Sunday, March 11, 2007

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.

32 comments:

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

Why don't you let up already? A key Eclipse employee suffered a massive Stroke and was in an serious automobile accident Friday.

Why do you think that they are not celebrating?

By the way, I probably don't have half of the aviation experience as some of you mental giants have but it would seem to me that it would possibly take longer to have the FAA sign off on a Part 135 aircraft (AC2) than it would for a non-Part 135 aircraft (AC3).

KA1

Stan Blankenship said...

koolaid-drinker1,

Look I am sorry for anything bad that may have befallen the Eclipse employee.

Many times, comments here have expressed concern and admiration for what a bunch of hard working and dedicated souls must be going thru trying to breathe life into this new airplane.

I am sure the pressure to perform is great on every employee. Whether or not this pressure had anything to do with the key employee's misfortune should be a reminder to the Eclipse management to let up on their impossible demands.

Former employees have reported working 10-12 hour days for weeks on end without any time off, certainly not a healthy situation for anyone.

gadfly said...

To Koolaid-Drinker”:

In light of what you have told us, I’m sure that some could “parrot” the last lines of “Casey at the Bat”, in an effort to back off on power, lower the flaps, the gear, and make the transition from “light” criticism, to the land of reality, and return to the tarmac:
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.
But there is nothing light or humorous about the possible loss of life of anyone, regardless of their connection with “Eclipse”.
Somewhere, as you have mentioned, a family is more than a little concerned . . . lives are at stake . . . it gives little comfort for another, such as myself, to say, “been there, done that” . . . loved ones grieve, and wait in agony . . . and a family comes right up to the basic values of life, both now and eternal.
For those of us who have put our trust in the God, Who has control over all human events, may we pray that God will be glorified in this human tragedy, and that the “employee”, and the family of that individual may experience the Joy and comfort that only God can give.
As I’m just a few words from sharing my deepest beliefs, and my trust in my Savior, I will end my comments, so as not to offend any more of you . . .

gadfly

(Sooner or later, “sooner than later”, the discussion will return to the safety of the “little jet”, and the concerns that the event that you mention will not occur at 24,000, or 41,000 feet . . . when more than one person may be in jeopardy.
My apologies to Stan, and any or all of you, if I have “presumed” to speak of things that make you ill at ease. KA1 brought the issues of the matter right down to the basics, and I could not keep my mouth shut.)

Metal Guy said...

KA1
Sorry to hear that – I have worked with many of them. Any idea who?

airtaximan said...

KA1,

I seriously hope somehowm you are joking about the stroke... Vern hinself said the ceremnony was put off becsue the buyer wanted to remain anonymous.

and...

when you say it should take longer for the FAA to sign off on a PArt 135 plane... I would simply ask:
Longer than 8 years? This is the "revolutionarily designed air taxi plane" right?

There are some here who make th argument that the 135 issues are behind them all, as well.

I guess NOT?

Just for the record, your statements to the affect of 135 are laughable...imagine Embraer stating they could not deliver their RJs becasue they were not compliant for passenger service, and only private owners could take them?

I question your sobriety

Thanks

-condolensec to the family if what you wrote was true - Vern should have been honest about the ceremnoy
:(

Metal Guy said...

Hey Bob, Jim here. How are things in Tallahassee? Thanks for covering the Eclipse thing for me while we were down in Florida. No luck finding a beach house however. When we got back to Albuquerque, the dog had choked on the cat. The cat choked on the goldfish. The goldfish was, well, eaten by the cat. But other than that, things are lookin good. Has that rash gone away yet?

Say hi to auntie Melda for me!

Your friend always, Jim McKlain.

airtaximan said...

Jim:
Bob, here. Problem while you were in the sun'N'fun - Someone guzzling bug juice says Vern Lied as follows:

"Dear Eclipse Customers:

We are very excited to inform you that Eclipse 500 AC3 received its Certificate of Airworthiness from the FAA today. The owner will take delivery this weekend, but wishes to remain anonymous, so we will not be holding a media event."

I reported as such from the cancelled media event, and then Koolaid-drinker 1 said the truth is, n E-clips employees had a stroke and that's why the ceremony was cancelled.

Any way to action Vern for lying to the media?

Yup...long line, I know.

Auntie Melda is fine. She's choking on biscuits from Sunshine Bakery. Glad you are back.

Brother-Bob.

X-PaT said...

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AN XPattt
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ComIng On....
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abq Kellies neAr the EndOfTHe Month? fRiday niGHT?
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gadfly said...

“Brother Boob”

Tin Man and Air Shuttle should compare notes before publication . . . “Auntie Melba” may need more than the “Heimlich” maneuver to save her from the “Shoeshine” biscuits that she has been eating . . . and I have seven ponds full of big “gold fish” and two “Koi” out back, that eat neighborhood cats, without choking . . . just now coming out of the winter freeze at 7,100 feet. ‘Come to think of it, my gold fish, Koi, and ruby minnows sleep all winter at higher altitudes than the entire fleet of Eclipse averages, just fifteen miles “due west” from here at ABQ. Amazing!

