would add weight to the nose so you'd need less ballast with your skinny pilot. I wouldn't be surprised if Vern made an announcment to that effect.

bill e. goat said...

Thanks ATM.
I was diverted by the slight of hand trick, and left baffled by "how are they going to deliver 400 jets". That was a diversion, the real intent is to collect deposits on 400 airplanes.

bill e. goat said...

Gunner-
I agree that the BOD must be reaching the end of their patience.
I suspect OIW (Owner-In-Waiting) funding is the most attractive alternative for Vern, rather than getting BBQ'd by the BOD again.

I ran a little math, I figured:
1/3 takers out of 400 prospects
1.3 mil purchase price (don't know actual contract values)
60 percent payment
=(1/3)x(1.3mil)*.6
=104 mil

If they have a burn rate of 10 to 20 $mil/mo, that should last 5 to 10 months. ?Probably through the end of 2007? Hopefully by then, the avionics (and windshield) issues will be at least within demonstrable closing distance.
OIW's, do you feel luck?, Well, do 'ya? (ha just kidding- I don't think I would go for it, but rather make Vern face to BOD again).

Green-or-Red said...

Windshields
Do Part 23 airplanes require bird-strike design?
A windshield can either be a plug-type ~ or float, but it still has to take the pressure loads, thus the bending stresses in the center would be higher. Or it could act like a membrane and transfer loads at the edges into the surrounding structure. This type would be thinner and I beleive is more typical of aircraft design today.
Could some of the pilots on this blog tell us what type windshield design their current aircraft has?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Let me take a stab at the windshield issue.

Airplane design, at its heart, is a series of compromises, decisions that are made on a series of assumptions. This is essentially the same for all airplane designers.

I have seen the Eclipse 500 up close at several shows and the windshield and cockpit side windows appear to be structural, not floating transparencies. That is, they carry part of the airframe loads and do not, as in Lears and other dinosaur planes, sit inside a fixed frame solely to protect the pilots.

IF there was an assumption about overall aircraft stiffness made when designing the METAL part of the plane and the acrylic parts, and the assumption for metal stiffness was wrong either due to bad math (unlikely IMO) or to quality control during the chem-milling, machining, or assembly process (likely IMO), then the plane is bending or flexing in ways that were not accounted for in the design.

Over the short to mid-term, metal is far more forgiving, compared to plastics and glass, to this kind of stress, so the metal parts give a little, the stress has to go somewhere and finds the less flexible acrylic where it reveals itself in the form of cracks.

I bet a dollar to a donut that the issue is NOT the acrylic, it is the AIRFRAME. I believe NORDAM makes the transparencies, so who do we think would have possibly gotten something wrong, a noted aerospace structural vendor, or the upstart kids in the 505?

My money would back the folks in Tulsa having been right, either Eclipse issued a bad design specification based on an apparently incorrect assumption about the stiffness of the airframe, or they are installing the transparencies wrong.

Making the acrylic thicker or going with lower tolerance bushings does not relieve the underlying problem, stress from flexibility that was not designed for. This makes sense also when you consider the aft wing attach bushing wear issue as well.

Simply put - the plane is bending\flexing more than was anticipated. Could be aerodynamic or operational laods, could be pressurization loads - I have no idea why this would be, stress is not my area of expertise, but being in industry as long as I have been, this is the only explanation, shy of non-existent quality at the vendors AND Eclipse that I can think of that would yield these results.

Expect this to be a SIGNIFICANT fix at the end of the day.

Of course, it, and the aft wing attach, are nowhere near as challenging as the Avidyne divorce in my opinion.

If Eclipse does not announce significant manufacturing layoffs within the next 2 - 4 weeks they will FAIL.

It is time to end the endless spin, recognize the situation for what it is, and make MASSIVE efforts to address these design and quality issues.

Once that is done, they can focus on earning a PC, and can then hire a bunch of people AND train them how to do it the right way.

But then, I learned all of this at those dinosaur companies and as a business owner myself - what do I know.

bill e. goat said...

Mike and Rick,
Welcome to the No-spin zone (I hope Vern has a 'chute, just in case- ha! He used to have enough alititude to bail out, but reality is rushing up pretty fast- ha).

Maybe you guys and our fellow bloggers can set me straight.
I thought all windshields were bolted in place, to primary airframe. They are ?plastic of some sort, rather than glass?, but at any rate, are to "flexy" to carry much load. But they aren't infinitely "stretchy", and it would seem tha the cracks in the windshields are probably due to the primary structure flexing too much, resulting in stress concentrations around some of the attach bolts?

The solution would be to slightly relocate the holes to alieviate this stress, or beef up the surround structure so it doesn't flex so much. This doesn't seem like too big of a deal to me. The only ugly part might be the fact the structure is welded (thank goodness for that miracle of modern manufacturing), and all the tooling is already set up to weld certain size thicknesses. Also, reworking the existing airframes would be pretty difficult, again, thanks to FSW- old parts can't just have the rivets drilled out and new parts riveted in.

I had suspected the first X number of airplanes would be "flight test" versions, with substantial concessions to the purchasers. Looks like now that number is at least the 36 or so in production, due to the windshield area rework, and ?maybe non-standard avionics package? (Avidyne, versus brand G, or H, or whatever).

But what the heck is Vern talking about 400 for? Does he have 400 shipsets of Avidyne equipment under contract? Is Avidyne going to deliver to a non-paying customer? (They might, with the hope of at least a partial recoupment of expenditures, but that seems to be, ah, "stretching" things a bit, sort of like the windshield problem).

Can our kind Owner-In-Waiting friends guys shed any light on how Vern is spinning the "We're dumping Avidyne" but going to build 400 airplanes with Avidyne stuff?
Thanks.

airtaximan said...

nerdy engineer,

thanks for the intel, which I lack in this area.

To be clear, the "advantageous" extra weight in the frame solution you proposed, making ballasts less necessary for skinny pilots, diminishes usefull load at MTOW, right?

How much? Any clue?

Jake Pliskin said...

A couple questions: Is all the cockpit "glass" affected? (all four windows)

And referring to the windshields only; does this aircraft use a glass left half and "plastic" right half?

As a followup; What is used for windshield deice?

It would be interesting to know if all 4 windows or just both windshields are affected and if the material differs in affected windows/ windshields.

I don't know much and have no credibility (according to ken and eb) but I have never seen a windshield used as part of the structure.

airtaximan said...

billy,

I love your math. What about ordering parts with the deposit money? All this costs money, and needs to be paid within )if I remember correctly) 2 months or so.

The GRAND PLAN was to produce planes and deliver them BEFORE the payment for parts was due, providing a nifty cash flow for E-clips.

On the current fiasco-production and-financing-plan, of course this is not available.

Add parts cost to your burn, at the ratio of whaever you belive is required to produce planes that is not direct value-add by e-clips, according to Vern's production schedule (rriiigghhht!) and your numbers become insurmountable.

a) they spend the 60% payments on indirect product costs, and YOU'LL NEVER SEE YOUR PLANE
B) they spend the money opn YOUR PLANE'S PARTS, and they will have no cash to operate.

Relying on the deposit money for the burn is a no-win situation.

- if they can leverage the "orders" by demonstrating the good faith 60% deposits reflect real buyers, they could probably get a line of credit...but anyone will first require demonstration of the ability to deliver many planes - read TC.

Anyone wish to stab at the probability of this?

BTW...I think we can all agree on one aspect of Vern's track record:
- anything he's eventually admitted to reflected only around 50% of the real problems. From what we've seen as far as open admissions to specific problems, I bet the open-ended "we've got THIS BROAD CATEGORY OF PROBLEMS, AND THAT BROAD CATEGORY OF PROBLEMS..." in the recent communique...MEANS:

THERE ARE MANY MORE REAL PROBLEMS WE HAVE NOT EVEN HEARD OF YET.

Stay tuned.

Niner Zulu said...

I was just over at the Eclipse website looking at comments from owners who have been to ABQ recently or are in communication with Eclipse management.

One person who toured the factory claimed had the following comment: "...the break up has come as no surprise to Eclipse and that they've been working on the new system integration for many, many months. They're near the end of the cutt-in for the new mfgr., not the beginning". As usual though, Eclipse provided him no details on what they are doing so he may have just been fed the usual spin.

Many of the owners are being pretty blunt now - I didn't see the word "scammed" being used but you can tell many of them are pretty upset about placing more deposits, knowing that there is a substantial risk of total loss of their investment.

I don't think even the most optimistic owners-in-waiting expect anything to be delivered in the few months. So 400 planes delivered in the last 7 months of 2007? Not likely. I predict that not only will Eclipse not produce 400 airplanes this year, but the total number produced and flying by December 31st will be less than 40 assuming there are no further major setbacks.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Jake Pliskin asked the following:
"A couple questions: Is all the cockpit "glass" affected? (all four windows)"

Yes, according to the limitations for the AMM posted here before, all 4 are affected and require a lot of inspection and replacement at rediculously low flight hours (think 250).

"And referring to the windshields only; does this aircraft use a glass left half and "plastic" right half?"

I don't think so but cannot say for sure.

"As a followup; What is used for windshield deice?"

Looked like a wiggle wire element between layers when I saw the plane at SNF last year.

"It would be interesting to know if all 4 windows or just both windshields are affected and if the material differs in affected windows/ windshields."

See above

"I don't know much and have no credibility (according to ken and eb) but I have never seen a windshield used as part of the structure."

There are other aircraft that have these kind of 'plug' windows that mount from the inside and form part of the structure - I think the Challengers maybe, and Boeings but could be remembering wrong. My industry experience is primarily in the in the 6,000 to 30,000 lb range.

The design is not all that unusual as far as I could tell, just maybe they used some bad assumptions.

Each time they fix a cracking area, that stress tries to find another way to get relieved, so in fix situations like this, you can end up with a waterfall of changes until you reach a point where the stress can no longer break a part or component - hence my belief this will be a tougher fix than they thought. Remember, many of the skins on this thing are reportedly dhem-milled down to .025 - we used to call that 'oh too thin' on many of the planes I have been involved with.

