News Update from ABQ – Part 3
Important Milestone - Delivery number 2
By Bob McKlain (Jim’s brother) Journal Staff Writer
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Sunday March 11, 2007
Vern Raburn Eclipse President and CEO announced today that despite rumors that Eclipse could not deliver airplanes, Eclipse second certified aircraft was delivered today. Well almost.
Under a veil of secrecy, the ceremony that was to take place at the factory was postponed. Perhaps indefinitely. Initially, Mr. Raburn was supposed to hand over the keys to the as-yet-to-be-disclosed-buyer, but the buyer did not make it to the ceremony.
Bob McKlain received the invitation to the ceremony which promised a personal appearance of position-holder-number-3 who was gong to step in to receive the aircraft in place of DJ, the designated position-holder number-2, who apparently did not want or could not afford to take the plane, despite arranging $50,000,000 in financing the week before.
A letter to invitees from Mr. Raburn explained the following:
Dear ceremonial Eclipse keys handing over attendees,
Unfortunately, we had arranged for position-holder number 3 to take DJ’s airplane in a grand ceremony today, since it’s been so long since our first delivery, despite promises of many deliveries so far. This second delivery is perhaps our greatest accomplishment to date, as it replaces about 50 aircraft we promised to deliver by now – so, the celebration we planned was indeed grand. Probably befitting 50 airplane deliveries! It would have been terrific.
We decided just now to put off the delivery, not because the plane did not receive a C of A, and not because the plane really does not meet guarantees, and not because the plane has very limited utility due to cracking and inspection intervals – we leased back the plane so the owner will make money with this plane, not matter what.
Also, we offered to upgrade whatever needs to be working properly in order for him to have a functioning airplane, not a mock up. Upon receiving such assurances, and stipulation the retrofits, upgrades and fixes would be at our cost, he assured Eclipse Aviation Corporation that he was satisfied, in writing. Well, he did not object in writing, so we made him take the plane.
In sum, the blame goes squarely on the customer. YES, it’s HIS FAULT. For the first time (another first, I might add) Eclipse is NOT blaming a supplier. This time it’s the customer who is to blame.
We now understand that somehow the customer refused to make a public appearance to accept his plane. We offered, and he did not reject the following customer-focused solution in order to arrange a proud key-handing-over experience.
Let's reflect on history for some context: does anyone remember “the unknown comic”? He wore a paper bag over his head while on stage so that no one could ever recognize him? We offer this as a solution for customer-number-3 who was taking customer-number-2’s (DJ's) position, and we thought he was completely OK with it.
Unfortunately for all you dedicated employees, suppliers and customers, he did not show. As I said before, It is his fault.
Available for comment was CEO of Avidyne Corporation Dan Schwinn and VP of training for United Airlines, who somehow both removed their paper bags from their heads and simultaneously said: we’re not surprised customer-number-3 did not want to be associated with this program at this point...we spent $300,000 on legal fees just to get Vern off our back and get out of this program. As part of the legal settlement Vern made us agree to be on hand for delivery ceremonies like this, but we were promised hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.
The customer was supposed to show, and you’d think that if ex-suppliers could come, take off their bags and show their faces, the customer would be here to take the keys?
In a wild twist, Andrew Broom was seen being duct-taped to the main gear of the deliverable aircraft by Mr. Raburn who was shouting “ you can’t quit, you are in it for the long haul – they are your customers and from now on, they WILL show up to take their planes when I say they will. NO refunds… and no more paper bags. They will show their faces - it's in the contract"
Thanks again to airtaximan for sharing this important story.