(OK, I was funnin’ you about my fish eating the cats, so don’t call the animal rights people. With the 10,600 foot Sandia’s between us and ABQ, I keep wondering if any of the little jets will ever fly over our house, or if they go east up Tijeras Canyon along I-40, or have to go south along the Rio Grande and around the Manzano Mountains. Either way, it keeps them from running into a dinosaur. Don’t laugh. These are problems many of the smaller aircraft face on a daily basis. The Village of Tijeras is trying to get aircraft to obey their traffic light at Hwy 14, and “Old 66", by “Molly’s Bar”. )

Gunner said...

KAD1-
Not certain if you're pulling our leg about an Eclipse employee in medical trouble.

Matters much, in certain profound ways. As The Gadfly has pointed up, other than the problems of that family this day, it highlights the point of doing EVERYTHING right in aircraft manufacture, EVERY DAY!

There is no magic dust; there are no magic market or production paradigms; there is simply hard work, incremental efficiencies and improvements, pride in what is brought to the market, and checking (and triple checking) our work, assumptions and promises.

If an EAC employee was downed today, he deserved better than we hear he's been receiving in ABQ. Prayers go out to the man and his family. This, too, shall pass.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

From the Eclipse Owner's Board:

Ken McNamara asked me to post this on the customer website tonight:

Robin was driving to work on Thursday morning and suffered a massive stroke. He became involved in a serious accident as a result of being incapacitated but fortunately no one else was seriously injured. The doctors have reported that the stroke was massive and his condition is very serious. His treatment is complicated due to the fact that he is a cancer survivor. He is in the neurological intensive care unit at the University of NM medical center. The left side of his body is paralyzed. He is very coherent and his mind is very alert. He was insistent on getting his computers as he has commitments to customers. This is all very sad. We are staying close to him and praying and hoping for the best. He will not be returning to work any time soon and perhaps not at all. Ken

I have also been told that Robin's wife and mother flew in from Seattle to be with him. The next 72 hours will be very crucial.

He needs our prayers.

Mike

Stan Blankenship said...

koolaid-drinker1,

Let's look at the time line.

According to the EOB, Robin's stroke occurred Thursday morning.

Friday night you advised the blog of an impending delivery and joined in the lighthearted banter with a half-dozen comments.

Sunday night you chastise the board for levity in disrespect for Robin's condition, for which we were not aware of.

Why didn't you inform us Friday night of the true situation down there in ABQ?

airtaximan said...

Stan:

You make a good point. This is really sad.

I wonder why Vern did not disclose this - -it's on their board? Why did he say there was no ceremony because the buyer wanted anonymity?

Stan - take down the spoof story...replace it with a nice note.

mirage00 said...

This blog has turned into quite the joke. Stan you should be embarrassed. Your knowledge of aviation manufacturing is being minimized by stupid jokes, false posts and personal insults. When the jet is finally produced in large quantities and its fully certified will you all say "uncle"? I guess you will then all pray for a crash so you can claim how unsafe this bird is. As I said before, pathetic.

Stan Blankenship said...

atm,

I appreciate your sentiments, but we're just in some turbulence and should remain steady on course.

In this case, I tend to believe what was written in Vern's letter, the buyer did not want a ceremony.

Had one been planned, it could have been done with dignity and acknowledge the problem the individual experienced two days before, give an update on his condition and proceed with what should be a happy occasion.

It reminds me of a situation at Learjet in the late 70's.

Chuck Dyas was our V.P. of Flight Operatons. He was distinguished looking and well spoken, respected by everyone, a real gentleman.

His duties included, Chief Pilot, Interiors reported to him, Head of the Cockpit Committee, Head of the Accident Committee, Head of Training and probably more I can't remember.

I liked him a lot, before he was transferred to Tucson, he would occasionally tell me there was an airplane on the ramp that needed exercising and if I could find a rated pilot, then go and shoot landings for an hour. The gal that worked for him would later become my wife.

So on the fateful day in the late 70's, Chuck, the company attorney and some others up from Tucson had a 10 am meeting at the Wichita factory.

It was a gorgeous day so the group skipped the hotel courtesy car and decided to walk over to the factory. They barely left the motel drive when Chuck dropped dead of a heart attack.

The 10 am meeting started 30 minutes late. Everybody in the meeting expressed their thoughts on Chuck's passing then continued on with the agenda. The company continued without Chuck, life goes on though not without regrets.

Stan Blankenship said...

mirage00,

Perhaps you would be more comfortable just reading the PR releases from Eclipse.