Vern thinks his only shot is to keep the illusion going which is precisely the opposite of what they need to do.

It is time for a mea culpa to the customers, a come-to-jesus meeting with the Board, a wholesale management restructuring, layoff just about everybody in manufacturing (sorry guys), fix the structural, system and avionics issues, get a PC, then start over - this could all be done by early-mid 2008 if they focus.

Vern apparently continues to think he cans ship bad planes like Microsoft ships bad code. How much time and money will it take to fix bad airplanes?

What will it cost when one of these wonderjets experiences a totoal electrical failure at FL350 in hard IMC at night?

Ctrl-Alt-Del simply does not cut it - this is a damn airplane as Gadfly pointed out and when the defecation hits the oscillation people can and do die. If I lose the file I was working on when Wondows crashes it is an inconvenience.

When HAL decides to I need to take a space nap and opens the pod bay doors at FL410, I have seconds to take action.

This is not piling on, this is outright frustration at a company that believes the rules do not apply to them because THEY said so.

Does anyone here believe Eclipse could pass Sarbanes-Oxley muster with their current approach at communication and 'creative finance'?

airtaximan said...

wetfish...

thanks for the inshght. now riddle me this Fishman:

how do I promise a fleet of air taxis to my biggest (and only sizeable fleet) customer, if I lay off?

All bets are off, house of cards comes tumbling down as follows:

No Dayjet order, no volume production. No Volume production, no lower cost. No lower cost, no customers....

and you thought this had to do with windshields and avionics!

Pretty scary, no?
- no matter what, they HAD to get the plane right, and the HAD to get many out the door quickly in order to prove their real only competitive advantage..ready:

"YOU CAN BUILD A FLEET WITH E-CLIPS PLANES. WE BUILD'EM FASTER AND CHEAPER THAN ANYONE ELSE."

This is the real key to their business. The only value left, IF they can deliver a functioning product.

So far...they've decided to do the opposite of what you are suggestinh - they hire a high-rate automotive guy to crank out jets.

YEAH, right....

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM

You are hitting the nail on the head - they cannot.

The choice is Eclipse's - stop the endless BS promises and actually try to deliver on the promises already made - or crash and burn like AASI, Vantage, and others - destroying lives and hundreds of millions in capital in the process.

DayJet's founders are big money tech folk, just like Vern. They can weather this storm but they too need to be brutally honest, first with themselves (oops), second with their employees (sorry), and lastly and just as importantly, with their customers (we'll call you, in 2009).

They are 6 months to a year behind Eclipse, because they have to do proving runs, get their 135 approved, etc. Their best hope, as I have repeatedly suggested is to prove or disprove their basic business model using another, available airframe. I still like the TBM 700 for this, but used C-90 or B-200 King Airs would serve just fine. Hell, used Citation 1's for God's sake.

Without a major correction, Eclipse's part in this VLJ thing is going to be just like the 'new economy' bubble in the NASDAQ (coincidentally where most of the people involved made their large fortunes, the ones that will be smaller thanks to aviation).

I see the exact same irrational exuberance in the Eclipse Bubble that surrounded the traders who said 'P/E is dead', there are 'new' rules now in how to value our stock.

Given where Raburn, and the Iacabucci's (DayJet) come from, I could understand this in thier case, but now there are hundreds of buyers being told to pony up their deposit, delivery is right around the corner.

Yeah, and my Juniper stock will recover from the current $19 to it's peak of $217.

But again, this is not a portion of my investable income, this is an airplane, that supposedly will 'revolutionize air travel' and soon be carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers, creating an aluminum overcast not seen since the Berlin airlift.

I can and have recovered much of my losses from the NASDAQ bubble.

How can I replace a loved one lost in a VLJ Air-Taxi accident - who bought a ticket because the operator said it was 'just as safe' as a 121 Carrier, that the training and equipment were 'just as good' as a 121 Carrier?

This whole things stinks worse than the Seattle Fish Market in August, and as a Fish myself, I should know.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Hot off the presses:

Lyrics released for theme song of the Eclipse Saga as it comes to Broadway - Andrew Lloyd WetMacakarelofRelaity is proud to present E-Verna.

Don't Cry For Me Albuquerque (E-Verna)

Lyrics by Andrew Lloyd WetMackarelofReality

It won't be easy
You'll think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
That I still need your money
After all that I've not done
You won't believe me
All you will see
Is a CEO you once knew
Although we might deliver nine
We’ll ask deposits for 402

I had to let it happen
I had to change
Couldn't stay all my life playing #2
Flying Paul’s CJ
In Bill’s shadow
So I chose freedom
Running around claiming everything new
But nothing progressed at all
I never expected it too

Don't cry for me Albuquerque
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild explosions
My mad existence
I never kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

And as for Williams and as for Avidyne
I never invited them in
Though it seemed to the world
They were all I desired
They are illusions
They're not the solutions
They promise to be
The answer was here all the time
I love you and hope you love me

Don't cry for me Albuquerque

Don't cry for me Albuquerque
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild explosions
My mad existence
I never kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

Have I said to much?
There's nothing more I can think of to say to you
But all you have to do
Is look at me to know
That every word is true

--------------------------

This could be considered piling on, but since I opened the door a posts ago, I simply had to walk through.

Planet eX said...

Nordam makes the windows and windshields out of stretched acrylic materials.

Although Nordam has been making windows for years, I believe aircraft windshields are a relatively recent endeavor (except for helicopters).

Nordam is a pretty good company...I worked for them a couple of years in their Nacelle and TR division.

As for birdstrike resistance, FAR 23.775 only requires that for commuter category aircraft.
Therefore, the windshields on the Eclipse do not have to be able to withstand a birdstrike.

Off topic:

Has anyone calculated at what point Eclipse would hit breakeven point? Considering the high-dollar upper management and the lack of any real delivered aircraft, how long can they continue to burn money? Considering the current market downturn, who in their right mind who invest in their IPO?

gadfly said...

Real Fish

That was a “whale” of a song.

For this, you need the “Deep Sea” Quartet: First tuna, Second tuna, Barracuda, and Bass.

Did you write this on “porpoise”, or just for the “halibut”?

. . . we know you put your “sole” into it, but don’t give up your day job . . . we don’t want you to “flounder”.

gadfly said...

Bird strike only for “commuter”? How is an “air taxi” different from a “commuter”? . . . I understood the little jet’s biggest market was to get business men back and forth in a hurry! Honest question! ‘Seems like a seagull in your lapel at 350 knots might spill your coffee, and require a trip to the cleaners upon arrival.

Planet eX said...

That's what FAR 23.775 says:

"
[(h) In addition, for commuter category airplanes, the following applies:
(1) Windshield panes directly in front of the pilots in the normal conduct of their duties, and the supporting structures for these panes, must withstand, without penetration, the impact of a two-pound bird when the velocity of the airplane (relative to the bird along the airplane's flight path) is equal to the airplane's maximum approach flap speed."

As for commuter category, it's all how the company wants to certify the aircraft. Under Part 23, they have the choice of normal, utility, acrobatic, or commuter.

Gunner said...

CWM said:
If Eclipse does not announce significant manufacturing layoffs within the next 2 - 4 weeks they will FAIL.

And I suspect, if they do (absent a show of financial stability by returning deposits to at least half the first 100 they collected on) it'll be an indication that they are truly strapped and dependent on Depositor monies for tomorrow's planes to make today's payroll. As AT points out, the entire financial plan implodes under that weight. Again, they fail

Wonder where EB and Ken are? Think they've abandoned us because we've all gone over the edge what with the falsehoods being told by all the "disgruntled and fired employees"? In any case, I kinda miss them; they were quite good at making our own points for us.

Ken/EB-
Be a couple of sports. Come back and provide some counterweight here.
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

Planet eX- thanks for the info on Nordam. I looked up their website, says they offer "complete testing services" for their acrylic products. Their customer list reads like a who's who of gen av too.

I can't imagine the FAA would let this one slide for an airplane "destined" to be used as an air taxi (although maybe it is scheduled for "later"), and I haven't heard Eclipse crowing about doing a bird strike test- maybe it was conducted by Nordam?

(Somehow, I can't quite see the Vernster shipping them a nose section to use though...maybe the static test article was reused? Or maybe there are 35 other potential candidates for this testing???)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Gunner,

I suspect that the air taxi guys will ride it out - they may not pony up deposits but aside from following my advice, what real alternative do they have?

This is likely the same argument Vern gives Ed everytime they talk on the phone which I suspect may be daily now.

Citation Mustang? Nope, costs too much (given the current 'pricing').

Adam A700? Costs too much, not certified, plastic, and aesthetically challenged.

Phenom 100? Too far out.

Nope Ed is stuck, wait for the wonderjet or swallow his pride and pick something with a propellor or two.

We all remember how much the travelling public liked riding in those 'little' Beech 1900's.

No I suspect Ed knows he is between a rock and a hard place and is willing to 'delay' his entry into service.

Eclipse CAN NOT be in good shape now if they are calling for 400 deposits when they will be lucky to deliver 40 airplanes in the next 12 months.

The time has come for hard decisions to be made.

Is it possible they have been working with a replacement avionics team for months? Sure it is.

Even if Eclipse owns the code and the architecture, and even if they have been planning on\working towards this switch for 6 months - it is insanity to believe this will be a simple production cut-in, and that they have a snowball's chance in Hades . After all, they and their last PARTNER in this had 7 YEARS to not get it right.

Pickle the line, take what you would have spent on 500-600 manufacturing workers and instead spend it on 200-300 engineers, get the design right AND fully certified, EARN a Production Certificate, then hire people, train them how to build airplanes the right way, the first time, and crank these things out like Apple does i-Pods. THEN and only then start planning an IPO or being acquired.

This company has a history of putting the cart before the horse - it is time to break the cycle.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

Go easy on those guys.

The biggest failures I've had in my life was when I was optimisitic about something very big and very hard. Funny thing is, the biggest successes in my life was when I was optimistic about something very big, and very hard.

I am sure somehow this is universal.

In this case, there are some basic fundamental aspects to E-clips that have proven to be bunk. The leadership has demonstrated dishonesty.

It's so obvious to so many folks that its an illusion... but some are still optimisitic...

We've been trying to shake them up...wake them up...but, they are still optimistic.

bill e. goat said...

The internet, being the wonderful thing that it is, had a handy link to a site specifying what the FAR catagories are:

http://www.flightsimaviation.com/da
ta/FARS/part_23-3.html

(I know, it's a web site for Microsoft Flight Sim X, but what the heck). Summary:

Normal: 12,500 lbs or less, 9 passengers or less, up to 60 degrees of bank angle.

Utility: same as above, but can be used for spins and up to 90 degrees of bank angle.

Acrobatic (?aerobatic?): same as above, but unrestricted maneuvering (hmmm, with up to 9 passengers).

Commuter: Specifies prop-driven, multi-engine, 19 passengers or less, 19,000 lbs or less, 60 degrees of bank.

Maybe this is one of the areas the FAA is still getting figured out for VLJ's...

airtaximan said...

superfish,

So no matter what, Daydream is a year away?

The announced a quarter slip just one day before the first announcement of the Avidyne divorce.

Are they stupid?
Are they in the dark?
Did Vern just lie to them one day before the leak?
Did they think somehow it would be best to "not tell everyone" about Avidyne...they WERE surprised b Avidyne leaking the info, right?

Something tells me:
- Vern was going to smooth over the Avidyne thing,
- Ed was fessing to a few week slip as high cover,
- then they would celebrate Avidyne under a bus, and announce Honeywell as a solution
-ask for the 500 position-holder's deposit money

BUT...

Avidyne leaked the split, Vern got scared that the depositors would think he's not being open with them becasue they hear about Avidyne from the news media... so Vern had to come clean for a few things (not specifically, though)and E-clips took the road they took...

remember, it's just about "how you get the deposit money" now..

bill e. goat said...

Timing is sometimes everything...

ATM, I just finished reading your posting about “the biggest successes in my life was when I was optimistic about something very big, and very hard”. Quite true for all of us, mostly.

And, I had the boob tube on (no sign of Vern though). At that moment, a commercial came on about the latest (and the last I hope) Duke's of Hazzard thing, and there was the General Lee jumping some canyon of preposterous dimensions.

That made me think of Evil Knievel jumping the Snake River Canyon. (Some of our younger bloggers probably don't haven't any idea what this is about: Evil (no not Vern, the other Evil) was quite a “promoter” (um, like our Vern), and a truly ballsy motorcycle stunt rider. His hype got himself boxed into (building a VLJ- NO! Read on!) doing a rocket-powered motorcycle jump over some canyon in Idaho.

Wikipedia says:

"Knievel then hired former NASA engineer Robert Truax to design and build the X-2 Skycycle. During two test jumps, the first on April 15, 1972, and the second on June 24, 1973, the rocket failed to make it all the way across the canyon. Knievel said that there would be no more tests and that he would go ahead with the (his VLJ production- NO, sorry, got the stories confused again) scheduled jump on September 8, 1974.
The launch at the Snake River Canyon was at 3:36 p.m. local time. The steam that powered the engine had to get up to a temperature of 700 °F (370 °C). About two-thirds the way up the ramp, the drogue parachute accidentally deployed. The deployed chute caused enough drag that the skycycle couldn't make it all the way across the canyon. The skycycle turned on its side and started to descend into the canyon. The main chute deployed, allowing the wind to carry the skycycle into the canyon wall. By the time it hit the bottom of the canyon, the wind had pushed it across the river enough so that it landed half in and half out of the water. Knievel survived the jump with only minor injuries...."

I remember the look on Evil's face as he was interviewed coming out of the contraption- pure terror.
I think Vern's “Snake River” moment with his X-2 Skycycle is coming, fast.

And, the REAL Evil (K) at least had a parachute!!!

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM,

It is my belief that Vern tells people what HE wants them to believe, and he does it with conviction. This is the gift he brought to the start of this program in my opinion.

Even with the experience of the past 7 years, the missed performance, the missed deadlines, the people and vendors casually tossed under the bus - people still believe him.

I am familiar enough with this project to say that executive decision making is as occult and black an art at Eclipse as anywhere on the planet. The Illuminati could learn a thing or two about secrecy from the executive team at KABQ.

When an announcement like the Avidyne split is made, it is news to most if not all of the people who would be doing, or should be doing, the very work that supposedly has been ongoing for 'months', e.g., Williams, BAe, DeVore, and others.

It is my opinion that Vern's ability to spin a believable yarn to get an investment or a sale is matched only by his cognitive dissonant ability to always find blame outside himself.

So yes, he 'spun' them, again, they believed it, again.

There appear to be some very bright folks at DayJet, as I know there are some very bright people at Eclipse, but if see the world as you want it to be, through rose colored glasses, rather than as it is, you are bound to be taken for a ride.

All my opinion of course, your mileage may vary.

bambazonke said...

Kenny, where arrrre you?

You owe me an appology on the DME thingy, remember I told you it wasn't working and you told me it was..say sorry to B.Z. like a good fellow..

EAC-00001 is restricted for FL-240. How about them berries, after paying for the wonder jet and not being able to fly 700 miles non stop??

Now ask about the mechanic that needs to inspect the plane every day before flight and confirm that little snippet that was learned here on this blog, not the EAC blog..

mike said...

let me take a shot here.
I will put this in terms of my opinion only. :)

I suspect a 50hr windshield inspection time as of now. Not sure lol.

If I were to make an airframe out of, let's say.032" skins and install the 'main' frames and stringers at intervals that were considered to far apart; and use as little substructure as possible, I would have a fine product. Not to mention the inovative techniques in which I would install those pieces, I would have a fine start on a wonderful aircraft. If I were to install windscreens (that went through the normal real world testing techniques - which would be true) and I installed them with the nutplates; from the retainers, with the rivet heads facing the windscreen. And tighten them down. I would have made the mistake in design. You see my innovative a/c with its .032" skins and lightened substructure around the windows would want to flex under pressure.

Let's examine that for a moment - flex/stretch/expand anywhere from .0001" to maybe .001". Doesn't sound like much does it? Well try that over 300 flights, or 300 cycles of the airframe being pressurized multiple times,at let's say up to 8 or 9 psi. All of a sudden I have a fatigue problem initated by a general design flaw with the entire aircraft.

So back to my windows, probably a triple layer of acrylic would do. Along with some metal bushing that would go through the windscreen fastening holes, so when the fastening screws were tightened, those bushing would be rigid with the airframe substructure around them, with a windscreen that doesn't flex in proportion with the new airframe. hmmmmmm? what problems arise from this? I don't know.......

How do I fix my problems of airframe flex during pressurization and my windshields from cracking. Ask an engineer - cause I'm not one;but I do have more experience around aircraft than most 97% of the e-gipse guys.

When I experienced there windscreen problems when I was there I made several suggestions and asked many questions. I was told I didn't know what the F@#k I was talking about. The E-gipsers mindset for fixing things is like a bull in a china shop with binnoculars taped to his eyeballs. They could only see what they wanted to see and not the entire picture.

The way I would fix my new aircraft would be to fix the inherent flex problem by beefing up the airframe substructures and compensating the flex around the windscreens by strengthening those areas especially. Just like any other aircraft I have worked on, the windscreen areas in my plane would not flex to those proportions. That would eliminate the flex problem and a better design by an aeronautical engineer would be sought for the fastening system, not a structural engineer with a Mechanical engineering degree.

Let's comment on information from the E-gipsers website. I'll let you guys do the math on this one.

Go and look up the weights on the E site under specifications. Take the max weight and subtract the static weight of the airframe from it. Take that number and subtract the max weight of fuel(that's how we are getting our range). The number you have left is the amount of people/baggage you can put on the thing.

So let's see : 5950 max weight (they wish)
and 3550 weight of aircraft empty equals the usefull load of 2400lbs. Now take the weight of fuel that I need to fly max range - 1686 pounds of fuel, subtract this number from the usefull load number above, you get what number?

I think its like 714 lbs. Hmmmm. let's see, I can put 4 people on this plane with no baggage. Or 3 people with a little baggae. Or in my opinion you can get 2 people in it with a few decent sized bags. what about the 5th or 6th guys? they are mythical, right or did I add wrong. I'm not a wonder engineer, so I might be wrong.

Maybe Ken can help me out, what you say man? Does my wonder jet have the capacity to fly my 4 golfing buddies to florida without stopping 16 times from San Diego safely? Oh by the way, if you draw out the interior of the aircraft with the provided dimensions you'll find that you can't put even 1 bag of golf clubs in the thing. That you could take to the bank.

I watched the marketing department try to put 5 golf bags in the back of one once, I will vouch for them and say they did it. Let me tell you, you wouldn't be flying under the FAR's if you did. That was like the Micky Mouse rejects putting square pegs into round holes. LOL, never laughed so hard in my life

Kaptain Kool-Aid said...

Mr. Goat,

In the interest of blog accuracy, the man who attempted to jump over the Snake River Canyon was EVEL Knievel, not EVIL Knievel.

airtaximan said...

Mike:

add reserve fuel please...

reduce useful load.

thanks

and thanks for the insight into the windows. some would have us believe its a a problem with the windows!

EclipseBlogger said...

Mike said... Let's examine that for a moment - flex/stretch/expand anywhere from .0001" to maybe .001". Doesn't sound like much does it? Well try that over 300 flights, or 300 cycles of the airframe being pressurized multiple times,at let's say up to 8 or 9 psi. All of a sudden I have a fatigue problem initated by a general design flaw with the entire aircraft.