This blog has always intended to be informative and entertaining. Though at times it may apear that some, including myself, are auditioning for Comedy Central.

But perhaps you can explain the business case for how this company in its present form, can ever produce airplanes in large quantities that you seem to think may happen?

Gunner said...

I wonder if the Eclipse Owner's Board has been shut down for a day of prayer for Robin? I wonder if jubilant posts there regarding the "delivery" of SN 003 are being met with indignation as to the impropriety of the timing?

Most important, I wonder if Upper Management have rededicated themselves to "Aircraft Safety First". This IS serious business.

Wishing the entire Eclipse family (workers, management, investors and Depositors) strength at this sad time; and a VERY speedy recovery to Robin.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Mirage:
you stated:

"When the jet is finally produced in large quantities and its fully certified will you all say "uncle"? I guess you will then all pray for a crash so you can claim how unsafe this bird is. As I said before, pathetic.

Everyone on this site has the utmost respect fro safety - -that's clear. No one ever wished E-clips harm, especially not a crash. To their cradit, they have never crashed a plane...this even with bottle rocket engines to trigger frist flight deposits.

I for ne will be amazed if E-clips produces planes in high quantity, only becasue it depends on someone buying them - and dayjet is going to have issues using the E-clips for taxi.... there's no way the plane was designed for this purpose. I do not wish them any harm, though.

For us, on this blog, it is about joshing, finding the truth among the fuzz, and safety.

Why didn't Vern just explain they cancelled the show due to the employees accident? Throwing this as the reason is in bad taste, if even E-clips did not come clean with it. I think Stan's right, they customer did not agree to doing the ceremony with a bag over his head... so there was no pomp.

It's OK - they delivered another plane, and that's great.

Bad taste to use the guy in the hospital to make us feel bad - and we do. eventhough it was not due to that reason the ceremony was not held.

Happy flying!

airtaximan said...

KENNY,

O' where art thou, KENNY!

You called me on my statement that Dayjet accounted for 1/2 the orderbook at E-clips.

You said the Dayjet order is public knowledge...

I SAID YOU SHOULD PUBLISH THE PUBLIC NUMBER HERE, SO I COULD HAVE A CHANCE TO PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF "you are in dreamland"

POST THE HIGHEST NUMBER YOU DARE ADMIT IS DAYJETS ORDERS WITH E-CLIPS, AND THE PERCENTAGE OF THE total e-CLIPS ORDER BOOK.

I will follow up...

DO IT.

mouse said...

The C of A inspections do not reflect any more scrutiny for a Part 135 airplane. The plane is a Part 91 airplane until it is put on certificate to operate in the Part 135 world. Then it is reviewed to make sure it meets the requirements for suitablility for Part 135 and whatever other requirements the associated FSDO puts on it.

mouse said...

Like the boy who cried wolf, nothing Vern says is believeable. It's nobodys fault but his own...

Uptil now Eclipse has issued a press release for every little thing, so why not now?

It's also not too unusual for an aircraft manufacturer to lease back the first few airplanes, especially in the past couple of years among the new startups, so this should not be a surprise to anyone if it happens here again.

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

Time Line

March 09, 2007, 07:25:27 PM
Eclipse sends out notice of AC3 receiving it's COA

March 09, 2007 , 8:32 PM
I post on ECB for Frank to head for KABQ

8:47 PM, March 09, 2007
Stan B points out to the group that I left a msg for Frank.

Then some discussion on the ECB up until...

March 09, 2007 , 11:07 PM
I ask Ken to pass out the kool-aid while I take a break.

March 10, 2007, 09:50:32 PM
First info on Robin Bruner suffering a massive stroke (incorrectly reported as Thursday morning)

March 11, 2007, 01:44:06 PM
Was posted on the Eclipse Owners Site "This must have happened on Friday morning because he and his car were in excellent shape on Thursday. "

March 11, 2007, 05:59:58 PM
Posted by Eclipse on the Eclipse Owners site.

"On Friday March 9, 2007, Mr. Robin Bruner suffered a stroke while on his way to work. He is alert and in the recovery phase. Please respect his Family's privacy and send any well wishes to Eclipse Aviation. We will be sure that Robin receives your sentiments. Robin is the cornerstone to Customer Care and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Best regards,
The Eclipse Customer Care Team"

Sunday, March 11, 2007
Fake News Update "News Update from ABQ – Part 3" was posted on ECB

8:04 PM, March 11, 2007
I post on ECB asking for you to "let up" and mention a key Eclipse employee suffered a massive Stroke and was in an serious automobile accident Friday.

My follow up:

Nobody at Eclipse misled anyone regarding the delivery of AC3. I was making my own assumption when I said "Why do you think that they are not celebrating?"
I never said that they did not deliver the plane. I posted this after reading the Stupid FAKE Press Release "News Update from ABQ – Part 3" on the ECB. I did not know about Robins situation before March 10th.