Mike, you really had me going. I thought maybe you were the real deal. But I guess I'm mistaken. Even a thick piece of windscreen material is flexible. Either you made a typo, or you don't know what you are talking about. I bet I can deflect the windscreen by one tenth of one thousandth of an inch (.0001) with my index finger, never mind 8 psi over the whole window. I would be very surprised if the deflection wasn't many many times more that one thousandth of an inch (.001). I can't believe that a QA engineer would make such a statement, or such a mistake.

Mike said... ...subtract this number from the usefull load number above, you get what number? I think its like 714 lbs. Hmmmm. let's see, I can put 4 people on this plane with no baggage. Or 3 people with a little baggae. Or in my opinion you can get 2 people in it with a few decent sized bags. what about the 5th or 6th guys? they are mythical, right or did I add wrong. I'm not a wonder engineer, so I might be wrong.

I'm really surprised that someone that had been with Eclipse as long as you say that you were would not know the specification of the aircraft, and the claims made by marketing. There was never any claim made to payload in excess of 4 occupants with full fuel, and never with bags. The fifth and (optional) sixth seat are pretty useless unless partial fuel is loaded. Anyone working in the flight department would know that.

Good try.

Jake Pliskin said...

eb;
not to be a ken but when i read mikes post i can see "...doesn't flex in proportion...". you musta missed that part.

to ask my much earlier question again; when were you made aware of the impending avionics shakeup?

bill e. goat said...

KKA- thanks, guess you could say there is enough EVIL in the world, without me adding more.

BTW, I was speaking allegorically of Vern's looming “Snake River Moment”, as the impending financial situation relates to disaster. I would not make light of actual aircraft safety, and I reiterate, I think the E-500 will be safe, and I would fly in one. Without a parachute. Most of the time- ha!

bill e. goat said...

EB, welcome back. It's going to be a little "noisy" for a while. Put in some ear plugs or use the mute button, but please stay tuned in!

gadfly said...

mike

Hang in there, my friend. Since I DO work with aluminum and plastic (acrylic, acetyl, poly-carbonate, etc.), and people pay me big bucks to design AND build devices that depend on these material for accuracy, your comments are more than a little relevant.

Going from ground on a hot day, to say, 40,000 feet . . . in the good old summer time, the temperature has changed from about “140 degrees F” in the hot sun, to minus 40 degrees F (or C . . . at “minus forty” the two systems coincide). In that 180 degree range, the aluminum has changed in size by .002" per inch of length, and the plastic has changed about .006" . . . a three to one difference. I challenge the other blogger to change the “length” of either material in length by pressing his fingers together, in line with the stresses. The aluminum (assuming a 7075 series) has a strength of about “70,000 psi” in tensile or compressive strength . . . for a .032 thickness, this is about 2,240 pounds. The plastic at about 10,000 psi or less, would still require a force of 320 pounds per .032" (. . . or close to a ton, if it is about 3/16" thick) to move it, even the slightest amount. In all my experience with rivets, bolts, and mechanical fasteners, I have never observed any that can sustain more that a “momentary” shear load (sideways) to restrict movement. In other words, there is no way that anything can restrict a “thirty inch” length of plastic from moving about a millimeter in length difference in relation to an aluminum frame, each and every time the aircraft cycles in this temperature range. AND NOTE: This does not take into account the “delta P” (pressure change), from take-off to cruise altitude.

(By the way, a couple or three years ago, I did a careful study of the temperature in an enclosed car, parked in Albuquerque, to determine why a small child can die within minutes. The car was my Lexus RX300, UV tinted . . . windows closed. Within twenty minutes, the inside temperature where a small child would be sitting rose to about 140 degrees . . . lethal temperatures, for sure. The article was published in the Albuquerque Journal . . . and the test showed lower temperatures than would be experienced in a parked aircraft out at “Eclipse” aviation at ABQ.)

Plastic is affected by many things . . . moisture being a major thing (believe it or not), combined with “UV” and many other factors. Plastic is wonderful stuff, but it is never to be treated casually. Maybe in another ‘hundred years, we will have a thorough data base on plastics, comparable to bronze, brass, iron, steel, CRES, aluminum, etc. But until then, the major plastic manufacturers tell us that producing good plastic is still an “art form” . . . believe it or not. We should have the greatest respect for the major plastics manufacturers . . . just as we should have the highest respect for aircraft designers, who know far more than the “books” can possibly reveal. There is no correlation between “truly” functional aircraft, and writing computer code.

In light of empirical experience, the information given by “mike” is in line with actual experience. Even if he cannot express actual numbers, and show specific testing, his observations are “right on”. Thank you, mike . . . you have done us a great service, and we are grateful.

gadfly

Post Script: Back in “olden times”, we figured fuel (gasoline) at 6 pounds per gallon, lube oil at 7.5 pounds per gallon, and passengers at 170 pounds each . . . but that was back in the days of “skinny underfed folks”, that didn’t bother to take along anything heavier than a sack lunch, a shaving kit, and the clothes on their back. Ah yes, the wind blowing through an open cockpit, and having to “yell” to the passenger, to keep his goggles in place, and don’t touch that exhaust pipe . . . it’s “hot”.

cherokee driver said...

eb

I may be wrong but I don't believe it would be quality's job to determine whether the amount of deflection from you poking your finger in the window would cause the window to break. I believe that would be engineering's job. Quality's job would be to insure that the window installation meets the assembly drawings and any other applicicable specifications so it can take engineerings predetermined amount of finger poking.

Since you have been crawling around poking the windows for us, maybe you can tell us what the problem is and when it will be fixed and will it require a complete re-design and will it affect the TC and how many months will it delay the next delivery and any other finger poking knowledge you can impart.

gadfly said...

mike

Hang in there, my friend. Since I DO work with aluminum and plastic (acrylic, acetyl, poly-carbonate, etc.), and people pay me big bucks to design AND build devices that depend on these material for accuracy, your comments are more than a little relevant.

Going from ground on a hot day, to say, 40,000 feet . . . in the good old summer time, the temperature has changed from about “140 degrees F” in the hot sun, to minus 40 degrees F (or C . . . at “minus forty” the two systems coincide). In that 180 degree range, the aluminum has changed in size by .002" per inch of length, and the plastic has changed about .006" . . . a three to one difference. I challenge the other blogger to change the “length” of either material in length by pressing his fingers together, in line with the stresses. The aluminum (assuming a 7075 series) has a strength close to “70,000 psi” in tensile or compressive strength . . . for a .032 thickness, this is about 2,240 pounds. The plastic of the same thickness (which it is not, but much thicker) at about 10,000 psi or less, would still require a force of 320 pounds to move it, even the slightest amount. The plastic is much thicker than that . . . probably about 3/16" thick, so it needs over a ton of force to change its length, or to “resist” the change, in the case of the windscreen (“windshield”). If the rivets are just an inch apart, our “blogger friend” does not understand the difference between linear load, yield strength, and “deflective” loads. In all my experience with rivets, bolts, and mechanical fasteners, I have never observed any that can sustain more that a “momentary” shear load (sideways in line with the rivets) to restrict movement. In other words, there is no way that anything can restrict a “thirty inch” length of plastic from moving about a millimeter in length difference in relation to an aluminum frame, each and every time the aircraft cycles in this temperature range. AND NOTE: This does not take into account the “delta P” (pressure change), from take-off to cruise altitude.

(By the way, a couple or three years ago, I did a careful study of the temperature in an enclosed car, parked in Albuquerque, to determine why a small child can die within minutes. The car was my Lexus RX300, UV tinted . . . windows closed. Within twenty minutes, the inside temperature where a small child would be sitting rose to about 140 degrees . . . lethal temperatures, for sure. The article was published in the Albuquerque Journal . . . and the test showed lower temperatures than would be experienced in a parked aircraft out at “Eclipse” aviation at ABQ.)

Plastic is affected by many things . . . moisture being a major thing (believe it or not), combined with “UV” and many other factors. Plastic is wonderful stuff, but it is never to be treated casually. Maybe in another ‘hundred years, we will have a thorough data base on plastics, comparable to bronze, brass, iron, steel, "chrome-moly" steel, CRES (stainless), aluminum, etc. But until then, the major plastic manufacturers tell us that producing good plastic is still an “art form” . . . believe it or not. We should have the greatest respect for the major plastics manufacturers, and fabricators . . . just as we should have the highest respect for aircraft designers, who know far more than the “books” can possibly reveal. There is no correlation between “truly” functional aircraft, and writing computer code.

In light of empirical testing, the information given by “mike” is in line with actual experience. Even if he cannot express actual numbers, and show specific testing, his observations are “right on”. Thank you, mike . . . you have done us a great service, and we are grateful.

gadfly

Post Script: Back in “olden times”, we figured fuel (gasoline) at 6 pounds per gallon, lube oil at 7.5 pounds per gallon, and passengers at 170 pounds each . . . but that was back in the days of “skinny underfed folks”, that didn’t bother to take along anything heavier than a sack lunch, a shaving kit, and the clothes on their back. Ah yes, the wind blowing through an open cockpit, and having to “yell” to the passenger, to keep his goggles in place, and don’t touch that exhaust pipe . . . it’s “hot” . . . and we might just have to line up with that plowed field down there, and hope we can get stopped before we reach the boundary fence.

Metal Guy said...

EB said “I can’t believe that a QA engineer would make such a statement, or such a mistake.”

Get a life EB – your agenda is just a little too obvious. It depends on where the deflection is occurring and over what distance – both unspecified by Mike, but ASSumed by you. Sure, the center of the windscreen can safely deflect by that much, but measure that between two closely co-located bolt holes around the parameter and it’s a different story. One mil can obviously equate to thousands of pounds of force, depending on the size of the area to which the deflection is applied/measured. 0.001 inch deflection per inch is HUGE when applied over the area of the windscreen. Equally, 0.001 inch movement between two adjacent bolt holes a couple of inches apart is equally huge. It WILL cause cracks when cycled – acrylic will simply not take this. Eclipse should listen to their vendors next time – oh wait, they “told you so” too.

If the windscreen is indeed a structural component, there MUST be a very tight coupling between the airframe and the acrylic – otherwise by definition it would not carry any load. The movement, whether 0.000000001 or 0.01, is obviously enough to crack the windscreen, which is the point here.

The thin skin rumor that indicated that there was skin buckling when fully fueled (or was that fact? – it’s so confusing now) – would certainly jive with a fundamental miscalculation as to how much the entire aircraft physically balloons under pressurization.

What does one do to stop the airframe flexing around the windscreen area, or de-couple the windscreen from the airframe structure?

It would seem that this is a very difficult problem after all – why has no fix been announced?? Surely Vernie would make a big announcement given how much attention this issue has received. Something like “we have increased the structural integrity of the windshield by bla bla bla…” Instead just silence…

But we’re sure making a bunch more exactly the same…

Gunner said...

EB-
I think you miss the point. You believe we're debating each other....and you certainly are.

But many of us are simply trying to encourage the hundreds of lurkers here to think outside (or inside) the box (the vast majority get it). Judging from the Eclipse public responses, I think we're doing pretty damned well. [Congrats, Stan!]

EB, you believe Mike's a fraud, sent here to mislead? And you provide little or no substantiation for that. Well, lemme step into your world of logic for a second.
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Yes, I see it now. Mike is definitely a fraud. He's saying ba-a-a-a-d things about the Eclipse. He's definitely a plant.

Oh, wait...
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I'm getting
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.another
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message.
.
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I understand
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your logic sequence now.


You are the Sith! You MUST BE Vern Raburn, hisself, based on your own twisted logic; The Dark Lord.

See how easy all this becomes when we're allowed run rampant?

Get a Grip and Respond to Reality. Please, you're embarrassing us!
Gunner

Metal Guy said...

Just some easy reading from Wikipedia...
Fraud - Definition:

In criminal law, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them — usually, to obtain property or services unjustly. [1] Fraud can be accomplished through the aid of forged objects. In the criminal law of common law jurisdictions it may be called "theft by deception," "larceny by trick," "larceny by fraud and deception" or something similar.

In academia and science, fraud can refer to academic fraud - the falsifying of research findings which is a form of scientific misconduct - and in common use intellectual fraud signifies falsification of a position taken or implied by an author or speaker, within a book, controversy or debate, or an idea deceptively presented to hide known logical weaknesses. Journalistic fraud implies a similar notion, the falsification of journalistic findings.

Fraud can be committed through many methods, including mail, wire, phone, and the internet (computer crime and internet fraud).

Acts which may constitute criminal fraud include:

- bait and switch
- confidence tricks such as the 419 fraud, Spanish Prisoner, and the shell game
- false advertising
- identity theft
- false billing
- forgery of documents or signatures
- taking money which is under your control, but not yours (embezzlement)
- health fraud, selling of products of spurious use, such as quack medicines
- creation of false companies or "long firms"
- false insurance claims
- bankruptcy fraud, is a US federal crime that can lead to criminal prosecution under the charge of theft of the goods or services
- investment frauds, such as Ponzi schemes
- securities frauds such as pump and dump


Humm.. Mike or Eclipse, Mike or Eclipse...Damn I just don't know..

gadfly said...

'This is better than "Stalag 17"!

mike said...

Eclipseblogger, keep writing stuff, these response you get are educational.

airtaximan said...

EB,

Unless you tell everyone how you feel about what is going on at E-clips, no one will think you are sincere.

You've been provided with some general satements about screwed up things are over there. Some of it must have been news to you, but its been going on for a long time now. No one over there woke up a few days ago and realized there were so many problems.

How do you feel?
Do you feel misled?
Do you feel like someone has been trying as hard as they could to pick your pocket?

Perhaps you think what's been revealed is "no big deal"?

Unless you provide us with this, I think postings, like your last post will be read with great suspect. You seem to be trying to defend E-clips "no matter what". This would mean that somehow, you do not care about recent events or the "reality" of the situation. You dismiss it, as if, everything is as it was a few days ago, before Vern said "e-clips is in shambles".

You can disagree with my personal charaterization "shambles"...but to most of us, this is what appears to be going on.

How do you feel?

And, I forgot, you are a deposit-holder, right?

bill e. goat said...

Hmmm, I said it was going to get noisy, what an understatement!
If I were EB, I think I know how I would feel- put out. He's been sharing info with us, and getting beat up for it.
Yes, Mike's legit. Thank you for joining us Mike, and sharing info, too. Please educate us with more insights when appropriate.
EB questioned some technical stuff, and those concerns were redressed.
He questioned Mike's authenticity, well, we are open to "spoofers", and have been lucky none have dropped in, so far. If there were some bogus posting about landing gear falling off- that would be siezed upon, so it is good to read carefully, and ask questions.
We should all have a bit thicker skin (mine is around my brain- ha). Now, let's all be nice!

Stan Blankenship said...

eclipseblogger,

Since you have some insight into the windshield problem and are closer to Eclipse than the average bear, perhaps you can put to rest a rumor floating around.

Reportedly, after Eclipse discovered the windshield problem, they called in two of the leading producers of general aviation windshields and windows, Nordam from Tulsa and Lee Aerospace from Wichita.

Both companies looked at the materials and the installations.

Both companies faulted the installation and recommended significant redesign.

Both companies were told, we have to work with what we have.

My conclusion here is there were so many airplanes on the line and so much pressure to start deliveries, there was just no time to do it right. A band-aid fix would have to do.

Of course the next thing we are going to hear is that Eclipse has a fix that is FAA approved.

We heard that before. The original design passed all the structural tests and was given FAA approval as well. The windshield just has a pretty short life before cracks start appearing.

airtaximan said...

billy-goad

I don't see your point.
EB swoops in, calls someone who's providing insight an idiot, and you feel bad for EB?

All I've seen from EB were errors on the side of defending E-clips, which is OK if it is sincere, but frankly, it seems too blind to be real. This could be from ego, from disconnection with reality, being paid by e-clips, or a host of other explanations - and I'm not suggesting any of these. Die-hards can be die-hards.

When there's big news like last week, I would think EB EO etc.. would post their thoughts, instead of knit-picking a former e-clips employee.

So the noise continues, as you put it. But I think it's a fair question - everyone here has opined regarding the global nature of the screwiness at Vernco. Why not EB, and EO.

EB has time to knock some details... I'd like to know if he thinks things have changed, how he feels about the recent developments, and whether or not it affects his vision of e-clips (finally) or not?

Fair, no?

bill e. goat said...

ATM- fair enough. It just seems like EB is one against ten lately.

I'm fairly new to the blog, can you guys tell me when the windshield problems came up? I was thinking the "fleet" of flight test and "beta" airplanes has something like 3000 hours cumulative, I don't know what the "high time" hours are.
Stan is right about the structural testing being complete, but only for static testing, according to the Eclipse web site. What's the deal with the fatigue testing? Don't FAR 23 airplanes have to do this? Seems like this sort of problem would have shown up right away there.

BTW, Wiki helps us out again, by looking up acrylics (thanks to CWMOR, Planet Ex, adn Gadfly for info on the construction methods).
Of note, acrylics advantage over glass:

it's lighter
it's lighter (lets in more light- ha, kind of surprising)
it's more impact resistant (doesn't shatter, unlike some of our nerves- ha).

Disadvantages; it scratches easier, and does not filter UV (both problems addressed with surface coatings).

I think EB was referring to membrane deflection, not edge-wise compression, with the "finger test". Nasa -Goddard has a nice article on figuring this deflection, for a circular membrane (well, this might provide a rough order estimate, if someone has the energy and time- i'm too stupid and lazy).

http://www.nasatech.com/Briefs/May98/GSC13783.html

Of note, I figure a roughly 4 sq ft windshield panel, would have about 4500 lbs of force on it with deltaP = 8 psi. That's a lot of outward deflection force, and when that is traslated into a restraining tension force, as the case with a membrane (as Green-or-Red mentioned), that would be a LOT of tension. I suspect the problems are stress concentration around some of the fasteners. It would seem the windshield is strong enough overall, or there would be a catastrophic failure- the cracking is just a way of nature distributing the stress concentration, and the cracking stops once the concentration has been dispersed such that it falls below some critical value. Is this a bunch of BS? Seems to make sense to me- in which case our friends at Eclipse will either have to come up with a windshield that can take the stress concentration, or figure out a way to reduce the concentration (it's not nice to fool with mother nature!).

Nerdy Engineer said...

A quick (and simplified) explanation of cracking.

Once a crack has started, it does not stop, ever. How many single engine cowls have you seen that have been stop drilled and back plated yet the cracks continue? At some point, you will have a catastrophic failure such as the Aloha Airlines accident. The key design goal is to slow the rate of crack growth to the point where you can detect and repair before failure. The only way you can slow growth is to reduce the stress. From Stan's comment it sounds like Eclipse' problem is a faulty design (just like the bushings) and the only solution is to redesign the window frame. They could use a thicker windshield but then you'd have to redesign the frame anyway.

This is why all of the dinosaurs run their fatigue tests concurrently with flight development. That way, they can fix these issues before certification. I guess Vern showed them how it's done.

I would expect other fatigue problems since they haven't done these tests yet.

airtaximan said...

nerdyE,

I though this plane was supposed to be designed for high cycle air taxi operations. Words like durability and reliability, designd for 20,000 cycles..etc..have been used to promote this plane.

"Designed for" means that this was a priority in the design. All trades would conside a priority in the design...

Would you say this is even possible if they've ended up with these problems. Possible without doing fatigue testing? I guess you could do it with "analysis", but this would be a big shortcut - and show their was no priority in the design for the kind of duribility and reliability promoted for high cycle air taxi use.

smoking gun?

Green-or-Red said...

To the best of my knowledge on the windshield panels ...
Static test has been completed ~ probably to 2 factors of pressure or 18 PSI.
Fatigue testing has not started ~ is this because they are waiting on a windshield fix? Or are there other design fixes similar to the aft spar issue that must be implemented prior to start of test?