Contrary to airtaximans statement "Bad taste to use the guy in the hospital to make us feel bad - and we do. even though it was not due to that reason the ceremony was not held.", I felt it was not in good taste for Stan to be posting this FAKE News Update unless he was not aware of the situation with Robin. I was appealing to the good nature of Stan to "Let Up".


KA1

airtaximan said...

KA1,

You seemed to be making the point that the celebration was cancelled due to the stroke and car accident.

Our issue is, if you were right, why didn't e-clips state this as the reason, instead of stating the reason was becasue the buyer did not want to show his face.

You now say "it was me who was making up the reason for not having a celebration - I used the stroke and car accident to make you feel badly about posting a spoof on the customer who did not want to go public about taking his e-plain"...

At least the folks here did not know they were leveraging someone's bad fortune to just make a taseless point...

YOU DID.

Ken Meyer said...

airtaximan wrote,
"POST THE HIGHEST NUMBER YOU DARE ADMIT IS DAYJETS ORDERS WITH E-CLIPS, AND THE PERCENTAGE OF THE total e-CLIPS ORDER BOOK.

I will follow up...

DO IT."


Sure; I'm game. Show us what you got. What I've got is Dayjet's public announcement as late as January 4, 2007: "Dayjet has 239 orders with options for 70 more within two years," according to Dayjet spokesperson Vicky Harris.

Ken

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

airtaximan said...

"At least the folks here did not know they were leveraging someone's bad fortune to just make a taseless point..."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT IS WHAT THIS BLOG IS ALL ABOUT, THAT IS ALL YOU DO!

Gunner said...

KAD1-
We're not trying to leverage your misfortune at all. We're simply trying to provide a counterpoint to the incessant Eclipse Spin Machine so that others don't suffer the same misfortune as you and Ken Meyer.

Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

It is unconscionable that a comapny with 1000 employees would be felled by the loss of one person, regardless who that SINGLE individual is - said with sincere sympathies and get well wishes to that person and their family.

Is this an airplane company or a reconstituted Mickey Mouse Club?

FWIW - I miss Annette and Frankie - doubt they could have done any worse.

Ken Meyer said...

coldwet said,
"It is unconscionable that a comapny with 1000 employees would be felled by the loss of one person, regardless who that SINGLE individual is"


That fact is not in evidence. It is rather telling, I think, that you would infer that the entire company has been "felled" because one employee is ill. Did you read that somewhere? Someone tell you that? Or are you using "The Force?"

I don't think you advance your cause very much when you make stuff up.

Ken

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken,

For your benefit I post what led me to my conclusion - KAD1 posted it direct from the Eclipse Owner's website.

"On Friday March 9, 2007, Mr. Robin Bruner suffered a stroke while on his way to work. He is alert and in the recovery phase. Please respect his Family's privacy and send any well wishes to Eclipse Aviation. We will be sure that Robin receives your sentiments. Robin is the cornerstone to Customer Care and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Best regards,
The Eclipse Customer Care Team"

McNamara characterizes Bruner as the 'cornerstone' of HIS organization and stated somewhere else Bruner wanted his computer at the hospital to take care of his customers (that is SOME dedication).

I was merely building off that characterization.

If you could read between the lines a little bit when someone OTHER than Vern or McNamara says something, you would not have to eat so much crow, DME boy.

Ken Meyer said...

coldwet said,
"It is unconscionable that a comapny with 1000 employees would be felled by the loss of one person, regardless who that SINGLE individual is"


That fact is not in evidence. It is rather telling, I think, that you would infer that the entire company has been "felled" because one employee is ill. Did you read that somewhere? Someone tell you that? Or are you using "The Force?"

I don't think you advance your cause very much when you make stuff up.

Ken

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Two can play at the childish games Ken.

For your benefit I post what led me to my conclusion - KAD1 posted it direct from the Eclipse Owner's website.

"On Friday March 9, 2007, Mr. Robin Bruner suffered a stroke while on his way to work. He is alert and in the recovery phase. Please respect his Family's privacy and send any well wishes to Eclipse Aviation. We will be sure that Robin receives your sentiments. Robin is the cornerstone to Customer Care and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Best regards,
The Eclipse Customer Care Team"

McNamara characterizes Bruner as the 'cornerstone' of HIS organization and stated somewhere else Bruner wanted his computer at the hospital to take care of his customers (that is SOME dedication).

I was merely building off that characterization.

If you could read between the lines a little bit when someone OTHER than Vern or McNamara says something, you would not have to eat so much crow, DME boy.

Since you have repeatedly refused to apologize for any of the deliberate or otherwise misrepresentations you have made re: DME, Avio NfG, and other subjects, you might put your own house in order before suggesting others do it.

Forward Observer said...

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