As far as the windshield, I would not think it has to meet the same fatigue life as the structure of the aircraft. I would think that there is a replacement time for the windshield. More of a deteriation period due to acyrlic being subjected to abrasion, UV, etc.

Plastic_Planes said...

Bill e. goat,

The windshields have been an issue for quite some time (since before I left - about the July time-frame is when it began to cause shortage's on the line). I am not a designer (I was in manufacturing), but the windshields that were used extensively during the test phase (hence the high hours without many problems), were of a different design. The later production windshield also incorporated a different windshield heat grid to address an issue with fogging under certain conditions. Norham (the supplier of the pre production and production windshields) has been working with E-Clips on this issue since last July. Many of the original production AC were built out of sequence due to the lack of windshields - a lot of the production windshields got diverted to flight test to prove out changes. There was also a shortage of windshield center posts, but that's another story.

I don't know if they are talking to another supplier - I left before that.

I still hope they pull this off, but the more I write, the less hopeful I feel.

bill e. goat said...

Thanks NerdE.- you're right, I should have said until the load path changes, rather than just say crack-tip stress would drop on it's own.

I have seen cowl cracks grow through a stop drill hole, given time. But I have also seen them appear to be stopped indefinitely by running into an attachment hole, where the load path changes. Either way, it's just plane, ah, plain, wrong, espeically for a windshield.

I too have concerns about the miracle of FSW. I'm sure Eclipse has done a lot of static, and probably fatigue, testing of '"specimens"- I'm not sure how much testing they've done of welded up assemblies, nor how much environmental testing has been done.

For the air taxi market, that seem to be a concern. Especially, considering the Aloha 737 case- it was a "high cycle" airplane- not so many flight hours, but lots of cabin pressurization cycles, due to the short "island hopping" flights. The Air Taxi guys will probably be doing a lot of relatively short flights too, which will result in a disporportionate number of pressure cycles-to-flight hours.

GoR- I think you are right, and it would be nice to have our Owner-In-Waiting friends tweak Mr. R to get a read on the fatigue test story.

Is Vern's windshield a bit hazed over lately? It would be a miracle if he's not suffering from stress cracks too :).

bill e. goat said...

Plastic Planes- thanks for the info. Looks like a lot of unproven changes were being rolled into production "by analysis".

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Let us just be honest and state the now obvious fact that the airplane was as much designed for high-cycle use and reliability as it was designed to cost $875,000, tyo be delievered in 2003, and to 'revolutionize' air travel.

Eclipse SAID it was designed for reliability, what did they actually DO? With this company you simply cannot take anything SAID or written on face value.

What are we seeing? The CEO himself saying, 3 months after the first AND ONLY customer delivery, they are firing the supplier of the 2nd of the 3 major design concepts for this plane, that they are experiencing component failure rates higher than they expected and they have to brute force the iventory levels to address this.

How amateurish can you be? Did they not have people who understood reliability? Ever hear of the bathtub curve?

Then again, up until late last year, the guy presumably in charge of this was from Dell with a short stint in sales at Mooney. Have to wonder if he had airplane people or computer\high-tech people 'helping' him.

From what I have seen, design-for-reliability or design-for-maintainability requires several key elements, one of them being the heartfelt commitment of the company at the highest levels to embrace those kinds of design principles which cost a lot of money up front typically.

It also requires an equal commitment from the vendor base, and engineering and procurement teams that are in synch about requirements, warranty clauses, and lots more stuff I may not have listed.

Without a sincere commitment at the highest levels of a company, design-for-reliability means no more than the quality system du-jour, or Mom, God and Apple-Pie talk about safety.

Eclipse may have put together a couple nice whitepapers or PowerPoint presentations about airline-like reliability, but the proof is in the pudding (read that Windshields, Cockpit Side Windows, Wing Attach Bushings, Brakes and Tires, Eclectrical Distrubution).

This pudding does not smell very good.

Gunner said...

Sometimes I think we inadvertently speak out of both sides of our mouths, one day discrediting Eclipse's claims to a soon-to-appear Air Taxi market and the next evaluating the jet for that very sort of high use.

For my own part, I consider it a personal use aircraft. I don't believe the [Raburn-defined] Air Taxi market will suddenly materialize and I don't believe DayJet is viable.

So, I'd be satisfied if the jet simply meets personal and private business use demands. From what I see, the current incarnation will not do that functionally or safely, and NO incarnation will do it with financial viability, given the depth of the investment in this pipe-dream.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

Here goes.

No air taxi, no high rate. No high rate, not low cost. No low cost...

Buy any other VLJ.

Bye, Bye Vern.

So, without the Daydream and air taxi fleet customers, Vern has no business. Period.

Even the folks here have said:

"show me something else for $1.5 million, and I'll buy it" - The E-500 will never be any cleaper than the Mustang, unless they produce many, many, more planes.

See Jack Pelton for why they aim to produce 150 Mustangs a year and charge $2.5 for them, Versus Vern and his 1,500 target production and price of $1.5x million.

Sorry for the diversion to air taxi...but I am THE Airtaximan, right! Air taxi = eclipse 500, otherwise the plane is priced like the other VLJ's and its got no competitive attributes that would make you want it.

That's why we bring it up.

Also, it's a nice reminder how FOS the claims are...all around.

Nerdy Engineer said...

Taximan:
Re: "designed for high cycle... blah... blah... blah"

I think I answered this before but here it is again. The "high cycle" statement is a load of marketing crap partly because high cycle is undefined. 1000 cycles would be high for a single engine but would be nothing for an airliner. Even saying it's designed for 20,000 cycles isn't saying much. I could say my car is designed for a million miles if I replaced the engine and the transmission and the suspension, etc. Anything will last forever if you keep dumping money into it.

Billy:
Re: Cracks
Your example of stopping a crack is sort of correct. In reality, the crack growth has been reduced to an imperceptable rate. In my simplified explanation above I left out the fact that visible cracks start as surface defects (scratches, machining marks, etc.). All surfaces have such defects. The goal is to keep stress low enough so they don't grow too quickly.

Re: Fatigue & Static Testing
Although both of these involve stress they are distinctly independent. A successful static test means that it didn't fail on the first cycle. Durability over repeated cycles is the key in aviation. You can also perform durability/fatigue testing on different component individually. For example, landing gear cycles don't have much effect on pressurization cycles or engine cycles. If Eclipse doesn't recognize this, they don't have a clue what they're doing.

Gunner said...

AT-
And I couldn't agree more. That's why I stated, "NO incarnation will do it with financial viability, given the depth of the investment in this pipe-dream."

It's also why I've repeatedly taken the position that the magic number for a personal, twin engine jet probably begins with the numeral "2".

Gunner

bill e. goat said...

Gunner-
??? you are not referring to the x-TWO Skycycle are you? I think it was just a single ! :)

airtaximan said...

hmm...


40 E-500s positions for sale on Controller, alone. Based on previous indications, there could be many more "for sale"...

And, according to Mike Press...100 or so have already been sold off...

Pick a number 500, 600, 700 (all reports are around 600 or so) non-fleet (fleet = insiders with "some sort of" deposit) and you come up with the "sell off" percentage...

I'll levae it up to the "experts" to fight out what all this means. But to me, this is a lot of sellers.

A notrmal aviation company seeks to legitimize their plane with an orderbook made up of real buyers who want to buy the plane, not arbitrageurs lookng to sell off their positions for a profit.

I believe E-clips has a "speculator" orderbook, and TODAY (still Sunday) after the "big-scary-open-ended-admission-and-plea-for-more-deposits" the market seems to have swelled at least from around 30-40 since the news.

Again, I say "around"... I'm not checking every day...but I did look last week and again today.

My bet is by the end of this comiong week, we'll see 50 up for sale on COntroller alone, unless its already been determined to be a waste of time to advertise there...

thoughts?

Gunner said...

bill e.
I think the situation is far beyond, "Hey, let's retread, re-engineer, regroup and remarket". All of this costs investment money. Investment money raises sales price.

No, Eclipse's die is cast. They either have a jet that can enter service with a few tweaks and catch-ups or they're a very expensive Also-Ran.
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

(Reposted from above with revised, family-friendly wording for describing my feelings about the period between Willaims and P&W):

I suspect there will be some "drop-outs" with bad news about avionics, and things sort of seeming to be stuck in the mud for a while. How many? Kind of hard to tell, I think some were going to be selling anyway, before delivery, this just accelerated their timing, but perhaps not so much the cumulative number.
I think someone posted an upcoming employee meeting this week- suspect there will be some pertinent news coming out of that.
Given a history of quite a bit of "stuntsmanship", I'm wondering if hanging on to production workers is not a facade to reassure the customers. I'd hate to see any layoffs (furloughs, temporary in nature, at worse, I trust). Or maybe he can use the 6 to 12 months down time to start a riveting training program. Or computer science program for all the new robots. At least Eclipse ought to do something with the "dead time", unlike the wasted two years of the re-engine period.
I would suspect a lot of "consumer confidence" will depend upon how realistic and transparent his moves are during the next two months.

bill e. goat said...

1)If I were the Chief Chef of Kool Aid, and IF I had confidence that the airframe reworks will be minimal, I'd go ahead with low-rate airframe production, and find a clean dry place to store them.

I suppose that now the wings are made in Japan, and the nose is made in So. America, and the tail made in UK, it wouldn't take that much room to store a few dozen fuselages, say producing one or two per week (eventually, after a C-A-U-T-I-O-U-S ramp up).

Install systems, no. Install engines, no. Install fuel lines and wiring, maybe (wiring might evolve and require rework though). And then spend the next 8 months doing bench integration, flight test, fatigue test, redoing manufacturing FTP's, get the training program going, setting up support centers.

Let the air taxi guys and training center use the 3 dozen “pre-production” airplanes with whatever hodge podge components that are required. Put a nice interior in 'em, and let the sales department use them. Use them to train the sales guys for demos. Sell them to the military as drones. Whatever.

Then have a coming out party at NBAA, and stuff the shells with systems and engines, and deliver maybe two dozen by the end of the year, and a couple hundred or so next year.

I know this is expensive, I'd guess another $150M, maybe more. Previously, Eclipse was rightfully concerned with "getting it right" so that entry into service was smooth, and the plane didn't develope a bad rap out of the starting gate. Given what must be an imminent financial crisis, I don't know what approach they are going to take.

Plastic_Planes said...

BEG:

Just a minor point - the tail is made in Grand Prairie, TX. Hampson has a plant there.

Only the Pre-Por and the first couple of production units were made in the UK.

/s/

bill e. goat said...

Thanks P_P.
Wow- another vendor switch. At least this time it's jobs in the USA.

gadfly said...

At least the empenage (tail section) wasn't made by the same people that put the tail on the "Airbus"!

mike said...

The tail sections are riveted together at the eclipse hangers in ABQ. So whoever is saying that they are made elsewhere would be wrong. Matter of fact, I have a good friend that started about the same time I did and that was his job, putting the tail sections together and mating them to the fuselage.

bill e. goat said...

Hi guys,
Thanks P_P- I checked the Eclipse web site, and it says Hampson Industries makes the empennage, vertical stab, horizontal stab, rudder, and elevator.
Mike- Maybe your buddies were assembling the pieces from Hampson to form the whole of the tail?
(Then again, the Eclipse web site shows Avidyne as a supplier, so it might be obsolete info there).

BTW, the Eclipse web site has a view showing the two AVIO processor boxes.
http://www.eclipseaviation.com/eclipse_500/avio/virtual_tai.html
There are two large boxes of roughly equal size near by- one just above it, and one just above and aft. I thought these my be power distribution boxes (maybe they are- but the "electronic circuit breaker" boxes are shown in the cockpit area- forward of the displays). Anyone know what these things are?
Thanks.

bill e. goat said...

Gadfly- thanks for the previous info regarding filiments in composites- most interesting.

I've read there has been an interesting change in test technique since the Airbus incident. Used to be all the manufacturers tested max load by stomping on the rudder pedals, and measuring load. After the Airbus incident, they are gradually introducing max rudder deflection one way, then measuring max load during a sudden full rudder reversal, as opposed to max steady state deflection loads.

Who woulda thought those anyone would be doing sudden rudder reversals??? Apparently, everyone except Airbus, and everyone else had adequate margin for it. But now those conditions are being tested explicitly. Hmmm, by everone, ???including Airbus???

(Then again, Boeing fought the 737 rudder actuator thing forever, putting on quite an unseemly show in the process).

Nice article on Eclipse moving it's a*s, I mean, tail:
https://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/briefs/190867-1.html

Plastic_Planes said...

Mike:

Aft Cabin mate is done in SP11 (was formerly done in Hgr 5). The actual construction of the vertical and horizontal is done by Hampson in Grand Prairie. I know Hampson was having some difficulties witht he Horizontal to Vertical mount, but as far as I know, they are still responsible for the build up of the empennage.

The aft fuse is built up by E-Clips(Cells 6B-1, 6B-2, 6B-3 and 6B-4), and the aft fuse to vertical mate is done in house, but Hampson has been building verticals and horizontals since the pre-pro days.

BEG:

This is not a vendor switch - Hampson opened a facility in Grand Prairie to bring the manufacturing closer to the final assy site. They are still part of Hampson UK.

Regarding your comments about building "shell airplanes", E-Clips does some of that today to avoid line stoppages (it's called "traveled work"). It usually happens when the parts aren't there at the time normally required for assembly. That has been an issue. The problem is that some systems reside under others, so if they aren't put in in the right order, you have to pull things out to put other things in. It is purposely staged to build in the correct order. But yes, major systems (engines and Avionics) can be delayed in order to keep costs low.

The E-Clips business model required most of the suppliers to provide material on a "consignment" basis. The material is held in E-Clips' factory but is still "supplier-owned". When the parts are installed, the installation triggers an invoice to E-Clips. Then, typically, there are net-30 or net-60 terms, meaning the AC is in the customer's hands before the invoice comes due.

The real problem occurs when the material is either "aged" - not used for a significant amount of time, or when the product fails to ship, in which case E-Clips gains no revenue, but the bills come due.

Hence, the need for 60% payments to keep the money flowing to the suppliers. Don't pay you suppliers, and your parts fail to show up. In addition, the labor force must be paid every other week.

The last lesson - if they slow the line down significantly, they face having to let a bunch (literally hundreds) of people go. Assume for a minute they fix their problems and restart the line. What do you suppose happened to those trained people? Can you say Indy? Wichita? Denver? Savannah? Columbus?

It's a huge Catch-22. I hope they can dig out of this, but Will Rogers once said "When you find yourself at the bottom of a deep hole, quit digging".

/s/

Plastic_Planes said...

BEG:

You can search faster than I can type. That's the one.

EclipseBlogger said...

mike said...
The tail sections are riveted together at the eclipse hangers in ABQ. So whoever is saying that they are made elsewhere would be wrong. Matter of fact, I have a good friend that started about the same time I did and that was his job, putting the tail sections together and mating them to the fuselage.

bill e. goat said...
Hi guys,
Thanks P_P- I checked the Eclipse web site, and it says Hampson Industries makes the empennage, vertical stab, horizontal stab, rudder, and elevator.
Mike- Maybe your buddies were assembling the pieces from Hampson to form the whole of the tail?


Again, Mike is either misinformed, or unaware - in either case, unreliable. Plastic_planes did get it right. Hampson has been doing the tail sections since the beginning of the test fleet. They were initially done by Hampson employees at the Eclipse facilities a very long ago. The financing structure described by Plastic_planes is also correct.

bill e. goat said...

Hi EB, welcome back.

You and Mike were both right about the windshield deflection- you guys were just talking about different things- You were right about outward deflection, and Mike was right about edge-wise deflection.

Mike is both right and wrong about the tail assembly- right that is assembled at Eclipse, and wrong about the part it is made else where- parts are made elsewhere, then shipped to ABQ for assy. I think he'll concede this detail, and can probably share with us some stories about the assy line.

I was both right and wrong too- I thought the tail was made in the UK. Instead, it is made by a UK company, with an operation in Texas- thanks to PP for pointing that out.

Anyway, welcome back. I an effort to stave off another wave of EB-bashing, I will admonish you to be nice to Mike :). Now, everyone else- please don't go there- be nice to EB too :)

Well, I have to hop on my Skycycle and get outa here.

Y'all have a nice day!

mike said...

You'll have to forgive me, I'm not a professional blogger. I've been writing down what I think and assume, not realizing it would be picked apart.

E.blogger - hey dude, why didn't you answer Gadfly when he put his 2 cents in about what I said on the windshields? Did you not have a clue of what he was talking about, or you unable to find somekind of clerical error?

Let me specify on what I know on the tail section....... My buddy in sp5 would start with 2 skins and a bucket full of parts. He had this nice vertical jig that stands about 10 feet tall with a catwalk stand around it to walk on.
I was surprised to see that a lot of the work performed was done with a tech inside the structure in a stooped position due to the lack of space.

The Horizonal and Vertical Stabs are produced somewhere else, but the entire tail section is assembled in ABQ - I only take credit for when I was there.

I just assumed we were talking about the assembly of the entire aft section, not where the individual pieces were made.

So E blogger, nothing I said was true huh? OK

I wish I knew the rules of this blogging sh!t, the written word can be picked apart.

Hey E blogger, since your so informed on what's going on with the company and their processes. Let me ask you a question and we'll judge you and see if you know what your talking about. Here's the question:

Was there a mistake on the company's part with exceptance of the aircraft skins?
(second part of question)
If the company got hold of some skins that weren't within specifications, would they make it to the floor and if they did, how many aircraft might get these skins?
(third part of question - cause this is a real question) What would the companies fix be if these skins were incorporated with the fuselage?

Now, I'll give you and everyone else a hint, if you don't someone in Engineering,QA, or in QME than you won't be able to answer this question. Your little marketing department buddies or manufacturing flunkies won't have an idea. So findout and let's see who knows what they are talking about, and next time I write in I will try to follow the rules of 'specific' writing.

Do we get a certificate after we write in for a while?

airtaximan said...

EB, still no revelations about Vern admisions last week?

How are you feeling about Vern and E-clips??

EclipseBlogger said...

Mike asked... Was there a mistake on the company's part with acceptance of the aircraft skins?
If the company got hold of some skins that weren't within specifications, would they make it to the floor and if they did, how many aircraft might get these skins?
(third part of question - cause this is a real question) What would the companies fix be if these skins were incorporated with the fuselage?


Since I am not part of the company, I cannot say what they would do in these situations. If I had knowledge of what they had done in the past, I would pass it along. But, I have not had any interaction on the subject on non-conformance of skins (their than that presented here), so I really can't respond.

Mike said... E.blogger - hey dude, why didn't you answer Gadfly when he put his 2 cents in about what I said on the windshields? Did you not have a clue of what he was talking about, or you unable to find some kind of clerical error?

Around here, "clerical errors" tend to be taken as fact. If Gadfly asked me a question, I might have missed it. I will sometimes tend to skip over the long history lessons, unless I have the time to read on.

Cabbie said... EB, still no revelations about Vern admissions last week?

As I know if other developments that will soon be announced (hopefully in the interest in openness and frequent communication), I still have hope that these recent problems will be overcome quite quickly. As far as my feeling about the communication, it is typical Vern-speak that we have heard many times before, promising better communication, openness, etc. I don't have much hope for improvement in communication. Eclipse has a long way to go to earn back the trust of everyone on that front.

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

EB,

thanks. So you still believe that "soon" planes will begin rolling off the assembly and be delivered.

The problems cited do not seem to be very big problems, created by systemic issues that are normally very difficult costly and timeconsuming to try to rectify?

The problems that were communicated ppublicly so far are "all" the problems? There' nothing more Vern is not telling us?

The problems described (albeit only in general terms) do not seem like the plane has not been designed for high cycle/durability/air taxi use, as they've been promoting?

Do you feel like E-clips is doing "anything" possible, to try to get more deposits? They might say or do "anything" to get this money?

Again, I'm trying to understand what you think at this point? I appologize if my view comes into play, but I would like to know YOUR view on these matters.

Sincere thanks

EclipseBlogger said...

Cabbie said... The problems that were communicated publicly so far are "all" the problems? There' nothing more Vern is not telling us?

I don't think anyone here would believe that we know all of the problems at any one time, past, present, or in future. There is always some fire to put out (maybe they should have developed Phostrex sooner). If the windscreen problem continues to be as described here, I am not aware of that. It was my understanding that fixes were in place. Or, perhaps they just didn't work as expected, and I need new info.

Cabbie said... Do you feel like E-clips is doing "anything" possible, to try to get more deposits? They might say or do "anything" to get this money?

Obviously cash is important to continuation. I think they honestly "believe" that they will pull this off (their own misguided assumption, maybe). Deposit chasing has been put pretty much on hold with the release of the "latest delivery schedule". I don't think you'll see further requests for money, outside the six month window, until deliveries start rolling. If Eclipse finds itself cash strapped, they may provide incentives to get more cheap money, but that would be up to each position holder to participate. If you don't fall into Eclipse projected six month delivery window, the deposit should not be expected. Eclipse does have, and continues to have, other avenues to get more cash.

airtaximan said...

EB, thanks.

I forget, do you have a position?

Do you think their current attempts to get deposits with "incentives" looks desperate?

Asking for 400 60% deposits when you cannot really deliver planes is kinda suspicious in my opinion. What do you think?

I agree, they could get the money elsewhere...so why not?

I like your answer about "all the problems" including ones we do not know of in the future. Sounds like something I might have written. What I mean to ask is:

-do you think they have disclosed all of the problems there are currently, and have accurately characterized them? Just your opinion...I know you do not know.

Thanks

EclipseBlogger said...

Cabbie said... I forget, do you have a position?

I don't currently have a position, but would be interested in several should they get all this worked out. I do believe that the 500 does have a niche and could be very viable in today's market.

Cabbie said... Do you think their current attempts to get deposits with "incentives" looks desperate?

No, not desperate. But it would be very much less expensive than going through traditional financing.

Cabbie said... Asking for 400 60% deposits when you cannot really deliver planes is kinda suspicious in my opinion. What do you think?

The progress payment schedule was always part of the financing plan since conception and announcement to the general public. The touchy part of this has always been with the first position holders, whether the problems had come up or not. You have to start collecting the progress payments at some point, and the financing schedule doesn't count on gratis deposits for first position takers just because there is no previous history of deliveries. A "guess" had to made about the delivery/production schedule, collect the deposits based on that. Unfortunately, the problems arose, and the production was no where near what was projected.

Cabbie said... I agree, they could get the money elsewhere...so why not?

Answered above, it's cheap money.

Cabbie said... I like your answer about "all the problems" including ones we do not know of in the future. Sounds like something I might have written. What I mean to ask is:

-do you think they have disclosed all of the problems there are currently, and have accurately characterized them? Just your opinion...I know you do not know.


Because of the nature of the management of company, only those directly involved in any of the major problems, know all of the details, progress and corrections. If there are other problems, my sources and contacts either do not know, or are not willing to disclose them at this time. I have posted most everything that I am aware of, and that I am able to say. I wouldn't be surprised if there are still a few more surprises to come.

Something I would like to says is that the departure of the many good people is not just Eclipses fault as being unresponsive. The program is very aggressive, with demanding schedules, workload, and responsibilities. Anyone taking a job there expecting a 40 hour work week is not going to be happy, and will not last long. The job has taken is toll on many families. This is certainly not the only problem that may have been experienced. But, I also don't think that Eclipse hides the fact that this is not your typical job. If you can adapt to the load and the change of scenery, the rewards could also be very great. It's not for everyone.

Gunner said...

EB-
I give you great credit for open and honest responses this round. Thanks much for that but be careful: you're almost starting to sound like an Eclipse Aviation Critic! ;-)

70-80 hour work weeks is telling, in itself, when none of the competitors are suffering these kinds of turnover rates. I doubt Adam or Diamond, for instance, have any fewer production obstacles to overcome than Eclipse.

What I'm picturing at the factory, however, is pure dysfunction. The marketing department seems to be calling the shots, with engineering and production being expected to "make it so". This is a recipe for disaster in any endeavor. It serves only to hype buyer expectations, rush buggy products to market and rob technical professionals of their confidence in the product and interest in the job.

Result:
Mike and plastic-planes have already described the result.

Gunner

Observer said...

Coldwet... said:

"From what I have seen, design-for-reliability or design-for-maintainability requires several key elements, one of them being the heartfelt commitment of the company at the highest levels to embrace those kinds of design principles which cost a lot of money up front typically.
...
Without a sincere commitment at the highest levels of a company, design-for-reliability means no more than the quality system du-jour, or Mom, God and Apple-Pie talk about safety."

Absolutely right. It's easy to talk about safety (and reliability), most manufacturers claim their plane is the safest ever built. All BS until crash time and the results are analyzed.

Did anyone see the Sport-Jet VLJ cabin at Oshkosh after their wake vortex crash? Door operated perfectly, cabin held up, two people got up and walked out of the plane after it cartwheeled. NO windshield or window cracks either (after the force of the crash). Here's an example of a company committed to safety, not hype (designed plane with crush zones so as to protect occupants). Lot of transparency also, doubt if Eclipse would bring a plane to an airshow to show everyone how well it survived a crash.

Sorry ... I know this is an Eclipse blog. Just wanted to point out the differences between Eclipse (all hype, no product) and other companies out their.

Mike,
Re: skin thickness
You brought up a critical issue. Are there still problems with skins? was it just a matter of incorrect specs given to Hampson?

I talked to someone in the Hampson plant in the UK who saw the first tail sections built in the UK. Said the skins were too thin.

Wondered if Eclipse was trying to get away with using skins which were too thin and then figured it wouldn't work and changed later.

Looks like you are indicating that when skins arrived which were too thin that Eclipse used them anyway?

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... I give you great credit for open and honest responses this round. Thanks much for that but be careful: you're almost starting to sound like an Eclipse Aviation Critic! ;-)

I'm just looking for the truth. I have a great deal of interest in the company, and have been following it since conception.

Gunner said... What I'm picturing at the factory, however, is pure dysfunction. The marketing department seems to be calling the shots, with engineering and production being expected to "make it so".

I agree that that is the picture painted here, but my experience with my employee and management contacts in the company is quite different. I think a lot of the difference is in employees trying to get used to the full time culture of the company. I did this in the tech industry when I was younger, but doubt I could handle it now.

airtaximan said...

EB,

would you buy E-clips planes for personal or revenue use?

why have you waited so long? You seem to be a big believer, why not deposit?

I can only imagine what is really going on inside e-clips, and it cannot be pretty. Somehow, I have a problem with working the employees to the bone in an engineerng and labor-intenisve business and still expecting safety and quality.

But, I may just be cut from Dinosaur cloth...

Gunner said...

EB said, "I agree that that is the picture painted here"

But it's not just the picture painted here. It's a mosaic painted by all the facts; a picture that simply cannot be ignored:

- Enormous turnover, even at the executive level

- Unbelievable claims to market numbers, production rates and schedules

- Frightening admissions, from the very top, of design and construction flaws, substandard vendor performance, materials scarcity, materials defects and more

- Regular walk-offs from vendors with impeccable credentials in the industry

EB, these are simple facts. They can't be ignored. And they can't be blamed on anything other than a dysfunctional Corporate Culture and a marketing approach reminiscent of Snake Oil hucksterism.

Without putting you too much on the spot, I too would like to hear an answer to AT's question as to why you're not a depositor.

I'll tell you my motives for skepticism about the E-500:
- First hand dealings with the company demonstrate to me that their Marketing Department is not to be trusted.

- I have a vested interest in whether GA user fees jump as a result of claims from Eclipse

- I have a vested interest in whether Insurance Rates increase due to a spike in GA accidents.

- I have a vested interest in seeing that the US Aircraft Industry maintain the highest possible levels of reliability and safety on the planet (I'm in the market for a new aircraft, possibly a VLJ.)

I've just ticked off the items that affect me personally. I'd like to hear your counter-arguments as to why you give Eclipse every possible benefit of doubt, even in the face of facts and anecdotal inside info which argue for extreme skepticism.

If you're a broker, that's fine. It renders your opinion no less important than any of the rest of ours. But if, as you say, you're interested in the "Truth", I think a bit more background is in order.

Are you an aircraft broker?
Rich

Pub_Grub said...

Observer, per your comments on the Empennage skin thickness.

"Mike,
Re: skin thickness
You brought up a critical issue. Are there still problems with skins? was it just a matter of incorrect specs given to Hampson?

I talked to someone in the Hampson plant in the UK who saw the first tail sections built in the UK. Said the skins were too thin."

All the skins used went through a full conformity process based on the drawing and spec requirements. Any deviations were NCR'd and allocated per the dispo. In certain cases, the design thickness of the skin did create some unique opportunities at assembly.

Donald said...

To the person or person's that question Inspector Mike as a former employee.

Yes, Mike worked as an Inspector for Flight Test. I am sure he will mail any of you a copy of his Tax stement minus his Social Security number for proof.

One of the cool things about living in the United Staes is the privelage of Freedom of Speech. That is the concept of the inherent right to voice one's opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment.

I respect Mike as a person and as an Inspector. I have nothing bad to say about Eclipse. I hope they are successful for many reasons.

Remember, there are knuckleheads wherever you work. I credit Vern for spending so many years dedicating himself for one of his dreams. Not many people have this dedication. I also credit those that have remained at Eclipse during the bad times. I wish them all good luck